This week’s “thought” (at Here’s A Thought
) articulates in a few lines what, in my opinion and experience, is the simplest spiritual practice and most powerful path: Remember God.
The quotation is from the Gita
, in this case the translation
by Swami Nikhilananada of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center. The operative lines are the first and last: “Whatever you do ... do it as an offering to Me”.
Of course, like all scripture, those words can be interpreted, and undoubtedly have been interpreted (probably accompanied by spilled blood), in an infinite number of ways. For me here, what they mean is, Be ever mindful of God, the Infinite One than which there is no other. That is, whatever you do, wherever you are, whatever is happening, be aware of God, YHVH, Allah, Satchitananda, etc. by whatever Name or Namelessness and in whatever Form or Formlessness that works for you. It is our constant awareness of God, or simply our constant awareness of our True Nature and Relationship in, with, and as the Infinite One, that shapes and defines our lives, our attitudes, our health, our relationships, our everything.
In one way or another (sometimes almost synonymously), virtually all the Teachers say it. Ibn Arabi, the wondrous Sufi, repeatedly stresses dhikr
(an Arabic word for Remembrance of God). I have read that the Qur’an itself mentions this practice over a hundred times. In Hinduism, repeating and chanting God’s name is a common and commonly recommended practice. Many consider the simplest and most effective prayer to be simply the repetition of God’s Name, something like “Hari Hari” or “Jesus”. In By His Grace
, Babaji is reported as saying that “Ram Ram is the be-all and the end-all ... by taking the name of Ram everything is accomplished”. At the so-called “Last Supper” in the Gospels (Luke 22), Jesus shares the bread with his disciples, and instructs them “do this in remembrance of Me”. Although over the centuries institutional Christianity has interpreted these lines of Jesus to refer solely to the Sacrament of Communion, I am convinced by my own personal experience that Jesus means for us to understand him to be speaking of our lives in their every aspect; that is, whatever we eat, whatever we drink, whatever we do, “do this in remembrance of Me”.
This is a practice that could not be more simple. Anyone and everyone can do it, anywhere, anytime. No special training is necessary; no particular diet is required; it can be performed standing, walking, sitting, swimming, jogging, biking, hunting, splitting wood, or while doing nothing; eyes open or eyes closed; in an office, in a garden, in a field, on a sidewalk, in a bus, on an airplane, at sea in a ship; silently or aloud; with or without accompanying music, gestures, or expressions.