By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
Spirituality is not only developed in one place like a monastery, or on the banks of a river, or in the wilderness. If we want spirituality, it can be developed in any place. We can recognize our spirituality in whatever culture, region, or religion we are born and in whatever activities we are involved.
Although in some forms of mysticism people try to negate life and everything else just to concentrate on their spiritual journey, we need to become complete human beings.
We need to develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Actually, on the health of the spirit depends the health of the body, mind, and intellect.
In the East it is said that when the peacock dances in the jungle or forest and nobody sees it, what good is it? Just like a flower that blooms and gives fragrance to others, so should we. Hence, we should remain in our outer societies and not negate that part of our life.
Once we recognize that we are souls, we need to spend time in enhancing our spiritual capabilities. To do so, we need to set spiritual goals. If, on the other hand, we spend our time haphazardly, without knowing where we are going, then we will have a hard time reaching our aspirations. In the spiritual arena, our goals consist of spending time in meditation and in improving our ethical life.
On the spiritual path we need to realize what is important, set our goals, and do whatever makes sense to take us in a direction to reach those goals. It is essential to realize that there are certain factors that will help us in our spiritual progress.
The key is to still the mind. If we do not still the mind, we will not be able to recognize ourselves spiritually. Therefore, leading an ethical life in which we cultivate the virtues of truthfulness, nonviolence, humility, purity, and selflessness will aid us on the spiritual path. When we lead virtuous lives, our mind is calmer, and once our body and mind are stilled, we can connect with the divinity within. This is why the mind, which is the source of all desires, must be stilled.
Keeping the mind focused on God helps us in this process. That is where the principle of simran comes into play. Simran keeps the mind occupied by the repetition of the names of God. If the mind is empty, thoughts will come in, and as soon as a thought enters—whether it is a good or bad thought—it distracts us in our meditation. Once we learn how to still our mind, we automatically get closer to a state of having no desires.
If we want spirituality, it can be developed in any place. It does help when we live in a peaceful environment where there is little or no commotion around us. It definitely helps when there is peace, calm, and quiet. That is why we find a quiet place to meditate, but when we reach a certain level in our spiritual growth, none of these outer things bother us.
There is a story of Isaac Newton who was sitting by a roadside, lost in thought.
He was so absorbed that he did not notice a band passing by. Similarly, when someone’s attention is focused on the divine within, nothing in the outside surroundings bothers him or her. It takes a long time to get to that state, but we can improve spiritually wherever we are and in whatever environment we live.
In order to reach our spiritual goals, we need to evaluate our priorities so that our desires do not make us attached to the objects or activities of the world. Instead, when we are detached, our attention will automatically focus on the Divine.