There is a saying in my mother tongue, Tamil, “Even Amrithum (Divine food which makes man immortal) when taken in excess will become poison.” My spiritual Teacher puts it in a simpler way – “Spirituality normalizes a human being to lead a moderate life.” He very clearly explains that by leading a spiritual life you don’t become rich or strong or intelligent, but all your human tendencies are normalized. In the Zen and Buddhist philosophies, too, individuals are encouraged to choose a Middle Path, to avoid extremes.
I used to wonder about the root of evil. I have realized Good is the root of Evil. How can Good become Bad? I have seen this with my own experience. Most of us have good intentions when we start a new course of action (or routine) due to a specific reason or a cause. But as time goes by there comes a point when we should stop the routine because the original reason or cause is no more. Unfortunately, most times we blindly keep doing the routine just for the sake of it, and then it becomes a massive burden. The willingness to stop the routine or even face the truth that it is no more necessary becomes increasingly difficult, as it has already become part of my Identity and I simply can’t let it go. The ego takes over right there, and something Good has become Evil.
Almost ALL the traditions and routines we do in life fall under this category! And during the holiday season I see it a lot. Just because we started getting gifts for everyone, now we HAVE to get gifts for everyone. Why only on the holidays? If we truly love someone, shouldn’t we act spontaneously and from the heart, like a mother taking care of her child? Now that we have made it a ritual, we have to follow it year after year whether we truly enjoy it or not. If we truly enjoy it, there wouldn’t be so much stress around the holidays. See how something so wonderful has turned our society into a shop-aholic society? We have to buy things for the sake of buying and handing over. How many of us received something that is of real value that will enhance our quality of living or alleviate our pain or suffering? Especially the kids are dumped on, literally dumped on with loads of toys that (most times) they don’t even look at long enough to know what they are!! What a smart way to bring up the next generation!
This circles back to my theme, “Be Simple and Authentic.” I really don’t need to try to impress anyone. If I must, it is only to reinforce and preserve my own Ego – nothing more than that. If I can lead an authentic life, being myself, bringing out the TRUE nature of the Higher self – that beauty will shine forth without any effort or stress. It will also help make everyone around me more Peaceful. I am very grateful for having a pure spiritual practice and being surrounded by wonderful beings that are endeavoring to actually live that True Life.