You extract it from the air around you by breathing in and out using your lungs.
Brilliant pieces of equipment, the lungs. Not much to look at really: just two pink, spongy bags connected to knobbly, moist pipes. But you never see them. Hardly ever think about them. They will go on working whether you think about them or not – even at night.
Question: Which is more important – oxygen or your lungs? It’s a dilemma you won’t be confronted with, but just theoretically, which is the more essential of the two for your survival?
You need oxygen, of course. Without it you’d die pretty fast. But what extracts it from the air and delivers it to your bloodstream which, in turn, delivers to your entire body, is your lungs.
They are both essential.
What you want is oxygen. What you need to get it is your lungs.
One is upeya, or the goal; the other is upaya, the means of achieving the goal.
Spirituality is like oxygen for the soul.
The atomic fragment of the divine craves the spiritual atmosphere just like the body craves the life-giving fresh air.
Spiritual organisations are like the lungs. Never pretty to look at, but they do a good job in extracting and preserving spirit from the world of matter. More than that, they help deliver it to us wherever we may be.
What we want is spirituality. What we don’t want is any type of organisation, thanks very much.
Nobody becomes nourished at the deepest level of reality just by other human beings organising themselves into some kind of structure.
Yet curiously, when people come together to extract, conserve, refine and deliver authentic spiritual power – and even when they do that in the form of an ‘organisation’ – then we become nourished.
ISKCON is one such organisation. From the outside, a mere gathering of human beings in some kind of system or structure. Pink, baggy, moist, spongy, knobbly, and sometimes unattractive.
But get yourself connected in the right way and you’ll feel that spiritual fresh air rushing into your soul.