Some thoughts about looking back, looking within, and seeing with spiritual vision

I’ve been reflecting back on my life as a teenager recently; on how it seems as if it were a previous life rather than an early chapter of this one; on how reckless I was with my privileges and resources; on how lucky I was to get away with so many ill-advised escapades without losing my life or my freedom; on how others I knew weren’t so lucky.

The physical body of my gloriously misspent youth is long gone but, somehow or other, I’m still here. Traces of my youthful self remain in my metaphysical body, the body composed of mental, emotional, and intellectual impressions. But if we accept the proposition that every seven years or so each cell in our bodies is replaced by a new one, I’ve changed bodies six and a half times since surviving my teens.

In that sense, I really can say that it was a previous life. In any case, it’s experiential proof that I’m not my body.

If you’re old enough to be reading this, you’re old enough to recall having a physical body that’s since been replaced by a new one, maybe even several times over by now.

In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna uses our experience of continuously changing bodies within a single lifetime as an example to support the proposition that we’re all eternal spiritual beings passing through temporary material bodies across multiple lifetimes:

“Just as an embodied person experiences the transformations of their body, from childhood to youth to old age, that same person will pass into another body (at death). Those who are wise do not find this bewildering.” – Bg 2.13

Beyond the theoretical idea of being eternal, what would happen if you actually experienced yourself as being eternal? Would that change how you look at your life?

If you were able to see others as eternal spiritual beings in temporary material bodies, would that change the way you looked at them?

Would that change the way you look at death?

The wise may not find death bewildering but most of us aren’t that wise. Most people are completely bewildered by death. Dying is supposed to be a natural part of living and yet it seems so… wrong.

That’s because it is wrong, In fact, it’s not even possible, at least from the standpoint of our true nature, which is to be eternal and eternally joyful.

Joy naturally arises from the cultivation of spiritual consciousness. And spiritual consciousness starts with the awakening of our spiritual vision.

Spiritual vision is the ability to see our lives and the world in a spiritual context. It starts with knowledge, a basic understanding of what the world looks like from a transcendental perspective. It culminates in realization, the direct experience of engaging with the world from a transcendental position.

By awakening our spiritual vision we regain our natural ability to see how the material world really works, to see how we’re all affected by the illusory power of material nature and, ultimately, to see the original, spiritual nature of reality.

As if escaping from my gloriously misspent youth relatively unscathed wasn’t enough for me to be grateful for, I’ve had the good fortune of being able to spend the better part of my life studying yoga wisdom texts with amazing teachers. They’ve helped me to develop a practice that has allowed me to get a glimpse of the material world from a spiritual perspective.

Developing just a little bit of that ability has made a huge difference in my life.

I think it might make the same kind of difference in your life.

That’s why I created ‘Awakening Your Spiritual Vision,’ a free 45-minute audio guide to seeing the world from a transcendental perspective.

There’s no sales pitch, no countdown timer, no special offer. It’s just plain free.

CLICK HERE to listen to it and download it if you like.

I’d like to know what your thoughts are on this: how would the experience of being eternal change your life? How would the kind of spiritual vision I’m describing change the way you look at things?

And I’d like to know if my free audio class helps you to see yourself and the world in a new and different way so please write to me at hari@hari-kirtana.com and share your thoughts with me. I’ll always be happy to hear from you.

 

 

Hari-kirtana

I’m a yoga teacher based in Washington, D.C. and the author of In Search of the Highest Truth: Adventures in Yoga Philosophy. I lead Yoga Teacher Training courses, workshops, and yoga classes. I also serve yoga practitioners as a private instructor and assist yoga teachers in their professional development.