Sunday, January 16, 2005

Soul Consciousness

Soul Consciousness

Vivekananda wrote in his commentaries on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras:
If a red flower is put near a piece of pure crystal, the crystal appears to be red; similarly the appearances of happiness or unhappiness of the soul are but reflections. The soul itself has no colouring. The soul is separate from nature. Nature is one thing, soul another, eternally separate.

The soul, like a piece of crystal is by nature untainted and eternally pure. It is our identification with the world and our worldly experiences that makes us suffer. You are not your body, nor your material possessions, nor your occupation in life. If you are none of these things, any changes in them will not affect you. You are free, for you are pure spirit. And when you are pure spirit, the bullets of pain and pleasure pass right through you, as if you are not there.

We must therefore learn to have the strength and wisdom to deal with the material world, making use of its laws to help us advance forward--like a ship harnessing the winds and the currents of the oceans--but never identifying ourselves completely with it. The world is our stepping stone, a ladder for spiritual progress. Our origins are divine; it is where we came from and it is where we will return to.

In the end, every religion tells you the same thing: you are not the body but the soul. And some will go a step further and tell you that you need to transcend even the soul. But it is good enough to use the soul as a starting point--that intangible and hard-to-define thing that you know is there but somehow don't really know how to relate to.

Start by knowing thyself. Listen to that inner voice. Reach deep inside and touch your own soul.

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