I am often asked, how do I progress on my spiritual path from where I am now to the next level or next initiation on my journey of enlightenment?
I love the earnestness of the question and wish more people would ask! Every time we ask a question of Guru or the Divine, we are going on our own personal quest. Quest-I-on. The nature and quality of the way our path unfolds has a lot to do with what questions we are asking.
Questions that lead to a slower growth trajectory but which at different times we all ask are: what is the Divine going to do for me? When will the pain end, my problems stop? When will I have better opportunities to make my mark in the world, when will the money come, when will the stress end, when will I find someone to really love me? These can be important questions, as they initiate some form of searching or questing and thus may open the door to a spiritual shift and real expansion of consciousness.
Questions that evoke the mightiest response from the Divine involve: how can I serve? How can I give, promote goodness, heal, support, enable, allow, balance, unify, how can I be an emissary of peace in the world, in my community, in my family, and in my own heart? When our questions are genuinely about serving and giving, Maha Lakshmi is never far away, even though we all have to cross inevitable valleys of fear to get to the promised land. When we stay the course, seeking the assistance of a higher power in whatever form best suits our heart, the attainment when it comes surpasses any conceivable vision that arose before the ‘quest’ set in motion by our questions to the Divine began.
The difference in the two sets of questions is probably obvious. The first is all about the self. While that is not bad, it is relevant to the stages on the path where we are setting in place our foundation, refining our egos and probably dealing with lots of samskaras and old karmas. It is important not to ignore this part of the path, and in Shanti Mission we spend a lot of time helping people with very worldly personal concerns.
The second set of questions is when we have some kind of epiphany and the world turns inside out and upside down for us, we know we are here for a purpose, to hold a vision, to make a difference, that the inner work we do is not just for us but for all of mankind. We know that our presence matters, that we can serve by doing the thousands of small things we do every day with excellence and the right attitude. That in every way in every day we can be a radiant expression of divine grace, or we can be a black hole of expectation, victim consciousness and entitlement. Either way we are beloved children of God, but our options will be different, and our trajectory and path will not look the same.
So, look outwards. Ask good questions, and thereby direct yourself willingly and honestly into a brave new world of spiritual insight, opportunity, openness and oneness. Blessings to you and upon your questions! They are more important than the answers.