There are so many who seem to have taken up the spiritual path, and religious practices to self-discovery and yet they don’t seem to be at peace with themselves. Some appear more agitated and annoyed with the people they are relating to on a daily basis and are less tolerant of others. Spirituality should help in becoming the better version of oneself… then why this paradox?
Let’s understand the realities. There are three stages in self-discovery:
First stage, Information is dealt with by the seeker attending lectures, workshops, reading books on self-development, and engaging in discussions on spirituality. In this stage, the effort is more physical and mental. You must put in effort to be physically present and mentally available for the intake of information that you’re not aware of till now. This effort will provide the necessary information which is required to deal with your ignorance. You’re no longer ignorant of Spirituality, you have the information to take it further. The yogis described this stage as Shravana meaning listening. Listening is different from hearing. You may hear but not register anything in your mind. Listening is a process that helps you to be attentive to what is being shared with you. If you want your life to transform, and be something unlike what it has always been, you must do something you have never done before. It’s always a risk. Standing at the edge, you will never know if you will sink or not. But jump you must. For there is a chance. A chance that you will fly. It takes pure guts to dive into the unknown. Do you, have it?
The second stage is where the seekers need to put in considerable effort to convert information to Understanding. It’s no longer a piece of information, now you have a firm understanding of the subject. Most people do not convert information to understanding as this requires the seeker’s time, effort, and energy. You can do it because there was inspiration when you took in the information. Your inspiration was the reason the information got converted to understanding. Yogis call this stage Manana meaning contemplation, and reflection. The most important stage in self-awareness. The reality is we have come here to thrive and prosper and live this grand human experience in lighthearted joy, not in struggle and pain, and to harvest our desires in the absolute knowledge that we can have it all, once we learn how to handle our energies, thoughts, and our emotions.
The third stage is where the understanding is converted to actual Experience. It’s no longer an understanding but it’s an internal transformation that results in living the wisdom. Now gratitude is not an understanding but an actual experience. Kindness and compassion are not just a thought but that’s your response to the world. You are humble in thought, words, and actions. This is the stage you gain because of your consistent efforts, inspired actions, and resilience. Yogis call this stage Nithidhyasana meaning meditation. The glory of a human being is to experience this stage which leads to a state of Self-realization. It takes depths to reach heights. Keep going deeper and deeper within yourself and it’s life’s responsibility to take you higher and higher. You do your work. There is something within each of us that cannot be defined… And yet that sacred space is what defines us.
Most seekers are in the first stage only, they don’t take their life to the next two stages as a result, their spiritual path remains stagnant. They have information on spirituality, but they don’t experience transformation. You experience Transformation when you move away from ignorance, move into understanding, and gravitate to experiencing the truths of life. Teachers, masters, books, and spiritual retreats are the only catalysts for growth. You need to put in consistent efforts for transformation. Being born as a human being is one of the greatest gifts nature has bestowed upon us. Let’s use this monumental opportunity as human beings and gift ourselves the joy of Transformation.
Text by S A Sreedharan
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