Service is a gift and to serve is our duty. Service if done with devotion allows you to create a space within yourself. This space expands during meditation, when fully nourished this space can encompass the whole world where everyone is treated with the same honor and respect. Just like a bigger home as a lot more space for things, a bigger mind has a lot more space for dealing with challenges with compassion. Divine love is compassion personified, to accept everyone as your own and is grow out of the small home to a bigger home is the objective of service. Organized service, something done as a chore is limited in value and therefore even after doing it you remain untouched. Service without devotion has no value to the human spirit. Engage in spontaneous service and you will see that will bring you much more satisfaction. If you make a resolution to do one good thing every day, however small or big, you will see the change in your life.
Desire arises in the mind and if you hold on to the desire it becomes an obsession. One of the fascinating things about human birth is our intellect is developed vis-a-vis animals. This allows us to make decisions & analyze. Depending on what tendency is strong in you, the mind can be pulled in that way. People who discipline themselves in their life tend to be very rigid and subdue those desires that are against their core beliefs. This leads to frustration within that festers, and usually comes out as anger or lust. When the gust of wind comes the trees that survive are the ones that are flexible to allow the wind to pass through. Thus in life be flexible to desires, if they come observe and let them pass.
As humans the desire for sex in rooted in our very psyche. This is because one of our survival needs is procreation, and sex is the method to pass bodily fluids for that purpose. Craving for sex all the time leaves the mind dull and lethargic, subduing the desire for sex leads to frustration. But simply understanding that this is a need, allows us to deal with this better.
The concept of energy centers in the body is well explained and therefore it is important to understand that when different desires come, different energy centers become active. These can be simply understood by observing the sensation in the body when a desire arises. Better understanding the body-breath and mind relationship helps us to respect the laws of nature and have a peaceful co-existence.
Dealing with loss of a loved one is never easy. What makes dealing with a loss of loved one difficult? Our memories of them perhaps, a shock runs through when you realize that this person wont be there to talk to or welcome you when you visit. It is usually a sense of disbelief followed by sorrow and then an apathy towards life. That moment when you realize the inevitability of life, of our existence, of how we go on as if it never going to end. Life is like a stream it moves constantly and even death cannot stop this very existence. However, we want to stop it… hold on to the memories… freeze that moment in time, however hard we may try this is not possible. At some point we realize the futility of the effort and move on.
However that moment, when we feel apathy is so important in our lives, because death is a bell that makes us realize that all of this is going to end. We can use that moment and shape it to change the way we live. Ask yourselves how much helpful I have been to the world and the people in it? In the answer to that question lies the path of freedom. Realizing that your circle should be extended beyond me and mine into the world is your ah ah moment. Once you realize that and extend your circle of giving, you will have achieved the tools to deal with your loss.
We as humans rejoice over the power of choice we have. But how many of us use those powers for betterment of society and our lot. Across the world we hear stories about violence and hatred; and whom do we hate? Someone who is not very different from you. Think about it, and you will realize that we are all same at our core. All of us get angry, feel lustful, happy, sad and the plethora of emotional states that defines our existence. We live a very isolated world, which we call our family, our state, our country, our culture. If someone fits into that fabric that defines “us” we open our doors, else our doors remain shut. But go one level deeper and you will begin to notice that our differences disappear, and we are all made in the same likeness.
In human society we have the “Haves” who have excess of everything and the “Have Nots” who are in dearth of everything. This discrepancy is created because of the fear that guards our very fabric, the fear of loss, the fear of death, the fear of shame. This fear is our survival instinct. This fear causes those who “Have” to do things in excess, by abusing their right and creating this discrepancy. As our greed grows faster we move towards a situation of turmoil and our animalistic instincts triumph.
Spirituality is not about meditating sitting in a cave somewhere. It is about understanding our animalisitic instincts and moving towards those instincts that define us. We do this not for ourselves but for betterment of humankind because spirituality is humanness.
One of my favorite movies is Good Will Hunting and my favorite part from the movie is when Will and Shawn are seated in the park overlooking the pond. Shawn tells Will “But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that”
This is beautiful moment in the film that I keep getting reminded of whenever I read yet another book on spirituality. Knowing and experiencing are two different things, and if the knowledge is used to experience something that is a good thing, else such a knowledge is an impediment. Again quoting from the Isha Upanishad, those who are ignorant will enter into blind darkness, so will those who are seeking knowledge. The gist here is that the knowledge itself does not lead to the ultimate, but can slow you down in the path. Knowledge is needed but not necessary to realize the self. I see this every day in a practical sense, when we hear what others are saying but rarely listen. If we can be aware and listen to ourselves & those around us that very experience will be fulfilling.
There are moments in my life where I want to get away from the world for sometime and be with myself. Those are difficult times because I know I cannot afford to do it, so there is a constant conflict. Knowledge comes in uncanny ways and one day I realized that this conflict is in my mind.
When we see a beach or quiet wilderness the mind goes there and it says to itself now that is where I want to be, quiet and peaceful. Only if??? Why is there a search for external crutches for inner peace? When the mind cannot find peace inside it looks for those crutches and hopes to find peace there. If you speak to someone who lives in Hawaii for example, they will tell you how stressed they are. While sometimes change in the external environment can make a difference (for a while) the peace has to be sought from the inside. If you, who live in the “real” world with its maya (illusion) can still be peaceful inside, will have achieved true happiness. Knowledge that if the mind is at peace, everything else will appear peaceful will allow you to make peace with yourself and the world. If Po the Panda can find inner peace so can you!
Ocean Pic: Source Flickr Free to use photos
Desires arise in everyone, and the spiritual quest is also a desire for freedom. Without the desire there is no goal in life since we would be going moment to moment without having anything to look forward to. What is desire? It is a tendency in the mind to achieve something. Desire has three phases, first from the moment when the desire arises, second fulfilling of it and third completion of it. Once the desire is completed, the mind expands & in this feeling of expansion you feel full, satisfied. This feeling of fullness leads you happiness, you feel good, you want to be nicer to people than usual etc.
Just like bubbles arise in a wave the bubbles of desire arise in the mind. Since it is a tendency of the mind to go from one place to the other, it is not satisfied in that state of mind and wants to keep moving. Think about it, your new job, your new degree, your new love, it felt so good during the initial periods and then slowed waned away. Why does this happen, because the desire is for objects of the senses and not for the self. When you (self) become full, life becomes full and problems become challenges. The spiritual journey is to desire for that fullness.