Be in the world but not a part of it
In the world we can be compared to the householder and the shrine room. While the householder visits his shrine room, he is full of devotion. He offers some flowers, lights incense, mumbles a short prayer, prostrates himself and comes out to once again be a person of the world. He is a "normal" person if he does so. If he takes his devotion out of the shrine room, he becomes "abnormal". People would wonder what calamity had befallen him that he had turned God wards.
What then is the solution? Internal change. Sri Ramakrishna has advised us to meditate in the mind, in a corner of the room, and in the forest. That is, to keep our spiritual efforts to ourselves and not make a show of it. This is the best attitude to adopt. Do you want to be of the world or do you want to belong to the Lord? Ask yourself this vital question whenever you are at the crossroads.
Do not be disheartened with your mistakes. Remember, there is not a single human being on this earth who is cent per cent perfect. The wise know how to learn from their mistakes and not repeat them. Use prayer to strengthen your resolve to fight your imperfections. It is not a disaster if you fall; it is a disaster if you cannot rise to walk again.
Spend some time alone, in a shrine or with nature. This is not only refreshing but also spiritually enervating. Think of yourself and your relationship with the world. Reflect on how the world is impermanent. Reflect on how the world goes on despite the fact that millions die every day. Reflect on how the world would not stop even if you die. Reflect on how soon the world would forget you once you were gone. Reflect on how despite knowing these facts too well, you give so much importance to the world.
Then realize your loneliness. Reflect on how fragile is the security that you think is your birthright. What would happen if you suddenly lose your job? What about getting maimed in an accident? What about losing your parents, your wife, your children? Your body and mind too can give you notice at any time, without warning. Slowly realize how much you take things for granted. Reflects on how you waste time in useless activities that do nothing to solve your real problem.
You are not of the world; you are not of your parents, friends, wife or children. They can all do without you. Now try to realize your REAL relative. Meditate, "I am not of the world, I have no one to call my own, I am not the body, I am not the mind, then who am I?" Then imagine a deep inner voice proclaiming, "I AM THE PURE ALL PERVADING, DEATHLESS, ALL KNOWING, BLISSFUL ATMAN." Go deep into meditation, be a witness to the ordinary thoughts, watch them arise and fall, till your mind becomes silent. Do not even think of the silence for your mind has been annihilated. Merge into the awareness of existence till the awareness too goes away. You are left with an expansive void.
Imagine the boundaries of your body mind and emotions dissolving as you expand and become one with the vastness. You will be filled with peace. For the first time in your life you will realize what security is. You will come to know about the deathless nature of your existence. Your bonds with the world will weaken; your devotion to the Lord will grow. You will know that you are one with God. You are forever resting in His lap. The separation is but an illusion meant to be broken.
Make this your daily routine. Be dissatisfied if you cannot practice. Yearn for the communion with the spirit. Slowly this aspect of your life will coat all your activities. You will continue working but with the real knowledge within you. You will not be afraid of the world anymore. You will constantly feel the Lord's presence within you. You will realize that the world is a bridge to cross, not a campsite to sit and rest.