Anyone who has embarked on the path of spirituality and meditation will have undoubtedly encountered times of discouragement and despair. It sometimes seems that since taking up the spiritual life our own shortcomings and weaknesses have gained strength and become more glaringly obvious. In reality meditation is a process of heightening our awareness. Our problems and faults have always been with us - we just have not been aware of them. “Awareness is the first step to transformation", and it is in this way that meditation serves as a divine flashlight to illumine our defects. Once they become known our inner difficulties can be addressed.
There is a popular story in the Srimad Bhagavatam about the Gods and demons who cooperated in the churning of the ocean of milk for nectar - both were greedy for this elixir which granted immortality to anyone who consumed it. After tremendous effort exerted by both parties a substance did arise. . . But it was not nectar they were after - it was poison.
In the same way, after sadhana (meditation and spiritual practices) often what first comes to the fore in a seeker are his own negative qualities - These qualities bubble forth and will only retreat once they have been transformed.
The Gods and demons were in a desperate situation so they took their plight to Lord Shiva - the Lord of transformation - He safely imbibed the fearsome poison with one gulp and the Gods and demons returned to their task. After further churning, nectar did arise and all heartily partook of it.
On the human level the fastest and safest way to transform our problems is through offering to a higher source. " -Sri Chinmoy
It is important in the spiritual life not to lose heart. The spiritual life is neither a bed of roses, nor a bed of thorns. Problems do arise, but through a continual offering up of all our experiences - both positive and negative and through a regular and enthusiastic practice of meditation our inner difficulties will gradually diminish and we will grow into the nectar of all our divine qualities.
Kate Carvalho resides in beautiful Christchurch, New Zealand. She has a penchant for and regularly writes about cooking, reading, health, sports, music but most importantly spirituality and meditation. She has been studying the latter under the tutelage of New York based Indian spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy since the year 2000. She contributes to Radio Sri Chinmoy