All the great spiritual traditions of the world have something to say about the nature of reality, and the possibility of illusion. Popular examples such as the film The Matrix have brought to our attention the idea that the world around us may not be what it seems. Indeed, it may not be at all. In last week's discussion we read a series of verses from the Gita which told us two things: that our material realm is a temporary place, and that there is another deeper realm, a spiritual realm, where we exist beyond the miseries of the reality we know know.
Why miserable? After all we don't want our spiritual path to make us gloomy, but we discussed that we all experience a certain sense of uncertainty in our lives, sometimes feeling even in the midst of our happiest times that something undesirable is lurking around the corner. We all want a happiness and security and a sense of self-knowledge that is enduring, and the Gita explains that this is the natural condition of our soul, beyond our temporary bodily state. While many descriptions of the spiritual reality where we can find this real happiness and life seem quite ethereal, we discussed that the teachings of the bhakti tradition laid out in the Gita for us help to access this spiritual reality through the nature of selfless love and relationships. By giving ourselves to others in a mood of compassion and brotherhood/sisterhood, we can begin to experience within ourselves, the spiritual realm the Gita speaks to us about, and we can find the lasting well-being beyond the flickering waves of this material reality.