Sunday Service: Four Ways to Find Your True Self

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Week of Sept 20 – 26, 2015

Just as people are not all the same, there is not just one path for spiritual growth. That helps explain why there are different religions, and why within these religions there are different approaches; even within Catholicism there is not one single spiritual path, even if that is supposed to be the case.

Vedanta recognizes that there are many ways to grow spiritually, and the multitude of paths are generally classified into one of four major groups: There is the path of knowledge (jnana yoga), the path of devotion (bhakti yoga), the path of selfless work (karma yoga), and meditation (raja yoga).

Some religions focus on one particular path, such as Buddhism; generally, Buddhism focuses on the meditation path to spiritual growth, although in practice it also includes the other three. It can be argues that Christianity, on the other hand, stresses the path of devotion. Again, however, you can find all four of the major paths in Christianity.

It is important to understand not only that there is more than one way to grow spiritually, but to understand your own approach as a means to deepen it.

With that in mind, this week we feature an essay by Bindu Anand on the topic of the four major spiritual paths. Enjoy.

Peter Kowalke


PrayerThis Week’s Spiritual Talk

Practicing Vedanta, Part 2: Four Ways to Find Your True Self

By Bindu Anand

We are not this body. We are not even our thoughts.

As we explained in Part I, identification with our body, our thoughts and everything “out there” in the world makes us unhappy. It is only when we get beyond our little conception of ourselves, of the “I,” that we are happy. We must remove the dust from the mirror, so to speak, so we see the world clearly and can therein be happy.

Well, how do we remove this “dust” from the mirror—the veil of ignorance, the illusion, often called “maya”?

One answer comes from Patanjali. In his Yoga Sutras, he writes, “Yogas-chitti-vritti-nirodha,” which means, “Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff from taking various forms.” Put another way by Swami Vivekananda: “Yoga is the cessation of thought-waves in the mind.”

What stops us from seeing the truth or reality is the continuous flow of thoughts in our mind. Identified with these thoughts, most often habitual and unconscious, our minds never have a moment of rest.

The goal is to quiet these thoughts.

(read more)


Video of the Week

How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

In 1968, the Beatles went to India for an extended stay with their new guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a spiritual retreat that exploded the ancient philosophy of Vedanta and the mind-body methods of Yoga into popular Western culture, an introduction that actually began when translations of Hindu texts penetrated the thinking of John Adams and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the ideas spread to Thoreau, Whitman, and succeeding generations of receptive Americans, who absorbed India’s “science of consciousness.”

Finding lasting happiness. Applying the Bhagavad Gita to daily life. Learning about the history of Vedanta in the U.S. These are some of the topics covered at American Vedanta’s YouTube channel. We curate a list of spiritual videos that will help advance your spirituality and expand your mind. When wanting spiritual videos, give our YouTube channel a look.

We also recommend other resources such as Booksaudio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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