Pollution and spirituality
Just as we have polluted the environment, our insatiable appetite for gratifying our senses has polluted the purity of our soul, writes Sant Rajinder Singh
Like air and water, the soul has an innate beauty of its own. It is made of the same essence as God. A saint has said, “God is love, the soul being of the same essence as God is love, and the way back to God is also through love.” For millions of years, our earth has had clean air and fresh flowing waters. But our exploitation of the planet has sullied these natural resources. We have polluted our air, water, and soil and are destroying the earth’s ozone layer, forests, and its animals. In a similar fashion, our insatiable appetite for gratifying our senses has polluted the natural purity of soul.
When soul inhabits a physical body, it must work through a physical mind and organs. Many of us think that our seat of intelligence is brain. But the brain is merely a tool, like a complex computer, through which the soul communicates with and receives impressions from the outer world. The operator behind the machinery of the body and mind is the soul. The soul should have been in control of the mind and body, but the situation has been reversed. The soul is now led by the mind and has been caught up in the multicoloured impressions of the world.
The sights and sounds, the aromas and tastes, and the intriguing sensations of the world have attracted our attention, which is the outer expression of our soul. As a result, our attention has been dragged outward through the nine doors of the body: The two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, the mouth, and two organs below. The mind, being a lover of enjoyment, has pulled our consciousness into the physical world, and we have forgotten our true self.
We pass our life caught up in sensuous and worldly pleasures. We have come to believe that the purpose of our life is to amass worldly and material gifts such as wealth, possessions, relations, and name and fame, and power. We forget that none of these can go with us when we die. They are as vaporous as mirages in the desert. We depart from the world as we came in — as soul, devoid of material belongings.
For many, this realisation occurs too late. The worldly desires and sensuous pleasures settle like dust on the pure soul. After aeons of coming and going in the world, our soul has become so covered with the pollution of worldly impressions that we cannot recognise it. But there are some fortunate souls who experience an awakening. They come to realise that there is a spiritual significance to life. An innate desire for immortality moves these souls to solve the mystery of life and death. When the questions of who we are, why are we here, and where do we go arise within us, a spiritual spark is ignited. We cannot rest until we find the answer. A sincere cry issues forth from deep within us, and we pray to the Lord for help and guidance.
The ecologists, who work to clean our polluted air and water, are the environmental heroes and heroines of our times. We also have in our world ecologists of the soul. These beings have realised the pristine beauty of the spirit and are aware of those pollutants which cover it with layers of dirt and filth. They too are working constantly to find those seekers trapped in worldly desires so they can be set free.
The divine ecologists are better known to us as the saints and mystics, prophets and spiritual masters who have come throughout the ages. They themselves have become pure and free of all that pollutes the soul. And they are able to free others as well. They have liberated their soul from the limits of the physical body and have soared above on the pure, divine stream back to God.
Saints and masters can hear the cries of the souls yearning to be free. A spiritual master can show us our true nature. He teaches us how to analyse ourselves so that we can separate our soul or self from the layers of mind, matter, and illusion that cover it. He does this through spiritual initiation and by teaching us a method of meditation.
Meditation is another term for the science of inverting our attention from the outer world to the one within. We learn how to withdraw our attention from the outer doors of the senses and bring it to a point within us known as the 10th door, or the third or single eye. It is located between and behind the eyebrows.
If our planet, with its interdependent ecology systems, is to survive, we have to learn to live in harmony with all creations. Ecology means that if we are polluting our world, it shows that we do not care about anyone else. If we cared about our family, we would not do anything to pollute the environment and make life difficult for other humans. The whole problem of ecology could be solved if we started to realise that each form of creation inhabiting the earth is an embodied soul. If we realise the soul in us is the same soul that inhabits every being, whether plant or animal, and comes from the same source, then we would care about and love every being. We would see the light of God in each living thing. And what does love mean? The real divine love means you care about them. And caring about someone means that you do not want to make their life difficult. If all of us start thinking of everyone else as our brothers and sisters, as being of the same essence as God that we are, then we would not do anything to harm other people. We would try to live our lives so that we do not pollute the environment in which other people have to reside.
Thus, we have to develop a kind of respect for our environment in which we do not ignore the claims and contributions of even the tiniest of insects. Ecologists do not want to alter anything in the environment which will upset the balance of nature. Similarly, when we advance spiritually, we begin to move through life with sensitivity. We no longer injure the feelings of others. As we develop positive virtues and continue meditating, the imperfections and pollutants that covered us fall away and we are restored to our original purity. Let us devote our time to the spiritual practices so we can recover our innate God-given beauty. Once we develop it, we will reflect the radiance to all those with whom we come in contact. We will, in fact, shower that love on all living things and on our planet earth.
By restoring the ecological health of our soul, we will be purifying and uplifting all creation. Then, this world will return to the divine stage of godly bliss and ecstasy for which we were created.
The writer is a spiritual leader
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