Truly spiritual means starting with changing yourself first.

​BE LOVE IN ACTION  by Bhakti Tirtha Swami

“First of all, realize that no one can give what they themselves do not have. Therefore, if we want to make a difference in the problems of society, we must start transforming ourselves first. The more we allow ourselves to be love in action and become fortified in transcendental understanding, the more we can share with others. As we connect with spiritual techniques, as we read, and as we chant, our meditation should be one of preparation for greater service to humanity. Instead of thinking about how we can enhance our own material situations or gain psychic leverage over others, we should try to grow so that we can uplift others. Compassion cannot exist without humility. Humility does not mean that we are cowards and neglect our responsibilities. Rather, it means that we are so concerned about others that we are ready to become agents of change. And not only do we not expect any rewards for our actions, we realize that we may even be denigrated for extending ourselves to assist others. Nevertheless, we are ready to make that sacrifice because we are humbly fixed on making a positive difference in our environment. Yes, your own love and devotion can make a powerful difference. Uplifting the environment begins with ourselves. Let us work on raising our own consciousness, but not in an egocentric manner. Working on the self is similar to the preparations a soldier makes before he or she enters the battlefield. A selfless mindset allows one access to higher realms.

We sometimes hear stories of people who have overcome drug addictions or repeated criminal convictions to become productive members of society, often due to the influence of one person who made a difference in their lives. Previously bent on destroying themselves and others, these reformed criminals subsequently became effective politicians, teachers, and educators despite their background of violence. Remember that we all affect one another in different ways although we are often unaware of the degree to which we influence the environment.
Especially today, when the normative patterns of life suffocate the citizens of the world, a little breath of fresh air can make a huge change, especially if it is potent. As we carry a greater sense of divinity within us, so are the contacts we make with others automatically of a higher quality.
The culture of imprisonment on the planet is increasing daily despite the fact that in many cities there are mosques, churches, synagogues, or temples on every other corner. There are many so-called religious people in the United States: in the Pledge of Allegiance we say “one nation under God”; on the dollar bill it is written “In God We Trust”; and even the President takes his oath on a Bible. Unfortunately, religion has become so mechanical that the real spiritual rule of law means very little.
During a crisis, politicians will frequently appear on our television screens, exhorting somberly, “Let us pray to God.” Usually, they have almost no faith in God, but they understand that this particular utterance captures the attention of the people and makes them feel a sense of security.
It is time for people to stop prostituting religion and to become truly spiritual. Furthermore, it is time for people to stop hiding behind institutions, which is just another form of sectarianism. It is time for people to stop doubting their own prophets and to stop interpreting what their prophets said and did. It is time to take the words of the prophets as a genuine spiritual connection and to live according to those great orthodox traditions, which have been given by divine intervention to raise human consciousness. Seeing impotence and hypocrisy everywhere, people generally feel less and less willing to align themselves spiritually. Yet, as we remain chaste to our traditions and willing to make sacrifices, we too can free others from the bondage of material existence while at the same time purchasing our own freedom.”
 (from ‘Surrender: The Key to Eternal Life’)

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