Finding God in this busy modern life

Finding GodFinding God in this busy modern life

AADISHRI ARUN: Modern life has its own realities and it creates its own dilemmas. If I have to use one phrase to describe the state of the world today I would describe the state of the world as- “Water water everywhere, not a drop to drink!”  What does this statement mean? It means that modern life, with all its technological advancements and its  promises of an abundant life is just a mirage.  Modern life may be able to provide us with the tools to live and prosper in the modern world but these tools cannot provide us happiness on their own. What is a tool?  It is simply an enabler.  A tool provides us with knowledge and resources about how to do something.  But it is only by doing that something can we hope to become happy.  Some examples will make this clear.  Example 1-Let’s say that We desire to reach a certain place in our search for happiness-maybe a pilgrimage to Badrinath. The modern world provides us with the tools-Google maps provides us with the route. The website of Volvo buses will provide us with a means to book the seats for travelling and the money in the bank will enable us to book those seats but only when we use those facilities and actually travel to Badrinath, that we will end up feeling happy. Example 2- We may desire to buy the latest I-phone and we may believe that that would make us happy but can that phone provide us lasting happiness if we have no good friends and have no-one to call? The phone may provide us with the means to call our loved ones but only by talking to them can we be happy.

When we examine our life from this perspective, we realize that most of our time is spend in gathering the resources for doing things but we have no time left to actually do those things!

The sad reality is that we end up working from morning to night to earn enough money to buy all the things that we think we need for ourselves and our families. Desire for the objects of the modern world and fear of the future drives us constantly. Inside we are completely lonely. Another aspect of the modern world is the complete uncertainty of life. Today It is just not enough to be good in our work. We could be very good in our work but we may get fired because the factory that we work in closes down due to overseas competition! Thus we can be affected by events and situations that we have nothing to do with or have no control over.  The reality of the modern world is that it is both global and local.  Not only are we affected by what is happening in the neighborhood but also what is happening globally.  The end result of all this is the increased uncertainty and complexity of our life and that makes us fear the future and worry constantly.

From early in the morning to late at night, our mind and emotions are constantly in turmoil about how to earn money so that we may be able to take care of our needs and prepare for a rainy day.  This constant cycle of desires and fears affects all aspects of our life whether we are young or old; whether we are students or professionals.  This is what creates the stress of living and this is now affecting most of the population of the world.  Even school students are being diagnosed with high blood pressure! Lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are spreading like wildfire  and doctors are now prescribing yoga, meditation, counseling etc apart from medications.

As I said in the beginning of this article-“Water water everywhere, not a drop to drink!”  We may have a thousand friends on face book but we have no-one to share our real feelings. Our phone book may be full of contacts but we have no-one to depend on when we need real help. We may have all the comforts that life can provide but we lack of health to enjoy most of those things.  The best foods from across the world may be available to us our stomachs can no longer digest even normal foods! The reality is that many of us eat more medicines than food!  And so on and so forth!

This is the nature of modern life.  Many of us want to escape this and go back to a more meaningful existence. But we find ourselves trapped in this whirlpool of a frenetic life from which there is no escape. Many of us want to run away but even that is not possible as to live, we need to be plugged into the modern world. It costs a lot of money to live even as a Sanyasi (renunciate)!

Many of us are told that spirituality and Yoga and seeking God can help us to escape from this sorry situation but we are so trapped in the cycle of give and take with the world that we have no time even for God.  So even when we are told that finding God is a solution, we have no time for seeking Him.

The question that faces us today is-How do we lead meaningful and happy lives in the world today?

Let me answer this question in this article.

The world is and has always has been a creation of  Maya.  The extent of Maya varies from age to age and epoch to epoch but the truth is that it is always Maya that predominates. And what is Maya’s job?  It is to endlessly create and recreate versions of the world that seduce and entrance the souls that come in it. And why is this done?  This is how the material universe is created in the first place.  The entirety of creation consists of various components that are roles played by the very same soul particles that God consist of Himself.  From the atoms that make up matter, to the minerals that make up all the substances of the universe, to the plants, to the animals and to man, each entity is just a deluded seduced soul that believes that he is that thing which he chooses to be.  And there is nothing wrong in this since this is the only way that Kaal can control creation. After all what would happen If a proton stopped believing that is was but a proton?  The atom will fall apart!

But the underlying truth is that none of the roles that the soul particles choose to take are real.  Creation is a contrived act and such a pretence can never give peace and joy to the soul. The soul may be misled for some time but it cannot be misled forever. Sooner or later it realizes that peace and joy are obtainable only by living in the truth.

And that leads us to the final question. What is Truth? People have different interpretations about what is truth.  Most people also think that truth is relative and are often confused by the meaning of truth. “The sun rises in the east” is a truth but is it the ultimate truth?  The answer is that truth also has layers and till we reach the ultimate truth, we cannot find peace and joy.  And what is the characteristic of the ultimate truth?- That which is unchanging.  If we examine this world by this yardstick, we find that there is no truth in it. The highest mountains, the deepest oceans, the planets and the stars, even the gods are not the truth since even they are time bound and will be destroyed after a certain period of time.  The only unchanging truth is the Lord Himself who is the creator of all.  When we seek and find the Lord, we find the truth and only that gives us the peace and joy we seek.  So then what is the truth? That there is only one truth in this universe and that is God Himself.  And this is why you must seek God.

What I have given you today is a reason – a ‘Why’ for seeking God.  It is only when you have a ‘Why’ for seeking Him, will you make the time and effort to seek Him in your otherwise busy life.  Once that understanding is there, you will get the motivation to make your life God-centric. Once your heart is set on seeking God, then I and you will be on the same page.  Then we can talk about ‘how’ we can seek God. I will tell you about the pathway to Him and what tools we can use to reach him but the first job that the individual MUST do is to have a heartfelt reason to seek God. The individual must constantly strengthen that resolve by believing that God is the only Truth.  This is the meaning of the phrase that is recited “Ram Naam Satya Hai!” when a dead body is taken for creation.  Actually this phrase should be recited at all times so that we may be reminded of this eternal truth.

So to sum up the teaching – how do we seek God in our busy modern lives?  By realizing that only He is real, that only He is fruitful and that only He can give us the happiness that we seek.  Once we realize this fact-not only in mind, but also in our heart and soul, then the modern life or for that matter, life in any age or time will fail to bother us or distract us from this fundamental reality.  Only then we will build our lives on the central unshakeable rock called God and only then will we shed all unnecessary Maya to find Him.  There is no end to Maya but we will stop getting entranced by what is fake and we will gravitate only towards what is real. We will then use Maya to reach God and not use it to run away from Him.

Many people are also confused about what do we owe to our families and friends and what is our duty toward them.  Is it right to abandon them in the search for God?  The answer is ‘NO’. It is God Himself who has sent us to take part in the play called life. It is He Himself who has assigned us this role.  It would not be appropriate for us to abandon our roles in the play of life. If we do that, we are only letting God down, so we must take part in the play and do our assigned duties and tasks.  for example, if my role in my present avatar is to be an Architect then I must be the best Architect possible and if your assigned task is to be a doctor then you must be the best doctor possible.  And yet at the same time, we must be constantly aware that the only reality is God and that we are only playing the role of an Architect or a Doctor or a father or a mother or a son and so on.  We must never attach our sense of self to our profession, our family or our nationality.  The ultimate truth is that we are nothing but a part of the eternal spirit of the Super-soul.  That identity is the only truth. It is the only unchanging reality. My profession, nationality, family even species can change from birth to birth but  me being part of the eternal spirit of God can never change. So even as we live in this modern world playing our assigned parts, if we are in constant remembrance of this truth, we will find everlasting happiness and joy, here and now.  This state of being is called Sat-Chit-Anand which translates to Truth consciousness bliss.