It is part of human nature to experience happiness. Why is it that our happiness is sometimes high and sometimes it disappears? Can we actually make the choice to be happy? Could being happy actually be in my own hands?
It is all down to the power of the mind. As any sportsperson will tell us, winning is all in the mind. Politics and business are all mind games too. The ultimate mind game is the game of life. If I have some control over my mind and can achieve total composure, then it is ‘game over’! The ups and downs of emotion level out and the way I feel is then entirely of my own choosing.
There are three ways the self can engage with life. One is to just survive, but that is what a tree or a plant does. There must be more to life than just surviving.
The second way is to exist. That is, to go through life on a day-to-day basis, the ups and downs, reacting to circumstances as if on an emotional roller coaster. When things are good, it is great, and when they are not so good, we can become depressed, upset or hopeless. The mind becomes exhausted because of the emotional upheaval.
The third way is the way the smallest group of people engage with life – they actually live. They realise that the way we feel is a choice; it is my responsibility.
Adversity is something to learn from and help me to grow. I cannot control what is happening, but I can choose how to respond to what life is showing me. Then I own my feelings and develop my own inner strength.
The first step is to identify what I can learn from a situation and what I could have done differently. Then forget it and let go. Finally, move on and carry only the lesson, forget the situation.
Aristotle said that the beginning of all wisdom is to know yourself. The way to know the self is through meditation.
Start each day with some silent meditation; charge the battery of the soul. Meditators understand that the most precious energy we have is our thought energy. Meditators take care about what they think and spend time accumulating the power of silence, daily. The mind then becomes steady, safe, secure and stable. That is the way to happiness.
Yogesh Sharda is the National Coordinator of the Brahma Kumaris’ services in Turkey.
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WHY IT IS GOOD TO TAKE THE SPIRITUAL PATH
There are many reasons why it is desirable to follow a path of spirituality. Spirituality in one’s life brings a multitude of benefits; a sense of calm, an ability to manage adversity that each one has to face, and more harmonious relationships. However, the ultimate aim of spirituality is to return to the purest state of being, the original state of being of the soul.
We know if we are coming close to that original state if we can truthfully say that we see no evil in anyone or anything, we speak no evil of anyone, we do no evil deed to anyone, including the self, and ultimately, we think no evil — our thoughts are of the most elevated kind.
It is quite easy to check. The most impure behaviour is of those who have so much anger and animosity that it is directed to everyone, not only those close to them. Those who only want to harm and demonstrate some misguided understanding of what power is.
The middling kind of behaviour is of those who deal in good for good and evil for evil. Like a spiritual businessman they give tit for tat; return good deeds with good deeds and bad deeds with bad deeds and feel justified in doing so. Their lives are often full of hypocrisy; they smile sweetly and sometimes behave well, but in their hearts are animosity, anger, jealousy, dislike, criticism and judgement and condemnation.
The purest kind of behaviour is of those with a natural sweet and loving nature towards all. They only see the good in everyone and everything, while understanding that those who behave differently simply lack spiritual power. Their thoughts are elevated, they have good wishes for all and have no fear, because they are a friend to all.
To attain this level of purity requires the understanding of truth, through spiritual study, great cleanliness of mind through a daily connection in meditation with the Supreme Being, and a dedication to the eradication of all the vices; anger, greed, lust, attachment and ego. It is not a path for everyone, it is not everyone who desires to return to that level of purity, but anyone can walk along it — it just takes the first step and then wonders are revealed.
B.K. Dr Nirmala is the director of Brahma Kumaris Rajyoga centres in the Asia-Pacific region.
FREE YOURSELF, DITCH AN ILLUSION OR TWO
“Be aware that you are a traveller and a guest in this life. There must be no selfishness. Any desire for respect, name, or fame is selfishness. When a person gets stuck in such selfishness, he or she cannot be truly generous.”
An illusion is a false belief that we take to be real — so real that we have faith in it and live by it. Illusions deceive us into believing they can make us happy and bring meaning to life. For example, many people believe ‘the more I have, the more I am’ — that achieving prestige, wealth or position creates value, especially in the eyes of others. Such illusions ‘drug’ us into dependence, especially on the need for approval, which if not realised, can lead to fear, jealousy, depression and feelings of rejection. Such illusions impair our capacity to reach the authentic roots of our being.
Reaching our spiritual roots, or original identity, is the aim of silence. By practising concentrated silence, we can see illusions for what they are and be liberated from them. As we sit in the quiet concentration of silence, we can begin to see what illusions we are harbouring that stop our minds from being in peace.
The greatest barrier to freedom is we ourselves. Someone else does not make us angry, does not appreciate us or oppose us. How we choose to react to what others do or say determines whether we remain caged or become free. The bars on the cage are our own responses, not the incidents themselves.
We find this idea difficult to accept because we have learned to escape responsibility by blaming ‘the other’. If we sincerely want to become free from this pattern, we will quickly begin to perceive these patterns and use the third eye, the intellect, to observe the mind and work out what is happening, and then decide what to do. In this way, the intellect checks and then changes the direction of thoughts.
First, we need to decide this is what we want to do, to become free, to change and then take a moment in silence to bring it about. Learning to be quiet is the first practical step in freeing the self from the illusions that are blocking the spiritual journey to self-realisation.
Excerpt from Seeking Silence by Anthony Strano © 2011 by Brahma Kumaris Information Services, Ltd. Visit www.inspiredstillness.com for further details.
SERVING WITH THE POWER OF SILENCE
One of the most effective tools we can use in our efforts for self-transformation is the power of silence. In silence we can reflect, meditate, go deep into ourselves and see what kind of thought processes are going on in our mind. With honest and careful observation we can know where the thoughts and feeling are coming from. We learn what we need to change if we want to grow spiritually — the attitudes and beliefs that lead to unworthy behaviour and take us away from our elevated goals. When our mind is calm and the ‘noise’ of unnecessary thoughts has died down, we can even discern what others expect from us and how we should relate to them in order to have harmonious relationships.
When we are able to change our way of thinking, the vibrations emanating from us also change, as a result of which the atmosphere around us is transformed. This is something others can sense.
The proof of our application of the power of silence is that those who come in contact with us will feel peace radiating from us. They will be calmed and relaxed in our company.
Just as messages are transmitted clearly over long distances in telecoms networks when there is no static, the power of silence enables our thoughts and feelings to reach others easily, making communication accurate.
We can start with applying the power of silence on the self. When there is any illness, for example, instead of worrying about it, if we silence the mind and choose to see it in a light and positive manner, as an interesting experience that will pass, we will not be agitated. Weakness of the mind compounds the weakness of the body, causing unnecessary suffering.
One hurdle to such experimentation is looking at others: whether they have done anything similar and how successful they have been. Silencing the mind is an internal effort, not a matter of copying or making comparisons with others.
Once we have filled ourselves with the power of silence, we can become embodiments of peace whose mere presence spreads peace even in a turbulent atmosphere.
This is a very elevated way of serving the world spiritually.
B.K. Dr Savita is a Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Abu Road, Rajasthan.
UNDERSTAND WHAT LOVE IS
Some people do not want to have anything more to do with love. Because there has been deception from all sides, they have kicked love away. They think it is too complicated, too tiring. They say, ‘I’m not going to love anyone any more and I don’t want anyone to love me, either.’ They do not even want to talk about it. They do not want to hear about motherly love, friendly love, any kind of love at all.
These are the ones who end up saying, ‘I just want to be alone.’ They think that love should mean freedom from all these things. Actually, this is a kind of arrogance. Such people do not understand that this earth is a field of action, and that this field and our being on it depends on the water of love. Life without love is like life in the jungle. What is life like in the jungle? We are constantly afraid of what might come to us. We are isolated, not receiving support from anywhere. People do not know how to give love, nor do they know how to receive. Thus, the heart is empty. Actually, just to take the time and effort to understand what love is, is in itself an act of love.
Soul conscious awareness is key to beautiful relationships
What is spirituality? Spirituality is the reality of my existence, as a spirit. In this consciousness I understand the body of the soul to be of light, and then the mind of the soul will also be light.
The soul, the point of light, also has organs to function. As a soul, I am expressing, experiencing through the sense organs of the body. As a soul, I also use my spiritual organs, and they are my mind, my intellect and my subconscious thinking habits.
When I am soul conscious, how will my organs be used? How will I think? I will think pure, positive, powerful and loving thoughts, which will then naturally be expressed through my words. This reality is real and of the highest level. This reality is purity. With the eye of the mind, with the light of knowledge, I see the self as a soul, the light. I will not see darkness.
Spirituality becomes reality when I become pure. Purity is truth, and that is what we are seeing in soul consciousness. This pure consciousness will only see divinity. Divinity only sees truth. What is wrong and weak does not belong to me.
In soul consciousness, instead of correction, comparison and criticism, the internal divinity only gives as a bestower, and their vision is always divine. So, with the reality that you are not the body, you express yourself naturally as a soul. You believe, you see, you think and behave as a soul.
With a soul-conscious vision, we always see the qualities within the souls in others. When we begin to see these qualities, we begin to fill the qualities of others within ourselves and become all virtuous.
Virtues are not just a list. Every thought and every action can be connected with a virtue. We can pick up virtues from everyone in every situation. Some only see others with many defects, many weaknesses, and there are others who, from the many weaknesses, pick up good qualities and virtues. We can develop virtues by picking up the virtues of others.
When we become all virtuous, we will become so powerful that the vices of others cannot attack us. Virtues protect us against the vices of others. We become viceless as well as vice-proof.
For example, when we have patience, if an angry person comes in front of us, with lightness, we have a vision of spiritual love and mercy for the other person, we become detached from the other person’s behaviour and eventually the situation is transformed without any negative effect on the self. Soul conscious awareness is the key to beautiful relationships with everyone in our lives.
B.K. Sudesh is director of the Brahma Kumaris’ services in Europe.
ALL IS ONE AND ONE IS ALL
As self-realisation expands, the thought of God as an outer deity to be worshipped or appeased releases its grip and you realise that God is in you and in everyone and everything else.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. — Matt. 5:14-16
The ancient wisdom of the ages is this—you are a drop of the ocean called God. However, most have not realised this truth. “The Kingdom of God is within you,” says the Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 17:21 and this is so. Yesterday, we celebrated Easter, the day Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion. But in a way, we all must rise from our delusion and stupor and awaken to the truth that we are all a part of God and that God resides within all us, just waiting for us to remember. For God realisation is also about remembering this truth that is eternal but currently forgotten.
Think of this truth. When the creation of the Cosmos took place, the raw materials had to come from somewhere. So where did they come from? Even if you believe in the Big Bang theory that the Cosmos was condensed into a tiny ball of energy that just exploded one fine day and continued to expand until the present cosmic setup, the basic elements of the cosmos had to come from somewhere. It is too simplistic to say that they “just came” out of nowhere. The basic building blocks of the entire Universe are the same three sub-atomic particles – protons, neutrons and electrons. There is absolutely no difference between the protons, neutrons and electrons in you and in the paper that you are reading and the chair that you are seated on. They are the same. There is fundamentally no difference between you, your car, your house, your best friend and your worst enemy when it comes to the basic building blocks that make you. This is important to note because it immediately makes you feel the ‘oneness’ of all things throughout the Cosmos.
So, the Creative power that made the entire Cosmos had to have used ‘itself’ as the basic ‘stuff’ that made the protons, neutrons and electrons as well as the almost unimaginable energy that goes into every single atom of creation. So not only are we (as the late astronomer Carl Sagan loved to say) ‘starstuff’, but we are all ‘Godstuff’ that has been mixed and matched in different permutations and combinations and is made to interact with each other amidst the delusion that we are actually separate.
We are as separate as the individual drops in the ocean—which still retain their existence in some stretch of imagination, but at the same time, have merged with the larger entity called ocean. They still exist, but now as a part of a larger, more powerful being. Like the cells in your bodies are individual beings in their own sense—they have a fixed boundary or body, they are born, they reproduce, they absorb oxygen (so they breathe in a sense) and then they die. They may even have consciousness, but miniscule compared to the consciousness of a human being. Yet, our physical bodies are nothing more than a conglomerate of trillions of cells. So, are we the single body or the sum total of trillions of cells?
Extending this thought to the next level—or souls are like the cells that make up the body of God. We are drops of the ocean of God and are one with God whether we recognize this or not. But we are blessed. It is possible through meditation for our consciousness to become one with the cosmic consciousness.
Just like the sound of the sea lays hidden inside every seashell, the vibration of God’s kingdom is hidden within every soul just waiting to be found. It can be found by tuning into it. So, the drop can still have its existence in consciousness, but at the same time can draw on the wisdom and experience of the grand ocean and be one with it at the same time. When this happens, we will realize the truth that we are not separate beings in isolation, but parts of the creator of the entire cosmos and since we all are parts of the Creator, and like drops of the cosmic ocean, therefore we are all one.
How do we as human beings realise this truth?
There is a way, tried and true, that saints, adepts and avatars have walked.
The way is universal and timeless and will reunite you to your higher self and when this happens, the subtle consciousness of God realization will shine through you.
This is the path of individuated Christhood and Buddhahood that Jesus, Krishna, Gautam Buddh and Mahatavar Babaji and many others, even in civilisations long forgotten, helped forge.
As you follow in their footsteps, you will become one with Christ, the universal Christos, which in Greek means “anointed.”
You will discover, nurture and expand the spark of divinity within you. Gradually, you will become awakened and enlightened and this is the ultimate divine mission of every soul.
There is no division in God. The duality of the physical earth plane will be transformed to the Oneness full of love and light experienced by many who have had near death experiences and glimpses of the higher realms during meditation and out of body experiences. When you are set on this truth, you will taste the Water of Life promised by Jesus and other Masters.
As self-realisation expands, the thought of God as an outer deity to be worshiped or appeased releases its grip and you realise that God is in you and in everyone and everything else.
We are all a part of God. We are all One.
The consciousness of being separate will be replaced by an unfailing guidance within your heart and soul. You will learn to engage in an inner conversation between your outer consciousness and your own Christ mind.
The path leading to Christhood and Buddhahood is a testing path of determination and testing, especially in a world that does not reward this calling. At times, you will feel uplifted in the joyous experience and bliss of divine union.
At others, you will feel empty, alone and unworthy as you pass through the shadows where God’s light within you has been eclipsed.
This is known as the dark night of the soul. All saints have passed through this, as did Jesus on the cross and Lord Buddha during his ministry.
The key to this mystical journey is to find your inner light, to expand it through love and to brighten life around you.
Love God with all our heart, soul and mind, keep on keeping on through the ups and downs of life and honour your neighbour with good works. In doing so, you will balance karma and fulfil your specific mission, the divine plan or dharma that can only succeed through you. Your reward lies beyond nirvana, unto your ascension—the permanent reunion with God that Jesus, Krishna, Gautam Buddh and Mahatavar Babaji and many other Great Lights East and West so beautifully demonstrated.
Prashant Solomon is a Delhi-based author and businessman.
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