Refining and extending our awareness are two important aspects of spiritual progress.

The Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) contains its fundamental beliefs, yet it is always growing in a peaceful manner. It is not about blindly following some dogma, so seeking, discussing, and evolving to meet the needs of the times is encouraged and accepted. There is no such thing as a conflict of interest or an interpretation that is coerced.

By default, human awareness is condensed into a state of self-consciousness. In our minds, we believe that we are different from others and that our thoughts, ideas, worries, and views are superior to or more significant than those of others.

A malignant envious thought is one that is directed against those who have the same or better than one’s own circumstances or who are not suffering to the same extent that the person is experiencing.

Practically speaking, spiritual progress involves actively engaging with these poisons of the mind, recognizing and embracing them, and then working toward attenuating or eradicating them as much as feasible.

The elimination of these toxins leads to the expansion of the circle of inclusion, beginning with the self and progressing to the extended family and friends, then neighbors, fellow citizens and fellow countrymen, and finally all sentient creatures, including the environment.

The four immeasurables, which we practice daily, help us to be continually attentive to the needs of others.

  • Maitri is the quality of being kind and compassionate to all sentient creatures.
  • Karuna is the act of actively alleviating the suffering of others while simultaneously striving to prevent inflicting harm on other people.
  • Mudita is defined as “empathetic delight,” which is defined as “rejoicing in the good actions and happiness of others.”
  • Upeksa = imperturbability – the ability to stay balanced and unaffected by opposing forces, while being non-judgemental and impartial in the face of conflict.

It is a process of “growing the mind” that progresses from A to B along a spectrum, with the ultimate objective of transcendence or freedom as the final result. Some notions are helpful, and they are shown in the figure to the right.

Our thoughts, speech, actions, and the choices we make in life are all examples of cause-and-effect relationships involving qualities and ideals. That “reach us” from the source, crossing the seven planes of existence on their way to “materialize” as our thoughts, speech, actions, and the choices we make in life.

We may travel the same “road” backward to achieve transcendence, which is being totally exposed to the “light of the source,” which manifests in three ways sat-chit-ananda and which manifests in three different ways.