Integrating Spirituality and Daily Life

As the seeker becomes awake to the spiritual consciousness and the necessity to evolve into that standpoint, there remains the issue of what relationship should be maintained between the spiritual aspiration and practice and the daily life in the world. There have been a number of different answers to this question. Some simply try to compartmentalize the spiritual practice and separate it from the “regular” life, such that there is very little effective communication or influence occurring between the spiritual life and the actions in the world; at best, some rule or standard of conduct is developed as a framework for action based on a set of moral-ethical principles, which people generally try to follow to some degree (or at least pay lip service to it). Some try to renounce outer action in the world and put a primary and fixed focus on the spiritual practices needed to achieve a new state of consciousness. Still others develop an ethical code based on spiritual principles and adhere to that code without regard to circumstances. They are ready and willing to accept the consequences when the world shows it is not prepared to respond.

Arjuna went through a number of stages of thought when he experienced his crisis, including the decision to renounce the action he had been called upon to undertake and allow the forces arrayed against him to triumph. He announced his willingness to die rather than kill, in a strict acceptance of the call for “harmlessness” that the spiritual principles call for. Sri Krishna however was unwilling to accept any of these partial solutions or compromises; rather he set forth a way to fully and completely integrate spirituality and daily life in a comprehensive way, eliminating the conflicting dharmas through a higher, all-inclusive insight that accepted the world as a manifestation of the Divine and the action appointed as the Divine’s action. Sri Aurobindo summarizes the Gita’s position: “…it justifies all life to the spirit as a significant manifestation of the one Divine Being and asserts the compatibility of a complete human action and a complete spiritual life lived in union with the Infinite, consonant with the highest Self, expressive of the perfect Godhead.”

Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita, Second Series, Part II, Chapter 23, The Core of the Gita’s Meaning, pp. 544-545