When a senseless tragedy strikes or something does not go right faith, faith in God is sorely tested. The feeling that one's faith has been shaken to its foundations is normal since the question of why God permits senseless suffering has been with us as long as the idea of God has been around.
In fact, it is the belief in a loving God that creates the problem of pain. So do we dump the concept of faith to avoid the pain? No we don’t. Rather, faith is exactly what we try to draw upon to help us get through such trying times. We may have no choice in the misfortune that hits us, we always have a choice with regard to the stance we take in the face of such suffering. Remember, the popular “Footprints in the Sands” holds true always.
You will have to struggle to find an answer that works for you but do not lose faith. The Journey of Faith, after all, is never a smooth one.
Soulspeak “He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more, He who loses faith, loses all.” --Eleanor Roosevelt
Much has been written, said and speculated about the light within ourselves. People have associated this light to be our conscience or God and some have not differentiated between the two. However, the bottom line has been that this light has led to realization of our capabilities, our shortcomings and ourselves. All that said and done, how does one reach out to this light? Though it is in ourselves, it may seem easy to just reach out to it or feel it, but the journey to this light is often not an easy one. This is so because it involves a lot of mental toughness and thought provoking decisions, which may take a lifetime to exhibit or practice.
An interesting analogy can be drawn to drive home this point. We have all read about alchemists who have sought to change base metals into gold. On the face, it seems to be absolutely dream come true quest but what is perhaps never understood is that the transmutation of metals like lead into gold is also symbolic of a higher and more noble alchemy - the alchemy of self-transformation. These alchemists seek to convert the metal into its purest state, in the process they themselves undergo a monumental transformation into their pure selves. The idea of alchemy is dual, it converts the metal and the man.
Self-transformation and not gold was the goal of the most spiritual of alchemists. This was their quest and this was their chosen path to connect with their inner self or the light. Their path was a treacherous one. It is this journey that we need to focus on. It is this path that transforms us for the better. It is during this voyage to our destination that we realise ourselves and our oneness. Old habits, practices and beliefs are scrutinized and often we have to change our old habits and thought patterns and create a new world based on respect and love for all living things -- it is spiritual alchemy knocking on your door.
Soulspeak “I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.” --Mahatma Gandhi
One interesting question in the cyber age is - what is spirituality? Considering the fact that for sometime, active practice of spirituality was dormant or has ceased to interest people, its revival in the new age of stress and frantic pace seems ironical.
Spirituality can broadly be defined 'as that which relates to spirit or the soul, yet is at the same time also an area that is so vast that it can essentially only truly be defined by individual experience'.
Consider a child’s first step; there may be hands holding the child, making sure he does not fall but to the child, the first step opens the doors of the world and only after the first step is taken does it realise “the walk”. Theorizing about spirituality can help an individual to know about spirituality but to experience it, is a lesson well learnt.
The practice of spirituality is ceaseless, the quest a never-ending journey, and one that unquestionably requires courage, dedication and commitment. Remember that the quest is not easy, but very often in the face of adversity an individual’s spirit makes monumental strides. The wisdom and lesson learnt from this experience are invaluable and irreplaceable.
Spirituality is a journey where possibilities open up at every turn, where understanding of the infinity of self and the universe as a whole begins, bringing with our reach the plethora of choices and possibilities, and one which provides sure access to the powerful and uplifting nature of the soul. It is an enlightening experience when we realise it. A fantastic journey where we blend with the Universe. Are you packed yet?
Soulspeak “You should always learn, with life comes wisdom and with wisdom comes the courage to live your life selflessly. The more you learn about yourself and the experiences surrounding your life the more opportunities you have to make your life better and more fulfilling.” --Amy Candy
Our motives are the driving force of our lives. The difference between success and success that brings with it happiness is vast and more often than not, never understood. Sure, success may bring in money, friends, satisfaction and status but would you be really happy with this?
Question your motive. What is your motive for whatever you may be doing? If it is pure greed or self-seeking or the wish for self-glorification, it will bring success because your hard work will always reap rewards but happiness does not tread among self importance and greed. Self importance shuns everything but self and greed never settles for “enough”. Trying to find happiness in this company is futile.
A simple rule to abide by is “don't do anything you would do with a motive of greed and self importance”. It will not stand the test of time. Yes, it isn't that easy because we tend to do things with very mixed motives, good and bad motives all mixed together. Your motives, if you are to find inner peace, must be an outgoing motive - it must be service. It must be giving, not getting.
When your motives are dictated by good thoughts and succeeded by good actions, happiness will find its way to you. The joy of this experience will set you free and it will infect you to alter your motives and perform, throughout your life. As they say – there is success and there is success coated with joy and happiness you can take your pick.
Soulspeak “Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a bird that has the blues? One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.” --Dale Carnegie
But does it always have to be that way? No, not necessarily. That is because being successful is not merely about having pots of money, making a name for yourself, lots of property and having people perennially at your beck and call. Ultimately it is about being fulfilled career-wise, on the personal front and spiritually. Because tomorrow you could lose your money and your fame, but you should emerge strong and happy in spite of material losses.
To be ‘happily’ successful one should not be blinded by the materialistic side of success because it is more important to be happy. If we look at some icons who achieved phenomenal success like Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, we can easily realize that being ‘happily’ successful is indeed a different ballgame, altogether.
Here are a few mantras that will help you understand how to enjoy the best side of success.
- Listen to your heart. Nowadays many young people completely neglect their personal lives because they are too busy chasing success. Whether it’s about falling in love, making time for your parents or even spending time with your kids, you have to master the art of playing ‘superman/ woman’. Know your priorities and try to work your way around them.
- Be very focused in your work and do not be blinded by the glamour of success because the hype and novelty of the glamour soon fades away.
- Besides your career goal, do set another one which is focuses on reaching out to people. By giving you will get many times over. You could volunteer in a charity organization, you could counsel young people who need a head start in your line of work, you could feed the mongrels down your lane, any little act that you can squeeze into your busy schedule.
To be able to find happiness and inner peace in all kinds of situations in life is every human beings endeavor. Some of us are born with traits that make the above possible while others have to strive to find the silver lining that is called permanent bliss.
Seeking happiness in the company of friends, doing some crazy shopping, seeing masala movies or simply spending an intimate evening with spouse would mean happiness to many. But soon they would realize that they fleetingly vanish and something or someone would trigger off clouds of sadness or worry over.
It is a myth to think that youth is the time to party, have fun and enjoy life and old age is to devote to god. Little do we realize that in old age we would have lost the youth, the vigor, the companionship of dear ones and that health problems might take over.
Indian scriptures confirm that when we knock on his door in dire need, he does arrange for some guide who will show us the way to his door! God is just sitting on the door waiting to be called—it is only we who don’t seem to find time to turn to him who has gifted us this precious life. To many of us, God seems a figure up in the sky or in temples that we run to in times of illness, or distress or to pass an exam or perhaps maybe thank once in a while. Scriptures say, when you are ready to taste the nectar of the divine, someone is sent in your life to pour the same within your system—someone who has experienced god in its purest form and is beyond any emotions, sadness, anger, ego, fame etc.
Meditate daily by sitting in solitude for at least 10 minutes, watching the thoughts that come to mind and say OM. It would give peace. It is meditation that increases tolerance power over trying times and people. Reading spiritual books will at least evoke a desire to try to implement the preaching. Slowly transcending various desires, being non judgmental, seeing positive in others, accepting and surrendering to life as it comes is the constant effort though it must be confessed that temptations do make us falter often. Life is too short and one must enjoy each moment. Letting god take care of life’s designs and the course is so much easier. But it is a razor’s edge and is easily advised than implemented. So, seeking the divine now may be a berserk idea in the eyes of the world but if it gives you happiness now, why not find it—who knows kal ho na ho? The essence of all this is that, one fine day everyone we are attached to has to leave and go—whether elsewhere or towards death—so why not anchor yourself in god now who is with us constantly and find permanent happiness within ourselves. Do not wait to turn grey to turn to God’s door. Make the grape into wine before it’s too late. Meditation is the key to inner happiness and contentment. Just shut your eyes and meditate, trust the divine and enjoy! You will soon walk on air and breathe free.
What does truth have to do with spirituality? There are some vague answers you can elicit when you question people. But the line connecting truth and spirituality is as clear if not clearer to the line that connects prayer with spirituality. The never-ending source of knowledge is the Truth. It's way alone will support life, as the mind that is aware of it is capable of feeling the pulse of life in Nature.
When you are true to yourself and to others, you are practicing spirituality. The path of truth is the path of satisfaction. It does not haunt the conscience, and the dignity of the individual is never compromised. When you speak the truth, you are refusing to entertain the false and you exhibit the courage to stand up for the truth. Being truthful is a habit very difficult to cultivate and even more difficult to adhere to.
The character is put to the ultimate test when an individual chooses to follow the truth. First and most importantly be true to yourself. Be true in your dealings with other people. That paves the way for true spiritual development.
Soulspeak "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing has happened." --Sir Winston Churchill
• If you practice spirituality do you isolate yourself from all other pursuits? • Can you practice your faith and at the same time be a spiritualist?
Yes. Spirituality is development of self and it teaches you to connect to your faith through yourself. You as an individual are benefitted when you choose to be spiritual. Spiritualists need to stand up for themselves and take responsibility for their actions. Spiritual development comes from the way in which you handle life and react to all that it throws your way. It is defined by your education from the mistakes you have made. It offers life itself and helps the individual to understand the impact of facts and events in their lives.
Spiritualism merely shows you how to live but does not impose restrictions or regulations. An idea of God is taught but blind idol worship or fanatical worship is shunned. A simple explanation of spiritualism is that your moral and ethical values guide your practice, and your conscience helps you connect with your faith. When you are true to these, you automatically follow the guidelines of your faith.
Soulspeak “Don't sacrifice your life to work and ideals. The most important things in life are human relations. I found that out too late.” --Katharinde Susannah Prichard Australian Author