Everyone wants to be happy. It is natural for us to want happiness, to want satisfaction, and to feel there is something vital missing from our lives if we are not completely happy and fulfilled. Thus, we are constantly making choices we believe will bring us closer to the experience of life that we long for in our heart of hearts – a life full with joy, meaning, safety, love, inner peace, and satisfaction. A life in which we no longer feel there is anything missing.
As a result of the choices we make, either we will actually experience this happiness and fulfillment, or we will experience the lack of it. It is essential, therefore, that we make conscious choices in our life – choices designed to lead us into the experience of life that we long for. We cannot just leave things up to chance or make choices haphazardly, depending upon the whims of our mood and senses. We need to make choices based upon actual knowledge of our situation. By doing so, we can solidly progress toward the joyful life we intuitively know is possible and are constantly seeking.
In order to have a clear understanding of our situation, it is essential that we have a clear understanding of who we are. All the choices we make in life are built upon our current understanding of who we are. If we are correct in our understanding, then the choices we make and the results of those choices will reflect this harmony. We will feel a growing sense of inner peace and happiness. If our understanding is clouded or misguided, then the choices we make and the results of those choices will reflect this disharmony. We will feel more and more anxious, depressed, lost, and empty inside.
Knowing who we are enables us to accurately determine what is in our best interest, and what it is not – what will bring us real happiness and fulfillment, and what will not.
In earlier articles, we discussed in detail how we are not the material mind and body we are wearing, but, rather, the eternal spiritual individual who is temporarily wearing the mind and body like clothes. If we are unaware of our actual situation as the wearer of these “clothes,” it is very easy for us to fall into the delusion that we are the “clothes.”
Under this delusion, we spend all our precious time and energy trying to find happiness and fulfillment through devoting our lives to something that is not us – and so we are sadly disappointed time and time again. There is no more happiness to be found in devoting our life to our material coverings (our mind and body) than there is in devoting our life to the shirt, pants, and other garments that we are wearing at this moment. This kind of mistaken identity leads to a life fraught with meaningless struggle, frustration, dissatisfaction, inner emptiness, anxiety, and confusion.
However, if we are aware that we are the eternal spiritual individual only temporarily clothed in the mind and body, we can then know that the happiness we seek will be found through activities that are spiritually fulfilling – activities that are based upon, and arise from, our eternal spiritual nature. The more fully we are able to understand and directly realize the truth of our spiritual identity, the better able we are to make choices in our life that will lead us to actual happiness and fulfillment.
So how can we come to directly realize our true, spiritual identity?
The answer is simple – by following the path of yoga as it is clearly defined in the authorized yoga texts (the Vedas). Yoga is the science of understanding our true identity. It is a common misbelief in the West that yoga is simply a form of physical exercise, but, actually, yoga is a complete system of self-realization, or spiritual realization. The physical exercises (asana) are just one small aspect of the entire system and are not even necessary to practice in this day and age. The ultimate goal of all yoga practice is to lead us to a correct understanding of who we are and what the purpose is for our existence – and apply this understanding in life.
The yoga system empowers us to make choices in our lives based on a full and complete understanding of who we are and what is our current situation. Through following the yoga process, we can come to understand the whole picture – who we are as spiritual individuals, how we are affected by our material environment, what is our inherent relationship with the Supreme and other living beings, and how to navigate through situations in our lives in a way which will result in genuine happiness and fulfillment. Yoga offers us everything we need to make intelligent, informed choices. It does this not only through supplying us with knowledge of the absolute reality, but also through guiding and supporting us in achieving the clarity of mind and heart that is needed to directly realize and apply this knowledge in our lives in a practical way.
Through yoga, we can actually experience the life we long for in our heart of hearts. It is a time-tested system that has enabled countless thousands of individuals over the course of human history to discover real happiness, to realize their highest purpose and goal in life.
Because yoga is a process that has been designed by the Supreme Person, the Supreme Designer, it can be effectively utilized by anyone, regardless of personal characteristics or qualities. Whether we are very pious, very fallen, or somewhere in between, as long as we follow the process correctly, we will achieve the same end result, which is spiritual realization. It is a scientific process, based upon the eternal, absolute truth of our existence. This truth does not change according to material factors, so irregardless of the particular character or qualities of the person who is performing the steps of the yoga process, the result is there.
The yoga system is so complete and perfect that built into it is the appropriate adaptation for each age, or yuga. In this modern age, the primary yoga method is Mantra Meditation – the hearing and repeating of the transcendental Names of the Supreme Person. This yogic activity is the foundation for all other recommended activities. Mantra Meditation is the nutrient-rich soil within which spiritual realization can develop. It is the sunshine, clean air and water that nourishes our being. And it is the sweet, ripe fruit of spiritual maturity. In this one yoga practice is contained the essence of all yoga practice. So, if we are interested in spiritual realization, then it is essential for us to regularly engage in Mantra Meditation.
Through the sincere, daily practice of Mantra Meditation, our consciousness becomes purified, allowing us to directly experience our spiritual identity, opening the way for true understanding and application of higher knowledge. This is generally a gradual process, but as we continue to practice, we will discover a growing enthusiasm and ability to make wise choices in all areas of our lives. It is these wise choices that will progressively lead us to the life we long for – a life that is naturally happy, naturally satisfying, and naturally in the absolute best interest for ourselves and all of life.
For more information on specific types of yoga Mantra Meditation, simply click on the links below: