“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
In the middle of this catastrophic year, most of us have some mild form of depression, as not too many of us have been left unscathed. We need solid strategies and coping mechanisms to help us get through this pandemic, and if need be, prepare us for the possibility of doing it for the long haul. One thing is for sure, no amount of news watching brings any comfort that the pandemic will end soon, or security that we will ever go back to the way things were.
Finding our Fountain of Faith
I am still shocked when people contact me for spiritual advice even though I have been writing a monthly column on spirituality for a few years now. I took it all quite seriously, so I asked myself many questions that took me on many journeys for the answers. Along the way, I practiced using meditation, music, chanting, song and prayer and sacred ceremonies to experience what we all hope to seek: Union with the Divine. Like sharpening a very fine knife, opening your Third Eye is done with intention, focus and control.
While some find my study and pursuit of mystical powers charming, I am careful not to bring it up in some professional and social circles for fear they might not take me too seriously anymore. The very connotation of mysticism conjures up images of otherworldly type people living outside of society- longhaired yogis and nuns performing ritualistic practices such as orthodox monks singing in their haunting voices and Sufi’s whirling like tornado dervishes. The definition of mysticism is often left open for interpretation considering it is a common theme in most religions or belief systems, but the methods and means of achieving it are always the same across different cultures: seeking truth (answers about the real meaning of life) and seeking Union with the Divine or Oneness. In theology, it is a state of non-duality and connection to a higher power or being in contact with the Divine.
The reality is that mystics are not just nuns, yogis, monks or those who have otherwise dedicated their lives to religion, but ordinary people like us who do not live in ashrams or monasteries and must keep one foot in both worlds: Heaven and Earth. I know of those seekers who spend too much time on heavenly pursuits as a form of escapism and neglect their responsibilities to the practicalities of life, and I also know of those heavily weighted to their earth duties and completely unable to disengage from their problems to give themselves a much-needed escape.
But we need not devote our whole life to discovering the divine to experience mysticism. Indeed, for decades now, Dr. Deepak Chopra, a well-known self-help guru of mystical Indian practices, has been teaching ordinary people worldwide about the concepts and practices of meditation as a way of experiencing Truth and Union. In one of his teachings “21 Days of Gratitude”, Dr. Chopra describes achieving the state of “grace” (one of the answers we find when we seek Truth):
“...the way I was raised, grace was only given to those who were ascended or exalted, something rare. Today, I know it is more like the rain – falling on each of us alike. This is closer to the reality of it.”
In the world of spirituality, if we are to explore concepts that are ethereal, unexplainable and maybe even elusive in nature, it requires that we briefly suspend our need for the tangible proof that we rely on daily to make observations of a physical nature. This “letting go” can prove difficult to do for anyone skeptical of practices that are not evidence-based or proven scientifically.
Yet, when we need to, for a few hours, we can “let go”. We are able to entertain these very concepts while watching science-fiction or adventure movies or television without questioning the plausible reality of everything in front of our eyes. In filmmaking, this ability to allow ourselves to “escape” into the story world created for us has been coined “the suspension of disbelief”. I often relate to this theme when writing about a subject as abstract as spirituality and the divine because I am trying to do the same: invite my readers to step out of the path of reality and walk the mystic path. The beauty of mysticism is that it encompasses all faiths and doctrines, but it is not something that you can do half-heartedly. Turning inward and in return, finding the unique talents and gifts that you have to exchange with others takes some time, devotion and discipline, but the payoff is pure ecstasy.
I recommend forming a spiritual group so you can be around others who share the same desires. Try doing this with a partner to help with any communication problems and heal any past hurts–plan in advance and talk about intentions. Or invite some friends or neighbors from your trusted quarantine community that are also curious about mysticism and have the time to participate in ceremonies and rituals, perhaps a few times a week. Not only does it create meaningful social events during a time of social exclusion but also a place to talk freely–something we all really need right now. It is no surprise that gatherings of a spiritual nature have historically formed the backbone of a community. A place to share our joy and yes also our sorrow right now, and there is no need for it to take place in a church, mosque, or temple -can take place in your back yard or at a park near your home.
In next month’s column, I’ll explain some simple mystic practices that will help you open up the potential of your mystical superpower! For some real inspiration and ideas, go to superpowerwiki.com !
By: Jyoti Paintel