Traditional worship generally does not elevate anyone spiritually, and neither can it make anyone experience God. Traditional forms of worship are not needed for spiritual upliftment. That benefit only comes from the purity of the mind. This internal purity is what everyone should work towards. Internal purity is achieved by allowing divine light to illuminate our mind and thoughts. Once this divine light illuminates our mind and thoughts, it powers our actions, which also become pure as a consequence.
To achieve this goal of internal illumination, one will have to develop a calm demeanor. If sad events happen, they will have to be tolerated in the same way that favorable events are accepted, and the goal is to be able to do so in a detached manner. One should not be extremely sad when things are not going our way, and similarly, one should not be overly exuberant when good things are happening. Being able to do this is what constitutes devotion of the highest order. This is what real worship of God is, and it is different from performing religious rituals for any particular deity. By regularly focusing our efforts in a disciplined way, it is possible to achieve this goal in our current lifetime.
Unwavering concentration is necessary for the proper execution of not just spiritual practice, but it is needed for successfully accomplishing all other worldly activities as well. Whether it is walking one step, speaking one word, or writing a word, nothing can be completed properly if not preceded by focused thought. Of course utilizing the power of our concentration towards spiritual pursuits is many times more important than using it for accomplishing worldly activities.
It is the responsibility of the devotee to reign in the mind and focus it on God. If the mind cannot prioritize this and get focused, then all of a person’s time and effort would be in vain. On the other hand, there is no doubt that if the mind can maintain its focus on God then it will definitely be successful in acquiring eternal knowledge. Spiritual practices help us in controlling the mind, avoiding distractions, and becoming focused towards God. Until and unless the mind is completely immersed in the thoughts of God, it will not be able to be calm. It is necessary to completely drench the mind in the thoughts of God. As goes the mind, all the senses will follow, because the mind is what actually controls all the senses. The eyes do not see, it is the mind that sees through the eyes. The ears do not hear. The mind is hearing through the ears.
Man possesses this invaluable ability of focused thought, which can enable him to examine and understand everything in this world. The mind is the most brilliant and capable device that man possesses which enables the process of focused thought. The sun’s rays cannot see beyond the material objects. The wind also stops when it encounters a barrier. The mind, on the other hand, can go anywhere. There is no obstacle that the mind can’t overcome. Light travels at the rate of 186,000 miles per second but no one can quantify the speed with which the mind can function.
The mind can become all-powerful when it is illuminated by the power of God or the Guru. When this happens, there can be nothing that limits the mind. At that point, there is no secret that is hidden from the mind, whether it pertains to this world or even beyond it. Such a calm and restrained mind actually becomes the mind of God, and its potential becomes limitless. It becomes pure and blissful, spreading kindness and love around it. For these reasons, we should try to align our mind with God. To achieve this goal it is necessary to seek the blessings and help of our Guru.
When two objects appear similar, it can be difficult to distinguish between them. One has to use both the eyes and the mind, to try to differentiate between them. While the eyes see the physical appearance, the mind can experience subtle characteristics. Even if one sits near his Guru if his mind is not focused they will not gain any knowledge, or experience any peace. On the other hand, someone with a focused mind, sitting hundreds of miles away can experience the same bliss that is achieved by sitting in the physical presence of his Guru. Such true bliss of meditation is only experienced by the one who can internally feel the true presence of their Guru while meditating.