When there is a connection with Life through feeling, then the compulsion to act based on learned ideals (conditioning) is left aside. In our society we are told to DO something when we perceive that the ideals which have been taught to us, are compromised.
Observe that circumstances surrounding Life are unexpected. We could think and predict that something will go one way and act upon that prediction, but many times; Life will go its own way. Many times our untimely and idealistic action could exacerbate the situation that we wanted to avoid in the first place.
Without a doubt, this desire to intervene without allowing every party to fully express, (to DO their part) will create further conflict.
While in society to DO something is encouraged, we are not aware that most of the time this ACTION is the expression of ego. Therefore, the final product may be perceived as violence, a force to intimidate others to comply with our wishes driven by some ideal. That is the world of the mind, the “reality” in our every day dealings.
The opposite of action, is inaction but that word is defined in a negative way: “Lack of action where some is expected or appropriate.” Non-DOING has been equated with inaction or non-action but the word “laissez-faire” has been chosen here to replace the negativity associated with the words “non-doing” and “inaction.”
Laissez-faire means to “allow to do,” that is to allow for things to take their own course without interference. In this way, we could observe where exactly something is going, thus action is on going in the form of attention and unavoidably practical, at some point of the journey. When our feeling is aligned with the common good; that action is void of egotistical pursuits. Typically, we put our ideal first and act according to it and label that activity as “fair,” “impartial,” etc. We are not respecting the changes that may happen as Life is uncertain and dynamic.
“Right action” then, is to follow through and wait when the opportunity to align in that journey appears, without having an ideal on how things “should be” but merely connecting with our feelings and our intention to serve the common good.
The “common good” is very important. Otherwise, we are acting as if we align with a specific political party and only care for those ideals.
If Life is a play, every person or actor in it, has a part to play. Allow for the actor to express his unique part for there are many others parts involved within a scene. Even as we try to singularize “my action” from someone else; we could observe that there is a common thread coming from Life itself, which stirs our activity in one direction or another. We are connected with this intangible, invisible source where a keen awareness could be able to perceive it.
Non-action or “laissez-faire” (In spiritual talk) is not a practice. When it is natural, it is harmonious with Life. That harmony depends on our level of observation, awareness and feeling Life. Otherwise, it is “you” allowing others to act or “you” avoiding to act. That “you” in it, is a gross misinterpretation of non-action.
The religious world works exactly as society does. There are rules, regulations, commandments which are practiced and followed. From the religious perspective it could be said that their rules are “pure,” “spiritual,” etc. but that statement is merely a point of view.
Society has rules which are not labeled as “pure,” but as “good,” “moral,” “positive,” etc. That is also a perspective, although; it has been “bought” unobserved by the immense majority.
In both “worlds” there will be inner conflict as the validity of those rules have not been deeply considered by the individual but rather imposed from the outside: Whether that is “God,” or the “Government,” it is the same thing by all practical purposes.
To follow a structure is considered of great value. We are taught to identify ourselves with a system, a philosophy, a team, a guru, a god. As a matter of fact, “success” of any system is based on observing how many followers that system has. In that world, the collective consciousness of the masses is very important, but the ability of the individual to observe inside and act accordingly is disparaged.
Under those circumstances, we have created an ideal of spirituality based on the value we give to the teachings and experience of someone else deemed “elevated” or superior. The authority.
Nevertheless, those teachings are interpreted by followers in different ways. Thus, the need to standardize teachings became important to keep the structure simple; although the intrinsic value of the teaching, which needs to be dynamic to change according to circumstances, is missing.
Therefore, we have “spiritual individuals” with utmost rigidity. Those who believe that to follow an ideal is more important than to assess the individual circumstance given by life.
To look inside requires freedom from the structure of systems. Many disenchanted former followers of structures; will take the path of apparent self-observation and rejection of external authorities. However, we cannot pretend to act in an authentic way in society or a religious setting, while we are utterly conditioned by them. Deconditioning is the single most important item to be able to observe different perspectives. After we have done this “homework,” then we could be able to observe, become aware and act.
Thus, there is value in being a follower, but that cannot be the ultimate. There is also value in acting freely, but that could be a greater illusion when we have not gone through the “process” of deconditioning.
“God/Government says and I do,” may sound like a great act of abnegation, but we forget that this authority who speaks/ writes to the masses, will not be able to fit the particular individual circumstances.
If the authority says/writes: “You should never kill” then questions of interpretation will arise: Could I go to war in the name of saving “my” country? Could I kill someone out of self-defense in all circumstances? Is it alright to kill other species to eat and survive or the law of “you should never kill” applies to this?
Some would like to go into philosophical, moral and even scientific discussions to answer these questions; that is to answer an ideal with another ideal. The masses want the “easy steps” to remember “how to act” and not to make “mistakes.” Any answers will create further religions, more philosophies, beliefs and so on.
That is our world of beliefs, ideals and conditioning. Few individual authentic actions, but lots of rehearsed, conditioned ones.
Many spiritual seekers after learning about duality, may believe that there is no “way out” of that. For instance, what I hear most is in reference to the understanding of pain and pleasure. Certainly, if there is the experience of pleasure, there must be the experience of pain. That is perceived as a trap.
On a different perception, society teaches to maintain something considered “good” or pleasurable as long as possible, and to fight or have a rejection towards what is perceived as painful. On the other hand, some religions take the path of trying to avoid one side such as pleasure, with the idea that pain will be avoided as well.
Also it is believed or perceived that Death is painful, sorrowful while Life is pleasurable and a sunny experience. The observation, is to recognize that one side of that duality has been perceived as something unwelcome. Death is no longer something natural, unavoidable which can happen at any time, but something to be afraid of; thus we are taught to live with fear of an unexpected “final” experience. That is the primordial fear affecting the function of our first chakra and from that, new obstructions will occur. Because we fear death, we fear life; for the perception of separation is just in our imagination and conditioning. Both are a continuous experience.
Life will present moments of pleasure and pain as we know; while Death is something unknown to most of us, for we haven’t had the experience yet, or we don’t remember having it (if we would like to be accurate on this) but we judge and believe according to our conditioning.
I heard one time that the “art of living is to die at every moment,” or in other words, “The purpose of living is to know how to die.” These words may get lost in interpretations and misinterpretations, but they have clear meaning for some.
Those phrases are very insightful and perhaps haven’t been explored enough; but as a matter fact, they represent a healthy, sane way of living where the mind is no recording traumas or events to be rehearsed later on. The mind works almost as when we take pictures or film the beauty of Nature with the added “feature” of adding emotions to spice up the memory. However, the one recording is missing the moment, the now. We feel glad to go back and watch the pictures, but the “change” inside, the “magic touch” which happens at the moment of the experience when the mind is idle, is completely missed.
Life and Death are one movement and so is pleasure and pain. When there is something that we “like,” definitely there is something to “dislike” and so we seem destined to experience these seemingly two different movements without “escape.” Even some have said that pain and pleasure “are the same,” but our experience will tell us otherwise. They are not the same but one.
The world of duality is the world of the experience of the “I.” It is that “I” experienced by most, the one unable to experience lack of duality.
Peace, Love, Bliss. Those have no opposites when there is experience, and even more sublime when the experiencer dissolves away. However mentally; we find opposites through words: Peace with war, love with hate and bliss with misery.
Is it possible for someone to experience Love, and to have feelings of hate at the same time? In the experience of the “I,” it is possible for duality is there, but that cannot be true love, although we label that as “love.” Do we see the issue with words pretending to describe non dual state of consciousness?
True “Love” is not of the “I,” it is an experience of what is beyond that “I.” However, we cannot “get to that level” unless we clearly recognize that “I, ” acknowledge it, study it, observe it, become aware of it. We need to become our own scientist.
The idea to reject pleasure so the experience of pain is not, takes away the experience of being human. Some religions are using the mind and its “natural” duality to express something which is only idealistic. Thus, we may need to get away from the experience of the mind to know what lies “above it,” what is known as the “heart,” for lack of a less romantic label, but it is the world of feeling.
So what is the “solution” to get away from the trap of duality?
As long as someone dwells in the “I” without ulterior awareness, that person will not be able to acknowledge “no-I,” and with that “no-mind,” and with that, a different kind of perception which is beyond the experience of duality.
Yes, “we” can go beyond duality. That is what is known as the state of witnessing.
Will resume writing on August 27th. Until then! 🙂
The following will be a description of the religious/spiritual experience, according to my own experience. None of the levels are better or more “advanced” than another, for there is a continuity which needs to be divided only for the sake of understanding and the limitations of language.
The label “religion” has a connotation of “faith and beliefs.” At this level, we may have a belief in god, the virgin, saints, prophets, saviors, gurus, angels, extraterrestrial beings, beings of light, etc. There is always someone “higher” than us, humans; who are ready to perform “miracles” or specific actions to help us in our lives in exchange for nothing. Thus, we ask them for salvation, redemption, favors, miracles, etc. Typically there is someone in those religions who has access to those higher beings, or there is a belief that this is so; while the rest, the believers; will use them to intercede into that. A religion has a body of beliefs which are referred as “truth.” Those beliefs are indisputable and require the follower’s full agreement. “Blind faith” is typically the phrase used to refer to this stage.
Such follower may have a code of conduct or behavior which aligns with current values of society, which are known as “good deeds.” Such performance is encouraged by their faith, and according to their belief; become the “measuring stick” of those higher beings to concede special favors to the followers. In that way, societies will support religions, as they are guided by the same recognized basic values.
Later, “Spirituality” came as an offshoot of a religion. The idea of worshiping “higher beings” is placed on a lower level if ever, and the value of particular beliefs known as “truths,” is downplayed. What matters here is the experience of the participant and not how much that participant follows the structure. Spirituality then grew into many avenues and was accepted by the masses as an alternative to worship. The rigidity of a religion was transformed into over flexibility: Use it as it best fits you. That attitude brought a new fashion in style: The spiritual seeker, the one who jumps from flower to flower searching for something “special.”
Out of the many “spiritual” paths, we could recognize two distinct but complementary paths: The one recognizing the importance of subtle energies ( the ones embedded in chakras, kundalini, vibrations, third eye, etc.) and the other which brings the element of inner observation, awareness. These 2 particular paths are not concerned with deities or worship of anyone. There are no particular beliefs to follow, although some may import rituals, gurus’ words and even worshiping practices from the previous stage. However, the main element to “study” is the self.
Observe the shift: From the “others,” the gods, the higher beings into looking at the self. The journey could be put into a nutshell: From worshiping others into self-realization. That shift may take many years if not many lifetimes, but it is bound to happen, when the seeker is ready.
Generally speaking, religions are not concerned with inward study, although there may be rare exceptions.
When a person perceives subtle energies, that person is concerned in exploring their own atypical experience. At the end, they may realize that everything is “energy,” including what we know as “I.” Those without this experience, but however open minded; who have already gone through many “miles” of the journey, will become acquainted with studying the self through their own observation. It is important to mention that both paths are truly complementary of each other, for a person with high awareness will be able to perceive subtle energies and vice versa. When this level hasn’t been reached, then a person following the path of energies will perform exercises, mudras, mantras, chakra cleansing, etc. as another belief system which in turn will help that person to run away from the important item, to know the self.
Similarly those following the path of observation by itself, will be limited by their own findings. Sooner or later they will need to go deeper inside their inner subtle energies, to “advance” the level of their awareness. This occurs through outside help from another, usually of those who are in tune with different healing modalities. For instance; when there is observation of an emotion, there has to come a time when we recognize the energetic value of it, and how that could dissolve. That is a learning adventure in itself.
Finally, the journey will go from “self-realization into no-self and thus, Totality, Onenes.” The inner changes are dramatic at this stage. As there is the experience of suffering of the “I,” for everything which gave us a form of identity, will go away. That has been labeled as “Dying alive.”
Interestingly, those “higher beings” worshiped at one time, may become the teachers and guides to help those who are ready, to cross the seldom walked path of the enclosure of the “I.” That may be “true” Salvation after all.
What could be the word to sum up all the experiences currently going on in our planet, the Earth?
Love? Peace? Happiness? Hope? Understanding? Animosity? How about violence.
At this stage in my own evolution, I am observing all of that violence within. Perhaps, that is the “reason” why I pick the word violence among all the other labels. Through the experience of violence, I have been the tyrant and the submissive peon. Once one side is experienced the other side will follow, for that reason; submissiveness is passive violence.
Violence has been with us from time immemorial. A culture conquered another through violence. Then, there was violence within that conquered culture. A gender subdued another through violence. A race proclaimed its superiority through violence. In society, we clash with one another and use violence to “win.”
Violence is not just physical, but that is the most obvious and grotesque. We could insult one another, we could look at someone in a despicable way. We could say things with irony, sharpness, dryness and sarcasm. We could speak with a tone of voice meant to overpower another. To take advantage of another, is violence.
Then, we could go into the “subtler” aspects of it, the ones which not too many could observe: I could compare a person with another. That is violence for I am not respecting their unique individuality. I could teach someone that respect means to infuse fear to others, that is violence. I could “correct” someone by putting down their ideas, by letting them know that “I am right, you are wrong;” that is violence as well. The key to understand violence is in being aware of the sensation, the internal emotion, the feeling which it brings. Many times it could be perceived as a “current” over the head area. That will change our facial expression. Definitely, the first sensation will be “closing up” or clenching up. Most will feel their stomach areas tighten up. If we are able to observe this emotion, open up; let the perceived violence go through you and outside you. Thus, it is not necessarily an action the one which defines violence, but rather the engine of it; is the sensation we have inside.
There are countless ways to express violence, even while “making love” (which by the way, is the most common.) Violence is everywhere and “I” am part of it. Do we see the enormous significance of this?
How can I love and feel peace with violence within? The conditioning of using violence is overwhelming. Isn’t the “alpha male” the archetype of violence? However, we could observe that the media almost worships that “winner” image.
No wonder we are violent. That trait could be desirable for those in society who are looking to get ahead, to dominate others and show them who “they are;” it is desirable for those who only care to “look out for number 1,” nevertheless; that sort of enhanced ego, cannot harmonize with the common good. There are consequences for behaving in such selfish way.
I recall: “ A violent man does not die a natural death” Tao Te Ching – Ch 42 or in a Christian way : “… and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7.
Despite all the religious and “spiritual” teachings, violence endures. It toughen our hearts, it creates psychological pain which in turn will be a traumatic experience lingering in our beings for as long as it needs, until one day we realize it is there, ready to heal into its opposite, that is Gentleness.
Authentic gentleness is not the “practice” of a violent person. Gentleness is the outcome of lack of violence.
It is a wonder how religions and spirituality have named the capital sins, the main vices, etc. as important to eradicate; however, we are not looking good enough at the obvious violence.
We want to deal with our ego, to become “better,” but we have a hard time recognizing what that ego is.
It is way easier to start with violence as we can smell it. However, we may need to be aware that if “I” try to stop it; “I” will inflict violence on myself. It is not by rejection or suppression how violence will subside. It is by being aware of it, through watching it in ourselves and fully realizing what it is and what it does to us.
“Non-violence” is non existing in a violent being, thus; we can only “practice” it, which is truly the rehearsal of a script.
To meet violence only with some defined “non-violence,” is to take the process of understanding violence in ourselves, in a trivial way. We could DO actions which seem non-violent, but when we ARE violence we cannot get away from the fact of who we ARE and thus, we only cover the reality of ourselves with the veil of “good deeds,” until we have the fortitude to look inside.
I could write about hope. I could say that things will get “better,” and that we should have clear “objectives” in our minds to reach them. Isn’t that what most individuals are desiring? After all, we need something inspiring to get ourselves motivated and “become something” in Life and “earn” some serious income, start a family, buy property, etc. That is, to repeat the conditioning one more time.
Why is it so hard for most of us to take a look at “what is”? Why is it that we rather continue dreaming with something that isn’t? I understand that we need a “goal” something to strive for; but isn’t that at the same time some form of diverting our focus from what is, and little by little become self-centered and isolated from everything else?
“What is” may not be what we desire. It may not be part of our goals in Life, but anything we build without considering “what is,” will be like a card castle. Even though an amazing feat to build, it will fall easily for there is no strong foundation.
We don’t look because we don’t want to feel pain. That looking is not only about what is “out there,” but mostly what is “inside,” for as we “know” that which is within; we will see it out there too.
We are society. Every single one of us is part of it, thus the pain of society is also my pain. We need courage to look, for pain will not go away by focusing on some ideal or objective.
In Life, typically we don’t consider the collective. We only care about individualistic views; that is why; it is difficult to work towards the collective good.
“My pain,” “My depression,” “My violence,” we want to “solve” that. It is difficult to observe that those are part of society as well.
Our minds cannot grasp Life paradoxes. Although we are individuals, we are one unit called humanity. We may have different experiences which make us different; but that “difference” paradoxically, is the one that will make us also the same.
These are exciting times. Not because of what I can get out of it, but because these times will be challenging. That is another way to look at things.
We may see that all the security that we thought our structures brought, will fall apart.
We may see that to be “right” is no longer valid and that will not be “wrong.”
We may see that emotions will rule over reason and logic.
We may see that a new form of dementia will be confronting our highly conditioned, structured minds; for the mind had had its due time.
The most exciting part is that none of those items will be the product of our willful direct DOING, these things will just happen, they will just BE.
As our society has created psychological isolation between humans, where we can only see “me, I and myself” as the center of the Universe; what is coming will break that apart; just like what
“Covid” did to our highly routinized lives; then perhaps we could finally challenge the conditioned notion that “I am the master of my destiny” and observe that “I move together with everyone else.”
I cannot help but observe human misery as “what is” there (wars, hunger, corruption, widespread violence, despair with some shades of gentleness, goodwill and joy in the human psychological rainbow) which is mine as well. All we need to do is to read the current international news.
Is there a “bright” future for the new generation to come? Shall we sit and think of “solutions”?
No. Times are not calling for that sort of “action.” We had plenty of that: Superficial solutions brought about by the same mind that created the issues- a greedy, self centered, violent mind.
Times are calling for us to become AWARE on how humanity, society is in “me.”
“Action” is in transforming what is in “me,” rather than selfishly pretending to “change the world.”
To be alert, conscious of our own reactions and our environment as Life unfolds, at every moment, is the essence of being awake.
Otherwise, the mind has a continuous voice which we call “I.” That voice labels, judges, compares using the benchmark of its own conditioning. That voice clouds the perception of objectivity. Under that spell, the “same old thing” is the rule. That is safe, it is comfortable but at the same time unbearable, as Life loses its taste. We are eating the same thing over and over again.
When that voice is gone, we are free without “thinking” about it. We are free without running after the ideal. We experience a different reality.
How to “get rid” of that voice? By being aware of it.
Awareness is not some “action” that we do once in a while when we remember to do it; a “practice,” No!
Awareness grows naturally as our consciousness expands, that is when our pettiness shrinks.
Pettiness? Can you elaborate on that?
Our concern for salvation. Our desire for heaven. Our merchant mentality looking for personal profit in everything we do, whether worldly or spiritual, etc.
Our fear to face the unexpected is pettiness. Our hidden desire to be the “center of the universe” is utmost pettiness.
Many have their own life stories full of beliefs, interpretations about how life is “treating them.” Their sentimentality brings the “victim” syndrome which eventually, shows up as violence.
Everyone has their share of ups and downs in Life. We cannot compare which one is “greater,” for our capacity to adapt, enjoy and cope are different. Nevertheless, Life has lessons which are tailor made for every single one of us. Nothing is left to chance.
A lesson learned means the opportunity to increase our awareness.
How? Lessons in Life are meant to bring every resource we have gathered through experience. We just need the “right combination,” to use “the right set of tools.” That is known as maturity, which dilutes our pettiness.
There are many grown ups without maturity, for this doesn’t come with age necessarily but rather through assimilation of experiences.
We could experience many things in Life but unless there is assimilation of those experiences through impartial observation of them, those experiences become trauma, pettiness; which will not allow us to expand our consciousness.
It is particularly at this time, when we may need to become aware of our violent nature which may not be expressed physically against another, but nonetheless could be expressed through our own opinions, beliefs and idiosyncrasies.
Being aware of our violence is the practical way to allow love to flourish. Otherwise, love is relegated to be another pretty word used to sell more widgets, and to hide our fear to face our inner reality.