A Discussion With Manatita on Spiritual Philosophy - Part 6
The heart has
Many special qualities.
Two are uppermost:
It knows how to care;
It knows how to share.— Sri Chinmoy
An Ongoing Adventure
In the fifth part of this spiritual adventure, my Brother, Manatita helped me, and I hope you too, to approach the way we can walk the Spiritual path. In this sixth part, we will continue with some questions about the Spiritual path of the Heart. I hope you'll enjoy it as I did.
Spiritual Adventure, Part 6
Ioannis: Your answer reminded me a part of a book I had read several times when I was young.
"Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point, very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.” - Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge
This text was an alarm to me when I read it. I was trying for many years to understand it, or better to use it in my life. When I began my study on Spiritual Philosophy, it was more apparent to me that the path of the Heart is the one I want to walk. I am happy now hearing from you the same thing.
Nevertheless, most of the people think that is not an easy path to walk. What do you think?
Manatita: No, it is not easy and so I will quote you Guruji once more:
“Life’s perfection-road is very long, but the journey is richly rewarding.” – Sri Chinmoy.
Mostly, we tend to get what we deserve. Those who take a specific Path are looking for it or something similar. The God-seeker who is ‘ripe’ tends to find the right Path and when he/she is unfortunate, God Himself offers help. Sincere seekers are not in a hurry. They look for the foundations of the house to ensure safety: purity, empathy, loving kindness, lack of ego, humility, non-attachment, selfless service and authority, amongst other virtues. God ultimate responds - wherever the seeker calls - if the ‘cry’ is sincere.
Yes, the Path is described in India as ‘The Razor’s Edge’ and one may stumble or fall right back where one started. Moving forward requires intense faith and one-pointed devotion. Not to look back or sideways, but to continue the march, abandoning the seemingly beautiful flowers along the way. Guruji teaches that many great spiritual teachers have fallen.
Yet there is a simplicity and sweetness that will follow the Bhakta with a loving and sincere Heart, as long as he/she is devoted to the goal … to life’s purpose of knowing one’s true Self or Higher nature.
Ioannis: "Not to look back or sideways, but to continue the march, abandoning the seemingly beautiful flowers along the way."
To avoid any misunderstanding or misinterpretation, I will ask you to explain how this is connected with the willingness to help others along the way.
Manatita: Helping others is a bit paradoxical. In a sense, the goal of life is to realize one’s true nature. However, in the act of serving and walking your Path, you are bound to serve others and to elevate humanity. The very nature of the flower is to be fragrant, but that fragrance affects everything around the flower. Is that not so? It is natural and the flower does not have to try.
Looking backwards or sideways is a bit like Lot’s wife. Sometimes we are sidetracked by occultic powers, mind-reading and other temptations. We cannot turn back, or we are likely to fall. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given unto you.” Matthew 6, 33 (KJV). So keep walking. Think only of God and not His gifts.
Let me repeat that this is the main reason for building a foundation. If we work on the ego, fear, power and greed, insecurity and resentments … if the Heart is pure, we are far less likely to stumble.
Ioannis: I can see that you disunite "helping" from "serving" and I have to admit that is a bit confusing for me!
"Helping others is a bit paradoxical."
What do you mean?
Manatita: They are similar, and I would occasionally use the word 'help', according to the context in which I am speaking. Guruji teaches that only God can help ... that humanity are our brothers and sisters.
Again, when we think that we are helping others, there is usually a subtle sense of superiority and inferiority. Vivekananda asks us to be grateful to the man we help, for he is giving us an opportunity to make progress.
Who is helping whom? Seen with the eye of vision, the poor, the oppressed ... the downtrodden, are nothing but sparks of the Beloved One.
So serve, serve, serve and never be tired of serving.
Ioannis: Oh! What a sublime answer! My dear Brother, you can't imagine how blessed and grateful I feel for having the chance of this discussion! Your answer clarified a topic which was troubling me for years, though within I knew it.
We can only serve, and God helps us!
Thank you for helping me to understand. Or do you have to thank me for letting you help me? Ha! Ha! This is an excellent lesson for the ego!
Nevertheless, there is another phrase that I can't understand:
"Think only of God and not His gifts."
Can you explain it some more, please?
Manatita: You're asking a very easy one Bro. You're testing me? One should always be conscious of the goal of life. Indeed, it should be our only goal. Some get caught up in mind-reading, miracles, healing, awakening their energy centres, mediumship … humans tend to want things in a hurry. This has a potential to be very dangerous. The way of the Heart is to start the journey and keep going once started. One cannot turn back.
The child does something nice and goes to the mother and she is pleased. She then offers him not only the house and its contents, but her legacy … her very self. So, in the same way, when we seek God only, when we avoid His 'beautiful flowers', (attractions and temptations), then if He is pleased with us, He would automatically offer us everything else in His creation.
If you aim at a tree with a heavy stone, chances are that you will only get so far. But if your aim in the beginning was the infinite sky, then you will throw much higher. Two brothers stopped on their way in a mango Grove. One ate to his heart's content, but the other went and made friends with the owner of the garden, consequently, he got the entire garden.
The way of the Heart will ask you to seek God and not His powers … not His many attractions as you will become side-tracked … your progress will be slowed. Spiritual life is littered with people who were tempted and fell. That is what Lot’s wife did! So you march forward and keep going until the goal is reached. In the state of oneness with God, everything else will become yours. Spiritual power, is infinitely greater than occultic power. Keep going, do not be attracted or tempted by anything less than Self-Realisation.
End of part 6.
To be continued… (link to part 7)
© 2018 Ioannis Arvanitis