What’s in your mind !
The beautiful, attractive, and diverse world of ours is like a very strong magnet. It attracts, pulls, and binds the mind in many ways. The more the mind gets pulled outward, the more thoughts it generates.
The true purpose of spirituality is to shift the mind from outward to inward, from the creation to the Creator. Since the Creator is not visible, and because the mind has been outward for so long, the shift doesn’t happen so easily.
A complete shift of the mind to inward, or to God , which can also be called enlightenment, is extremely rare, but that’s what makes the true Masters like Jesus, Kabir, Nanak, Tulsidas, Buddha, Meera, and alike.
When the mind shifts completely inward , it
goes beyond the attractive field of the world. The world is unable to attract and affect it any more. A shifted mind still loves
the world, but can not be pulled by the world. It remains inward, and radiates love outwards. It loves each and everyone unconditionally.
The main factors that are helpful in shifting the mind from outward to inward are:
1) Grace and guidance of a true spiritual Master, 2) intense longing for God or Truth, 3) your samskaras (impressions from your previous lives), and 4) your sincere effort.
Your samskaras play a very important role. Just as a dry wood catches fire easily, similarly a spiritually matured mind from previous lives shifts inward very easily. The best way to gauge the maturity of your mind is to observe it honestly, and see what is in there, world or God! You can not say that the world is also God, until you have had an experience of this Truth.
A spiritual seeker may be doing his spiritual practices regularly but if his mind
remains filled with worldly desires and thoughts, and in subtle ways, if his intentions are to gain power and recognition etc, his spiritual growth will be limited, and he may feel disappointed on the path. He will indeed accumulate good karma, but it would take a long time for such a mind to mature.
Though the total shifting of the mind is very rare, but many seekers do experience a partial shifting , and the degree of the shift varies.
With any significant shifting of the mind toward inward, the world doesn’t appeal to you as much as it did before, and you may lose interest in the world, including the relationships. You begin to see life differently. Your wrongs and rights change. Your priorities change. Your thinking doesn’t fit into the norms of the society and, therefore, it becomes difficult for you to have a, so-called, normal social and family life. Many of my course participants share their such experiences, and they say that their spouses and other family members don’t understand them.
It is very difficult for a worldly mind to understand a spiritual mind, a mind that is shifted toward God. Your family may understand you and support you, but you can not expect them to do so. I have seen many relationships move forward successfully. Many struggle but they still continue, and many fall apart. However, the same happens in non-spiritual relationships also.
Meera’s mind had shifted completely toward God. Though she resisted, she was forced into marrying prince Bhoj Raj. It was a very painful marriage for both of them, more so for him. She had given herself to God, and Bhoj Raj wanted her. She was on the right path. But, Bhoj Raj was right too. He married to have a normal husband-wife relationship, which he was deprived of. Though he supported her in many ways, but still it was very difficult for both. Her in-laws had thought that she had gone crazy, and that she was a disgrace to their royal family. But, with singing and dancing, Meera went through it all. She just wanted God. In one of her songs she wrote that by the grace of her Master, her mind had gone completely inward, and she belonged to God only.
Similarly, other great Masters had their own unique stories, but one thing was common that they couldn’t live normal family and social lives. Their lives were totally devoted to God. After Kabir’s mind had shifted completely, He could no longer be a normal husband to his wife, and a father to his son . They saw Him as their Master and followed Him. Such was the case with Guru Nanak. His family followed him as his disciples, and supported his mission. Buddha renounced royal comforts and his family, including his wife and son. Living a normal family life was not an option for him. His mind was mature to begin with, and a couple of small events triggered the shift in Him.
Buddha and other great Masters were concerned that people may follow their examples, and they may either renounce the world prematurely, or may act like them. That’s why they emphasized the importance of living a balanced life, which is a more practical option for most people. By living a balanced life, you can mature slowly and steadily. However, you have to define your own balanced life, and you must adjust your expectation of spiritual growth accordingly.
True Masters are born to guide and inspire you, but their stories can not be duplicated. You can not follow Buddha’s example and run away from the world. You can run away, but that will not make you Buddha. So many people renounce the world, but reach nowhere. You can not become Meera by dancing in the streets. You can dance in the streets, but that will not make you Meera. Each story is unique. So is yours. You have to allow it to unfold in its unique way.
If you are happy with your progress on the path, then continue walking happily. But know that the purpose of the journey is not just to walk, but to grow. In order to grow, you will need to be grounded, and for that you will need to be still. Only a true Master can teach you the art of being still while walking.
If you are not experiencing the growth that you want, then look in your mind honestly. You will find the answers there. Recently, astronomers found a massive black hole in the Milky Way. A black hole can not be seen because it so packed with matter, and the gravity pulls it so strongly that even the light can not escape.
Similarly there are so many black holes in the mind that you don’t even know that they are there. They are tightly packed with the previous worldly impressions, and they are so strongly pulled by the world that even the light of wisdom can not pass through. A dedicated seeker, through alertness, recognizes them, and erases the old impressions by the method shown by the Master.
If you are experiencing a shift in your mind, and if people don’t understand or support you, you can not force them to do so. Have compassion for them. Your
compassion may soothe their concerns and fears. You may have to make some tough decisions, and any decision that you make will have its own consequences. But, most importantly, trust yourself, and know that you are on the right path. Take your struggles as your tapas on the path. Tapas is the acceptance of a challenging discipline, or difficult unavoidable situations, that you go through. Tapas makes your willpower strong, and purifies the inner being.
I experienced a major shift when our children, Amol and Priya, were little. To be continued….. <3
<3 <3 <3
Many of you are wondering about my teaching plans this year. So far I have scheduled two courses:
Therapeutic Yoga Retreat May 19-25 at the Poland ashram
Art of Living Yoga TTC June 4-18 at the Boone Ashram, USA
Happy Durga Ashtami
Tomorrow, April 14, is Durga Ashtami, eighth day of the 10 days celebrations, dedicated to Divine Mother Durga. It is a very auspicious day for invoking Divine Mother’s love in us by honoring Her. It is Her love that comforts and provides strength during difficulties. Every feature of the picture below has a spiritual significance, which you can find online.
May Durga Bless You!