Surrendering ourselves to the higher self

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done, (Luke 22.42).

Jesus has learned to differentiate between the desires of his ego and the voice of the Father, of the Supreme Being. This is what every yogi must do, sooner or later. After recognizing the silent voice of the Divine in our heart, a conflict of interest arises between what our ego wants and what our internal voice tells us we must do. The dialogue of the Bhagavad Gita represents this internal conflict between the individual (Arjuna) and the voice of the higher self inside him. “Bhagavad Gita” means “the Lord’s chant” – this is the music from our most elevated being, which we hear inside us when we go to him looking for a guide, as Arjuna did, to help us deal with the challenges that life meters. Krishna says:

When your mind is confused by the controversy of so many contradicting writings, you will need to concentrate it in the contemplation of the divine: then you will reach the Supreme Goal of Yoga, (Bhagavad Gita II.53).

In our spiritual advancement, sooner or later we will have to choose between two paths, between the immediate desires of our ego or the indications of our higher self:

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money, (Matthew 6.24):

The “money” is the instant gratification of the physical senses, that our ego pursues all the time, normally ignoring the calls from our internal Divinity. These pleasures are not negative in themselves, but they are poor substitutes for the divine joy that awaits inside us. The paradox of Yoga, or of any spiritual discipline, is that they mean effort and, in a way, sacrifice, but the results obtained trough them fills us with peace and joy. And the riches attract us and gratify us, but they ultimately never give us what we are really looking for. So what is more attractive to us will not give us happiness. This is why the Siddha say that "our happiness in life is directly proportional to the amount of self-discipline that we have.” “Self-discipline” would not mean to punish ourselves in a masochistic way, but our capacity to channel our energies through the path intended by our most elevated being. In our life, then, there cannot be two masters, two lords directing us: either our ego, or our higher self.

Some Christian writers have misinterpreted the Hindu philosophy thinking that it tries to annihilate individuality and make us renounce to life. The yogic discipline does not try to annul the person, but to annul the ego, our small “I,” self-absorbed in trying to obtain his small and transitory pleasures. This same process of transcending the ego is the same undertaken by the Christian mystics (and the mystics from any other religious tradition) and when they do it, they go through the “dark night of the soul," abandoning the various impulses that are not in tune with our more elevated purpose, abandoning those aspects of our personality, our likes and desires, sometimes very familiar and much loved, that do not respond to the voice of our supreme self:

If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out, (Mark 9.43).

The inextinguishable fire is the fire of the desire, of the search for joy in what the senses experience, because they can never quench that inner need for plenitude. Where the sin lies is in mistakenly looking for that joy on the outside, forgetting the internal Kingdom of God. The "gehenna" was a place south of Jerusalem where they used to burn the rubbish and dead bodies of criminals and animals (some spiritual Budhist and Yoga writers, and writers from other traditions, describe the suffering experimented, after their death, by those souls that developed big additions in their life, when in subtle inferior planes, they look in vain to satisfy those dense physical desires. Perhaps these experiences created the notion of Hell; but no material or subtle experience is eternal; the only thing that is eternal is the Being, the true creator of all experiences).

Krishna expresses a similar idea in the Gita:

The desire finds confort in man’s senses and mind, muddying wisdom and producing blindness for the soul. Oh Arjuna! Control your senses, let go of your impure desires, because they are the destructors of wisdom and spiritual vision, (Bhagavad Gita III.40-41).

Annulling the ego and its impulses is to transcend our complete identification with our body, our mind and our feelings, edging out of the prison of the small ego and discovering a higher being, conscious, joyous and omnipresent. The limited characteristics of the ego, what some people call "personality," are but the golden bars of a small prison that, even though it is loved because it is so familiar, it is still a sentence that stops us from experimenting our true nature. This small ego cannot be annihilated by means of a direct attack; rather, through the repeated contact with the supreme being, is gradually transformed and absorbed by the more elevated being:

The Self is a friend of the ego when the person's inferior ego has been conquered by the higher Self, but if the person has not conquered his ego, then the ego is his own enemy, (Bhagavad Gita VI.6).

The Gospel tells us of two occasions in which Jesus was tempted: the first time it was in the desert, after retiring there for forty days, and the second time it was in the garden of Getsemani, before he was crucified. In both cases he faced the dilemma of either looking for his own benefit or following the divine will, and in both cases he chose to give himself to the higher self.

Jesus, as a teacher, lived through the dilemma that we all face during our spiritual growth. The circumstances surrounding our lives are probably not as dramatic as the ones Jesus faced, and we probably will not have to face challenges as harrowing as his. However, we all have a job to do in our incarnation, what is called "dharma" in India. When we contact with it through our spiritual practice, our higher self guides us to what must be done. The circumstances that surround us, the circumstances of our own lives, are exactly what we need to evolve at that time. Following our dharma, our duty, is to carry out the jobs that have been assigned to us, not only by our external circumstances, but also by our true being, our own being.

My food, said Jesus, is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work, (John 4.34).

It does not matter whether our work is important or not, whether it is transcendental or not. What matters is its correct execution, whenever possible, and to do it with giving and devotion:

It is best to carry out the own dharma, even it is not done perfectly, tan to do well another person’s dharma. Those who carry out the actions that correspond to their own nature do not incur in any faults. You must not renounce to the duty imposed by your own birth, even if it is faulty. Because all activity is wrapped in defects, like the fire is wrapped by the smoke, (Bhagavad Gita XVIII.47-48).

The wise man must not mistake the mind of those who are ignorant and driven by the results of their actions; rather, he has to carry out his actions with detachment and devotion, encouraging them like this to do the same, (Bhagavad Gita III.26).


The peace of surrender

Giving ourselves to the Divinity, the supreme being, liberates us from much suffering. In our Western society we always look to control completely the circumstances that surround us, guided by our desires. That is why we are always worrying about something, because there always is something that escapes our control, or there is a new want to satisfy. The divine consciousness attracts the resources that we really need in our life, and guides us to start the actions that really need to be taken. Giving everything else to that divine will is an act of liberation that allows us to let go of what in reality are nothing but ties that stop us from enjoying our true being.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, (Matthew 6.25-33).

“To look first for the Kingdom and its justice” means to look first for the contact and the inspiration with our supreme being, who we need as a guide in our life. A translation of “dharma” would be “what is right, what is fair.” That is why Jesus talks about looking for the Kingdom of God and its “justice” – looking for the divine consciousness and, from there, understanding what it is correct, what must be done, what is fair.

From there we understand that our first duty, our first dharma as human beings is to look for the Divinity and its state of superior consciousness. The rest will come naturally. From then on, acting under the divine influence and following its inspiration, we become, through our actions, the “salt of the earth,” the divine invigorating element of the whole creation. Otherwise, man’s life is just surviving.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven, (Matthew 5.13-16).

The saints and the people with spiritual realization have left a great mark in their work, transforming the society in which they lived, but not from their ego, but from their superior consciousness. And Jesus tells us that we can all do the same, because the Divinity is equally present in each one of us. We only need to make the effort of getting in touch with It and giving ourselves to its designs, which are the designs of our own being.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father, (John 14.12).