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By: Don Ernesto Ortiz
I was thinking about the main points of the Sacred text of the Bhagavad the Gita, and I can’t help it but to think about what I share during my classes and the importance of something that was given to the world so many years ago and how much that still applies to our world today. In fact, I think that the points of the Gita are far more important today, the reason for this is because of what the world has become and the many entrapments that it has for us.
If the words of the Gita were important back then and considering how the world was over 5000 years ago I feel that if we pay attention we can learn much about ourselves and the world with this wisdom.
Last time Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad Gita was about 5,000 years ago to Shri Arjuna. However, it was not the first time that the Bhagavad Gita was spoken.
The Gita was spoken at least 120,400,000 years ago; in a human society that has been extinct for two million years. As mentioned above It was re-spoken by Lord Krishna again to Arjuna about 5000 years ago.
In today’s world with all the technological advances, the rise of capitalism and consumerism, the traps of the internet and social media, with all the violence and acts of terrorism, suicide bombers, the increased levels of loneliness that leads to depression and many times suicide, war in so many countries around the world, crazy politicians that only look to satisfy their own ego and to fill their pockets, the increased levels of self cherishing, the selfie society that exists all over the world; selfie, selfish and not selfless.
I firmly believe that our true nature the true human nature is not like that, I believe that within every human is the spark of the Divine, and that spark is in all people. I believe that this spark is making us realize that violence is not the answer, that the high levels of anger are not the answer, so many people are beginning to look within to find the answer, they are turning to spirituality, they are looking at the wisdom of the heart.
We are retreating to old texts like the Gita, and Sacred Scriptures from around the world, we are looking at teachers and prophets to the enlightened Masters of the past, that have left for us the teachings that we can apply, that we can follow into the future. If we all begin to exercise the language of the heart, we will discover that that is the language of love. Once we realize that “Love is the Strongest Medicine” we will turn our attention within and find that we can live our lives manifesting our true nature. And that nature is kind and compassionate, it is tolerant, is loving and patient, it’s generous, it’s honest and fair, it’s courageous and encouraging, it’s loyal and independent, it’s creative and resilient, it’s thoughtful and trustworthy, it is filled with equanimity.
If we all do our part if we begin to awake and take responsibility to do our best in all that we do, if we start thinking; how can I best serve my brothers and sisters, and take action, we will even in our lifetime see a change in our environment a change in our world and the world around us.
The Bhagavad Gita tells us:
1. Wrong thinking is the only problem in life; I call this the condition of our mind, by the way, we think we create the life that we are living. This is the “Law of Correspondence.” Most of us have heard the old adage that our outer world is nothing more than a reflection of our inner world – as within, so without, as above, so below. … The Law of Correspondence basically says that our current reality is a mirror of what is going on inside us. So it doesn’t sound that complicated if we want to change our external environment and since it is a reflection of our inner environment by taking the time to change our inner reality we change the external as well.
It may not be so easy but it’s doable. We have created a condition of our mind that reflects our way of thinking, so what is it really that we are thinking about? We have to take the steps and to learn to think the way we want to think. We have to be mindful enough to realize during the day our thought process and always question, is this way of thinking supporting in my life? If I know that by being constantly feeding my mind the negative, fears, being always worried about something, being angry or jealous, or not feeling worthy. Then we will realize that this energy is somehow reflecting in our outer reality. Meditation is a powerful medication that can help us look at what we think and the way we think, we can take the time to change our way of thinking, we re-program ourselves to begin seeing our mental condition and change it.
2. Right knowledge is the ultimate solution to all our problems; in other words, many of us have been exposed to wrong views, believes and knowledge. If we embark on the path to discover the reasons why we create problems in our lives, we will be looking for the right knowledge and that will help us with the understanding. With the right understanding, we can find the solution as to why we have created problems in our lives. Many times we operate in our lives with old antiquated beliefs or knowledge that has been passed down from grandparents to parents and we are the ones receiving all of that information. If our grandparents or parents were exposed to wrong views or knowledge we have simply inherited that. Once we start questioning all of these we will be able to see with clarity and then embark on the quest for the right knowledge. If we start giving ourselves to the process of learning and letting go of old knowledge it is inevitable that our minds will expand and we will be able to eliminate problems in our lives. What is ultimately important is to have enough discernment to see the difference between right and wrong knowledge.
3. Selflessness is the only way to progress and prosper; to be spiritually selfish it’s a good thing, what I mean by that is saying, I want to have more of everything, not to hoard it not to be selfish but to be selfless and share it all with others in need. Knowing that, only if you have you can give, if you don’t have any you want to help, there is not much you can do but to wish. So instead of wishing and by having we can give. This includes emotional support to others. If you are emotionally handicapped there is not so much that you can share or give to others.
Imagine that your best friend has a financial emergency and he desperately needs $10,000, you feel the emotional distress of your friend, you see that he is desperate, you feel his pain and want to help, however, your bank balance is $2000. What that means is that as much as you would like to help a good friend in need, you can’t because your bank balance is so low. But if you are abundantly wealthy, if you have 5,10, 20 million dollars in your bank account you would then immediately write your friend a $10,000 without hesitation and you would not feel those ten thousand out of your bank account.
So by becoming spiritually selfish, we can have millions in our spiritual bank account and we can share without limits. In the same way, if we open up to receive much material wealth or money and we use that to help those around the world in need, those that are less fortunate that we are, then these selfless actions not only help others but ourselves as well.
4. Every act can be an act of prayer; let’s not think that prayer has to happen inside of a church, temple, synagogue or musk. Prayer happens inside our own heart, and with the right intentions, every action can be an act of prayer. How do we express ourselves to others, how do we treat life itself? With the right frame of mind, with the right consciousness every breath, every step, every action can be qualified with kindness, love, and compassion; all of our actions can become a prayer.
Prayer is an expression of love; it is a dialogue with the Divine. So many people pray and pray really hard and diligently when they need something, please, please give me, heal me, help me… and when they receive what they have been praying for they stop praying, no prayers of gratitude for what they have received. In prayer, we express our gratitude, our love, and compassion, in prayer we dialogue with God, Goddess as if He or She is our best friend. Prayer is not something that comes out of a book and that was written by others, prayer is a dialogue a conversation. Imagine that you are telling god with every step that you take, with every breath what is happening in your life, this is an ongoing conversation with Him.
When you are conscious then you are aware, you are mindful of all of your actions, the way your express yourself to others, the way that you treat others, the way you think, and if you qualify everything with love then you are vibrating that love, you are breathing, acting, walking, thinking love and in that way all of your actions become a prayer.
5. Renounce the ego of individuality and rejoice in the bliss of infinity; this one is a big one, the ego is so, so subtle and so deeply connected with the self, with who we are and what makes us an individual. We work so hard, many of us all of our lives to become, to have, to be known, to succeed, to be noticed. Even those that follow a spiritual life are trapped in the ego until the moment of awakening; when we realize that all the ego trappings are only temporary, that in many cases they create more suffering that inner peace. When we truly surrender our ego-self we find the beauty of inner peace, inside this inner peace is the bliss of infinity. In this space, we realize that there is no one to serve us, no one to blame, nothing to have or possess, nothing to control, no need for titles or prestige. The ego of individuality surrenders to be of service to mankind. However, the ego is a trickster it makes you think that you, the I is in control or that you have tamed your ego when in fact is the ego itself that is acting out. The ego is all about the me, the mine, my possessions, my money, my car, my wife, my fortune, my title, my future, my, my my, my, it’s all the ego.
The ego that I am talking about is the negative ego, the self-serving, narcissistic ego. The good ego is something that we can all cultivate this is the kind, compassionate, tolerant, benevolent side of the self. We all have an ego, in fact, we need the ego to operate in our lives but the good healthy ego and not the negative one.
Do you know when the ego is born? The ego is born when we are approximately 24 months of age. Think about a baby before he is two years old, we all say and see this baby as a cute little baby, it is so adorable, the way he acts, and all the little sounds that he makes, all the facial expressions, he is just an angel. But what happens when that baby is between 20 to 24 months? That baby turns into a little mini monster, have you heard the expression “the terrible two’s?
So here is the baby boy celebrating his birthday, he has 20 gifts all around and one another baby comes along and wants to play with one of the new toys… the baby boy takes it away and says, this is mine! The ego at its best expression of possessiveness and the I is the one responding to be fully satisfied. This will continue at different degrees of expression for the rest of our lives until we wake up and we realize that feeding that ego is not keeping us humble, is keeping us in attachment and eventually that will turn into pain and suffering.
6. Connect to the higher consciousness daily; create a genuine spiritual practice. Read Sacred texts that will inspire you. Feeding your mind is no different than feeding your body. The quality of food that you put in your body will determine the functionality of your body. If you feed yourself fatty foods all the time eventually your arteries will get clogged up and you will suffer the consequences. In the same way, if you feed your mind junk with horror movies, porn and more, your mind just like your body will get clogged up and with that, you reduce the potential that is within it.
However, if you feed your mind Sacred information, if you read Sacred texts and you connect with the Higher Wisdom of the Masters of the past, then you are feeding your mind information that will allow it to expand and grow within the higher potential that is in the Sacred. What will happen is the mind will start feeding your consciousness and that in itself will impact your inner and outer life in a positive and Sacred way. There are multiple ways of feeding your mind; Meditation is one of them, mantras, prayer, devotion, and conscious acts of kindness. Find the one that is right for you and do it daily.
7. Live what you learn; it is not sufficient to feed your mind in the way described above, we must put it all into practice and share it all with our fellow brothers and sisters, with all animals and species of our planet, with our earth mother, with life itself.
It is easy to see that the condition of the earth is in desperate need of change and balance, if we live what we learn we can impact the world in a positive way, if we feel that we are a contributor of what is happening in the planet, and in a direct or indirect way we are, then we must make the commitment to do something about it. We can change the world, but we have to do it one person at a time starting with us.
By feeding our mind the Sacred, we start being more compassionate, more kind, more loving and tolerant, we start seeing the beauty in everything and everyone, we move away from being a victim, we get empowered to know that we can share with all what is within ourselves and this is like a positive virus that will spread to make positive changes in the lives of others. It has been said “be the change that you want to be” go out and help the ones in need, instead of going out to buy the newest teach gadget use that money to buy food for the poor and go with a group of like-minded individuals and share it with the ones in need. The inner satisfaction will last much longer than the new phone or gadget that you buy, and this will also put a smile in your heart and the hearts of others. Be an example for others to live what you learn!
8. Never give up on yourself; one thing is certain, life is unpredictable, life is our greatest teacher, life it’s a school with no walls and with no limits. Life is going to test you again and again, it’s going to test your faith, your physical body, your mind, you are going to encounter many difficulties, in fact, I am sure that you already have. Self-mastery is connected to the courage to the determination that is within us, to use all the lessons that life gives us to be strong, if we have been feeding ourselves the right mental food, if we have trained our mind in Meditation, then we can be assured that we can have positive self-talk, that we are not going to give up on ourselves no matter what. We know that everything is temporary, that pain and suffering is part of life but we also know that we can overcome it.
“The only way that we can heal is if we have experienced pain. Be grateful for the pain that you have experienced in your life so you can experience the freedom of liberation and healing”. If we have been able to overcome and we have not given up in our lives, we then have much to share with others. We can be the bringers of hope to those in need, we can say, I have been there my friend, and here is where I am now, I will hold your hand and I will show you with compassion what has helped me and if this is something that you feel it can help you, I will share it with you freely.
9. Value your blessings; look around at your life, see how much you have, if you live in the western world, if have a roof overhead, if you have money in your pocket, in the bank, if you eat a good meal two or three times a day, if you drive a car, if you have a family around you, children, a wife or husband a lover, if you have a good circle of friends and a job. If your health is good, and have access to medical services, if you can travel, if you sleep in a soft mattress, and you have running water to take a shower or a bath every day, then you should be grateful for all that you have.
Valuing your blessings is Gratitude!
Are you aware and think about the many people around the world that have to walk a few miles to get drinking water, that are not able to take a shower every day, that cook with wood because they don’t have gas or electricity, that are malnourished because they don’t have enough food, should I continue… if thinking about this moves you; you can create the opportunity to experience it for yourself, to see first hand, if you travel to some of this places around the world it should give the sense of deep gratitude of the many blessings that you have in your life, and at the same time it may inspire you to help in ways that you never thought of.
10. See Divinity all around; if you open your eyes wide and you go beyond the veil of the illusion that modern society has created for us, if you are able to separate yourself from the energy of consumerism, if you enter a space deep within yourself, if you retreat to the sacred chamber of your heart and discover your true nature, then you will beginning to see the divinity that is within you. And since we are governed by natural law, then the “Law of Correspondence” will begin to take effect. That law states that our outer world is nothing more than a reflection of our inner world – as within, so without, as above, so below. … The “Law of Correspondence” basically says that our current reality is a mirror of what is going on inside us.
But we turn it around and see that the inner current reality is a mirror of what is going on outside, the outer reality. We begin to see the condition of the world as something that is created internally by all, so what that means is, if we created it we can also undo it, we start taking the steps in the areas of interest to us and we start working, doing all that we can to help the external condition by simply being who we are and acting accordingly.
Our eyes and feelings begin to see everything as Sacred and Divine. Every step, every breath, wherever we look we see it. Even in suffering, we can see the Divine; we can see the spark of divinity in everything and everyone, even in the individuals that have committed greats wrongs. We generate compassion and we acknowledge that they, everyone is moving through the process of their personal karma as the speed that they can. But that spark is their guiding light even if they don’t know it. They too as all life forms have a seed of the Divine; it is in every one of us, not just in some of us!
So when you see Divinity all around you, you are a direct contributor so others can do the same. Your life experience will change as you continue to embody more and more your Divine Self.
11. Have enough surrender to see the truth as it is; when we remove the veil is as if the smoke gets cleared out of our eyes and we can see what we have created in our lives, the way we relate to the world and the way the world relates back to us. I have said before that “we didn’t have a choice as to how we are born, but we have a choice as to how we live our lives”
If we are capable of seeing the many aspects of our lives, if we deeply explore our belief system, we can then see what we have inherited from our family, our culture, our society and begin to choose the beliefs the ones that are true and help up to create a beautiful life, but at the same time we can see the ones that are antiquated and we can let them go so we can adopt new beliefs that can best support our lives.
hat is important is to be able to accept, to see the truth of our lives as it is, to acknowledge that some things can never change, like you cannot exchange your parents or your family, so we accept them as they are, and to see that their truth is their truth and we accept them as they are.
The truth is that all truths are true, they may not be the ultimate truth but it’s their truth. And we see that even when someone says that they don’t believe in anything…, well, that is their truth and part of their belief system.
So by they saying that is stating that they have a belief and they believe that they don’t believe in anything.
So it is a belief anyway. So in the same way we see the conditions and reality of our lives, based on what we believe.
By examining our lives we will be able to see with clarity what we have created surrender to the truth that we see, change what we can and surrender to what we can’t change.
12. Absorb your mind and heart in the supreme lord; Daily devotion and a sincere spiritual practice is the key. When you immerse yourself daily in spiritual practice, your mind is getting condition to the energy of the sacred. When you allow that practice, that devotion to go from your head to your heart where you can deeply connect with the energy of the supreme lord; which by the way is one of the longest journeys we can take in life. But then we realize that it is within us, not separate from us, that the place of the Lord is deep within our hearts. We stop seeking the Lord in an outer temple when we realize that it is in the inner temple where we find Him.
When you realize that devotion is not going to church once a week but it’s every moment of our lives, then we are living our lives in a spiritual way and with that, we can get drunk, intoxicated with the energy, the vibration, the light of the Lord.
13. Detach from Maya and attach to the Divine; let’s first have an understanding of what Maya means?
Maya is a word that has multiple meanings. In the Hindu philosophy, the meaning is illusion. It is also a name that is used by females in mostly the Indian culture. But for us in the western world, the understanding that is needed about the word Maya is an illusion. This is the self-created illusion about the Self in relationship to the world and how our world, society, family, country, and especially the advertising has created an illusion that possession and consumerism will bring us happiness. This, as we may already know, is not going to do that, in fact, is quite the contrary.
There are different forms of Maya or illusion. Illusions of thought and desire that causes people to suffer, these are distorted perceptions of the truth and are primarily mental and learned.
a. The illusion and erroneous belief that life is totally annihilated at death without continuance in any form.
b. The individual does not recognize the law of cause and effect, which is the law of karma.
c. When an individual adheres to misconceptions such as regarding inferior things as superior, inequality.
From these illusions arrive other inclinations such as greed, anger, foolishness, arrogance, and doubt; they arise in relation to wrong views or misconceptions.
What illusion or Maya does is to create the wrong view, the misconceptions of the way we view and experience life. So mainly they arise from genetics or direct family transmission or from cultural impact and influences from the world or both.
When we arrive at the point or recognizing and identifying that we have been living our life in Maya and we make the inner corrections to let go of those illusions we can then begin to embrace Divinity.
So what is Divinity?
The understanding of Divinity in religion is the state of things that are believed to come from a supernatural power or deity, such as a god, Supreme Being, creator deity, or spirits, and are therefore regarded as sacred and holy. … The root of the word “divine” is literally “godly” In Hinduism, the term Divine refers to the god of all forms and manifestations it is infinite that manifests in all forms from the smallest atom, to the largest of things. It is the creator of all living things that manifest and live in the Mystery of His creation. It is the vision of love that brings internal and everlasting peace; it is the Lord of all who is hidden in the heart of man and all living things regardless of time and space.
When we detach from Maya and attach to the Divine we can then enter into the acceptance of the mystery of all things and there we find Divine love.
14. Live a lifestyle that matches your vision; this in today’s world becomes difficult for many people because of all the traps that the world has created for us, so we have to be far more diligent to bring into our daily life our vision is spirituality. It is a fact that the conditions of the world with all of its advances and technology have created a world like we have never seen before in our entire history. Our attention soon has been reduced to only a few seconds because of how much input of information we receive every day. We have created a new type of addiction; the addiction to technology. Most people cannot leave their home or office without their mobile phone, they are constantly checking emails, text messages and reading the feed of information they constantly receive during the day. Living very little time to be in a space of mindfulness and meditation. It is not uncommon to hear people say; I don’t have time to meditate, I don’t have time for the sacred. So even if they are following a spiritual path, the self-created addiction to technology keeps them away from matching their lifestyle to the vision that they may have about their own self in relation to their vision of a spiritual lifestyle.
So what we do is give priority to the external, to the news, many times this is done in order to be informed with what is going on with the world, politics, sports etc. But we don’t bring our spirituality to our workplace, or to our social interactions. In doing this we are denying ourselves and others the opportunity to match our vision to our lifestyle. Imagine that we can complete blend your vision of spiritually with your life and that others around you would do the same. I believe that if we embrace this type of vision we can bring much peace, love, and compassion to the world.
15. Being good is a reward in itself; sometimes being a good person is enough. Having in our heart the qualities of love, kindness, compassion, tolerance, patience, benevolence, the appreciation of beauty, patience, equanimity and living our lives sharing these qualities with others is enough. We don’t have to be a healer, a spiritual teacher, a guru, we don’t have to be someone that is coming to change the world, as long as we change our world as long as we share all the good qualities that we have in our hearts with the essence of love, that is enough. Pause for a moment and think about goodness, how does it make you feel? It is an expansive feeling that should give us the feeling of inner serenity, a quiet feeling within. This space provides us the means to simply be, to rest in a space of relaxation. Others can observe these feelings and since natural law is always working out in our lives others can see and feel the “law of cause and effect” as we give we receive. We give goodness and we receive from others and from life goodness in return.
We all live in a world of competition a world that some call it a rat race; we all want to advance and become more. For many it’s a cutthroat world; that is not the world of goodness, but even in the world that we live in, even if our job is in the corporate arena, we can behave with the qualities of the heart, we can share with others the language of love and kindness, compassion and tolerance. And it’s guaranteed the others will feel that coming from you. Goodness is like a virus that will spread to the hearts of others, the only thing that we have to do is be good and the rewards will be given.
16. Choosing the right over the pleasant is a sign of power; we live in a world of instant gratification, we all want to be gratified with something pleasant. Our world is the world of sensorial and physical gratification. I think of the world of duality and how many of us did not learn from an early age, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad, we didn’t learn compassion. But of course, it all depends on the way we were brought up, the examples that w had with our family and our immediate circle of friends.
These were strong imprints that continue to play out in our lives, if the original examples that we learned came from a father in the military, or a father or mother that were very strict and inflexible, most likely you could not show your sensitivity because it was seen as a sign of weakness
Many times certain opportunities come up in life as we see them we know, regardless of the previous programming that if we take them because they are connected to pleasure, they will eventually lead to pain and suffering, of ourselves and others. So we choose the pleasure, we act to satisfy that internal need to feel good and after a short amount of time we spend in the pleasure the guilt, the remorse comes up, and that outlast the amount of time we spend in the pleasure.
So a moment, a few minutes of physical pleasure can be days, years of mental and emotional agony. If when these moments come we chose what is right we empower ourselves, we get liberated and the feelings are extraordinary.
Think about how the world of advertising is designed to make you want, how this world that is all around us it’s about self-gratification, this world is the world of consumerism and desire. If you have this new gadget, the name brand, you will feel so good about yourself. How many people fall into this trap and they use plastic money, credit cards to buy to gratify themselves even when they don’t need the objects. This world creates patterns of addiction that are hard to break, what ends up breaking is ourselves when we end up owing to the banks, the credit card companies far more than what we can pay, and then we end up in pain and suffering from the wrong choices that we make. This we can call it to be the world of seduction.
We, humans, are foolish, we believe that the pleasant is somewhere outside ourselves and we can obtain it through objects, wealth, titles, name, fame, properties, even children and relationships; so we spend our lives working hard at obtaining these external things.
We are like a thirsty man in the desert following a mirage to satisfy our thirst without finding water, making the wrong decisions, we spend our lives searching for happiness in external pleasures and what we find is only temporary enjoyments that when gone ultimately lead to suffering.
Let’s remember that choosing what is right is a sign of empowerment
17. Let’s go, let’s move to union with God; the keyword here is union! What that implies is that if we are not in union we are separated and if we are separated we are then split off; we are in duality. One thing that every spiritual seeker has to do is to remove duality and be in the spirit of oneness with the Self and the Divine. If we are in duality and not in union that means that we are not in balance, and balance is the question of our time. How do we keep balance with all the external distractions that keep us away from being in our center?
It is so easy in today’s world to be distracted, it has been said that a goldfish has the attention span of 10 seconds. Human studies tell us that because of technology we have an attention span of 8 seconds!! Less than a goldfish.
I look around and see so many people around the world in complete union with their cell phone if they feel that they left at home or at the office they go into a panic attack. How many times a day, or an hour do you check your phone? How dependent are you to this device?
So I have a question, how much time do you dedicate to prayer and devotion? And how much time do you spend on your phone or social media?
If we begin to feel that we can have a much deeper connection with the Divine with God and Goddess and by having this connection we can have greater understanding about ourselves and life, if we remove the sense of duality and we enter into the spirit of oneness with God we then remove the sense of separation and we can feel that we are walking, breathing, acting as a true son and daughter of God. If you don’t like the word God then replace it for something that makes you more comfortable; the universal, the Great Spirit, call if Mohamed, call it Jesus, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, call if by one of the many names that people have given Him. But know that the essence of the Divine is hiding in your heart, so you don’t have to go far to find Him, you only have to drop down your guard, enter the silence and look deep within and right there in the center of your own heart you will see that if you allow it you can be in perfect union with God.