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I am trying to keep my spiritual practices in focus along with a full-time job, a new relationship, family and household obligations, and starting a freelance business on the side, but my meditation practice and spiritual reading has lost its rhythm. My life is disorganized and in flux at present, and I am feeling a related sense of strain. Should I just wait for things to even out, settle down and balance out?

Part of the “waiting for things to balance out” is inevitable in today’s world, but the other part is an often futile assumption that they will. Sadhana, spiritual discipline itself, is that which will eventually (depending upon how much time one invests in it) “even” things out and allow one to function in all matters of life in a calm, detached and balanced way. Therefore, be sure that your spiritual studies and religious life do not suffer under the excuse of “I will get to them when my life calms down or gets better,” for it is precisely these spiritual studies, brought into your life by your good karma and devotion, which will both calm your mind down and make life successful in the end — and in the ultimate rather than the relative sense. Put another way, life may get better without disciplines, but that “better” is to be judged by the fact that “better” always gets “worse” — and then “better” again. People go on in the flux of such dualities like this until the body drops from fatigue, and what is worse is that the mind has not, at that time and through it all, gained its salvation or its peace. People on the path need to know this, and need to hear it often so that what they are doing and gaining by way of studies, worship, meditation, and japa does not get relaxed one iota, but if anything gets increased. Stem the tide of worldliness by adherence to sadhana. All actions will then be done and get accomplished in God.

 

Some worship the Spirit while others nurture the body. These seem to be two polarities. But another way is to see God as manifest in the body, and the body as a temple, worthy of nurturing and optimizing the health of. What do you think?

Good, but only as far as it goes. The body is a temple for as long as the temple stands. When it falls, no one will want to worship there. Further, the worshiper is not the temple. Think well on this. The real Temple is the Atman, and it, the only refuge too. “Optimizing health” is both futile and a waste of precious time. One may even strive to keep the body in good health so that realizing the Atman will be possible, but this draws the mind out and away from the purpose of human existence and sends it on a potentially dangerous sidetrack. The major events in our lives are predestined — birth, marriage, death. If a yogi comes to know the time of his death, will he then spend all manner of time catering to the body’s health? Why would he, knowing it will be gone soon? Would he instead not bend all efforts to realize his divine nature? Or use the body for the good of others? We are always and ever the Atman, it is true, but the purpose of this life is to realize that Truth amidst the diverse conditions of life. Optimizing the body’s health — how absurd! One disease after another will come to that one who thinks on the body and its health and pleasure, for the opposite polarities of illhealth and pain only stand by waiting. On the other hand, that one who focuses upon God/Reality remains strong against such dualities, even invisible to them, and thus outreaches cause/effect (Karma), time (Kala) and death (Yama). There are those lines to a famous song of India:

....Karma, Kala and Yama may go looking for him, but they will never find him.

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