Category Archives: Sprituality

Seva as a Way of Life

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“The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Looking at the lives of gurus, both sadgurus and junior gurus, it is clear that they are great examples of Emerson’s principles.  Namadeva Acharya’s motivations in all his endeavors in life, both spiritual and mundane, were based on these principles.

I was born in the 1940s. We were raised in the Forties and Fifties in a culture that was based on the principles in the Emerson quote. Those principles are are very grounding and were part of our generational impetus to rebel against the obvious abuse of a war with no purpose and an effort to make the USA live up to its claimed purpose in the Pledge of Allegiance, etc. This led to our response to injustice and participation in the Civil Rights movement, supporting Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta in the farm workers union, and later the Second Wave of Feminism. During that time, I never heard people question why they were on the planet in the way younger people do. The Sixties and Seventies were also a time of spiritual questing, and many explored different ways of life and beliefs to satisfy the perennial inner spiritual drive of all humans.

One of the major reasons that younger people think differently is that major media, particularly television, deliberately in the late Seventies morphed into All Propaganda All The Time. I was working at WCBS-TV in NYC in 1977 and saw a huge change at that station, which got rid of all the investigative journalists and those who would not read exactly what was on the prompter and also changed their public service programs to be less inclusive of non establishment ideas and people. Later, stations dropped those programs entirely. The principles of advertising were used to persuade viewers that protesting, resisting were useless. Newscasters did not chit-chat but read the prompters, which said literally, “Oh, you can’t fight city hall” and other phrases to discourage protest and create the impression that resisters are wierdos. Shortly afterward in the Reagan era, the intensive propaganda plus advertising urged everyone to find their happiness in stuff. Everyone was urged to become Yuppies. Kids who saw this in nearly every tv show, grew up not with Emerson but with extreme materialism.

I am very happy as an old activist to see the engagement and activity of the Millennials and others more recently to make positive changes in America and the world.

I hope lots of people see this essay and re-think why they are so unhappy, then reject the pop culture all around us.

A good life is a life in balance.  If we nurture our souls and have devotion to the Divine, seek knowledge, and serve others, which is Raja Yoga, the highest path to mukti (liberation from the rounds of rebirth) then we will be fulfilled and know we have lived life to the best of our abilities.

Happy New Year!

 

Love Is The Near Surround of Which We Are a Part

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Love Is The Near Surround of Which We Are a Part

The story of Rama is a story of Divine Love.  For God so loved the world that that all the divine forces combined to send us Himself in the form of Rama and his three brothers and Herself in the form of Sita to show humans how to live in Dharma.  The picture above shows the Divine Family with all 4 brothers and Sita with their protectors Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Narada and Hanuman.  All creation joined to aid us. 

The entire Ramayana is the story of the loving parents of the couple and and their divine children.  When Rama is grown, he reveals himself as the emanation of Vishnu and is married to Sita, the emanation of Lakshmi.  They live in love and do everything possible to help each other, no matter how terrible the circumstances.  They are aided by his brothers and Hanuman, acting in unselfish love.  All their lives, their actions make them great role models for every possible role in our lives.  They are the perfect son and daughter, perfect king and queen, perfect husband and wife, perfect parents, etc.  Their whole story is the force of the Divine in form solely out of love to help us in our lives.

Love is where we came from and love is where we’re going. It’s not something we can attain. It’s not something we can work up to, as much as something we allow ourselves to fall into! It is the living presence of God/dess within us.

The eternal Divine Flame resides within us at our Sacred Heart Chakra/Hrit Padma, no matter what kind of person we are.  Our soul,  being part of the Divine Whole and thus enlightened, is anchored there. On the days when we feel low, we can remember that we are surrounded by Divine Ones, whose only desire is to help us.  On our quest for enlightenment, we can remember that our soul is enlightened, and only the transitory parts of us, body, mind and personality, need to seek our divine love within to transform. 

We have created our own karma, and we can uncreate/dissipate it by the divine tools we have been given especially for this dark era, mantra and puja. Only a half hour per day will overtime sand down a lot of karma.  We owe it to ourselves to do at least that much daily.

You Are What You Seek

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Dattatreya

You Are What You Seek, by Fr. Richard Rohr

On that day, you will know that you are in me and I am in you. John 14:20

“That day” is usually a long time in coming for most of us. We hold on to the illusion of a separate self as long as we can. Yet this process of transformation has been the enduring invitation of every great religion in history. Divine–and thus universal–union is the core message and goal of all healthy religion.

The spiritual wisdom of divine union is first beautifully expressed in writing in the Vedas. . . . .  One of its “grand pronouncements” is Tat Tvam Asi in Sanskrit. This condensed wisdom might be translated in any of these ways:

YOU are That!

You ARE what you seek!

THOU art That!

THAT you are!

You are IT!

The meaning of this saying is that the True Self–in its original, pure, primordial state–is wholly or partially identifiable or even identical with God, the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena. That which you long for, you also are. In fact, that is where the longing comes from.

Longing for God and longing for our True Self are the same longing. The mystics would say it is God who is even doing the longing in us and through us (as the Divine Indwell[er] or the Holy Spirit). God implanted a natural affinity and allurement between God’s Self and all of God’s creatures. The limited and the Limitless would otherwise be incapable of union; the finite and the Infinite could never be reconciled into one. There must be a point of similarity!

[Satyabhama:   Jesus, the Christ/Annointed One/Initiated One, was an Amsha/Partial Avatar. His mission was to teach the understandings of the Vedas and Upanishads to the West.  His sacrifice was to take on the karma of the West, which included his death. His innovation was to emphasize the understanding of God as All Love and to teach people to love others as we love ourselves.]

Religion has only one absolute job description: to make one out of two and one out of many. For Christians, this is “the Christ Mystery” whereby we believe God overcame the gap from God’s side. St. Augustine called it “prevenient grace,” meaning that grace exists prior to and without reference to anything humans may have done or can do, “or grace would not be grace at all” (see Romans 11:6 and Ephesians 2:8-10).  The initiative is always from God’s side. The deepest human need and longing is to overcome this separateness, the distance from what seems “over there” and “beyond me,” namely, a transcendent God/Reality/Universe. God overcomes the gap in Christ and in every experience that we allow to be graced. I have come to believe that the essence of an authentic God experience is the utter gratuity of it and the new gratuitous freedom it creates in the receiver.

God is saying in all incarnations that “I am not totally Other; in fact I am the transcendent within everything here.” Pause and think about that. “I have planted some of myself in all things which forever long for reunion.” If God is perceived as absolute otherness, it eventually creates absolute alienation, which is most of Western civilization today. Add to that any notion of God as petty, angry, or torturing, and the mystical journey comes to a standstill. So God created similarity and compassion, which become visible in the human Jesus to overcome this tragic gap–in a way that we could see, touch, and understand beyond, like an implanted homing device. It works!

[Meditation:] God in me loves God in everything.

Reference:  Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), 95, 98-100.