Where are you on the spiritual path?
You may think of yourself as a spiritual person, but when you are caught in a traffic jam, or someone disagrees with you, your spiritual nature seems to take a holiday. Worries, sorrows and disturbances are certain to follow you all the way to enlightenment. As a sadhak (seeker), you have to move past these obstacles. So what do you do?
Increase your awareness - with meditation
The first thing is to become aware of your state of mind. With this awareness, the storm has already begun to subside. Even as you read this, be aware of what is happening in your mind. What do you notice? Your mind is agreeing or disagreeing; saying "yes" or saying "no". Spirituality means, being aware of your mind, aware of what is happening inside and around you.
Remember your infinite nature
You may cry - but if you are knowledgeable - you will laugh at your loss, because you know it is only the small aspect of yourself that is getting destroyed and that your infinite nature is indestructible. Regular practice of meditation helps you to tap into this precious knowledge.
Observe your emotions
You are not your emotions; you are the one experiencing your emotions. However, you can easily forget this, when your mind is disturbed. Fortunately, every emotion creates a corresponding sensation in the body. By observing these sensations, the emotions fade and the mind becomes clear.
Let go of thoughts and desires
Streams of thoughts are always passing through the mind. But you may catch hold of the thoughts and not allow them to go easily, like a record needle getting stuck in one groove. Let the thoughts go. Feel that they are not yours. Sorrow comes from getting stuck in one thought or one desire. Meditation happens when thoughts subside.
Dealing with worries
If you, the seeker, are still struggling with a worry, make a sentence out of it and look at it word by word. This will bring you to the moment and worry disappears.
For example the worry that, "I cannot find my handbag", may be going on and on in your mind. So sit with each word of the thought: I... cannot... find... my... hand... bag. Repeat, “Hand bag, hand bag” - several times. You will see how the worry stops. Or break it further into vowels and consonants. You cannot have worry without words.
Look back at times, when you have worried. Just imagine, how you were five years ago on a particular day.
- Will I get the job?
- Will I get well?
- Will I be humiliated in class for not doing the assignment?
It was a big deal at that time, but now you really don't remember your past worries. Every time you worry, you think it is fresh and new. When you look back at all those worries that are now stale or no more, you will find that this worry is also stale. What makes a worry stay with you is - your illusion that you are going to live forever.
View your life - in the context of time and space
See the reality of your short span of life, and the insignificance of your life, in contrast to this enormous universe. Billions of years have passed in this universe - what is this 50, 60 or 100 years of life? The smallness of your problems becomes evident. What is your 100 or 200 pound frame, compared to the vast creation? With the thought that you are still here, all you can do is feel grateful.
Go beyond your physical identity
Be with the awareness that, "I am consciousness, I am the energy inside this body, and I am neither the body nor is the body mine. This body has come into existence through my parents, and it will remain in the world." Experiencing and becoming aware of this reality, brings joy and happiness.
View others as yourself-in the context of time and space
See the reality of your short span of life and the insignificance of your life, in contrast to this enormous universe. Billions of years have passed in this universe - what is this 50, 60 or 100 years of life? The smallness of your problems becomes evident. What is your $100 or $200 frame, compared to the vast creation? With the thought that you are still here, all you can do is feel grateful.
Go beyond your physical identity
Be with the awareness that, "I am consciousness, I am the energy inside this body and I am neither the body nor is the body mine. This body has come into existence through my parents, and it will remain in the world." Experiencing and becoming aware of this reality, brings joy and happiness.
Be aware of the grace, of the love and of the joy that the divine is pouring on you every minute. As a seeker, be firm in your commitment to the practice of yoga, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, and chanting – and experience the joy and peace that you are.
View others as yourself
Some night when you are tucked away safely in bed, bring to mind a thought that there are no people at all in this world, except you. Other people are like shells floating in the ocean and your own karma, your past experience, is getting into those shells and reflecting back at you. Can you watch a wrestling match on television and see both people as yourself? Can you feel, "It's my own consciousness that is acting one way in this mind and one way in that mind. In all these different minds, different roles are being played, but it's all me." A sparrow that looks in the mirror, believes that there is another sparrow. It keeps hitting the mirror and stains it with its own blood. The sparrow fights with itself and dies. This is exactly happening in the world. If we are fighting, we are fighting with ourselves. If we are angry, we are angry with ourselves. Isn't it?
Spiritual practices for the seeker
Yoga, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and chanting - all these help purify, energize, and refine your system. It also helps in keeping your mind in the present moment. Your desire for peace has made you restless. You think that by changing people or your situation, life will finally become peaceful. But your search for perfection has created turmoil in you. Wherever you go, you will carry your own mind with you. And wherever you go, you will create the same storms. It may appear to be quiet for some time, but then it will rise again in a new place. Unless you realise this, nothing will help you in the long term. No other permanent solution is there.