Balancing the Spiritual and Material in One's Life

Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD


There is a Spiritual Law which states: "Whatever is in the Higher planes of consciousness is reflected in the lower planes but the reverse is not necessarily so." The corollary to this law is, "The lesser is included in the greater".

Examples of this can be seen in nature. 
The view of the valley seen from a point1000 feet above includes the vision from 100 feet. 
A Tree is greater than the sum of its parts but none of the parts equals a tree.

Spiritual laws and Spiritual planes of consciousness, transcend material laws and material planes of consciousness. This can also been seen in the state of the human condition. Thoughts flow through and arise in the mind which controls words and deeds. Without thoughts there can be no words and/or deeds.

To reflect the Spiritual in the material and balance the spiritual with material aspects of life, we need to understand the difference between Principles, Laws, Rules and Systems.

All Physical manifestations are based upon Principles and Laws, rules and systems that emanate from these Principles. 
One hears about the Principle of Gravity and the Law of Gravity, the Principle of Safety and the Laws of Safety. Very often we use the terms Principle and Law interchangeably when in fact they do have different meanings and characteristics.

Principles are universal whereas laws are not. Laws are limited to very specific situations. For instance, it is important to remain within the envelope of the Principle of Safety whether one is flying a plane, driving a car, sailing a boat, crossing the road, 
handling firearms or working in the kitchen with a knife or fire. In each case the Principle of Safety is the same. However the laws of safety that emanate from the universal Principle of Safety is different in each situation. When working with firearms if we observe the laws of safety as they relate to using a knife, we would be violating the Principle of Safety and thus expose ourselves to danger.
Why? Because the laws of safety for using firearms are very different from the laws of safety for using a knife even though both sets of laws emanate from the same Principle of Safety. In fact Laws of Safety are so specific that when it comes to working with fire, they change depending upon the kind of fuel one is using to generate heat. We have one set of laws if the fuel is wood and different laws if the fuel is gasoline, cooking gas or if we use an electric stove.

It is very important to bear in mind this fundamental difference between Principles and Laws. Principles are Universal but Laws are not. As circumstances change, the Laws that emanate from the underlying Principle may change but the Principle never changes. 
Laws and rules which are specific to a particular activity vary with different activities even though all the different laws emanate from the same Principle that control the type of activity as in the example of safe conduct discussed above. Principles are Universal and operate 24/7. Laws, rules and systems are not universal and operate only when any activity controlled by them manifests.

So from the above we can see that: 
· Principles are higher than Laws, rules and systems and are the source of and transcend Laws, rules and systems. 
· Principles are universal and operate 24/7. Laws, rules and systems are not.
· The same Principle can support different laws, rules and systems depending upon the materials used in performing the action i.e. the source of fire when cooking.

So whenever the situation changes and there is a clash between Principles, Laws, rules and systems, we should change the laws, rules and systems so that they reflect the Principle in the new circumstances.

So when one is trying to balance the Spiritual and the material in one's life, one has to understand Spiritual Principles and know how to reflect them in material life.

So the first requirement for balancing the Spiritual and Material in one's life is to embrace the Principle: "Whenever there is a clash between Spiritual and the material values, always choose the Spiritual over the material". This is reflected in the teachings of Christ when He said words to the effect, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy mind and all thy soul…" and also, "Render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and render unto God that which belongs to God."

The second requirement to balance the Spiritual and the material is to be recognize the importance of the Universal Principle of Surrender.

Without surrender life would not exist. The reason we can breathe is because of the mutual surrender of the air between ourselves and the atmosphere. When we inhale, the atmosphere yields the air we need and when we exhale we return the air to the atmosphere. Without this mutual surrender between ourselves and the atmosphere, life would not begin, nor can it be sustained. Unless the seed surrenders to its source the soil, it cannot begin to live life as a tree.

We are led and controlled by that which we surrender to and we surrender to whatever we are attracted to. If we surrender to alcohol we will be controlled by alcohol. If we surrender to drugs, we will be controlled by drugs. Unfortunately most of us are attracted to our desires and so surrender to them. So we are controlled by our desires and lead a life of suffering because as Buddha discovered and taught, all desires end in suffering. If we surrender to hate we will be controlled and led by hate and we will follow it to its bitter end. If we surrender to Truth we will be controlled and led by Truth which will illuminate our lives and make them peaceful. So you have to be very conscious what it is that you are surrendering your life to. Because that which you surrender to is what will control you and what you will follow, experience and eventually become.

This brings us to the third important requirement for balancing the Spiritual and material in our daily life. The third requirement is to focus on who we are Being. You have to Be first before you can become. Becoming is the coming of the Being. You cannot become who you are not. You can only become who you are. But most of us are not taking the time to focus on who we are being. We are so busy doing things that we do not take the time to focus on our Being. It is recorded that Christ said words to the effect, "Be ye Perfect as our Father in Heaven".

If you will notice your daily routine, you will observe that from the moment you wake up in the morning you are focused on doing various chores i.e. getting ready to go to work, cooking breakfast, commuting to work, school etc. During the day you are busy doing what it takes to survive and when you return home you are busy doing other things. How many of us are taking the time to focus on who or what it is that we are being. We are called Human Beings not Human doings. Yet because we are so focused on doing various chores, we are living as human doings and not human beings.

So in brief, in order to balance the Spiritual and the material in our daily lives, we have to understand Spiritual Principles and know how to reflect them in our daily activities. To do that we have to:
· Give First Value to the Spiritual over the Material.
· Surrender to the Divine.
· Focus on our Being.

There are Seven Principles of Right Surrender that will enable us to surrender our will to the Divine Will. These have been explained in fair detail in my book, The Journey of Life Eternal. Once these Seven Principles of Right Surrender are understood and practiced, then one is ready to learn the 7 Principles of Karma Yoga and "How to receive God Guidance through Force of Circumstances."

Bahram R. Shahmardaan, PhD