By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 31-10-2017
Here I am writing this article in the context of Unity of Humanity and Amity among Religions. God, our Father and Mother, wants all of us to take care of, thrive, and enhance the creation that we are part of. Spirituality guides every activity we engage in on this earth. All of us come from God and ultimately return to God in the level of consciousness and perfection we attain on the basis of conscious decisions and actions in God-given freedom. As we co-exist with others, we need to take into account their needs while we plan our lives, and utilize our resources.
In an ideal world there will not be any private property. Native Americans or The original inhabitants of the Americas, whom Christopher Columbus wrongly described as Indians as he thought he reached India instead of the Americas, considered air, water, and land to be common for all. Problems began when the idea of private property, especially possessing, buying, and selling of land and the dwellings and resources on it began. It is important for everyone to get what one needs to actualize and be what one needs to be. As returning to the time when everything was held in common is not foreseen, we need to figure out a way to use the resources that we have in ways intended for all by God.This means we follow the will of God for us. This is imprinted in our conscience as principles or commandments of conduct. All religions have the basic Ten Commandments of the Judeo-Christian Religions in one form or another. Sanathan Dharma (eternal righteousness) also known as Hinduism has it. The Golden Rule (Matthew 7: 12) that commands us to do to others what we want them to do to us sums up all that is required for righteous living. This same principle can be beautifully expressed in another way: “You shall love your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor (that is, every human) as yourself (John 22: 37-40)”. As we grow and develop from birth we receive from our parents and mentors at least a gist of these ethical and moral principles for practical living. Persons who live a righteous life are aware when they break this fundamental law or infringe on human rights. They are aware they are not living according to the dictates of their conscience.To make us keep on the right track, making an examination of conscience at the end of the day or before going to sleep is suggested. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, whom I consider to be the father of Cognitive Behavior Therapy widely popular in the US and elsewhere as an effective psychological therapeutic method, used this procedure for the religious order he founded.
As a Jesuit I was required to examine my conscience twice a day at noon and at night for 15 minutes each. Needless to say I still practice this procedure with great benefit. Ignatius also recommended particular examination of conscience to help foster a special virtue or eliminate a defect that comes in the way of spiritual growth. As the New Year is fast approaching my suggestion is that all of us take sufficient time to thoroughly evaluate where we are with regard to our spiritual life, what are the qualities or virtues we need to acquire, and what are the short-comings in our life we need to get rid of. It will be important to clearly and practically identify and concretely state them and realistically put them into practice. Focusing on the positive, it may be better and more helpful to practice the opposite of the vice or bad habit we are trying to root out.
About The Author
Dr. John K Thekkedam (Swami Snehananda Jyoti) spent most of his life as a clinical psychologist in USA. He began his public life as a Jesuit priest. Quite attracted in distinct philosophies, he left the society and founded 'East West Awakening'.