The impediments to spiritual growth are many, beginning with the mind and the influence of planetary motions ranging all the way to the lack of appropriate spiritual guidance. The awareness of these roadblocks is certainly the first step to overcoming them but most definitely not the simplest one. In fact the solution to almost all impediments is one simple word that has proven to be the most difficult task, faith. Faith in your guru, faith in destiny, faith that you will grow in your own time and every step you take is in some way leading you to it. This faith comes from a complete surrender to your guru. To follow, without question everything he advises you. This surrender and faith will lead you to realise you are one with the consciousness supreme and all life. It is when you reach this understanding that you have truly evolved. The thought of complete surrender is undoubtedly scary because with this surrender comes thoughts of the fear of the unknown, and complete faith in something that we mistakenly believe we have absolutely no experience in which may lead us down a path of self-destruction. You aren’t entirely wrong about the ‘self-destruction’, but I mean it in a positive way here, because as we destroy our perceptions, impediments, biases, conditioning and tendencies, we align to the aspirations of not only the Isthul Sharir or the gross body, but also those of the Sukshma Sharir or the subtle body and the Karna Sharir or the causal body. Faith enables you to learn not only from your own but also from the experiences of others more evolved than you.
While faith is like walking across a bridge you cannot see over a chasm extending deep down below you, it is the faith that exists after all that it takes to overcome all impediments to spiritual growth. The first step to lifting the veil of maya is to accept the illusion that is maya, for which you need to have faith in the higher existing reality. Realising that ‘I’ means nothing and everything at the same time, that is to say every living being is an extension of the supreme consciousness. The ego-self attached to every aspect of the physical world is one we must learn to detach from in order to transcend the five senses and experience the beyond. Begin with acknowledging the oneness of all human beings, treating everyone exactly the same not only in your behavior towards them but even in forming opinions about them in your own thoughts. Once you achieve this, and don’t expect it to be instantaneous, you progress to seeing all other living organisms as one with you, and eventually you find yourself realizing the divinity within yourself and identifying as an extension of the supreme consciousness, the true reality. When we realize the true nature of reality, we know that all we see around us is created by our mind through our memories and tendencies that exist within, the reality is just formless ethereal energy. In Yoga Vashisht it is said, “when we see a mirage, we do not see hot air rise up, when we see the hot air, the mirage disappears. When one is seen as the truth the other is not”. It is upto you to accept the supreme consciousness in its ethereal state to be the reality to be able to life the veil of maya and look beyond.
It isn’t easy to just discard everything you’ve been taught, only to believe something you haven’t experienced, something you can’t see. I remember struggling with this very task, analyzing every aspect of spirituality, trying to find logic in everything I was told, a Gurudev had one simple instruction for me, “Buddhu ban ja” or become a simpleton. Spirituality is not a concept within the grasp of a logical mind, it exists beyond the known into the unknown and unfathomable.
There are other ways to overcome the impediments as well. As you may already know, while there are mutiple chakras, or convergence points for the naadis or energy pathways, of which seven are most important. An element of spiritual growth is the rise of the ‘kundalini’ or energy coiled at the base of the spine towards the higher chakras. There are various ways for you to help your Kundalini rise through the chakras including meditation, ‘Mantra Vidya’, Seva and improving your Guna mix.
Mantra Vidya or reciting mantras is one of the most successful ways of overcoming impediments. The art of mantra believes that if you use the right words to train your mind, to sharpen its focus and channelize the divinity in the universe, you can rise above every negative tendency that holds you back and go past the shackles of your limited conscious mind to attain liberation. Being initiated into a mantra by a siddh guru enables you, by his grace, to attain siddhi of the given mantra in a very short period of years or months as opposed to multiple lifetimes, which would be the case if you found the mantra for yourself.
Seva or selfless service for others can take countless forms. You could feed a group of homeless people, finance the education of children who cannot afford it, teach children yourself, feed animals, plant seeds to grow trees, even leave a handful of sugar out for ants to feed on!
Overcoming the five senses, improving your guna mix and all the above-mentioned techniques help create a greater magnetic field in the higher chakras that helps us to move up and stay there.
Overcoming these impediments is not a onetime task, and is certainly not easy. It requires a commitment to consistently work towards the upliftment of your aatma. Having said this, the right guidance will help you speed the process and make the instruction much simpler to follow.
I wish you luck!
This blog appeared in the Pioneer