Simplicity in Spiritual Practice

Perspectives and Viewpoints

by Jayaram V

Summary: Here is a minimalist idea. Remove the clutter from your spiritual practice. Do not overcomplicate. Keep it simple. Start with peace. It is attainable and within your reach.

Make peace the immediate aim of your spiritual practice, rather than liberation or Nirvana. Liberation is important, but it takes time and a lot of effort and sacrifice, for which most ordinary people are not ready.

It is much easier to attain peace through practice, because you know what peace means, and by the results you achieve, you can also easily grasp whether you have reached your goal. With proven techniques you can attain peace in an instant, even when you are disturbed.

For liberation, you have to renounce everything and become spiritually empty, whereas for peace, you have to change a few habits and learn a few tricks to control your mind.

Many people do not go anywhere near spirituality, because they think that it is not for them, or it is hard to practice. Fact is, it is another way of living and thinking.

Spirituality helps you lead a deeper and peaceful life, with better awareness, responsibility and discernment. It is now more important than ever before not only for our personal happiness, but the survival of the humanity itself.

Peace can be attained instantly through a few techniques, even if you are a novice, lead a busy life or going through difficulties.

That peace may not last for long, but it should not be a cause of worry. It will help you understand the implications of impermanence and accept it as a part of your life.

We live in the realm of dualities and impermanence. Nothing lasts forever, even peace. It is a blessing in itself, because the dualities of life such as heat and cold or pleasure and pain also give us a choice to use discretion and wisdom.

Having a few moments of peace is better than not having it. More so, if you are going through the hardships of life, without any respite or solace.

For now, focus upon peace and keep Nirvana in the reserve. Through practice, you can gradually gain control over your mind and senses and experience peace for longer periods of time.

Nirvana is always the ultimate purpose of all spiritual practice. However, you cannot easily attain it. Like many others, you do not know what it truly means or what that state represents. Besides, that experience does not happen in the mental or the objective realm.

Therefore, it is even more difficult to know where you stand. Aiming for Nirvana is like aiming for Mount Everest when you have not trained well enough to scale small mountains.

If you want peace, aim for peace. Do not expect miracles or divine intervention. Take responsibility, and use commonsense approach. Quiet your mind whenever you have time. Practice silence. Be a good listener rather than doing most of the talking in conversations. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Become mindful of people, objects and situations.

Live a healthy life, with discipline, discernment and awareness. Feel the feelings and sensations. Live a little more consciously, with awareness, insight and understanding. Take a few deep breaths and return to the present moment. These are a few ways by which you can let peace enter you and settle in.

Spiritual practice does not have to be that hard. You do not have to trouble yourself with complicated yoga postures, tantra techniques, initiation ceremonies or specialized knowledge. There is no need for you to visit ashramas and retreats. That may come later, if it is in your destiny.

For now, do not complicate your life or try to pull the force. Renunciation (sanyasa) itself means renouncing ambition, expectation and desire-ridden effort.

You cannot force your way into the transcendental realm. It is what the Asuras aim to do, as illustrated in the Puranas, with little success. Keep your aims simple and practical.

Focus upon cultivating peace and overcoming bad habits and negative tendencies. Affirm to yourself that you need peace and make that your central aim. It is through the door of peace and silence that you can enter the deeper states of consciousness.

It is when your mind is silent and absent, the other knowledge begins to manifest.

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