Spending time in the company of a good teacher is very important in the practice of yoga. Chapter 6:23 of the Bhagavad Gita states, “yoga must be practiced with faith, with a strong and courageous heart.” In essence, this means that satsang with the Guru is important, and we must never give up on our sadhana, as we must always study and practice to be better devotees. Buying a few books on spirituality will never really help us; it may provide us with consolation, or temporary relief from our dilemma, but it will not ultimately change our condition of suffering.
To really have a shot at changing our orientation towards life would require a dramatic shift in our priorities; we would have to become a lot more devoted to God, and less devoted to ourselves. In order to ultimately to become enlightened, we would have to devote our whole life to God. The problem is that most of us do not know how to devote ourselves, or practice, and furthermore, most of us don’t even want to practice. Truly, it was by the grace of my Guru that I was given the chance to learn how to practice. This grace provided me with the tools to realize more intense forms of happiness.
Many people that I have talked to, particularly Westerners, don’t seem to think they need a Guru. This is the myth that propels the self-help movement. The message generally is “I realized happiness on my own and so you can you!” I can testify from my own experience that frequent and direct contact with a spiritual friend is essential to the enjoyment of real happiness. As Bodhidharma once said, “Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher’s help.” I find this interesting because a lot of people in the self-help movement seem to be saying that they don’t need anyone to help them but themsleves. I am definitely not one in a million in this context of whom Bodhidharma speaks, neither were most of the great sages that we know of, including Gautama Buddha. In this context, the true devotee of God is a devotee first and a teacher second. Being a teacher is not a status, just a function, and at the end of the day the teacher is just a devotee. Life is the real teacher! Life is what is communicating to us and teaching us in every moment and through everything, and most of us need intensive contact with a teacher in order to translate this communication into a language we can understand.
The human Guru is a part of us, as they are a representative of our greater nature. Without the human Guru there would not be the opportunity to realize Nirvana. I cannot, and will not, be able to ever separate my spirituality from my Gurus, as they are a progressive expression of different stages of awakening in my own spiritual journey. If you have ever spent any time with one, you know what I am talking about. Don’t believe the self-help myth: we all need help. How can the ego grant itself such graceful gifts such as enlightenment? Truly, it is God that gives us everything that we have and need. The true process of initiation is always through the direct transference of wisdom from one initiate to another. Realization is best served through the direct communication of an adept.
Our society is ill. A good reason for this is because so many people are living in denial. The reason that people are living in denial is because they are afraid of what they are denying. When we accept what we are denying, when we are honest with ourselves, we are freed from the fear of clinging to our illusions. When what we have been denying becomes relevant to us, then we have developed the maturity to appreciate what is true in our lives. It is only when we realize the relevance of what is true that we can transcend our personal preoccupations and embrace our actual nature. It is in this way that we are freed from the burdensome weight of fear and self denial.
The truth of the situation is that we choose to be unhappy by living in denial. When we overcome our fear and stop living in denial, we become humble enough to enjoy what is true about ourselves. When we accept what is true, we release ourselves from what is false; we then become free to enjoy life for what it is. If we are honest and real with ourselves, we show the sincerity and humility that goes with living happily. When we understand ourselves we demonstrate love to others, in this way we spontaneously help our society to heal. The way we live is reflected by our society’s health, by acknowledging that we are ill we can begin the healing process.
To have success you have to be happy. To be happy you have to understand yourself. Self-knowledge is imperative to success. It is necessary for the Transcendence of fear, and procrastination. We need self knowledge to transcend our dependency on the false perceptions that we use to delude ourselves. We don’t achieve success because what we imagine to be success isn’t really success. It is just our idea of success. It is not real victory, or success in the ultimate sense. The reason we don’t achieve victory is because we are suffering from unconsciousness. We are suffering from a lack of understanding about our human condition, and what real success is. We don’t enjoy the benefits of having inside knowledge about our own condition. We are unconscious of the situation we are creating for ourselves, and why we are suffering. Self knowledge is the key to success because we are suffering from a lack of knowledge about ourselves. To enjoy ultimate success, we have to understand ourselves. Once we know what we’re doing wrong, we can fix it. If we study, and consider our behavior, we can observe it in real time. Once we see it, then we can choose to change it. This kind of self-awareness is the bases of all forms of success. It is the time tested secret of all great masters and teachers. Self knowledge is the key to ultimate self mastery. The more that we understand about ourselves, the more everything will flow for us.
The way of enlightenment is the enjoyment of happiness! When we have had enough of our unhappiness, then we will simply be happy. We have to surrender our unhappiness, this is how we embrace happiness. Openness to happiness is a sign of spiritual maturity and enlightenment. One who enjoys happiness realizes that true enlightenment is not dependent on any momentary aberration. The unhappiness of un-fulfillment is transcended by the genuine enjoyment of real happiness.
Happiness is our inherent nature. You don’t have to search to be happy, you only have to stop seeking to be unhappy. When you stop looking to find happiness through temporary objects, then you are happy. Regardless of life’s apparent imperfections, everything is interconnected. Everything that happens, all occurrences, are a gift from God. Happiness is the enjoyment of our native condition, life is truly radiant with the blessing of the Divine.
The ego lives in illusion, and it is our spiritual destiny to understand this ego and it’s illusions. What is required to fully appreciate this Teaching is the understanding of this ego. We have to have the strength to look at the nature of our appearance. We have to have the resilience to look at what is true about ourselves. No body-mind is perfect; the ego has inherent limitations in its mechanical nature. To accept this is to begin to move beyond our denial about non-perfection. You believe that these Teachings don’t apply to you because you are special, but your very belief that there is a ‘you’ and a ‘me’ is a sign of this illusion of separateness of which I speak. These Teachings are not my opinion, they are true to form in their historical context. These Teachings are an offence to the ego, and they have always been an offence to the ego. If they are an offence to you, it means that they are working. Only the ego or the separate one can be offended! There is only God, everything else is illusion.
Scientific facts have revealed, and will continue to reveal, that the reality that we perceive is merely a construct of the mind, and not a genuine representation of the actual state of Reality. We may find more and more sophisticated ways of describing how this reality manifests, but they will only ever be approximations of Reality, not Reality itself. We will never be able to truly perceive, or describe the true nature of Reality because we are always looking at it from outside; we are always observing it from the point of view of being separate from it. Reality itself is un-qualified, it is beyond the qualities that can be observed from a limited angle. From our apparently separate viewpoint, we are not able to perceive the actual condition of Reality itself. Where we err is in our tendency to focus our attention on the separate qualities of Reality, rather than on the quality of Reality itself. We are concerned with how things work or how they appear, rather than on what they mean!
Understanding is not belief, as belief is a product of the mind. It is a convention of the human mind to try to know what is infinite and indivisible. The actuality of consciousness is beyond the limits of comprehension. The revelation of Reality comes through the transcendence of perception, memory and belief. Understanding is freedom from the constraints of metallization and ideology. The conventions of the mind are transcended through the understanding of the paradox of Reality.