Divine intelligence is expressed everywhere. The nature of this universe is that everything in this universe depends on everything else for its existence. You are not separate from anything or anyone. That is what is meant by the saying, “There is just one without a second.” Until we realize this, we are not going to be truly enlightened.

As an evolved human being, you come to understand that this whole universe exists for you to use, evolve and grow. But using it does not mean exploiting it. Rather, it connotes seizing the opportunities that present themselves in all aspects of creation to evolve, grow and gain the experience that you are other than all of these manifest phenomena. Even though you are a physical specimen and part of the manifest world, you are not limited to just your mind, body, intellect and emotions. This entire manifestation exists for you to realize this absolute truth. Your actual experience of this world is an aberration or, in other words, a misreading of the one without a second, the unitive state in which all things co-exist. Your experience of this world is limited by the finite veils of senses, mind, intellect, body and emotions.

A perfect example of this realization arises when Arjuna is placed in what he deems a conundrum as he is about to engage in battle. His duty is to fight and kill. Yet, if he identifies with the killing, employing reasoning like “I am killing and I am fighting,” then he is creating karma and will have to reap the fruits of it. He will suffer from all kinds of trauma and guilt associated with war and carnage. But if he understands that he is part of the divine play in action and that he is just acting in his defined role of warrior for the righteous, then he has an opportunity to evolve and grow. On a higher level of understanding, no soul is dying. It is just the divine play in action and everyone is part of that play.

Those who understand this fundamental principle realize that they are free from karma, cause and effect of their actions. It is only by involving yourself in the play that you come to realize it is not the actual reality.

For instance, to come to a more basic level, if you are studying the mind, you learn how to control it. Soon you come to believe that you are a great raja yogi, a true master of the mind. How would you know you have control over your mind unless you can observe it in activity in your everyday work? It is in the observance of the mind’s every day meandering that you come to realize how clumsy, rambling, insensible and irrational many of your thoughts tend to be. Activity reflects the state of your mind. If you just sit and observe the mind without performing any action, then nonsense is in essence observing nonsense. It is like a computer: garbage in equals garbage out. Without any action, this garbage feels that it is supreme because there is nothing to compare it to. So when people with no awareness and understanding profess that they go within and find peace, what is it that they actually find? Just garbage! Why? Because they haven’t gone through any process of purification which necessarily involves action.

So the world is an arena in which you are fighting the battle of life, which is really the battle of your own mind. You are engaged in a battle of wits between your lower nature and higher nature. If you reach a certain level in your evolution and awareness, you are able to observe your own mind in action.

An integral part of this process is the need to challenge yourself. Unless you measure yourself against other competent people, you don’t know what level of excellence you have achieved.
You need to challenge yourself in all areas of your life, even in gardening. For example, I never went to school to learn gardening. Nobody taught me how to do it either. For me, it is just common sense. There are weeds, ants and insects, which all challenge your mind. It is not that weeds or insects are bad but rather they present a challenge for you. You find out different ways of working with those challenges by asking other people and experimenting. Curiosity moves you forward in life. Some people just give up and resign themselves to a garden that won’t grow. These are people that never achieve anything in life. There are challenges in all aspects of life. People call them obstacles but I call them challenges. If you see it as a challenge, you try to overcome it. If you see it as an obstacle, you tend to leave it.

God gave you the gift of intelligence and all the equipment necessary to overcome challenges, to rise above them and to be victorious. So you should use that ingenuity to your advantage. That is at the essence of yoga.