There are three essential factors in spiritual life. The first, the central component, is a sincere desire to know the great, a sincere desire to move beyond ordinary thinking and the parameters of the sense of self as a body-mind structure, to want to find that esoteric essence, that something essential inside of yourself, that is something more, something great. That is the first and foremost component: a longing, a longing for freedom, for love divine, for spiritual essence, to find that deeper part of yourself.
That longing is what leads you, what guides you; whatever practices you do, whatever beliefs you may have, whatever your cultural orientation, it is your essential longing. And that essential longing is human Dharma. It is Bhagavad Dharma; that is human Dharma. It is core, encoded in your humanity, this essential longing.
And when you come deeply in connection with yourself, this longing comes forward. From this, the second most important factor is that you find some avenue of expression, some way to respond to this calling, some methodology, some deeper spiritual practice, some beliefs and framework in which you can move deeper into your eternal being, deeper into the knowledge of the unitary self.
Most people, I would say all people, at some point in their life, have some type of mystical experience, some type of experience that brings them into the transcendent, beyond their ordinary waking conscious state, and they experience some engagement with the sublime. It can be a moment in nature, it can be a moment with a loved one. There are many forms that it may take, but at one moment you go beyond your ego-oriented self and you feel the expansion, the unity into wholeness, where you’re not bound. And that draws you. You realize there’s something more.
And then, when you begin the spiritual path, you find a way, an avenue, a type of meditation practice, certain rituals that you do. Whatever your methodology, you find a way to move beyond the confines of your everyday thinking, to something expansive, something that you essentially know about inside yourself, and you have a calling to, a longing for, because you are in touch with your human Dharma; you are in touch with Bhagavad Dharma.
And once you have practice, and you have motivation, you have this essential longing, then the next and most important aspect is the touch of the infinite. Because the ego-mind cannot by itself, of its orientation, move outside of itself. For this, it needs something more, some grace, some expansive connection that is not produced within the ego self. Because the ego self goes around in a small circle of its thoughts and beliefs and experience and cultural orientation. And keeps going around in the same circle, like the rat in the cage on the wheel.
So something has to get you off the wheel, and that we call grace. It is a connection, a communion with something greater than yourself, and in that connection, in that communion, you are guided by the very existence of that essence to something greater than your ego self. You are brought, you are carried, into something greater.
There are many different beliefs that people have around this, many different ideas. Your mind can put it in any context that is fitting for you, but there will be some intervention beyond your ego orientation, and you will find that there is an expansion of being, an expansion of awareness, to a new level of perception, a new expansive understanding as if something has broken through the conditioned mind and there is the “aha” and that something more.
And in that grace, in that guidance, from the core of your being, from the essence of being, comes love unconditionally, comes the experience of deep peace, comes knowledge of the unitary whole of being, of the interwoven, interconnected nature of all existence. And as the mind grows in magnitude, the ability to perceive and to experience the subtleties of the interwoven, interconnected nature of existence grow within you. The mind expands; expanding. The possibilities grow within you.
The perceptual field grows wider to include subtler perception and the love and feeling of wholeness and connectedness grows in magnitude. You realize you are not alone. You are part of this interwoven connectedness of all of life. And there is in this creativity of creation, an underlying presence, an underlying intelligence, an underlying beingness, awareness, that is you, is all beings, is manifest in the creation of this world, in the creativity of life and of all the forms of this universe. And you are a part of this interwoven creativity of the great.
And as the mind grows and grows in magnitude, the subtlety of perceptual fields widens. Suddenly you are not limited to a small body and mind, but you are expansive, melded into all of life, melded into the creativity of this world, of the universe, melded into the infinite intelligence in which all of this manifests, into the dance and the play of creation. And you settle in the deep peace, the deep love, the quietness in the center of it all.
Thus, you live a truly human life, following human Dharma. This is the potentiality of your existence, your human potential.