Lot of devotees and God seekers complain that even after great effort, they are unable to have a direct experience of God.
What is missing is the following two things.
- Unconditional love for God. This expression needs elaboration. Unconditional love for God starts with unconditional love for yourself. , you must first have a strong sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. You need to feel generally good about yourself, to like yourself, and to recognize the positive qualities you bring to a relationship. It also means you can stand on your own two feet as an individual without requiring a partner to define you or complete you. You can be together with someone and still remain fully yourself — as a person you like and respect.
If you lack self- esteem or don’t feel confident in yourself as a valuable person, then your relationship will suffer. Your insecurities will have an impact on your partner and on your mutual happiness. The best thing you can do for your relationship is to learn to love yourself. Offering unconditional love to yourself means you are able to view yourself as lovable and worthy — in spite of any perceived flaws or past mistakes.
Unconditional love is, in essence, true love — so different from the kind of love most of us have known all our lives that it deserves a definition of its own. Unconditional love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. It’s unconditional love when other people care about our happiness unconditionally
It is not unconditional love when other people like us for doing what they want or because we give them what they demand of us. Under those conditions we’re just “paying” for love in a way (or literally in some cases) with what we do to get that attention.
This then is the kind of love we need to have for ourselves and for God.
- Devotional Service : Devotional service, or bhakti, is the best method for achieving transcendental realization. Devotional service means trying to please the Lord. It is meant to give Lord happiness, and forgetting any demands that we may have. Devotional service is the soul’s eternal constitutional propensity, the living entity’s natural characteristic. The soul has no other constitutional duty than to offer service to the Lord.
Devotional service means activities performed for the pleasure of Lord, with devotion, and ultimately not mixed with any desire for personal pleasure.
The best way to begin devotional service is to try to offer everything you do, or some portion of everything you do, to Lord. For example, if you cook, offer the food to Lord before eating. If you work, then take some of the results of your work and offer it at the temple for the seva of Lord. If you have some skills, offer to help at a temple and use your skills for the benefit of the Deity, the temple, and the devotees.
In the 12th chapter of Gita, Lord Krishna gives several different alternatives as to how to begin the process of devotional service. And He also says that even offering a little water, a fruit, or a flower with love to Him constitutes devotional service. So does prayer; specifically, chanting the mantra of Lord is devotional service, and will clean personal desire from the heart and allow you to focus on just rendering loving service to Lord.
With this kind of unconditional love for ourselves and for the Lord and then offering devotional services to the Lord, we will make steady progress on the spiritual path.