We often hear people say things like “Well, I’m not into religion, but I’m a very spiritual person” or, “he’s really very spiritual.” But what does it actually mean to “be spiritual?”
It’s very simple actually, spirituality is our true nature. That’s because we are spirit. Our bodies fall away, our material possessions fall away, our spouses, children, families and friends fall away. What is it that remains? What is the constant beyond time and space? That is our spirit. It is the essence of the infinite power of our projection and our creativity.
So how do we live in that spirit? Two things are needed: awareness and surrender.
Awareness is also known as Simran: moment to moment remembrance of our true identity – “Naam Chit Aavai.” Through our breath, we remember that we are alive in the ecstasy of being born and dying in each and every moment. The infinite flows through us like electricity. We see and we feel the sacredness in each moment. Who is brushing my teeth? God. Who is speaking? God. Who is listening? God. Who is eating lunch? God. Who is the salad I am eating? It is God eating God.
We train ourselves to awareness through sadhana. We live in awareness through Dharma. What is Dharma? Dharma is nothing but waking up, keeping up and flowing in the will of God.
Then there is surrender. That one is hard for most people. Why should I surrender? To whom should I surrender? How can I trust enough to let go? If I surrender, aren’t I giving up my unique identity? Who will take care of me if I don’t do it?
We are trained to go after what we want; to achieve and to be successful. We are neither trained to alert acceptance, nor to being in our own stillness.
“The Master acts without doing anything and teaches without saying anything. Things arise and she lets them come; things disappear and she lets them go. She has everything but doesn’t possess anything. She acts, but has no expectations. When her work is done, everyone says, ‘we did this all ourselves.” That is why she lasts forever.” – Tao de Ching
That’s where Guru comes in. Guru is the Divine guidance system built-in to every human being. It is the compass in your cockpit and it always points ‘true north.’ It is by surrender to that cosmic presence within that the most sacred relationship in our life is established.
Now here comes the problem with religion. Religion itself is no problem. It simply means consciously connecting back to our own origin, to our source. But in organized religions, people have fallen asleep and just go through the motions of surrendering. Without the actual experience of the Guru people ritualize surrendering, but that is not the unconditional surrender that is required for true spirituality. It is in this state of hypocrisy that “goodness” and “piety” appear.
Surrendering to the Guru without conditions, accepting the Guru as your own, accepting the Guru all around you, accepting the Guru within you and within everyone; that is what is required.
In order for that to happen, you must have a real experience of the Guru. Not an outward show, but that divine, intimate touch that lies beyond words. That experience is unbearably sweet and absolutely personal. That experience comes by grace, and Divine grace is earned through lifetimes of work.
Mostly everyone seeks pleasure and tries to avoid pain. In this state of grace, there is no difference between pleasure and pain, between loss and gain or between obscurity and fame.
Pain wakes us up and pleasure puts us to sleep. It is in times of great pain that we learn to surrender. That is what gives us depth.
Do you want to improve the world? I don’t think it can be done. The world is sacred. It can’t be improved. It is absolutely perfect just as it is. Be content with what you have. Rejoice each moment in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing at all lacking, then the whole world belongs to you.
The Guru Granth Sahib says: “Amidst hope, the yogi remains without hope.” That is because hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When we no longer see the self as self, what do we have to fear or to hope for? There is only now. The past no longer exists and the future is being born right now. It is being born from our own thoughts, words and actions.
See the whole world and everything in it as your self. Have faith in the way things are. Love the world as it is — for it is your self.
My own personal prayer is very simple. It is the one I say each day as I bow to my Guru:
“Beloved Guru Ji, I am Yours and You are mine.
Bless everyone to live healthy, happy and holy.”
~ Guruka Singh