The written word and spiritual perfection



Sometimes I sit down to write without fully knowing what I’ll say.  I just fill the empty page with my thoughts and experiences.  After I’ve hit the “publish” button and the whole world can see my train of thought, I will read my own piece and say, “Oh, so this is what is going on.”

In other words, keeping a blog, however inconsistently, gives me a clarity on my life I wouldn’t otherwise have.  It’s almost like creating a map.  Blue means water, green is forests, stubbled grey is elevation.  Because I’ve written, I can see my life with the objectivity of distance.  I see where my strengths and weaknesses lie.  I know now what I have to do.  I encourage everyone to write if they want better self-knowledge.

Sri Chinmoy says repeatedly that through writing, we can perfect our spiritual life.  In Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Father’s Day Prayers he says:

“The reason why I write: I long to correct myself…”

In The Mind and the Heart in Meditation, he writes:

“Then we can write about our own experiences.  We won’t want to publish them, no.  But while we are writing them down we are revealing our own inner light and perfecting our spiritual nature.  For half an hour we can write and we can read what we have written.  Each time we read about one of our own experiences we get abundant peace, light and bliss.  This is not our false imagination.  As soon as we have written we have created something.  The creator always wants to enjoy his creation…”

He offered this message repeatedly, in many books, that through writing we are perfecting our spiritual nature.

Sri Chinmoy is saying here we don’t have to publish them, but I find it personally helpful to write down my experiences in the public sphere.  This is because when I write for other people, I have to set down my experiences clearly and concisely.  When I come back to them years later, I can actually understand and contextualize what I have written.  Whereas if I wrote it just for myself, I might write in a more fragmented, haphazard way.

Also, I think our Guru mentioned that it is our personal experiences, our spiritual experiences, that if we can write them down, will have the greatest impact on the world.

He did say that to get any real benefit from spiritual writing, it must be set down in pen and paper.  But at least this blog is a very easy way for me to get my thoughts down, and to share them.

I write about the things I’ve learned on my spiritual journey.  I also write about my own problems and weaknesses.  I set down the good and the bad, but I try to be detached from my own positive and negative qualities.  Neither the good nor the bad really expresses who I am.  I just am.  The real in me is the soul, and the soul is beyond good and bad.  I haven’t realized this truth yet, at least not in my own psyche, but I feel it to be so.  Sri Chinmoy writes in The Golden Boat (part 5):

“When sin plagues him
He cries aloud.
When virtue plagues him
He cries aloud.
His Lord today tells him:
“No sin, no virtue, My son.
Only think that
I experience the life-breath
Of every moment
In a different way,
That’s all.””

By putting my life down on the page, I can learn from my own mistakes and bathe in the light of my own higher aspiration.  It’s an easy practice, a very accessible sadhana.

Today, at the grocery store, a young woman told me that she feels life needs joy, that joy is the essence of life.  I told her that in Bengali “joy” means victory, and I sang her Guru’s immortal anthem to the great Mother Kali: “Joy, joy, joy…ma, ma, Kali ma- tomai kebal bhalo basi ami antarato- ma”.  This means, I believe, “Victory to Mother Kali- your beauty I love with my whole heart.”

She was so moved by the song!  She told me, that going forward, she will remember that “joy” means “victory”.

I was ringing up another woman’s groceries, later in the day, and I told her that I felt she has a very deep connection with Mother Nature; I felt rivers, mountains and forests in her aura.  She told me that her middle name means “river” in German, and she was happy to get confirmation of her name.

Later in the day, two young Indian men came to my line, along with a young Chinese woman.  One of the Indian gentleman asked me if I knew the sloka in the Gita, quoted by Oppenheimer, where Krishna says, “I am become time- destroyer of worlds.”  He asked me if I knew it in Sanskrit.  I said yes, and I recited:

“Kalo ‘smi pravidraham lokas skaya skrit.”  The literal meaning is “I am time grown old, to destroy the world.”

I also quoted to them Sri Chinmoy’s mantra from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees (part 34): “Time either weakens or destroys the evil forces”.  Sri Chinmoy’s poem gives a special clarity to Lord Krishna’s utterance.  I told them that mantras can be offered in English as well as in Sanskrit.  They told me they wanted to sit down with me at a future time and have a discussion about our favorite mantras.  I look forward to this.

One of my customer-friends is a former college soccer player.  Today we got in a mock fight.  When he approached my line, I shouted, “Oh no, it’s my worst customer!”  At some point during our heated battle I told him he could ring up his own goddamn groceries next time.  He slammed his fist on the counter and replied “This morning you woke up and you chose war!”

I don’t know where the phrase “you woke up and you chose war” comes from, but I see it’s a mantra.  You can find them anywhere.

I’m writing this at five-thirty in the morning.  It’s time for me to get some shut-eye before I start my day.  Ciao for now.

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