|Chapter 6.0 from "Study Circles for Divinity"|
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6.0 CULTIVATING RELATIONSHIPS- INTRODUCTION
We live in an apparent world of duality, where we are separate from and in some form of relationship with everybody and everything in the Universe. In the same way as there are laws or rules which govern the interaction of oil with water, trees with wind and earth with moon, there is a cosmic code defining the ideal relationship between everything in existence. Saints and Avatars have access to this knowledge and pass it on to the human race. By following these guidelines as best we can, the river of life carries us into an ocean of harmonious interaction and interdependency. Lord Sathya Sai Baba has "repainted the signposts on the highway to God" and, in so doing, allowed us access to Truth.
We know from His teachings that "there is never two, only One"; yet it seems as if two or more is the only reality. He explains to us how it is that duality, multiplicity or separateness seems so real by saying that it appears this way because "there is a little bit of God in everything". In actual fact, God is the vibration within every atom. He also says that the destiny of all rivers is to return to the sea, and that our inexorable destiny as humans is to awaken to the reality of the Oneness, our non-separateness, our immortality, our true Self which is Divine Love, Truth and Bliss.
The extraordinary paradox about our human existence is that our apparent separateness and mortality have within them both the power to entrap and the power to liberate. That is, in relating to our bodies, our children, our spouse, parents, workmates, material possessions, to Nature and to God, we can either increase the illusion of being separate or move towards a sense of unity. That is, in our relating we can remember, we can realise and we can experience that there is only the One. In order to reach this goal it is useful to examine our current relationships and attachments and understand the Truth behind them.
In this chapter we explore a range of quotes from the writings and discourses of Lord Sai and other Great Teachers, seeking an understanding of divine alchemy, of how to create the gold of Unity out of the varied chemicals of separateness.
Each section in the chapter focuses on a particular aspect of relationships. The same glue of 'Attachment', which binds us to the world, can also be used to bind us to God. It will also bind us to Truth, to our conscience, and to our Teacher, to follow His examples and teachings.
The fire of 'Conflict' creates a light by which we can see the errors of our ways - it heightens awareness of the abyss of ignorance lying before us if we continue to behave as if we are this separate body.
The 'Family' offers an opportunity to learn many lessons and nourish the journey towards unity. Lord Sai has written and spoken in detail about the qualities befitting true womanhood, manhood and parenthood. Without peace and love in the home, without the example of parents to inspire and guide the children, what hope can there be for a society, nation and world that has lost its roots?.
In the section on 'Nature', Lord Sai reminds us that "Nature is the best teacher. Nature is the best preacher." and that "the Universe is the best university". Through our relationship with all of creation we can gain insights into our self-limiting habits as well as our latent virtues and strengths.
Next we look at His teachings on our 'Relationship with God', with That which has no name or form, yet takes on all names and forms. Any Name and any Form of God has to be adopted by the mind if the mind is to be extinguished, for, unless the mind is attached to a symbol representing Unity or Oneness, it will be drawn this way and that towards the objects desired by the senses. We love God, pray to God, offer to God, so that we can connect with our universal Self which is God. That is, we have a loving relationship with an individual Name and Form which is known to be the basis of all names and forms in creation. In this way, our love takes us beyond duality, separateness and individuality, into Oneness, Peace and Bliss.
The section on 'Service' takes us into the inner sanctum of our Self. When the right hand cares for the injured left hand, there is an awareness of the two being as one in the one body. Through selfless service we remove the blindfold of separateness, step by step, as our hearts and hands reach out to love all, serve all and sample the Divine Bliss within.
When we focus on 'Society' as a topic for study, we find that we are offered glimpses of the future, of a manner of living together which is conducive to health, happiness and spiritual progress. Swami asks what is to be gained from living at peace in a forest if we cannot have peace of mind in society?
It is speech which can lead a nation into diabolical war or lead it towards harmony and peace; our words can open and soften the heart of another or give it a mortal blow. Our words reveal our character; purity of speech reflects our real Self. Because of this, the speech of Lord Sai is pleasing and powerful, resonating the strings of our heart.
The section on 'Speech' also gives us the vital information that control over the tongue gives control over the other four sense organs. When the mind is no longer bound by the pull of the senses, it is free to leave behind the illusion of separateness and to turn towards the intellect and the Atma. Control of the tongue allows us to turn towards God.
In the section titled 'Teacher', we are led into a dance with our true Self, with our conscience, our Guru, with the All underlying Creation. This reunion with Self is drawn in and cemented by the irresistible binding of the nectar of Divine Love radiating from the Teacher/Guru in human or spiritual Form.
The final section in this chapter on relationships is, appropriately, to do with 'Unity' - that which is the true and only reality. Although there appears to be different 'truths' propagated by the many religions, philosophies and sciences of the world, they are all different icings on the one cake of Eternal Truth. Although we appear to be different from each other and everything else, we are but waves on the one ocean. That ocean is God. Lord Sai teaches that a sense of unity has arrived when we can feel the pain and happiness of all others as our own.
Each section is as important as the next, for within the shell of every relationship we find the kernel of that Oneness which knows there is no other to relate to.
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