Acting from a level of joy and devotion

From an early age on we start to compete against one another rather than to collaborate. This creates a tendency to look for opponents rather, than friends and partners. For many of us, life itself becomes much more of a lonely struggle rather than the pleasant and joyful journey it could be.

The survival of the fittest

In a society that focuses on the individual and the competition against others, we are educated in a way to always fight for ourselves. That way we are supposed to become the most toughest, smartest and most successful persons out there, resulting in a great career of our chosen and a high salary.

With the mindset of competition everything becomes a battle and life itself a constant struggle. That struggle is visible in so many areas of life. It is not just in our educational or professional  system, but also in sports, self-development and even in the spiritual progress.

Benefits of the competitive mindset 

In a world where allegedly only the strongest survive, you are up for constant development, which is in itself certainly not a bad thing. It will help you to strive in multiple aspects.

In the fields of exercise it will help you to develop a strong and healthy body. One that can withstand physical stress and crises, one that allows you to go fast and take you where you want to go. Combined with the right diet and nutrition you can lay some groundwork for living a long life, and provide your body and brain with everything they need to produce peak performance.

In your quest for mental excellence this mindset will allow you to develop a great memory and function at a high level. Your brain capacity and the developed focus will allow you to solve complex problems and to do so for many hours a day to perform well in your job.

In your search for answers and spiritual progress the competitive mindset will help to continue the search and to learn about all the mystical schools out there. It might also bring you to various techniques catered to your own journey.

Slow and steady wins the race

Well? Until here it all sounds pretty well you might say. And this sort of mindset does definitely bring advantages.

In our quest to growth however, we have tendency to just do too much. Too many changes in a brief period of time for the purpose of progress.

We change the diet, quit the job to do something else, meditate as often as we can, go visit the yoga class, read books, quit smoking and drinking, oh and those friends of ours might also not be the most conducive to your growth… 

Surely it is good to have a good diet, good routine and a surrounding that supports the inner and outer evolution. But don’t be too ambitious about it. Discipline might do some good, but only to a certain extent. If we are too ambitious, we create yet another filter, yet another version of our Self, that is not our true Self.

We then act once again from the mindset of struggle – of survival of the fittest. We stress ourselves and the well intended changes become a burden for our intellect. Because in order to keep up with all the changes we try to implement and to reach these ambitious goal, every hour, even every minute of the day needs to be well calculated. There is no more room for error, for chance or just for a moment of nothingness.

The created stress certainly does not help implementing new habits. Therefore the key to create the changes you desire lies in consistency. By introducing small bits and pieces, the probability of these changes really becoming habits, greatly increases.

See the beauty and enjoy the ride

It is then the little successes that already bring tremendous joy for they bring you closer to these goals you set. More so these little steps allow some more flexibility, some more playfulness. Because when it comes to learning, stress will not help at all.

Think about it. Who are the best learners? It’s children. And one of their keys is to make a game out of every circumstance and to simply enjoy the act of learning and discovering. They act a from a level of joy rather than stress. They see the beauty in every aspect, are fascinated by the seemingly irrelevant details.

I think there is a great lesson to learn here. Not just about learning and implementing new habits, but from the way of acting itself. To see the beauty and playfulness in things rather than the struggle.

Acting from a level of devotion

When you start to see the beauty in things and realise, that you are but one part of a great family, you may acknowledge, that your path is not just about yourself, but much more about helping others along their path. The motivation for your growth transforms to a desire for other people’s growth as well. You start to act not just from that level of joy, but from the level of devotion. Devotion to the cause of realising your dreams, to the discovery of our Self, devotion to the evolution of others, the collective, devotion to god.

You may then realise that is not necessarily our own doing. For we are but the instruments through which the heavenly love and light flows, allowing us to do what we do. Devoting oneself to that pure essence is the path of evolution. In it we can let go of the ambitious ego, which strives for power. We can let go of that aspect. Instead the ego expands in the cosmic ego, which is free from the earthly power struggles and acts from a level of love and unprejudiced compassion.

When you get up in the morning, as yourself what you can do today to be of service to others. What can you do to put a smile on people’s faces, to help them through their struggles, to help make the world a happier place.

In this path we may free the intellect of its struggles in finding the best way and simply lay out the foundations, suiting to our path. A path without ambition but full of love and light, of service to others, of service to life itself.

How to discover the truth

How do we find reality or the truth? In a world full of religions, philosophies and mystery schools, there seem to be numerous opinions on what reality is. How can we know which of these is the right one? How can we discover truth for ourselves?

All schools offer some insight

Each of the religions, philosophies and mystery schools offer valuable lessons if you study them thoroughly. Lessons, that help you be a genuine person, that help you to answer some of the very questions of life. Nowadays however it seems like many of the original teachings have been lost and have been replaced by some of the practitioners perspectives.

That’s why most of these schools provide you with somewhat distorted answers. What they teach as the ultimate truth is in fact but a perspective. And although each of them claim to be so different from the others, they do talk about the same thing – unity.

Go beyond and find out for yourself

It is easy to follow these concepts, for they provide you with answers and free you of the burden of search. But if you are earnestly seeking, you have to go beyond that and find out for yourself.

It is reasonable to be a healthy sceptic about the concepts introduced to you and to reflect upon them based on your own experience. You still want to remain open though, to let in some of the new knowledge, which in its essence is still there. But you shouldn’t just follow blindly.

Your heart can be a good indicator in feeling what might be true and what not, or what might be true and beneficial for your individual path.

The Vedic way

In the quest of gaining a deeper understanding, I found the Vedic way, which to me offers a very practical approach. The Veda is a compendium of ancient texts stemming from the Indus Valley Culture, describing life itself. It is magnificently structured in that it explains the whole creation in just a letter “A” and then unfolds itself into various books and branches (one of them being Ayurveda).

In the Veda the approach to discover reality consists of three different aspects: direct experience, understanding and validation. Each of these steps are crucial in finding reality.

Most of the schools of thoughts can provide us with understanding and validation. They explain to you what man is and how the world came to be. The Christian teachings might be more appealing to you than the muslim teachings or vice versa. Each of them have reasonable perspectives, that can help you in the quest of gaining a deeper understanding. In your study you may also find many overlaps, pinpointing to a common foundation that predates each of the current religions.

They can also provide you with a sort of validation, stemming from holy scriptures and from the experiences of saints, prophets and the illumined.

But in most of these schools there is one thing missing, which might be the most important of these three. It is the direct experience. Only the direct experience will provide you with a knowingness, that something actually exists.

They can tell you all day long about the God, the universe or the transcendent, the field of underlying unity in all the diversity. But words can never begin to describe what these are. They are beyond intellectual understanding. Only direct experience can show it to you. Until you have had that experience, everything will remain a concept, just words. They might be plausible and appealing words, but they remain words.

Direct experience, understanding and validation will lead you

Whatever school of thought you find appealing, you should find a way to validate their teachings for yourself. They should come along with rituals or techniques, that allow a direct experience. If they cannot provide you with that, you may want to try something else.

Once you have these direct experiences, combined with an understanding and a validation of what happened, you have gained a tool that allows you to discover reality for yourself, irrespective of what others tell you. This is the way to “the truth”.