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How to become strong internally? – Part 1

“One whose happiness is within, who is active within, who rejoices within and is illumined within, is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.” (Bhagavad Gita 5.24)

Although our external lives are important, it can’t be at the cost of our inner growth. We may analyse others expertly by our mind. But do we analyse our own mind? Can we separate ourselves from our thoughts for some time in a day? Can we live in a space beyond the mind – in the spiritual space of prayer and shelter? That will help us navigate the myriad challenges that life throws at us on a daily basis.

What does it mean to make our inner lives strong? Or how do we live in our internal world?

We make ourselves strong internally when we learn to spend some time daily in the ‘eternal space’ – in spirituality – an aspect of reality that transcends our petty or ephemeral existence.

Unfortunately many find spiritual life abstract because we are stuck at the bottom of the ladder of consciousness. Imagine a ladder where the lowest rung of this ladder is an illusion, in the middle, we have a temporary reality and at the top of this ladder, there is an endless or eternal reality.

We are preoccupied with some movies or video games – unreal issues – at the bottom of the ladder. We seem to have no time to look up at the universe above us or within us. A reality beacons us – but we are stuck in a lower reality.

Three realities of our lives

The three E’s – Electronic reality, Ephemeral and Eternal reality – our lives oscillate between these three spheres of existence. We run up and down this ladder, while some of us stay stuck at the lowest rung.

When you see beautiful rain on your smartphone’s screen, you may be captivated. You may watch an emotional movie in a theatre. But it’s all light flashing on the screen. The rain or the high-octane thriller you watch has no existence at all- it’s just not there.

Electronic reality or virtual reality is an illusion.

In a movie when the thunder strikes, the trees whirl and swing, and the heroine falls in the arms of the hero – and if you’ve invested emotions or time in this, then your time is spent on something that just doesn’t exist. It’s a mirage – there is no rain or no girl or boy expressing love; it’s simply a light flashing on a screen. Yet, it captivates us; some spend many precious hours in a day on our electronic gadgets or the digital world. We are bewitched by technology and lose control over our lives. Steven Covey said a sober thing, “Technology is a great servant but a terrible master.” Instead of using our smartphones, we are now dependent on them; as a result, these gadgets are using us!

The more time we spend in the virtual world, the more we connect to a reality that simply doesn’t exist.

I heard a nice quote that captures our predicament well: “We are living at a time when capturing moments using our phone is more important than actually living those moments with whoever is beside us.”

That which doesn’t exist is called ‘Maya’ in Vedic parlance. And wisdom books from the East refer to our attachments to non-real phenomena, as Maya. When a person suffers but imagines it to be enjoyment – like a camel relishing its own blood while sucking thorns – it’s called Maya.

When we are bored and stare at our phone screens, or fidget without any particular reason, we are in Maya – illusion.

Now is the time to rise above on this ladder.

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

To be continued….

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