A few days ago, I had this thing come up – if I were to die now, when my children are still young, what would I want to have taught them? If I have learned anything, how can they benefit from my growth and openings?
In my continued exploration of what it means to be human, I’ve found that all outward values like kindness, humility, respect and brotherhood are farcical if they don’t arise as a result of our own inner transformation. Without inner growth and deeper understanding, outer displays of the so-called “good” qualities are merely an act, and serve no greater purpose. My lessons to my children are based purely on authenticity, and understanding that the outer is simply a reflection of the inner.
If you understand this well, my child, you will see that self-preservation is the common thread of all life forms. This is the one thing that binds us all in “same-ness”. In humans, the thinking mind schemes up complex ways to accomplish this. To preserve his limited perception and beliefs, man lies, cheats, manipulates, gives in to anger, hate, jealousy and lust, kills and maims his brothers, and lives in constant fear of death. In knowing deeply what it is that makes people behave as they do, you can set them free of whatever they do to you. Be wise.
Almost everyone that will come your way will attempt to assess your worth and project it back at you. And you will do the same with them. Recognize this pattern and learn to notice the untruth of all such assessments. Know that worth is beyond all calculation – yours included. Service and devotion are the only notable external signs of worth and inner strength. Be strong.
Every day of your life, you will encounter teachers and teachings. The only way to recognize them is to keep your heart open to them. If your eyes are open, everyone is a teacher. Thus, honor all (people and experiences) that come into your awareness. Know that some teachers will never manifest on this plane, but will guide you nevertheless. I will be one of them for you, always. Embrace every encounter with gratitude, and your life will be transformed. Be grateful.
4. Me and Mine
Everyone falls into the trap of partitioning “me and mine” from “not me and not mine”. Know that all divisions in the world arise from this. Also know that this erroneous division is merely a play of the human mind. Even the best amongst us is prone to this folly. Hence, forgive those (very human) friends, parents, teachers and leaders that give precedence to their own. By recognizing that this is merely a human tendency, resolve to find that in you which unites, not divides. Be inclusive.
5. Jealousy, greed, hate
No matter what field you choose, you will encounter these qualities in those around you. People will try to pull you down, set you up, put themselves first at all costs, call you names, steal from you and cause you pain. Know that those that exhibit these tendencies don’t know any better. Thus, forgive them. Know without a doubt that the most effective remedy to all negativity is love. Strive to go beyond such petty limitations yourself, by keeping your heart fixed on the nobler goal of knowing the divine in you (and by default, in all). Know that all else in life is irrelevant in comparison. Be brave.
Without fail, make time and space for quiet every single day. Every aspect of your life will be the better for it. Guard your solitude like no other property. Become intimately familiar with the workings of your own mind – it is in this familiarity with your own self that you can undo all that does not serve you. In becoming friends with all the evil in you, not only can you empathize with the evil in others, but also learn to let go of it and attune yourself to the divine in you. Be still.
In order to fulfill life’s divine purpose, it helps to follow moderation in all areas of life. Time and again, you will be tempted to over-indulge, be it work, play, study, talk, food, sleep, nice things, travel, or even spiritual pursuits. In all matters, be diligent about moderation. At all times, be cognizant of your mind’s pushes and pulls. Loss of control over your mind’s demands and tantrums is the first step into hell’s descent. Be disciplined.
There is much in popular psychology about positive self-talk. But this is a primitive step in the long and arduous process of gaining mastery over your own inner workings. Learn to listen to that inner voice and it’s constant flow – watch all the unkind ways in which your mind will degrade you in response to a present situation but always based on a habitual pattern picked up long ago. As you learn to watch them (aided by daily meditation), recognize the humor and futility of your mind’s endless stories. Once you learn to see the mind’s spinning as simply it’s own mode of self-preservation, you will have the power to not believe it’s stories. And once you stop believing it, the mind has no choice but to drop it. Be reflective.
9. Fame and wealth
In your times, more than ever, there will be a clamoring for wealth and fame. Many around you will dedicate their lives to seeking fame and wealth at the cost of all else. In this pursuit, they will display the one quality not seen in any other species – selfishness bordering on insanity. You may be tempted to follow that path yourself. Know without a doubt that neither fame nor wealth will give you lasting happiness. The more you seek them, the more will peace and freedom evade you. However, if you can understand how the Universe works, you will discover true joy which will radiate from you in the form of love, kindness, abundance, and compassion. The secret to abundance is giving – give your time and resources without reservation and watch your life overflow with abundance. Be giving.
You are gifted. So is everyone else. There is no being that is brought into existence without a divine purpose. As you go through life, your successes and achievements will bring admiration from many. But remember one thing – talent and success make one akin to an uncut diamond. What gives the diamond it’s signature dazzle is humility. And humility is knowing with conviction that you are no better than anyone else, and all that is given to you is merely a gift of Grace. Do not fake humility, or any other virtue. Faking is always unnecessary, non-serving and obvious. Do not get ahead of yourself with pride and arrogance – there is nothing more unbecoming. Genuine humility will bring the Universe to your feet. Be humble.
Realize that love is the very fuel of creation. It is what drives every creature, big and small. Love and God are synonymous. Love is what remains after everything else is gone. And the only place you will find it is in your own heart, even though you may search for it everywhere else for a long time. The only way you will experience true love is by loving. If you pick and choose whom to love, you will miss the greatest gift of human life. Be loving.
The world is divided by those fanatical about “their” God. In your life, you will encounter many who will try to convince you that “theirs” is better than “yours”. You may also notice yourself wanting to prove that yours is better than theirs. Recognize that this tendency is the hallmark of divisiveness, a uniquely human condition. God does not divide. God is all there is, in every being, every rock, every planet and every sun – in all of creation, seen and unseen, known and unknown. Seek to know God that is you; all else is trivial. Be God.