Making The Journey With The Right Realization
It’s so easy to become caught up in my physical role – my name, physical personality and looks; the social setup or family I’ve been born into, my friend circle, the school I went to, the person I married, the organization in which I work, the various material objects I own or possess. I forget my true identity, the spiritual being, and that it is me, the spirit or soul, who is experiencing life through this physical body and surrounding circumstances. The physical, human side is essential, but it’s the spirit, the being, the energy, which makes the journey. The physical body is the vehicle through which the journey is made. The people who exist in my life are also energies making their journeys through their respective vehicles. Looking at myself and others, when I realize who is making the journey and I remember this and maintain this spiritual consciousness throughout the day, I’m able to access spiritual treasures of peace, of power, of love and joy and see the same in others. It is because of not remaining in this remembrance; I remember and identify with the vehicle and experience my false identity. That is why we find ourselves empty of these treasures today. As a result there is a tremendous increase in interest in meditation throughout the world. Unlike in the past when this interest was seen primarily in the East, today relaxation and meditation is a blooming industry in the Western countries.
The more I become trapped by a materialistic consciousness, and the more I lose contact with my inner self, the less freedom I experience. The search of happiness through the physical senses brings temporary, short-lived gains. My life lacks depth when the only things I know, realize and feel are related to the loads of information I receive from the physical sense organs, and I become disconnected from the spiritual dimension.
The Relationship Between Virtues And Vices
When we are internally strong, our nature characteristics and skills are reflected, from inside us to the outside, to everyone we interact in, in the form of virtues. If we are internally weak, those same traits emerge and radiate as vices. Vices are just qualities or virtues that have lost their focus and strength. For e.g. if we take the quality of love – when a strong soul radiates love, it is unlimited and without any conditions. Such a soul respects and has good wishes for everything and everyone and under all circumstances, irrespective of whether love and respect is coming from the other side or not. When a weak soul radiates love, he/she tends to restrict the love to limits e.g. the love would vary from person to person and from situation to situation. In a sense, if spiritual might (strength) and spiritual light (understanding or knowledge) are taken away from the virtues, they get transformed into the six vices, which make us spiritually unhealthy or weak:
Ego – developing an image of the self that is false, temporary or imaginary.
Greed – finding short term fulfillment by acquiring material goods, a role
in society or money or through the physical senses – eyes, tongue, ears, etc.
Attachment – finding security by developing a feeling of possessiveness over
loved ones and material objects.
Lust – using excessive satisfaction through the senses as a means of fulfillment.
Anger – the feeling of hatred and revenge when any of the other vices are threatened
or being taken away from us.
Laziness – becoming inactive on a spiritual, physical or mental level.
The Cyclic Functioning Of The Three Faculties Of The Soul
The soul consists of three faculties – the mind, intellect and sanskaras. They work together in a cyclic fashion. How they work together can be illustrated by looking at how habits or sanskaras are formed e.g. if you are used to scolding your children to get them to do their homework, here is what happens when you visit a friend’s place and watch, for the first time, how your friend is doing the same to his/her child, you might think (done by the mind): ‘I should adopt the same method to discipline my children, they never listen to me’. Your intellect discriminates and judges whether that thought is right or not. Seeing others using the same method, and also seeing that the children are not being affected in any negative way (at least in the short term, not realizing the long term harm) and also seeing them get the desired result, you make a decision to do the same, which leads to the action of scolding your children. This creates an impression or memory within the soul, somewhat like cutting a groove in a piece of wood. This groove in the soul becomes a characteristic of your personality and is known as a sanskara. Within the groove is recorded the memory of, firstly, the action of scolding the children and, secondly, the desired result from the action. Now, whenever your child disobeys you even a little bit, this sanskara is activated and the memory of the action and result associated with it emerge in the mind triggering a thought: ‘Let me scold my child, that’s the best way to get him to do things’. The intellect judges the thought, remembering the proof of the scolding, based on past experience, and then makes the decision that it is alright to using anger as a weapon to discipline the child. In this way, the sanskara keeps getting deeper and deeper. The cyclic process explained above, applies to all habits, whether physical or non-physical.
The Search For Happiness And A Perfect Relationship
Throughout history, human beings have desired and searched for two things, happiness and a perfect relationship. There is an old truth, “You cannot search for what, you have not already had or known.” In other words, our search is motivated by a deep subconscious memory of the original, perfect and eternal relationship with our Friend, Guide and Parent, the One remembered as God, Allah, Ishwar, Jehovah, etc. It is only when our relationship with this Being is restored that we can experience true happiness or bliss. Bliss is the deepest spiritual happiness we can experience. It is experienced only when we are free of all attachment, when we no longer misidentify with anything physical and when our inner mental state is not dependent on anything or anyone.
At its highest level, our relationship with God is pure and non-dependent, and therefore blissful. Deep within the soul, there is a memory of the bliss of this perfect union and it is the deepest motivation in our search for the perfect relationship, for the perfect happiness. However, instead of seeking at the level of spirit, we seek at the level of mind (personality) and body. We search in those around us for the perfect partner – our soul mate. It is not incorrect to have worldly relationships, but there needs to be a deep realization inside each one of us that our true soul mate, is the One with whom we can have an ever-lasting, eternal relationship, the One with whom we have the deepest eternal bond (over a period of many births), the One from whom we will experience everlasting, eternal, unconditional attainments.