The Core Spiritual Practices

Satsang with Sri Avinash.


What are the core or basic practices for us to focus on?

The first spiritual practice that a person should strive to do is to be a beautiful human being. That’s practice number one—to be a warm person.

Need we study what a warm person is? No. You don’t need to study this. We know, from our own life experience, what that entails. There’s no need to do a PhD on it. From our life experience, we’ve met people who are more cold towards us and we’ve met people who are very warm towards us. So we know what a warm-hearted person is.

So the first core practice is to be a beautiful human being, and a beautiful human being is a warm-hearted, loving person.

To be a warm-hearted person we need to be strong. Because sometimes a person treats us like dirt, looks down at us, puts us down, is rude to us. Well you need to be strong. If we are weak, we won’t be able to be warm-hearted towards that person.

You’ve got to be strong. If a person treats you like dirt and you treat the person like dirt back—anyone can do that. But when the person treats you like dirt and you treat the person like an angel, you have to be strong. It’s not easy.

Of course it’s not easy, but everything is not easy. Walking for the first time is not easy, for a baby. They say an iPhone is very user-friendly, but it’s not easy when you use it for the first time. Nothing is easy. But if we are sincere, if we know what we are trying to do, if we know the picture in our heart, what we want to be, then we can slowly work at it.

So what does a picture of a beautiful, warm hearted human being look like? Like a grandfather towards his grandson. Warm, like that, but towards everybody.

There are no rules that say be warm to only my friends, only my family, only those of my nationality, only animal lovers, only vegetarians, only spiritual people. Because that will limit the warmth. It’s like living in a mansion, but you don’t know any other room except the bathroom—we eat, sleep, and live in the bathroom only. Living in this way we will never realize the magnificence of our potential.

We have to let go of all those limiting rules and be warm and loving towards all.

We should remember two things—loving towards all, and no matter what. Then from that perspective or attitude, we can use this whole mansion called planet earth. We can enjoy, and together celebrate life.

We can travel, we can sit still, we can be single, we can have a partner, we can have eight children, one child or none at all. It doesn’t matter—if a person chooses to be single, then you are a beautiful, warm-hearted, single person. If you choose to be a person that has eight children, then you are a beautiful, warm-hearted, father or mother.

And if you choose to be a traveller around the world then you are a beautiful, warm-heated, traveller. If you don’t want to travel around the world, if you just want to stay in one spot, then you are a beautiful, warm-hearted, hermit. You see—it doesn’t matter what you’re doing.

The Core Spiritual Practices - Sri Avinash Do in sitting meditation at Clarry Hall Dam, Uki, NSW

So the first core spiritual value is to strive to be a beautiful human being. From my experience it’s not easy, but something that’s not easy becomes easy through regular practice.

For example, a baby that is learning how to walk can’t master it in two days. They crawl, stand up and fall over, over and over again. But never giving up, the baby continues practicing until walking becomes easy and natural for them. In the same way when someone treats you like dirt it is not easy to be warm-hearted towards them. But it becomes easy when we practice.

Life gives us so many opportunities to practice. It sends us angels—people who are rude to us, people who try to send negative energy towards us etc. Life gives us so many opportunities to practice. If a person is speaking to you and you listen to them, but when you speak they don’t listen to you—great! Great! Practice.

Of course we’re going to forget. When someone’s rude, we’re going to react. But just because a baby stands up and walks and falls down, it doesn’t mean the baby doesn’t try to get up. Just because we fail a few hundred times, doesn’t mean we don’t continue practicing.

The second core spiritual practice is to love yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t judge yourself, because every time you judge yourself it is just the breeding ground to judge others. Don’t judge yourself. Love yourself. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to achieve this, achieve that.

The first person we should be loving and kind towards is ourself. When our hand is touching the hot plate, don’t we immediately take it away so we don’t burn ourself. In the same way, when we truly love our self, we will not allow the unfavourable circumstances in life to take away our happiness and destroy our peace of mind. Sometimes it might mean to step away, but most of the time it means to take our self out of that mental scenario, the inner story we make up in our mind.

For example, we might think, “That person doesn’t like me. Every time I see the person, they don’t like me.” So when we see the person, we feel stress. Then the story becomes our reality.

So the second core spiritual practice is to love ourself. When we love ourself, naturally we love another. Nobody who loves themself doesn’t love another. Because we are all one.

Can the right arm hate the left arm? No. We’re all one. If the right arm punches the left arm, it is punching itself, because it is the same body.

When we love our self, we will love everyone, because we are all one.

The third core spiritual practice is we should see ourself as being like a speck of dust in the sky. In other words, like we are nothing.

You’ll find that very few people will practice being nothing. If you don’t believe me, get a pen and paper and go out and do a survey at the shopping centre, and ask everybody that comes out of the supermarket,  “How many hours a day do you practice being nothing?” They’ll probably throw their block of cheese at you!

Very few people will practice that. But I’m going to share with you why you should, because the benefit that we gain from this practice is tremendous.

Take the air for example. You can’t see it, it’s nothing. And if you start throwing punches and swear at the air, nothing will happen to it.

Nothingness can never feel lonely—only ‘something’ can feel lonely. Only something can be hurt, but nothing can’t be hurt. Only something can hurt another, but nothing can’t hurt another.

My master, Amma, says, “When you are a zero, you are a hero.” That means when you are nothing, you are great—nobody can hurt your feelings, you never hurt another person’s feelings, you never feel lonely, you never feel you are poor, you never feel you are ugly.

Nothing can’t feel it’s ugly—only something can feel, “I’m too skinny, too fat, too short, too tall.” But nothing can’t feel that. Only something can feel, “I’m dumb or stupid,” but nothing can’t feel dumb or stupid. If someone is rude to you, the only way you can smile and be friendly is if you know you are nothing.

When you are nothing, it’s peaceful. Only something needs to prove its greatness or its existence to another. But nothingness doesn’t need to prove anything to anybody. Only something can feel it’s a slave to another. Nothing can’t feel a slave to another. Only something can feel, “I am controlled by another.” But nothing will never feel it’s being controlled by another.

Who can control nothing? Nobody. Only something can be controlled and tricked. Nothing can’t be controlled and tricked.

Only something can feel, “I’m getting older, I’m getting wrinkles, I’m getting closer and closer to dying.” Nothingness feels like it’s nothing forever. Only something can die. Nothing cannot die.

So when you cultivate to be nothing, then you’ll never be afraid of death. And if you’re not afraid of death, you’re not afraid of life. What would you be afraid of? Would you go for a job interview and be nervous? No. If you’re not afraid of death, you’re not going to be afraid of a job interview. If you’re not afraid of death, you’re not going to be afraid of financial difficulty. If you want to get rid of all fears in life, cultivate to be nothing.

This is a very different perspective, because we’re trained to be something. Our whole life we’re trained to be something. And the highest something is, “I’m a spiritual person.” First it’s, “I am a spiritual person,” and next it’s, “We are a spiritual group, and our spiritual group is more of something than another spiritual group.”

When you become nothing you will realize oneness. When you become something, you will experience separation consciousness. When you try to become something, then it’s me versus you, us versus them. But when you are nothing, that’s oneness. When you become nothing you will realize oneness.

I want to ask you something. When you are nothing, is that beyond the body and the mind? Of course. Because the body is something. It’s solid. You can’t say it is nothing—the body is something. The body is dying. It is limited. It can get diseases, it can have an accident, it can be hurt. But when you know you are nothing, you are beyond the body and the mind.

When you become nothing you will realize oneness.

So I can go on with more and more spiritual practices, but I’m going to finish off with one last one, which is the core spiritual practice of being peaceful. We should strive to be calm and peaceful. One Master said beautifully, “There are only two states we can be in. We can either be in peace, or in pieces.”

So we should strive to cultivate peacefulness. What does that mean? That means when you are in pieces, put yourself back together, quickly. Don’t go on for hours and days and weeks being in pieces. When we drive a car and suddenly the tyre falls off on the road, what do we do? We run to get that tyre, carry it back, and put it back on.

So when we are in pieces, we cultivate and practice to put ourself back together. Back to peace again.

The first thing is to try our best to not allow ourself to be in pieces. But when we are in pieces, we should try to put ourself back together quickly—have a goal to do that.

When we cultivate those spiritual values, and we practice them then we can bring peace to our world. Every breath of our practice becomes a contribution. How can your breath become a contribution to the planet? You breathe in, breathe out, you’re calm and peaceful, and that vibration just spreads around you.

Your eyes become not just an instrument to see. Your eyes can uplift others, by your love. You have the eyes of love. That’s the closest to levitation you can cause another person—that upliftment. That’s the real levitation. Our hands become hands of help, hands of kindness and goodness. Our body becomes a gift to the planet while we are here.

Is that something amazing? No. Is it rare? Yes, but it is not amazing. Look at nature—look at a coconut tree. Its existence is a contribution to the planet. It gives fruits, and you can drink the water. After you drink the water you can eat it’s delicious white flesh. You can make coconut oil, which they say is good for many things. You can use the husk as a bowl to eat rice from.  In India, they use the fibre as fuel, to burn and cook with, and they can also make ropes out of it. The coconut tree contributes so much usefulness to the planet. The tree gives shade to the people when they build their house nearby. The coconut gives a job to the coconut-opener in India. It just gives so much. And the whole of nature is like that.

So if we cultivate those values that I’ve shared, our life becomes a gift to the planet. They’re the essential spiritual practices. Tools and techniques such as meditation, prayer, mantras, kind deeds, selflessness, satsang—these are just aids—they’re practices to help cultivate these core spiritual values.

© Sri Avinash Do Mission Inc.