Feeling Incomplete and Unfulfilled

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Changing Bodies
Understanding even in theory that our true identity is spiritual--eternal, blissful, consciousness--or said negatively, that we are "not the body", is the beginning of spirituality. Though considered basic or "elementary" in our progressive spiritual life, the fact that we are not the physical body or mind but consciousness, is a matter of deep realization to understand.

Experience has strongly demonstrated through the example of many devotees, that it is not easy for souls conditioned by the material laws to act on the soul platform. I am sure that it sounds funny or strange to most people that the source of all our misery and troubles is the fact that we have a material body, senses and mind.

What we are forced to do by the laws of nature to keep the body alive and try to find fulfillment through, we are conditioned to think is enjoyable. That is called illusion or maya. We have a desire that needs to be fulfilled--like hunger, thirst, sex etc, which are considered a type of misery by the Vedas, and when we obtain the needed substance we feel relief. This is material pleasure.

We are bound up by the laws of nature with bodily inclinations, or likes and dislikes, yet think we are free to act as we please. It is a very narrow pleasure. We feel incomplete and we think meeting the needs of the body or wants of the mind will complete us. Perhaps temporarily they do, though not ultimately, and the Vedas encourages us to see the big spiritual eternal picture.

In addition we don't know that the real problems of life are disease, old age, death, and rebirth. These ideas of change, beginning or demise are all foreign to the eternal, unchangeable soul. Matter is a confusing place for the soul, contrary to our true nature. Our forgetfulness caused by plugging in to the material matrix clouds our true innate spiritual knowledge. Developing spiritual reasoning will greatly help us make sense of life in the material world. Spiritual life is about waking up from sleeping condition of egotism, where we think everything revolves around us and our desires.

For most people it is difficult to understand themselves as anything other then they who they think they are in this human body--and certainly not an animal or plant. We think we are humans and others are animals or plants. Never-the-less we can try to imagine the nature of the soul with no need of physicality by hearing about it from the Vedic perspective. As human beings our advanced power of reasoning and potential for self awareness is meant to aid the soul realize their true eternal self and relationship to the Supreme Spirit.

We are strangers in strange material land, a spiritual fish out of eternal spiritual water who is now on the dry material desert island. Our soul in her spiritual home is like water flowing happily, naturally along in relationship to God, who we are part of. The soul in bondage or conditioned by matter is like ice, or frozen and limited. Think about the utility of water and ice. The use of ice is very limited, while water has many, many uses. And the nature of water is to be liquid. The nature of the soul is to be free and full of love and happiness.

A very essential idea in understanding the real nature of a soul--our true self--is "sanatana dharma". Prabhupada explains it very well in his Bhagavad-gita As It Is Introduction. Sanatana Dharma or our essential or eternal nature or activity has been referred to by Prabhupada as our "constitutional nature" as souls. It is not a material faith or belief but the nature or "occupation" of the soul, which is service or being of a giving nature to God and others. We are a spark of God. Although he is the "master" or supreme controller of everything, he is also the greatest giver sustaining the Universe. Therefore sharing his nature, we are meant to give to live.

Looking at our knowledge of things within our experience, we could say the nature or dharma of water is liquidity, the dharma of fire is heat and light, of sugar, sweetness, or of lemons, sour or tart etc. Everything in existence has an intrinsic nature or qualities that allow it to be known, at least to some extent.

Although materially or physically we have a bodily nature that we need to acknowledge and work with, it is only temporary. Even by knowing our physical nature and being in harmony with it, we, the soul, won't find the happiness and fulfillment we require. This is really the point to consider: our soul requires a spiritual means of nourishment or "spiritual food" in order to be complete and truly fulfilled. Giving only to the body, mind, emotions, and intelligence of ourself or others, is only a shadow of real spiritual, selfless giving. It can be the beginning of spiritual giving as in selfless giving to others.

By studying the world we find hints of our real nature of service or giving. We all render service to others, whether President of the USA, politician, or a mother, father, child, employer, employee etc. If nothing else we must serve our bodily necessities as our very existence is threatened by non-existence. The Bhagavad-gita teaches us that the soul is active by nature. Therefore we see people are busy doing things to be happy. The question is what can we do that will bring us the lasting happiness we all seek.

If we really believe we are a spiritual being having a human experience we need to understand what the purpose of our being in this temporary foreign place is. Krishna consciousness or bhakti-yoga, amongst other paths, teaches us this supreme truth or great life secret, that we are meant to be cooperators with God. We are never independent of him, though our ego believes it is. In Gaudiya Vaishnavism we learn that we are souls who are meant to serve or give back to our Source or God--who we refer to as Krishna and Radha--the Supreme God and Goddess.

Chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and engaging in spiritual devotional service facilitates the realization of this fact. When we act on this principle of service to God and his dear servants or devotees, we will experience our spiritual purpose and completeness. Forgetting this we continue birth after birth searching in vain for completeness in an incomplete, external world.

”The Personality of Godhead [Krishna] is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.” Shri Isopanishad Invocation

For the purpose of this blog we can add here, that we will realize our completeness when we serve the complete whole. Prabhupada says this at length in his explanation to this verse.

Combined comments from old site

Sat, 03/14/2009 - 18:42 — abrennan
Mental Schema, Ladders and Bicycles

How well this describes the human condition: Feeling incomplete and Unfulfilled. This what leads us to seek the satisfaction of the senses. The senses cannot be satisfied, it is not their nature.

Half way through reading this I start thinking our problem is that we have a mental schema that prevents us from realising and acting on the truth. Then I smile as I see you bring that out.

The schema is the way that we think, the experiences, memories and beliefs that we employ to do our thinking with. The wait that we accomodate our misperceptions. Reading Vedic literature, chanting and offering devotional service helps to de-construct the framework of our schema. These things work to change the way that we have come to percieve and process information and allows us to see 'As it is' as opposed to what it has become.

When we are a child we percieve things in a particular way which changes as we mature and age. For many of us we percieve the way that we thought and experienced as a child as a golden age which has gone with our new way of being.

Few are they, I think, who come to Krishna Consiouness fully de-conditioned. For most of us we spend much time doing the things that rub off or dissolve that conditioning. I have heard it described as de-automation. We have developed an automtic way of dealing with the world, we are very habitual. I think that offering all we do as devotional service taps into that very process and allows it to it to purify, or de-contaminate us rather than adding to the schema we have developed, the false ego. so we can regain our lost perpective as the servant and not the served, as the part and parcel rather than the whole. Our false ego is cleared until our actual being can percieve things as they are.

It is always a difficult time to work through the initial stages of asking questions and trying to integrate answers. Sometimes I think that the fact that I have questons does not indicate that the answers to the questions will resolve my situation. I do not advocate not asking questions or investigating, but we should do so in a more relaxed manner.

I was at a program recently where a devotee was asking questions and he phrased each question with the term "How are we to underderstand the answer." It was very interesting that the the speaker could then provide an answer and show how the answer could spread light or be misunderstood.

I was speaking to someone recently and thay said religion was intersting but they would rather think for themsleves.

I didn't raise it as a point if discussion but I though that it was chanting and devotional service that was allowing me to think for myself rather than be forced to think along the lines of institutionalised, marketed, brainwashed schema that our community and society presents for us.

"For most people it is difficult to understand themselves as anything other then they who they think they are in this human body" I think that this is very difficult.

We all have to start climbing at the first rung of the ladder. We can't start climbing part way up or at the top. We need to be kind with ourselves and with others as we climb up the ladder of life. The failure is to not see the ladder, to not climb.

We all start at the bottom, that is not failure it's success.

I always remember learnging ride a bicycle. It seemed an impossible task. At first I spent all my time trying to balance until I realised is was pedallling that made me stay upright and move along.

Well that's what I thought of when I read Karnamrita's blog. How did you respond?

Hare Krishna


*Reply*

Sun, 03/15/2009 - 05:43 — Karnamrita.das
Scenes, Schemes, Schemas; Dramas, Sagas, Enchiladas

I thought I would put the definition of schema here, since I had to look it up in order to make sure I knew what you were talking about:

Schema: 1: a diagrammatic presentation; broadly : a structured framework or plan : outline
2: a mental codification of experience that includes a particular organized way of perceiving cognitively and responding to a complex situation or set of stimuli

Through Krishna consciousness and its various forms of purification we have to develop a spiritual perspective or a different type of schema than is typical for conditioned souls. Instead of plans for sense gratification, we want to scheme how to please Shri Guru, the Vaishnavas, and Shri Chaitanya. This will change our inner scene or landscape. By studying about and attempting to live in our constitutional position as servant (das or dasi) of Krishna, we want to forget or go beyond our material drama, and our birth after birth saga. Now we will offer everything to Krishna--the whole enchilada, and enjoy prasad and seva, on the way back to Godhead!

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


*Reply*

Mon, 03/16/2009 - 00:58 — abrennan
Number two please

Yes it's number two that I mean

2: a mental codification of experience that includes a particular organized way of perceiving cognitively and responding to a complex situation or set of stimuli

I agree with you. Chanting the Mahamantra, remembering, praying, offering obeisances, associating, singing and dancing, offering our food and honouring prasadam. All these things work on changing the way that we percieve and the way that we act.

We don't have many Enchiladas in Australia is that a baby Echidna? Only Joking.


*Reply*

Mon, 03/16/2009 - 04:58 — Karnamrita.das
Language lessons

Had to look that one up as well. No, not that hairy clawed ant eater fellow. That mexican chapti with everything good on it! Krishna is everything, and we are a spark of him. How great to not be my material story and life drama. Of course when we take up the life of Bhakti, the life of devotion is wonderful and miraculous.

Somehow to change the influences that are acting upon us. We could call it transformation of consciousness, or waking up to our real soul nature. To be motivated not by our selfishness, but by love for Krishna, or at least the desire to do that which will bring us to that level. Practice makes perfect.

KC begins as an intellectual concept with some experience or feeling, and eventually become enough of our reality that we can dedicate our life to its unfoldment. With time there is no duality--no more multiple personalities. We will awaken to our true 100% spiritual nature with no artificial ingredients! All natural with no pesticides, herbicides, or what have you!! Just an unadulterated pure lover of Krishna. Now that is something to be excited about!

The questions for all of us is: "What is truly important?" For those of us who work in the world and have families, what is important beyond maintaining the household is demonstrated what we do with our "fun" time or discretionary income. Sense enjoyment is sometimes compared to salt--a little is needed for every embodied soul--too much spoils what we eat and is not healthy, and covers our intelligence.

Hey can you pass the salt!

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita