Materiality or spirituality?

You need to talk kindly and very often to your mind about the benefits of spirituality and the impermanent nature of the material world. Constantly remind the mind about the transitory nature of material things and the pleasures that you seek. Desire creates desire.  Desires are never satisfied. A monkey is always searching for fruits from the trees in the forest. Like that greedy monkey, the mind is always in search of pleasure. Even if you take another hundred births, that greed will never end if you do not start to control yourself a little now. Make yourself understand that craving for worldly things ultimately brings unhappiness.  Examine yourself and find out what is the cause of your desires. You have to get to the roots of the matter and remove the reason for your desire. If you cut down a tree but leave the roots in the ground, the tree will grow again. Likewise, sorrow will come back to you again and again if you do not find the cause for desire and try to remove it. When you feel yourself being overwhelmed with craving, examine the cause for it and do your best to remove it. By constantly giving in and allowing yourself to always have what the mind demands, you will never break your old worldly habits.   

Do not be harsh with yourself. Reduce gradually.   

In spirituality many masters talk about the bondage of attachments. What do they mean?  If you allow your passions to control you and always seek only pleasure, certainly your desire for all things sensual and material will increase more and more. These bonds will become very strong. We are not talking of material bonds made of rope or iron! The strongest bonds are made of money, power, the desire for beauty, longing for sex and accumulating lots of useless gadgets, cars and property. Realize the impermanence of these bonds. In order to do this, it is good to get away from them for some time. That is why it is very beneficial to leave the world for a while and lead a simple life in a spiritual place, learning about and practising devotion, eating simple food and following a purifying regime. When you return to the world, you will find that the old bonds do not have such a great hold on you. Keeping up the practices you learned in the spiritual retreat, you will find yourself on the road to spiritual realization.   

Once you have been delivered from intense craving and giving in to it, sufferings and problems fly away from you. Riches and material goods can bring about your ruin. There are those who have even committed suicide because they had lost their material goods.  Therefore, think – who are the wealthy ones? The rich in material goods or the rich in spirituality? What help are material belongings, money, property and sexual relations to one who is dying? The dying can take nothing with them. But they can take the punya (merit), good karma and shanti (peace) that ensue from spiritual practices. Those who are still attached will leave this world with a struggle, trying to free themselves from all their possessions. Those who long for devotion, for union with the Divine and for the spirit of service to their fellow beings may even attain the supreme realization in this birth itself. 

Make your mind clear and clean like a ploughed field. Think of all your passions and desires as weeds that will destroy the seeds of your new spiritual ambitions. Clear away the weeds. Plant the new seeds of spirituality. Clean the field regularly and tend your seeds daily. In a very short time you will see that now you are freed from longing and your spiritual field will soon yield lots of good fruit. Enjoy the fruits – and don’t forget to give some to others.

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