How to prepare a project plan for spiritual enlightenment?


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Context: Some of the key aspects to spiritual enlightenment would be the eight-fold path, sheer effort, dogged persistence, diving deep, finding a guru, reading the scriptures, daily sadhana, being blessed, and so forth. Spiritual enlightenment is a quest. It should be for each one of us, at some point in time. Some will be more driven than others. The quest is down to the individual, or probably down to providence. For the newbie awakened soul, books are a great source, the web has a vast but scary collection of information, there are gurus and caves aplenty. What is needed is a method to the goodness.

Question: Considering that this is a journey unlike any we will take, is there a Master Plan that can be prepared to break down the above (suggested points) into small achievable tasks with timelines, person(s) who will help, etc.? Ideas, please?

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The answer is very simple, only one who has undertaken and completed  the journey and has chosen to come back amongst people to be with them when they walk their path can really prepare a Master plan...and such a person is a Master, a Guru. So you need to find your Guru who will chalk out the path for you. No two seekers are alike and walk the same path differently. Here you are in the presence of such a Buddha who has attained and is here only to assist us in our individual journey home.

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Hi Sandeep - cant say for sure but Black Lotus serves as a great project plan. It seems to have everything one would need. More at the link below:

https://os.me/short-stories/my-black-lotus-journey-so-far/

It may be relevant. 

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https://youtu.be/2HilY61NTMQ check Sandeep 

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Hi Sandeep, I second what Subhash suggested, the Black Lotus app is great as you can measure progress and work towards incremental goals. Personally, that has helped me tremendously. 

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Hi, I am not sure there can be a plan for this. But the only plan is, if you have intense longing then life creates the plan.

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I think Swami's post on four kinds of maturity does offer a project plan. Someone asked him a similar question in this ashram during my visit in November, and he said if you cannot aspire towards enlightenment, then at least aspire to love every human being equally. That's a worthy goal but to do that we have to get rid of all kinds of tendencies in our minds and body. 

Step1: Meditation and mindfulness can start making you aware of your thoughts as you have them. This take different times for different people.

Step 2: You start exercising conscious choice when dealing with life. You still have addictions but they are lesser and have less power than before.

Step 3: You have done some Sadhana and are dropping a few tendencies.

These are outcomes and some people arrive here through different ways namely seva, bhakti, purely intellectual understanding, or simply grace.

 

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Sandeep ji, this is a great question. I don’t believe there can be a template project plan that works for all, but there can be an individualized plan that lays it out for you. 

of course one can use swamijis writings or BL app to create the template. At various times, I have put my name on one side and a yogi on other side and wondered what I have to “drop” to reach there, depending on what our attachments are(which will drive our behavior in certain circumstances), we can aim to drop it one at a time. 

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Sandeep ji, I believe that the most important element is bhakti. If you have bhakti, external factors don't bother you and you are naturally drawn towards meditation. Spiritual enlightenment is a complex concept. Many ancient Indian sages were known to lose their temper easily; would you call that to be an attribute of a spiritually enlightened person? But, they were great sages with a lot of yogic power. Therefore, I feel that it is best to keep things simple in the beginning and focus on bhakti and love for the divine. Things will fall into place automatically.

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A sample plan template is as follows 🙂

Project plan: self realization

goal: Attain God, merge into the divine or realize your purest soul

Action items:

1. Pic at least one spiritual ideal and have unwavering commitment toward it. Regardless of the cost or how much dire the situation is, do not break your ideal.

2. Practice non-discrimination. What you want to realize, start practicing it right this moment. If it's formless, why not reflect on illusory nature of this world? If want to meet God, why not attempt to see (in your mind eye - imagination) him/her in everyone you meet? In short, you put conscious effort to stop discriminating things based on the gross interpretation by the mind. (Watch Essence of Lalita Sahasranamam all parts starting from part-1)

3. Self-discipline. Bhagavan says in Srimad Bhagavat Gita, "With practice and detachment, this mind can be concord." read this story 

4. Practice kindness. Perform some selfless acts regularly. The entire struggle is rising above one's selfish ego, selfless acts help us do just that. (Read The Book of Kindness)

 

Risks and their mitigation:

1. Ego. poses the greatest risk. Your spiritual progress likely to first boosts your ego. You'd start feeling you're someone special or something and you deserve good things in life. It's a trap which you must not let take over you.

2. Mistaking an experience or a siddhi as your final attainment. Make sure you've read enough about your goal from people who had similar attainment. So you do not mistake some experience as your final destination. A simple rule of thumb: if you have even a tiny doubt left, you haven't likely attained it yet.

3. Indulging in excessive preaching at the cost of your daily discipline/practices. As you progress spiritually, you start having insights and dawning of wisdom which you feel like sharing with people. Being it coming from the source, it's natural that others also find your words touching and helpful. You get their attention, love and gratitude. This is all good and fine as long as you do not forget that you didn't set preaching as your final goal :). Listen to Durga Saptashati — The Esoteric Meaning – a very important discourse on the various stages every sadhak goes through during the journey. Be wary of Chanda-Munda!

 

The most important mitigation strategy is surrendering to a realized Guru. Just be clear and sincere about your goal in your heart and actions, follow the action items, follow your Guru's words to the best of your abilities, rest he shall take care.

 

Jai Sri Hari 🙏

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Just start with gratitude

Be honest and truthful

Make a connection with God and universe by talking your heart out to them saying heartfelt Good morning and good nights. 

Make loving connection with the nature. Take mindful walks, touch and feel the beauty in flowers and those trees. This practice will calm you down. 

Take deep breaths and smile more often

Once you start doing these practices, door to your spiritual awakening will start to open up step by step. Universe will conspire to fulfill your wish. You will move forward from one miracle to other. 

All the best👍

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