Reading further in Conversations with Maharishi, Volume 2, a key point is raised. Maharishi notes that vigorous activity strengthens silence. He observes that when we use multiple senses simultaneously, it requires a centre of silence. This is very evolutionary.
But activity also adds stress which reduces clarity. Thus, we end up moving at an “ant’s” speed. But it still means that simply living life well is very evolutionary and will eventually lead to spiritual awakening.
If we add effortless meditation to the equation, then we reduce stress and increase the connection to silence. This considerably speeds up the process. But it is speeding up the natural process already taking place. It is not the meditation doing it but rather assisting it.
The key is silence and activity both. Not just all activity. But neither retiring to a dark cave. A cave may allow us to go deep into silence but this will typically not make it strong but instead ungrounded and flaky. Then our activity is poor. So any retreat time should be grounded with lots of active time. If it doesn’t hold up to activity, then more activity is needed, more grounding.
Life in the world is not an enemy of spiritual growth. It is spiritual growth.
Learning to be in the world well can be a bit of process. Learning to be OK with what is, yet change what can be changed. Learning to live well but not in excess – finding the happy medium. Learning to give in healthy ways. Learning not to resist what arises but instead find a way to process it through and away. Learning what you feed with your attention grows, so choose what gets your attention well. Learning to find what you need within. Learning who you are, under all the thoughts and feelings.
Life can be a wonderful school if we’re open to the lessons.