As long as we are in this world, we have to work and interact with it. It’s hardly practical, or desirable, to ignore the world or the loving relationships we have with the people in it. Nor is it possible to completely avoid environments fraught with negativity and lower vibrations. So how does one fortify oneself from being influenced by these energies?
Those who daily engage in spiritual practice are content because they enjoy pleasure from within. They understand that everything has a relationship with the Supreme and that everything is meant to be used in service to the Supreme. Feeling fulfilled, they move about the world without being disturbed by even the most agitating sights and sounds. In contrast, those lacking such inner peace are like consumers who shop when they are hungry or restless. Bewildered by unlimited choices, they indiscriminately buy what they don’t need, or things that are bad for them.
People who connect daily, especially as dawn breaks, with the Divine through bhakti yoga feel contentment and inner strength. When we meditate on sublime mantras, read elevated books like the Bhagavad-gita, hear from sadhus, and dedicate our work to the Supreme, we become fulfilled. Armed with such a higher taste, we naturally forego the nonessential and are able to make wise, discriminate choices.
I recently attended a memorial service for one of my best friends from high school. After the ceremony, I conversed with the other attendees, some of whom were drinking wine. I noticed that the more they drank the less able they were to understand subtle concepts. For example, one of my old high school teachers, knowing that I had joined a monastery after my junior year, asked me about the course of my life and the philosophy I was following. I explained to her the concept that we are not our physical bodies but spiritual beings. Initially, she had a keen interest and was beginning to resonate with the concept, but the more wine she consumed the less she could process our conversation. She had embraced the lower energy of the alcohol. I was simply observing and marveling at how this lower energy was working. I thought, “Be careful what you feed your mind.”
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