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November 2019, Instructions for Spiritual Living – 2

As we pursue spiritual awareness, we see two parts of ourselves: the ego and the higher self. Is the ego always something to abhor? Egoism and selfishness, yes, but a sound psychology says we learn to love ourselves. This is not always easy if one has high aspiration, but tolerance is a virtue.

In the essay on “Grace” in Instructions for Spiritual Living, PB writes, “…it is neither contradictory nor antithetic to say that human effort and human dependence upon divine grace are both needed. For there is a kind of reciprocal action between them. This reciprocal working of grace is a beautiful fact. The subconscious invitation from the Overself begets the conscious invocation of it as an automatic response. When the ego feels attracted toward its sacred source, there is an equivalent attraction on the Overself’s part toward the ego itself. Never doubt that the Divine always reciprocates this attraction to it of the human self. Neither the latter’s past history nor present character can alter that blessed hope-bringing fact. Grace is the final, glorious and authentic proof that it is not only we that are seeking God, but also God that is ever waiting for us.” (pp.155-6)

“The Integral Path” is the final offering of wisdom in the essay “Adventure of Meditation.” “Meditation alone is not enough … What is still required of us is that we should become philosophical mystics, should unfold the possibilities of our whole psyche and not only our intuitive ones. The effort to attain spiritual awareness is not only a matter of the acquisition of concentration, it is also a matter affecting every side of our life…The quest involves the emotions, the desires, the will, and even an unknown factor—the Overself’s grace. An integral and total quest must be followed. If, for instance, an aspirant meets with blockages when attempting to go inside in inward pressing concentration, it is certain that some of those blockages arise from earthly attachments and extroverting desires. Hence, an analytic purification of the heart, an emotional pruning of it, is indispensable, side-by-side with efforts to achieve the one-pointed, stilled mind.” (pp. 36-37)

“It is an indispensable condition of progress in this quest that love of the Divine Soul should become ardent and fervent. Only the complete fourfold path can lead to a durable realization. Therefore, our further efforts are to be directed toward this end. It is this joint effort of will and intuition, of thought and feeling, which constitutes the integral path. By steadfast practice of meditation and assiduous efforts along these other lines, we become able in time to transfer at will to this deeper state and to sustain consciousness therein. When, through the united and elevated efforts of thinking, feeling, willing, intuiting, and aspiring, this meditation upon the Overself as being our own self becomes serenely uninterrupted and permanently stabilized, it can be said that we have attained life’s highest goal.” (p.37)