Sometimes it seems that there is a spring to one’s spiritual life and an autumn to it. As though there is a waxing and a waning. At times, the opportunities for spiritual practice are abundant, and devotion flows all the time, filling you with joy and grace, and a sense of belonging to God and to the Gurus. Then again, it is as though you have lost the connection. Constraints of time and energy reduce the flow to a trickle and you need all your mental strength just to hold on.
The great saints say that once you are established in God consciousness, you can be in God all the time. Surely that must be true, but often, the lover of God has to go through desolate patches, where the memory of the Beloved Lord, and the desire and hope of Him again, is the only thing that keeps him going.
The compulsions of earning one’s livelihood, fulfilling one’s professional and personal obligations and the need to continue to be part of the social fabric are truly challenging to a spiritual seeker, presenting him on practically a daily basis, with a painful choice between his two ‘dharmas’, or rightful duties. Adding to the pain is the truth that the choice is not between what he loves and what he dislikes, but between choices both of which are dear to him. Taking time out and giving energy to the search for the Divine seems to be increasingly difficult, as though the whole world was out to take you away from it.
So what is the way out? Is there really a way out, or does one have to give up one for the other?
After being on the path for many years, and following the teachings of the Gurus,
I found through my experience that the solution seems to be, to hold your love for and memory of the Divine fast within your heart, as you go through your worldly obligations. Look for the moments when you can be alone and quiet, and meet the Divine in the sanctuary of the soul, on the altar of silence. Just never give up. Never admit defeat. Never feel it is lost ‘for ever’. Tell yourself the setbacks are temporary. Resolve to return to deeper practice as soon as you can, so that the world becomes truly just a dream, and the memory of the Divine the reality of your existence. As the Divine is our true essence, remembering it always, striving for it constantly keeps us in touch with it through all the distractions and the absorbing concerns that we still have to handle in the world.
Remind yourself that the Divine is your true love, your only love, the one that will outlast everything else, and stay with you even beyond the end of this life, following you as a feeling of belonging and security, into the next.
As a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, and being committed to the daily practice of Kriya, I draw strength and encouragement from his teaching that “Loyalty is the first law of God”. It follows that perseverance is the key to success in any venture, including the search for God. I am also reminded of this beautiful prayer that Kriyanandaji wrote: though the sirens of distraction call me to turn aside…keep me steadfast on my path, Lord….
With sincere longing and the belonging that comes out of this constant remembrance, the season is bound to come when you will have more time and better circumstances, for a deeper relationship and experience of the Lord.
In complete devotion and surrender to God, I remain waiting for the better season.