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Finding Time

Discussion in 'Spiritual Articles' started by Archived_Member16, Apr 3, 2006.

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  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    Finding Time


    In today’s world, because we experience so many competing demands on our time and new opportunities for spending it, we must continually triage our possible engagements. Since our spiritual work does not obviously and unequivocally contribute to our material well-being, we tend to let it slide, allowing other musts and wants to take precedence over our time for meditation and prayer. Even if we were to live a hundred years, our life would be all-too-brief compared to our possibilities. How can we manage this precious, limited resource of time to give our inner work its due?

    First and foremost we examine our priorities. Do I spend my time in ways that matter? Does my lifestyle support and express my inner work? Do I allow the spiritual attraction of the sacred to shape my commitments and drives?

    We might seek to understand how much time we really need for meditation and prayer. How much is useful at our current stage of inner evolution? Toward that, we can experiment with longer and shorter periods of formal practice and see how they affect our level of presence during the day.

    Once we have a clearer picture of what would be useful, we can look to adjust our life accordingly. Perhaps we need to go to sleep earlier so as to have more time for morning meditation and prayer. Maybe we take a half hour out of our evening to practice, or extra time on the weekends, or a brief meditation in the midst of our busy day.

    But a whole other realm of time also awaits us. By distinguishing between inner and outer time, we can more than double our time. The quality of our presence determines the quality of our time. To the extent we live in presence, we add a vivid inner experience to our outer experience, vastly enhancing the value and perceived length of any interval of time. With presence we live in two parallel times: one belonging to our body and the outer world, and another belonging to our inner life.

    Some of our outer activities require our full inner resources, while many others do not. But as our attention grows wide and deep, and as our practice fills our reservoir of energies, more of life falls into the latter category, leaving us free to discover an inner space-time that parallels the outer. We then live two lives: an inner life and an outer, each enriching the other. Further along the way, these two merge back together in the fullness of a unified spirit.

    Within that spirit, our practice touches what is beyond time altogether. A brief moment lived in depth can hold as much life as an entire day lived on the surface. As we enter deeply into the present moment, time disappears as our “now” becomes timeless, eternal. The events of life pass through our contextual consciousness, which fashions them into a seamless whole. By way of that timeless dimension, the sacred enters, offering substance and meaning to all our moments.

    For this week, see if you need more outer time for your inner work. If so, look at how to find it. See, also, how the work of presence creates more life and more time

    http://www.innerfrontier.org/InnerWork/Archive/2006/20060403_Finding_Time.htm
     
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  3. jonnyBravoWarm

    jonnyBravoWarm
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    Sat Sri AKAL
    What you have written is absolutely true.
    Could you kindly explain how our spiritual work effects our material well being. I mean how can reaching great spiritual heights make us reach great material well being
     
  4. simpy

    simpy
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    (simpy previously Surinder Kaur Cheema)
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    Such a wonderful information.
    I appreciate your effort for posting such valuable articles alongwith the source information.
    Good Work.
     
  5. Archived_Member16

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    Materialism and Spirituality: Two ways of Living


    There are two aspects of human life: one that relates to the physical body – materialism; and the other that relates to the inner self (the soul) – spirituality. Materialism means an inclination towards acquiring material possessions and comforts; in short, it is a tendency to lead a life in which pleasures of the body are given preference above anything else. Spirituality means, “centred and established on the soul”, that is, activities in life are decided keeping in mind the awakening of the soul.

    Normally a person’s needs are fulfilled with limited materials such as food to satisfy hunger, few clothes to cover the body, a bed for rest, a house for shelter, etc.; anything over and above the basic needs either remains unused or is misused. For example, if a person who can eat four chapattis for lunch were given eight chapattis, it would be beyond his capacity to eat the extra four chapattis. A single bed is enough for a person to sleep on; any more bed space would remain unused. Considering this, a few hours work is sufficient to satisfy body’s requirements. The same is true for senses also. There are five physical senses: touch, smell, taste, hearing and vision. No matter how beautiful a view may be, the eyes will tire of seeing it after a few minutes. The ears will not be able to listen to melodious music indefinitely. A person will be able to eat only a certain quantity of food of his liking. Thus the senses have limited requirements, beyond which they become saturated. But senses are never satisfied – they always crave for more.

    The mind is considered to be the sixth sense. Its attributes are greed, attachment (moha) towards worldly objects and people, and egoism. The mind experiences joy when these three attributes are attended to. Man generally engages his time and effort in satisfying the requirements of the body and the mind. The mind propels him to fulfill the three attributes and also employs the body in its schemes. This is not surprising, since satisfaction of the senses is a bodily requirement, and the mind is one of the senses.

    The mind is different from the rest of the senses in that it is always unsatisfied and ambitious. New hopes and ambitions arise once the old ones are fulfilled. Suppose a person desires to buy a house. He would remain preoccupied with that thought because there is an attraction in it. Once a house is bought, the attraction fades. If a person does not have children, he would yearn for them; once he has children, they appear burdensome. A similar principle applies to other things, such as household items, clothes, etc and to attachment towards people. Therefore greed and attachment are attractive only until they are fulfilled.

    Egoism also follows a similar principle. A secretary in a company feels his job status is low and aims for a higher status so that he can elevate his standing in the society. It is possible that several persons within the company may be trying for the same position. Therefore he becomes an enemy for them, since now he is an extra competitor in the race. In case he does succeed in fulfilling his egoistic desire in progressing towards his dream position, mental peace would elude him because there would be several people scheming to dislodge him. His ego thus becomes his own dangerous adversary.

    The worth and importance of a well-mannered, disciplined person is obviously more than that of an egoistic person. No circumstances or individuals can challenge a gentleman, whereas examples of egoistic people suffering ruin can be seen all around us. A gentleman is respected while an egoistic person is ignored.

    Greed, attachment and egoism can never be satisfied. They function as mirages – they project nice dreams in front of a person and then disappear. The person then remains busy in fulfilling the dreams. This is the reality behind the body-related requirements, desires and cravings, which provoke the person to fulfil them but which remain unfulfilled. Life is spent in this blind race. Time and efforts are expended in trying to realise something that is imaginary and so dissatisfaction continues. Whatever is acquired fuels the dissatisfaction even more. This is the lifestyle of people today. In the end people realize that they have not achieved anything worthwhile in life.

    The other aspect of life is the inner self or the soul, called antaratma in spiritual terms. Looking after the soul results in eternal peace, satisfaction, bliss and the acquisition of both material and spiritual benefits. Here, priority is given to the soul compared to the body. Therefore bodily requirements are kept to a minimum and the principle of “simple life, high thinking” is adopted. This means, a person who takes care of his soul has to practise restraint over the senses and remain satisfied with minimum resources. If, for example, the food intake is kept low, it has the double benefit of longevity and protection from diseases. On the other hand the consumption of too much sugar, salt and fat can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis respectively. An excess usage of other senses also causes problems. For example, watching too much television or too much exposure to computers damages the eyesight. Youngsters today listen to loud pop music, which severely affects their hearing ability. Overindulgence in sexual activities decreases the vitality of a person.

    Wearing simple clothes serves the purpose of covering the body. In the eyes of wise people, wearing fashionable clothes decreases the value of a person. Why? Because fashionable clothes are expensive, so in their view it would be a waste of money to possess them. A person who cannot afford such clothes and yet wears them means he is fashion and status conscious, and that he would have purchased them on credit. It should be understood that if fashionable, expensive clothes determined the status of a person, no one would have listened to Mahatma Gandhi, who wore only one piece of cloth over his body. But it is a fact that people sacrificed everything at Mahatma Gandhi’s call for Indian independence.

    People who practice restraint never experience financial crisis or remain in debt. They maintain a healthy body and healthy mind. They are called people of character; they receive respect from the society.

    A content man thinks: “when several million people can live in conditions worse than mine, why do I need to increase my possessions? If I can earn honestly and spend wisely, there is no need for me to desire to become rich or adopt immoral means.” It must be noted that only a limited amount of money can be earned honestly. Those who wish to possess an unlimited wealth have to resort to unethical practices.
    If one wishes to develop attachment (moha), why not consider the whole world as his family? Why spend valuable time and efforts for the sake of a few family members only? When this feeling develops, a person exhibits love and compassion towards everyone and offers his services for the welfare of humanity. On the other hand, if one person or a group of persons are showered with excessive love and caring, it spoils their habits and becomes a cause of suffering for everyone concerned.

    Thinking about the welfare of the soul protects a person’s wealth, time and efforts from unnecessary wastage, which can then be directed towards charitable causes. This has been the path adopted by great personalities. It was the reason why they were continuously occupied in the works of welfare. Because of their righteous deeds, they remained satisfied and achieved fame. Everyone around them became their friends, admirers or supporters due to the high quality of their qualities, deeds and nature. They receive the blessings of God and always remain blissful. Nothing remains to be achieved by a person who follows the path of the welfare of the soul.

    A comparison of the lives of great personalities (who adopted the soul as their true guide in life) with ordinary people (who remained focused on their body) shows that real joy and happiness lie in looking after the soul. Although it is necessary to look after the body for survival, the point being made here is that one should not get engrossed too much in satisfying the bodily requirements. Giving priority to bodily requirements causes frustration. Conversely, taking care of the soul primarily and also meeting the minimum needs of the body results in permanent joy. It is this joy that the people are after today but seldom succeed in finding.

    http://www.akhand-jyoti.awgp.org/ArticlesJF03/Materialism_and_Spirituality.html
     

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