Appreciate the small stuff

From our e-book “Filling our Life with Celebration”

Enjoy our practices

For most of us, the purpose of our spiritual practices is to achieve self-realisation or enlightenment. For some of us, it is to achieve psychic powers. The problem with putting too much emphasis on self-realisation as a goal is that it is too big for our limited minds to understand. Because we cannot achieve this goal after practicing for a while, we give up on the practices altogether or hop on to another teaching.

Some practice to please God. When we were young, our parents solved all our problems. In our minds, there was nothing that they could not solve. They were infallible. We believed that If there is anything that they could not solve, it is only because they did not want to so for our own good. It was not because they could not do it.

As we grew older, this illusion began to shatter. We began to see that they are not as perfect as we thought. They cannot solve all our problems. Because we had this habit of depending on someone, we then began to shift our dependence on God. We refer to God as Father or Mother because we want God to replace our parents who are no longer the solutions to all our problems. So we think that our practice will please the Divine and the Divine will return the favour by solving all our problems and granting all our wishes like our parents used to do. Even

Buddhists are starting to see the Buddha as replacement of their parents. I believe that the Buddha refused to confirm if God existed because he wanted his followers to be independent; to stand on their on feet.

However, inevitably, we will one day meet with a major life challenge and we start to ask, “Why me? I have done everything that the leader of the religion asked. Why must this happen to me? Father, why did you not stop this from happening to me? You certainly have the power to do so!” Then our faith in God turns to anger towards God. We refuse to take responsibility but just give up.

The goal of life is simply to be happy and the goal of our practices is to gradually increase our level of happiness. Our practices strengthen our consciousness and provide us with the wisdom to live our lives in a wholesome manner. We can compare our current state of mind against how we were a year ago and see how we have improved. We can see if we have let go of some beliefs or conditioning which we thought were part of us. In the past, we refused to read books of other religions but now, we may be more open. We may be more willing to allow our beliefs and conditioning to be challenged because we know that if we could let go of one belief, our ego will be smaller; lighter.

The title of this article is to appreciate the small stuff but really, these achievements are not small stuffs. These are milestones indicating that we are progressing on our spiritual evolution. Self-realisation is a gradual process and it may take lifetimes to reach the ultimate goal.

Nevertheless, we can live happy lives NOW. We can wake up each morning and appreciate the progress that we made yesterday and look forward to the progress that we will make today; no matter how little. As we progress towards self-realisation, we will begin to experience its benefits even before achieving it. We will discuss this in a later chapter.

We can start to enjoy our spiritual practices rather than see them as something done to please the Divine or to achieve some goal too far away to see. Meditation is not so different from enjoying ourselves by sitting on our lazy chair and listening to soothing music. Doing yoga postures (asanas) can be enjoyable if we do it in a relaxing manner to massage our muscles without pushing ourselves too far. In fact, this is a critical point to keep in mind when we perform our asanas.

If we plan our spiritual practices in a way that is enjoyable, it is more likely that we will do so consistently and it is unlikely that we will give up on them. Some of us read the newspapers everyday. We do so because we do not see it as a chore but something enjoyable.  Similarly, our spiritual practices will eventually become a habit; we will feel uncomfortable if we miss a day of spiritual practice!

Being the organiser of Kriya Yoga seminars in Malaysia, I am often asked what I have gained from my practices. I merely answer that I am a happier person. But this is a disappointing answer for the listener– it makes me a lousy salesperson! They were probably expecting me to share some psychic ability or Siddhi. Even if I have developed such abilities, it is not right for me to share them openly because it would lead the other party to misinterpret the achievement of such abilities as the goal of Kriya Yoga. The goal of Kriya Yoga is Self-Realisation. Period.

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