If You Build It…

retreats-linden-meditation-buddha-high-definition-wallpaper-download-freeMaking resolutions at the beginning of each year is a widely accepted ritual. Whether or not there is follow through is another story, but the steps taken to proceed with resolutions also involve rituals that are unique to each person. We all have our own ideas on how to achieve our goals, but I think we can all agree that the impetus for this process is desire. The desire to improve. The desire to remake.  And if you’re on a path, desire and ritual become inextricably linked.

Progress on the spiritual path requires commitment. You read the words of masters and listen to teachers who embody that which you are seeking. With all the learning and absorbing of teachings,  I can tell you that the most important component to any spiritual path is devotion or bhakti, which is the piece many will avoid. In a previous post, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” , I discuss the West’s discomfort with devotion. The bottom line is, if you approach your path with an open heart, devotion will come.

joga-fajtak-meditacios-pozThose of us raised in a traditional religion are familiar with the forms and rituals devotion takes. At the beginning of my sadhana, my teacher told us that our idea of the Sacred will change over time. In the beginning, he suggested that we use the form of our personal Ishwara to help us in our contemplations until we reach the point where no form is needed. Whether you approach spiritual practice with or without form is not important. What’s important here is the desire for the presence of the Sacred in your life. Build your practice around that.

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Your sadhana may or may not involve the ritual an altar or meditation room provides, and while we might get carried away with the externals of the physical space we set up, dedication to that space (whether internal or external) will allow the Sacred to lift you up to become the highest expression of yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an experienced practitioner. The Sacred will meet you wherever you are, but you have to want it. How much do you want it?

“If you take a form and you let the Divine [in] through the form through your love…It will come” ~ Bhagavan Das
Wishing you a Blessed 2016!
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Finding Truth Beyond Belief

As I’ve blogged before, I’m consumed with finding Truth.  I was raised Catholic – went to Catholic schools for the first 12 years of my education. That’s a lot of religion. Thinking back, I never really questioned my faith – my beliefs. There were loopholes in the dogma I was being taught – plenty of them – and I did question those as I got older, but I was stuck in blind belief. Also, I figured that science would eventually answer all of my questions. I was looking for that bridge between science and religion that I knew was there but was in no position to find.  I was trying to find the Truth through thought – through the manipulations of my mind.

I look around me and all I see is struggle. That struggle spurs some of us to seek what is real, what is true. But just like love, we end up searching for it in all the wrong places. When we think we find a piece of truth, usually in whatever religion we adopt, it is often shrouded so thickly in doctrine, dogma and ritual that we fail to recognize its essence. Don’t misunderstand me – at their core all religions contain truth. But you can make a choice between “blind belief of truth” or “truth beyond belief.”

Below is a quote that I found in my inbox. I subscribe to JKrishnamurti online and receive a quote from the Krishnamurti archives each day. This one particularly struck me so I wanted to share it with all of you.  Click here for more info: www.jkrishnamurti.org/

“We realize that life is ugly, painful, sorrowful; we want some kind of theory, some kind of speculation or satisfaction, some kind of doctrine, which will explain all this, and so we are caught in explanation, in words, in theories, and gradually, beliefs become deeply rooted and unshakable because behind those beliefs, behind those dogmas, there is the constant fear of the unknown. But we never look at that fear; we turn away from it. The stronger the beliefs, the stronger the dogmas. And when we examine these beliefs the Christian, the Hindu, the Buddhist we find that they divide people. Each dogma, each belief has a series of rituals, a series of compulsions which bind man and separate man. So, we start with an inquiry to find out what is true, what the significance is of this misery, this struggle, this pain; and we are soon caught up in beliefs, in rituals, in theories. Belief is corruption because, behind belief and morality lurks the mind, the self the self growing big, powerful and strong. We consider belief in God, the belief in something, as religion. We consider that to believe is to be religious. You understand? If you do not believe, you will be considered an atheist, you will be condemned by society. One society will condemn those who believe in God, and another society will condemn those who do not. They are both the same. So, religion becomes a matter of belief and belief acts and has a corresponding influence on the mind; the mind then can never be free. But it is only in freedom that you can find out what is true, what is God, not through any belief, because your very belief projects what you think ought to be God, what you think ought to be true.” – J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life