Children, spirituality is never an escape or an abandonment of responsibility. It is the ability to live with peace and contentment in every situation, by understanding oneself and understanding the nature of the mind and the world. This can be gained only through sustained practice.
Run away from nothing
For this, the first thing needed is a proper knowledge of the nature of the world and its objects. When we gain this knowledge, our attachment to objects and relationships will leave us. Then we will be able to perform our actions without attachment even while living in the midst of society. The cashier at a bank handles bills worth millions every day. But he is aware that he is not dealing with his own money.
A family man complained daily to his guru about his problems. “My wife and I are always arguing. And a day doesn't go by without my boss admonishing me. I am long overdue for a rise but he won’t give me one. I can't sleep at night due to my tension and anxiety.”
Even though the guru tried to advise him, the disciple found it hard to imbibe the advice. So, one day, the guru climbed up a thorny coral tree and cried out loudly, “Help! Someone help me! These thorns are pricking me!”
The disciple came running. Seeing the guru embracing the tree, he said, “What foolishness! You’re the one hugging the tree. Just let go!” The guru refused to listen. The disciple said, “The tree is not holding you. Let go and come down. Your pain will then go.”
Immediately, the guru let go and climbed down. He walked over to the disciple and said, “This is exactly what you are doing. You are the one who is holding on to your problems. I have told you many times that they will not be able to get to you unless you give them permission. But you are unprepared to understand. Just as the tree lacks the capacity to bind us, so too it is with any object in the world. We are the ones who have bound ourselves to them. If we forsake our attachment to them, we will be released from their bondage instantly.”
True knowledge about oneself and the world is spirituality. When we have that knowledge, we will never become slaves to dejection in our life. All objects and relationships of the world undergo constant change. The impermanent can never give us permanent happiness. Knowing this truth, we should surrender ourselves to God. Then no sorrow can touch us. Learn to accept honour and dishonour, success and failure, joy and sorrow with equanimity. Only then will you have contentment.
Mata Amritanandamayi Devi