|Chapter 8.0 from "Study Circles for Divinity"|
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8.0 SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES- INTRODUCTION
There is another type of attachment, too, the attachment to the inner world, the planning within oneself of various schemes to better oneself in the future as compared to the past.
When the sun rises, darkness as well as the troubles arising from it disappear. Similarly, for those who have realised the Atma, there is no longer any bondage, nor the sorrow arising from the bondage. Delusion comes only to those who forget their bearings: egoism is the greatest factor in making people forget their very basic Truth." (Jnana V 4)
That there is only One, that He is in everyone, and that everyone is in Him: This is the basis, the foundation, of all we need to know to fulfil our destiny. Yet, because we live in a world of seeming diversity, with apparent birth, life and death, we need some understanding of how the 'apparent' points towards the Real, in the same way as a shadow points towards the light source which is being blocked. Without such understanding we are drawn constantly into the web of illusion, to experience grief, fear, despair and momentary happiness.
Our mind is a two-edged sword - it can be used to cut ourselves off from God or we can use it to slice through the binding belief of separateness. When the mind turns towards the gratification of the senses, we are like ants stuck in the honey of sense indulgence; when the mind turns towards the inner, guiding voice of God, it finds an awakening peace and bliss which surpass anything the senses can provide.
Lord Sathya Sai Baba teaches us that the nature of the mind is to attach itself to something. If we do not attach it to our power of discrimination, which can be used like a torch in the darkness of life's ups and downs, our thoughts will be drawn towards pleasure-seeking and separateness where there is nothing to illuminate our pathway through life.
Each of the sections in this chapter deals with a spiritual principle, the understanding of which contributes immeasurably towards being committed to the spiritual path.
In the first section on 'Birth and Death', we learn that we are never born and never die; in the same way that the clay shaped into a pot is not born, nor is it destroyed when the pot is no more - the clay experienced name and form for a time, yet remained the same unchanging clay.
The first topic leads readily into the next, dealing with the 'Ego'. Here Lord Sai gives us many glimpses of the one mountain of Truth. That is, we are not who we think we are, in the same way that the movie picture on the screen is clearly not the screen, nor is it real. We are the screen, the unchanging, the ever-full - we are not different from God.
In the section on 'Enlightenment' we learn that liberation is "from littleness into vastness, from bondage to boundless bliss". Lord Sai reminds us that the purpose of human life is for us to realise our true nature, as the wave recognises that it is not separate nor different from the depthless ocean.
When the Study Circle turns to the section on 'Free Will', there will be the inevitable confusion because the topic is full of paradox, of apparent contradictions. We are guided towards believing that there is only Divine Will, but acting throughout as if we have total free will. When our free will and Divine Will are in union and harmony, we can in all Truth say, "I can do anything".
The section on 'Grace' awakens us to the fact that, although Grace is earned, it is not necessarily pleasant or consciously sought after. Grace can come in the form of pain, disappointment and (apparent) tragedy; yet it is there always, in equal abundance, for all who would avail themselves of it.
Good 'Health' is essential if we are to maximise this opportunity and our potential for awakening to our true nature. In this section we have the best guidance in the world on how to eat, think and behave so as to promote inner peace and spiritual advancement. Eating of course is not confined to what is taken into the mouth, but includes what is taken in by the other four senses of the eyes, ears, nose and skin.
The section on 'Karma' will answer many questions and explain many mysteries for the Study Circle participants. Karma refers to "a universal, inescapable obligation or duty" which, if carried out, leads to spiritual awakening. Neglect of our duty and the belief that we are the doer brings about a less desirable consequence which, in turn, entraps us further into the mire of separateness and transient happiness.
Perhaps the greatest gift on the spiritual path is that of 'Light', which acts as a powerful symbol for all that God is, for Love, Truth and Bliss. We are fortunate indeed if we have such a Light to guide us. This section shows us the many facets of the diamond of Divinity, as many as there are sources, forms and functions of Light itself.
When the Study Circle turns to the topic of 'Self-confidence', there will be a clear and obvious transformation taking place in each person - discovering and then daring to assert one's true nature. Confidence in the Self brings fearlessness, decisiveness and then a deeper, more humble sense of peace.
The section on 'Spirituality' sends out the clarion call that the spiritual path is not lived separate from the ordinary mundane aspects of life. Quite the opposite! Spirituality is not meditation and mantras; spirituality is living God; breathing, eating, interacting with, and loving God; thinking God; bathing with, sleeping with and singing with God. But above all, loving every person, every being, every thing as God. When all is God, how is there room for separation between God and worldly affairs?
Many may think that 'Time' is a strange topic for a spiritual discussion. The Study Circle will be utilising time yet arriving at the understanding that time is part of the illusion of separateness. We have so little time left, yet enough time to do all that is required of us if we can be diligent and true. The block of ice continues to melt while we waste our precious moments of life in the fruitless pursuit of finding solidity in transient pleasures. We are given the grace of time so that we can realise our timelessness.
The final section in this chapter is on 'Wealth'. Many of us in western countries have been blessed to be able to acquire wealth beyond that required to feed and clothe ourselves. Lord Sai points out that this wealth has come from society and so should be returned to society and not accumulated in bank vaults. We learn that if all is God then wealth is God and should be used accordingly.
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