Engage Positively With the World

To those pursuing the path of selfless service the world takes on a spiritual nature. Engage in the world with a positive spiritual attitude having in mind that actions during the day will help us evolve spiritually and bring us closer to moksha. Deepen practice of karma yoga.

Unedited Transcript:

This is from lesson of the day, a few days ago, Dancing with Siva.

"Should One Avoid Worldly Involvement?

"The world is the bountiful creation of a benevolent God, who means for us to live positively in it, facing karma and fulfilling dharma. We must not despise of fear the world. Life is meant to be lived joyously.

"The world is the place where our destiny is shaped, our desires fulfilled and our soul matured. In the world, we grow from ignorance into wisdom, from darkness into light and from a consciousness of death to immortality. The whole world is an ashrama in which all are doing sadhana. We must love the world, which is God's creation. Those who despise, hate and fear the world do not understand the intrinsic goodness of all. The world is a glorious place, not to be feared. It is a gracious gift from Siva Himself, a playground for His children in which to interrelate young souls with the old -- the young experiencing their karma while the old hold firmly to their dharma. The young grow; the old know. Not fearing the world does not give us permission to become immersed in worldliness. To the contrary, it means remaining affectionately detached like a drop of water on a lotus leaf, being in the world but not of it, walking in the rain without getting wet."

So this is something I wrote about the world.

How can the world be categorized? Really, in and of itself, it has no inherent characteristic. It all depends on the state of mind of the viewer. To some the world is clearly a place where we have a chance to pursue pleasure. To others it provides opportunities to acquire wealth. Others focus on the many problems in the world and categorize it as evil. However, to those pursuing the path of selfless service, it is none of the above, rather it takes on a spiritual nature. A quote from Swami Vivekananda I never saw before, I found: "The world is a grand moral gymnasium wherein we have all to take exercise so as to become stronger and stronger spiritually." That's a nice one, huh? "The world is a grand moral gymnasium wherein we all have to take exercise so as to become stronger and stronger spiritually. And, of course, the quote Gurudeva was referring to. Paramaguru Yogaswami, characterized it similarly describing it as an ashram: "The world is an ashram, a training ground for the achievement of freedom. Each one does his part according to his measure. There is nothing that is evil."

Let's look more closely at what it means to say that all the world's an ashram. An ashram, of course, is the residence and teaching center of a swami or spiritual preceptor. It is a place we go to learn about our religion and make spiritual progress. When we go out the door of our home to go to work, school or elsewhere, do we have in our mind that we are going to an ashram, that our actions during the day in the office, factory, hospital, classroom or elsewhere will help us evolve spiritually and bring us closer to moksha? When we come home and reflect back on the day, do we feel we made spiritual progress while out of the home? Certainly this perspective of the world becomes stronger and stronger as we deepen our practice of karma yoga.

What about the concept that the world is "unreal" or "illusion." Is that a part of the practice of karma yoga? This view of the world is that for spiritual progress to occur, the world must simply be renounced. For those family men and women in the sannyasa ashrama of life, this can be a helpful perspective. For the rest of Hindu humanity, it is definitely not a helpful perspective as it keeps us from engaging in the world with a positive spiritual attitude toward it. Looking at the world as illusion is similar to a school boy or girl looking at school as an illusion. He or she will definitely miss the value of the experience.

Thank you. Have a wonderful week.

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