Most people seek a spiritual goal projected from the content of their minds. They workout a system of their own or seek a religious or spiritual guru to lead them to the goal. They do not sense the inherent self-deception involved in this process.

The conventional neurology in man is such that it makes one feel that something is missing and that one should reach a superior state that would be satisfying in all respects. This is because many things in life are uncertain and almost all of them short-lived. (The word ‘ephemeral' would be appropriate here.) Therefore, the mind projects a permanent state in which one can have unchanging peace and eternal happiness. That is what makes most people turn to religious or spiritual leaders. They remain unaware of the fact that this whole approach is projected from a state of inward unawareness. They are also unaware of the fact that the mind is conditioned. So, while they remain hopeful of reaching their goal, they live a tentative life in which the present is sacrificed for the sake of the future. The uneasy state of mind remains. They will feel very disturbed if the self-deception involved in this process is pointed out.

The flip side of that scenario is that some people react to the above process and become atheists or agnostics giving them a feeling of superiority over the people who pursue a spiritual goal. Their ‘rational' minds also forget that they can be unaware of many hidden issues of life and that their conditioning can be a severe limiting factor.

Now, if we set aside both the believers and the non-believers, who are we?! Well, we understand that it is good to be aware of the limitations of the mind and not run hither and thither driven by the uneasy mind. Self-awareness sets in and there is the willingness to observe life as it is and observe ourselves as we are. There is the humility to let life flow as it would, through others and ourselves. Therefore, there is no projection and there is no chasing of a goal. However, we do see the meaningfulness of setting goals in the practical issues of life; for example, if one senses bright potential in one for being a good engineer, one would join the appropriate college stream and pursue a career in that direction. Otherwise, there would only be the eagerness to understand the ‘is-ness' of life. We also observe that the verbal approach in that direction cannot help; it can only lead to the gathering of theoretical knowledge which soon becomes a burden and leads to mediocrity in life. The mind falls quiet naturally without conforming to some religious or spiritual discipline. There is relaxation in the ‘now' and so there can be in-depth living in which the present is not sacrificed to the future. In that state, while being very active in our practical lives, we remain in a state of non-action inwardly. There is the possibility of something intrinsically spiritual flowering from that state because the mind is freed from the ego and its incessant demand to become somebody or to achieve something spiritually.

The above pronouncements are not likely to make an impact on the majority of people because their religions give them hope of reaching a goal or because the above pointers appear to be vacuous. However, there are some who will see meaning in the statements made above. They can lead their life in a state of inner freedom. As they are not identified with any group, they will have no need to be at loggerheads with other groups; nor will there be a need to be fanatical as they have no emotional attachment to any system. If you feel drawn to this matter, you will lead a life of natural austerity in which you will have abundant feeling for all and you will not label any set of people as ‘condemned'.

We turn to be explorers and become interested in understanding Divinity rather than use Him to our end. The state of inner freedom allows deeper truths to be revealed, not because of any projected goal, but due to the non-interference of the ego in that direction. The inward openness enriches our life in all directions, including the spiritual one, without our effort or expectations. Because there are no expectations, there would be no disappointments. That leads to living an in-depth life.
Related matters are discussed in

Author's Bio: 

The Author: T.C. Gopalakrishnan was born in Madras (now Chennai), India, in 1941. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978. He served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait. Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled "In Quest of the Deeper Self" is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.
Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies. He presented a paper at the 2011 conference of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. Functions as a freelance counselor for peaceful living. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in south India, with his family. Now he and his wife are both retired and currently involved in developing a fruit farm at a village 20 km from their residence.
Website: Blog: