(Featured image: Sri Ramakrishna. Credit: rkmpune.org)
By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
The following was written for the 208th issue of The Culture of Awareness Weekly Newsletter, a weekly newsletter I write for $11.11 a month.
Income from the newsletter helps me get by and ensures I can continue to offer free content, and the option to subscribe is given at the bottom of this post.
(Continued from introductory segment)
Now, let’s take a look at the words of two well-known spiritual teachers about image worship and the eventual inevitable flow that results from devotion to your unique spiritual path.
Sri Ramakrishna on Image Worship
Sri Ramakrishna tells us that the truth can be revealed in momentary flashes through appreciation of the image.
“As you recall your father by his photograph, so likewise the worship of the image reveals in a flash the nature of Reality.” (1)
After receiving a ‘vision of God’, he tells us, image worship becomes unnecessary. He likens it to a girl who loves her dolls as a child yet puts them away when she gets older and experiences many of the things she imagined when she played with them.
“What is wrong with image worship? … How long do small girls play with their dolls? As long as they are not married and do not live with their husbands. After marriage they put the dolls away in a box. What further need is there of worshipping the image after the vision of God?” (2)
Since everything is possible for Source, the mere thought of it can help you connect with it.
“As a custard apple made of pith inspires the thoughts of a true custard apple, similarly the images of gods and goddesses stimulate thoughts of the real sport of God. God is omnipotent, everything is possible for Him.” (3)
Keep Source in Mind
The ability to connect with Source just by thinking of it is the reason religious and spiritual people talk about keeping God in mind and heart. The thought or feeling can inspire the real thing.
However, in my opinion the best way to connect with the real thing is through meditation or dedication to anything that helps you expand your consciousness.
It could be meditation, music, hiking; dancing; having a good conversation with a fellow conscious thinker; anything. It’s all valuable, so don’t turn away from the thought or image just yet it if still helps you.
Paul Ferrini on the Flow
As your devotion to your way of life increases, you’ll begin to notice that you live in a sort of flow.
Your work and other responsibilities will flow naturally as you adopt a permanently meditative, peaceful state of being, and your mind and emotions will reflect this by becoming calmer, peaceful and easier to handle.
You still won’t tolerate disrespect – especially if it’s against humanity on the part of the powers that be -but the way you handle it will change.
You’ll become more focused on love, compassion and humility as potential solutions to the world’s problems, and as you continue to open yourself to this flowing, compassionate way of life, it’ll reveal the enlightenment sought by spiritual thinkers for centuries.
Paul Ferrini describes this flow:
“Now you are flowing with the current of life. Do you need to get a job, be married, have children, write books, give talks, feed the hungry, save the disenfranchised and disheartened! Not unless they join you in the river.
“And if they do, you can be sure it is not you working, marrying, procreating, writing, talking, feeding or saving. It is the river doing it through you. And so you remain cheerful and at ease whatever you are doing. Nothing keeps you from breathing, because breathing is your only responsibility.” (4)
He reminds us that we’ve known everything he or any other teacher could tell us all along, but our minds move too fast for us to relax into the flow and be open to it.
“For many years you have been moving too fast for the river to catch up to you. No wonder you don’t feel supported by the universe! But, take heart, every indigenous people who have lived on the planet have known and practiced what I am teaching to you.
“And somewhere, deep in your heart, you know and remember it too.” (5)
Paul is right – this awareness exists deep within and we only need to calm the overactive mind and look deep in our collective heart to reconnect with it. To do this is to reconnect with God, and without awareness of this connection, humanity suffers.
We’ve forgotten who we truly are, where we come from and where we’ll go when we’re done on this planet.
Fortunately, through meditation and appreciation of the image of God, we can transcend this world of forms and rediscover the blissful Formlessness that awaits us when this sacred temple we call a body expires.
Enlightenment and bliss will come to us at some point in the future, but the big secret is that we don’t have to wait. We can actively seek them now. In doing so, we can bring them back to a world that desperately needs spiritual nourishment.
We’re here to provide it through the cliché yet ever-important ‘love and light’ as we share wisdom, compassion, respect and understanding for the struggles of all creatures.
These qualities flow naturally when resistance is released and higher consciousness imbues you with wisdom, and if you get there through worship of an image you can eventually transcend, then more power to you.
(1) Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 180.
(2) Ibid., 337.
(3) Swami Prabhavananda, First Meetings with Sri Ramakrishna. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1987, 129.
(4) Paul Ferrini, Silence of the Heart. South Deerfield, MA: Heartways Press, 1996, 13-4.
(5) Ibid., 14.
This concludes this week’s planetary healing.