BS 310 210716 WHO AM I? WHERE AM I HEADED?
By Swami Dr Snehananda Jyoti on 21-07-2016
These are questions that persons ask many times during their life time. Depending on their age and mental status in life their answers may vary from time to time. Yet the basic goal may remain even though the situations and approaches to that goal may vary. When I look at my own self, I left home and the state of Kerala at the age of 17 to join the Jesuits to work for God by serving humanity. That goal remains the same for me even though I left the Jesuit organization (the Society of Jesus) 25 years after being with them. I can see myself going through different phases or transformations or even rebirths. So much so I cannot recognize myself ideologically and spiritually from the 17-year old young person I left home in 1957 from the person that I am now in 2016, even as I look at the breath-taking Munnar area mountains in Kerala very nearby while writing this. I never thought I would be back in Kerala as I left it to join the great Jesuit order. The transformation phases may be viewed as: 1. The innocent and naïve school years living at home acquiring basic skills and bonding, 2. The very rigorous formative years in Jesuit life that eventually led to leaving the Jesuits for untrammelled search for meaning and truth, 3. The American phase of intense living and experimenting while holding a series of responsible jobs leading to the concept of East-West Awakening, 4. The final phase that I am in, namely, evolving to be a world-citizen, being loyal only to humanity, returning to India and putting ideas into practice in community living in an ashram. This is a stage of integration and final reckoning, taking stock of everything and readying for transition from this life. The principles that guide me in this final phase are 1. Spirituality beyond Religions, 2. Relationships beyond blood bond, 3. Unity of Humanity (Sarva Loka Aikyam), 4. Friendship with all religions (Sarva Matha Sauhrudam), 5. Practical life beyond religious or political affiliations.St. Ignatius of Loyola, a great spiritual guide wrote his ‘Spiritual Exercises’ by 1524, and popularized retreats. He wanted persons to continually discern their life to make right choices in life, to serve God and humans relentlessly with a view to one’s and everyone else’s salvation. He comes from a particular religion, culture, and time. Making necessary changes, we can adapt his Spiritual Exercises to our own time so all can benefit. Ignatius believed surrendering everything to God while working ‘For the Greater Glory of God’ (Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam) which was his motto. He also applied in his life the principle of ‘Tantum Quantum’ (Use of creatures only so far as they are helpful in reaching one’s destiny).In sum, in this final stage, for me, it is to do everything according to the Will of God (Universal Energy) in True Inner Freedom.
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'.