Mr Joseph Vempeny
Posted on : 03/02/2009 15:43:42
Spiritual life for all
A cat is said to have nine lives. How about us, the human beings? Some may say, two - one here and another one hereafter. Or do we speak of different lives like intellectual life, social life, mental life, family life, commercial life, professional life, personal life, physical life (which may be called material or animal life), religious life and spiritual life. That makes it ten. May be if we try harder we can come up with a few more and claim to have more than ten lives.
For some people the spiritual life is just one of those ten or more lives. The attitude of some other people is yet another. According to them, “Spiritual life is not meant for us. It is for those who have renounced the worldly life and have enclosed themselves in cloisters, habits or saffron.” For yet others spiritual life is the same as religious life. “I want to enjoy life to the fullest. Spiritual life therefore wont suit me”, is the attitude of some others. If spiritual life is something that prevents me from sharing the joys of life, if it is one of mortifications and chastisements, one of renunciation or of contemplative meditations only, I also want no part of it. What I mean by spiritual life is not that kind at all. It is one, full of happiness, joy and peace and it can be full of fun and laughter. When you lead this kind of spiritual life, you are making heaven on earth for you and for others, and not just suffering a tragic life with the hope of a heaven after death. Making heaven on earth is the sure way of enjoying heaven in the next life as well. And it is not for the selected few either. It is open to all of us.
The basis of the spiritual life I have in mind is an awareness in three dimensions. These terms need not dampen your enthusiasm. Actually it is very simple. The first dimension is the realization that God is a being of spirit who is present everywhere. Here, just now, He is with me, looking after me, ready to protect me when the need arises because He loves me much more than my father or mother ever could. This kind of faith, this absolute trust in His providence shall free us from all fears, worries and anxieties and allow us to enjoy life like contented children only could.
The second dimension is the realization that I am a being of spirit. It is the realization that the true self of a human being is not the body but the spirit or the soul. What God created in His image and likeness is not the human body but the soul. The body is in the image and likeness of the animal, of an ape. I do not contribute to statements like; ‘I have a soul’ or ‘there is a divine spark in me’. No, I would rather say that I have a body, because I am the spirit, the immortal soul. The body is only a packing case for the precious cargo that is the soul. Or we could say that the body is just a boat in which the sailor is the spirit or the self of man. Irrespective of your chronological age this realization will always let you be a child, not grown up or independent, but always a child, the child of God, dependent fully on Him. With the realization that God is always with you, like any toddler, you hold on firmly to his hands and feel safe and secure in any situation that life throws you in. Never let go of His hands; just love Him and live in His love. You will feel what bliss is.
The third dimension is the realization that every other human being, irrespective of his/her race, caste, religion, social status, linguistic or geographic differences or age, that each and every one of them is a being of spirit, a child of God and thus your brother or sister. It naturally follows that you love them all – young or old, ugly or beautiful, near or far – as each one of them is the child of your father and king and thus deserving rightly your love and respect. If you hate even the least one of them Our Father may not like it.
At this stage some of you would be thinking: “So, this is the catch! I knew one is bound to be there”. But let me assure you this is no catch at all. At the start it may sound a bit unpractical to love everyone. Of course you cannot like many people nor like what they say or do. But that does not have to strop you from loving them, praying for them and wishing them well. This gives you peace. Once you hate or envy someone you lose peace and happiness. You are making hell. When you live in ever- present universal love you are making heaven on earth, because you experience peace, joy and happiness. That is bliss – heaven.
One thing interesting about love is that the more you give of it the richer you become in it. Once you start dispensing off this commodity – love- unselfishly, without any strings attached, you will be surprised at the manifold returns you get from it. I am pretty sure there is some internal mechanism inside every human being that willy-nilly identifies selfless love and differentiates it from the selfish pretences of insincere love. Once you start giving liberally of the selfless, sincere love you will be smothered with love from all corners and your life will be one full of peace and happiness. This is the type of spiritual life I am talking of, a life of universal, selfless love. This is the result of the three dimensions of our spiritual awareness.
This awareness in the spiritual identity of God, oneself and everyone else should be strengthened and supplemented by three dimensions of faith, or I would rather say, trust. The upward dimension of trust in God, the inward dimension of trust in oneself and the outward dimension of trust in others will make our heaven on earth even more realistic and more blissful. Often the absence of trust in others is the root cause of most of our anxieties and fear and this is what prevents us from being the recipients of the abundant love from others. Once we trust and love them they will do the same to you to a higher degree.