Forms of Service
A spiritual path that aims for soul growth can be compared to a snowflake. Like snowflakes, all paths are similar, but none are the same. There are as many ways to achieve soul growth and serve, as there are people on the planet. The Divine is an equal opportunity employer who calls us all to His service. Achieving soul growth by serving the greater good requires a change of consciousness, an open heart, an attitude adjustment, and little more. It does not require a starched collar and a dark robe. We don’t have to be ministers, priests, rabbis, nuns, monks, or imams. We don’t have to leave our jobs. To achieve soul growth we just have to consider the well-being of others around us and be helpful to them when we have the opportunity to do so.
The Negative Ego
As long as the negative ego dominates our psyche, it will obscure our true identity, block us from our path, and negate all attempts at soul growth. For however long this condition prevails, the negative ego will keep us bound entirely in selfish pursuits without any gratitude whatsoever for the sacrifices others may have made to help us achieve our goals. It will completely stymie our soul growth. Sri Aurobindo commented on this condition when he wrote:
“The vital, (negative ego) is too selfish to have any gratitude. The more it gets, the more it demands, and it takes everything as its right and every denial of what it wants as an injustice and an offense. The unregenerate vital (negative ego) in the average human nature is not grateful for a benefit; it resents being under an obligation. So long as the benefit continues, it is effusive and says sweet things; as soon as it expects nothing more it turns round and bites the hand that fed it. Sometimes it does that even before, when it thinks it can do it without the benefactor knowing the origin of the slander, fault finding, or abuse.”
Ignorance and apathy about who we really are discourage many people from seeking soul growth. Those among us whose world-view is largely shaped by material values and considerations often pay little attention to their non-physical needs and dismiss the all important work of soul growth. Frequently, what matters most is getting ahead in the world. Prestige, power, money, and status are what count. These are the things that are valued and prized. It’s how most of us keep score and why we compete to get ahead of each other. As long as we get what we want in the world, what does the state of our soul really matter and who really cares about soul growth?
After all, we can’t measure our internal light, compare it to others, compete for more of it, or place a monetary value on it. We can’t buy it or sell it. It isn’t a commodity. It won’t improve our bottom line. So if we can’t prove that we have more light than everybody else, then why should we bother with the whole exercise of soul growth? It’s a waste of time and energy and won’t make us richer or more famous.
Our Soul Asset
There is a profound reason why we should make that effort. Our conscious connection with our soul is the most important asset we will ever have. That connection must be developed here. Soul growth cannot be developed after we die. If we throw away our opportunities for soul growth in this lifetime, we will not make the inner growth we came here to make or find a lasting fulfillment in our life. A major part of us will remain missing. A great resource that could successfully guide us through life’s many challenges will remain untapped. Our true power and creativity will never be utilized. Our potential for happiness and inner peace will not be realized. If we fail to make our soul growth in this lifetime, it may make that task much harder in future lifetimes.
Since the purpose of life is to develop our soul connection and make our soul growth, we never escape the pressure of that purpose. When we deny the most essential need of our nature, we unwittingly increase the hidden pressure of that purpose on our lives. That pressure may heighten our suffering, highlight our unhappiness, or widen our sense of alienation.
To the Divine, the most important factor in evaluating our life is the soul growth we made in our time on earth. Did we turn on our light, find out who we really are, and make our unique contribution to the world? From the Divine perspective there is no more important task than soul growth.