Spirituality & material life can and should go together, as material life completely divorced from spirituality is frustrating in the end-a failure, a fiasco, a mess. Spirituality fulfills material life, basing it in the Soul, freeing it from its bondage to the desire- self, making life contended, happy, satisfied.
By Transcending Physicality, We Can Realize True Life
Life an Enigma
Life remains an enigma despite science having gone incredibly far in understanding the nature of Life. This is because science can grasp only the phenomenal, the apparent, the surface, but not the true truth of our life or not even the complete reality of the material world. Here steps in Spirituality and it is rightly said that spirituality begins where materiality ends.
Mind is our only instrument to grasp our true self lying beneath and above the material layers. But mind cannot take us far because of its inherent limitations. When we fail, we dismiss Self as non-reality.
We can progressively grasp the complete reality of ourselves when we begin to transcend physicality and get into our deepest being, the inmost being, the subtle being, the spiritual being.
Desires Are Infinite as Humans Are Infinity Unfolding
Inexhaustible Charms of Material Life
However, no matter what spirituality says about material life being an Illusion, Maya, our life is not in the least influenced by it. It has been going on in its own style and it will go on.
Those who do not yet have any concrete spiritual experience tend to relegate spirituality to an otherworld whose existence is doubtful and they are singularly unwilling to chase this doubtful otherworld by foregoing the endless fun on offer in the real, material world.
Yes, there are charms in material life: inexhaustible charms- the battle, the combat, the striving, the fierce craving for what we don’t yet have, but we long to have. Desires, endless, goad us on: one desire being satisfied, we go for another, and then another… We love to spend our life chasing the unfulfilled desires, heart and soul. And herein lies the thrill, the adventure, the joy of life.
There are only a few who have realized that our wants are endless. These are infinite as we are the creations of Infinity. Desires being ungratifiable, we must get over the desire-self and rouse the true self that has only one desire-to realize and then live in the Divine: secure, peaceful, blissful.
Delight of Existence Hidden in Life
What Are We Really Seeking?
This is a question of paramount importance: what we are really seeking. Do we know what we are seeking? We may be craving peace, to be at peace, to enjoy life in peace, with all our desires fully satisfied. But true peace we will never get if we remain imprisoned in our senses, trapped in our desire-self.
But is peace the last thing we are seeking? Upanishads say no. There is something beyond peace, deeper than peace, greater than peace. Then what is it? It is the Delight of Existence, say Upanishads. Delight is the secret of creation; delight is the root of our birth; delight is the cause of ours clinging to life despite suffering, struggle, frustration, disease, death.
This Delight of Existence is hidden in Life, lower and higher life- plant life, animal life, human life. But this is just a pale reflection of the Supreme Delight of Existence we are really seeking deep down in ourselves. The true Divine Delight of Existence is limitless, self-existent, unconditioned, unrelated to external cause-just Delight, ecstatic, causeless Delight of Existence. When our life becomes this Divine Delight of Existence we are fulfilled.
From Limited to Illimitable Consciousness
Life Is Evolving Consciousness
As we are now concluding our discourse on material life vis a vis spirituality, a question comes: how we can harmonize the two. Is a harmony possible or we have to discard the material life completely to embrace the spiritual life?
Except for the Illusionist School, the Indian Spirituality asserts that the material life is a partial manifestation of the Supreme Being, the Brahman. The life-affirming Indian spirituality views life as unfolding, evolving Consciousness-a Divine field of evolution from the limited to the illimitable Consciousness, the Divine Consciousness, Eternal and Infinite.
Changing Direction of Life
Harmonizing Material Life with Spirituality
We all feel intuitively that there is a Divine Presence in us. This is a true feeling as the Divine is indeed dwelling in our deepest Consciousness. This is why when we connect Consciousness our life becomes peaceful, secure, satisfied. The material life is the base from where we can ascend to the spiritual life. This is the intention of Nature; this is the intention of the Divine-this progress, this ascent, from gross to subtle, from the base to the summit. What is needed is transforming life, changing the direction of life.
But how can we progress towards spiritual life while living the material life? The God-realized mystics say that we should live as the mud fish lives in the mud: it is living in clay but it is not soiled by it. Or like the lotus that floats over the muddy water, yet it reflects its heavenly beauty.
They exhort us to inculcate detachment from the lower life and this progressive detachment will prepare us for the higher life, the divine life, the spiritually fulfilled life.
Detachment will help us connect Consciousness and Consciousness will transform our life inside out.
We can work in any field, any profession assigned to us while remaining awake in our Consciousness, accepting whatever comes in life with equanimity, detachment: neither elated by success nor demoralized by failure, taking everything that comes as a lesson sent by the Divine who is dwelling in us to move on, to progress, to evolve towards the supreme goal of life.