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The practice of Self-realization 

When you practice honesty, sincerity and detachment, you grow in awareness.

One of the easiest ways to know Me, Maitreya says, is to be honest in your mind; be sincere in your spirit; feed your body with right food; and practise detachment. This will create harmony. When you experience the Self within and come to know you are an immortal entity, completely separate from mind, spirit and body, you learn to use these temples of the Lord creatively, with awareness. Processes of healing follow automatically.

“You have been given mind, spirit and body,” says Maitreya, “to express My Being and Becoming in thought, speech and action.” Any action performed with dishonesty of mind, an insincere spirit and attachment is destructive. For example, when you think one thing, say another, and do something which is different again, you are lost. Honesty of mind leads to honest speech and honest action. This harmony leads to peace and happiness. “Whether you are a thief or a saint,” He counsels, “you can begin right now.”

But, people have asked, “How do we begin? How do we practise sincerity?” Consider an expression which is often used, such as ‘having a heart-to-heart talk’ with someone, Maitreya responds. What does this mean? It means you will express yourself as you really are, you will communicate from the centre — your centre — the Self. Practise this. It will transform you and those around you.

The heart is never tarnished or touched; it is the seat of the soul. It is the mind that leads us astray. Peace, bliss, happiness and grace are the qualities of the heart. “By tuning into the ‘feelings of the heart’, Maitreya teaches, “you are able to experience your natural innocence, that innocence you had as a child. Do not ‘visualize’ the heart. For that is only the mind seeking to find the source of light with a torch.”

Maitreya teaches that everyone needs their ‘inner space’, where there is no direction, no one telling you where to go and what to do. No one can lead you. You are born to be aware of yourself, to know the Master in yourself. Your inner space is sacred. It is where all things, all problems, dissolve. It is where you go when you tell others you are tired and frightened and ‘fed up’, when you want to be left alone to find your own space.

According to Maitreya, “You have been given that space so that the confusion and chaos around you will dissolve. You must never surrender that space to anyone, except your true Self. Meditation is really a journey back to that space to find peace and happiness”.

Be what you are

“Be what you are,” He tells us. “Do not follow one another. If you practise honesty of mind, sincerity of spirit and detachment, you will know your Self, you will know me, you will know the Lord.” If you follow others instead of being yourself, you lose your sparkle and cannot reflect the light of individuality. Without that light, there is no progress in life.

To follow another means to copy, imitate or identify with another, forgetting your real Self. As an example, consider popular entertainment stars. Many fans try to dress and behave like them, but this does not lead to happiness or fulfilment.

The task of the Master is to awaken the Self within. When you, in turn, know your Self, you can awaken others. To awaken another, however, does not mean to cast your shadow over him. When the Self awakens, development follows naturally; the person fulfils his own destiny and enjoys the blessings of the Lord. The pace of development of each person can thus be respected: “Let the pagan believe in the stone, because without the Lord there is no stone.” Correct relationship between the Self and mind, spirit and body is what matters.

“Do not surrender your self-respect, your dignity to others. The moment you surrender yourself to some other self you become a ‘zombie’. Do not allow any shadow, even, to possess you”. Maitreya illustrates His point with the following example: “If the personality of an enlightened man falls on a child who is not yet prepared, what happens? The personality of that child is extinguished. The child becomes like charcoal. Apply this to many politicians and their children. The children cannot progress. They have no sense of freedom and are unable to express themselves”. Therefore, “Do not allow anyone to cast his shadow over you. A Master gives experiences, but does not cast his shadow.”

"Remain open-minded," Maitreya says.  Enjoy life. When you enjoy life you are sitting on the beach looking at the vast ocean. At that moment you experience serenity, tranquility, detachment within. You do not think of your bank account at that moment. Nobody lectures you at that moment. The gift of life flowers within you. Experience this and you will realize you are a unique person. You are unique in this creation.

Whatever you do in life, Maitreya teaches, practise detachment and you will achieve equilibrium. You will experience the forces of life passing through your mind, spirit and body and yet not be possessed by them. “When you do this the ‘Third Eye’ is opened and you will be able to sense what is happening around you and foresee events.” It is the destiny and evolution of everyone to reach this state.

Detachment is the process whereby man ceases to identify with the material aspect (the body), with the thought aspect (the mind) and with the energy or power aspect (the spirit), and thus he comes to know and be his real Self.

That Self is endless. Awareness is endless. Mind, spirit and body, however, have a beginning and an end. The laws of creation are in the mind; the universal energy is in the spirit; and the forum for the materialization of the creation is the physical body. With detachment, the Self experiences the phenomena of the mind, spirit and body, but does not become attached to the miraculous powers of which mind, spirit and body these three vehicles are capable.

In effect, when the Self observes God’s powers it is detachment which saves the Self from imprisonment in the bondages of life.

If you do not know yourself as the Self, however, you can become attached to body, mind or spirit. If you are attached to the body, you will find that there is no end to material desires and sensual gratifications. Greed grows, the search continues, and satisfaction always eludes you. When you are detached, the Self experiences these powers and allows the fulfilment of divine purpose. To possess is not only to misuse but to misdirect and to interfere.

For example, true spiritual healers allow the Lord to work through them but remain detached both from cause (the Lord’s will) and effect (the healing of a particular individual). This is why it is important to remain detached both from success and failure. Some individuals are healed; some are not. If you do not claim anything for yourself, pride cannot flourish and all is directed according to spiritual law. You do not heal; the Lord heals. The Self knows this. Practise with detachment and leave the consequence to the Lord.

To learn detachment is an art. With it, the scientist will learn the laws of physics and chemistry (the laws of creation) and will apply them, creating things which constitute God’s work. The artist, with detachment, will be able to describe God through his own experiences. We are all observers in this vast creation. If we observe with a strong sense of detachment, we will find beauty in it, equilibrium, harmony.

To be honest, sincere and detached is to experience oneness with God. But so often this oneness is interpreted by people as loneliness and something to be feared. Yet the feeling of loneliness is the supreme blessing in disguise, says Maitreya, because it shows that a person is approaching oneness with the Lord.

Detachment is the most powerful ‘drug’. It becomes so effective that it immunizes the Self from the processes and proceedings of mind, spirit and body. Without detachment there is no salvation.

Even a thief can experience the awareness that comes with detachment. If a thief comes to you, says Maitreya, do not preach; it will not work. Teach him to be honest about what he is doing. The thief will gradually acquire detachment. Detachment enables the mysteries of life to become clearer, and the thief, with detachment, eventually realizes the mind is reacting to a particular thought formation.

Divine hand

Maitreya says: “Even when you are thieving, know that without the divine hand of the Lord you would not be able to thieve.” The Self only witnesses. Gradually the Self becomes aware of its mastership. Gradually, the Self controls mind, spirit and body.

Everyone has his own wealth, which no one can take away. This wealth is Self-realization.

People want someone to free them from all their sufferings. Yet, it is detachment which frees you from suffering. “Free will is the most important thing given to you, and your destiny is to be free.” Thus attachment is loss of freedom; detachment is freedom.

In childhood you are detached. But as you grow, if you become attached, you lose the beauty of life. The Lord comes again, in your old age, to free you. The day the Self within is free of the stresses and strains inherent in the processes of being and becoming, yet fulfils Its duty in a detached manner, the Kingdom of the Lord is experienced by the Self in the heart. “When you become desireless all the burdens of life are removed.”

If you want to know Me, Maitreya says, you have to give up all your attachments. This teaching is simple to understand, yet difficult to put into practice in your activities, because you need discipline. An experience of the Lord can help you develop detachment. When the Self is taken away from mind, spirit and body (even momentarily), that experience alone is sufficient. Maitreya says: “This is not philosophy. I am teaching you live things, not ‘past, present and future.’ If you practise honesty of mind, sincerity of spirit and detachment while you are alive, you can embrace My totality in one single birth.”

Detachment releases us from the cyclical patterns of cause and effect — karma — which govern our lives. As long as we are conditioned, however, these cyclical patterns repeat themselves. According to Maitreya’s teaching, everything that has materialized is called Prakriti. This Sanskrit word refers to material activity or matter in broad terms, but ‘prakritis’, in the plural also refers to human activities which are the result of conditioning. Prakriti is your ‘second nature.’ At present, your second nature controls mind, spirit and body. As awareness grows, its strength diminishes. But as long as you are controlled by your second nature you cannot understand the art of existence. Maitreya is inspiring humanity to fulfil its destiny which is to free itself of this second nature through growing self-awareness.

This teaching is embodied in the biblical story of the Garden of Eden, in which Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. In this interpretation, the snake that tempted Adam and Eve is a symbol of ‘prakritis’, that is, of conditioning — the opposite of freedom. Once you ‘eat’ knowledge (a possessive act) rather than facing knowledge with awareness (whereby you understand that you must not ‘grab’) you are no longer free.

When Jesus went to various places preaching “Love thy neighbour as thyself”, he also preached honesty and sincerity, because this creates love within you. The rabbis went to Mary to complain that her son was preaching things which were not in line with their teaching. Mary would ask Jesus why he was teaching in this way. At times there were arguments. Had tempers flared, Mary could have thought, “My son is mad”. This is conditioning.

Conditioning is like an egg. Once incubated, the life within bursts through the shell. When conditioning cracks, there is a sense of relief. Conditioning can crack with awareness or without awareness. When conditioning cracks without awareness the result is a shock. It has such power it can even destroy part of the memory. The energy tied up in conditioning is like the tremendous energy tied up in a volcano. The destiny of conditioning is that it will burst. No one can remain conditioned for ever. This is why Maitreya says, “Be detached, then you will not be conditioned.”

Detachment means the Self is using energy. Attachment means energy is using the Self. When energy uses the Self, the effects are destructive. Creation has energy and if that energy is disturbed it can shake our world and even break it, says Maitreya. “One has to be careful with energy. If you try to possess it, it will destroy you. You may be good at mathematics and become a first class mathematician. But what happens? You can become unbalanced if there is no equilibrium on the intellectual level. It is the same if you are caught up in spiritualism. You can become obsessive."

“Be detached and intelligently use that energy. Life is equilibrium and balance.”

After the environment, the understanding of energy is the top priority in the world now. For the first time in the history of the human race, people will become aware of energy in their lives. Although no one knows where this energy comes from, or where it goes after death, all experience it during their lives.

In extreme cases, it is energy which goads a murderer to pick up a knife and kill another. Yet the murderer, unaware of it, wonders what forced him to act. In another extreme example, a yogi experiences a sudden surge of creative energy which pushes him into unknown regions where psychic powers are available to him. But the yogi is not affected because his training helps him to remain detached. He is not possessed by the energy.

Without this energy nothing can happen, and without it none of us can fulfil our destinies. Just as humanity has become aware of the environment, checking the food before we eat it, conscious of our health, so it will become conscious of this energy. This energy must be understood. Then it can be used to help the human race. Once triggered, it can be guided and used creatively.

However, if triggered blindly, as in some scientific or psychic experiments, it will destroy. People can suddenly go mad and kill, for there is very little ‘space’ between these happenings in accordance with the Law of cause and effect. This energy can goad the Self into situations in which it becomes trapped in the mind.

But what is the mind? It is nothing less than the blueprint of creation. It is not personal. It is universal, like energy. In spiritual language, energy is the Spirit while mind is the Holy Ghost. The Master (Maitreya) says it is like a ghost because it can appear in any form. It can be a human being, a snake, or fire. Anything and everything in creation is in the mind. If the Self is goaded by energy into the trap of mind then the Self will be caught up in the cyclic evolution known as Karma (cause and effect).

None the less , the Self has to undergo the experiences of the mind in order to evolve to the point of full Self-realization. The mind, of course, can act like God and control and manipulate the energy to achieve anything. But these psychic or magical powers can be very destructive. As awareness grows, it guides the Self which can then use the mind, spirit and body with intelligence. Balancing energy and environment is the key to salvation.

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005