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People sometimes ask me, “What has been accomplished by my practice of Yoga all these years? I haven’t realized God. I haven’t had any noticeable spiritual experience.” I don’t know what experience they want. They haven’t levitated up from the floor at least a few inches? They haven’t had some hallucinations? They haven’t had a “spiritual experience?”

Yes, you may have some good visions, you may see some lights, hear some sounds. All right. That’s not the spiritual experience I want. What is the benefit of all that to you or to others? The true spiritual experience is to move around with a smiling, loving face. That is spirituality. To see the same Self in others and to love everybody; to raise above these little petty differences and distinctions based on egoism. To bring harmony is the real spiritual experience.

To me there’s no spirituality without unconditional love and gratitude; other than living together happily as one beautiful family with love. That’s a divine life. What is the use of spiritual experiences when you can’t live comfortably, harmoniously, and lovingly with the members of your family or community? To me, a spiritual experience is to love everybody and have everybody love you.

Keep this in your mind and live your life feeling that: I will live a life filled with unconditional love and gratitude. If you can do that only then are you growing spiritually. All other things are just nonsense. Even including your japa (mantra repetition), meditation, this and that. You may be regular in your spiritual practices. You may meditate every morning, without movement, for one whole hour. But then, the minute you go out you complain, you express negative feelings to others. What is the use of the meditation then? That’s not true spiritual practice.

How much of animosity, back-biting, dislikes, hatred, lack of gratitude do we have? How often do we say, “I can’t get along with this person or that person.” Ill feeling toward others means it’s your ill feeling, is it not? And your own feeling will make you ill. Before your ill feeling affects others, you have affected yourself. Making a change will be for your own benefit, as well as others.

So, touch your own heart and question yourself, “Do I love everybody? Do I see the same Self in everyone. If not, go to a person you are not getting along with and shake their hand, and say, “I’m sorry I had this kind of feeling. It’s terrible, it makes me sick. I’m sorry.” That is worth more than a hundred days of meditation. We should have no ill feeling toward anybody.

We don’t have to like everybody. We may not appreciate their actions, their behavior, but we should love everybody because we see the same Self in all. Remember this: there is only one Infinite Consciousness shining through various names and forms. This understanding applied in daily life is what Yoga truly is.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda