The significance of “achievement” in spirituality

Many are inspired by gurus, saints and self proclaimed self-realized individuals, in their search for “enlightenment,” a “higher state,” etc. for they want to achieve that state for themselves.

Why?
Because these individuals think that to become “better” and achieve something as they have done in society, is “good.” Their role models fit that aspiration.
We may think that such goal is laudable, that it is something “good” to pursue and encourage the seeker to “obtain” that, to “achieve” it, so he can be a model too and tell us “how to get it” for ourselves later on.

Observe the desire to achieve. Observe the typical “modus operandi” in action: It is the same “method” that we have learned to DO and accomplish things in “Life.” We believe in “hard work” and steady effort to “achieve” this aspiration of “enlightenment” as well, by following the same.

Nevertheless, “spirituality” or the art of living Life in fulfillment; doesn’t follow the ways we have learned through centuries of conditioning.
Until we don’t realize that, we will be repeating the same pattern. A “higher state of BEING” is not like getting a job, or working hard through endless repetition of methods. As a matter of fact, our desires for such achievement, are of no consequence. It is not like what we have been taught.

Still, the machinery is at work in search for profit. Books, classes and other sources of information are sold to “help” the seeker to “achieve” his goals.
That is snake oil. However, it has a placebo effect according to the depth of belief.

Here is the premise to understand: The same ego, the same “I,” the same “mind” trying to achieve something “great” such as a higher state of BEING is the one required to melt away.
Thus, isn’t that desire to achieve something, coming from the same ego-mind which needs to wither away? “Oh Ok…then, I will achieve and then wither the ego away…” If it was like that, then everyone could be self-realized in “3 simple steps.”

A “higher state” is not achievable. For there will be no “I,” there to achieve. Further, a “higher state” only happens according to the need of time to those whose life experience calls for that. That “event” is beyond our DOING.

Let me be more explicit: The “I,” the “mind,” the “ego,” achieves through action, through DOING something. Observe how religions and spiritual paths have many rituals, commandments and practices thought to “better” a person.
However, DOING does not change BEING. DOING can only change behavior but never BEING.
No matter how many times we repeat some “practice,” BEING cannot change. BEING does not change due to the strong desire of the “ego-mind” to “succeed.” Spirituality is in the realm of BEING first, not DOING to cover BEING.

If the above is clearly understood, then we will face the “reality” that truly AWARENESS is the trademark of a conscious existence, which is not concerned in bringing change to itself, as change naturally happens; but rather OBSERVES, is AWARE of how it happens and naturally allows for it to happen at its own time. ALLOWING is key, when ego has been taught to control.

It is of paramount importance to understand what AWARENESS is, but the catch is that it cannot be explained or defined. There is the dictionary definition, but that is not the EXPERIENTIAL, complete, unmistakably meaning. As the experience of awareness happens and we become more conscious, then we will know.

In the meantime and until that happens, there are tons of “self-help” books, classes and information to help us “achieve” our spiritual goals; whether that is “heaven,” “self-realization,” or some other goal desired by the ego driven mind. It is good to get “busy.”  🙂

Yes, there is something for everyone.

The “truth,” “facts,” and “beliefs.”

Any seeker looking to find “truth,” is only using the conditioned mind to understand Life. That cannot happen, for the conditioned mind has parameters to look, to search, and those parameters are very small. Life is immense.

Any “spiritual” class or talk given by someone deemed to be “advanced” is bound to be misunderstood. Those words cannot be taken literally. Those can only be small pointers. “Truth” cannot be put into a paragraph. No one can ever have the objective “truth.” We can only have facts.

What is the difference between facts and truth?
Facts are coming from the same parameters accepted by a group of people or society and thus, seemingly objective. Truth is subjective, according to experience. So, there is “my” truth. To find our “truth” is all there is.
If we say that “truth” is according to fact or reality, we are merely sugar coating a fact, for the word “truth” has authoritarian connotation.

Person A pulled the trigger and killed person B. That fact could be proven.
Person C died due to “mysterious” causes (meaning unknown.) Some say it was medical negligence, others go for some sort of sorcery, witchcraft. That cannot be proven. However, Life will bring consequences for the ones killing others. Since we are part of Life, we cannot escape Life.

My last sentence may seem like some fact, but it is only a belief unless we have the experience. Then, that becomes our truth. It doesn’t become a fact.
Is God a fact?
God is someone’s truth, but a belief for those without the experience.

In our society, we value facts. Life for the ones living in awareness, is about finding our own truth. That is a continuous task. Those who make a philosophy out of their own findings, are trying to make a fact out of their own truth. Followers will believe that to be the unquestionable “truth.”

Living Life in awareness and learning to swim, has many things in common.
Swimming is not floating. Yet, some who can only float will call that swimming. There are some who can swim, but their movement is not efficient and enjoyable. Are they truly swimming?

Someone who is perfecting his swimming style, could watch many videos from the “experts,” but until we are able to become self aware and catch our own movements by feeling them, then we will able to recognize some of the words given by the “experts.” That recognition through experience is knowing.

The bottom line is that each swimmer will need to find out what actually works for them. That is to find our “truth” at every moment and to be authentic, true to ourselves. That is honesty.

The path of honesty is not easy, but there is fulfillment in that journey. Nevertheless, many prefer to follow “the truth,” as given by someone else and believe in it.
A believer does not have facts or truth, but only a belief.

Politics is violence

“Ideologies can never be wise; ideologies are always idiotic.”
J. Krishnamurti – Public Talk 1 in Santa Monica, California, 16 March 1974

Any social movement or group believing in how society “should work” has an ideology which separates it from another group. Groups make up parties which have their particular “isms” which bring separation. In theory, there should be consensus, but practically there isn’t.
Therefore, politics is not concerned with the common good, but rather; the interests of particular group or groups.

What is the common good? It is inclusive. As our openness of perception expands; we will observe that the existence of countries is a way of separation, for each one has their own ideology, traditions, religions and plethora of other ancient mental images to protect. If 2 countries are professing the same ideology, then a distinctive flavor of it will foster separation. Democracy is a “holy” word. In theory it should be the same in every democratic country. However, practically; it means different things in different places. It is implemented in different ways as to finally dwindle into something unrecognizable, but yet the word “democracy” is used for it brings the stigma of “righteousness.”

Human political activities have damaged the world we all live in. Those activities are fueled by economical gain even though other beings (animals, plants, etc. ) are typically annihilated, even when knowing that the survival of all depends on being inclusive of all.
This inclusiveness is not some theory, some definition which could be easily made into another ideology. This inclusiveness has the root of empathy which solely depends upon the individual.

If John picks up a piece of paper from the ground and throws it into a garbage can without further incentive, but the motivation to help the common environment, then that is for the common good. If John does it because there is a tax incentive, then the activity may be for the common good, but it lacks empathy. Without empathy we are just another machine. A robot. Without incentives or economical gain, John will not observe around and help.

Every action is political, isn’t it?
Not necessarily. The element of empathy for the common good is what makes the difference. Whoever acts without political incentives with the intention of being true to himself, is acting without political agendas. That sort of action is not thought out. It cannot be defined. It happens in the “now” as Life happens.

But that is a dream! We cannot implement that to make any real changes in the world!
That is not the concern of empathy. It is not that everyone should do something when it is not in their hearts to do it. But those who feel it, will. That is enough. This is not a “majority win” game.

Politics has done and it continually does so much harm to our environment.
The environment, the world is one, but we keep dividing it, we keep separating it: Countries, races, religions, animal species, etc. We do not see how everything affects the common habitat. We are only concerned in creating more “jobs,” more “profit.” Greater “living standards.” A greater “GDP.” Where will the “jobs” be when there is no place left? Politics will give the illusion of a solution now. But we pay for it later. That has been the political agenda.

Politics in itself is a tool. However, it is used by egocentric, greedy individuals in a violent way. The outcome preserves inequality of wealth distribution and resources in our world.

What to DO?
BEING empathy. BEING compassionate. BEING concerned with the common good.
That “solution” could be implemented ASAP. It depends on each one of us.
Unavoidably, any political law made to fix a “problem” will create additional “problems.” It will affect some groups over others.

… But that will not “save the planet.”
No. But when it is time to go due to our global negligence; some will go rich and greedy, desperate to live and buy more time when there is none. Others, will go in a peaceful manner due to their compassion.
“You see, in their last moments people show you who they really are.” The Joker (From the movie “Batman the Dark Night.”)
Interesting how we need to wait until the end of the journey to find out. Life has a sense of humor. 🙂

A theist and an atheist are walking the same path.

Theism, monotheism, deism, pantheism and all subsequent “isms” are on the same boat as the denial of those – namely atheists.
It is another duality where opposites, complement as they are part of the same continuity.
At the mental level, we only want the “right” answer. God or gods either exist or he/she/it/ they don’t.
The mental conditioning comes up with reasons “pro” and “against” just like what we have been taught to do and believe to be “right.” We could back up our views with “proof” the ones given by “experts,” scientists, religious leaders, gurus, political figures, actors, etc. That is the same spaghetti sauce we have been eating for centuries.

When we OBSERVE the significance of EXPERIENCES in Life, we could realize that in the world of duality opposites are not “right or wrong.” That is only human conditioned morality, which nonetheless has value in our society but which is away from Life itself. That understanding requires certain openness and “mileage” in Life. Thus, in Life our mental/ intellectual understanding is of little value, when to go through the full experience is what is really required to KNOW.

If the above seems obscure, that is because it is hard to explain. Let me simplify that with something known by most of us.

When I was a child, a believed in Santa Claus. When I became a teenager, I knew the “truth” that he did not exist. When I became an adult however, I became Santa Claus and gave gifts.
That is the full experience in Life. What is the important aspect of Santa Claus? The gift.
Have you seen a child looking forward to open the gift from Santa? Have you seen a child assessing his behavior during the past year, to conclude that he deserves a gift?

Isn’t that child the same person as the teenager and the same as the adult?
Yes, the same but different consciousness. The child accepts the gift. He has experienced the gift. There is no further questioning needed. The teen, rejects the gift, for he wants an answer, “truth;” but unless that person becomes Santa himself, dressing like one and being the one offering gifts to other children; the experience will not be complete and there will not be “true” understanding. At that point for him, whether someone believes in Santa or not, it will not make a difference. There will be complete understanding. Knowledge.

Consciousness is the most important aspect of living Life.
The child and the teenager still lack the complete experience of an adult.
In Life, many will remain with the consciousness of children whereas others will remain as teens. Few become adults in one lifetime with the experiential understanding that an “answer,” the “truth” has no value in the development of human consciousness. Again, no value at all. Experience of the “yes” and “no” does. Most humans are only concerned with “answers.” Life is concerened with consciousness.

The discovery of this life experience, means the world. That happens when we are OBSERVANT, AWARE.
The gift is all that matters: Receive it or reject it. That is the duality. To go beyond that, is to BE the one offering it.

“Good and Bad” are not separate.

A duality is understood as two separate options when truly is one line of continuity. I am not speaking about the “morality” of what we perceive as “bad” or “wrong” for that is a human value. I am pointing out that our perception of a duality as separate, opposite sides is an illusion in the “reality” of Life.  We need language to identify a side of that duality, but if we consider one side valuable and despise or reject the other, we are setting ourselves up for suffering.  Language is an identifier but let us forget the connotation that it brings, if we want to go deeper. For example, the word “snake” brings a connotation according to tradition or cultural conditioning (devil, penis, medicine- caduceus-, etc.) if we are influenced by that, we cannot look at the reality of the snake appearing in front us. The mind and its conditioning will give us an illusory reality.

Let me illustrate with the duality of life and death.

The weather is getting hotter because of the increase of carbon dioxide emissions. Superficially, we could say that “Australia is one of the largest per capita emission of carbon dioxide in the world; “ and come up with a “reason” for dead kangaroos and other animals there at this time, due to the recent fires. However, Life does not make distinctions of nationalities, which are man made illusions, part of the conditioning.  Is Global warming “good or bad”?

Our moral conditioned mind will say “ It is bad.” Yet, our human “progress” depends on it. In a nutshell, the “economy needs global warming to thrive.” More cars, more coal powered electrical stations, more energy dependent sources on petrol and oil which are used in greater quantities as human population increases. 
What we DO is in contradiction with what we say. It is called politics. 

Do we see how something which we apparently call “bad” could be turned into “good” after a couple of turns in the streets of Life? We could change our perspective of “good and bad,” due to mass media and political pressures, but we cannot change the consequences.

Every belief and support in something labeled as “good” will bring its “bad” effect as well. Observe the current international situation between Iran and the USA.  We are used to take sides based on our assesment of  the “good and bad;” however, ego manifested as desire for control, is the “real” cause to observe and that ego is more important in the “normal” human mind than to respect Life. No matter what religious or moral teachings we may have superficially accepted about protecting Life; sooner or later the “truth” of who we ARE will come out. Then, the question of choosing countries and pair them with a label such as “good or bad” seems very infantile. Another example? it is said that the belief in God has brought some social order but many lives have been taken as well due to that belief.  Our conditioning will follow what mainstream teaches us, but every belief has 2 sides which cannot be taken apart: To separate a duality to support one side and reject the other is insane; however, it is the “bread and butter” of our spiritual/religious/moral teachings.

Many years ago while I was running, a car hit a deer. The deer could hardly walk and went near the bushes to the side of the road. I looked for help as I didn’t know what to do. A couple of firefighters came with a security guard. They offered shooting the deer with a gun and “end its misery.” The firefighters “jokingly” (but seriously) were talking about eating the deer afterwards. I was in my late twenty’s at the time. I wanted for the deer to be in a tranquil space and asked for help because I thought the deer could get well. Nevertheless, I had to forcefully convince the people around me to let the deer go naturally. The “help” I brought, didn’t help in my view. I could see the face of despair of the deer. I couldn’t understand how some people were not sensible to pain and suffering. There was no empathy. Their “economic interests” were more important. From the time the deer was hit until it finally died, about 1 hour lapsed. I saw the deer die, and then the “helpful” people helped themselves.

Now, I understand that other humans will see Life with different eyes. Where some see despair and anguish; others see an opportunity to eat. Who is to say that my view is “good” and theirs “bad”? Judgment is out of the way in Life. There will be consequences for all players. No matter what we believe is “good or bad.” Life is about the experience of consequences. Are we able to OBSERVE the consequences of our own actions? As a consequence of this incident, I developed a trauma: I had to fight with others to impose my views which I thought were “right,” “compassionate,” etc. Superior than other people’s views. Also, the witnessing of pain and suffering in others affected me as if it was my own. Empathy is different than suffering for others. Their experience is not mine.  Those traumas were with me for a long time.  I am sure other consequences were experienced by the other “players” of the deer scene, although they may not be aware of that.

Beyond duality, there is the common good which cannot be perceived by the conditioned mind. It is only felt when there are no reasons or interests at stake. 

Life cannot be understood by the mind

The mind is a repository of information, memories. It is almost like a hard drive, being filled with videos (MP4) of our recorded life experiences, with the additional “feature” of being able to extrapolate assumptions based on the stored information. However, some information “leaks” as years go by. It is unreliable.

A “normal” person will use those memories and information as a source of “knowledge” and apply it to unknown situations, by assuming that existing trends or past life experiences, will continue as they had. We use Life experiences, the past; to forecast the future and new situations. We can label that as “ thinking” or “reasoning” and feel safe; but notice that this process is as good as flipping a coin to make a “choice,” for truly Life is completely unexpected. The threads of Life situations escape our mental perception.

A person living in the “mind,” will believe that “he” (“I”) is the mind. When Life throws something “new,” then the mind will retrieve information and use that info as bona fide source of action.

Trusting only the contents of the mind is a superficial way to meet Life. There are 2 or more paths opening in our Life at the same time, which one do we follow? That could be a hard “decision.” We have been taught to weigh the “pros” against the “cons.” We are merely speculating. We don’t know. What is perceived as “bad” could be necessary in our Life path in order to grow; but our “reason” may not see that.
Thus, we can flip a coin and odds are the same as “thinking through it.” However, we will be hesitant to do it, for “thinking” gives the false sensation of having some control over circumstances. We are great believers of the mind.

The mind is a static mechanism meant to recall past experiences. There is no creativity in it. Through it we only perpetuate the “same old thing.” That is the false sensation of security that we embrace.

The mind wishes to understand Life. How could it be? A “machine” built to keep, process and understand only pictures and data will feel intimidated when a “real” movie of Life is in front. The mind takes a picture, analyzes it, dissects it and comes up with some theory as to how the next movie frame “should be.” Otherwise, it gets a disappointing feeling, even a bitter taste: A trauma is made. However if the forecast happens, then ego pops up until the upcoming “failure” brings it down.
Ironically and philosophically, we may conclude that “Life is a bitch and then we die.”

Understanding Life through the mind is futile.  A picture cannot explain the movie. We are spinning our wheels without moving an inch. Life is not meant to be mentally understood but lived. Living is not of the mind, but we assimilate the experience by being observant, quiet which is the way to learn, without making mental conclusions and theories.

When we talk to someone we may hear words and only believe what comes out of her mouth. Those who have a bit more observation, know that the overall feeling, gestures and setting will give a better clue. That “knowing” cannot be put in a book in easy to understand “fool-proof ”steps for everyone to read and “apply.” That “knowing” is more accurate as it fits “reality.”

Tantra moves along those lines. It is the invitation to abandon the mind and its understanding, its signals; which only makes our moves in Life through the path of stored fears. Very predictable, that is lacking creativity.

The very wish to understand Life through the mind, creates the motion of our minds over our hearts. 
We will not dare to OBSERVE the movie of ourselves quietly, while moving in Life. We will be content with a “selfie” and hang on to some belief about that picture, which at the end will be shattered when Life moves beyond that point.

Paradoxically, Life is understood without trying to understand it. That may be the only requisite. That understanding is not of the mind; thus, closer to “what is.”

Our mental conditioning is our own demise

Within the words “reason and logic” our society has built its own way of looking and understanding the world. We say “the world around us” but it is truly within us.

The following has been taught and accepted by the great majority:
“There is good and bad. The “good” needs to prevail over the “bad.” We should strive to become good and eliminate evil completely.”

Most “normal” people will agree with that. After all, it is “logical,” “reasonable;” in a world where good and evil exists, one side has to fight the other and “win.” A logical, but violent deduction from a conditioned mind.
99% of movies, are made to fit that paradigm. We are fed with that idea day and night.

Traditional medicine, observes that paradigm as well. “The body fights against pathogens which are the cause of diseases.” That is the belief. Since pathogens are spread out like soldiers, traditional medicine will send a drug (an internal atomic bomb) to destroy “everything,” the pathogens and the defense mechanisms of the body included. Never mind any side effects and complications.
A person may have deep emotional issues or he may be negligent by eating traditional “fast food” on a regular basis; but we only see bacteria as the logical cause of the disease and we need to fight and “win.”

There are many more examples where the mindset of “us” against “them,” prevails.
Do we see the consequences of that limited view of Life? We have been conditioned to fight as a way of living.

Is a “reasonable” explanation enough to gain our belief? The worship of that little word “reason” is truly limiting our understanding of Life. I am not speaking about society with its “reasons.” I am speaking about Life.
Life is birth and death. Life is ups and downs. Life is our ability to enjoy and to mourn. Life is that empty sensation yearning to be filled with some meaning while still alive. We fill that with beliefs trying to convince ourselves that we are on the “right” track.

In the following ending paragraphs, lies my legacy to the “spiritually minded” future generations:

Life cannot be understood by the mind.
Good and bad are not separated.
A theist and an atheist are walking the same path.
Politics is violence.

What we were taught to believe and take as facts, are not the “truth” we thought they were. Go beyond beliefs. Find out for yourself.
Waking up from the dreamy world hasn’t been easy, but when it is our time; there is nothing we can do about it … but open our eyes.

Will resume writing on January 9, 2020.
Best wishes for the new year! 🙂