The Golden Past



When I'm looking for a new idea to write about, I usually see if an aphorism of Guru's can give me an idea. What caught my eye was this.

Anything the past taught you
That is good, divine, illumining
And fulfilling,
Bring back and treasure.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 5, Agni Press, 1998.

It reminded me of a time on a Christmas Trip. Guru said words to the effect. 'I always say that my own philosophy is that the 'past is dust'. But, in my case the past is also golden.' (only from my memory)

There is certainly much in my past which I'd be very happy to forget, but there are also certain experiences to recapture and try and bring into the immediacy of the present moment.

One golden moment of my life was the time when I first became interested in spirituality. I stumbled across a book 'A Search in Secret India by Paul Brunton' - Paul Brunton was an Englishman disillusioned with life, who went to India to try and discover eternal spiritual truths amidst the colour and unorthodox customs of India.

The book helped to open, for me, a new world of spirituality, meditation, and left a life long interest in the spiritual quest. At that time, the only thing that mattered was to try and experience the deeper realities of life.

The irony is that after returning to the book after a gap of 10 years, I was slightly disappointed. It didn't have the same excitement and newness of its first reading. It was also a reminder that books alone don't give enlightenment. The book had served its purpose in awakening my own spiritual quest. It was like an important sign post at one stage in my life, but to use an analogy - you can't keep admiring the signposts or you won't get too far.

But, it was definitely worth remembering those first months of the spiritual quest. When we come to the spiritual life, we often experience a wonderful grace of intensity and focus. The spiritual life is simple. As the years pass, we have to be conscious to retain this simplicity of spiritual focus. Even after making a commitment to a spiritual life, if we are not careful, worldly ambitions and comforts can try to cleverly sneak their way back into our life.

Sri Chinmoy would often say that even the greatest spiritual seekers would experience moments of dryness and nothingness. But, by visualising past meditations, they could bring it into the immediacy of today.

"Swami Vivekananda once became very sad and miserable because he was not getting the highest inner experiences that he once upon a time had. Then he meditated and concentrated only on the highest experience that he had had. I always say that imagination is a reality of its own, but it is in another world. If we can enter into that world consciously, from there the reality descends. On the strength of his imagination, Swami Vivekananda entered into the world of his highest experience. Then he went beyond it."

- Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Library

Photo: Oxford by Tejvan