I was not born into a religion, nor has religion been a part of my life, until I was 21 years old.
That is when I first began meditation. Since then, studying religion has been a source of joy for me. I wanted to know what billions of people, for thousands of years were talking about; what is God? My personal experiences have created a set of beliefs about reality. Whether they are real or not doesn’t matter. What matters is how they influence my life.
To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances;
to seek him, the greatest adventure;
to find him, the greatest human achievement.
– St. Augustine
We all live in a world of narratives, which are more or less coherent stories that we are told, and we tell ourselves, about the events and people around us in order to make sense of them. Therefore a religion can be seen as a complex structure of narratives about reality intended to accomplish a specific goal (often labeled as liberation). Religion is important because embracing a more uplifting interpretation of reality is a necessary step on the way to complete transcendence of all narratives.
There are many multiple layers of traditions and religions that we can study and enjoy the details of, that base themselves on going further and further into what is simply unbelievable and astonishing.
– Mark Dyczkowski
I resonated and fell in love with the Kashmir Shaivism point of view. One of the things that appealed to me, was the conception of a sanatana dharma, an eternal religion. This idea, called the Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley, held that behind all the varieties of religious approaches and doctrines, there exists a common core that is the eternal religion of mankind. No individual religion had yet reached this core, and because of that, there is so much misunderstanding and hatred among different faiths.
Reading Kashmir Shaivism, I felt that I was at last face-to-face with the sanatana dharma, a spirituality so inclusive, compassionate and human that it transcended all others. Indeed, though it is a spirituality of great sublimity, it rejects none of the lesser ones. Every path has its place within the borders of Kashmir Shaivism, understanding that at different stages of the soul’s journey, it is appropriate for the soul to adopt a relatively limited philosophy, suitable to its level of understanding.
Personally, I’ve always wanted to know, “What does reality actually look and feel like from within the Kashmir Shaivism worldview?”
I present to you some of my dearest beliefs which I try daily to live my life by.
Grow, Grow… and Grow
The school of life is an ongoing institution of higher realization. You don’t graduate until you’re God.
– Mike Yap
I search for growth every day. Physical, mental, and spiritual—we need all three to fully evolve. I believe that if you progress spiritually, the mental and physical growth will naturally come. This is why my personal Sadhana is the most important thing in my life.
The whole dance of life is one of imagination, envisioning the next set of eyes we will see the world through, and then doing the work to manifest it. First we imagine a better future, and then we pull reality forward to shape a new life that is deeply true. Take out your paint brush and paint yourself into being.
Do you remember how your life yearned out of childhood toward the “great thing”? I see that is now yearning forth beyond the great thing toward the greater one. That is why it does not cease to be difficult, but that is also why it will not cease to grow.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
So called “late-bloomers” get a bad rep. Sometimes the people with the greatest potential often take the longest to find their path because their sensitivity is a double edged sword–it lives at the heart of their brilliance, but it also makes them more susceptible to life’s pains. Good thing we aren’t being penalized for handing in our purpose late. The soul doesn’t know a thing about deadlines.
Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
– Carl Sagan
I enjoy contemplating nature—the power it has to humble us. Looking up in the night sky at the stars; standing beside a giant mountain; watching waves crash into the rocks; observing how a baby is born.
To enjoy this universe, we will need imagination. But imagination alone is not enough, because the reality of nature, is far more wondrous than anything we can imagine.
– Neil deGrasse Tyson
One thing I always remember is that I know nothing. All the scriptures, all the meditation, all the wisdom, does not mean I know anything other than myself. If we just accept, that even on our best day, we have only gone a short distance down the path to wholeness, we will not fall into the trap of taking ourselves too seriously. God loves teachers who remain students.
The result of this belief is the humblest reverence to the vast, creative intelligence of life.
It’s not about pride, there’s something immensely greater than pride.
– Mark Dyczkowski
Being open minded to new experiences and seeing the infinite possibilities life has to offer us. Enjoying each experience for what it is.
The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Changing my perception is changing my life. We don’t see things as they are we see them as we are in this moment. When I silence my thoughts and let go of the attachment of how I think life should be going, my perception changes almost effortlessly.
I always remember to not take things seriously. After all, life is too short. I only need to look up to the sky and remind myself how small I am in this universe. No reason to be serious. I often find myself laughing at the most simple things, out of pure joy!
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children.
– Khalil Gibran
By knowing yourself as the awareness in which phenomenal existence happens, you become free of dependency on phenomena and free of self seeking in situations, places, and conditions. In other words, what happens or doesn’t happen is not that important any more. Things lose their heaviness, their seriousness. A playfulness comes into your life. You recognize this world as a cosmic dance, the dance of form.
– Eckhart Tolle
All fear stems from fear of the unknown. What is more unknown than death?
Through meditation, contemplation, and self-reflection, you can expand your awareness to reach an experience of pure awareness. When you are established there, fear of death is replaced by knowing the state of immortality.
Make uncertainty your ally, not your enemy. All leaps forward depend on reaching into the unknown. Once you see the unknown as the source of creativity, you no longer fear it. Instead, you welcome the fact that life renews itself in unexpected ways.
A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.
– William G.T. Shedd
Once you fully embrace that, it’s time to jump into this fresh, wild life and ride the waves. There are ups and downs but it’s better to ride them then to sink. The wildness of life is invigorating, supportive, yet dangerous. Dare to explore unknown places. What an exciting place to be alive!
Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering its a feather bed.
– Terence McKenna
This secret knowledge of immortality makes me feel that I am at home wherever I go. There are no longer contracted boundaries of living. I can travel anywhere and still find my centre.
Explore the life that is the life of your present form. One day you will discover it is not different from the life of the Secret One, and your heart will sing triumphant songs of being at home everywhere.
– The Radiance Sutras
Follow Your Heart
Although you may think that your sacred purpose is way ahead of you on the path, it’s actually just sleeping inside of you. It will appear now and then, like a butterfly floating behind your eyes, reminding you of what lives inside of you. You may not see it often, but it always has you in its sights.
– Jeff Brown
In a survivalist world, it is rare for us to identify with our calling. Most of us barely even scratch the surface. It’s almost as if our calling is a light that shines too bright. We search for it, but then purposely hide from it because we are not ready to see its full glory. The wonderful thing about life is that we get so many opportunities to come back to our sacred purpose, even if we have been disconnected from God for a very long time. I love how God set it up so that the path rises up to meet us time and again, inviting us to see the light just one more time, until we are ready to fully open our eyes. This is the nature of karma.
I invite us to honour our bravery. Given that most of the world is still vibrating around survivalism, the simple fact that we have formed the intention to transform our consciousness is already courageous. When we actually make a leap of faith and set sail for our sacred purpose, we have truly embarked on the Hero’s Journey.
This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over-analyzing; life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once: seize them. Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people. We are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring passion with them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream, and share your passion.
Remember, when it comes to a career, success is simply the completion of higher-realization. You have finished what you started when the lesson is learned. What an egoic and fear based culture calls a wonderful job opportunity may be useless for your soul. If you need to explore ten careers in order to excavate and honour your unique path, then so be it. You should be more afraid of avoiding your path than walking it. Some say “Do what you love and the money will follow.” This is misleading, what is more realistic is “Do what you love and the money may follow.” Some of us follow a path that doesn’t generate an adequate income, but we are called to follow it nonetheless. We have to do what we came here to do even if it means that we make our money doing something else on the side. If we do what we really love, there is no such thing as retirement.
Spend Time Alone
Sometimes the path towards Truth is a quiet one. Learn how to hold your own hand—they won’t teach you this in school. When you are alone, you give yourself time to travel in subtle ways along the corridors of the inner world towards the centre of God-Consciousness. Remember, there is a time to adventure whole-heartily into new possibilities, but there is also a need for quiet integration time on the self-creation journey. We can have all the peak experiences we want but the real work happens between the peaks, while laying down and integrating on the valley of the floor.
Choose Your Friends
Choose your friends carefully, because as the famous quote says:
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
– Jim Rohn
You can either change your internal world to change your external world, or change your external world to change your internal world. They are related more closely than we’d like to think. The problem is there’s 7 billion people on this planet and if you choose to focus on negative shit, you will find enough of it to fill every second of your day.
The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony. No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.
– Napoleon Hill
See the God in Everyone
n. an ancient African word meaning “humanity to others” or “I am because we all are”.
A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.
I often imagine a world where we are not in competition with our fellow humans, but truly happy when others actualize their dreams. A world where we get excited for each other when we achieve–where we do not see another’s accomplishments as a reminder of what we have not yet actualized–but as living proof that it is possible for all of us. By having respect for everyone’s spiritual identity, this also brings an innate happiness in us all. We can understand that we are only visiting this planet for a short time, and that we are all in this together. In other words, my contribution to your well-being, especially spiritual well-being, will be an automatic contribution to my own existence. In this way, society at large is in a state of constant improvement.
I consider it a honour when I am asked to help another human being during a difficult time. To be granted the opportunity to give back to humanity is no small thing. Union is diversity. While we are here in embodied form, let’s get in close and help each other.