“We are made, the scriptures of all religions assure us, in the image of God. Nothing can change that original goodness. Whatever mistakes we have made in the past, whatever problems we may have in the present, in every one of us this ‘uncreated spark in the soul’ remains untouched, ever pure, ever perfect. Even if we try with all our might to douse or hide it, it is always ready to set our personality ablaze with light.” EKNATH EASWARAN (1910-1999) cac.org
(Eknath Easwaran was an Indian born spiritual teacher and author, as well as translator and interpreter of early Hindu texts such as the UPANISHADS and the BHAGAVAD GITA.)
Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) taught:
“Our supreme purpose in life is not to make a fortune, nor to pursue pleasure, nor to write our name in history, but to discover this spark of the divine that is in our hearts.”
The world, specifically Western Culture, might do well to listen to the words of all religious traditions whose mystics searched beyond the limits of this life experience for truer meaning and self-less examination. Escaping the insanity of violence, war, poverty, genocide, persecution, religious intolerance and greed is critical for a path to a sustainable co-existence of the human species as well as the ecosystem of earth which inarguably is essential to our survival.
Giving up self-indulgence is not easy. Just ask any other recovering alcoholic or addict. A primary symptom, if not the most salient aspect, of our addictions was ego-driven selfishness. Unfortunately, that does not miraculously disappear upon our first day of the recovery process. For most of us, especially me, this change in focus becomes a lifetime endeavor. Some days are better than others, but the spark is there. An AA saying that resonates is, “A belly full of booze and a head full of AA don’t mix.” It’s the same with recognizing the divine spark within each of us. Once you experience it, you can no longer ignore it. That inner essence demands change.
I continue to be amazed that for some people this change is easily accomplished. Involving in service work, rejoining their communities, whether in civic groups or church groups, seems to be a cakewalk for them. Not for me. You can drag me to a town hall meeting, but I will be kicking and screaming all the way. It is not natural for me to do something that is not all about me, me, me.
We don’t hear WWJD very often these days. “What Would Jesus Do?” In no way have I perfected this approach, but when I ask myself this question, I can usually depend on a positive, forward-moving answer. It doesn’t matter whether one believes a divine Jesus, a virgin-born Jesus, a reverential Jesus or a bodily resurrected Jesus, the keys to successful, peaceful, empowered living are contained in the writings which are attributed to the words of Jesus of Nazareth. Those nuggets of inspiration and truth culled from the Bible’s chapters detailing Judaic history, folklore, and ancient wisdom present a lifestyle and mindset that lead to the change demanded by each individual’s inner essence.
Not surprisingly, this truth can be gathered from most of the world’s great spiritual traditions if we put aside the hype and tribal prejudices of religion and instead search for the reality of inner discovery. History’s mystics lead that search.