Many of us recognize that there is much more to life than what we experience on the material level of living. We understand both intuitively, and through our own direct experiences, that simply trying to satisfy the urges of our mind and bodily senses is not fulfilling for us. It is not deeply meaningful, nor does it bring us the real and lasting happiness that we long for in our heart of hearts. Thus, we turn to spiritual life to find what we are seeking.
When we want to understand the truth of our spiritual nature, it is important to look to the bonafide scriptures of the world. These ancient scriptures contain timeless wisdom that can help us rediscover our eternal nature and inherent relationship with the Supreme Person.
Within the yoga scriptures , it is explained that we are eternal spiritual beings, currently covered by layers of material energy, like a set of clothes. The mind or subtle energy body is like an under layer of clothes. The gross physical body is like an outer layer of clothes. Just as we are not the shirt, pants, and undergarments we are currently wearing, we are not these “clothes” either. However, if we have no real information about our true nature as spiritual beings, it is easy for us to fall into the misunderstanding that we are these temporary material coverings .
If we erroneously conclude that we are the mind and body, then our entire existence becomes focused on taking care of these “clothes.” Thinking we are them, we will look for happiness and fulfillment in terms of our mind and body. We will constantly be striving for satisfaction through feeding the mind and body with various material objects, such as pleasurable thoughts or ideas, things to stimulate the senses, and so on. However, no matter how nicely or extravagantly or diligently we do this, we will remain empty within the core of our being – always anxious searching for the vital something that is missing from our lives and hearts. Material experiences do not actually touch us. They can feed the mind and body, but do absolutely nothing to nourish us, the spiritual self.
This is why our repeated attempts at material gratification are never successful. We may get the external object or situation that we strive for, but it does not result in the permanent inner fullness that we seek.
As we are spiritual beings, real satisfaction comes to us only through consciously relating with our spiritual Source. As the great spiritual teacher Jagad Guru Chris Butler says when we direct our longing for happiness , meaning, purpose, shelter, love toward the temporary objects and relationships of this world, we are endlessly frustrated. But when we direct this longing toward our inner relationship with the Supreme Person, we find complete and utter fulfillment. Fortunately, in the scriptures, we are given clear instructions on how to revive and deepen our relationship with our eternal Friend.