Nayee: When we strategically align to make ourselves distinct from our peers it leads to almost irreversible consequences for our spiritual community. It is essential for the success of our communities that each and every one of us make a choice between our personal vanity and deep, long-lasting relationships. This choice isn’t as straightforward as we may imagine.
Due to the weeds in the heart of duplicity, desire for adoration and self-importance we can develop the desire to help our community grow on the condition that we are able to enjoy our personal fame in the process. The mind somehow bewilders the intelligence to lose sight of the simple fact that if you’re genuinely spiritually advanced, you will naturally be glorified as a consequence of your good qualities, you do not need to strategically establish your position. The irony is, one of the prerequisites to becoming spiritually advanced is that one would have already renounced the desire to be glorified.
We can become spiritual imposters if we keep a distance from our fellow community members simply to maintain a squeaky clean “spiritually advanced” image; if we truly desire the progress of our community to move from Kanishta (Beginner) to Madhyama (mature practitioner) then we have to all personally make the effort to constantly, on a daily basis uproot the weeds mentioned above, which are acting as impediments not only to our personal growth but also collectively as a community. So while it’s important to individually uproot these weeds of duplicity, desire for adoration and self-importance, we also need to come together and discuss in a forum of equality to ensure we can uproot the collective weeds which can ravage our community.
I’ve observed that these issues usually make sense to most people, but the key quality we need to adopt is consistency; the process of weeding these unwanted qualities is perpetual, not that we simply understand and repeatedly exercise the intelligence about the same philosophical points. Once these points have been understood, it’s not so difficult to speak about; to teach and write about, but what sets the advanced practitioners apart is their ability to practice it amongst familiar people within the community, consistently… To be with our community, a part of the crowd on a daily basis, practice tolerating the urge to look superior to others or become distinct, to recognise the weeds within our heart EVERYDAY, and to pull out those weeds whilst maintaining a culture of respect and trust. This is the kind of conduct which should be incentivised by leaders, as opposed to things which can easily be used for one’s personal reputation, adoration and vanity. If these become the core principles we value, then we have a real chance of helping the future generations to develop into powerful, empathetic spiritually advanced human beings.
The solution to such problems can never be a monologue, it has to be a dialogue between those members who have invested time and energy into developing the community. The issues discussed above is why we get spiritual communities having the same problems running through generations. It is essential that the leadership within our communities implement this at forefront of the educational curriculum, to make beginners as well as seasoned practitioners aware of these foundational lessons. As a result, these reflections become an integral part of every individual’s introspection and growth.
One last thought, from a realisation which I heard recently was so profound and adds weight to this point:
“There is philosophical atheism, but there is also psychological atheism. One may be a philosophical theist and believe in God, but psychologically/emotionally one may be self-centred. All of us have our little self-centred moments where we go fishing in our daily interactions. So if at any moment I am self centred, I want attention for myself, then it’s a type of psychological atheism because at that moment, I believe myself to be, or want to be or attached to being the centre of reality.
Spirituality means I want attention for God, I want God to be glorified. Self-centredness means I would like to be glorified, even if I want to be glorified during the process of serving in devotion.”
We can fool ourselves, we can fool the world, but we can’t fool the super soul seated in our heart.