“I am a soul not a body.”
What about the mind?
What about the spirit?
Why some religions and philosophies spend so much of their beliefs in “conquering the mind” or “controlling the mind” if “I am not the mind”?
That is perhaps one of the most important realizations to go beyond the “head” and into the feeling of living Life.
Every word has an opposite.
That is how duality is created in our communication.
Now, that we could see this handicap inherent in the way we “think” (for words are needed to express thoughts) then we could see how plain stupid is the idea of “defining” God, “defining” who I am, “defining” Life, etc.
Do we see that we are using words to express in duality that which is not possible to express through duality?
Do we see how thinking alone cannot bring a different state of consciousness, other than the perception of separation?
Living life in joy is not concerned in the most minimum in defining or conceptualizing Life.
Do not define yourself to be able to change, to flow, to live.
The unity of the body, mind, spirit, soul is artificially divided through thought; when in “reality” it is unity which no label or definition could touch.
Do we see that?
Moreover; the unity of body, mind, spirit, soul is ONE with everything else, for it cannot exist all by itself. Totality.
Do we see that?
Let me put it in another way.
Any thought is doomed to separate what otherwise is not. That is why any “intellectual” cannot “walk his talk” in “spirituality.”
“ Me and God alone.”
That phrase is full of separation. Full of “I.”
Let me put it in yet another way…. 🙂
Thinking and its entire family of beliefs, judgments, assumptions, analysis, logic and reasoning are not the “tools” to live Life in Joy.
I could hear a “black or white” follower saying:
“ Thoughts are bad then. We must make effort not to think.”
That is a gross misinterpretation just as to believe that by denying ourselves from Life’s pleasures and becoming an ascetic or a “renunciate” we could be “better.”
Thoughts are extraordinary tools to live Life in the “office world.”
Integration rather than rejection.
Life’s pleasures are part of the whole experience of living.
Separating pleasure from pain, we have created a duality. Choosing one over the other, we have created an illusion.
There is no separation between pleasure and pain for the experience of one, necessarily leads to the experience of the other.
Just like the experience of hot and cold, light and darkness, good and bad…
Want to feel guilty? Want to ask God for forgiveness?
Make that separation. That is all it takes.
Sharings now, may not be easily digestible. They may not be for “general audiences” anymore.
That is the small print.
Every time the words “I am a soul” are mentioned, there is an inherent separation, a rupture which will be experienced by those located in the consciousness of individuality.
When we add in that consciousness words such as: “I am a soul and not a body,” then automatic negation of the body will appear. For some it could even go to the extreme of denial of everything the body represents.
In the path of the “Life walker,” the first thing we may want to be conscious of, is to be honest with ourselves. That is, to stop lying and denying our “true” perceptions.
Some may “know” that they are “souls” but when the body feels ill, they may realize that the theory behind “I am not the body” may need to be checked. If “I am not the shoe” and the shoe is bothering you , just take the shoe off and continue walking barefooted in joy.
That is not the case with the body.
This mentality of dissecting things, to find out who “we are” is clouded by our language, by thinking and intellectual understanding.
The word “soul” is a concept open to interpretation. To live life pretending that “I am experiencing that interpreted concept” is a self-infused lie.
There is an essence that feels in every human being, we could call it “soul” but that essence is void of personality and individuality.
It is the identification with the body what brings individuality along with the consciousness going at a particular point in time, which creates a personality.
The “soul,” the essence; is like a camera. The camera is meant to take pictures. To take pictures is the nature of the camera. To say “I am a camera” without considering the pictures is of no consequence.
In that analogy, the pictures are what the camera is able to do through its sense organs (body) however, there is a need of a “perceiver.” That “perceiver” is brought about by consciousness.
When someone is “unconscious” the “soul” is there but there is no feeling. Lights out.
That is why consciousness is what every sentient being has in common. Without consciousness the “soul” is nothing, but a dormant sleepy beauty… although eternal.
That is how we could explore consciousness without denying the perception of who “we are.”
Consciousness perceives. That perception may change in time. When a sense of individuality has been created, the mind and thoughts come into the picture to support that idea of “I am.” The ego when supporting that idea, contradicts the free flowing changes in consciousness.
Do we see that?
Therefore, wouldn’t make sense to study, to observe that which supports the idea of “self”? Our emotions, traumatic experiences, judgments and thoughts do not allow that universal consciousness to manifest as it should be according to time.
The kid “who decides” to stop playing with dolls in a natural way; could experience a psychosis if a dogma prescribes that “to play with dolls is good” and it must be done for as long as the kid lives for otherwise, there will be punishment.
That is the religious mentality of fear and punishment. Paradoxically, it is not bad; but necessary for the growth of many, to become aware.
Mathias the wise tree; suggested an easy exercise for conscious living to Ananda.
Here it goes:
“Sit down early in the morning with your palms in your lap facing upwards. Breathe in and out feeling your breath as your stomach inflates and deflates, synchronize your thoughts and feelings to be one along with your breathing.
That is consciousness without movement.
The next step is to put everything together while moving. Be conscious of your breath while walking as well as your thoughts and feelings.
That is all.”
It seems so easy… 🙂
Do we recognize our thoughts? Do we recognize our feelings? Do we know what our breathing is?
There are no concepts in that practice to believe in, nothing to lie ourselves about. Simple as a bird flying high in the sky… 🙂
Duality is a word used by many philosophies and religious beliefs alike. That word is seldom understood practically. Most are just caught up in conceptual understanding, information, history, research, etc. All of that is “good” but paradoxically it is not important if we are looking to open our consciousness.
Heaven and Hell is a well-known duality. There is no way to separate one and the other. To choose heaven over hell is like choosing the day over the night when the practical experience is that both states need to be experienced. Practically, experientially there is no “choosing.”
We cannot experience heaven without knowing what is hell. As a matter of fact, we cannot know “good” unless we know “evil.”
Religions, philosophies and so on have taught us to label one side of the coin as “good,” while rejecting the other side as “bad.”
That is how the whole game of duality in beliefs are in existence:
Pure vs. impure, black vs. white, paradise vs. hell, god vs. satan, Lucky ones vs. unlucky ones, saints vs. sinners, etc.
As we realize now, every rejection means that our consciousness will close down and align into the “black or white” mentality and thus, choices in life.
Because we are rejecting an experience of life and there is no difference between “I” and life.
Here is another “secret formula” 🙂 for those interested in concepts:
Non-duality is Oneness.
The experience of Oneness is included in emptiness.
To be empty means to experience the canvas without paint, the soul.
Nevertheless, if we choose the soul and not the body (duality) we have not experienced the soul.
Because the experience of that soul means non-duality.
In the above “secret” formula all religions and philosophies with their different terminology are included.
The key is inclusion, integration of everything; but through our analytical minds, we only separate.
Where is God in the formula?
You are merged with “him” when you are empty. Isn’t that oneness? 🙂
If God is “love” as the cliché mentions; could love be something different from Oneness? 🙂
If we think that duality is “bad,” we have not understood anything. If we label “hell” as “bad” we have not understood a thing.
All experiences are necessary.
There is no experience that could last forever for everything is change (as mentioned in other articles.)
If we reject something, we get caught up in it.
Ego will make a trauma out of an experience which ego does not like.
That experience will not last forever. It will go away like everything else.
Do we feel sad because everything “goes away”? 🙂
Then, we have not understood anything yet.
We get back into duality again and again, that is separation by creating the emotional states of sadness and happiness.
Life flows. From one perspective (point of reference,) life flows away… that is why it will necessarily come back again. 🙂 That is the game.
Non emotional happiness is non-dual.
That is contentment, joy, elation, bliss… all of those words… but the real thing is beyond the definitions, beyond what ideas, beliefs and dogmas could bring.
Practical openness to life so we could enjoy life:Through our thoughts, feelings, good wishes… actions.
That is all. 🙂
Relying faithfully in the information that our senses transmit is a great way to forget about our eternal nature.
What we perceive with our senses is not necessarily real. As a matter of fact, the outside perception is possible only through a referential entity: ourselves, which is made up by our experiences and thoughts.
This collection of information gathered through generations, make up a collective consciousness, which becomes the agreement of what is “real.”
Quantum physics mentions that what we perceive as matter, our bodies and everything else, which are composed of electrons, are particles and waves of light at the same time.
Please see that any “truth” which explains life as being just “one thing,” is denying the other side of perception.
Our physical eyes allow us to perceive matter. Solid particles which get together and make up bigger elements. Our eyes cannot perceive waves of light, which is the other “reality.”
Aren’t we, matter and energy at the same time?
If we trust in what we perceive as being “true,” we will find out that we are missing a different perspective.
That is why consciousness is not related with outside information, which we cannot truly know; (knowing as “being it” and not information or definitions) but instead is related with the understanding of that which we are. That is “being it.”
Take the thoughts away, take the ideas and beliefs out, take the emotions out. What do you find? 🙂
Look at your face in a mirror.
Take a picture of it.
Look at your face in the same mirror ten years later.
Do you see the change?
Is that change you? 😉
However, we have an inborn “idea” of what beauty is and we compare the past with the present, even though we are never the same. We are always being and becoming.
That idea of beauty is there. Even though we understand that our face in the mirror is not truly us, when we hear someone calling us “ugly,” then we accept that information and behave in a certain way.
We believe to be “ugly” and we start building a complex of inferiority even though we could realize that those changes in our face are not really us. Beauty is a matter of perspective. However, when we call something as “beautiful” we create automatically, that which is ugly. Duality.
Why is it, that we cannot believe in the information that we “clearly” understand, that “I” am not that “face in the mirror”?
Because we are not conscious of who we are. Our eternity, through the recognition of the “reality” of “self and no-self.”
We only understand that mentally or as a belief, as “nice” words, as information.
We could say that we are souls or spirits, but that does not mean a thing when there is no consciousness beyond the information coming from our senses.
To say “I am not the body” is not that useful when the idea of what “I” am instead is something, which “I” have not experienced.
The realization that all information which relies on my sense organs is not necessarily true, will give me the opportunity to look for that “truth” in the only possible place that I could find it, which does not rely in my sense organs, that is in discovering what is “me.”
“Unless the mind, body, and spirit are equally developed and fully integrated, no spiritual peak or state of enlightenment can be sustained. This is why extremist religions and ideologies do not bear fruit. When the mind and spirit are forced into unnatural austerities or adherence to external dogmas, the body grows sick and weak and becomes a traitor to the whole being. When the body is emphasized to the exclusion of the mind and spirit, they become like trapped snakes: frantic, explosive, and poisonous to one’s person. All such imbalances inevitably lead to exhaustion and expiration of the life force. True self-cultivation involves the holistic integration of mind, body, and spirit. Balancing yin and yang through the various practices of the Integral Way, one achieves complete unity within and without. This manifests in the world as perfect equilibrium, and perfect grace.”
Hua Hu Ching Ch 58
In Spirituality to live a balanced and wholesome life, sooner or later there will be the need to observe sexuality as a part of our human experience.
The mind will usually crave for it. When there is craving there cannot be peace. Without serenity, there cannot be balance.
A human being cannot go without food, water or shelter for too long before dying. Those are basic needs, which will bring balance to our existence.
Sexuality may have to be included in that list for some; according to the state of consciousness of many human beings.
When sexuality is observed and faced by a spiritual aspirant, there are many different views.
We have the 2 extremes: No sexuality at all for it is important for the aspirant to experience that craving to overcome it, OR the view where expressing that sexuality is necessary; thus there is no need to overcome anything but just to let ourselves be driven by our cravings. Of course, anything in between those 2 extremes will be available as well.
According to our state of consciousness, we could view sexuality in a few ways:
1.Sexuality is about pleasure. 2. Sexuality is about power over another. 3. Sexuality is about procreation. 4. Sexuality is about intimacy (emotional, physical closeness.) 5. Sexuality is communion.
Needless to say, very few human beings are able to reach sexuality as “communion.” The first 3 ranges are very common, that is the “normal” range. The 4th range, intimacy; requires a sense of commitment.
Why is it that “communion” is not a “normal” experience?
Simply because the inner work which that demands to reform the self, from its own weaknesses and cravings is tremendous. To have a partner in that same state of consciousness is not common either.
That is not “normal.” 🙂
If we look at the 2 extremes of sexual denial or indulgence, both paths will lead to the individual’s exhaustion unless the craving is over. Unless neediness is no longer there. Unless there is no longer an inner fight.
Every spiritual method; every path taken is meant so we can observe ourselves to understand our shortcomings, to see those things which create psychological suffering and more important, to be able to find that balance which will bring the mind, body and spirit together as a unity.
To reach this state of consciousness requires a great dedication to understand the workings of sexuality in ourselves.
It is easy to say “don’t do it.” It is way easier to say: “do it.”
It requires intelligence to understand the inner fight or the overwhelming neediness. To be in harmonious balance.
When a human being acquires that sensibility to be able to observe the self, to become aware of our own needs and tendencies, then that human being will recognize the responsibility of attaining such a state.
Every state forward in consciousness, comes with greater responsibility towards humanity.
In that consciousness, sexuality will no longer be a problem to indulge in or to suppress. The understanding and openness to acknowledge a variety of human beings and approaches to life will be there.
The only thing that will matter in that consciousness, will be our own recognition of where do we belong in that variety, so we could embrace that path and live life with greatest honesty. That is, there will not be a difference between what we say, what we do and what we think. We will be aligned, in balance.
That inner work to unite the fragments of our own personality, is the work of spirituality. Through that sincerity is how life will no longer be separated from us, but life will be “part of us” and those experiences in life will only bring greater clarity about ourselves.
It is in that understanding where our dilemmas in life, will have an answer which cannot be written in a piece of paper, but that could be clearly understood in the clarity of awareness. 🙂
The awareness of being is consciousness.
That awareness could change according to the perception of ourselves, what we believe to “be.”
For instance, if that awareness is of just the body; then our consciousness will dictate that in fact, we are the body. Then, our life will shift into this consciousness. A haircut becomes more important than feeling at peace. A dress becomes the status of who we “are” in life. A car becomes the image of success, which is related with “I” the one who possesses it, the one who has arrived to that place of power. That “I” has a form, a picture, a label.
In that consciousness, everything is fleeting: Beauty, health, wealth, power and that is the cause of our continuous struggle to maintain something which will change in time.
That causes suffering.
Our state of consciousness will not allow us to see something different.
Here is when we could understand religious ideas that portray the body as being “bad,” “sinful,” and to get away from it as much as possible to become “spiritual.” A belief system cannot do this fictitious separation. Only a greater consciousness can, and in that greater consciousness there is no separation, there is no denial of the body, but embracing it as part of everything.
Avyakt7 feels that the word “consciousness” expresses better our spiritual side. There are other words as well to express the same, such as spirit, soul, godly nature, etc. However, those words come already attached with a mental image, a definition which will not allow us to experience what is; that is to discover beyond definitions, images, beliefs and traditions.
That word “consciousness” could be exchanged with the word awareness.
When that awareness shifts from being only in the physical world, to the inner world, is when our consciousness will shift into something different.
Unless that has occurred, we will only live in the world of change, the world of forms, the world of beginning and end.
In the quest for consciousness, we could observe the physical world, we could observe our breathing; that is become aware of it, we could even hear our own heartbeats; this expresses another level of physical awareness.
When the observer, the one experiencing consciousness observes that in itself, is when a different level of consciousness has begun.
At this level we are in touch for the first time with what “is.”
It is at this point where consciousness could know other perspectives and perhaps realize that the answer of all of our metaphysical or existential related questions were there, in that experience.
Someone who is trapped in just the physical consciousness, will be seeking for reassurance. That person will be interested in “life insurance” for a life after his life time, that person will be interested in preserving his own life as much as possible in his “youth.” That person will be interested in gaining favors from the “higher ups” of Heaven; for in that person’s consciousness, the afterlife is a reflection of the physical world: You get something, keep it as much as possible and then fight to keep it or find someone with power to help you keep those things.
That is what the afterlife looks like for someone in that consciousness. Some religions will reflect that in their ideologies.
Once our “field of vision” is amplified due to greater awareness, we could understand someone coming from a different angle, a different consciousness, a different awareness; but this is not reciprocal.
That has been one of the major issues with all the avatars that humanity has had. Their explanations about “their reality” couldn’t be understood, that is how spiritual teachings could become easily misunderstood.
Greater awareness means to understand that “black or white” teachings merely reflect a state of consciousness. They cannot be the “absolute truth,” for everything that we perceive is according to our state of consciousness. With greater consciousness, we will be able to see the different shades of color in between the “black or white” extremes. This is the rainbow of colors needed in our lives.
In Spirituality, “purity” has the significance of harmony and balance. It is completeness of being. Wholesomeness.
Typically, the word “purity” has been used to refer to the practice of celibacy. However, as most religions and philosophies are mostly caught up in the physical aspects of being, as the beginning point on self-realization; then this is the common assumption.
Nevertheless, celibacy is one aspect of purity. It refers to the physical aspect, on how to channel our sexual energy to be integrated in our spiritual development. This does not mean rejection or sublimation but once again, integration. However, the achievement of this integration means, “partial purity” only. There is more to purity.
The second aspect is related with our mind and the relationship of thoughts and emotions expressing through it. A person who is practicing celibacy but represses himself/herself will not be in a healthy state of mind. His/Her emotions and thoughts will be scattered and divided between his sense of “duty” of following a celibate practice and his “desire,” to express sexuality as any “normal” human being. This inner fight is not consistent with purity.
Although, the beginning of this path has the experience of inner fight, a spiritual being, needs to understand and be integrated with that which started as a rejection.
Therefore, the practice of celibacy out of compulsion does not mean “purity,” but it means partial purity if in fact, there is no repression in the practice of celibacy. Otherwise, it could be named as a “mental case,” if repression is there under the veil of fear. That fear could take many faces: Fear of failing, fear of not being “good enough,” fear of sinning, fear of God, fear of not getting heaven, fear of his own self.
That is why, once the very important step of following celibacy is taken, a deep observation of our mind is essential. To be able to find complexes in ourselves, to be able to find “hang ups,” to be able to find conceptual ideas and how much rejection to our own self (things which we did not achieve in life or our own perception of the self which came from our past without the reference of spiritual knowledge) and rejection for others is lingering in our psyche and being covered under the name of “spirituality.”
Achieving mental clarity then, is another level of “partial purity.” That clarity may be expressed through the exercise of our own wisdom, that is to live life free of fear.
Finally, there is that purity which brings together the mind and the physical being; that is the heart. Those are the feelings.
We cannot pretend to have “pure feelings” when our mind is scattered.
We cannot pretend to have pure feelings, when we are repressing and rejecting ourselves at any level.
We need to be congruent in every aspect, when we are building our spiritual path.
The heart brings that harmony between the physical pole and the mental pole. When we have achieved that completeness, then we can speak about purity that is complete, “full” purity and not a fragmented belief of it.
It is in that harmonious living, when there is no longer struggle due to being pulled into different directions (mind, heart, physical body) that is fragmented; but there is unity, a harmonious single direction.
That is the meaning of being wholesome. Thus purity is wholesomeness. Our “normal” fragmented personality is no longer there.