Giving others respect is an easy way to grow spiritually. It is the law of karma that you reap what you sow. Those who respect others become worthy of receiving respect from everyone.
God respects each and every one of His children; He knows everything about them, but He chooses to see their virtues. Because of His unconditional love and respect for the children, He is worshipped. This is something we can learn from, and check if we respect others in similar manner.
How much regard do we have for the Supreme, for ourselves, and for others, whoever they are?
Having regard for the Supreme means knowing Him and living by the highest principles, so that our life reflects the virtues that He embodies. Our own ideas and the opinions of others should not come in the way. Do we think and behave in a manner that inspires others? Do we do so all the time, or according to our whims or circumstances?
If we aspire to lofty goals but are unwilling, or afraid, to take the high road, what will we achieve? If we have questions such as, “How can this be possible…”, “it is the truth, but…”, it means we have forgotten where the truth is coming from. It is one thing to ask questions for clarification, and quite another to ask out of doubt.
To have regard for the self is to maintain a high level of self-respect, with an awareness of one’s virtues. We all have shortcomings, but when we pay attention to our good qualities and work on developing them, the defects are eventually removed.
When we have regard for the self, we keep an elevated consciousness while interacting with others. “I am weak! I lack courage! I would like to be much better, but I cannot do it. Maybe I am destined to be like this. Let me be happy with the way I am.” Feeling hopeless in this manner is to disrespect yourself.
Having respect for others means to have goodwill for them. Do we wish to uplift others, help them become better persons, and have good feelings for everyone? We can have regard for others when we look at their virtues and specialities, instead of noting their defects. To give regard means to cooperate with others on the basis of pure feelings.
Do we accept people as they are and help them overcome their weaknesses, instead of gossiping about them? When we see someone’s flaws, do we make a mountain out of a molehill or do the opposite? Do we give them the courage, strength, and enthusiasm to become better, or are we influenced by them and lose our way?
Giving respect brings us respect multiplied several times over. Along with the respect come love, cooperation, and blessings, which make our own progress quick and easy.
B.K. Asha is the director of the Brahma Kumaris’ Om Shanti Retreat Centre in Gurugram, Haryana.
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ANALYSING LOVE AND ITS ETERNAL NATURE
Are there eternal lovers or soul mates with whom we have relationships that span across many lifetimes? The answer is yes. Love can and does extend across multiple lifetimes.
D o you believe in “love at first sight”? Why is it that sometimes you meet someone and there is an instant feeling of familiarity and attraction towards that person? Love is something that is difficult to define.
Love is a feeling of belonging, acceptance and wellbeing. When two people are in love there is a feeling that transcends description. There is something about love that seems eternal. If somebody loses the one they love there is always a feeling, even if buried deep within, that longs to be with that someone again. Is that possible? If somebody loses their loved ones, it is possible to be with them again in a future life or even the life between lives in the spiritual realm.
Love itself never dies. It is one of the few things that we take with us when we leave this world and move into the next. Along with love, we take our karmas and our thoughts, feelings and emotions.
There are many ways to define love. One of these is that love is a positive energy associated with a wish of unification and well being. The aspect of unification transcends physicality. It is equally a meeting of minds, hearts and spirit, as it is a desire to be physically one.
We all like to talk about, think about and dream about love. It is an essential part of our humanity. No matter how many times we “fall” in or out of love, we still feel a powerful urge towards it. Our desire to love and be loved is deep rooted in our consciousness.
The positive perception that we have about someone or something is a form of energy which is called love energy. This love energy works differently between different people. You may be in a room full of strangers and someone walks in and there is an instant feeling of attraction, recognition and familiarity that transcends physical attraction or interest. There is an instant desire to become one with that person. Not everyone will feel this way about that person. The love energy that exists between two people reacts differently than it would between someone else.
One would feel love with a positive perception whereas others may feel neutral or even negative and regard that person with disdain. The point is that the person exuding that energy has a subconscious choice about the positivity or negativity of the energy they emit. We can give love energy and receive it as well. So, different people will feel different types of “vibes” from the same person. It is literally a form of energy chemistry. Different energy sources and types react with others differently and each human being exudes different types of energies that react with other people’s energies differently.
So coming back to the original question—does love transcend death? Can you be reunited with soul mates after death?
Are there eternal lovers or soul mates with whom we have relationships that span across many lifetimes? The answer is yes. Love can and does extend across multiple lifetimes.
Energetically we are all seeking a soul mate. But these soul mates are part of a larger group called our Soul Group or also referred to as Soul Families.
There are certain souls that have been with us throughout many incarnations and therefore there is a lot of karmic history between us. This karmic interaction creates a karmically magnetic effect. You will feel an instant recognition, attraction or a feeling of longing for a person. It can be in the form of physical attraction, but that is not necessary. It can also be a feeling of deep love or interest in someone without a physical attraction.
Many of the souls that we are interacting with today were with us in a past life but in a different relationship. For example, our spouse today may have been our child in a previous life, our parent may have been a sibling, a sibling may have been a lover in a previous life and so on. There is no limit to the various dramatic roles our souls play together in this eternal earthly drama that we are partaking in.
What role will be played by whom is decided by our souls in the ‘life between life’ phases between physical incarnations during the life we live in the spirit realms.
You meet the soul mate that you are meant to meet, when, where and how you are destined to meet, for a divine purpose that involves our spiritual growth and development.
When you have spent many lifetimes loving another person, you will have a powerful connection that is recognised immediately as and when it happens. Also, because your love never dies, it is possible to pick up where you have left off in a previous life. Even though you will have some catching up to do concerning your comings and goings the last few hundred years, your soul mate relationship has a story to it, and you have a history together. So, maybe what we call “love at first sight” is really just a love reunion.
This type of a soul mate with whom you have loved and lost over many centuries will feature an eerie sense of familiarity, like you have known each other before, and sometimes even an uncanny innate understanding of each other. And, this connection will become more and more intense with each lifetime that a couple spends together.
Though we have had many lifetimes and many loving soul mates there are always the loves that lie ahead, yet to come into the path of our lives. These lost loves have dreamed of you, searched for you, and have waited centuries for destiny to allow your paths to cross once more.
When these soul mates once again cross our path we need to be ready for them. This can happen by working on giving and receiving love. When two ready soul mates are reunited, the love energy of this union is unparalleled. Because they didn’t fall in love, they simply remembered that they loved each other already.
Prashant Solomon is a Delhibased author and businessman.
HOW YOU CAN BE AWARE OF YOUR MIRROR-LIKE MIND
Do I know who I am? Am I what the mind thinks I am? The mind is like a robot. It talks of only that which it knows. The mind is like a mirror—it can absorb everything about the world to reflect it. But the mirror can neither see itself nor reflect itself. In the same way, our mind works—it can collect information about everything in the world from history to the future, it can invent faculties, disciplines, breed cultures and religions, and can store technical and scientific data, but it cannot be aware about itself as a mind. The mind cannot reflect on itself, nor can it reflect the being. But the being may be aware of the mind.
Understand it like this: my being is exactly like I am. My not being is like being unaware of my mind. So my not being breeds a mind which reflects all the information of the world. The mind which wants to collect treasures, money, and all other kinds of possessions is, in fact, my absence in the being. When I am not in the being, I keep chasing the mind, but when I am in the being, aware and present, the mind disappears. Ask yourself once: who am I? Then answer it too: yes, I am. A miracle will happen.
A small stone thrown into a placid lake creates ripples. When it is still, the lake is a mere reflection of its surroundings, but it begins to tremble when a small stone is thrown at it. Your mind is exactly like that. It keeps on trembling and making you think. But what you are cannot be observed by the mind. The mirror can reflect the whole world, but what the eyes cannot see is you in the being. You need a mirror to look at the reflection of your body. But that which you are cannot be seen by your eyes or mind. Neither can your eyes see you nor can your mind know you. Whatever your mind knows, it is about the world outside. But when you are in the being, it makes the mind disappear. The mind cannot stay there because it is like darkness, and the moment your consciousness shines like a light, that darkness disappears.
The mind cannot be when you are there. And when you declare yourself as the owner of your being, you will say “I am”. That will remain there as your “am-ness”, as your being. You are simply the being, which abounds with the pure consciousness that you have. But your mind breeds unconsciousness and you spend your life rushing after your mind, which keeps jumping from one desire to another, filling you with unfulfilled desires. So stop, look at yourself. Know that you are not the mind—you are you. Declare it. Say, “Yes, I am”. And you will have a rare sense which is like being in the wholeness of existence. And you will be there, always.
Life exists and expands from one moment to another. There are two ways that man can live from moment to moment. One is when you look outside at the world with your eyes, and look at God who is blooming radiantly in every moment, singing and dancing, in joyous celebration and a state of playfulness. In that moment, you are also in a state of playfulness, lending your colours to the wholeness of existence. When you look at the world outside, it takes your being outside you: you travel far, your being in the depths of valleys and the tops of hills. Your eyes reach your being, far into the horizon, where God is. You look at that from a distance, but you are also there where your eyes have landed your being.
The second way of living is what happens when you close your eyes. The moment you close your eyes, a smile appears on your face, coming from deep within. It is the key to being blissful. Dive into it deeper. Either way you look, you find That Which Is. Hindus call it tatvamasi (you are that). You are That as You are.
Life is in the being. Death is always lurking around. Death will find you one day and cut your story short. But in the acceptance of death, the fear of death disappears. I am the one who cannot appear as a reflection of my mind because I am the watcher of my mind. And in pure consciousness I am in the being. I am the watcher of life and death too.
Things are exactly like they should have been. That Which Is is exactly as That Which Is should have been. Accepting that fact is being in the being. Life is as it ought to be. You are as you ought to be. You are where you ought to be, not anywhere else. This is being in life. You are fully attuned to this moment and you do not go out of this moment. When you are not trembling in your thoughts, you are here. In the present, you don’t tremble, but in thoughts of the past and future which are bred by your mind, ripples appear on your lake-like mirror-mind. You are the watcher who watches this truth in pure wakefulness and blissfulness. That is like being in the sat-chitta-anand (truth-consciousness-bliss).
The author is a spiritual teacher and an independent advisor on policy, governance and leadership. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE PRINCIPLES OF KARMIC ACCOUNTING
Karma is like opening a bank account. We have choices on how much money we want to put in to add to our balance, or how much we want to withdraw. We can choose to put different investments that result in interest to increase what we have available in our account. We can also choose to use credit card in which we pay interest on what we spend. The choice is ours to make.
Similarly, we have a karmic account. Each day we can choose whether we want to engage in thoughts, words, and deeds that are going to result in good that comes back to us. We can also engage in thoughts, words, and deeds, for which we must pay the consequences. Beyond creating good and bad karmic accounts, we can also choose to do things that create a balance of zero so that we do not have to return to this world to either reap the benefits or pay the consequences.
We can reduce our karmas by living mindfully of the karmic law. That means doing things that do not incur good or bad Karma. However, if we are still not living life in a neh-karma or karma-less way, it is better to have good karma than bad karma. There are many examples of people who can directly see the rewards that came back to them from a deed of good karma. Many times, we cannot read the correlation between what we have done what we received in return. Sometimes the effects span several lifetimes. At other times, what happens to us is a result of something we set in motion years ago.
Everything we do is recorded in the karmic accounts. There is a strict accounting of our every thought, word, and deed. It is wise to make sure that we do not commit any actions, thoughts or words that can rebound to us with consequence. Instead we must have thoughts, words, and deeds that are good so that good can come back to us.
However, if we are on the spiritual path, we do not want to return to this world to reap the rewards of what we do. There is a better plan. We can do good, but do so without having to come back to reap the rewards. This means we are doing good in the world, but the credit is being passed on to God. We only want to accumulate spiritual benefits and the love and pleasure of God. These are termed acts that are neh-karma or karma-free.
How can this be done? We can have good thoughts, words, and deeds in life but we pass on the credit to God. We do good things because it is the right thing to do, not to make name for ourselves or earn money. We say good things to others because it is the kind and loving thing to do, just out of goodness of our heart, without expecting anything in return. We think good things about others as an expression of the spiritual love we are developing in which we recognise all people as members of the same family of God.
We still do good, but our deeds are selfless without us wanting any material rewards. We do get benefits, but they are of the spirit. These benefits come in the form of spiritual progress, the love of God, earning the pleasure of God, and the burning of our karmas without creating new ones.
Another activity in which we can spend our time without creating more karma is meditation. When we sit with a still mind, we are not creating more karma. Sitting in meditation but thinking critical and hurtful thoughts of others is not karma-less meditation. It is sitting and thinking thoughts that create more karma. That is why Simran or repetition of the name of God is an important helping factor in preventing karma in meditation.
If we repeat the name of God, our mind is focused and does not have a chance to create karma by thinking negative thoughts against anyone. Simran helps us forget the past hurt or future worries, helps us to focus on being in the present moment in which we are meditating to progress on the spiritual journey back to God. The analogy is like keeping our car in neutral at a red light. We are not using up our gas, but we also not moving in any direction.
A CLEAN INTELLECT ALLOWS ACCURATE DISCERNMENT
One of the most frequent questions I am asked is, “How do I know if I am making the right decisions in life?” I do not believe there is any such thing as a ‘right’ decision. To make a decision I need to be right inside; clean and clear, and this requires having access to my conscience. By doing so I develop the extremely important power to discern or discriminate between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, that which is benevolent and that which is not.
The trained eye of the jeweller can spot an imitation jewel from one that is authentic. In the same way, I can develop the ability to detect the virtue and truth in a situation, or within a person, and know instinctively what is needed; what word should be said, what action taken, without projecting my own desires and wants onto the moment. It requires being able to read signals.
Signals are in front of us all the time in life. We only need to attend to the signals of the moment. Just as if I drive a car from one city to another, the signs of how to get there are not given to me all at the same time, as I leave my front door. No, I am shown the way every few kilometres, and so am able to navigate my way in peace and clarity.
To cultivate this power of discernment, I need to find time to contemplate, meditate, to clean the mind and intellect of waste thoughts. Then, I need to acquire knowledge, of human laws and spiritual laws. For example, if I deeply understand the law of karma, I will take great care to be clear and clean about what actions I take.
Thirdly, I need to make sure I am not wasting time or energy with thoughts that have no purpose, that cloud the intellect. Thoughts of the past, or of doubting myself, superficial internal comments of how others look or how they are behaving – all these waste thoughts keep us spinning and we completely lose focus. They cloud the intellect and mind, and I cannot recognise myself anymore.
I need to learn to be able to put a full stop to these inconsequential thinking patterns. The sign of having too many waste thoughts is a loss of balance. We become irritated, angry, frustrated and lose the ability to retain a neutral, balanced perspective — we become emotional.
Daily meditation creates an elevated vibration within and keeps the intellect clean. We can start the day with moments of silent meditation. Before we start something, we can have some moments of silence that give us perspective and clarity. When we finish the task, we can take a few more moments to clean away any debris of thoughts and feelings, and thereby avoid carrying baggage from that activity to the next.
There is a well-known and beautiful analogy of the swan and its divinity. A swan picks the pearls from the pebbles, the jewels from the stones. Let me recognise the virtue in everything and everyone. When situations become complicated and difficult, let me ask what virtue is this situation or this person asking of me? When I recognise that, I will be ‘right’ inside and will be able to trust the decisions I make.
Gopi Patel is a spiritual educator and senior Rajyogi meditator with the Brahma Kumaris, specialising in spiritual pragmatism in all areas of life.
PRINCIPLES GUIDE US TO RIGHT ACTIONS
Two key aspects of our life are our principles and our actions. If we lose sight of our principles when we act, our efforts may not yield the desired results.
Our actions reflect our principles. In a spiritual life, the first principle is that I am a soul, a sentient being of light, and the body is a costume, wearing which I play my role in the world. If we keep this awareness, we will be clear about what we should do.
Our awareness, based on the principles we hold dear, determines the quality of our actions. If we believe that we are beings of peace, happiness and bliss, our actions will reflect these qualities. On the other hand, if we consider ourselves to be ordinary folks, we will neither aim high nor strive to be better, and it will show in our behaviour.
On the spiritual path, there are three stages of awareness: one is to know one’s true identity, the second is to accept that, and the third is to live according to that.
We can check which stage we are in, and to what degree. If we think that we live by our principles, how often do we do that — sometimes, most of the time, or always?
Greatness comes from doing something great. We may have lofty ideas and speak impressive words, but if our actions do not match what we say, we will be judged accordingly. The key is to remember our principles when we act.
When principles and actions are in alignment, the actions become noteworthy. If we let go of one of them, it is like trying to play on a swing with one rope broken. What will be the result? We will fall.
B.K. Usha is a senior Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Abu Road, Rajasthan.
USE YOUR POWER OF THOUGHTS
When we look back over the past century, we find that humans have achieved tremendous economic and scientific progress, but our inner powers have declined over the same period of time. That is evident from how easily people become upset, worried, or angry nowadays. These are symptoms of a weak mind.
Just as a cellphone battery retains it charge according to how the phone is used, the way we think determines how strong, or weak, our mind becomes. If we think unnecessarily, we waste mental energy, and negative thoughts deplete the mind even faster.
For success and happiness in life, it is essential to create positive and powerful thoughts, which strengthen and stabilise the mind. An even more effective way to energise the mind is the practice of meditation. Connecting mentally with the Divine is like plugging your mind into a power station — it fills the mind with His powers.
What are problems? They are the creation of weak minds. Just as weak and negative thoughts distort our perception and we begin to see situations as problems, powerful thoughts do the opposite: they change our point of view in such a way that the problems cease to exist.
How do our thoughts change our life?
Each thought we create carries some energy with it. Positive thoughts carry positive energy and negative thoughts have negative energy. When we think, this energy radiates from us to the atmosphere.
The energy, which spreads in the form of vibrations, influences matter all around us and subtly shapes the world according to how we think. Have you ever noticed the difference between the vibes inside a temple and those in a hotel? That is the result of the kind of thoughts and feelings people have in those two places.
Instead of brooding over matters that trouble us, if we think confidently, with full conviction, of living the kind of life we want, that reality will start taking shape. This is not wishful thinking. Countless people have experimented with purposeful, positive and powerful thoughts and achieved remarkable results. They have cured themselves of decades-old ailments, many have come out of poverty, or got the job they wanted, while others have mended long-broken relationships.
All it takes is conscious effort to think in the right way. We all have the power of thoughts with us. It is up to us to use it.
B.K. Surya is a senior Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.
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