Spiritual practice will remove your ignorance. It will help you disentangle yourself from what isn’t real. It will reveal to you who you are not, and who you always have been. It will lead you to endless joy and love.
So what is spiritual practice? It is retracing our way back to God—to Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness, and Absolute Bliss. Where is God for us? Though God dwells everywhere, He remains no more than an idea until we go into the Heart. Our body is a map. At its center is the Heart—not the thumper, but the place within us that connects the manifest with the unmanifest. Spiritual practice requires us to redirect our attention into the Heart and quiet what prevents us from remaining there. In the Heart, we rest in our own nature.
An important prerequisite for spiritual practice is the ability to reflect. Many people remain turned outward and never examine what they are bringing to the table. Spiritual practice means turning inward. This does not mean being an introvert; it is the ability and willingness to go deeper than our transitory vehicles—body, mind, personality, ideas, emotions, energy—and witness them from a place of non-attachment.
There are three levels of spiritual practice. Each level is more internal than the previous one. The first level uses the five senses. The second level uses the mind. It is not until we go inward enough to the third level that we actually begin to approach the real work. The third level uses the will, constantly boring inward toward the Heart—not the seat of emotion, but the ground of our being. The Heart is the cave where the Self resides. This is where our adventure leads.
We cannot simply practice on our own; we don’t have the discernment to assess where we are. This is where a teacher comes in. My teacher was Swami Muktananda; over nearly a decade, he taught me one-on-one the real internal practice that leads to liberation. Baba awakened people and guided his disciples into the Heart, so they could reside in the Self of All as he did. This is my lineage, and I teach what Baba taught me, as I continue to practice and learn.
In the course of spiritual practice, our knowledge of what is true will mature. Our understanding will continually shift as we go deeper within. Time after time, our expectations will be shot down. What once seemed valid and important will be revealed as superficial and off the point. What will show us how to proceed is the evolving discernment that accompanies the practice, allowing us to see more clearly the difference between what is real and what is transitory. Surrendering to God is not easy. If we are to remain on the path, we must have the guidance of a capable teacher or spiritual director. There will be times when we cling to our ideas and refuse to give up our limited sense of self. There will be times when we lose our way because the seeds of attachment within us have blossomed. Then we have to work even harder to come back to ourselves. This cannot be accomplished alone.
To that purpose, I hold group classes every week in person and by videoconferencing. By signing up for them, you get to participate in this rigorous and rewarding path. I have also published a book, Walking Home with Baba: The Heart of Spiritual Practice (Bancroft Press, 2012), which explains spiritual practice and contextualizes it through my own experiences.
Be with your experience consciously, let whatever comes up within you come up, and function appropriately on the physical plane. Ground your awareness in the Heart. Be still.