Spiritual Independence 2

Spiritual Independence: Trusting One’s Divinity

By Desmond Yeoh

Ceramic Products Manufacturer in Malaysia

Ceramic Products

There was a story in the news about a family who went to a priest for spiritual help to resolve some family problems. Instead of helping them, the priest gave them milk laced with poison to drink and subsequently stole all the jewellery in the house.

Recently, a friend told me about the problems he faced at work and how he hoped to resolve them by going to a priest to help. I questioned him about the nature of the problems he faced at work and realised that the problems are due more to his attitude than the external circumstances. I realised that because he was expecting Divine help, he failed to see his contributions to those problems. Similarly, in the first story, the family members refused to see how their own negative habits and habitual thinking patterns were contributing to their family problems. Instead of making personal changes, they chose to put the blame outside of themselves.

I want to make it clear that I am not against asking for Divine help. I just have two important points to make. Firstly, we must know that we are closer to the Divine than we think. Our prayers are always heard. The Divine does not practice favouritism and answer prayers only from priests. If we just let go of our expectations about how the Divine should help us, we can start to see the Divine’s hand in the resolution of all our problems. Our expectations about how the Divine should help us can actually blind us to the assistance given. To illustrate this; recently I went shopping with my wife. Along the way, I got distracted and lost her in the crowd. I thought that she was wearing a red dress but in actual case, she was wearing one in another colour. Because I was looking for a red dress, I failed to see her even when she was just a few steps away. I only saw after she called out my name.

The second point is that the greatest assistance that the Divine can give us is to grant us with the wisdom to see our own errors and provide us with insights on how we can overcome the problems ourselves. That is why we often hear others say – God helps those who help themselves.

We can only solve our problems through self-understanding and removing our negative tendencies. We should stop putting blame on others and start to look within ourselves to see how our thought processes and attitude contributed to the problems. If we are too quick to conclude that the problems lie in other people, we will lose the opportunity to improve ourselves. Because we still cling to the negative tendencies, we will continue to attract the same problems to our life. Many times, I have looked at my problems and found my own hand in them. These experiences inspired me to write the article ‘Destiny and Character’ which can be found in my free e-book ‘Candles of Celebration 2’.

In Buddhism, especially in Theravada Buddhism, spiritual independence is one of the core principles. The Buddha refused to say if there is a Creator. The Buddha emphasised on self-practice and urge all his followers to practice hard and discover all these things for themselves. He urged them to remove their own delusions in order to have happiness. We should stop trying the change the world but change ourselves instead. By changing ourselves, we can change the world.

Related Articles: Destiny and Character, How we Handle Negative Circumstances, Spiritual Independence: Separating the Teacher from the Teaching

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