Increasing your spiritual gravity

The dynamic of the physical universe is largely governed by the law of gravity.  The greater the mass, the greater the gravitational pull on other masses.  The same is true of the economy (economic gravity) and politics (political gravity).  Likewise, spiritual progress and development is largely governed by the law of spiritual gravity.  When you think of the great spiritual masters of this world, such as Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Moses, Ghandi, etc., you can see that these beings have tremendous spiritual gravity which pulls the beings of this world in a virtuous direction.  Even those these beings have long ago passed away (physically, at least) their legacy in this world (or as Shantideva would call it, their reliquary) still remains drawing beings into the orbit of these great masters, pulling them in towards enlightenment.

As bodhisattvas, our goal is to lead all beings to enlightenment.  Our ability to do so depends largely on the extent of our own spiritual gravity, which in turn depends upon our own spiritual mass.  The question, then, is how do we increase the power of our spiritual gravity?

Strive to gain useful realizations for others.  Everyone has problems they want resolved.  If we have useful answers to these problems, then people will naturally be drawn to us and want to seek our advice.  Our job, then, is to gain realizations that are useful for others.  We can do this by viewing every situation in our life as emanated for us by our Spiritual Trainer, Dorje Shugden, so that we gain the realizations we need to help those beings with whom we have the karma to lead to enlightenment.  If we go through our life with the intention of gaining realizations which will be useful to others in the future, then that is what we will learn, and this intention will also create the karma for us to have opportunities to share these realizations with others in the future.  When, we don’t know.  But at some point, it is inevitable.

Improve the quantity of your quality karmic relationships.  Our ability to help others is largely dependent upon the karmic relationship we have with them.  The quality of our karmic relationships is a function of the strength of the bond, the expected duration of the relationship, the extent of mutual respect and support within the relationship, and how harmonious and healthy the relationship is.  We then should strive to increase the quantity of these quality karmic relationships.  The highest relationship we can have with another living being is a spiritual relationship.  But we need to know how to have healthy non-spiritual relationships before we will be able to have healthy spiritual relationships.  So we should view our non-spiritual personal and professional relationships as part of a continuum of our relationship with the given person that will last countless lifetimes and eventually evolve into a spiritual relationship (perhaps not in this life, but that doesn’t matter).  We manage all of our relationships through the lens of eventually becoming ones of shared enlightenment!

Cultivate smart spiritual power.  The karmic cause of power is protecting others.  Spiritual power is the ability to protect others spiritually.  We protect others spiritually by helping them gain their own spiritual wisdom.  Smart power is the optimal combination of hard and soft power.  Hard power is your actual authority over somebody, such as being a supervisor or a parent, which enables you to compel their compliance (if necessary).  Soft power is the wish of others to emulate or follow you.  Most people exercise their hard power in a way that undermines their soft power by engendering resentment in those controlled.  This arises when we use our power for our own selfish benefit as opposed to using our power to help empower those under our control.  As Hegel said, the categorical imperative is “free will must will freedom.”  We need to use our power to empower others.  When others know we are using our power to help them advance and become more empowered, they will gladly submit to our authority.  Practically speaking, the key to using hard power skillfully is “discreation within a box.”  You give people a box within which they can act freely.  If they use this freedom wisely and responsibly, you expand the size of the box.  If they use this freedom unwisely or irresponsibly, you contract the size of the box.  We increase our soft power by transforming ourselves into an example worth emulating.  The most important component of this is practicing what we preach.  Nothing undermines our example more than hypocracy.  We also need to be respectful, kind, fair, strong, flexible, decisive, light-hearted, not-arrogant, wise, successful, generous, fearless, controlled, organized, focused, have our life together and have a promising future trajectory.  For those over who we have no authority, we can only exercise soft power.  If we try exercise hard power over those who have not voluntarily submitted themselves to our authority, it usually just breeds resentment and rebellion.  True power is the ability to leave all those around us free to make their own choices and yet the choies they make are the right ones.

Create a lasting spiritual legacy.  The most important component of our spiritual legacy is the extent to which we have passed on the lineage to the next generation of practitioners.  We are all, to varying extents, holders of the lineage.  The true lineage is the continuum of authentic spiritual realizations from generation to generation.  So our task is two-fold:  first, download within our own mental continuum the realizations of those spiritually upstream in the lineage; and then second, help those spiritually downstream in the lineage acquire within themselves those realizations.  We do this primarily through our example of how we live our life, but also through our words, writings, and the institutions we leave behind.  Institutions can be formal, such as the internal rules, and informal, such as the spiritual culture of our communities.

The more spiritual mass we acquire, the greater the power of our spiritual gravity, which will then pull in more and more beings who enter into spiritual relationships with us, which will then increase our spiritual mass further in a virtuous cycle.  Eventually we become a vajra-like force of spiritual gravity – one that can never be destroyed and which, like a magic crystal, will eventually have the power to purify the entire universe, gathering and dissolving all beings and worlds into complete purity.

Your turn:  Describe some things you can do to increase your spiritual gravity.

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