There are three basic laws which motivate and guide man along the evolutionary path from the individual personality to the universal Spirit; from selfishness to selflessness.
1. THE LAW OF CAUSE AND EFFECT
This law operates on all beings through the duality of pain and pleasure. According to this law, every thought, word, or action which is emitted by our gross and subtle bodies must return to them. Life is a mirror reflecting back to us what we are emitting so that we may see ourselves through others and events. When we harm, we are harmed. When we love, we are loved. Very simply, as we do to others, it will be done to us. Through the help of this law we learn by trial and error. When we suffer, we understand how others feel when we act selfishly towards them. When we are happy, we understand how others feel when we love them. Learning through the law of action and reaction is a rather slow and painful process. We will call this law for simplicity’s sake by its Sanskrit name, “karma”. From here on we shall refer to the Law of cause and effect as the Law of Karma. Karma actually has two meanings in Sanskrit. It means action, but it also means the reaction to the action, or, if you like, the result of that action. It was understood by ancient sages that every action in this universe has a reaction back towards the source of the action. Thus they used the word Karma for both realities since they are automatically connected. Sir Isaac Newton discovered this law in his study of forces and movement. He revealed a law which is used widely today by scientists and engineers. «For every force exerted on an object there will be an equal force exerted in the opposite direction by that object (unless it moves)». Consider «Life» or «Universe» to be immovable «objects» against which our actions are forces which are returned in exactly equal measure but in the opposite direction; that is, towards us. All religions have taught this doctrine since the beginning of time, especially the Christian religion which has directly related illness and suffering with previous self centered actions. Consider these various statements made by Jesus Christ.
1. When He healed the man who was paralyzed, He said, «Get up and walk, your sins are forgiven». This obviously means that his illness was a direct result of his previous sins.
2. When He healed the man who was blind from birth, His disciples asked, “Is he blind, because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” This indicates that it was taken for granted that no one suffers unless there is a cause. In those days, they believed in the possibility that we could suffer because of our parents’ mistakes. This is not possible as we will see. It happens, however, that in this particular case (as perhaps in the case of most or all miracles) the cause was an exception. Christ explained that, «he was born blind to show the glory of God..» This puts the possibility of Divine intervention in our evolutionary process in some doubt. It just may be that most «miracles» are actually not the removal of Karma or sin but events «staged by the Divine» so as to help us believe. Thus the only real solution for our change is «repentance» and «communion» in their real sense. I n other words it is unlikely that God will change our lives for us, without our intense effort. The word «repentance» in Greek is «metanoia». It comes from the word «meta» which means «after» but when used as a prefix usually infers some change; often radical and sometimes transcendental (as in the word «metamorphosis»). The other word is «nous» which means mind. Thus «Metanoia», or repentance, is a radical change of mind, a transformation from one way of thinking and acting to a completely different one. It is a change from one state of consciousness to another. Consider the following quotation from the EPIPHANY JOURNAL by Bishop Kallistos Ware, a lecturer on Orthodox studies at Oxford University in England. «We come closer to the heart of the mater if we reflect on the literal sense of the Greek term for repentance, Metanoia. This means «change of mind»: not just regret for the past, but a fundamental transformation of our outlook, a new way of looking at ourselves, at others and at God – in the words of The Shepherd of Hermas, «a great understanding». A great understanding – but not necessarily an emotional crisis. Repentance is not a paroxysm of remorse and self-pity, but conversion, the recentering of our life upon the Holy Trinity. «As a «new mind», conversion, recentering, repentance is positive, not negative. As St. John Climacus says, «Repentance is the daughter of hope and the denial of despair». It is not despondency but eager expectation; it is not to feel that one has reached an impasse, but to take the way out. It is not self-hatred but the affirmation of my true self as made in God’s image. To repent is to look, not downward at my own shortcomings, but upward at God’s love; not backward with self-reproach, but forward with trustfulness. It is to see, not what I have failed to be, but what, by the grace of Christ I can yet become. «When interpreted in this positive sense, repentance is seen to be not just a single act but a continuing attitude. In the personal experience of each person there are decisive moments of conversion, but in this present life the work of repenting remains always incomplete. The turning of recentering must be constantly renewed; up to the moment of death, as Abba Sisoes realized, the «change of mind» must become always more radical, the «great understanding» always more profound. «The positive character of repentance is clearly apparent if we consider what comes just before the words of Christ already quoted, «Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand». In the preceding verse the Evangelist cites Isaiah 9:2, «The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shone.» Such is the immediate context of our Lord’s command to repent: it is directly preceded by a reference to «great light» shining on those in darkness, and directly followed by a reference to the imminence of the kingdom. Repentance, then, is an illumination, a transition from darkness to light; to repent is to open your eyes to the divine radiance – not to sit dolefully in the twilight but to greet the dawn. And repentance is also eschatological, an openness to the Last Things that are not merely in the future but already present; to repent is to recognize that the kingdom of heaven is in our midst, at work among us, and that, if we will only accept the coming of this kingdom, all things will be made new for us. We will return to the importance of «METANOIA» later on. I prefer to use the Greek word because the word repentance for us has a connotation of breast beating, self rejection and self condemnation which I sincerely doubt Christ had in mind. I personally believe he wanted us to see our mistakes, learn from them and change radically our mental processes which created the ground for those mistakes. All «sin» comes from ignorance. I cannot act in an ego-centered way, I cannot harm others or myself unless I am living in the illusion that I am this separate body and mind which I must protect in a dangerous world. When ignorance is removed, sin will not be possible. Remember Christ’s statement «The Truth will set you free». We now continue to remind ourselves of those sayings that we have heard from childhood concerning the law of karma.
3. «As you sow, so shall you reap».
4. «As you judge, so shall you be judged».
5. «A man who lives by the sword will die by the sword». These statements require no philosophical interpretations. They state outright, clearly and absolutely the law of karma. This is why Christ reminded us so many times, «Do not do to others as you would not like them to do to you» and «Do to others as you would like them to do to you». He was aware of this simple truth that it will eventually be done to us as we have done and not done to others. It is an absolute law, accepted by all religions. We will examine the Law of Karma in more detail in the next chapter.
2. THE LAW OF RIGHTEOUS ACTION
When one has evolved sufficiently, s/he (she or he) begins to operate more through the LAW OF RIGHTEOUS ACTION. Although s/he still learns through the Law of Karma, s/he now is very interested in doing what is right, regardless of whether the results will be pleasant or unpleasant. Pain and pleasure are not so important. S/he is motivated by a sense of righteous action. Many have been the great saints who have demonstrated this great steadfastness to the truth in spite of all types of physical and mental suffering. Such individuals are concerned for the social welfare, and for the needs of others. They feel strongly about living according to the Universal laws of harmony; the law of equality, the law of non-violence and the law of correct action. There is again one word in Sanskrit which stands for all these laws. We will use it from here on, because it is more concise than referring to all these laws. It is called the «Law of Dharma». This is an extremely important concept which cannot be interpreted by one word. Let us look at some of the various meanings and inferences of the word Dharma.
1. Dharma is truth in action.
2. It is correct action.
3. It is any action which is helpful and supportive to human evolution.
4. It is a correct means of earning one’s living.
5. It means running your business in honest and fair way.
6. It means doing to others as you would like them to do to you.
7. It means being interested in the welfare of the whole and not only in one’s self.
8. It means that each will perform his / her duty and obligations conscientiously and selflessly so that in this way society will be in perfect harmony and all needs of all beings would cared for.
9. One’s dharma is also the specific type of work, or life activity, which each of us has come to perform in this incarnated form. One’s dharma might be to raise children, to teach, to build buildings, to sing songs, to write music or books, to farm the land, to cook food, to clean houses, to report the news, to help the ill, to protect the poor, to protect justice, to listen to people’s problems. There are as many specific individual dharmas as there are incarnated souls. Each of us has a slightly different unique combination of activities which he must fulfill in his incarnation. This will be the perfect combination of activities which will offer each of us spiritual growth and at the same time benefit the society. Although we all have a slightly different individual dharma, our basic dharma or purpose for existence is threefold:
1. Our Spiritual dharma which is the way in which we must live and act in order to continue our process of self knowledge and spiritual growth. Included here are all of the various spiritual disciplines such as prayer, meditation, fasting, self analysis etc.
2. Our Social dharma which is the way in which we will offer to our family, friends, work environment and the society in general. Included in this are the earning of money for the survival of our family (in an honest way; at no one else’s expense), performing our professional services in a conscious way, as perfectly as we can, and offering selfless service to all those around us who are in need.
3. Our Ethical dharma , which means living an ethical life A prerequisite which is common to all of these is the dharma to our body and mind which must be in excellent condition if we are to perform the above dharmas effectively. Included in this dharma are proper diet, exercises, breathing techniques, relaxation techniques and various cleansing techniques for the body. Each act, thought and word which we express can be done so in a dharmic way or in an «adharmic» way, which means that it is not dharmic. An act, thought or word is dharmic when:
1. It is not done with intention to harm anyone.
2. It betters the quality of the individual and of society.
3. It is a movement from separateness towards unity.
4. When it is in harmony with the universal laws of equality, non violence and correct action.
5. The individual can honestly say that he would like someone else to perform that act, speak those words or think those thoughts about him. Thus there is no specific profession or activity which is more dharmic than another. It is the state of mind and motive which makes a particular act dharmic or not. One person may work to make a lot of money, because he wants to feed his children. This is dharmic. Another may do selfless service in order to get recognition and approval from those around him. This is not dharmic. It is important for each individual to align his life with the dharma. Those who live by the dharma, will be protected and supported by the dharma. Christ promised this when he said that all those who live according to the will of the Father will have all their needs completely taken care of, just as the birds and the lilies in the fields (Matthew 6:31). Most people have little faith in this promise. This is sad, because it is absolutely true. If we can find the courage to give up wasting time trying to find happiness in accumulating for ourselves, and start living for the others around us, all that we need for our survival and evolutionary process will come to us at exactly the moment in which we need it. Dharma is, in general, a movement from a separate life disconnected from the whole, towards a life united with the whole, through love and service. Each may serve, however, in his own way. One may serve by building houses for the homeless and the other may serve by praying in seclusion for people’s hearts and minds to open to the truth. Both are possible dharmas, only that specific individual can know if he is doing it with real love and selflessness. It is extremely important for each individual to find his specific dharma in his present incarnation. That is the role which he has come to play on earth. Some lose contact with this inner goal, because of social, parental and educational programming which orients them towards material success and social recognition. It is a shame for a soul to come into this world, forget why it incarnated and leave, never having really lived the purpose which brought it here. But it happens frequently. Thus you are encouraged to think deeply about this point. Are you living as you really think you should be? Do you respect everything that you do? Does your life have meaning for you? Are you doing what your inner self really wants to do? Are you happy with your life? Do you feel that your life is connected in some way with the whole? If the answer is not «yes» to all of these questions, then perhaps you have not yet totally found your dharma. You may have partially found it, but there may be some activities which you would like to increase or add, or reduce or eliminate, so that your life represents your true values and interests at this time. The way in which one will express his dharma is not static, it may change from stage to stage of his life. It may also remain the same. There are various possibilities. The only guide for all of this is our own inner self. That is why it is so important to get in touch with it. A separate chapter will be included towards the end of this book, as a guide for helping people find their dharma. Let us now move on to the third law of evolution.
3. THE LAW OF LOVE
Eventually the individual is inspired with selfless love. The Law of love inspires a feeling of union and oneness between the spiritual aspirant and the beings and world around him. He ceases to feel himself a separate entity which has selfish needs. He loves everyone and everything and willingly gives all that he has for the benefit of the whole. His actions are not motivated by fear of retribution as in the case of the law of Karma nor by duty as in the case of the law of Dharma. He simply sees no difference between his own needs and others’ needs. He exerts no effort in order to be in harmony with others, because for him there are no «others». Just as a mother easily gives all to her child, the individual living the law of love gives all to the world. We use the word «love»to represent many different feelings and states of mind. In its grossest sense it can mean animal lust for some object or being; an intense desire to have something, to own it, to consume it, to become one with it in some way. Some people love sex. Others love music or art. Others say they love ice cream or sweets. Most love their family members. Some love their friends. Fewer love their enemies. Some claim to love God. When we use the word «love» we could mean any of the following words: lust, desire, attachment, addiction, infatuation, fascination, selfish love, selfless love, pure love, unconditional love, universal love or Divine love. We could even extend our imagination to think that the electron is in love with the proton and the earth is in love with the Sun. Thus the forces of electromagnetism and gravity become physical manifestations of the law of love. The law of love is the force which attracts things and beings together toward union. We could also imagine that the forces which hold various particles of the atomic nucleus together are also the manifestation of this law of love, the law of attraction, the Law of Union. Some scientists recognize the law of negentropy which is the opposite of the law of entropy. The law of entropy states that all things in this Universe tend to move towards greater dissolution. This means that things naturally tend to «come apart», dissolve, dissipate, mix together randomly. On a material level this is definitely happening. But on the other hand something else seems to be «putting things together». Some power is putting all these beings together; humans, animals, insects, plants, microbes, crystal. Some force is causing atoms, molecules (earth, air and water) to come together, to unite forming temporarily all these beings. There is also a power which is very slowly causing these beings to come together into greater harmony into a United Nations, a United Europe, into movements for world Peace and World Unity for ecology and harmony with nature. These are all the results of the power of Spirit, the force of Love.
STAGES OF HUMAN LOVE
Let us consider the stages of Human love. In the earlier stages, most human love is based on emotionally immature motives. Most human relationships are formed out of insecurity, desire, loneliness, social pressure, habit or feelings of incompleteness. Very few relationships are based on pure unconditional love. Most are seeking to take rather than to give in their relationships. Most are wanting the other to change in order to fit their own image of how the other should be. Relationship partners imagine that it is the other’s responsibility to make them happy. They unreasonably believe that even though they are not happy within, the other can make them happy by being as they want them to be. This is especially true of husbands and wives, and parents and children. Most people marry for the wrong reasons. They marry because they feel emotionally or financially insecure and hope that the marriage will give them that security. Others marry because they have been conditioned by social pressure to believe that there is something wrong with the person who does not get married. This is especially true for women. Women are socially programmed to feel vulnerable financially and emotionally if they don’t have a husband. When one marries with such motivations, disappointment is very likely. Others marry out of a feeling of incompleteness, hoping that the other will fulfill them. However, relationships based upon wanting to take something from the other individual are usually doomed to failure as has been adequately proven by the overwhelming percentage of unhappy marriages and divorces all over the world today. This is a result of the fact that no one can really make anyone else happy. Happiness, security and completeness can come from within only. When we expect the other to make us happy, and they fail to fulfill that expectation, then we blame them. We begin to complain and argue and try to make them change. If we, on the other hand, thought more about how we could help the other to feel more happy and secure, then the relationship would be much more successful and loving. Satya Sai Baba says, «Love is giving and forgiving. Self is getting and forgetting». We will do well to examine what motives our relationships are based on. There is a great confusion today between love and attachment. Many people think they are loving, when in reality they are simply attached to someone because of the security, pleasure or power they get, or hope to get, from the relationship. This has absolutely nothing to do with love. When we are attached we want to get something, to receive. When we are unable to have that something, whether it is mental, emotional, physical, or material then we suffer and feel hurt and perhaps angry. On the other hand, when we love we simply want the other to be happy, regardless of what we may get or not get in return. This is of course an ideal kind of love, called unconditional love, or pure love, or selfless love. Very few of us are able to feel this kind of love. We have, however, been encouraged by the great spiritual beings of all religions to develop this kind of love in our lives. We are told that this love is latent within us, that in fact it is our own intrinsic nature, which will bubble up when we are completely at ease. Let us look at some of the qualities of this kind of love and how we may work toward developing it.
In order to love selflessly, we need to feel secure and content. Otherwise our fears and needs will drive us to try to protect ourselves from others or manipulate them so that we can obtain that security or contentment which we lack. We can love selflessly only when we do not need or desire anything from the other person. It is impossible to love someone if we are attached to their fulfilling our needs. Few of us, however, have yet reached such a level of self-sufficiency and self-realization, so that we might love in this way. That does not mean that we should reject ourselves as being unworthy and give up all hope of being able one day to love totally unconditionally. It does mean that we will need to work consciously on ourselves if we want to uncover the love which lies within us just waiting to flow. We are Love in the center of our being. Our natural tendency is to love. That is why the opposite feelings of separateness, loneliness, anger, jealousy, and hate are so unpleasant and so unhealthy. They are not natural to our inner self. That is why love feels so good. That is why it calms us, makes us feel secure. That is why it makes us joyful. It is natural for us to love, but we have been conditioned by a society ignorant of spiritual truths, and thus, steeped in fear, not to love, We are taught to protect ourselves, to lock our cars, houses and hearts. Through our efforts towards spiritual unfoldment we can once again find the inner strength, security and courage to throw open the locks on our hearts and love unconditionally. What does that mean? Loving unconditionally means to learn to accept others as they are. It means not making expectations and demands on them so that our love increases or decreases depending on their behavior. It is however possible to love and accept a being totally without having to accept his every behavior. His behavior is something separate from his being. It is especially important to show unconditional love to children. Explain to them that although you may not be able to approve of their behavior, that you accept and love them as beings, and that that love will never be diminished by anything that they might do. Forgiveness is an essential part of this kind of love. Jesus Christ repeatedly warned us not to judge others, and encouraged us to forgive everything that anyone might do to us. He gave us a living example by asking God to forgive those who were crucifying Him. When Peter asked Him if we had to forgive someone 7 times, He answered that we must forgive 70 X 7 times (490 times). Loving unconditionally means being mature enough to understand that the harm others do to us and to others is a result of their ignorance, their fear, their immaturity. It means being wise enough to see through these externally aggressive actions and to perceive the scared child which is within that being. We may then let our love persist and penetrate through that outer show of hardness. This takes great strength which comes only with greater inner security and faith in God. According to St. John the evangelist «There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid…». Selfless love requires self-sacrifice. This means learning to compromise one’s own needs in order to help the other. We must analyze in each situation whether it is more important to fulfill our own needs or the other’s needs at that particular moment. Are our needs really so important? Are they really needs, or habits, addictions or desires based on insecurity or discontentment? If we decide that in truth our needs are more important, then let us fulfill them without guilt. If not let us sacrifice them lovingly. At the same time, we must be careful to analyze whether the other being really needs what he is asking for. Sometimes we can harm others and keep them from growing by taking care of all their needs or solving their problems as if they are children. Reducing our own desires and needs will help us to become more loving. The less time, energy, money and thought we require for ourselves, the more we can dedicate to serving others. Christ sacrificed His own body out of His love for us. Christ was «Love incarnated». We have everything to gain and nothing at all to lose by working gradually and steadily towards this kind of thinking and loving. Only then will we proceed spiritually. No amount of exercises and meditation will help us find God if we do not learn to sacrifice our ego-centered desires and love others. We can pray daily that God may help us in this transformation. When we have found love, we have found God, because, in the words of the Apostle John, «Love is God and God is Love».
Universal love extends to include an ever widening circle of beings. Each of us has a certain limiting circle of identification where we allow ourselves to be accepting open and loving. Some people’s circle ends within themselves. They feel alienated, lonely and separated from everyone. They love no one, perhaps not even themselves. The truth is that you cannot really love others if you do not love yourself to a certain degree. Some feel comfortable with and love the members of their family, but feel alienated from or actually reject everyone else who is not a part of the family. Still others are able to let their love expand outward to their friends, or even business associates. Some have managed to let their love extend out to encompass all those of the same nationality or religion or social class. Universal love must continue expanding to encompass all of humanity and even animals and plants. Sai Baba says, «Love is expansion. Self is contraction». If we want to develop Universal Love, we must see through every form and realize our oneness with each and every being in all of Creation. We will have to overcome our conditioning which has caused us to accept or reject others on the basis of their appearance, religion, nationality, race, social class or any other factor. When we love Universally, we will not be capable of harming others. We will realize our inherent oneness with all beings and realize that whatever we do to others we are really doing to ourselves. Such love creates within us a «natural morality», removing violence, untruth, theft, envy, jealousy, anger, and other harmful emotions and activities from our nature. There is no need for external controls and laws when one has developed Universal Love and sees all beings as himself. In the Bible, Jesus Christ has given us three commandments which will guide us toward Union with God. The first is to «Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.». Sri Krishna offers the same advice in the Bhagavad Gita to those who want to have God – realization.
«Give me your whole heart,
love and adore me,
Worship me always,
Bow to me only,
And you shall find me.
This is my promise
Who love you dearly».
Since love is the power which creates union between the loved and the lover, it only makes sense that love of God will result in Union with God. But how much time to we spend thinking about, or communicating with God? What proportion of our time do we spend on God and what proportion do we spend on our earthly desires and preoccupations? Perhaps we need to make some adjustments here. Christ also tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven where God resides is within us. Paul in his letters confirms that we are «temples of the living God». Therefore God is obviously residing in each and every living being. How else could beings survive or exist, if God’s creating and sustaining power were not within? Is there any other power which gives and sustains life? At least science has not discovered any other power, if it does exist. Thus, in order to love God we must also love all other beings. It is impossible to Love God and not love the people around us. If we say we love God and harm the people around us we are simply hypocrites. Love of God means love of Humanity. Christ’s second commandment is exactly this, to «Love others as you love your selves». And his third, «Love your enemies». He asks us not only to love our friends but also our enemies. Even animals love their children and their own groupings. Men must bring the evolution of love to a higher level by learning to love even those who are different and even those who may try to harm him. This may be difficult for most of us. We have learned to harbor negative feelings towards those who try to harm us. To do the opposite and love them requires great philosophical clarity and spiritual strength and discrimination. Loving or not loving is not so much a moral issue, nor a matter of «sin» or «meritorious action». Loving is simply a measure of emotional maturity or spiritual wisdom. Whether we are able to love our enemies or not does not depend on whether we are «good» or «bad» but rather on how well he have understood the basic Laws of the creation of personal reality. We will discuss how we create our personal reality later on in this book. Here we will simply say that we are totally responsible for everything that happens to ourselves. No one else is ever the cause of what happens to us. They may very well be, and often are, the means by which something happens to us, but never are they the cause. They are also never the cause for what we feel within our mind. They may be the stimulus for what we are feeling but never the cause of our emotions. The emotions which we feel can be likened to seed sprouts and seedlings which sprout forth from deep within us. Others and their actions are like the rain which stimulate these seeds to sprout. But the field is ours and we have planted those seeds there. This will become clearer later. If we can believe this, then we can «forgive» everyone simply because there is nothing to forgive. No one has done anything to us. They are simply the means by which events necessary for our spiritual growth occur to us. Neither are they responsible for how we feel about what is happening. They simply are not responsible for our reality.
Ken Keys in his Handbook to Higher Consciousness, states that the law of higher consciousness is to «Love everyone unconditionally – including yourself». There is great wisdom in adding the words «including yourself». Christ said «Love others as you love yourself». That implies that one needs also to love one’s self. This may not always be the case. Many of us have negative feelings about ourselves, based on early childhood programming. We have learned to think about ourselves as guilty, weak, helpless, evil and unworthy in general. The subject of learning to love ourselves and others more openly, less conditionally and more completely is discussed in detail in the book The Miracles of Love and Wisdom, and thus we will not discuss it further here. Suffice it to say that again our ability to love ourselves and others unconditionally is an indication of our spiritual clarity. Spiritual wisdom makes two very important truths very clear:
1. That we and others are not the bodies and minds and thus we are not the actions and behaviors which they produce. We are all eternal divine witnesses of this material, emotional, mental drama. We are responsible for whatever we do; and everything we do will return to us. But we and others deserve to be loved independently of our character, actions and behavior; simply because we are not them. Spiritual wisdom, in this way, allows us to love ourselves and others even though we are not perfect. We are able to accept our weaknesses and negative aspects as natural for our present state of evolution. This does not mean that we do not continue our efforts towards self improvement. The child in the first grade does not reject himself or stop loving himself because he is not able to do what the children in the twelfth grade are able to do. But neither does he say, «I will remain here as I am in the first grade». No, he wants very much to continue learning so that he can eventually act and perform like a twelfth grader. In the same way, we accept and love ourselves and others in the first grade of spiritual life, but we are simultaneously eager to keep on growing into the higher levels of love and wisdom. Sathya Sai Baba explains that, «The deeds, good and bad, performed by the body do not infect the Spirit. All that is done with the body is experienced by the body itself. It is not proper to think that the sins performed by the body and experienced by the mind can be attributed to the Spirit. The Spirit has got eternal contentment. The sins committed by the body do not affect it. The various Spiritual practices are not really for Self-realization but for attaining and appreciating this distinctiveness of the body from the Spirit and get over the illusions of relating to the body». If we can develop this discrimination, we will be able to see that we and every other being is pure consciousness and pure love, and that all the drama of life is but a temporary relative reality which hides the truth of our oneness with all beings. We will then be able to love ourselves and others unconditionally.
2. Secondly, spiritual wisdom affirms our spiritual unity; that we are all different expressions of one divine consciousness. The realization that we are actually one with the other, automatically creates feelings of love and unity with the other. Thus spiritual wisdom creates an inner opening so that our love can flow. And in turn, love removes the blockages thus allowing our inner wisdom to develop. Both love and wisdom are within us. Developing the one increases the other. They are like the two peddles of the bicycle. Pushing on the one, brings the other upward and vice versa. In this way we move quickly and safely up the path of spiritual evolution.
St. John the Evangelist adds Christ’s fourth commandment concerning love in his gospel. Christ says, «Love each other as I have loved you». First he asked us to love each other as we love ourselves. But our love for ourselves is sometimes doubtful. The next stage is to love our fellow man as God is able to love us. God’s love is perfect love. God is Love. God doesn’t need anything at all from us. He (She or It) wants only to give. He wants only to see us, His creations, grow and be happy. He wants every thing for us and needs nothing for Himself. He wants these things because, in the highest reality, God is our own higher nature. God is within us. Our spirit is one with God. As Khalil Gibran so poetically puts «God, I am your Yesterday and you are my Tomorrow». We are divine seeds dropped from the Divine being which will someday evolve into that Divine Tree from which we have come. The Apostle Paul emphasizes in his letter to the Romans that nothing can stop God from loving us. No matter what we may do, God’s love will always be there. When we perform harmful actions to others, we simply remove ourselves from that Divine Radiance, through our ignorance. God’s love has not stopped, we have simply cut ourselves off from it. Satya Sai Baba confirms the irretractability of God’s Love. «Spiritual aspirants in the midst of their efforts sometimes imagine God to be less glorious than He really is. They feel that the Lord differentiates between sinners and saints, good and bad, the wise and the ignorant. These are unsound inferences. The Lord does not separate men thus». In order to be able to love others as God loves us we will need to steadily develop our own latent divine nature. The techniques offered by the various religions and spiritual systems are designed for exactly this purpose. Let us each move forward, reducing the pull of the ego and all its demands and desires, and identify more and more each day with our higher soul nature which is Pure Love and Pure Consciousness.
THE THREE LAWS
In this chapter we have discussed three laws through which we can evolve. We can learn through the law of Karma, making mistakes, acting selfishly and learning through the suffering which returns. Or we can evolve through the law of Dharma, paying close attention to living and acting always in harmony with the golden rule, «Do to others only that which you would like them to do to you». Or, we can rise upward through selfless love. The more we operate out of Dharma and love, the less Karma we create. It is our choice. When a child is dirty, he needs to take a bath. His parents tell him to go and take a bath. Inside, he knows he must. He also knows he will feel better when he is clean. But he is too preoccupied with what he is doing, with the games he is playing. Or, sometimes, he just doesn’t want to do what he «must» do. He feels a false sense of «freedom» in not doing what is «correct» to do, even though he knows deep inside that he will feel better. After the parents have reminded him quite a number of times in various ways, from soft to aggressive, they eventually just catch him by the ear and drag him crying into the bathtub. Washing up (spiritual purification) could have been a relaxed and pleasant experience if the child had gone when he first got the message. Since he ignored the messages for so long, the message came in a rather unpleasant form. We have a lot of purification to do in our lives. We can begin now living in the Dharma or in Love or we can wait for a really painful message to come and to force us to get started. These three laws are summed up in the following words by Satya Sai Baba: «Remember, when you love another man, you are really loving yourself, for there is only you in everyone. He is I. Whenever you injure, it is you that suffers, whenever you cheat, it is you who are cheated. If you do not do your duty to the best of your ability and intelligence and to the satisfaction of your conscience, you are only cheating your Self».