PREPARATION FOR THE JOURNEY
Namaskar everyone, welcome to a new day. As you know this is the eve of our 40 Days of retreat and meditation. It is therefore important to prepare yourself for it and this goes even for those who will be leaving us.
Holding the vision strongly
The journey of life, the journey to enlightenment, the journey to Self realization requires sincere effort. It requires holding a vision, a strong desire for true freedom. It requires self-discipline. If you want to achieve the most out of the human experience, you need to have these qualities very strong within you. The journey of life is a journey towards self -enlightenment.
We need to constantly be aware that we are in the world not for people, but first for ourselves. We tend to think that we are here for others, and we are here to help others, and we are important for others, but we forget that our journey is really a journey towards self liberation. And the more you experience your true Self, the more you can really help others and help them in a better way. So focusing on your own liberation is something that is extremely important.
Learn and grow from worldly experiences
This, however, should not take you away from your duties and responsibilities every day. And you cannot, and should not avoid those duties and responsibilities that you find yourself in. You should be faithful to them. But amidst all of that your goal for self liberation should continuously be there. The greatness of this is that through your duty and your responsibility, you will realize that these are stepping stones; these are vehicles to help you to liberate yourself. So this constant desire for self-liberation should always be there, because it is so easy to get trapped in the world and to loose that sense of your goal.
Jesus said: 'Lead us not into temptation.' How easy it is to be tempted by the world and get caught in the sensual existence. So it is extremely important to be aware in this human experience, of the transient nature of worldly pleasure and power. When you are more aware of this, you do not lose sight of your goal. Then the world cannot really grab you or hold you.
In preparing yourself for these 40 Days of retreat, you need to focus on yourself and your true goal for being in the world, which is self-enlightenment. All the worldly experiences that you are having should help you in your spiritual evolution. Begin to see how you can use the worldly experience: What you can learn from them? How you can bring the Spirit into the world? How can you learn and grow from the worldly experience? Then you will not think that the world is a place that you want to run away from, but it is a place that can help you to grow. Of course, when it is overwhelming and you cannot manage the experience, then you need to retreat a little so you do not lose yourself. But as you grow more and more powerfully, do not avoid the world. Life is a great teacher. The Universe is a teacher. If you observe carefully, the Universe is always teaching you.
Let discipline overflow into daily life
And of course self-discipline is important. Once you focus on the goal, you need discipline. In this practical world there can always be things to keep you busy and you can make a number of excuses why you cannot be disciplined. But if you really want to achieve something and you give it priority, you can always make time to do it.
Spiritual discipline initially begins with restrictions: I am going to spend 15 minutes or half an hour to complete my meditation. But as you begin to experience the joy of meditation, you will extend that into your normal life. Then you will find walking is also a time to practice meditation. You will find in working you can also begin to feel that consciousness of meditation. And you will begin to feel that consciousness of seva in interactions. So the restrictions are really in the beginning when you need to sit down and hold the mind in concentration and in discipline. But eventually it is going to overflow into your life and then all of life will become one sweet song of spiritual expression. But in the beginning when it is difficult to manage the senses, self discipline is extremely important.
Fixed on the goal
Remember that the reason why you are born in this world is to realize your spiritual Self. As you go through the experience of life, there are many temptations to take you away. The Hindus call it 'Maya' - the illusion of the world. Happiness seems to be in the pleasures of the world but it is only an illusion. You therefore need to be fixed on your goal and then self discipline will allow you to hold yourself in that space of spiritual development, and finally the experience of freedom will come.
So as we begin these wonderful 40 Days of meditation, let us make the best use of it. I am sure that the Grace of the Supreme Teacher and all the Divine Beings who are focused on the earth will be with us.
Have a blessed day everyone. Namaskar.