Spirituality Means Willingness to Change


Sri Swami Atmaswarupananda

First Early Morning Meditation Talk given in the Sacred Samadhi Hall of Gurudev Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh during the annual Christmas Retreat, December 26th to December 31st, 2002.

It is not uncommon that when a speaker is speaking to an audience that he or she will get insights from what they said and perhaps be affected even more than their audience. This will normally happen if a speaker has thought deeply upon a subject, if it’s a subject that they are keenly interested in. A theme like “Spirituality Means Change” is meant to be such a challenge to the speakers–so that as they prepare the talk, or give it, they themselves realise the implications of what they are saying and it goes in very, very deep. When this happens it cannot help but communicate itself to the audience.

Actually, most of us are not totally satisfied with our lives. We want change. So when we hear that spirituality means change, we can see many things in our lives that we would like to have changed. Especially we would like to have more Be good, Do good in our lives. And, also, we would like to expand our consciousness beyond its present narrow boundaries–to enter into greater understanding.

If that is so, why is it that we haven’t seen greater change in ourselves over the years? Why do most of us sometimes even feel that there has been no change, no improvement? Perhaps the discovery we will make this week is that while there definitely is one part of ourselves that wants to change, there is another part of ourselves that simply does not want to change. Each one will have to ponder this question for oneself, because no one else can know our interior exactly. But what we may discover by the end of the week is that there is a surprising balance between wanting to change and not wanting to change.

Therefore, one way of looking at the theme Spirituality Means Change would be to see that in the final analysis spirituality means the willingness to change. We have all tried to change things and been unable to do so; we all have things we want to change; we’re in a stalemate. What is the solution? Being willing to change.

That seems like a very reasonable suggestion. However, if we’re willing to change, then perhaps that implies that we will lose control over our lives. But, what did Jesus mean when He said, “Follow Me.” He implied, “I know best. I know the way. Trust Me. Let go of your control of your life and put it in my hands.” What did Lord Krishna mean when He said, “No one crosses samsara without taking refuge in Me alone.” What did He mean when He told us to abandon all dharmas, all our ideas of right and wrong, and take refuge in Him alone. “I will save you from all sins. Don’t worry,” Lord Krishna said. He meant that our ideas, our keeping control of our life is what is killing us spiritually. The solution is to trust Him, take refuge in Him alone.

And so, as we explore during this week the theme Spirituality Means Change, perhaps in the final analysis we will have to look at the subject in terms of Spirituality Means Willingness to Change.

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