46. Shocking Truth Of A Mechanical Spirituality Exposed!

 

mecanical spirituality

In the strict sense of the word spiritual life begins when a living entity fully identifies oneself as a soul, being completely absorbed in a spiritual atmosphere, and not for a moment forgetting about it and constantly acting in this mindset.

Another words it begins with the Bhava stage, which means an ecstatic love of God. And this is the moment of the genuine spiritual life. Up to this level is the preparatory training.

People who are interested or have already embarked on the path of spirituality in any form (from a simplified version of any contemporary variety of religions to serious practices of yoga that require maximum commitment, be it karma yoga, ashtanga yoga, jnana yoga, dhyana yoga or bhakti yoga), would agree that at present it is not really a 100% spiritual.

Until then, we’re making only humble timid attempts to enter spirituality. We are struggling to strengthen our belief that the spirit and God exists at all. In the meantime, we have full faith in the temporary material reality.

What we call a spiritual life now is an attempt to overcome the influence of matter, an attempt to overcome the G forces of the lowest modes of nature – ignorance (Tamas) and passion (rajas), an attempt to overcome karma and a conditioned paradigm of thinking – “You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours”. And sattva or the mode of goodness is considered a major achievement, although it is material.

Therefore at this turbulent level of initial attempts of spirituality there is a high dropout rate. Because people are not always able to cope with the two major objectives: to perform one’s daily duties like going to work, making money, raising children, housekeeping etc., and simultaneously practice regular yoga discipline as it’s laid out in the authoritative texts.

And moreover, in Kali Yuga most people are impious, therefore their faith is flimsy, and if faith or spiritual ideal is flimsy then the person will not be firm and consistent in his actions.

Until then, people look at the spiritual life with interest considering the possibilities and trying to understand what it all means and how it can fit into their life!

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Therefore, a multi-step ladder of spiritual practice (from the basics of karma yoga to the heights of bhakti yoga) can take many years or even lifetimes and its only purpose is the involvement of all one’s senses in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna to eventually transition to the level of Bhava (pure selfless love of God), where the real active ecstatic spiritual life begins .

But the majority of people seeking alternative answers to life begin their spiritual journey with far more distant stages.

And since they may lack an adequate qualification and determination to immerse themselves in a spiritual nature, the spiritual life or practice tends to be more automatic because the mind is not really involved while the body is active. The less one’s conscious of one’s activity, the more it’s automatic or mechanistic.

For example, when a person meditates or performs some service in the temple, externally one can do the right thing, because the body doesn’t care – it does what it’s told. By itself it can neither feel nor understand – it’s just a machine. But feeling and willing is done by the mind that experiences happiness and distress, pleasure and discomfort, good and bad.

Thus, it is easier to be engaged in spiritual practices externally, since the body follows any directions and commitments.

But the most important is a link between the soul that has decided to devote himself to spiritual pursuits, and the body which obediently follows. For this reason, the mind is the central pivotal point that connects the body and the soul. And if the mind is involved in the process, then there will be a total, complete, spontaneous immersion.

And if the mind is not involved, it blocks the connection of the soul with God (Krishna), that is why it is called an enemy of the conditioned soul. And when the mind acts in unison with the body and soul, it is a friend.

So the secret is the mind.

The question is why does the mind function this way? Why is one distracted and inattentive during the spiritual daily practice – whether it’s a performance of yoga asanas, pranayama, meditation, or any other elements of the sadhana (regulated practice)?

It takes a mere second for the mind to get distracted or inattentive and the body will continue to function on autopilot like a machine at idle – the engine is running, the fuel is used but the car ain’t going anywhere. In the same way when we do the right thing, but the mind wanders about, then spiritually we are not really heading anywhere.

So what’s the problem? Why is the body obedient but the mind is not?

The point is that the mind is subtle by nature and it contains seeds of certain desires, seeds of karma that are the very cause of our current circumstances.

Thus, the mind gets distracted not because it is bad or naughty but because there are unlimited desires. Mind is not a separate person that conflicts with us. No, it’s not a case of schizophrenia, split personality disorder. Rather it’s our own desires in the form of seeds that distract us, and when these seeds sprout, they demand our attention.

It is quite difficult to ignore them but possible!

Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita 6.26:

“From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady by nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self”.

And what is the flickering and unsteady by nature mind? It is the mind infected by the mode of passion.

The mind in its pure state is the most stable of all the elements, as it’s born of the mode of goodness. But unfortunately we do not know the mind in its original pure and healthy state in goodness. And when it’s under the influence of ignorance – it is gloomy and depressed.

The optimistic, positive, spirited, happily meditative on God mind is an entirely incomprehensible and unheard of state of mind for us.

Therefore, a purification of the mind is the primary and the most important initial yoga practice, and at this stage one has to be constantly reflective with self-analysis, watching for any obstructions that prevent the mind to absorb in the process.

Desires! There are desires that you just need to shoo away, but there are also deep rooted desires that don’t just go away so easily. And for that matter, there is a culture of reasonable compromises in one’s mundane and spiritual life, that helps one fulfil these desires without degrading. And that’s the most difficult part of the game.

It is easy to give up the desires associated with ignorance – alcohol, cigarettes, meat. But there are more subtle desires associated with the mode of passion that are hard to get rid of: lust, desire for fame and honour, the desire of wealth, etc. because passion is very natural for humans, while ignorance has more an animalistic origin. And to get rid of passion would mean to get rid of one’s very self, to get rid of one’s vibrant creative nature.

Therefore, there is a culture of spiritualization of one’s material desires and attachments, which actually take one’s focus off the spiritual life. That’s why during the spiritual practice the body can continue to fly on autopilot but the mind would wander about in the universe.

In this regard, there is the Vedic culture based on the performance of one’s duties in accordance with one’s personal nature at different stages of life. It allows one to fulfil anything that the mind wants and not degrade, but rather, to make a slow but sure spiritual progress.

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When it’s done properly and in a timely manner, a person can easily switch from passion to the spiritual life after having gone through the most turbulent passionate period of life when the senses are too strong ( from adolescence right through the middle age).

But if due to naivety and innocence those desires haven’t been eliminated, they would remain in old age. The body will get old anyway but the subtle desires will remain young. However the old age or the later period in life is not meant for passion, it’s designed for a total absorption in the spiritual activity.

And if a person lived with naive expectation that these desires would go away by themselves but they did not, in this case one will be given another chance in the next life.

There are issues that cannot be ignored!

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For example, if you ignore sleep at night time, it will find you during the day time but it’s not really great for sleep, it’s meant for being active. And if sleep is inevitable, it is better to sleep at night. If some material desires are inevitable, they should be dealt with at the right time! And if you ignored them in your youth, they surely will surprise you in your old age!

And here comes the problem — a person lives a duplicitous spiritual life in his youth, his mind being all over the place, and in the the old age one can’t concentrate properly. Why is that? Because he did not pay enough attention to it at the right time, he ignored what can not be ignored! This is a science.

Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, the mind must be kept under control!

Yes, it’s possible in regards to the ignorant tendencies but absolutely impossible in regards to the passionate tendencies. Ignorance must be completely eradicated from human life, but passion can’t be eradicated, it is natural for humans, it can only be cultivated and purified, by being properly engaged in a worthy and useful activity.

Young people must be positively active to fully engage their creative impulse and creative thinking. And the spiritual master who sees and understands the conditioned nature of the student is the one who can and should assist in this matter.

These numerous forms of activity should be directed to spreading of spiritual knowledge and spiritual culture directly or indirectly.

So, mechanistic spiritual practice results due to the mind being distracted by desires that should be taken care of. And one should understand exactly what those desires that distract the person are.

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All these desires must be fulfilled in a civilised cultured and decent manner. The sooner the better while still practicing spiritual disciplines. And then, those distractions will be gone and the mind will calm down like a tired horse that gets back into the stable after a good run in the wild.

For example, sexual desires should be engaged in family relations, for the birth and upbringing of high-quality, highly moral, cultured and spiritual children, which require a huge commitment from parents, exemplary behaviour and honest performance of their duties.

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And greed, desire for wealth and hoarding could be engaged in charity and regular sponsorship of spiritual projects and activities.

Pride, or a big ego can be useful in some leadership to make some significant achievements for God and at the same time realise that not everything depends on me and eventually understand one’s humble subordinate position unto Him.

When the mind comes in tune with interests of the soul, when the mind, the body and the soul are on the same page, then you have quality spiritual life.

Otherwise, we doom ourselves to remain inattentive forever for one reason and one reason only, which is ignoring those issues that distract us.

A person should eventually come to the point in life when he no longer has any illusions generated by these material desires related with the material world.

When going straight or bypass route, one should never lose track of one’s goal. And if one has to use a detour , making some compromises, one always has to remember his final destination

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If a person has sharp intelligence or is in a system that supports and inspires him to keep going to the ultimate goal, then there is a chance that by God’s grace all the distractions will be gone in due course of time. And then, completely immersed in a spiritual process, a person will be able to appreciate and feel the depth of ecstatic spiritual divine love (Bhava Bhakti).

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