Paths

Many Paths, Single Destination

By Desmond Yeoh

Ceramic Products Manufacturer in Malaysia

Ceramic Products

Rita was resting on the bed beside her 3-year old daughter, Angel. The child was fast asleep and the soft glow of the table lamp allowed Rita to gaze lovingly at her serene and beautiful face. She thanked the Divine for giving her such a lovely daughter; she thanked the Divine for taking the form of her beautiful daughter.

Like every mother, she wished that Angel always have a happy and peaceful life. She knows that she needs to teach Angel how to lay the foundations for a happy life; the causes of happiness. She knows that Angel will need to find her own spiritual path; the path that suits her best. She cannot determine it for her but can only guide and advise her. She is wise enough to know that it is not right to force her beliefs on her. All religions use different words to describe the one same destination.

Rita contemplated her spiritual progress so far. She was not spiritual when she was younger. When she first started work, she had big dreams of climbing the corporate ladder and making it to the top of the organisation. She was very proud of her job and the organisation she worked in then.

She read many motivational and self-improvement books. Rita smiled. She realised that those motivational books had spiritual elements in them as well, as they taught her to do the right things and put in her best effort. She recalled the words of the author of one of the motivational books she read, Zig Ziglar, who said, “You can get whatever you want in life if you help enough people to get what they want”.  That sounded very spiritual to her.

The motivational and self-improvement books helped her but she felt like something was missing. She felt that to make deeper changes she needed something that cuts straight into the ego.

When she visited a friend, there was a book on Tibetan Buddhism on the table. She flipped through it and she was hooked. The book talked about compassion and loving kindness and provided meditational techniques on how to develop those qualities. Tibetan Buddhism taught her that seeing herself as the most important person in the world is the cause of her suffering. She could see the truth in this. She observed other people and noticed that those who are genuinely happy and loved by others are those who are selfless and considerate. They naturally make others feel liked and loved because they think more about the well-being of others.

She heard that Theravadan Buddhism emphasised a lot on meditation and self-understanding. She read many books by Thai Buddhist Masters and learnt the meditation techniques taught in those books. She attended spiritual talks by Buddhist monks. The Buddha taught that there is no Self and everything is impermanent. Being ignorant of this reality brings suffering.

The spiritual masters taught her that she is not her body and mind. She could understand this intellectually but somehow, she felt that she has not ‘experienced’ this truth. She could think through the concepts, for example, if one had amputated an arm, is one now different. One is not different because one has lost an arm. If parts of the body are not oneself, how can the sum-total of those parts be oneself? She could rationalise this truth is this manner but yet, she did not feel any change in her. Thinking was not enough.

One day, she stumbled on the ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ by Paramhansa Yogananda. She read the book from cover to cover and was determined to learn Kriya Yoga. But where can she find a teacher to teach her? She decided to put the problem to Babaji. She closed her eyes and prayed, “Babaji, Yogananda said in his book that anyone who sincerely calls out to you will receive your blessings. Please help me find a teacher to teach me Kriya Yoga”. Within a few days, a friend told her about a kriya yoga initiation seminar which she subsequently attended”. Babaji not only found her a teacher, He made it convenient for her as the seminar was held near where she lived.

During the seminar, she shared with the teacher her problem about intellectually understanding that she is not the Self but, not in a deep enough manner that could change her. She complained about how her thoughts troubled her and she could not do anything about it. The teacher just smiled and said, “You will soon”.

Eventually she did, it just happened during one of her meditation sessions. It just became clear to her that she does not control her body and mind. She does not control her thoughts. She does not exist. She cannot die because thoughts cannot die. She experienced the truth.

Rita sighed. She knew that she has just touched the tip of the iceberg. She does not feel pressured about the path that she must continue to travel but instead, felt excited about the prospects of experiencing new insights. The Divine gives her new insights everyday, making her feel lighter and lighter as she lets go of her conditioning and habitual way of thinking. She recalled how Yogananda describes the Divine as ever-renewing joy. She is pleased to know that one can never get bored with the Divine.

Rita could clearly see how different people will need different teachers and spiritual paths that suit their current state of spiritual evolution. As the saying goes, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher will appear’. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that the student will always have the right teachers at the right time to guide him/her.

She smiled, kissed Angel on the forehead and whispered softly, “May you find your own path to happiness. I cannot carry you but will always there to pick you up when you stumble, my love”.

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