To put it mildly, the year 2020 has been a challenging year for the human race. For many of us, our share of problems, fears and anxieties has reached new highs in this year. So, how do we find solutions for them from a spiritual perspective? Let us step back and consider the root cause, and try to find some remedies. We can begin today, October 17, which marks the beginning of the festival that celebrates ‘renewal of divine energy’ over the forthcoming nine days and nights (Navaratri).
Let us consider. The problems that we have, which manifest as our fears and anxieties, can be viewed as the that of the body and/or of the mind. If this is true, then would our problems ‘disappear’ if we were to lose awareness of the body and the mind? One ’state’ in which we lose this mind/body awareness is when we go to sleep every night. Of course, we often carry our fears and anxieties into the sleep state, because they manifest as dreams (or nightmares). On days like that, we may sleep for a long time, and yet, we wake up tired because our mind did not find any rest from our fears.
And yet, there are some nights (or even afternoons :)), where we sleep that deep sleep of the newborn who does not have any worries, who is not lying awake wondering whether she will have ‘milk to drink’ in the morning. Then, in that dream state, the consciousness has traveled beyond body and mind, and we wake up rested because we were freed of our fears and anxieties.
So, if in some states of deep sleep, we can have the awareness of no-body and no-mind, then what is it that remains? Who are we, really in that state of sleep? And, can we develop that same awareness of no-body and no-mind in our waking state? If we could develop the awareness that we are something greater than mere body and mind, then would we come face-to-face with our real existence?
Many would argue that such an awareness, such freedom from body and mind, is not possible or practical. Living in the world, we are immersed daily in a sea of time, space, action and causation. Fear, anxiety, pain, loss, distress, aging, and such — these are the things of the “real world”. We need to face all of these things of daily life, for which we need strength and the courage to overcome. So, where can we draw our strength from?
Vedanta philosophy (the ‘end of knowledge’) speaks to three sources of strength. The first, ‘moral’ strength comes from our adherence to truth, even when we may stand to suffer great personal loss as a result. Hence, Satyameva Jayate – the truth is always victorious. The second, ‘religious’ strength comes from a belief in a power greater than us, and the faith that That power source ‘has our back’ all the time. The third, ‘spiritual’ strength comes from the knowing that we are not the body or the mind — affirmed by the direct experience that our reality is That indestructible spirit.
If we can develop these three sources of strength, and keep replenishing them, then we can be walking, talking, sleeping, dreaming and waking in a state where fear and anxiety do not exist. We can develop strength and courage through the renewal and celebration of divine energy and awareness within. Join me in the renewal.
Let us all celebrate our journey of becoming forever young.
P.S. Join us in our weekly twitter conversation on twitter as we gather to renew our strength and courage by sharing our stories through questions and answers, and a sharing of tea and cookies. Namaste – @AjmaniK