According to traditional Hindu theory, our current era is known as the Age of Decadence, or Kali Yuga. Only 25-percent of dharma, or truth and righteousness, exists. Many times we witness people embodying dishonesty, corruption, lack of integrity, as well as a sloping ethical decline. Just read the daily headlines.
It is up to the dedicated spiritual aspirant to skillfully navigate this worldly maze by embracing a spiritual path. However, an aspirant must be vigilant at all times. In this world and in this age, liars, swindlers, and charlatans abound. Hypocrisy and deceit reign. Abrasive interactions, hostility, and a chic cynicism have become commonplace attitudes and occurrences. People are consumed with money and the acquisition of material goods. They often wear secular blinders so opaque that their spiritual nature is seemingly hidden. Many can’t recognize genuine spirituality. Some have chosen instead a faux spirituality – superficial, materialistic, and geared toward the most shallow elements of the spiritual life. Many souls have lost sight of God by following paths that lead nowhere. Jesus stated that spiritual aspirants are as a sheep among wolves in this world (Mt. 10:16).
Our duty is not to succumb to all the secularism around us. We should never compromise our ideals; we must never emulate those who lie, cheat, and deceive. Anchor your being in God, and maintain your integrity no matter what. Try not to react to difficult people or challenging situations. Persevere with faith and fortitude. Think of what Jesus or Buddha or Mother (Saint) Teresa or Gandhi would do in every circumstance of life. Follow their example.
A watered-down spirituality exists for mass consumption. This type of spirituality has nothing to do with the deep-seated transformation that genuine mysticism confers. This compromised spirituality is more of a comfort religion, designed to make people feel good about themselves, but offering little incentive to pursue a transformative spiritual path. It’s spearheaded not by mystics but largely by salespeople and merchandisers who are ignorant of God. This ersatz spirituality is often championed in the media and touted in advertising campaigns. We see questionable or fraudulent teachers, and superficial or materialistic paths hyped all the time.
Many traditional mystical paths espouse inner teachings to which only the most sincere and dedicated aspirants have access. The aspirant must demonstrate their capacity to receive such teachings by virtue of their continuing commitment to the spiritual path. Indolence does not count. As Gerald Heard wrote, “Either we are convinced that the life of God is the only life and all our efforts, actions, interests, and concerns are combined and centered on that one goal, or we are simply sinking and being dissolved in the general degenerative flux, down to the dread dead sea of the final entropy.”
“Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.”
— Swami Vivekananda
A spiritual aspirant must become what they believe. Embrace the Infinite. Never slacken up your practice. Establish a deep inner connection with God that is stronger than the pull of the world. Be undaunted in your resolve, and the tangible presence of God will unfold within you over time, dismantling your ego and enveloping you in a sublime rapture undreamt of by men or gods.
What Matters Most
Meditation counts. It is extremely beneficial to set aside quiet time in order to immerse ourselves in the deep silence that is God. It is difficult to discern this silence when shuffling about in the workaday world. Ethics count. In an age dominated by deception and corruption, an aspirant should strive to uphold their personal integrity at all times. Be enamored of telling the truth, and practice integrity. Your spiritual path will quickly unfold for you.
What really matters most on the spiritual journey is a burning aspiration, a passionate zeal that engulfs your being. It is a yearning, a heartfelt desire to know God above all things. At every moment, cleave to God and God alone. Inwardly, intentionally nurture this deep connection, establishing and maintaining it at all times. Jesus said it best, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mk. 12:30, quoting Deut. 6:5).
Remember, this world is illusory in nature. It is a mere projection that vibrates in time and space. You are here because you have material ties. Your purpose is to break your attachment to these material moorings. Align yourself with the spiritual core of your being. Never lose sight of your goal. Disentangle yourself from the mass hypnosis that has overtaken most of humanity. Walk away from the insidious grip of consumerism. Wake up to your true purpose in life. Unfold your limitless spiritual reservoir within.
- Treasure Chest image, by Dean Moriarty, licensed for free usage, via Pixabay. / Cropped from original.
- “Saint Catherine of Siena receiving the stigmata between Saints Benedict and Jerome” (detail), by Domenico di Pace Beccafumi (ca. 1515), photographed by Wikimedia user Combusken, licensed under CC by SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. / Cropped from original.