It struck me that God is not an abstraction to those who seek Her. God is. And God is Love. S/he has you and me to enact Her Love for us. What else is the Good News that Jesus brought for us? He just proclaimed a helpless kind of love for all without discrimination. The Buddhas just keep on loving us silently. The Tirthankaras of Jainism teach us love for all creation. This is the Good News. If we are capable of Love, we are capable of attaining God. Love, for me, is a doing word. It is not static. So here are some of the things we can do to make possible the Love of God for us.
- Stop speaking ill of others.Even in your mind. Do not underestimate/undermine others. Your family, your colleagues etc. God does not judge. Judge not, so that you are not judged. Speaking or thinking badly of others drains away our life forces and is a sheer wastage of time. Don’t forget that when you speak ill of others you are degrading yourself. Because people know that you are one of those people who will store their faults for future gossip sessions. And what you constantly think, you will become. If you harp on the faults of others in your mind, you will interiorise these faults. Moreover you will get no personal work done. The first thing in seeking God is to be open minded, liberal and accepting. Not being judgemental is the key to meditation, yoga, prayer.
- Do not wish ill to anyone. Don’t gloat in others’ misfortunes. Not because the same ill might befall you but it is just not the right thing to do. Never, I repeat, never curse anyone or wish ill upon them by visiting people with occult powers. Evil spirits are drawn to those who wish ill on others. If you want to seek God, stop wishing that people whom you disagree with were dead. Racial hatred, hatred against lesbians and gay men, hatred against foreigners, belittling the religions of others, the ghetto mentality are all grave sins. It is better you see some porn and enjoy life with friends and dine well than to feel superior to others intellectually, spiritually and racially. A happy hedonist is better than a pompous holier-than-thou fellow.
- Do not seek to know the future. This is very important for we do not realise that if God had wanted us to know the future She’d have given us natural faculties to know the future. The future is for you to make along-with God and others ( your friends and family and strangers.) And often the occult is a door to self-delusion and evil. We are free to a large extent, so use your freedom as a human being to create your own future. It is a weakness to seek to know the future. Astrology, numerology, graphology, aura readings, the Tarot, Tantra, the ouija board, seances, seeking the help of psychics and mediums are dangerous. The serious seeker after God should run from these. That does not mean we belittle these sources of possible wisdom. It just means that it is better not to play with fire. There are experts who can handle these things but ordinary wisdom says: flee from the occult.
- Exercise.Swami Vivekananda believed that we need good health were we to be able to seek/love God. With diabetes, high cholesterol, uric acid and thyroid levels you will spend most of your day worrying over your own ill health rather than doing something for others. Please wear comfortable shoes, the right specs and take care of your teeth.
- Feel good about your body. It is not dirty, neither is it something to transcend. The senses are given you to enjoy God’s marvellous creation. Enjoy sex. Don’t despise it.
- If you are chronically sad, see a psychiatrist. Better be happy with medicines than unhappy without them.
- Sleep well. If you suffer from chronic insomnia, seek medical help.
- Take good care of your family. By all means do good to others, but first make sure that you are able to concretely express your love to your nearest family. What is the point of you being a social worker when you don’t know what your kid is having for lunch?
- Spend less than you earn. If you spend more than you earn, you will be so anxiety-ridden about money, that all other thoughts will vanish from your mind. Also have health insurance for this reason.
- Learn new things, take courses etc. (Online learning opens up hitherto untapped resources) You will be alert. The Hindu Scriptures tell us that the way to God is razor-sharp. It is not for the faint hearted and feeble minded. So I insist that you be intellectually sharp to begin your quest for God. Learn to question given wisdom, do not accept things as they are. Only then will you be able to understand theology.
- Read voraciously. Hear good music. Watch YouTube videos.
For me the God quest is intensely practical. It is good to be holy etc., but leave those lofty ideals for others. Just be realistic and practical in your daily life and in small things. That is the easiest way to God.