Meditation, Service, and Cosmic Consciousness



I would like to devote my life completely to spiritual practice but I have students that I feel like I must work to pay off. How is it possible for someone to devote themselves completely to spiritual practice when they feel obligated to work? Are there spiritual centers that offer work opportunities?

—Tim Beck, U.S.


Dear Tim,

Any spiritual community or center has opportunities to serve others and to assist with the care and maintenance of the facility. The highest way to “work” and dedicate your life completely to spiritual practice is to become a willing instrument for God by being kind, truthful, thoughtful and of uplifting service to others in all you do. Do everything with the consciousness that God is doing through you.

Meditation and service are both necessary for spiritual development. We can become too inward and aloof with only meditation and we can become too outward and lose our inner peace doing only service. The highest path is to offer all you do as spiritual practice wherever you are in the world and doing whatever is in front of you to do while making significant time for your spiritual practices and meditation each day as well.

This topic is discussed in Paramhansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi where his guru, Sri Yukteswar, says after giving him an experience in cosmic consciousness, “Now let’s go sweep the balcony”.

“Those who are too good for this world are adorning some other,” Sri Yukteswar remarked. “So long as you breathe the free air of earth, you are under obligation to render grateful service. He alone who has fully mastered the breathless state is freed from cosmic imperatives. ”

For further discussion about this topic, read Chapter 25 in The New Path, by Swami Kriyananda, on Work vs. Meditation.

May you experience the bliss of being as you do all in service to the Giver of all.