Looking after your soul
We cannot fully understand our existence until we move beyond material existence and start working towards keeping our soul — our essence — clean, writes SANT RAJINDER SINGH
In laboratories where computers are built, there are special rooms where certain parts are put together. The parts are so tiny and sensitive that if even a small piece of dust settles on them, the parts could malfunction. In order to prevent particles from tainting the components, the work is done in an isolated, sterilized room. Those working in that room must wear masks over their mouths and gloves on their hands to eliminate any possibility of dirt contaminating the instruments. In the field of medicine, when someone has an infectious disease, care is taken to see that the germs are not spread to others. There are certain diseases in which the transmission of even the tiniest virus can be deadly. The care we take in protecting our bodies and the care we take in manufacturing scientific instruments remind one of the care we need to take of our soul.
Our real self is the soul. We think of ourselves as a physical body which was born on a certain date in our present lifetime and which will be with us until the day of physical death. But, our real self existed before the date of our birth, and will continue after our physical end. It is important that we take care of our physical body because we need to be fit to function effectively in this world. It is important to develop our mind so that we can do productive and fulfilling work. But the body and mind will only be with us for a life span of maybe sixty, seventy, or a hundred years. What happens to our soul is a question of eternity. It determines our fate for lifetimes and aeons to come. We need to understand how we can identify with and care for the condition of our soul so that we can attain spiritual consciousness.
Our soul cannot enter the spiritual realms until it becomes free from all impurities. This is a simple law. If our mind is tainted with negative thoughts, we cannot sit for meditation. Unless we meditate with full, unswerving concentration we will not be able to withdraw our soul to the point where we can travel on the Light and Sound to higher realms. This is the reason why mystics and saints throughout the ages have stressed the importance of leading an ethical life. Developing the noble virtues restores us to the original state of the soul when it was one with God. That state is pure spirit, pure love, pure consciousness. If we analyze ourselves, we find that our soul is encrusted with a layer of impurities caused by countless thoughts, words, and deeds we commit throughout our lives. Enlightened souls have been teaching humanity how to alter negative habits so that the soul can attain the state of purity of thought and equanimity to achieve success in the spiritual quest. They themselves have freed themselves from the clutches of mind, matter, and illusion. They know their way through the treacherous seas and can offer us guidance on how we too can safely reach our journey’s end.
To reunite with God, our soul needs to be free from all that is not spiritual, all that is not consciousness, all that is not love. The gateway to spiritual realms is open to only those who have purity of their soul. In this world, we need the right qualifications to enter college or to hold a certain job. Similarly, God has certain requirements for soul to re-enter His domain. The basic prerequisite is to have cleanliness of the soul, with not even a speck of impurities. With aeons of negative impressions covering us, how can we ever hope to be cleansed? The time we spend in meditation and in developing ethical virtues is within the realm of our free choice. If we spend time in meditation, we are protecting our soul from the stains of any new karmas, the accumulation of all our thoughts, words and deeds, for which we are held accountable.
It is important that we understand how the pursuit of meditation and ethical living are stepping stones to God’s kingdom. Daily meditation helps us counteract the negative influences and impressions we receive during our day-to-day life in the world. The pull of the world is very strong and we need all the help we can get to keep us moving towards our goal. Our soul which is of the same essence as God finds bliss in the presence of pure consciousness. Once we taste the divine waters of the inner Sound Current, we want to drink of it more and more. This turns our attention towards the goal of travelling to the heavenly regions. We lose our attraction for outer enjoyment. We are also saved from the negative traits that accompany each outer temptation. When we are not caught up in worldly desires, we have less anger, less greed, less egotism, and less possessiveness. Since our goal is to reach the inner worlds, all the negative habits sparked by worldly attachments slowly begin to fade away.
An indispensable factor for treading the way back to God is to develop ethical virtues. One way of developing ethical virtues is simply to dive into the sea of love and become so absorbed that we have no time or interest to get involved with negative habits and failures. We will become so lost in the love of God that we will not have the time to criticize anyone or get involved in petty disputes. We will have no time to fight over possessions. Instead, we will be interested in uniting our soul with God and spending time in those activities which will speed us towards that goal. Until we reach that state, we have to consistently weed out our ethical failures one by one, day by day. These are replaced by the positive virtues of nonviolence, truthfulness, purity, humility, selfless service, and the maintenance of vegetarian diet. We will want to avoid hallucinogenic drugs and alcohol which lessen our consciousness and are a deterrent to our goal of becoming more conscious. As long as we continue to have failures in these categories, we are besmearing our soul with more and more blemishes and more and more karma. At the end of each day, we need to evaluate our thoughts, words, and deeds and become aware of our failures in each category. We then resolve to do better the following day and eliminate these deficiencies.
If we wish to reach God in this lifetime, we should spend daily time in meditation. We cannot undo our long, long past, but we can take charge of our future. We can use our discrimination to make choices which will help our soul to reach its eternal goal in this lifetime. The spiritual adepts have given us a blueprint for our personal transformation. It is up to us to take the first step.
The writer is a spiritual leader
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