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  Volume 3 - Issue 7
JULY 2005



Dear Friends,
Our lives can often seem mundane and tediously the same, day after day. Why, when we have the whole of creation around us to ignite our sense of wonder, do we feel like this? What is it that drags us down to this level of experience and, more importantly, what is it that will reverse this process? These are questions that will assist us to come to a new understanding of what it means to serve. It is not enough to pay lip service to the concept of service, stating “Yes, I am serving people all the time”, yet going through the tasks mechanically, without any sense of exploration as to what we are really doing. It is not enough to be in the so-called “helping professions”, and yet be stressed and grumpy all the time. Yet so many of us are. So many of us go through the daily routine as if it were merely passing time, anxious to get home to pass more time there! So the pattern is established and there seems little that we can do once it becomes set. How wrong we are.

SAI - See Always Inside

The key to understanding how this state of affairs comes about is to look inside. If we are always looking outside ourselves for the meaning of what we are doing, our experience will always be governed by the external circumstances. The answer lies inside, not outside. The answer is always there, we just haven’t asked the right question. The answer is not to be found in any other place than the Self.

How does this relate to our work? Simply put, if our work is an extension of our exploration of the answer, then it opens up a whole realm of possibilities, which are ever exciting, fresh and new. When work becomes a part of our journey, then it no longer has the ability to drag us down, or to turn us into automatons. Work becomes endlessly fascinating because it throws up new possibilities all the time. Work becomes an integral part of our spiritual journey because it has the potential to reveal the workings of the higher Self, within a context of interaction with the creative flow.

Work is Worship

Sai says “Work is Worship”. This simple statement contains so much wisdom. Let us examine it to begin to understand what He means. We consider worship as a sacred activity. It is an activity we set often aside time for, special time. This time we focus on God. This time we dedicate to God. But, in doing that, have we not made a separation between this time and all other times? Yet, how much are we really focused on God during this time if we examine ourselves honestly? We may sit with the intention to ‘meditate’, but thoughts immediately creep in. What occurs to me is that, if we can make the total focus of our lives God, then there will be no problem to keep that focus when we come to silent sitting. In Sai’s most recent Christmas discourse He states, Japa (chanting), Tapa (penance), Dhyana (meditation), Yoga (communion with God), etc., do not constitute true Sadhana. Whatever you consider to be real is in fact unreal. Whatever is unreal has to be given up. This truth has to be understood in the first instance.” He mentions this in terms of bodily attachment, and this has to be understood in the light of the work that we undertake.

The Roles We Play

If we undertake work for reward, we are attached to that reward. This is a bodily attachment. If we undertake the work as a worship, an offering to God (whether it be in a dualistic sense, offering to the Lord of Creation, or whether it be in a non-dualistic sense, offering to the Divinity that we truly are), then the work no longer accrues attachment. So often this attachment comes to us in the form of identification with the roles that we play. I say that I am a ‘boss’. This engenders a form of egoism that is identified with being ‘the boss’. I become, not only identified, but I become proud in my role. I am the boss, therefore I take a greater salary, I have a nicer house, a flash car, a boat, holidays overseas, etc., etc. We say that I am a ‘mere worker’. We become identified with being a mere worker. This is also a form of egoism, for we make a distinction between us and other kinds of workers. We do not have a nice house, a fine car, a boat, or take expensive holidays, but we would like to! The desires are still there. The boss believes that it is his or her own abilities, qualifications, etc. that have enabled them to become the boss. The worker believes that it is the lack of those things that have kept them as a humble worker. The truth is that both are deluded. What is the nature of this delusion?

Whatever role we are given, that is given from God. In fact, that role is God. To see this, to understand it and then to experience it, is the goal of all life, all spiritual practice. Whether we be the ‘Boss’ or the ‘Worker’ is, in the end, irrelevant, it is the Divinity in the situation that is the true relevance, for it is in experiencing that, where we will be set free from the binding ropes of egoism and desire.

Inspired by the Divine

As we begin to follow this path of work as worship, we begin to find that we are becoming the instrument for something greater than the little “i”. That something moves us more and more and this is the beginning of inspiration. Inspiration comes from the Divinity within. Work inspired by ideas and ideals that are the product of the mind, will change with the mind. What is a great idea on one day, will quickly become yesterday’s news. However, those works that are lasting have always been inspired by something beyond the petty desires of the moment. We think of the works that have inspired people down through the ages. In general they have a basis in religion or spirituality. Examples are: the Pyramids of Egypt, the great Temples of India and South-East Asia, the Mosques of the middle east, the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, the standing stones and mounds found throughout the world, the scriptural works of all religions, the stories of the lives of Saints and sages. The list goes on. Why is this? It is because our ultimate inspiration derives from that which is unchanging and permanent. This can only be the expression of Divinity through us.

Let us draw more and more from that inspiration to enable the work we do to become a true expression of Divinity. That is the path of Karma Yoga, the path of selfless, pure work.

Now let's hear Swami directly on who we really are:

"You as body, mind or soul are a dream, but what you really are, is Existence - Knowledge - Bliss. You are the God of the Universe. You are creating the whole Universe and drawing it in. To gain the Infinite Universal identity, the miserable little prison of individuality must go. Bhakthi (devotion) is no crying nor any other negative condition. It is recognizing the One in all that we see.

It is the heart that takes you to the goal. So, follow your heart. A pure heart seeks beyond the intellect and gets inspired. Whatever we do will react upon us. If we do good, we shall have happiness and if evil, unhappiness. Within you is the mighty ocean of nectar divine. Seek it within you, feel it, free it. It is the Self; not the body, no mind or intellect. It is neither the desire, nor the desiring, and not even the object of desire.

You are above all these, which are just manifestations. You must appear as a smiling flower or twinkling star. What is there in the world which makes you desire it?"

With Blessings and Love,
Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Little steps to convert our work into worship.

To be able to experience the work as God, first we have be able to let go of the work. This process takes a number of steps:

Step 1. Begin the work by dedicating the work to the Divine.

Step 2.. End the work by dedicating the work to the Divine

Step 3. If the results do not turn out as expected, reflect on what may have caused this, look to changing the manner in which the work was done so that the results will improve and recognise what has happened without attaching blame or guilt (but take responsibility for mending the situation).

Step 4. If the results do turn out as expected and the work is done well, recognise for whom you did the work. You did the work for God. Therefore, the results belong to God, not you. How can we do this consciously. This can often be accomplished when people begin to praise us. We can simply, and often silently, hand the praise over to God. We do not have to accept the praise for the ego, much as the ego would like to. This can be a conscious act.

So often we accept the praise for a good job and place the blame for a bad job on to other people. By consciously choosing to operate differently, we can begin to open our eyes to the true reality of the situation – all work is simply the Divine expressing itself through us.

Step 5. Begin to see that one-pointed focus on the job in hand is a form of meditation.

Step 6. Begin to see not only our work, but also the work of others as Divine.

Step 7. Pause often, through the day, even for just a few moments and examine how much we are experiencing the Divine in our work.

Step 8. At the end of the day, take a few more moments to reflect on how we have done. We can pray using words like, “Oh God, please show me how you have manifested through me this day. Please allow me to learn the lessons that need to be learned, seeing clearly how I may experience you more and more through this work, this role.”

Step 9. Sai gives a few guidelines for relationships that are worth noting:

a. Speak the Truth. Speak it with Love. If you cannot speak the Truth with Love, then it is best to remain silent.

b. Say what you mean and do what you say.

c. When you know the truth, you cannot blame others for the misfortunes of the moment; those misfortunes are of your own creation.

d. It is your thoughts and acts of the moment that create your future. The outline of your future path already exists, for you created its pattern by your past. But even that outline can change, and will change, depending on your own thoughts and actions as each new day dawns and then dies away again.

e. Remember My words: “Start the day with love, fill the day with love, end the day with love. That is the way to God.” Those words do really mean something!

f. Laugh and be happy. Do not associate yourself with any of the troubles that may be going on around you, for they are not part of you.

g. Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.

h. Speak sweetly and softly and spread joy and peace around you.

i. Before you speak, THINK

- Is it necessary?

- Is it true?

- Is it kind?

- Will it hurt anyone?

- Will it improve on the silence?

j. If you wish to change the world, these two principles are the recipe. Truth purifies the heart. Sacrifice transforms the physical environment. By this double transformation the entire world is divinised.

k. Best Sadhana is - Love all, Serve all

by Phillip Cottingham – Satyavan, Karekare , New Zealand


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