Maintaining a Spiritual Focus Despite the Busyness of Day-to-day Life

Maintaining a Spiritual Focus Despite the Busyness of Day-to-day Life

Having a spiritual focus is not confined to the time spent in meditation practice. Masters advise us to practice simran (manas jap) as much as possible during the day and night, and thus, when we sit down to meditate we find it much easier to reach the inner Light and have a quality meditation experience. Sant Dadu Dayal (the Compassionate Mystic) said, “Wherever one’s thought dwells, there will that person rest. At his pleasure, he may go to the delusion of unreality or he may merge into the Lord of the self.” Below is something new from Swami Vyasanand on maintaining something closer to a full-time spiritual focus and how the reality of this is reflected during our meditation life.

“Seekers should practice intense and focused concentration during their meditation (sadhana). Furthermore, like a devoted wife, a meditator should infuse himself/herself with intense love for God. We should have a one-pointed focus on one deity and not try to please different gods. Even when we face challenges, we should not seek the help of other deities in times of desperation. Also, a practitioner should not insult other deities, because this interrupts one’s practice of focused devotion. Devotees should visualize the form of their chosen deity in other deities and honor them. It is not advised to worship other deities simply because of the desire for material gains; this may cause disruption in the progress of the devotee.

“Practitioners should be determined to see their ishta deva (chosen deity), just as a devoted wife’s mind is always eager to see her husband. We should yearn day and night for a glimpse of the deity and eagerly wait for it. A devotee should observe the following disciplines in order to please the deity: ‘Abandon the cravings for the pleasures of food; abandon the desire for beautifying ornaments and clothes; forsake the joys of comfortable beds; abandon all the material objects that distract the mind.’ The devotee should also reject names and forms that distract the mind in meditation, and give up all the lifestyles that make the mind agitated.

“Like a devoted wife who completely absorbed in the love of her husband becomes oblivious to her other relatives, similarly, we should only focus all our thoughts on the holy and auspicious countenance of the deity. We should become so absorbed in the Divine form of the deity that we lose any sense of separate consciousness between the devotee and deity, just as a lump of salt becomes one with ocean-water. In a state of such forgetfulness, we attain the mental state ‘in which the deity is seen in all visible forms.’

“If devotees find even the slightest delight in a form other than their ishta devata (chosen deity) and take joy in sensory pleasures, then their resolve is not firm. One who forsakes Divine bliss for transitory pleasures is imprudent, and will not be able to obtain the eternal joy. If, for some reason, the devoted wife’s husband does not return on time, then it must be due to her adverse fate. However, if a devotee is not able to see the Divine form of deity in meditation, then there must be deficiency in the devotee’s meditation. Moreover, there must be some deficiency in his or her devotion, resolve, trust, and conduct. It is not due to the lack of compassion of the deity.” (Swami Vyasanand, The Inward Journey of the Soul — Chal Hansa Nij Desh)

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