I recall hearing a saying many years ago that stuck in my mind and heart and resonated within my soul. It goes like this: “Spirit sleeps in the mineral, dreams in the plant, walks in the animal and thinks in man.” It has a deep metaphysical meaning that goes beyond words strung together on a piece of paper, just as we are much more than the trillions of atoms formed together to make our bodies.
Many religions and more than a billion people believe in karma and reincarnation as a means for each soul to evolve as they traverse a path over many, many lifetimes, from a simple form of creation such as the mineral to a plant to an animal and eventually to a human. If this is the case, it’s easy to see how it could take many lifetimes for a soul in its current human state to evolve back to its awakened perfection and freedom in God. If we look at our own state of consciousness and that of the collective consciousness of the planet, which is currently in a sorry state of affairs, it’s both powerful and humbling to consider.
A great Indian saint said, “Saints are sinners who never gave up.” Humankind has been evolving over many tens of thousands of years, from the Cro-Magnon man to modern man. Go back even further to the Neanderthal man and it’s clear to see that his way of life and belief system was even simpler than that of the average man during the Dark Ages.
Look at an average human life from birth to death and you can clearly see that each person evolves to a certain degree based on various factors, such as parenting, schooling, society, mental habits and a willingness to grow and change. These changes may seem small for some people, but they are still advancing from darkness to light, as we all are. Each of us tends to grow and evolve at a different rate of speed. Each of us seems to have our own unique karmic path of evolution.
In truth, no person is better than the next. We all have the divine spark of God’s perfection within us. In some people who display greed, anger, dishonesty or other tendencies that may appear violent or even evil in nature, it may not seem the case, but the divine spark is there — just waiting to awaken under the right circumstances. If we are honest with ourselves, we all are trying to break free of the effects of ego, bad habits or darkness.
Struggling against this darkness or limitation is our divine birthright. Our souls constantly are pushing us to awaken from the dreams of limitation and despair. Make no mistake, everyone is struggling in some way — and everyone wants to be happy, free and at peace within. One of my favorite sayings, from the movie Dune, is, “The sleeper must awaken.” In essence, the divine God spark within us wants nothing more than for us to awaken to our divine birthright of happiness, freedom and joy.
Isn’t it a beautiful thought to know that God has encoded within us His DNA of perfection? How do we go about the transformation to uncover our sleeping perfection? As the Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Since our atoms and cells are always in a state of motion, we may as well help them by taking conscious steps from our current state of darkness, “which may take many different forms,” to the light of God’s love, truth and inner freedom. Since this is our divine birthright, we should do everything we can to take advantage of our time left on this planet to cultivate it.
Forging ahead by living a God-filled life is like investing money each day of your life, and as an adult realizing that your investment provided a large sum to make your future more secure and bright. Of course, we can’t take money or anything material with us when it’s time to leave these bodies, but the investment we make to our spiritual and mental health go with us from this life to the next, helping to shape a much better existence for ourselves in the future.
So, whether you believe that we have only one life or multiple lifetimes, it matters not. Either way, if you make the spiritual effort to change today, you’ll become a much happier person and will be pleasing to God as a channel for his goodness. As a great yogi-saint said, “It’s all about God’s Grace.” If we are sincere in our daily effort to improve, both spiritually and mentally, and help others in need along the way, we make ourselves open to receive His glorious grace. God’s grace can move mountains and destroy any darkness, bad karma and disease from our minds and hearts so that we can flow with His love. His grace can speed up our evolution and help us to become the true sons and daughters of spirit.
How do we go about this? We start today by asking God for Divine aid and guidance in all our affairs and try to live as the great saints do through daily prayer, meditation, right thinking, clean healthy living and mutual respect for all forms of life, knowing that they too are on the long march from darkness to light. Getting acquainted with yoga and meditation by reading a book or going to a class can be a great start to the spiritual path, as it feeds the spirit, mind and body and promotes peaceful living.
Yoga is not just about breathing and stretching, it’s an age-old science that brings with it positive transformational change to each person who sincerely follows its path. Yoga comes in a variety of forms to choose from to serve all walks of life. For myself, I was guided at a young age to the book Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda. This book profoundly changed the course of my life. After reading it, I sought out the teachings of Self Realization Fellowship, which was founded by Yogananda in 1920. He was one of the first Yogis to come to America from India. This path changed my life at an early age from one of suffering and despair to one of happiness and freedom.
Whatever path you feel guided to follow in this lifetime, know that God is behind all true paths, and they all eventually merge back into Him. Always remember this: happiness is not just a destination, it’s in our DNA and it’s available with each breath of life!