It is difficult to comprehend why some good people suffer badly in life. At times, sincere and hardworking people are not able to move ahead in life due to various unfavorable conditions. Despite best of intention and courage, we find lot of people who possess good qualities suffer. On the contrary, someone who adopts manipulative practices is seen to flourish and gain in material possession and wealth. It makes us to lose faith in goodness and fair dealings.
The answers to these anomalies cannot be found by just limiting our existence to this life. While it is true that bad governance and ineffective legal system works to the disadvantage of good people, but it does not explain fully their suffering. At times, nature also treats them unkindly by inflicting some physical ailment or other pain. While, we try to explain this dichotomy by talking about luck and chance, however it does not explain the real issues affecting our lives. The problem lies in expecting results of our actions to come in this life. It appears that in the divine scheme of things, it does not happen as divine time frame is much large than our perception.
Why good actions are not rewarded? It can be best understood by thinking beyond this life. Life is a form of consciousness. Once body loses this consciousness, it is deemed dead. This consciousness is imparted by someone lying within it. We are not able to comprehend about this consciousness during our life time because we treat body and inner consciousness as the same. As our normal sensory organs and science have not been able to reveal full mystery of this force, it is imperative to think of role of God in our birth and death. We may assign various reasons for death from medical perspective but these are only periphery causes while the real role is spiritual.
It is evident that our existence is not limited to this life alone. Hence, it is natural to think of rewards of our actions not confined to this life but being carried forward from previous so many lives and taken forward to next births. I think this is the only plausible explanation that can mystify our role in this life despite some sort of suffering. Divine lifespan is much larger than the one life in which we are placed presently. The purpose of life can be best understood when we think of life as a continuum from earlier lives to this life and hereafter. People often avoid accepting this truth due to fear of leaving this life and in facing death. They often move away from reality.
It will be difficult to bring meaning to life without thinking of reincorporation. There is profound evidence about reincarnation as per Hindu Mythology and so many other religious doctrines. The body consciousness that had been taken off after death will be again reinforced with a new set of body, a new brain and a new memory. God has been kind to human beings as not to keep the old memories tact. However, even though we have forgotten past memories of body consciousness, it is still with us. It is therefore logical to think that everything of the past cannot be washed away as we are to bear the rewards and punishment of previous lives. Reincarnation is the outcome of our previous actions. We have to take rebirth to bear the impacts of earlier deeds.
There can be four plausible explanations based on the overall understanding of our real self for the good people to suffer in this life:
All sufferings may not be bad. Some of the suffering in the form of material and physical discomfort may appear to be bad but it provides enough resilience to remain connected with other people and God. When everything is moving well, people often become egoistic and self – centered. Such people accumulate negative attitudes without self -introspection. Suffering is helpful for inner purification. You tend to become grateful, compassionate and humble during the moments of suffering. In the divine wisdom, some good people are made to suffer so that they improve on their real consciousness that talks about love, peace, bliss and compassion. A person can best inculcate these virtues through own suffering. This is the reason that great saints and men of spiritual wisdom abhor luxuries and suffer in their material life for remaining in touch with reality.
Our sufferings and rewards in this life may not be necessarily outcome of this life but due to previous births. This makes people to adhere to life of virtues and abhor momentarily pleasures that are out of context with the flow of life. If people enjoy life by creating pain and suffering to others, it returns pain in some other form to be borne if not in this life but sometime in subsequent lives. This divine justice is the belief carried out by so many people holding spiritual perspective. This explains why some good people suffer may be due to some previous actions not known. These people through good deeds during this life are overcoming the bad effects of earlier action. This is the opportunity nature provides to improve by bearing some sort of suffering.
Suffering is subjective in context. You may find a person suffering due to lack of material possessions and wealth. He may be finding it difficult to live a comfortable life, compared to the other person who is financially secure. However, a person facing lack of wealth may be quite comfortable in dealing with other issues in life. He may be experiencing inner peace, contentment and ideal relations. It does not necessarily mean that so called good person is suffering in all fronts. Such people are often rich in their inner condition that takes them through the rough and tough of life with courage and contentment. We are not able to notice their inner condition and only see outward suffering.
Good people often shy away from fighting against the system. Lot of atrocities and excesses are committed by governments, societies and religious bodies. It is often observed that unless people raise their voices in somewhat violent and provocative manner, their demands will not be met. Good people do not have this nuisance value. Hence, other people often ignore them. Present day problems are the outcome of this trend which is gradually percolating in various levels in the government and societies. Legal system is found lacking in protecting the goodness of the people. Corruption, nepotism and favoritism are at the peak in many societies. This degradation is the cause of suffering by good people. Wickedness is gaining at the cost of goodness. Spiritual and social awakening of some sort will only be able to reverse this trend.
The role of money in New Age spirituality
Spirituality is a way of life that impacts every aspect of our existence. It is not in any way separate from our daily and routine life. It is not about leaving our responsibility towards family and society. It is not to shun money. Spirituality is about living a balanced life that is in tune with nature. It expects us to perform all deeds and actions while remaining conscious of inner self (soul) to bring inner connectedness with other people and divine. The focus is on living a life full of love, inner peace, compassion, forgiveness and humility that are hallmark and liking to our inner consciousness (soul). The role of money ought to fulfill this purpose of life. Through our wealth, are we helping others or destroying them. This is the question which is basic to the role of money in present age spirituality. How can a person live a balanced life fulfilling his day to day needs as also remaining absorbed with inner self without earning money? Hence, earning money is part of the grand purpose of life. Present day spirituality does not expect people to shun material life. It does not expect to stop working and earning money. It only emphasizes that the money be earned rightly without using any devious means.
Hence, Money and affluence, when they are created morally and ethically is a sign that one is working in tune with spiritual aspirations. The money is not the problem, but the problem creeps when we get attached to money leaving all other higher aspirations behind.
The question arises as whether money earned need to be spent entirely towards own comforts. Spirituality provides a different perspective. Wealth beyond a point when it satisfies basic necessities does not add significantly to our overall satisfaction. A person who is wealthy must have worked hard and circumstances might have also favored him. When it comes to your efforts, that portion of wealth can be deemed to be your own. However, part of the wealth has come to a person due to various external factors. This is the experience which so many people notice by looking to wealthy people. They may be beneficiary of good upbringing, better schooling, favorable government policy, timely help from others or mere chance. Many intelligent and capable people who help others to accumulate wealth but they remain deprived as circumstances were not favorable for them. It is therefore worth considering whether all the money that we have accumulated morally belongs to us. Are we supposed to spend entire amount for self gratification and personal luxuries? Should part of wealth be shared for the benefit of others? Did God not provide this opportunity to help others through sharing part of wealth? It is better to look to these issues as it helps to align role of money to fulfill broader meaning and spiritual purpose in life.
We need not to criticize wealth and wealthy people. They have all the right to enjoy part of their wealth for own comforts. The issue is social and moral responsibility. Are wealthy people spiritually responsible to share their wealth? If we look to the big picture of life, every aspect of our existence, purpose and essence talks about connection with others. This spiritual purpose expects to be mere trustee to the surplus wealth and use it for well being of other people. A wealthy person can make a big difference towards the well being of other people.
Rich person becomes richer as circumstances help him. He can take more risk, can be more enterprising and show high resilience in case of adverse situation. When it comes to amassing wealth, it is not a level playing field. Too much disparity is in distribution of wealth as against need for equality of human beings. Those people who utilize their wealth for common good of other needy people are fulfilling higher purpose of nature. When we help others; we are actually helping our self to fulfill inner need. It raises self esteem and makes us happy. It has benefit for generating long lasting happiness compared to self gratification that may give temporary pleasures. It is for all of us to look into these issues and find answers.
Money can buy happiness when we earn, spend, and invest money in a way that is closely aligned with spiritual perspective. If one spends money on an object without being true to broader purpose, the joy of the product will evaporate. This is true with not only of spending money but also of the way that we earn money. An investor who loses sleep thinking about his portfolio would be an example of a person who is violating his true self. The closer we live our lives to our true selves, the closer we will reflect that alignment in the way that we earn, spend, and invest money. The great benefit of this process is that by honestly examining the role of money in our lives, by carefully planning our most important goals, and by consciously using money in a manner that gives the best opportunity to reach those goals, we move beyond the fears and burdens that money typically represents. At that point, money takes on the role that it is meant to; that is, it becomes a tool that helps us fulfill our life’s goals. If money helps us to promote love, care and help others, it then fulfills true purpose.
While money can provide happiness by living a life with material comforts, but indulgence in excessive consumption could be damaging to inner peace and may lead to unhappiness. The best way to use money is by making other people derive benefit from it apart from making our life comfortable. This way money could fulfill our spiritual need to be helpful to others.
Harmony and a spiritual perspective
It is not easy to live in harmony with other people without bringing spiritual perspective. The present day problems and troubles, whether they are economical, political, religious or social, but the root cause is loss of spiritual values. We try to live a self- centered life taking care of material possessions, wealth and professional achievements, but ignore the common welfare of other people around us. All attention goes to self growth and glory. This makes us to be in competition with others; we treat other people our competitors who need to be won over by any sort of tactics. People like to grab wealth, comforts and power all by themselves leaving little for others. This attitude goes contrary to spiritual beliefs and values. Living in harmony calls for looking to spiritual values.
Spirituality draws our attention to inner-self (spirit). The need of inner self is quite different from body (self) needs. The inner self (soul) has come from one single source so it tries to bring closeness with that source (God) and all other people who originated from that source. This inner need is the crux of spiritual learning and practice. As self (body) need food to grow, inner self (soul) need love for God and its creation to grow. How can one remain close with other people unless he/she learns to live in harmony with love, care and compassion with others? We tend to ignore this spiritual need, against other more alluring material comforts. The net impact is loss of inner peace and disharmony all along.
Spiritual perspective talks of equanimity despite outward differences. The deeper we delve into spirituality, the better we appreciate that all human beings from the divine perspective are equal. The external differences in knowledge, wealth, color and religion are too peripheral and need not to predominate our thinking. Spiritual perspective talks of deep inner connectedness with other people. It helps in looking for opportunity to live in love with others. Living in harmony will come naturally after a person understands the importance of love, compassion, forgiveness, empathy and humility. These are spiritual virtues which come on the journey towards understanding real purpose in life. Differences will look too feeble with others when the attention is directed towards real self (within).
There are so many people in this world who are suffering in some manner. Why to feel concerned about people who suffer. This insensitivity to the suffering has grown, and feeling for the pain of others is ignored. It is at the back of disharmony with others. Living in harmony is feasible only when we are sensitive to other person’s suffering. If you ignore the suffering of old person, patient, orphanage, widow and economically deprived person, you can’t feel compassion for how difficult their experience are. It involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain. When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help other person in some way. Having compassion also means that we offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, it means that we realize that suffering and failure is part of the human existence and has to learn to live with others despite these imperfections. This awareness comes to a person who moves ahead on the path of spiritual growth.
Understanding others’ plight and living in harmony is a natural response to our love for other person. Wealth and Power bring ego and it makes a person to expect everything to happen in the manner he deems it right. The ego takes far off from understanding the plight of other person. All the people with whom he interacts will not reveal their suffering to such person. Such perfectionist often loses the real touch with other people. They find it difficult to live in harmony with others.
Living in harmony requires taking care of yourself and others with equanimity. It is the need of divine and ultimate truth to not discriminate in any way. Compassion is a feeling to be useful to others, and mitigate their sufferings. This feeling comes naturally – it simply works through you on your way to spirituality.
People are generally selfish in nature. They wish to take care of own self interest even at times at the cost of others. However, as people develop inner capabilities to love, respect and feel compassionate towards others, it makes them to take care of others as much as they look after self interest. This single act makes people to be straight forward, truthful, and considerate towards others. A step further towards taking care of other, demands sacrificing own needs for the benefit of other people. It is noble act and in tune with inner urge. This is how people develop harmony in their dealings with others. Small differences are often ignored.
Nothing can create profound impact on your dealings with others than some acts of sacrifice. It may be a very small gesture that puts other person’s interest ahead of self-interest. Through the acts of sacrifice, it is to bring the inner connection with other people and God as no other way will be equally effective. This is the reason that people who wish to move ahead in their spiritual pursuit look for the acts of sacrifice. Look to your inner self; it shows extreme level of happiness and peace with each act of sacrifice. Despite material sacrifice and inconveniences in attending to someone, you still feel happy and satisfied. All these acts that naturally come to a person who holds a spiritual perspective of life brings harmony in dealings with others.
If you were God which of the deadly sins you will remove
It is difficult to take on the role of God with little knowledge of divinity at our disposal. Divine purpose is baffling and we are just little kids completely ignorant about it. However, assuming we have to ask God to remove one sin from the life of human beings, I will pray for getting rid of HATE from the minds of all human beings. To me, it is the cause of all the trouble, wickedness and other sins committed by human beings.
True, there are so many atrocities committed in the world. We find crime, corruption, greed, and avarice at its peak in most of the societies. One after the other scandals are noticed that talk about horrifying cruelty. How then, one can say that hate is the most deadly sins in this world that needs to be removed.
Mind is at the centre of all evil. We have spoiled mind and it now behaves in an erratic manner. It designs and creates various scenarios that presuppose threat from others. These scenarios are mostly imaginary based on misunderstanding, misrepresentation and misinformation. We do not like someone as our mind has created a wrong picture of the entire situation. It does not stop at that. The next step is to combat with other person and to take revenge. This is the work of mind to create a feeling of hate against other person; in most cases without understanding fully other person. Having decided to hate other person, it directs body to take revenge against other person in whatever possible manner. This is the starting point for crime, greed and corruption. You hate someone and then instill physical harm or monetary loss to that person. Suppose, our mind does not allow us to think badly about other person; it will be difficult to think of harming someone. All other acts of crime will subsidize significantly.
The biggest culprit is the mind. If we control the mind, we are deemed to have won the love and respect of the people. This is not a wishful thinking but true. Look to great saints. They have good control on their mind; it makes them to think about good of the other people. Hate does not come to them. They are able to influence large section of the society through their love.
Hate works contrary to the need of inner- self (soul). We have to realize that our true self comprises both body consciousness and inner consciousness. God expects us to keep inner consciousness in focus while dealing with others. Inner consciousness likes to remain in proximity with God and his creations through love. The need of inner self (soul) is love for God and other human beings. Unfortunately, we ignore this inner need and adopt selfish attitude towards life. This brings hate in our dealings with others; onset of all troubles, miseries and cruelty. Hate is the work of devil lying within us as love is the seat of God within us. Love is God. Unless we destroy devil in the form of hate lying within us, we will not be able to realize true self.
Take away hate from all human beings to make world a place worth living. All of us ought to pray for this from God. How much stressful we feel in life because of the hate accumulated against others. Our perspective of life takes extremely negative view due to this emotion. We deem other person incapable, unworthy and a threat to us. Think for a moment how do you feel without bringing any hate feelings against others. This leads to self discovery. True purpose of life will be realized if we unseat hate lying within us.
Hate is not only damaging for other person, but it also spoils own self. A person who has the tendency to hate other person often feels stressful. He does not live in peace. Look to family relation these days. Despite lot of material comforts, people are not happy. The reason is emotion of Hate has taken place of Love. True love is missing in most relations with family members, colleagues and friends. At slightest pretext, we get enough provocation to hate someone. The reason is that mind has been trained to think in this manner. It needs lot of efforts to clean our self from this feeling. It is said “God helps those who help themselves”. This saying is true in this manner. God will help to remove hate, but we have to help self first to get rid of this feeling.
God will not stop us from thinking. Hence, even if God removes hate from human beings; there is no guarantee that human mind will not bring it again in his realm of thinking. It therefore needs self effort more than the simple wish to God. The greatest paradox which all of us face is to know the true purpose of life. The best way to solve this is to shun hate and bring love in dealings with other people. This will bring more and more awareness about our true self and inner bliss. Let God help all human beings to shun hate.
How to find your true person
People often boost about own self, and claim to be fully aware of their entire capabilities, aspirations, and emotions. It is a microscopic knowledge of our true self. You may be aware about your body or mind; but still it does not lead you to know true person in you.
You like to believe in your capabilities the way others perceive. The tendency is to hide your true self to others for some fear of revealing yourself. Gradually, you believe yourself what you actually are not.
Knowing own self demands understanding aspirations of physical, emotional and spiritual values and how best to fulfill these requirements. Understanding all these facets of our existence leads to self-discovery. This brings long lasting peace, happiness and contentment. We acquire knowledge, develop talent and skill on various subjects to be capable to earn and live comfortably. Despite this, we remain ignorant about our spiritual needs. Our spiritual essence remains hidden and we often try to ignore it. This is the reason for present unhappiness and disturbances.
How many times people ignore aspirations of inner self, as they often remain unaware about it. What is that you’re feeling satisfied? Why you are not at peace, even with all the wealth and comforts. What is that troubles you. If you go on probing all these questions, it will be clear that people are still craving for something, even after taking care of body and mind. All these questions do come to all of us, but we try to curb them. These cravings come from within that tells us that you are not what you believe.
Realize that our self is not body but it comprises of inner essence that is soul. There is substantial indirect evidence about existence of soul and it being immortal moving from one body to another body. Remain connected with your soul by looking within and withdrawing attention from external distractions. Most of our attention is drawn in meeting outward desires and these do not subsidize. Each desire when met gives rise to fresh set of desires. We remain too much busy with meetings needs of body thereby loosing essence of real self. Meditation helps to realize and know real- self.
Real self tries to remain in love with other fellows despite external differences. When we remain in absolute loving feelings with others; it gives us the glimpse of inner essence. We realize eternal bliss filled with love all around for humanity and thereby to God. Negative emotions will reduce. Contentment in life is in tune with knowing own self. It provides us ample opportunity to look to the broader picture of life. Our attention gets focused on intangible values like love, sacrifice and honesty. Contentment comes by loving others; making other people happy; sharing their worries and anxieties. These activities meet your inner needs and make you know completely.
Spiritual part of our existence expects us to remain connected with our creator, same as child feels happy to be with the mother. If our condition is contrary to what is expected of inner self; it makes us feel depressed and unhappy. People who generate hate, anger, ego, lust and selfish tendency to satisfy their physical need have emotional set up contrary to their inner need of soul. They feel momentarily happy by external stimulus but lack inner calmness. They are ignorant of real self.
It is practice that can make us to understand our true essence; mere knowledge is incapable to bring real experience. Spiritual essence demands we remain for some time disconnected with external environment and feel absorption of inner self that can help in reducing distraction of external impulses, and help in knowing own self
Knowing self comes in feeling of oneness with others; ignoring own ego and superiority complex; thinking of common welfare of others; generating unconditional loving feelings for others, and in complete ignorance of self while fulfilling your worldly needs. If you see all others as a reflection of own self; think everyone filled with same essence coming from one source; feel essence of God within; and realize that every moment he is with me as my companion, guide and friend. It will remove most of our fears, pain and suffering; bring us into a strange sort of ecstasy: eternal bliss. This condition once pursued makes us to realize and know self.
Remember, when you look to self, think about real self. Are you able to create awareness, closeness, tender feelings and love for yourself? If you sit calmly and relate yourself to be a part of whole universe, this inner connection helps to know your real self. Look what it needs to realize you. One by one, it will unfold that real self is not a material possession but spiritual essence, a virtue or a divine energy. The real self will be visible and felt only on getting attached to the virtue that takes us beyond material coverings and self consciousness towards inner consciousness or divine consciousness.