“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4
Interfaith corollary: “If you single-pointedly worship Me, I will take care of all your needs.” – Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita
This is my first blog post in a while. I’ve been working full time as a drug and alcohol counselor, a strange and unexpected twist on my spiritual journey that I hope to write about more in the future. My job has been demanding most of my creative energy, and this blog had to be set aside temporarily. Lately, though, I’ve realized that I should pay more attention to the inner desire I have to write, and make more time in my week to prioritize it. This post has no real organization, but is merely me “popping the cork” to a hopefully entirely new generation of blog posts where I will write about spirituality, religion, society, and my own bumbling journey along the path to God. But enough of my excuses for my lack of involvement in this blog, which probably amount only to laziness if I am scrupulously honest with myself.
So what have I been learning in nearly the past year since I’ve written seriously on this blog? I’ve been learning the same lesson over and over again that was wonderfully and simply expressed by King David nearly 3,000 years ago in the above Psalm. Oftentimes we complicate the spiritual path, forgetting that God-Realization is far more important than mundane aspects of our life we incessantly stress about (“the desires of your heart”). For me, the heart of the spiritual path is turning away from empty material hopes, and placing one’s hope in the higher satisfaction of God-Realization – the actual experience of God/Bliss which many religions attempt to describe, but that no religion can ever possibly contain.
Some readers may be turned off by the fact that I am quoting from the Bible, but do not mistake my feeling of connection to a Bible passage (I am ethnically Jewish, after all) for blind sectarianism. Although I study religions for a hobby, at the end of the day I am a seeker of the Divine Itself. I am not Jewish, not Christian, not Hindu, not Buddhist, but a seeker of the Nameless Bliss and Joy is eternally One with my own natural awareness in this very moment! Scriptures undoubtedly have spiritual, inspirational, and cultural value, but they cannot generate an actual experience of the Divine; they are like a tiny candle compared to the mighty Sun. Truly – although I revere God-inspired scriptures such as the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, and the sutras of the Buddha – scriptures become like a hindrance, or even repulsive like animal feces, to anyone who has had a genuine mystical experience. They are the path and not the Goal. They are the treasure map, but not the Treasure.
What I have learned this year is simply a re-affirmation of something I already knew, a simple lesson that I have so inadequately tried to convey through my writings, my music, and – hopefully and most importantly – through the way I live my daily life. I have been circling the same airport in a makeshift airplane of perpetual dissatisfaction. I have been walking down the same street and falling into the same hole again and again that I always vow to avoid the next time around. I seek fulfillment in people, in my career, in my creative expressions, only to be brutally disappointed by the shifting fortunes and ever-unreliable realm of material fulfillments that Hindus call Maya and Buddhists call Samsara. Again and again, I learn that the Bliss of God found in meditation is infinitely superior to any impermanent thing or destiny. Again and again, in my desperation, I fall on my face in prayer and whisper to the Beloved, “Aha! It was You that I was seeking all along!” Then I realize what countless sages and prophets have been harping on since human civilization began: that God-Realization has always been my heart’s desire!
As I continue to elaborate this blog, I plan write about spiritual principals in a more organized way. But I hope that the eyes of someone who is deeply dissatisfied comes across this rambling post. I hope a seeker who does not know they are a seeker reads this, someone who has had a question seething in their bones that they were not even aware of, a question something along the lines of, “Why do I work so hard, why do I climb a ladder made of shadows and expend insane amounts of energy on things that do not matter, only to be continually disappointed? Why have I sought the “Desires of my heart,” and not my Heart Itself?
One of the marks of a genuine teaching about God is that hope should arise within you when you hear it. God is love, and the door of God is always open to anyone who has a pure heart and practices meditation, to anyone who stops praying so much for material things and instead prays the supreme prayer of “Reveal Thyself!” For in the stillness of meditation, the Source reveals itself in the primal silence. In the sweetness of a mind stilled by the breath, the Beloved dances in a garment made of every atom of the infinite universe! In this Place there is no seeker; the Beloved seeks the Beloved, and rejoices with a Joy that is incomprehensible to the ego’s flimsy hopes. The Spirit then wordlessly whispers, “Thou art I, and I am Thou.” Material desires fall away naturally like the cocoon shed for the butterfly, and the heart whispers with renewed confidence, “God is the goal, God is the goal!” Anything given up for this Realization is, in truth, something gained. Any material hope surrendered for It is like a treasure whose value can never be adequately calculated.
And…”After Enlightenment, the laundry.” For the “Cosmic Wink” that the sages of old have proclaimed in countless metaphorical ways is that our very life, with all its seeming imperfection, is the life of the Beloved – if we but knew it! Jesus echos cryptically through the chaotic mists of history, “I and the Father are One.” The Zen masters whisper through the mountainous ash heap of collective human ignorance, “This very body is the body of Buddha.” And Krishna waves high his banner of Truth with his ecstatic utterance in the Bhagavad Gita, “Brahman is the Receiver of the offering, the one who offers, and what is offered.” And I put on my work shirt, swipe some cheap deodorant, buy lunch at Subway, and head inconspicuously to the office for another “normal” day.
But what is the use of describing this? Why is the Beloved asking me to shamelessly blog about what can never be spoken of? No matter how eloquent someone gets, It cannot be grasped by the human mind. It is like trying to explain the internet to an ant! Please forget these silly words and delve deep into meditation so you can find out for yourself if all the Zen masters, prophets, and mystics were merely “talking shit!”
Are you, like I have been, caught up in a silly attempt to pursue the desires of your heart? Are you waiting for “the perfect boyfriend” or the “perfect girlfriend” to be happy? Are you waiting to achieve your career goals before you spend any time meditating and seeking God?
I tell you what my own heart tells me: “Stop seeking the shadow, and seek the Substance!” For the glorious promise of the Beloved to devotees of all ages is this: If you truly seek the Beloved first, prioritizing meditation and spiritual practice, God (for lack of a better word) will not only reveal Himself to you, but will also give you the desires of your human heart as a byproduct! Is this not an insane premise? Could this really be true? Does anyone out there actually have the faith to receive this, to have their delicious Meal and a complimentary dessert prepared specifically for you by the Creator of the universe? The truth is – in God’s prophetic timing – that you can have both God-realization and anything you desire that is wholesome, but only when your heart can truly say, “Beloved, You are enough for me. The rest is gravy…”
Watch out! For, unfortunately, many makeshift preachers and prophets have mistaken the Gravy for the meal, and have placed the idol of material success above God-Realization. I have learned this year what I learned at the beginning of my spiritual journey, and have vowed never again to be deceived by false religion that makes the realization of God a means to an end. A prosperity gospel. A false religion that turns idols into God and religion into an idol. For any form of religion that exalts a material reward above the supreme reward of God-Realization is a garlanded form of petty prostitution. It is a poisoned apple offered by a wicked witch. It is a cyanide capsule posing as an herb. It is the vomit of Satan deceptively shaped into an image of Jesus.
If someone is seeking God because of something material they want God to do for them, they have not truly grasped the meaning of the spiritual path. It is not that praying for material blessings is a bad thing; it is only when these become the goal that our religion becomes tainted, even satanic. Yet every man or woman of God knows by experience that God will naturally bless them as a loving Father, as the Divine Mother. For when the Beloved knows He is truly first in your heart, He opens up the doors of stored up blessings and makes you a living witness to the truth expressed in the above psalm of David . Then the desires of your heart will come naturally as a gift directly from the hand of the Beloved if the Beloved has truly become your goal.
May anyone who reads this, through the power of meditation, realize the highest Joy of God-Union and understand that the Beloved is, in fact, their True Nature. May they truly set their heart on the Goal of life, and receive the Beloved’s material blessings as a delightful but impermanent byproduct – as the gravy.
Praise be to God forever, who dwells in the temple of every human heart, who alone is worthy of praise and admiration! To God – the Sole Doer of all action – be the glory forever!
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- Exploring the 4 Noble Truths Part 1: Life is Suffering
- Lessons from the Gita 2 – Three Dimensions of Renunciation
- A Meeting with the Cosmic Boss – The Missing “Step” in the Steps to Success