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Our obligatory life

by Michael Ketterhagen

Most of us cherish our freedom. Most of us think we are free! Most of us don’t want to be obligated to anything. That’s one reason why lots of people have trouble with long term commitments like marriage. Those commitments are rare in our culture.

But there is one reality that never lets us free. It always pulls at us. It pulls at us when we don’t expect us. It sends our minds in many different directions. It often pulls us away from very important information and attracts us to what is not good for us, or none of our business. It pulls us away from the present and takes us into the world of memory or planning, the past or the future.

This reality misleads us also by pulling us away from our true selves. So, the freedom we need to find out truly who we are becomes hindered by this reality. It even disturbs us when we sleep.

No, this reality is not the mind, although it feeds the mind to move from the peace and calm of freedom, from the security and joy of life and love. This reality is the OUTSIDE WORLD and its accomplice—the senses.

Spirituality, the path to the Spirit within, is not aided at all by the sensory world, because it pulls us outside of ourselves. Our senses are always operating and always pulling us back to the physical world, the always changing, unreal world. When we shut off one or more of the senses, or even lose one of the senses, another takes over or makes up for the shut down or loss. We are always being controlled by our senses. The outside-oriented sensory world never gives us a chance to know the true self, unless we consciously move that obligatory tyrant, called the sensory mind (manas) in Yoga, inward.

Only when we focus our sense of touch, sound, sight, smell, hearing inwardly can we begin to understand who we truly are and why we do what we do. Only through the process of meditation do we get a sense of the never-changing intuitive wisdom that comes from deep within, that divine, infinite, perfect being that is us. This inward movement affords us the opportunity to use our senses to discover our true selves.

We are never free of this sensory world. However, we can use it to move from the outside or unreal world to the inside or real world.

I pray to the divinity within you!

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