An innate feeling of belonging burns in the hearts of every sentient being like embers in an everlasting fire pit. During the human experience, desire permeates through every person in hopes it will be fulfilled by the time death comes to collect its debt. Some seek after the external one to complete the yang to yin or vice versa. On the opposite is the sum of people searching for the internal one. The holistic being of many pieces scattered throughout the timeline of life waiting for its individual to facet the puzzle together. The connection can be hard to find for long term in either respect. Mastering the art of spirituality is a rather complex internal dating realm compared to the external love journey. Everything in its own time.
"The journey is the destination," said best by Dan Eldon, a photojournalist.
Awareness to this reality puts the questing mind at ease.
Enlightenment or awareness in Buddhist texts such as the vedas, Dharma, the 37 principles of the Bodhisattva, and various sutras can be defined as the ability to relate the self with all. No separation exists between one and the other as all have come from a common source, "The Source." The source can be referred to as God or more specific names depending on religious beliefs. Buddhism recognizes God as the highest being within ourselves. Realizing the self as a divine whole is believed to relieve one from suffering and material attachments. Everything in an individual's internal experience is reflected in the external.
"We have made God's of our virtues and Demons from our vices," says Carl Jung discussing the manifestation of archetypes in Phillip Wylie's review of his work in an Essay on Morals. One man's search for faith differs from another as they are on separate paths to the same end goal. Yet, throughout religious philosophies a relative message can be paraphrased as spreading love, compassion, and understanding in accordance with one's spirituality.
In Hinduism, God comprises three, known as the Trimurti, a supreme divine involving Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu.
Brahma as the creator of all. All Hindu gods are a refraction of Brahma as he is the father of all. However, he is the least celebrated due to the belief he has already fulfilled his role in the universe until the next creation cycle begins.
Vishnu is the preserver of the universe. He is Hindu values and is to never sleep for if he sleeps the world turns back into the seed from which it began. His right side depicts the day while his left side is the night.
Shiva is revered as the destroyer, creator, and preserver in Hinduism because he is believed to usher in the new world. He balances the chaos with his positive and negative sides. Shiva is the master of his passions with ability to withhold from his pleasures as well transform them into creative energy. The representation of Shiva is both masculine and feminine, the balance of energies in the world.
Compared to Christianity a similar structure in deities are supported in faith. The holy trinity is the representation of God as three, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In Christian faith, God is not celebrated as a trinity but three in essence that makes the whole. God is worshiped as the divine, Jesus as the son to protect, and the Holy Spirit in all devotees.
Kabbalah, a discipline within Judaism also recognizes a spiritual trinity with Kether as the Tree of Life and divine consciousness while Chokmah acts as the son as well as masculine energy and Binah acting as the female energy. Of these three brings the creation of life.
It can be hard to find one religious text that resonates with the soul and gives a safe space for that inner fire to grow amicably with like-minded peers outside of the major institutions that have already established roots. Where does one find the one in the context of spirituality?
Sadhana or Spiritual Practice
The first question that should be asked is what is the need for faith and what is of value?
Understanding these answers allow for the ability to delve deep within the self for the holistic journey.
H.S. Shivaprakash, a poet and playwright has written a remarkable novel of his experience discovering spirituality. Raised in Shavism Hindu tradition, his family's spiritual practice didn't settle with him as Ultimate Truth. The book details his quest to find his sadhana.
By the suggestion of Swami Bhajanananda, "Some people plunge into Sadhana unthinkingly. Soon, their hearts are full of doubts. It is better to experience atheism as well as you can. Stick to it while your experience agrees with it. Live it. Get into sadhana only when your atheism is shaken by your experience. Sadhana has nothing to do with theism or its opposite. It is beyond both."
He experimented with atheism to question the teachings already written on spirituality. Books can only give you so much information while experience opens the gates of understanding.
"Even atheism is a faith," says Shivaprakash. The flower that was atheism budded after two situations. One was when he saw a dog that had been run over and belly ripped open leaving him to bleed out and die in his presence within moments. The second, he helped a starving man by giving him bread, bananas, and tea until he was full. It convinced him that no appeal to God could mitigate suffering but acts of kindness.
When he outgrew atheism, he didn't at once reach out to theism but his own spiritual practice.
"Faith is merely a stepping stone that may or may not be able to help you along your path."
The belief is that when one searches for a guru, they are to abide by the teachings and discipline of that guru and to not seek out another. He did the opposite. Shivaprakash took the guidance of a few gurus in various religions such as Chistianity, Islam, and Hinduism. He was dedicated to each one in their aspects of spirituality but realizing the one he could learn the most from was himself, his most inner self.
The Reason for the Season
The Law of Conservation states that energy neither be created nor destroyed. In faiths such as Hinduism and Buddhism for example, this same principle also exists in reincarnation. Deities, Bodhisattva, avatars, and beings alike are incarnated once and regenerated into their next lives to fulfill certain duties, a purpose.
"If you want to make others happy, practice compassion. If you want to achieve happiness, practice compassion," a famous quote by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Finding the purpose for existing can be a result of spiritual growth. The issue is that individuals focus most of their lives focused on self-development rather than its companion, other-development. Humans are the most evolved species presently known. With the ability to think, process thoughts, learn new information, and communicate allows for infinite comprehension to the mysteries of life. Everyone knows something that the next man doesn't. Other-development is this shared experience of learning, giving, and taking.
"One man doesn't make a team."
"It takes a village to raise a child."
"Rome wasn't built in a day."
An individual is not made of themselves but the environment. Parent's beliefs, friend's values, media, and culture. Beings are one yet many. To think of the one is to focus on the plethora of experiences in our lives. Taking every moment as a lesson to reflect on for its good and bad.