Recently I received the following question and wanted to share my answer with all of you as we start the New Year.
The question: I am more committed than ever to my Spiritual Path and am finding myself impatient with others who seem to be more interested in the material things in life. When I visit with family or friends, the conversation is usually about movies, shopping and gossip. When I mention my spiritual path they shy away from it, or at times are openly mocking or critical of me. I know I am being judgmental; how do I stop this, and help others move closer to the Light in this New Year? I want my New Year’s resolutions to be only positive.
My response: The New Year is a wonderful time to recommit to your own Spiritual Path. It is also a beautiful time to remember that the most basic Truth behind a truly spiritual journey is to bless all and harm none, even those who appear to not be interested in your spiritual journey or their own.
As long as you are in society, at times you just have to put on the mask that society loves to see. But your spiritual quest is an inner journey. In your inner world you are with your spiritual practices. Do not share much of your spiritual leanings and thoughts with those who are not spiritual, as this will only bring such negative vibrations that you will feel more and more frustrated.
The goal of spirituality is not one of breeding frustrations in your mind; rather it is an art of freeing your mind of all kinds of negative ideas about the world, particularly about others. Those who are not ready yet for spiritual food would not find any taste in it. That does not mean they are low, just that they are not ready for it yet. When their time comes (like yours has come now), they, too, will look for only spiritual companionship and spiritual discussion and practices.
So, first give up all your negative ideas about your relatives and friends who are not able to join you in this wonderful inner journey. The more positive you are in your feelings about others, the less damage will be caused to your mind. Do not mind much about the erratic comments from others; you need to realize that until you are established in your Positive Mind, which is the Pristine Mind, you will always attract people who are not happy with you and your attitude, for every one has his or her own expectations out of you. Don't dwell on this negativity of others. As long as you are strong enough not to react to the negative stuff dumped on you, it will do no harm to you.
Your love of God should empower you to stand firm on your inner ground of detachment from worldly expectations. Just because you are spiritually inclined, you can not expect every one to follow you. I meet so many people who are harsh on religion and spirituality, yet I mingle with them, for I know that every one is unique in this world and we need to dig for the positive in every one and extract the fragrance from it. Even those who don’t believe in God are most dear to me, as much as the believers are. For I know today's non-believers are tomorrow’s believers and today's believers may turn into non-believers tomorrow!!
Accept all as the soul eternal in the eternal journey of life, each with its own exclusiveness and beauty. With this attitude you will see that you are not so much looking for any kind of appreciation from others for what you do in your spiritual endeavors. You will thus be in a state of mind with fewer expectations of others and will learn to be happy with the numerous gifts that Nature provides you every moment. You will rejoice with the light of the Sun and a cool breeze blowing around you.
Love life from inside out. Love God in everything that comes to you without rejection or reaction.
Learn to be more responsive than reactive. Response is compassion in action. Reaction is egocentricity in action. Now it is your choice. Life is an opportunity.
Don't miss the beauty of life by being judgmental about others’ faults. Others are as they are, and leave that to God. You stay positive and in the midst of all negativity; steer your way through by holding the hands of the Divine Lord. Fill yourself with this prayer of gratitude, and remember all is well.
May the New Year come with newness and freshness and be filled with the Grace of the Divine that showers each one of us like the dew in the early hours of dawn.
May we all resolve to open our hearts in prayer and gratitude, love and devotion for all the infinite blessings that have come to us and are making our life a journey toward Light.
May we live every day of the New Year without regrets.
May we all contribute each day, each moment toward making our individual lives more meaningful in the service of those who are close to us and may we have opportunities to serve God through them.
May we do an act of compassion each day for those who suffer pains and agonies in this world.
May we bless all and harm none.
May peace be everywhere!
Peace, Peace, Peace!