For the past few weeks I have attended a Sunday lecture at the Vedanta Temple. The temple is situated in a peaceful mountain setting and the atmosphere permeates with naturally-growing sage and magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean. Something about being on the property or even sitting on the temple stairs, nourishes and restores the soul. The energy or karma of the environment has a massaging quality, whether it is the, views, singing birds, the book store with hard-to-find books, the talks or a combination of all the above, something draws me back each week.
I am not a religious person, but I am spiritual. The Vedanta philosophy prophesizes a oneness of spirit. The ideas is that God or Brahman exists in every living being. Religion is considered a search for self-knowledge (which I am a big advocate of), or a search for the divine within ourselves. Vedanta philosophy believes that there are no accidents, only destinies as a result of cause and effect. (I really believe this also). It also stresses the idea of self-effect.
I find the Sunday lecture subjects to be both fascinating and captivating. Last week the Swami spoke about visualization and how our five senses make us feel one with the world. Having said that, we can see that if a memory haunts you, then the experience and visual memory can actually bring back the memory. In order to visualize something it’s good to start with something simple and then become familiar with the object through visualization. Start with a vague image of a person or thing and then as you become more familiar with it, you will notice even more details. Keep in mind that the emotional connection with the person or object gives us the will to visualize. In summary, we all affect our own future by using our imagination.
This past week the discussion was about the first Swami who brought the Vedanta teachings to the west. As a writer, the most interesting part of the lecture was his discussion about how reading biographies of great people is a form of spiritual practice. It was said that we if we can identify with these people, then we can change and improve our own lives. In view of this, I began thinking about my childhood and our weekly trips to the library where I would always head directly to the biography section. I loved reading about real stories about real people. I suppose that was my own personal spiritual practice which continues this many years later.
What do you think?