Lord Ram gave Hanuman a quizzical look and said, “What are you, a monkey or a man?” Hanuman bowed his head reverently, folded his hands and said, “When I do not know who I am, I serve You and when I do know who I am, You and I are One.” -Tulsidas Ramayana.
Aum. The world of cyberspace is filled with millions of blogs. Most of them would probably embarrass any self-respecting human being if read by an alien from another planet. Dining on a verandah overlooked by seven multicolored moons on a planet millions of light-years hence, a three-eyed being with a seemingly meaningless tail on its face would ask me: “Is this what you guys are really like? Do you simply bitch about things you can’t change, or ramble endlessly about how amazing your children are, or tell the whole world about how you stubbed your toe on Friday morning?” I would then say, “Some of us take the matter of life and death seriously. We write blogs to humbly reflect on the glory of the living God. And when offered ice cream when we are full, we politely decline.” This blog, of course, is one of the latter types.
It has two main purposes. Firstly, it will help me reflect on my own spiritual life in order to deepen it. Secondly, it will hopefully introduce people to spiritual practices, books, and concepts which have deeply benefited me. Practically, I will write about my experiences with meditation, prayer, scriptural study, and relationship building with God. These practices are very potent, and as the Lord in the form of Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Even a little of this practice (of meditation) will save you from great fear.” We are spiritual beings, and without a fruitful spiritual life I believe we are missing out on the truest source of love and joy.
As someone recently told me, I am a spiritual “mut.” I was born Jewish, frequently go to a protestant Church, went to a Catholic high school, my favorite book is Hindu (the Bhagavad Gita!), and I have lived for over seven months at a Zen Buddhist monastery. So when people ask me my religion, I simply tell them that I am a lover of God. I am seeking God, and don’t limit Him to a particular religion. This allows Her to reveal Herself to me through many beautiful and diverse ways. God is infinite, and all religions are temporary paths which express different aspects of His limitless Self (which is your Self).
I’ll close this introductory post with a few thoughts which will hopefully clarify what I mean by the word “God.” In a Hindu scripture called the Ramayana a devotee named Hanuman (who is a monkey!) says to Ram (an incarnation of God), “Sometimes I feel that you You are my Father and I am Your son. Sometime I feel that You are my master and I am your servant. But when I come into knowledge, I realize that I am You and You are I.” Or, as Jesus said, “I and the Father are One.” Friends, when I speak of God, I am not talking about something separate from us. In reality, God is the True Self of the Universe. Nothing exists but Him, and all the great masters have said that this can actually be experienced by anyone who sincerely seeks.
Well, if we are already fully Divine, what is the point of the spiritual path? The answer is that there are varying degrees of realization. A classic metaphor says that sunlight reflects brighter in a diamond than in a piece of coal. The greatest matter-identified “sinner” and the most glorified self-realized saint are both equal because both of them share the same true nature (the sun). The only difference is that one-through meditation, ethical living, and all the various expedient practices of the spiritual path-has clarified his own mind and realized the Truth within himself. He has become a diamond, and is able to actually experience the bliss of God, even in this very body.
I believe that this path to God takes many, many lifetimes. But wherever you are on that path, I believe this with all of my heart: You are a child of the living God, and He loves you unconditionally forever. His very nature IS love, and nothing you will ever do can change that. Furthermore, anyone who sincerely asks the Lord to lead them to Himself will unfailingly receive His grace and invaluable guidance. As Jesus said,”Ask and you will receive. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” I believe one of the the main reasons God created us is to have an outlet for his outrageous and limitless abundance of pure love. Why not allow Him to reveal it to you?
The goal is clear…but what are some practical ways to get there? In my opinion, nothing is as effective as the time-tested practice of meditation, which I will elaborate on in my next post. So stay tuned!
May the Lord reveal Itself to you and lead you to the highest happiness. Thank you for reading. Aum.
-Shiva meditating on the non-conceptual bliss of His eternal Self
- Lessons from the Bhagavad Gita: Introduction
- Remembering the Goal of Life
- Lessons from the Gita 3: God Realization – The End of Religion
- Re-interpreting Jesus 1: Beyond Religion (The Law and the Prophets)
- The Rest is Gravy: A Rambling
- Many Paths, One Goal
- A Meeting with the Cosmic Boss – The Missing “Step” in the Steps to Success