In your view, what is the most valuable “practice” in the path of self-realization?
That question is not properly made. It is biased with the belief that we need to “practice” to achieve something in “spirituality” to become a “better” person.
Nevertheless, let me share my experience.
To learn to be comfortable with yourself and to have a full life while living alone, is the most important “practice.”
Most “spiritual” people may understand this as to “force yourself” to DO it, because practice “makes perfect.” That is the conditioning, the discipline of practicing something to “achieve it.” That is fine for man-made ideals, but BEING does not change like that.
Life will put you in that situation. That is the natural path, that goes along with individual readiness.
Someone who is not ready, will internally fight it. Outwardly he may be living a life of a hermit like monks and nuns DO. However, they are busy with their own mental ideas, desires and needs to achieve Paradise, enlightenment and favors from God.
When you are comfortable with yourself, at peace; there is nothing to DO, nothing to achieve, nothing to look forward to. In our language and conditioning that may sound as the description of a “loser,” but it is far from it. It is the plain enjoyment of your own company and the experience of feeling fulfilled, at peace, vital.
This is not a compulsory activity (DOING) to become enlightened or “better.” It is a harmonized, natural response of being at peace.
It is in that state of balance how we discover the meaning of to “live in the now,” for the mind cannot go to the future as there is no need to achieve anything: No prize, no grandiose ideal to become, no “spiritual” after-life fantasy to get.
Going into the memories of the past, will show me all the pieces of the riddle which are building the “now,” although without identification with the one who at one time “I was,” the traumatic past experiences do not have the pull to remain in my psyche and change my enjoyment into sadness. The one from that past is not the same as the one who is now. Even though we have the same name and the same memories, there is no continuity of that “I” internally. “I” am free by not BEING a particular “I” at any point in time, by not defining me.
When the mind has no place to go, then enjoyment arrives through the feeling of BEING at peace, in harmony with “what is.”
The mental conditioning of what is supposed to be “fun,” or enjoyable does not allow us to BE, for the mind will look for that idea as the definition of success. Anything less is failure and the conditioning is to avoid it at all costs.
Define something, then that exists. Make that into an ideal to obtain, and the “reality” will be that it cannot be obtained. However, the mind will be entertained with the possibility to achieve that.
What is what I can DO to “improve”?
Become aware of the conditionings. Not to reject them, but to observe that any decision, any choice that we think we make, is coming from certain conditioning which we label as “truth.”
This awareness of all those things that we have learned through conditioning, is the “solution” that will prompt us to unlearn.
Without unlearning there cannot be newness.
Without newness, life may be the “same old thing.” 🙂
Our society is mostly in trance with the “I.” The ultimate is for the “I” to have “choice” to control the events in the future.
That is the main theme of popular “sci-fi” movies.
“I” can go back to the past and change things.
Of course, those changes will be according to what “I” think should be the “right thing.”
“If I can go back and avoid the assassination of Mr.Important, then that will change the future for the best…” However, as we are so immersed with the “I,” that change is only palliative medicine, a band aid over a huge wound, for our consciousness will go back into destruction mode, our “old program.”
Most individuals are completely unaware of what is going on with themselves.
Our society praises our ability to “choose,” but at the same time; that is the greatest source of suffering.
When we think we choose, we use the ideas and concepts that we have learned, what it was taught to us as being “right.” We don’t choose. We follow the old program.
That type of choice brought by the mind has the other side of the coin as well: It is called guilt.
Your choice when is mind driven, will also give you doubts, uncertainty, guilt. We want to be “right.”
Have you ever had the nagging thought that “I” should have done this in a different way?
That is guilt, doubt, fear of being “wrong.” That is the product of “your choice” as well.
In Life, there is no going back to the past. There is Destiny. Because we are all one, our actions “are” as they are supposed to be. Nevertheless, guilt comes out of the mental “choice.” Thereby: “Put your mind away, the conditioning out and learn to listen to your gut feeling.”
That action is not “yours” thus, there is no feeling guilty, not being afraid of being “wrong.”
Remember this quote by Chuang Tzu?
“The greatest crimes are eventually shown to have been necessary, and, in fact, a signal benefit to mankind.”
Let me ask you: If whatever you DO is necessary as it is, why use your mind to “make a decision”? Connect with your inner being, your gut feeling, your connection with Life itself and be like a carefree leaf floating on the river of life. The direction is there, follow it without “trying to follow.” No need to fight the current, to try to change it.
Some may misinterpret this as the license to “do whatever you want.”
That is not what I conveyed. There is no “I” in this. Every action brings a consequence, but an action done as the expression of Life through “you” is at peace with your consciousness, at peace with Life.
Want a piece of peace? 🙂
Be honest. That is not a choice. If it is; be certain that there is no honesty in that.
When the box of Pandora was opened out of curiosity, all evils spread out around the world. Pandora closed the box and only one “evil” remained: Hope.
In “Spirituality 101,” the word “hope” is used as some sort of virtue.
“I have hope in the world.” “Let us hope for the best,” etc. All catchy phrases, dreamy states of consciousness…
“To be positive is to be hopeful.” Another pretty phrase without much meaning.
Observe how hope arises as a desire for a particular outcome, an expectation. That outcome is what we believe to be convenient for us or for someone.
Once a seeker “grows up,” to be hopeful of a particular outcome is to live in a wishful tense, the future.
That wish or hope is not consistent with “what is” now. It is just a mind trick.
It is through that hope how we could create a dormant state of consciousness.
Many times the hope of some future event will even stop our need to experience in Life. Something will present to us, it is there; but we will not take it “now,” for there is “hope” in the future that something else, “better” will come up.
This hope is a mental distress, a mental issue.
Let us not confuse hope with a “gut feeling.”
Yes, I could postpone something, but it is not out of hope for something “better,” but it is a “gut feeling” which is advising me not to do/take something now. That is it. There is no information as if something “better” will happen at another time. No expectation.
Once we realize that all of those pretty words called “virtues” are merely concepts, then we will not be concerned on definitions for “spiritual” keywords.
A tiger is strong. The word “strong” is qualifying the tiger. The word “strong,” is a way of comparison. The tiger is strong compared to a squirrel, but not to a Blue Whale.
Without the word “strong” the tiger “is.”
Of course, when speaking we need to say something about the tiger, so we add a word, we believe it, we assume it, and we keep that mental association of “strong,” with the word tiger.
In reality, a tiger is neither strong nor weak.
In reality, there is no room for hope, but for “what is.”
What “you” are right now is the product of many, many experiences from many, many lives.
“But… That is reincarnation… There is no scientific proof of that..”
In a family all siblings are different even though brought up by the same parents.
Suzy likes beets but she hates carrots. Her sister, likes carrots and hates beets.
What is the scientific explanation of that? 🙂
What “you” are now, is constant change.
Because our consciousness is different at every point in time due to different experiences, it is impossible for everyone to have the same change to the same extent, as to be the same.
In limited words, “All sinners cannot become virtuous at the same time.”
“This is the only time to change. It is now or never. Don’t waste your time. Convert to our religion. Just believe in so and so and you will be saved.”
That is a huge misunderstanding.
Consciousness cannot change by accepting a religion or philosophy. However, the experiences through that religion or philosophy will help in the process of transforming our consciousness.
A religion or philosophy or guru is not the “solution” but an ingredient into the “solution” which will emerge upon each one of us when our time arrives.
That is the reason why, there is no religious path or philosophy which could be labeled as the “true path.”
Spirituality cannot be separated from Life itself.
In short; to learn to live life in balance, in joy… That is true spirituality.
That is why any religion dealing with the future; such as heaven, and a promise of salvation; is not interested in the “now,” (for that “salvation” is in the future,) therefore; beliefs are born as the main way to understand Life “now.”
“What do you mean?”
Your life “now” should fit into the belief of a future.
Heaven is the goal. Act like a heavenly being now.
In theory that may sound good. That is a nice belief.
In practice, it does not work like that.
To act is not the same as being it. Actions are according to our consciousness and not the other way around.
To act heavenly even though our consciousness is not there, is to start our journey into exploring self-dishonesty.
“But… I want to be an angel!”
Understand fully what it is to be a human being first.
That is the “now.” The future will come as a consequence of that.
This is not intellectual understanding. It is living life in awareness.
Therefore, to become conscious, aware is the first step. A belief system is not interested in that.
A belief system is only interested in beliefs about the future.
The discovery of “being” a human being is forgotten to embrace a futuristic ideal.
The “Now” is suppressed in order to live the futuristic ideal.
Life is greater than any belief system.
Living “reality” as it is entails that all labeling, all type of reaction towards what is “there” are unnecessary.
If we label something, that becomes a preconception. The extent of that “habit” could be very damaging.
Many innocent people have gone to jail because of that.
“I” am sure that I “saw” something, which never happened. “I” am sure that “I” heard something, which never was said. “I” understood something coming from another in a distorted way, which is all in my head. “I” experience things, which “I” label as “true” which are the working of my own mind.
Those are dreams of a dreamer in the present, based on “habits” from the past.
Re-living the past in our minds is like playing an “old” movie, over and over. We even spend the time to change that movie in different scenarios, the “what if” scenarios, without realizing that this past movie is over. Why re-arrange it?
All of that will not allow us to clear our minds.
Please see that none of this is a belief or a religious story. It is something that we need to be aware of if a higher consciousness is to be experienced. It is inner work based on our own observation.
A religion will say: “Be good. Think good things. Think about God.” Please note that we are not escaping into more ideas, (the idea of being good, thinking good or an idea of my thinking on God) but merely confronting what it is “now” through observation.
This is not an “inner fight,” but just to be clear on what is going on with our own minds.
We have the futuristic dreams as well. These types of dreams are supported by our society. Everyone has a dream about his or her future. “I want to be this and do that 5 years from now.”
Avyakt7 is not saying that to do that is “good or bad,” avyakt7 is merely pointing out what is going on.
Once we “set up” our lives in our minds in that way, we will “approve” of certain things, which are OK to happen to us. Other things will be rejected.
Marriage is a good example. Many have in their head an “ideal” partner in an “ideal” circumstance, in an “ideal” time, etc.
Many times an opportunity is missed because it does not fit what we have in our heads. We forget the heart and more important, we forget to be honest with ourselves, that is to find our “truth” at every moment.
Life moves. To take a side in something means the possibility to acknowledge the validity of the opposite side of things as well.
“First, I will do this and then that and it has to be in that order because I want this thing out of life.”
We call that a goal. Life has its own movement, which may not be the fixation that we have in our minds. “My dream.”
The interesting thing is that there is no mundane “goal” in life that will bring any lasting fulfillment and thus, no goal which is “higher” than anything else.
On the other hand, when we are talking about spirituality and “higher consciousness” as a goal, it is not related with any circumstances around us. Marriage, jobs, duties, social status, economical status are of no consequence when the “goal “is to be aware, conscious or ourselves and what is going on in our minds, to make sense of our lives.
Certainly; tranquility, serenity, calmness will give the appropriate environment for this awareness to take place, but we need to grow into giving “value” to those “commodities” which are important in life so we can see life under a different perspective, with greater consciousness.
Take the time to smell the roses. Take the time to watch the sunset. Take the time to appreciate the moon in a deep night.
Take the time to salute the Sun. Take the time to perceive life, its harmony in the nurturing environment of serenity, before life, the “moment,” moves away.
Ananda had a supernatural experience. After meditating , he felt in complete bliss. Obviously, Ananda believed in the meditation practices and in the teacher who taught him about this type of meditation.
Ananda became a believer.
Ananda had a deep sense of commitment and started following every direction from his new appointed Guru.
Ananda wanted to “become better.” Ananda wanted to be enlightened with wisdom and to become another Guru just like his master.
Ananda made all sorts of “effort” to get that same experience of bliss that he had experienced sometime ago.
Ananda’s expectations to get that “out of the world” experience increased, but at the same time; he experienced the frustration of not “getting it.”
Ananda made all sorts of “efforts.” He changed his life style completely. He wanted to be better, so he avoided people who were not in his path.
Ananda rejected the world and wanted to spend time meditating and to experience that bliss again…
Ananda was truly disappointed with his Guru. What was wrong? He was doing everything and nothing would happen!
Ananda decided to change his Guru. Ananda bought books on Spirituality, bought CDs, Ananda attended to several seminars run by the “experts,” in “enlightenment,” he even traveled to the holiest places on Earth to get “better.”
Ananda developed an obsession out of his spirituality. He developed a great ego as well and sarcastic irony when he heard others speaking about their own spiritual paths and experiences.
Ananda gave up. He was truly tired of all the rituals and reading materials which “promised” him to become “better.”
Ananda couldn’t sleep. He went outside and sat by a tree. Thoughts started coming into his mind about all the “effort” that he had done. All the time that he had wasted for nothing! His memory brought the episode when he got into this blissful state and he started to recall every moment of it. Ananda wanted to experience that moment one more time, it was so exquisite, so out of this world, so blissful… Ananda started to cry in distress. All his knowledge about his spiritual teachings were in vain, he thought.
Ananda wanted answers and no one was able to give those to him. Ananda felt like a failure.
Meanwhile, Mathias, the “wise tree,” was a witness of all of this.
Mathias spoke to Ananda.
“Friend, why are you crying?”
Ananda replied: “ I am a failure. I wanted to become enlightened with bliss and I cannot.”
Mathias replied: “Really? Who wants to become enlightened?”
Ananda looked at Mathias bothered that he had to say the same thing again. “ I said , Me.” Replied Ananda.
Mathias answered: “ Then, get rid of “me” and there will not be a failure.”
Ananda said: “Are you crazy? Do you want me to kill myself?”
Mathias replied: “ not friend, just your mind. “Me” is in your mind.”
Ananda didn’t realize in all his years of “effort” that his own mind was in continuous upheaval. Always striving for something. If the issue wasn’t how to get a better job or a better something, then it was “to be better.” To become enlightened, angelic, Godly, pure, powerful, etc, etc. If he didn’t reach “his” objective, the frustration and sorrow set in.
Ananda, thought about it for a second and asked: “How do I do that?”
“By becoming aware of your mind. Sit there, stop thinking, experience what you are besides that mind. If you hear words inside , that is your mind. Observe how your senses experience something and then an idea is created in your mind based on the memory of previous experiences. See how you are incapable of observing and listening to others and to yourself without putting an idea and “making sense of it.” Observe, how your mind is constantly taking you from one place into another. If you hear a song and you recognize it with your memory; that song will take you to a daydream. You may call that “to remember is to live again,” but become aware that all of that is the past and it is dead.
That experience may take you to a happy end or a sorrowful end, therefore; your emotions are slaves of your own mind.
Similarly, your “becoming better” is to be anxious about the future, which is not real. Your mind is taking you to the past and to the future, but cannot be still in the present.
Become acquainted on that timeless serenity, that which you are besides the mind and then other experiences may arrive. To spend your time observing the works of your mind is to become free from it.
That bliss may arrive again… but this time without “you” wanting it. That is how things arrive on time, when “Me” is not there, completely out of the picture. No failure, means no success.
Duality free. That is the greatest success.” 🙂
Thank you for your great question!
It is my opinion that this is an issue which the BK organization may need to “redefine” itself as times are changing.
It appears that one has to rely on a center to survive as a Brahmin soul; it appears as if the only avenue especially for BKs living by themselves, is to become a “surrendered” soul in the center near you, otherwise; anything else may be viewed as non “pukka,” so the stigma and consequences which that may bring.
As different life styles are the “norm” of the times, it is not feasible to live under “old” standards; a 1950s traditional mind set.
The issue is to understand that not everyone will fit a “cookie cutter” system. That will bring problems instead.
It is my experience, that the Drama/Baba will take care of you. All we need to do is to focus on our spiritual endeavors and to break away from any dependency to anyone and anything so there are no expectations from anyone and that means… anyone. That is to become self fulfilled as much as possible. This is not easy but then at that stage… you perhaps will be ready for a new change in your life. If you keep yourself open for the possibilities; for what life, the Drama/Baba is offering… you will see how the fruit of that spirituality will flourish as a simple return of your previous deeds.
By all means, prepare yourself if that gives you peace of mind. The aim is to have that peace of mind so we can continue this spiritual path. Although is good to know that there are no guarantees; and living life day to day is really living.
This is a test on your faith.