Monday, December 18, 2017

Perfection is not Required

One morning I listened to a YouTube on Shri Ramana Maharishi. Ramana was not only a wise spiritual advisor; he was a lover of animals. He had a way with animals that is compared to that of Saint Francis. His cow, Laxshmi, was given an afterlife sendoff ceremony normally reserved for humans. The master understood snakes, monkeys, birds, and other animals. Animals not only flocked to him, they obeyed him. The Ramana video ended by talking about his transition. When I looked at the date, I saw his transition date or mahasamadhi day was that very day. I felt a chill. Ramana is one of my favorite holy people.

I was fortunate to visit his ashram in southern India a few years ago. The town was filled with spiritual seekers of all sorts, ashrams, and markets.

He lived in one village, Tiruvannamalai, his entire adult life. I suspect he never drove a car, yet his influence was felt all over the world. When my mind criticizes my uneasiness when driving, I think, "Ramana was a great man and he didn't drive anywhere." I then congratulate myself for driving at all. I avoid driving into Houston and would never venture out during the commuter hours. When the inner critic chides me for not traveling as much as I might like, I think, "Ramana stayed in one town through his entire adult life and he was one of the greatest men who ever lived. Not only was he self-realized, he was wise and capable."

Sometimes we play small and don't realize our potential, but frequently, we expect too much. We demand perfection, consummate wisdom, an ageless body, and a 24-hour positive attitude. It is refreshing to know that most advanced masters can’t live up to the standards of our modern world or the standards we impose on ourselves.

Ramana's teachings were practical and easy to understand. Three things can reveal the truth of who we are.
  • The first is meditation. It calms the mind and uncovers what lies beneath our words, beliefs, and emotions.
  • Next is the breath. Learning to master the breath, or live with breath awareness, brings us to deep stillness as well.
  • Finally, his favorite was self-inquiry. It is known in the east as vichara. The self-inquiry refers to the seminal question, "Who am I?" It is not a question to be answered in words. It is answered in the heart, when we stop the mind and feel or experience who we are. Ramana said that vichara created the fastest path to realization.
The above are my three favorite practices, although I do mantra as well. My practices are not set in stone. They vary. I lose track of time and it gets too late to do my spiritual and physical exercises. I get tired of some of the exercises sometimes and want a change. While some people can arrange their lives to exercise, meditate, and eat well every day, it may not be practical for everyone in today's modern life.

We are stretched to do more things and be more things than ever before. While the above practices are powerful, not everything is for everybody. Each has a path that calls to them, and that path can be different for each person. We do not need to live under the tyranny of any belief system, any religion, or other set of standards. Our lives are our lives. We answer to no one. The Universe is always saying, "Decide and I will back you up." We don’t have to do anything to be loved and accepted. We already are unconditionally loved and accepted. I don't do my practices to be good or to gain favors with GUS (God/Universe/Spirit). I do them because I feel better. But it is important not to become the prisoner to perfection. I can deviate from the norm and still have a healthy, happy, life.

When we accept ourselves as we are, help ourselves when we can, and give ourselves a break, we always find that life can be EZier and EZier.
Anne #Ramana #EZosophy #Sspiritual #annesermons gillis