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Sutra II.44

June 18, 2009

This was my answer to a recent homework question, “what does this sutra mean to my personal practice?”  I thought my answer would be an interesting post here.

“By study of spiritual books comes communion with one’s chosen deity.”

This is one of those sentences that makes me cringe when I first read it, thanks to years of self-induced conditioning against organized religion. Even though the sentence contains ambiguity in regards to the individual’s definition of “deity”, I still have a knee jerk reaction of negativity. However, if I am mindful of this reaction, allow it to be, and consider the sutra further, it is more of a personal life thesis statement.

Having turned to non-theistic systems of thought at this time in my life, I believe in an internal wisdom, not a god per say, but a “Quietest Voice” of knowledge and goodness which resides in all of us – in some mired deeper than in others. The quest in life becomes a search to peel away the layers of mental and emotional muck in order to hear that voice more clearly. A bigger, clearer internal self becomes both the “deity” with which I am seeking to “commune,” as well as the spiritual book from which I am attempting to garner information.

Along these lines, I believe education is one of the most important parts of being human. Reading, exploring, asking questions and cultivating informed curiosity on a broad spectrum of interests is, in my opinion, not only one of the great joys of being alive, but a necessity for this evolved understanding of self. I believe only through studying the world around and within us as broadly as possible do we become citizens of the world, understand our inherent interdependence with the universe, and gain the compassion for one another these endeavors elicit.

Thus, if my “chosen deity” is my greater Self, then accumulating information, reading, being informed, and realizing and accepting that all sources are flawed and subjective is the “study of spiritual texts” that facilitates my self-communion.

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