Any “spiritual” method, religion, philosophy or scientific method cannot take a human being into a different consciousness. A human being cannot change his own consciousness by following a method. Life already has a path for us to follow, a path which will change our consciousness when the path is traveled. Thus, any religion, philosophy or scientific method are only part of our unique path and not the elixir that will take us to our idealized destination.
In “spirituality,” the ideal destination is called “illumination,” “self-realization,” “God realization,” etc.
When following a method, our minds are already biased towards a particular belief or ideal. There is no guarantee of “arrival” but only “strong faith” is required.. we are told. That becomes the belief to hang onto.
Life does not necessarily move according to the information in our minds.
Therefore, there cannot be “pure” observation unless there is emptiness first.
Empty from beliefs, pre-conceptions, mind driven ideas, opinions, guesses, inferences.
To be able to see “newness,” means to experience emptiness.
When empty, the quality of observation is non-judgmental.
Emptiness is not a method, for there are no steps to take someone there. There is a need to unlearn what we think we know, not by denying or by labeling that knowing as “bad;” but by realizing that those things which at one point had usefulness, are no longer needed.
“I” will not be able to perceive Life in a different way while all the past beliefs and opinions are still fresh in my mind.
That realization will happen when we are ready. It is at that point when we truly start our “Life walking” path of awakening, as seekers of ourselves.
Some years back, I recall living in a small town in India for about a month. I did not know anyone there. I recall that I was amazed not to see toilet paper around. When I asked a local how do they clean themselves after their “business,” he said to me: “With our hand.”
With surprise and some sort of disgust I said: “Really???” and he responded: “Really” in an affirming way… noting my uneasiness.
The attitude of disgust and revolt is a rejection. That idea of rejection and disgust for a body part is a strong belief.
In some of my vacation trips when I go through different airports, I observe how toilet paper piles up in the bathroom trash with blood in it as well as excrement. Perhaps that is the other extreme, the compulsive behavior to clean yourself up “really good” even if you hurt yourself.
What is the teaching of this story?
To observe my own reaction. In that way I will know my own “hang ups,” beliefs and attitudes. To become aware of my own attitude of rejection to something or someone is to awaken to the knowledge of my own personality.
I could belittle one tradition of another part of the world, to emphasize how civilized “I am.” Then that experience becomes a way to support the strength of my own ego and to forget about the intricacies of my own persona.
When there is emptiness, observation takes place in a non-judgmental way… that is one way to learn without trying to.
That observation has the intelligence and sharpness to cut the threads of beliefs, to freed ourselves from our own mental knots.