(Photo by Dewang Gupta on Unsplash)

All our various spiritual practices should bring some benefit right away to the body, mind and to our society. Don’t think that if you practice for a long time and there’s no benefit that suddenly, after twenty years, peace will come to you! Instead, you should feel the presence, the beauty, and the benefit of your practices, little by little in your everyday life.

Each day, you should feel a little  healthier physically, more peaceful and be living a more useful life. The essence of all the spiritual practices is to make you physically easeful, mentally peaceful, and socially useful. And you can only be useful to people when you are also easeful and peaceful.

If you lose your ease, you are dis-eased. The meaning of disease is that you have disturbed your ease. The ease was once there, but you disturbed it. There are various ways that this happens when we don’t live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Every aspect of your life must be beautiful, divine. My Guru, Swami Sivanandaji, used to use the phrase “divine life” very often. He established the Divine Life Society. Divine life means to live as God. You may wonder what that means. The Biblical phrase,“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” beautifully expresses this understanding. The Bible also says, “God made man in His own image.” The Hindu scriptures say, “Thou art That, which means You are That; you are God. And to realize That, you should you lead a selfless life; one that is free from selfishness.

Dedicate yourself by sacrificing your selfishness and offering yourself to God. That means to offer your selfishness to God. Don’t always try to perform your actions with the expectation of reaping the fruits (any personal benefits). This was the very first commandment of God, to the very first man, Adam: “Don’t eat the fruit.” God didn’t meant the fruit of a particular tree. God meant, “Don’t try to eat the fruit of your life—of your actions.” The Bhagavad Gita says the same thing: “You can perform all actions, but don’t look for the fruit.” Why? Doing actions with the expectation of the fruit, is a selfish act. And a selfish act is going to disturb your mind.

A selfish person can never, never be peaceful. You don’t need to blame others for your anxiety, depression, disappointment, frustration, jealously, or anger.  All these emotions are caused by selfishness. If you want to possess something and if somebody else takes it you become angry. If somebody has something nicer than yours, you become jealous. It’s all selfish thinking. If you wish to get something from somewhere you become anxious about whether or not it will come. If you don’t get it at all you will become frustrated.

If you lead a selfless life, without personal desire, there will be no worry at all. You will think, If it comes, wonderful, and if it doesn’t come that is also wonderful. I have done my job. That is enough for me. I am happy with what I have done. I don’t need to wait for the result. Then, you have sacrificed your selfishness. Dedication and renunciation are other terms used for the same idea. You are renouncing your selfishness. By leading a dedicated life, you don’t possess anything. You can own many things, but don’t “possess” them or allow them to possess you! Don’t become attached to them, and in that way you can keep your mind calm and serene. It is this attitude that results in purity of heart. Only such people are blessed people and “They shall see themselves as God.” They don’t need to go anywhere to see God. Because they recognize themselves as God already.

Remember: It is selfishness, the idea of “I, Me, and Mine” that obscures the recognition of the pure I, the pure Self, or the pure “you.” When that happens, you are unable to see the Divine Light in you. Remove that veil. Remove anything that darkens or that hides your ability to see the Light within. Then you will shine brightly.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda