About Mistakes in Practice (48)

Today let’s answer the question what are the most common mistakes in practicing spiritual development. This is a frequently raised issue by all those seeking a spiritual path. Many people wonder if they are practicing properly or if their efforts will be wasted. It’s surprising how many people love to fall into wrong and blind alleys, even though it would seem that their faith alone should protect them, and even well-developed intuition should guide them correctly.

The first mistake is to claim that any exercise or relaxation courses are a path to spiritual development. They can sometimes be good preparation for the path of spiritual development, but they must fulfil their proper task, which is to prepare for taking the initiatory path of initiations. The true path of spiritual development is always the path of initiation. Spiritual development is not only about working on yourself, self-improvement or spiritual esoteric studies. Proper spiritual development means taking up the discipline of the path of initiation. Where there is no initiatory message, there is no path of spiritual development. However, non-initiatory courses are a kind of trial path, where our ego, from a safe distance, tries to taste the nectar of spiritual grace and blessings provided on the spiritual path.

Taking up the spiritual path at the urging of ardent friends or for some worldly motivation is not the best motive. We need our own aspiration, a desire that awakens in us and flows spontaneously from our heart. Satisfying worldly needs as a motive for practice will never allow one to rise above the first of the nine stations of the heavenly path. Its fruit will always be Anava (Nafs), the stage of spiritual egotism, the so-called ego-“divinity”. The impulse from the depths of the soul and sincere devotion take us to the second station, to the Heart. Become aware of the true motives of your spiritual work, cleanse and clarify the intentions and desires you pursue. Before we start an authentic spiritual journey, we should clearly examine our consciousness to honestly explain to ourselves whether and if we really want this journey and whether we want to persevere on our path until it brings the fruits of liberation.

The second common mistake is the incorrect approach to the idea of Guru and Spiritual Guidance. Many people sometimes even receive initiations from more or less holy beings, but too often they forget to continue what they received in the deposit of initiatory trust. Spiritual practices and the initiatory bond are given for life. Only those who persevere on the spiritual path until the end of their lives have a chance to achieve the crown of victory and the joy of complete liberation of the soul from the shackles of the karmic prison of sowing causes and harvesting effects. The Guru is the one who shows the way from darkness to light, from the dense material planes of existence to the sublime and subtle planes of the heavenly spheres.

The person or personality who plays the role of Guru is less important than the idea or spirit that stands behind each smaller or larger Guru. In fact, the ultimate Guru is God himself, and the man who realizes or represents the Grace or Charisma of Spiritual Guidance is the Apostle of God, as modern mystics say: God’s ambassador and focus of light. Too much attachment to the personality of the Guru, to His form, gives rise to a tendency to fanaticism. The student of the spiritual path must learn great acceptance for the visible figure of the Guru, who moves like other people on the stage of ordinary life events. He must also learn to be in constant connection with the Spiritual Being of the Guru hidden behind the scene of life, with the Being who is the ideal or principle, as we call the Guru Tattva. We are truly approaching the principle that directs, animates and guides seeking souls towards the bliss of liberation (salvation). Hastily abandoning someone whom one has once accepted as one’s Guru, as a Spiritual Guide, releases energy that distances us from God and from heaven. It eventually becomes more and more difficult to move closer to divine guidance. When we are against the Guru’s principle, it pushes us further and further away from ourselves. We can even lose our own soul if we renounce and deny the Guru from our hearts. We unite all our previous teachers in our hearts as one Guru. In this way we only accumulate the spiritual potential of authentic awakening of the Inner Spiritual Guidance in our spiritual heart. The physically living person of the Guru is the first gateway in the journey to the heavens. Each Guru is a reflection of the highest Guru who is God himself and everyone can say: I am the Gate to eternal life, the gate for the sheep. The Guru is the Gate through which one enters the Kingdom of Heaven.

The third common mistake is improper physical posture during prayers and contemplation, including chanting and listening to teachings. The body must always be straight and upright. We must forget about backrests and walls during all practices. The torso rests freely on the hip cup. Independent back positioning without any support is essential. Many people practice by leaning against a wall or the arm of a chair. This leads to a delusional and passive-dependent mental pathology. The attitude must develop independence and strength of body and spirit. A straight sitting posture shows perseverance in pursuing a goal. You should also not eat or drink anything during the practice session. Engaging the digestive tract and stomach, awakening the digestive fire during the time reserved for listening to teaching instructions and spiritual practices, increases egoism and suppresses the spiritual forces that meditation and prayers are intended to awaken. Eventually, one falls into the sensual slavery of selfishness. Sitting sideways or with your back to the Teacher or Spiritual Master is also an inappropriate posture, as it develops and stimulates the tendencies of opposition or adversity, the forces of opposition and quadrature. One always sits up straight, pointing the torso, face and heart towards the spiritual teachers. Also, sitting with straight legs, pointing towards the centre of the circle or towards the spiritual teacher, is an error of practice posture. This attitude develops demonic tendencies which, sooner or later, will strike the aspirant of the spiritual path in the form of the weed of Luciferian pride.

The fourth issue is the irregularity and instability in performing spiritual exercises. Many people practice very irregularly, occasionally practicing something. This level of commitment may not bear any deeper fruit. Others like to start various spiritual transformation programs only to abandon them and move on to another course. Inconstancy most often leads to digging up the interior and often to various mental disturbances. Practices are given for many years and one should stick to them as if they were a rudder in a long spiritual life journey, even until the end of life (incarnation).

Abandoning the spiritual practice to which we have been devoting ourselves so far usually takes place at the moment when its already completed amount could trigger a deeper spiritual transformation and victory over the forces of egotism that hold us in karmic bondage. Continuous daily or otherwise reasonably regular spiritual practice (laya sadhana) is an accumulation of potential, collecting the nectar of the spirit drop by drop, or like watering the plant that is the growing soul. When we collect too little nectar, its power will not reach the critical mass (amount) necessary for the internal spiritual transformation called internal initiation or planetary initiation. We will remain like a house whose construction has not been completed. Often the consciousness, the mind, gets stuck at some surreal point in the mystical journey, leaving us shipwrecked. When we suddenly stop watering the plant of a growing soul, the plant withers and we experience spiritual death, like self-destruction. In this state, one usually develops a false belief that the spiritual practice is harmful. Meanwhile, the only harmful thing is its sudden abandonment, especially when it has been very intense and we have been devoting a lot of time to it so far.

In general, current practices should not be abandoned or interrupted without the consent of the teacher who gave them. Sudden abandonment of practices in which we have been very involved or to which we have devoted a significant amount of time usually triggers a spiritual and emotional crisis. The personality becomes sterile and the weeds of all impurities grow rapidly. We can become a jungle of darkness. People who abruptly abandon spiritual practice usually cannot come to terms with themselves for a long time. The more intensely we have practiced, the more important it is. See what a terrible service your soul is being done by all those who are ready to dissuade you from the spiritual work of self-improvement, all those who make you fall into doubt and abandon the path, the community, the Guru, and, worst of all, you suddenly stop spiritual exercises that are not comparable to ordinary gymnastics. Therefore, in the East, adepts of the Way of God are advised to treat anyone who weakens faith in the practice, path or Teacher as a devil and reject them far from themselves, and consult any change in the style or method of spiritual work with their Teacher or Spiritual Master. Real spiritual practice must take place on the basis of constant effort. The reward for inconstancy can be painful for the heart and soul. The overcomer will not be harmed by the second death if he is constant, persistent and faithful in his pursuit.

The fifth issue concerns the attitude of non-acceptance of the methods of the path and the Teacher (Guru) who guides us. Acceptance and reliance on the path and Teacher is essential to our success. Too many people attempt to practice without demonstrating sincerity of acceptance and commitment to spiritual advancement. Partly, the reason for this is the propaganda of some irresponsible Christological and similar sects, which encode fear of everything Eastern, esoteric and occult (secret). Holding on to such fear or apprehension, even unconsciously, may result in the outbreak of anxiety phobia. Practicing on the spiritual path requires trust and sincerity of intentions. It is risky to attempt a mystical journey to God with a mind and heart full of paranoid doubts aroused by the ideological manipulators of “pseudo-Christianity” or similar sects. Doubts and fears must be destroyed first, so as not to harm yourself. People who have taken the spiritual path and then turn away from it with great aversion and so-called negative “testimony of faith” are those about whom it is written: “the pig returns to the puddle of mud.” This is most often done by people possessed by demons or mentally ill, but also by people deceived by pseudo-religious agitators and maniacs of a certain only right path. Any impulses that sow doubt and aversion (reluctance) towards the community, practice and Teacher are demonic deception and should always be treated according to this discernment.

The sixth mistake is the intention of doing spiritual practices to spite someone, to arouse someone’s dislike or to push someone away “because I am practicing.” Never practice to spite your family or out of spite. Practicing with an attitude of aversion to life, out of spite for the evil world etc., may also result in something bordering on paranoia or even worse. First, remove the anger from your heart, relax, then start your prayers, mantrams or visualizations. Deep breathing dissipates tense emotions. Treating people who do not practice or do not belong to our particular community as inferior or potentially evil and developing aversion towards them is also unhealthy for the spiritual life and falls into the category of the error of anger. The pride that can be born from a sense of superiority over non-practitioners or uninitiated people belongs to the category of Luciferian errors, which ultimately lead only to a sharp fall of the soul into the darkness of the hellish spheres of existence, like Lucipher, who reached high but was deceived by his own sense of superiority over the human race he was supposed to serve and help. This error likes to appear literally at the dawn of enlightenment. The Light of the Dawn, shining in the pre-dawn, must give way to the greater radiance of the Sun. The sense of one’s own radiance and one’s own glory of divinity must give way to the greater radiance of the Glory and Light of God. Otherwise we will fall into a great dark pit and remain there for eons until the pralaya of the end of Lord Brahma’s day. Lucipher was deceived by an unyielding pride, a sense of heavenly superiority over mankind that the higher we ascend into the heavens, the more we must avoid. Lucipher is still stuck in anger born of a sense of superiority and continues to sow in us various aversions, reluctance and arrogance. Never practice out of spite or with pride such as: “I’ll show you.”

Neglecting life’s responsibilities and roles is also not appropriate if the reason is spiritual practice. There is no separation between practice and life. You practice so much that it helps you in life. Only renunciate monks (samnyasins) sometimes abandon secular roles and responsibilities. It is true that practices change our lives and our roles in them, but we do not abandon life activities just to practice. Periodic practice retreats serve to meet the need to deepen contact with the Divine. Practice is a means to an end, not the end itself, and this should always be remembered.

If the only motive for practice is the desire to escape from the affairs of life or family, then this is not a sufficient or appropriate aspiration to begin the journey on the spiritual path. Renunciation cannot be based on motives of dislike or anger towards the person being renounced. Rather, renunciation is dependence on God.

The seventh serious mistake is separating oneself from the community of practitioners, reluctance to so-called affiliation or membership. In this way, we deprive ourselves of the support needed at many points along the path. Dark forces can more easily destroy a soul that remains separated. Many people fall into dark and demonic conditions or begin to preach demonic teachings because of a lack of connection with a community of truth-seeking souls. Laya, in one of its meanings, also means association, combining many into one. This is a great test for man, because all angels (devatas), although they retain their individuality, also unite with each other and penetrate each other, as if one large organism. The sangha, the community of practitioners, the spiritual family of mystics, is a great stage in the spiritual journey. This stage never ends. The ultimate union in God, in whom we all live, move and have our being, has the dimension of Universal Brotherhood. Rather, the reluctance to belong and associate shows the reluctance of selfishness to engage in essential spiritual work. The ego’s donkey (Anava, Nafsu) rears up. We reject the company of practitioners, we separate ourselves, we do not want to associate with an organism that strives for God. The effect of this dead end is easy to predict. It’s funny how Maaya(k) – the Deceiver, deceives the soul in such a way that in its mad rush towards liberation, towards the freedom of the spirit, it also frees itself from what most effectively protects it during the journey and from what is a necessary means and a guarantee of achieving the goal. The tempter Maara disarms the lone knight by taking his protective shield, only to then kill him spiritually and lose him in the darkness of separation.

The eighth error in practice is directing intimate and erotic desires to the Guru or Teacher, which also ends in the ruin of one’s spiritual life. Emotions and desires of the kama (erotic) sphere must never be directed towards a being who manifests the abilities of the Guru, who is chosen as a spiritual Teacher or Guide. Falling in love with a spiritual master or Guru can lead to the destruction of the psyche, to madness. Often the end result is a hatred of spirituality typical of hellish possessions by Piśaća (Hell Beings). In the East, people who are in love with their own Guru and the resulting desires of an erotic nature are treated very harshly, as a symptom of the illusory delusion of a sick psyche with improperly directed aspirations that disturb the rhythm of spiritual pursuit and practice.

The ninth issue is an incorrectly understood idea of spiritual direction or guidance, and an incorrect approach to the Guru. When we are at the stage of searching for our own path of spiritual development, we do not need to choose any Guru. We can taste a little of each spiritual practice method we encounter and try to feel in harmony with each spiritual community. However, choosing the Guru’s path, style of practice and teaching always requires bonding with an organism or family of mystics, students of the form of the Path we have chosen. Abandoning the Guru always means the soul’s fall into darkness, even when it seems bright. Spiritual guidance consists of three stages: the first is always a master or teacher living on earth, the second is a heavenly teacher or a long-living great prophet, and the third is the stage in which God himself, the Eternal Spirit, is our Guru. Fidelity to the lesser is always a test before contact with the greater! How can you be entrusted with greater things if you are not faithful in lesser things? When we abandon the current earthly Guru to choose a new one, then God begins to measure the time of trial from the beginning. We lost the competition, the next attempt will always be longer. Students of the East are very careful not to look for a new Teacher (Guru) if they do not have the consent of the previous one for such a transfer. Only the victor, the faithful and the wise, will eat the fruit from the tree of eternal life which is in the Paradise of God. It is not so important whether our earthly Guru is the highest living in the world (after all, we have four or even five degrees of realization of the Guru State, the Gurutva, which always indicates the right direction), what is much more important is whether we will remain faithful to him and persevere in the testing time measured by the ultimate Guru, who is invariably God. The overcomer will only put on a white robe.

There are maniacs who stay away from all earthly spiritual guidance, preaching the need to create their own path, stay away from all spiritual authority and any earthly help from human beings experienced in the mystical journey to the point of achieving divinity and state of Gurutva, being a spiritual guide showing the right Path to God. The Demon of Illusion, called Maaya(k) in the East, aims to lead souls developing towards divinity to this dead end. Lord Śiva called such people spiritual maniacs. Whoever does not need a Guru has not yet started a spiritual journey or taken a spiritual path. Growth towards spiritual development, growth towards God the Creator, towards Brahman, is always an awakening towards the consciousness of the Guru, the Spiritual Guide, the Knower of the Path. Subsequent stages in the development of the relationship with God’s Spiritual Direction over the soul searching for its Creator always open on the foundation of the implementation of the previous ones, never on the basis of abandoning the previous stage.

Thanks to faithfulness until death we achieve the crown of eternal life, and death itself will no longer harm the human soul, because there will be no possibility of getting lost in the material worlds again. Those who with great aversion and reluctance have abandoned someone whom they have chosen as their Guru, whom they call a Spiritual Master or a Spiritual Teacher, whose ears can no longer bear the teachings of the previous Guru, so they reject him from their hearts and avoid following the path indicated by him, can count that at the moment of death will suffer great damage to their soul. Although there may be no indication of this in life, their soul will be exposed and exposed to great damage. He will miss the opportunity to meet his spirit guides again for a very long period of time. The time of death will be the time of being thrown into darkness, as if we had no spiritual merit. The sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven, neither in this life nor in the life to come. The principle of the Guru and the state of being Guru (Gurutva) is a grace for the disciples of the Way of God, and the Guru himself is the embodiment of the Holy Spirit. The world of Rakshasas (Demons, Jins) is full of such “infidels”. Good God loves faithfulness, perseverance, patience and constant striving. We must learn to approach the Guru wisely and prudently in order to be conquerors to whom the second death will not cause any harm, winners with the crown of eternal life placed by God on their heads.

I trust that these nine things will help you easily maintain a straight and clear path towards the Divine Reality of Love, Harmony and Truth, although of course these are not all possible mistakes that may occur mainly due to ignorance but also due to the dark tendencies of the psychic forces dormant in the ego structures, probably committed most often by practitioners. Hum!

Many Blessings on your Path to Awakening and Realization!

Om Namaśśivaya! Hum!

Aćaryaćarya Swami Lalita-Mohan G.K.


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