All posts tagged self-realization

Karma Yoga: Spiritual Pride and Selfless Service

SHANTI OM: Living and Acting in Peace, Part 2 I saw a fabulous post on Facebook today. It read: “You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” A beautiful sentiment, to which my friend wisely added: “and they never know who you are.” She, a dedicated karma yogi, continued to write, “Nothing as dangerous as ‘spiritual’ pride!” This made me think about the many shadows along the spiritual path, especially when our spiritual lives inspire us to act in selfless service, or along the path of karma yoga. Our ego is a tricky thing. We ceaselessly – driven by our ego – consciously or unconsciously look for opportunities to feed our wanting self, until we wake up to who we really are. When we become enlightened, that is, when we are permanently established in the reality of divine love, we no longer identify with separateness and no longer maintain a separate sense of self. But until such time, for the sincere spiritual seeker, vigilance is required so that we may witness our ego’s tendency to feed, so that we may choose otherwise. Not that far removed from addicts who believe that a drink of alcohol will solve their problems, our ego habitually fools us into feeling fulfilled…

Read more

Shanti Om: Living and Acting in Peace – Part 2: Karma Yoga: Spiritual Pride and Selfless Service

SHANTI OM: Living and Acting in Peace, Part 2 (Part 1: Is Peace Passive?) I saw a fabulous post on Facebook today. It read: “You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” A beautiful sentiment, to which my friend wisely added: “and they never know who you are.” She, a dedicated karma yogi, continued to write, “Nothing as dangerous as ‘spiritual’ pride!” This made me think about the many shadows along the spiritual path, especially when our spiritual lives inspire us to act in selfless service, or along the path of karma yoga. Our ego is a tricky thing. We ceaselessly – driven by our ego – consciously or unconsciously look for opportunities to feed our wanting self, until we wake up to who we really are. When we become enlightened, that is, when we are permanently established in the reality of divine love, we no longer identify with separateness and no longer maintain a separate sense of self. But until such time, for the sincere spiritual seeker, vigilance is required so that we may witness our ego’s tendency to feed, so that we may choose otherwise. Not that far removed from addicts who believe that a drink of alcohol will solve their problems, our ego habitually…

Read more

Ask Parvati 38: Finding Centre in the Busy Day – Part 5: The Gift of the Guru

PART 5: THE GIFT OF THE GURU   We don’t think twice about going to a doctor when we have aches and pains, or consulting a lawyer or an accountant when we need financial or legal advice. We need specialists to help with specific areas of our lives and support our overall well-being.   A spiritual teacher, or guru, is someone who knows the ways of the spiritual path and can lead us to wholeness. Just as we would like to have the most educated and experienced medical doctor take care of our physical health, so too, it is best to find the most evolved being to guide us on our spiritual path. There are many people who claim to be realized beings and are ever willing to hang up a shingle as a self-proclaimed guru. From my experience, those who make claims of being realized are most definitely not.   Having a spiritual teacher to me is the most profound relationship one can have, almost deeper than marriage. A master highlights our strengths and weaknesses and gives us tools to grow into the fullness of who we are. Just as with a doctor, we must do our own healing work, but we are guided by an expert in the field.   Some spiritual teachers would…

Read more

Ask Parvati 31: Relationship Complications – Part 3, Transcending Anger And Low Self-Esteem

  PART THREE: TRANSCENDING ANGER AND LOW SELF-ESTEEM (Continued from Faith and the Unfaithful) Question: How can I transcend anger, lack of confidence and self esteem when I know it’s the ego playing tricks in my mind?  My answer: The process of transcending anger, lack of confidence and low self-esteem are a slow and deep process. Lifetimes slow. If his Holiness the Dalai Lama says he has transcended anger, well there is hope for us all. Yet we must remember that he is in a state of Buddha Mind. So it takes a lot of time and practice! My experience tells me that learning to meet life with humility is a very powerful tool to cultivate self-esteem and self-confidence. When we are willing to learn from our mistakes and painful situations, we begin to see life as a gift, as a supportive process, rather than something “happening to me”. We then feel we have choice, and the ability to create a life we love. If we are willing to admit our own faults and shortcomings, we can feel more compassionate for the shortcomings of others as well. It is natural to feel angry when someone hurts us. But it is a reactive reflex, like you would get if you stepped on a lion’s paw. Anger is…

Read more

Ask Parvati 28: Enlightenment and Emotions – Part 1: What Is Enlightenment?

ENLIGHTENMENT AND EMOTIONS Dear Parvati, When a person is enlightened do they still respond to human emotions the same way that, lets say, the average person would? PART 1: WHAT IS ENLIGHTENMENT? Thank you for this question. It is an important question in that there are many misconceptions about enlightenment, mostly because most of us are not yet fully enlightened. If we are lucky, we may have glimpses. But enlightenment is something most of us actually know very little about from personal experience. They say that only the enlightened can recognize an enlightened being. So not yet being fully realized myself, I can only imagine what the end “goal” would be and how a fully realized being would respond to emotions. I have a sense based on what I have experienced and through learning from great masters. Due to this, I feel it appropriate to talk about emotions and enlightenment in this blog referring to the body of experience that I can offer and in drawing upon to wisdom of the great masters that guide our way. Unlike book learning, wisdom that comes from experience resonates in complete understanding through our entire being. There have been periods in my life of blissful flow and oneness, but not in a permanent way. I also experience states of…

Read more

Ask Parvati 18: TO DO OR NOT TO DO, THAT IS THE QUESTION. PART 5: WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?

PART 5: WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? (Continued from “Karma Yoga: Action As A Means To Self-Realization”) Mildred Norman was an American pacifist, vegetarian and peace activist.  Born modestly on a farm in New Jersey, she felt an inner call in her mid life to simply walk for peace and listen to God. In 1953 she adopted the name “Peace Pilgrim” and walked across the United States for 28 years. Her only possessions were the clothes on her back and the few items she carried in the pockets of her blue tunic which read “Peace Pilgrim” on the front and “25,000 Miles on foot for peace” on the back. She was backed by no organization, carried no money, and never asked for food or shelter. She vowed to “remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.” I love her inspirational teachings. She offers much insight on how to live with complete integrity, true simplicity and utter faith. In one of her few printed texts, she says, “Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.” We all have stuff — and a lot of it! Do we really need all…

Read more