The Spiritual Life
Dear brothers and sisters, we are all students, students of the higher knowledge of the eternal Truth. A student learns and unlearns. A student learns the things that are inspiring, illumining and fulfilling; and he unlearns the things that are useless, the things that make him feel at every moment that his life is doomed. He learns the message of Light, inner Light; and he unlearns the message of ignorance and darkness.
How do we become spiritual? We become spiritual by emptying the mind, the mind that unconsciously cherishes fear and doubt. We try to empty fear, doubt and other undivine thoughts or foreign elements from the mind. We can also become spiritual by silencing the mind. When we can silence the mind, our life becomes a fertile field where a bumper crop can grow. There is still another way to become spiritual: by purifying the heart. In a pure heart, God can manifest Himself with all His Radiance. A heart of purity can easily become one, inseparably one, with God's eternal Reality, Divinity and Omnipresence. When we empty the mind, we welcome God; but when we purify the heart, we actually place a throne for God inside our heart, which is His Home.
To become spiritual is to represent the ideal within us. What is this ideal? Our ideal is God the infinite Light and eternal Truth. On the strength of our aspiration, our inner cry, we grow into our ideal, then we reveal the ideal and finally we manifest the ideal.
Before we become spiritual, life is meaningless, life is a most deplorable burden. But after we become spiritual, we do not feel the heavy weight of life. On the contrary, we feel that we have become like birds flying in the welkin of Infinity and Immortality. Our life offers us real meaning, for it is a life of love and divinity.
Before we become spiritual, we do not see or feel God's loving Hand and ever-compassionate Heart. But after we become spiritual we feel God's guidance consciously and constantly in all our multifarious activities. When we become spiritual, God unites our heart with His own Heart of eternal Truth and infinite Light, Peace and Bliss.
An ordinary person wants to possess God; a spiritual person wants God to possess him. The ordinary person feels that if he gets God, then he will be able to lord it over the world; the entire world will be at his feet. But a spiritual person wants to be possessed by God. He feels that if he possesses God, at any moment the world of temptation may lure him and he may fall. But if God the Almighty possesses him, he will never be able to fall. The seeker always wants God to look after him and guide him. He feels that if he is possessed by God, then at every moment he can be of dedicated service to mankind. And only by serving God in mankind will he have abiding satisfaction.
Not by establishing an empire can man achieve abiding satisfaction, but only by self awakening and self giving. The seeker knows this truth; therefore he wants to renounce the undivine in himself and embrace the divine. The undivine in him is fear, doubt, anxiety and worry; the divine in him is strength, courage, faith, the feeling of oneness and the sense of perfection. An unspiritual person wants to discover peace in the world. But a spiritual person knows that he can discover peace only in the inmost recesses of his own heart. An unaspiring person will not find satisfaction or peace of mind, no matter how favourable the outer conditions are, because he does not know where to look or how to look for it. But a spiritual person, whatever opposition or unpropitious circumstances he has to face, will always have abundant peace and satisfaction, for they will flow from within him in an unquenchable flood. For the sincere seeker, peace reigns supreme because of his life of aspiration.
For an ordinary person, the aggressive vital is normal and necessary. But for a spiritual person, the vital does not always have to be aggressive. It can become pure and dynamic. When we have a pure, dynamic vital, we feel that we can really establish the kingdom of Truth on earth. When our vital is dynamic, we expand our consciousness. But when our vital is aggressive, we just destroy others; and while destroying others, we diminish our own reality, which is the universal reality.
There is also a divine vital within us. This vital operates only in our sincerity, humility, clarity and self giving. The aggressive vital or the dynamic vital can say, in the words of Julius Caesar, "Veni, vidi, vici", "I came, I saw, I conquered." But the divine vital says, "I came, I surrendered, I became. I came to God; I surrendered my existence to God; I became God the infinite Compassion, God the infinite Love, God the infinite Concern."
In our day to day existence, we discover that life is nothing but duty. This duty is a constant source of discouragement and frustration, as though somebody has placed a heavy load on our shoulders. But in the spiritual life, duty is taken in a different way. Duty means opportunity. Each time we fulfil our duty, we feel that we have gone one step further toward the Ultimate Goal. And each time we fulfil our divine duty, God entrusts us with more Peace, Light and Bliss.
A sincere spiritual seeker feels that human life is a constant blessing. Life is not bondage or frustration; life is opportunity. Here on earth is where we have to see the face of Truth and grow into the very image of the transcendental Reality. Life has to be utilised for a high purpose, for a divine purpose, for a fulfilling purpose. As an ordinary person cries for name and fame, for worldly satisfaction, a sincere seeker also cries; but he cries for Truth, for Light, for Bliss. He cries for God. He wants God to make him His perfect instrument. He does not want to be the doer, he does not want to be the action, he does not want to be the observer. He wants God to be the doer, he wants God to be the deed, he wants God to be the witness and he wants God to fulfil Himself in every way in and through him.
An ordinary, unaspiring person may see the Reality tree from a distance, but he is afraid of it. He feels that the Reality tree is all Light, and he is afraid that this Light will expose his ignorance. But a sincere seeker just runs toward the Reality tree, touches the root, sits at the foot of the tree for a few seconds, and then tries to climb up the tree. He feels that the Light of the Reality tree does not expose; on the contrary, he feels that it illumines, and illumination is perfect fulfilment. There are people who do not launch into the spiritual life because they are afraid that their weaknesses will be exposed, or they feel that there is nothing worth having in the spiritual life. But a sincere seeker knows that life has true meaning only when we enter into the spiritual life, for the spiritual life is the root of the tree of eternal life. If there is no root, then the tree cannot grow, and he can never climb up to the highest branch.
A spiritual seeker wants to achieve Truth, Light, Peace and Bliss on the strength of his self giving, for his self giving is his God-becoming. When he consciously becomes what he eternally has been, he knows that life is not a dream but a reality; that life is not only the messenger or harbinger of satisfaction, but also the real satisfaction itself. God is experiencing Himself in and through life, which is a manifestation of His Light and Delight. The seeker knows that today he is of God and tomorrow he will be for God. He is of God: that is his realisation; he is for God: that is his revelation and manifestation.
March 5th, 1974
Iowa Western Community College
Council Bluffs, Iowa