I had an awesome conversation with a loved one tonight. We talked about spirituality and where our choices and beliefs differ.
My friend shared the view that universal spiritual qualities like love, peace and compassion are easy for him, and millions out there, to get behind. If you apply the higher soul qualities to your relationships, family life, work and community you are sure to live a good and meaningful life. It’s so true. A good life is a blessing on this planet. A good life touches hundreds of people and helps to raise good children and create good communities. Suffering is not spared from the person who lives a good life. But, a good life is a life well spent.
But what if that isn’t enough? What if, as Yogananda and the Buddha describe, the suffering of the endless monotony of life is just too much to take? What if the big questions about why we are here, what our true nature is, and how can we get off the wheel of karma eat at your heart and mind? What if our souls are restless?
For me, I hope that a good life will be the byproduct of a life lived for self-realization, aka enlightenment. I hunger for the answers to the big questions. I’m inspired by the lives of saints and yogis who have dedicated themselves to God and who are free. I touch those soul qualities in meditation and know that they are bigger than my little body. I want bliss.
Yogananda is not one to beat around the bush. His teachings, lectures, writings, music and his direct disciples all instruct you to cultivate a one-pointed desire to know God. He tells you to go for Gold.
There are wonderful spiritual teachers out there who ask less of their disciples and there are uplifting spiritual paths that do the same. But, if you study the lives of the great Masters who have inspired millions, you find a striking resemblance…Jesus, Buddha, Moses, Ramana Maharshi, Yogananda, Hafiz, Anandamoya Ma, Patanjali, Krishna, Shankaracharia, Lao Tzu – they all agree that going for the Gold, going for God, is the way to bliss. The kingdom of heaven is within.
And yet, a good life is a great blessing. You have to really, really want to go for Gold to decide to take on a Guru and do the work of self-realization. It means making spirituality the center of your life. It requires discipline, faith and an open heart. And, you have to be painfully bored with life’s monotony.
It sounds like a fairly bleak experience of life, but it doesn’t always look that way. I have led a charmed life. I am surrounded by loving friends and family. But for me, nothing is inspiring or exciting enough to elicit a heartfelt dedication except enlightenment. Everything else is temporary. Even my family. My life. My home. My friends. The only thing I take with me in the final analysis is my consciousness and I’ve seen what a life of meditation on God can do to ones consciousness. So, I’m going for Gold.
Wish me luck!