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Wisdom in Living

28 Jan 2016   Shanti Gowans
Are you wealthy? Wealth not in the worldly sense, but in the sense of the capacity to give infinitely. We can see this illustrated abundantly in the lives of Jesus the Christ and the Compassionate Buddha. The stereotypical notion is that those who aggressively acquire things for themselves, usually at the expense of others, are to be considered rich. In the spiritual sense, these same people may be paupers.
Are you powerful? Power is generally understood to represent physical power: the power to dominate, to threaten, to destroy. On the other hand, spiritual power - the power to help, to serve, to love, outlives any physical power, because it supports Life. Love of power may be seen in many things, but divine power is marked by the power of love.
Are you on purpose? You purpose, dharma is already defined in the context of the unity of life. Hatred, violence, unkindness, disloyalty, greed, any act or urge that sets us apart from others in pursuit of our own self-aggrandizement all violate the central law of existence, that all of us are part of an indivisible whole. Those who are always aware of dharma will do nothing to violate this unity, no matter what the provocation. It is one of the loftiest tests of spiritual awareness.
Do you respect yourself? The esteem implied here is not the superficial fame of the celebrity, but profound and lasting respect. Divinity may not be recognised as such by many, but the scriptures say it will always be widely respected for its hallmarks, which are wisdom and compassion.
Does beauty transform you? Life is infinitely beautiful, with a beauty that transcends time. Physical beauty cloys with familiarity, but the inner beauty, which shows itself in the capacity to give and cherish, grows with the passage of time. It transcends the senses, it transcends even the mind and intellect.
Jhana is often translated as knowledge but its real meaning is not intellectual learning, but wisdom in living, a rather rare quality. A complete mastery of the art of living implies that a person possesses continued awareness of the unity of Life, and the detachment required to live in harmony with that unity, without thought of personal gain.
Demanding to be sure, but these are the qualities we can aspire to cultivate in the practice of realising our true nature…
To give rather than to grab
To help rather than hinder
To be aware of the unity of Life
To depend for our beauty on the qualities of goodness and kindness
To put the “self” last and the whole around us first
this is how we develop these divine qualities,
which are the natural endowments of the Buddha within.
                                          adapted from the teachings of Eknath Easwaran


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Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

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