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Summary of Question:Want The Most Of Both Worlds
Date Posted:Sunday, 5/20/2001 6:16 PM MDT

i am a very strong believer in God, but sometimes I feel that I want the most of both worlds--both the material and spiritual. Is this wrong? I know I shoudln't be attatched to anything in this world because it is all temporary, and only takes you further away from The Almighty. I should only have a thirst for naam, but I feel case you don't understand what I mean I'll give you an example: I want to be spiritual, and I want to remember God as often as I can but sometimes I want to do that but I want to look good at the same time. I want to try different styles in clothes and hair and I think that that might be taking me away from what my ultimate mission in life. Please take this very seriously, I know it might sound very dumb because everything is so contradictory...but I feel really bad. I am Hindu, and I have read the Gita many times. It says in there that one who restricts himself from the material world but still dwells upon it is called a pretender. in other words, that's bad too. so i can't

just restrict myself either. what do i do? I'm really confused if you can't tell...can you please answer my question and help me on this matter because it has been troubling me for some time. Thank you.


Sat Siri Akal Ji.
First of all the quandry you are feeling is not at all dumb or unusual, especially for young people who are trying to establish a direction in life. So please don't beat yourself up about it! Know that at some level this quandry faces everyone who cares at all about a spiritual life.

I know you are Hindu, but I can only reply as Sikh, hope you don't mind. Siri Guru Granth Sahib teaches us the CHASING after wealth and the decorations of the outer body are superficial attachments. We get caught up in them ('they are 'maya') and forget that our real purpose is to remember and serve God (and there are MANY ways to do those!). So what I am trying to say here is work on being DETACHED from fashions. Your real decoration is the decoration of your spirit, through remembrance of God and serving others. I am not saying look like a slob! I am saying that putting ALL your focus into how you look outside does nothing for your spirit or soul.

Also, this kind of practice is just that: practice, or discipline. The last thing you should do is guilt-trip yourself.

So, I suggest you start by taking a simple approach to decorating yourself, and set aside time every day to (1) meditate on or recite the Naam, and/or (2) serve others in some concious capacity. Dedicate any service you do to God, and expect no reward. As for how much time for either, start with 11 minutes, and conciously grow the amount of time to 31 minutes over an hour (build up slowly). If you can do this, in time you will find that you care less and less about fashion details and more about your spiritual side. This process happens NATURALLY, and I do not think it will turn you into a spiritual hermit! Moreover, regular practice of the Naam coupled with prayers for guidance will help you establish direction in life, and give you constancy and strength.

I hope this helps you. God bless you.

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