By practicing spirituality, how does our inner world change?
Time: 6 mins
Transcribed by:Vishvaroopa Das
Question: By practicing spirituality how does our inner world change?
Answer: Based on my personal experience the answer is definitely yes. Twenty-five years ago, before I started practicing spirituality, I was studying engineering at that time. I was known to be a very short-tempered person. I used to just explode on people. However, within couple of years of practicing spirituality, it was not that the temper went away completely, but it subsided. Our consciousness is like a sine wave, sometimes the wave goes high up and sometimes it goes low down. The up and down movement are also sometimes very fast. After I started practicing spirituality what I found was the oscillations still happened, but they slowed down. The highs were not so high, and the lows were not so low. They started becoming steadier. Not only becoming steadier horizontally, but the overall level of consciousness also rose up i.e. our happiness level goes up.
In this world there are dualities. Sometimes we are happy sometimes we are unhappy, sometimes excited sometimes bored. While these specific emotional states go up and down we can say we all have a happiness level. When there are no major oscillations in our consciousness, point where our consciousness settle at is our happiness level. For some people their habitual consciousness is that they are irritated, once in a while, they are happy but most of the time they are irritated. For some people their habitual consciousness is that they are depressed about things. We can see that by practice of spirituality, the overall happiness level goes up, although ups and downs will continue to happen. If I am trying to do something purposeful and it is working out I will be happy and when it is not working out I may be a little annoyed or concerned. These are natural responses which do occur when one is engrossed in the world trying to do things. But in normal state when we are doing nothing the overall happiness level goes up due to practice of spirituality.
When various emotions come up on inner screen of our mind, the response to those would depend on how deep rooted our past impressions are. For example, for some people anger might just be an impression which is present very slightly. For them, with little practice of spirituality it quickly goes away. However, for some people anger is not a circumstantial emotion it is like a core defence mechanism for them. They use anger as a way to protect themselves from being hurt. Unless they find out a healthier way to have a defence mechanism, that impression may not go immediately.
Our choices gradually become preferences that get stored within us and some preferences are very deep rooted. For example, if somebody wants to give up drinking alcohol, how quickly will he be able to give up depends on how deep rooted his preferences are. Some people may just be social drinkers. They drink just to be part of a crowd. If they are hanging out with people who don’t drink, they will not drink at all. But for some people drinking may be an escape way. Whenever they feel distressed or agitated they drink, they feel good. Unless they find a healthier way to address that need to feel good, whenever they will feel depressed or agitated, they will drink.
Our unhealthy desires are simply misdirected expressions of our healthy needs. When there is distress, one need relief and relief is a healthy need. For example, when I feel hot I need cool air. We all need relief sometime or other but based on the way we lived in the past, we may be seeking relief in unhealthy ways. Once I understand why I am drinking alcohol not due to taste of alcohol but because I want to get relief, I can then find a healthier way to gain relief. This may require some homework. By spiritual practice change surely happens. Especially by devotional spiritual practice change not only happens but happens much faster. However, for some people change may happen quickly, for some change may take a longer time. It depends on how tightly the impulse and response are tied together and why they are tied together. Once we identify the need and address that need in a healthier way, then we will be able to change our inner world much faster.
End of transcription.
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