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‘Love’ is what one is born with and ‘fear’ is what one learns. Spiritual journey is nothing but unlearning of fears and prejudices along with return of love back into ones heart.
The first principle, therefore, of living a spiritual life is to be full of love. Love is not escaping from sufferings or from your thoughts but is the unity with your own divine self, which is the true consciousness.
It is easy to say ‘spread the message of love’. But most of us do not understand the literal meaning of love in our day-to-day life. Love basically involves doing two things: Firstly, not to willfully hurt someone (in thought, deed or action) and secondly, to seek out an opportunity to help someone.
Hurting an individual arises mainly due to unthoughtful speech or action. Often a cruel word is said and regretted later. Opportunity to help others is an inherent divine gift in every individual, which we all need to re-search in our body. The ‘help’ here does not means ‘helping for a reward’ and has to be a ‘selfless giving’. It should not be done to get some appreciation or to get something back, but rather this intention of helping others should be stitched to our consciousness and should become an inherent part of our nature.
Apart from love, the second principle in life for a spiritual journey is discrimination. We use our discriminating power in our day-to-day life while choosing situations between good and bad or real and unreal, and the choice in these situations is generally obvious as very little intellect is used.
The most difficult discrimination and the one which is the key to internal happiness, is the power to differentiate between the ‘will of the Self’ and the ‘will of the mind and body’. To choose between the ‘self’ and the ‘mind’ is often difficult, and one tends to tilt towards the voice of the mind for temporary external pleasure.
In all situations, there is always an inner voice, which is first to come and is often ignored. Immediately after the inner voice, the mind takes over. The decisions taken from the mind are often against the consciousness and are usually wrong. Consciousness based decisions are always the right decisions. The clutter and noise of the mind (thoughts) often blocks these decisions. Hypothetically speaking, suppose the mind or the consciousness wants to help an individual, but the body takes over and complains that it is too tired. Or else, if the body is well-rested, the mind may take over in form of desires and make you feel greedy, envious or jealous, etc.
One should always listen to the consciousness and take conscious based decisions which are always accompanied by bodily comfort. On the other hand, decisions taken against the consciousness will always lead to bodily discomfort, which can be felt within seconds of taking wrong decisions.
According to Vedantic text, one should ask oneself four basic questions before doing anything.
- Is it necessary?
- Is it the truth?
- Will it bring happiness to me?
- Will it bring happiness to others?
If answer to any of them is ‘No’, one should not undertake that action. One should not visit the market to see how many things one wants or needs but see how many things one does not have and also does not need.
After love and discrimination, the third spiritual principle is to attain tolerance and a state of desirelessness. Internal happiness is directly proportional to possessions and indirectly proportional to the desires. In such a case, even if ones possessions are negligible and one still does not have any desires, one can get a long-lasting internal happiness. One should be attached to the actions but detached from the results.
No doubt it is extremely difficult not to have desires but at least one should not have egocentric desire. These desires should be towards one’s own consciousness, so that it can be transformed to love.
One should remember that happiness is within us. But one tends to run away from the sufferings based on past perceptions. Changing the perceptions of life can make all the difference. One should not judge an individual with one’s own level of perception but from that person’s level of perception, and only then can one judge an individual to the right extent.
It is the body and the mind which suffers or enjoys and not the consciousness. If one is in touch with ones consciousness, one will always remain internally happy. One of the formulae to remember is that when one does anything, it should be done as if everything matters, but when one wants to live a life, one should live as if nothing matters.
Another point towards self-realization is one-pointedness towards one’s chosen goal and practicing self-inquiry. One- pointedness in life means nothing can ever disturb one away from ones path and failures, success; temptations play only a minor role.
Pain and pleasure are the two sides of the same coin, and it is all in the perception. One can perceive the same thing as pain in one situation and as pleasure in the other. Changing one’s level of perception can convert pain into pleasure and pleasure into pain.