Most people use the word spiritual (as opposed to physical) without having any idea of the meaning of the word; they just think of something ephemeral. Even if you explain that it means identification with the Real, they still don’t understand because they don’t know what is meant by Real. If it is explained that Real means lasting or permanent, the mystery remains. Isn’t it reality that you have to earn a living and pay the rent? At one level, yes, this is true, but that is not on a permanent level.

India’s Yogi Vashishtha helped clear away this mystery by counseling, “Ignore the taster and the thing tasted and rest in the tasting only.” The taster is subject and the thing tasted is the object; obviously, both will disappear in time.

But the process, the tasting, was never born, so it will never disappear. If this lesson can be digested it is of great help to serious seekers. The one who is just interested in daily activities, completely unaware of their meaning, will, of course, be totally disinterested.

Self-interest is being preoccupied with something temporary. When it is overly strong, it can bring great suffering. Yet psychologists and psychoanalysts deliberately try to strengthen this narcissistic quality.

Properly seen, all happenings are Spiritual, arrows pointing at the Real. This is especially so with so-called illness, which many advanced teachers look on as purification. We are all spiritual beings.

This article is published in Spiritual Odyssey.