To live a spiritual life, you don’t have to give up your job or become a monk or a nun.
The spiritual life is where you are, whether or not you have a job, are married or have children. You don’t have to suddenly throw everything away and rush off to join a Tibetan monastery. In fact, you would most likely find that you couldn’t be a Tibetan or Buddhist monk even if you wanted to, because you don’t have the makeup for it. It is silly to try to become something other than what you are. If you live in Switzerland, the way for you is in Switzerland; in Vietnam, the way is in Vietnam. We always have this idea that by becoming something else we will become spiritual. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. You do not have to travel anywhere to find it.
Everything that is spiritual is already within you; you can find the Kingdom of God inside yourself, right now. God is not just in a church, a mosque or a synagogue. The idea that God is at a particular place is false, because God is everywhere, so the trick with spiritual life is to realize that what you are seeking is where you are. If you are in
the garden or in the kitchen, you can find God there. It is so simple if you understand that God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and that your Soul is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. If both God and your Soul are omnipresent, they must be in the same place—and they are. You cannot find what is within you if you are continually looking outwards.
So choose your path, wherever you are.
It makes no difference whether you live in an apartment or a palace; God is wherever you are and that is where you must find God. It is simple if you can come to this realization: the Divine Presence is omnipresent and your Soul is omnipresent. The two are one.
You need to make this radical turnaround inside yourself and realize that your outer life is only self-maintenance to keep you going in this physical dimension. If your outer life is your only focus, you will keep going in this dimension until you die; then you will circulate for a little while in the inner dimensions, then you will come back into incarnation and live a material life as you have done for thousands of lifetimes already. In the East they call this Saṁsāra, the Wheel of Life. But if you realize that this endless circulation is not the meaning of life, then what is the meaning of life?
If you look at a turning wheel you will see that it revolves around its hub, the central point. Inside us, that central point is based in the Heart Chakra, around which everything revolves. But there is a part of the Heart Chakra, much deeper within, that does not revolve. This is our central point that is always in the “is” condition, the eternal state of Being. If you can find that, you are enlightened, you are a Buddha or a Christ, and you can walk liberated and free amongst Humankind. You can find it in the battle of life. Furthermore, every encounter you have in life is an aspect of God because everything is a manifestation of the Divine Nature—whether it be a candle, a flower, your son, your grandmother, or a vast star-system or galaxy. They are all simply particles of the great Ocean of Life.
You are part of that great Ocean of Life, the amazing Play of God (Līlā, in Sanskrit), so why get bogged down in the little details of life? Somebody may have insulted you forty years ago and you are still annoyed with that person, still telling your children and grandchildren about it. But since that occasion you have moved millions of kilometres through space; time has changed, energies have changed, the whole universe has changed, and you are still holding on to a silly incident of the past. While we hold on to the past—whether as an individual, a family, a nation or a religion—we are holding back the progress of the planet. Forget what happened in the past; always move ahead. The Truth is here now.
If you could concentrate one hundred percent in this very moment, you would attain Enlightenment. You would see the Ocean of Reality inside everything and everyone, penetrating every atom of space. The average person thinks that Enlightenment is something only a few people have attained in Tibet or in a cave in the Himalayas. It is not so; you can attain it too. The only difference is that those few people believed they could attain it, and they did. The sooner people attune themselves to the great Plan behind everything, the sooner they get there. Some people like walking, some people like running, some take a bike or even a luxury car. But some people do better—they take an aeroplane. So it is in the spiritual life: either you plunge in, totally immerse yourself and awaken within, or you take the slow route and occasionally think about it.
I want to inspire you to search, but to search with honesty.
Open your Heart a hundred percent to Reality, because it is already here. Don’t delay, saying, “Oh, I’m too busy now, I will do it when I retire.” You have to do it now. Delaying that seeking of the Truth until later does not work because the Truth is exactly where you are right now—in your office, in your home, anywhere. Don’t say, “Now I’m not spiritual because I’m working in the office, but when I’m chanting I’m spiritual.” You are spiritual all the time! The Spirit is literally everywhere: you can pick up a flower and it is there, you can look at the face of a person and it is there, you can look at the sky or the Sun and it is there. You can find God everywhere.
The next time you are arguing with your husband, wife, child or boss, just think of him or her as an image of God. If you could see the other person in that way, then suddenly the argument will fade out and that person will become something much larger because you are tuning into the person’s Soul. Every Soul is an absolutely beautiful, bright entity, an Angel of Light, quite literally. On the Soul level you see the personality mechanism as only a covering, a veil. The Latin word persona means “a mask”, and the personality is simply a mask. How you appear to other people is not you; it is just your mask. If they could see the real you, they would go into shock! They would see you as a beautiful, radiant Being of Light.
The mask of your personality enables you to deal with this world, in this particular space and time, and that is all. But the real you is like the Christ or the Buddha: a god incarnate on this planet. So you have to remember that this is what you really are and live it. You can do it because you are that already. Drop the mask of the personality every now and then and begin to live like a Divine Being, rather than identifying with what people say about you. Forget what people say about you—whether or not you are beautiful, whether you are good or bad. It is just their opinion of you. It is not you. Furthermore, any opinion you may have of them is not them either. It is simply one personality judging another personality, one mask judging another mask. That is all.
To be able to influence people in a positive, harmonious way, you first have to go through a transformation yourself. You have to awaken inside first. When you are awake, it is like awakening into another universe, another reality, another truth-condition. You are not thinking about anything. It is an awakening to every possibility of the moment, here, now. From then on, everything that happens to you is part of a grand miracle and you see a great design behind it. Even what appears to be unpleasant or limiting, you see as part of a grand design, and the culmination of that design is always goodness. You understand that no matter how silly human behaviour may be, the end result is always good and the final destiny of everything is pure joy, happiness and Light.
Extract from The Journey Within, Chapter 1, Pages 11-15