What is Sin?
Our special theme says, “The body is the instrument the mind made in its efforts to deceive itself. Its purpose is to strive. Yet can the goal of striving change. And now the body serves a different aim for striving. … Truth can be its aim …”
Actually the mind strives, and the body follows. The mental chatter that you experience is striving—it is not rest. It is striving to accomplish the ego’s “idle wish” for separation.
Admittedly, spiritual practice is also striving. However, it is striving with a different purpose. It is striving to let go of the striving that creates illusion and to return to the state of rest in which the truth is realized.
Here are some quotes from Nisargadatta Maharaj that are related to this teaching from our special theme. Pleae contemplate these quotes at intervals throughout the day today:
- “You give reality to concepts, while concepts are distortions of reality. Abandon all conceptualization and stay silent and attentive. Be earnest about it and all will be well with you.”
- “You are the infinite focused in a body. Now you see the body only. Try earnestly and you will come to see the infinite only.”
- “Mere listening, even memorizing, is not enough. If you do not struggle hard to apply every word of [the teaching] in your daily life, don’t complain that you made no progress.”
- “When you are dead earnest, you bend every incident, every second of your life to your purpose.”
- “The word itself is the bridge. Remember it, think of it, explore it, go round it, look at it from all directions, dive into it with earnest perseverance. Endure all delays and disappointments till suddenly the mind turns round, away from the word, towards the reality beyond the word. It is like trying to find a person knowing his name only. A day comes when your inquiries bring you to him and the name becomes reality.”
My Self is ruler of the universe.
“It is impossible that anything should come to me unbidden by myself. Even in this world, it is I who rule my destiny. What happens is what I desire. What does not occur is what I do not want to happen. This must I accept.”
There is a simple way to see the teaching above.
If I want illusion, I get illusion.
If I want truth, truth is realized.
How do I know what I want?
What is my life about? What am I applying myself toward?
Most people have had a goal at some point in their life that was the central theme of their life at that time. It could have been the goal of getting a college degree, of finding a life partner, of having and raising children, of starting a new business, or any number of things. When a goal is really important to us, we apply ourselves toward that goal.
So again, what am I applying myself toward?
If I am applying myself toward thought or the imposter self’s desires, that means that I am primarily interested in the world of illusion. Because I am primarily interested in the world of illusion, that will continue to be experienced. Since the world of illusion is duality, I will experience duality, both that which I consider good and bad, desired and undesired. That is the nature of duality.
If I am applying myself toward awakening, I will succeed in awakening. As Nisargadatta Maharaj said, “The desire to find the Self will surely be fulfilled, provided you want nothing else.”
Today is a day to contemplate what I want, and to ask if I am willing to apply myself toward that goal.
If you have 30 minutes for meditation today, I recommend this meditation: