The Secret Ingredient
If you wish to realize your fullest human potential, to live from your heart, calm your mind, and expand your spiritual capacity, it’s not the hours you spend in meditation that matter most: It’s your attitude.
Be it meditation, writing a letter, or even making a sandwich, the attitude with which we work shapes our inner being. In any task, what we do accounts for 5 percent, and the remaining 95 percent is the attitude with which we do it.
You acquire your attitudes through your upbringing and life experiences. You also inherit some of your attitudes from your parents. You can also actively cultivate attitudes. How you think or feel about something or someone is guided by your attitude. Attitudes are so ingrained in us that we aren’t aware of how they shape our destiny. In fact, your life is an expression of your attitudes.
Your active focus on cultivating beneficial attitudes helps to accelerate your progress in your spiritual journey. Think what happens when you are digging a well for water. You dig from the top and keep digging deeper (outside in), while the water under the earth is also gushing up to meet the surface (inside out). When it comes to your spiritual journey, the outside in is your cultivating attitudes, and the inside out is the meditation practice doing its work. The two work in tandem.
What are some attitudes that we should cultivate? Why these attitudes specifically? There are three core attitudes that will serve you as you elevate your consciousness, which I call the mother tincture attitudes.
The Mother Tincture Attitudes
In some forms of medicine, there is the idea of a mother tincture. It is the base formulation from which other medicines of varying potency are created. Some core attitudes are like the mother tincture, from which other attitudes emerge. If you can master these mother tinctures, they will lay a strong foundation for your inner development and support you in your day-to-day affairs.
The three mother tincture attitudes are:
• Sense of urgency
Sense of Urgency
In any endeavor, a sense of urgency is crucial. It is the first step to creating change. Without a sustained sense of urgency, efforts become lukewarm, and complacency sets in. In your spiritual journey, a sense of urgency helps you focus on your priorities in the present.
Make a habit of asking yourself this question: “What’s the most important thing to do in this moment?” It will help you re-center and cultivate a sense of urgency toward your goal. As urgency increases, your eagerness to get to the goal also increases. Questions such as “What am I here for?” “What do I need to do?” and “What is my goal?” become more frequent. Each time these questions surface in your mind, they leave a ripple of restlessness in your consciousness.
But don’t worry— the restlessness I am writing about is nothing like when you are late for a flight or your takeout is delayed. Neither is it the unhealthy restlessness that leads to anxiety or despair. This is spiritual restlessness. It propels you toward the soul’s true purpose: to grow and evolve. If you have been in love, recall the restlessness with which you waited for your lover. Amplify this many times, and you can get a whiff of the restlessness I talk about.
The spiritual restlessness created in your meditation finds an ally in the sense of urgency you cultivate. Together, they help you stay focused on the goal. Alertness, initiative, and agility are natural outcomes of a sense of urgency.
Now, be mindful that urgency is not desperation. Urgency is a positive driving force you create, but desperation is a knee- jerk reaction grounded in fear or scarcity. A sense of urgency helps you focus on making progress toward the goal daily, whereas desperation creates a flurry of activity that fatigues you.
A sense of urgency helps you counter inner entropy and creates protection against a lukewarm approach to life.
Humility is the most sublimated state of ego. Humility is not flattery or servility. Instead, humility is a sign of great self- awareness, where you are aware of your smallness in front of a much bigger ideal. Such awareness gives you a feeling of insignificance that helps you grow. A humble person is respectful by nature and cultivates reverence in one’s heart. Just as a tree laden with fruit bends naturally under the weight of its gifts, a human being bearing spiritual fruit becomes increasingly accessible to one and all.
Humility attracts grace. When a low- pressure area is created in the atmosphere, the wind rushes in to fill the void. In the same way, when you create space within by sublimating the ego, you create a low- pressure area in the heart, which is then filled with grace. When there is humility within, grace descends automatically. And grace is a catalyst for inner progress.
Long- drawn faces, gloomy moods, and irritable behaviors stretch the journey. But a song in the heart, a smile on the lips, and a spring in the step make the journey livelier. Cultivate an attitude of liveliness.
Become livelier, more cheerful. Carrying the baggage of sadness, sorrow, and unhappiness will not work. How long would you like to carry that sadness with you? Is sorrow that precious? Is it worth storing it in your beautiful heart and burdening it? Moreover, in almost all cases, the reason for sadness will always be another person, who is also God’s creation. To bring about transformation, be livelier. Throw away the deadwood that fixates you. Stay pliable in spirit. Emotional and mental flexibility comes from the openness of the heart. A sad, heavy heart cannot stay open. Only a lively heart is open and flowing.
Excerpted from Spiritual Anatomy by Kamlesh D. Patel. Copyright © 2023 by Kamlesh D. Patel. Reprinted with permission of Balance Publishing, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. All rights reserved.