Modern society as a whole values intellectual and physical growth. Unfortunately, it does not place a high value on spiritual development.
People all over the world are searching for solutions to the mysteries of life and death to find out what lies beyond this physical world. Current books, magazine articles, and conferences show that interest in spiritual pursuits is growing. More and people want to learn how to achieve inner peace through spiritual experiences.
Modern society as a whole values intellectual and physical growth. Unfortunately, it does not place a high value on spiritual development. We are brought up to associate spirituality with the rites and rituals of our religious institutions. If people tell us they are searching for God, we equate them with monks in a monastery sitting on wooden benches and praying day and night. In the past, people would leave their homes and their families to search for God in forests or deserts. But the industrial age and the technological age have made such demands upon humanity that people cannot abandon the world to pursue spirituality.
The challenge to address is: How can we pursue spirituality in the setting of modem life? How can we search for God in a way that is socially acceptable and socially responsible? How can we attain spiritual heights without sacrificing our intellectual and physical growth? And how can we do so in the context of our family and community life?
We can attain self-knowledge and God-realisation in the context of modern life. We can lead a productive, fulfilling life in the world while working towards spiritual ends. Sant Darshan Singh called this approach “positive mysticism”. This was opposed to “negative mysticism” which required one to give up the world in order to find God. The path of positive mysticism enables one to achieve the best of both worlds. The concept of positive mysticism can give us an understanding of how we can achieve spiritual growth while meeting the challenges of the age.
Spiritual teachers who have mastered the art of knowing themselves can teach others how to achieve this goal. If we look at various methods used throughout history, we find that the most effective way to realise our self is through meditation. Saints, seers and mystics have told us that God is within. They further explain that the soul is a part of God. If we can turn our attention from the world outside to the inside we will find that we are soul and will realise God, who is within us. We will experience ourselves as soul, separate from the body. We will experience the exhilaration of being free from the bodily cage, and we will soar like a bird through the higher and higher realms of consciousness.
God is the source of all love, the source of all bliss. When the soul merges back in Him, the two become one. We enter a state of eternal and lasting happiness and love. This is the highest goal of our meditation. The beauty of the meditative process is that these experiences stay with us forever. After meditation, the soul returns to the body and it carries with it the intoxication and bliss from its sojourn in the beyond.
This process of meditation can be practiced in the comfort of our own home, while sitting in a train on the way to work or in any moment of solitude. It involves no difficult practice, no rigorous postures. We can meditate when sitting in any pose that is most convenient and in which we can sit still for a period of time. Meditation on the inner light and sound is so simple that it can be practiced by a young child or an elderly person, by those who are healthy and those who have physical disabilities.
After finding a comfortable position, one closes one’s eyes, gazes within, and experiences, through the help of a teacher, the divine light and sound. As we can see, this process does not require us to sit on a mountaintop or in a jungle. It can be done in our home and within society.