The Wisdom of Robert Adams #16

Reading is only for motivation. Be careful what you read. There are too many books. If you speak to those people who have really become enlightened, you will find that they hardly ever read at all. May be a couple of books but what they did, was the sadhana, the spiritual practices required. They worked on themselves consistently, constantly, 24 hours a day.

-Robert Adams

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Spiritual Essays #78

Cultivating the Attitude of Forgiveness

by Jayaram V

Our religions say that God is the best healer. He heals us by forgiving our failures and shortcomings. We all have this divine power to heal ourselves and others with forgiveness. It is in healing through forgiveness, and by forgiving those who multiply our suffering, we come closest to God. Before we discuss the importance of forgiveness in spiritual practice and the need for cultivating forgiving nature or the attitude of forgiveness, let us contemplate upon some healing truths.

Whether you hurt someone or hurt by someone, you are invariably disturbed. Therefore, whether you forgive  yourself or others, forgiveness is always an act of letting go and finding peace.  Forgiving others is a good karma. It is an opportunity to heal yourself. If you do not forgive them, you will carry that burden until the end, and perhaps into your future lives until it is resolved.

When you seek forgiveness from others, you help them do good karma, which is also a good karma in itself. However, you know that you cannot control others, but you can control yourself and your attitude. Therefore, when it comes to seeking forgiveness, it is better to keep your expectations low and practice humility. It may be assuring to know that if you seek forgiveness with sincerity and right attitude, you are forgiven, whether others forgive you or not, since God is the witness to all our actions and he knows a good deed when he sees one. Some sins are unforgivable. Only time and retribution will heal them. From the wisdom of our scriptures and spiritual masters we know that through suffering all sins are forgiven.

It is difficult to forgive others when you feel you are wronged, and your anger is perfectly justified. It is where you have an opportunity to rise above yourself and show your compassion. Whether you forgive someone, or not, is purely a personal choice. It depends upon your thinking and attitude and your beliefs and values. Sometimes, it is very difficult to forgive, especially when the hurt is deep and cannot easily be forgotten. Sometimes, it may last for a lifetime. Past life regression suggest that it may even last for several lifetimes and become a source of suffering. It shows how difficult it is for people to practice forgiveness.

However, we also know the consequences of unforgiving nature. People who are unforgiving and hold on to their grudges and grievances experience a lot of suffering and negativity. It shows up in their behavior and attitude, as they carry their distrust, anger and bitterness for long and become self-defensive. Consumed by their feelings of negativity, which effects their judgment, reason and discernment, they may also suffer from social alienation, monetary losses, depression and ill-health,

In some cultures, certain offenses can never be forgiven, since God himself does not condone them. In some, forgiveness is done by retaliation or by seeking an eye for an eye. How and why you forgive others depend upon your beliefs and personal values. It is not even necessary that you have to tell others that you have forgiven them. You can just internally do it and be free from all negativity. It is difficult to generalize and say what motivates a person to forgive others. However, we know that a person is forgiving to the extent he or she is spiritual and enlightened. Knowledge and education also help.

Forgiveness is self-cleansing. It has transformative power. It is a virtue and good karma. The attitude of forgiveness can be cultivated by practice. It is encouraged in almost all religious and spiritual traditions. Forgiveness is a virtue in itself and has its own physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Everyone needs to practice it for their own peace and happiness. By forgiving others you mend your relationships, feel good about yourself, overcome stress and anxiety, improve your physical and mental health and heal yourself.

Factors that contribute to forgiveness

As long as you have a body and depend upon food, you cannot avoid hurting others for your survival. Therefore, you must constantly seek forgiveness from all things that sacrifice themselves to sustain you and nourish you. It is why we have the tradition of offering food to God before eating it. By offering it to God, you are passing on all the sinful karma that is associated with it, the pain and suffering of all the beings that went into its making.

One should therefore cultivate forgiveness even if one is nonviolent and leads a dedicated, spiritual life. The attitude of forgiveness is a culmination of your spiritual practice and inner growth. By cultivating it, you can cultivate all other related virtues. The following factors facilitate the attitude of forgiveness. You can practice forgiveness by cultivating them. At the same time, by practicing forgiveness, you can cultivate all of them as they reinforce each other, just as the branches of a banynan tree. As you learn to forgive others, you will become more virtuous and spiritual. You will become God like and develop a healing personality. By that, you will heal your relationships, your past, others and yourself.

Attention: Pay attention to the world around you. It helps you see the deeper aspects of life, which we usually miss, and connect with your own deeper thoughts and feelings.

Connection: Find yourself in others. See the similarities. By that you will connect with the people around you, establish affinity and share their thoughts and feelings from deep inside.

Reflection: By reflecting upon things, people and life, we gain insight in the nature of our existence, and our behavior, which in turn help us become more understanding and forgiving.

Self-acceptance: We all make mistakes. When we realize that just as we are, others too are vulnerable to certain weaknesses and errors in judgment, we become more tolerant and forgiving.

Egolessness: Egoistic people rarely forgive or forget. The ego is responsible for conflicts, aggression and selfish behavior. By controlling it, one can cultivate tolerance and understanding.

Humility: When you practice humility, you will set aside your egoistic pride, vanity and self-importance, recognizing others as your equals and their right to self-expression and self-esteem.

Compassion: Forgiveness is an offshoot of many virtues. Compassion is one of them. If you have compassion for others for their suffering, you will naturally forgive others and let them go

Nonviolence: The essence of nonviolence is you do not disturb anyone and you are not disturbed by anyone. It means, you will not give any cause to forgive others or seek forgiveness from them.

Friendliness: By cultivating universal friendliness or agreeableness, you will seek harmony rather than rancor, and willingly forgive others with compassion for their weakness and wrong actions.

Empathy: By feelings the feelings and emotions of others, you develop an understanding of others, as you observe their actions and suffering. It will help you cultivate the attitude of forgiveness.

Understanding: Problems in relationships mainly arise due to misunderstandings as each side fails to understand the other. With understanding you become more tolerant and forgiving.

Open-mindedness: If you are open-minded, you listen to others and understand their viewpoints. You will also have greater tolerance for your mistakes and shortcomings and those of others.

Flexibility: It is difficult to forgive if you stick to your point of view. By being flexible and changing your thinking or your perspective, you will see the same problem in a different light and feel differently.

Minimize expectations: If you have expectations, you may not easily change your thinking or attitude towards others, nor can you think and act objectively. Therefore, lower your expectations.

Spirituality and forgiveness

Forgiveness means letting go of the negativity or the feelings of resentment, anger, animosity, etc., which you may hold in your mind towards others. Even if you are fully justified in having such feelings, you must be willing to let go of them for your own good, so that you are not oppressed by your own thoughts or your resistance to let the wrong doers go unpunished. To be able to forgive the most unforgivable actions, the injustices, wickedness and cruelty of the world, it requires a large heart, which only a few can possess. If you can repeatedly do that, it means you have made the attitude of forgiveness an integral part of your consciousness and essential nature.

The attitude of forgiveness is a direct outcome of the attitude of spirituality. Spiritual practice essentially involves the cultivation of all the virtues which we are mentioned here. They arise as one focuses upon cleansing the mind and body by restraining the mind and the senses, overcoming egoism, desires and attachments and cultivating the higher virtues such as detachment, equanimity and sameness.

As someone said, forgiveness is not for the weak. It requires strength and a large heart to forgive others and let go of the hard feelings that settle in the mind. Since all virtues are interrelated and work in tandem, and since the cultivation of one leads to the cultivation of others, by practicing forgiveness, you can also simultaneously cultivate all others that contribute to it. In other words, you can transform your nature and life by practicing just one virtue, the virtue of forgiving yourself and others.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Spiritual Teachings #47 Hinduism

The True Meaning of Surrender (Saranagati)

“Let me, Thy prey, Surrender unto Thee and be consumed, and so have peace, O Arunachala!

I came to feed on Thee, but Thou hast fed on me; now there is peace, Oh Arunachala!”

(Five Hymns to Arunachala – #28)

The first presentation on Saranagati  (Surrender) concluded with an understanding of the nature of surrender as being a concentrated and definitive movement of the mind and heart towards God. Sri Krishna extolled us to “Fly unto Him, and take refuge in Him alone”. Sri Ramana Maharshi’s guidance gave us the conviction to “abide by the will of God and not make a grievance of what may not please you, for distress often leads men to faith in God. Therefore you must only trust God. 1

Without doubt, these words are full of Truth and inspiration. But, as is often said in the scriptures of both East and West: “Inspiration is one thing, the effect it has on our life and sadhana is quite another.” Soothing words do soften the sorrow of the human heart, but too often their effect fails to translate into lasting progressive movement towards God. Even if we are truly motivated to “Take wings and fly to the shelter of the bosom of our heavenly Father”, we remain human by inheritance, and thus a sybarite by nature. One may be really very zealous in his austerities and vows in the beginning, but if one is not on a very proper guard, slowly the vigor will be relaxed, comforts will creep in the mind and man will be caught very miserably. For this very reason, an understanding of the nature of “surrender” pales in significance when compared with an exact knowledge of “What “saranagati” practically is, and more importantly, how it is done?”

For clarification of this most essential question let us now rely further on Bhagavan and the Bhagavad Gita as our Guru, as our “Spirit of guidance.” Taking their hands of Guidance and Blessing, may we proceed onwards to the “further shore”.

“Blessings on your journey to the further shore beyond darkness!”

(Mundaka Upanishad 2.2.6)

A visitor once asked of Bhagavan: “What is self-surrender?”

Bhagavan replied: “It is the same as mind-control. The ego submits when it recognizes the higher authority of the Atman. This is the beginning of surrender…  “Complete surrender to God means giving up all thoughts and concentrating the mind on Him. If we can concentrate on Him, other thoughts disappear. If mano-vak-kaya karmas, i.e., the actions of the mind, speech and body, are merged with God, all the burdens of our life will be on Him.” Bhagavan continued with a quote from the Gita:

ananyas cintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate tesam nityabhiyutanam yogaksemam vahamy aham

“Lord Krishna told Arjuna in the Gita,

Those men who worship, directing their thoughts to Me,

Whose minds do not go elsewhere;

For them, who are constantly steadfast,

I secure what they lack and preserve what they already possess.

(Bhagavad Gita IX, verse 22)

Bhagavan continues and explains: “Arjuna had to do the fighting. So Sri Krishna said, ‘Place all the burden on Me, do your duty; you are merely an instrument. I will see to everything. Nothing will bother you.’ But then, before one surrenders to God, one should know who it is that surrenders. Unless all thoughts are given up there can’t be surrender. When there are no thoughts at all, what remains is only the Self. So surrender will only be to one’s Self. If surrender is in terms of bhakti, the burden should be thrown on God, and if it is in terms of karma, karma should be performed until one knows one’s own Self. The result is the same in either case. Surrender means to enquire and know about one’s own Self and then remain in the Self. What is there apart from the Self?” 2

Here, very definitely, Bhagavan is guiding us towards a practice of what will culminate within an effective meditative process of Atma Vichara. Many of the most learned Sanskrit scholars define “vichara” as a process primarily of “reflection” and secondarily as “enquiry”. We can see the efficacy of this within the guiding words of Bhagavan above in relation to “surrender”.

In order to, “Place all the burden on God, and do our duty merely as an instrument, for God will see to everything”, we surely must ‘somehow’ invoke and perceive THAT VERY PRESENCE. Otherwise, how in heaven or on earth are we to “throw our burden on the Lord” if we do not know the place where to drop off the delivery!

The followers of all religions uniformly face the same dilemma; how is God to be found? All who seek to solve this ‘mystery of life’ find guidance in the saints. It is not essential to become a saint in order to find God, nor is it necessary. What is essential is that someone did it, and through their compassion they shed ‘light on the path’ that we may follow as we proceed onwards toward attainment.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Rosicrucian Reflections #126

“Mysticism teaches cosmic laws and principles by which we are brought into closer consciousness of our divine power. The mystical experience of union with the One imposes upon the mystic a moral obligation — to use this knowledge for the welfare of others.”

-Rosicrucian Manuscript

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Essene Meditations and Blessings #126

Meditation

I can feel it, almost see it;

There is electricity in the air

Which urges life to live.

“Fully live,” it calls to me,

“Fully know your Self,

Accept the challenge of your life,

Experience it all.”

“I am the Word.” God said.

“All this and more are you.”

“I am the Word.” I say to God.

“I accept your task for me.”

Blessing

It is I who asks

For your blessing, Father,

No longer in whimpered tones.

I have grown throughout the seasons

And stand now tall and sure.

I am sensing

Who I truly am,

And I stand to meet the test.

I am your Word within this life,

This lifetime

Know I this.

-Danaan Parry

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you alway be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis