We rely heavily on words to understand. We think we know, when we got the concept or a definition. “Life/Spirituality” is not in the realm of words and language. Words are merely vague descriptions.
For example, the “problem” is “anger.” The solution is to be “centered.” Thus, to “practice” being centered, is the “homework” to attain the label “conqueror of anger.”
Anger is not a problem. The consequences on how we handle that energy is the issue. Anger is an experience, an emotional experience which needs to be observed, conscious of, aware of. If we label it as a “problem,” we are denying the other side of duality.
“What is that?”
The same energy that produces anger in one extreme, is the same one that will produce compassion on the other side.
Daylight and night are the experience of what we label as a day. Both come together. If we make a “problem” out of daylight, then our days will be fixated in “solving” something that does not need to be solved, only observed.
In the “office world,” we are taught to “solve problems.” We are trained to be “problem solvers.” That same mentality does not “work” in Life. There is nothing to “solve” but rather to be aware of as everything changes at its own time. We could push change by following our own agenda, by using violence and hide it with pretty labels such as “justice,” “the need of the time,” etc.
Our society, morality, values, spiritual coaches and religions are typically caught up in identifying “good,” defining it, labeling it and “practicing it.” That mentality does not have any depth. Any change in it is superficial.
Observe how many laws and codes of conduct man has followed throughout history. Observe that any change in human psychology has been superficial. Only in behavior and as long as someone is “watching.”
That is how God was needed. An honest, “God fearing individual” knows that “God is watching him,” thus that is no honesty at all. It is just a “spiritual” façade.
“To practice good” is the most dishonest behavior a person could engage in.
You ARE. If you practice something that you aren’t, you are merely covering that which you ARE with some belief of what “should be.” BE AWARE of what you ARE so change can happen.
A person “practicing” to be centered as to avoid anger, is making himself believe that he is achieving something. The reality is that the word “centered” is misleading our mind. Thus, I will practice what I believe to be “centered.”
My belief is based on my understanding, my interpretation of some spiritual class, some “best seller” book or just my understanding of the dictionary definition of the word “centered.”
Observe that we are caught up in words. We are caught up in the understanding of the mind. Just observe the energy of anger (don’t even use that label internally) without reacting. Be aware of it, let it go through you. This is to acknowledge the process.
Most individuals only want the “magic pill,” the “method to get rid of anger.” That is why “spiritual salesman” of quick-fixes are making a living by “helping others.”
Those individuals buying quick-fixes are not ready yet for inner Awareness. The same happens with Tantra. A “quick fix” to have “great sex,” to “last longer” will not necessarily lead to a fulfilling Life. Selling the icing of the cake without the cake is like building a house without foundation.
“But Ahnanda… you have written good arguments but you have not given a solution to anger… “
Well my friend, it seems that the above hasn’t been understood. I wonder If I am not using the “right words.”
Here is your “solution.” Remove yourself from the world for 90 days. Live by yourself, alone without any human company, TVs, phones, computers, etc. When you go back to the “real world,” you will be AWARE and sensible about the energy of anger.
“But Ahnanda… that is not practical. We have to make a living, we have jobs, studies, relationships, a life to take care of…”
I understand. Then, follow a quick fix. Pick any. Practice it… Pay for it so it is “worth it.” Ask for a money back policy. Would that work?
“Ahnanda… you surprise me. First you say that “quick fixes” are only superficial, but yet you are giving me that “solution” to my serious enquire about anger. Why are you doing that?”
Ah! My friend…So you don’t get angry. See, I am “helping you.” 🙂
Many will repeat that “BEING is before DOING.” Many will understand that AWARENESS is not a practice, yet as a “new spiritual teaching” is being put into words, the first thing most everyone wants to DO is to “put it in practice.”
Please observe that this is not “wrong,” neither “right,” but you could only practice what you can intellectually understand and that is prone to distortion when we are talking about the immensity of Life.
We could hear that “Life will work for you if you accept it as it is, if you flow with it.” Then, we want to practice that because it sounds pretty good, because it makes sense, because a “super Guru” said so, or perhaps because “we want for Life to work for us,” etc.
Any of the above reasons will bring inner dishonesty. As a matter of fact, any reason behind our “practice” is dishonest, ego driven. We are not BEING. We want to DO what we AREN’T to become something desirable in our minds. DOING does not change BEING.
John was fired from his comfy job. He was very angry; however, he is a “spiritual person,” and he recalled the teaching of “accepting what Life brings.” He wanted to put that teaching into practice at that time.
“John, how do you feel… It must be pretty hard on you, right?” Asked one of his friends.
John replied:” Not really. I accepted it. Life works for me.”
John’s friend was impressed. What a guy! So spiritual, so calm, so cool… such an angel!
Nevertheless, John was angry. Inside he was burning with anger, but he made himself believe that he has “accepted” what Life brought. His meaning of acceptance was simple: Not to make a fuss of it. John wanted deep inside for Life to “work for him,” perhaps by giving him a nice job in the future, so he was willing to try that “teaching.” He had nothing to lose.
As days and months passed by without any apparent external change, John became irritated, he lost hope and he was snappy with others around him.
John couldn’t hide his true self anymore.
His dishonest acceptance, was never acceptance. It was another way to try to control Life, so “it works for him.”
John’s DOING was not according to BEING, his current BEING.
That is how spiritual teachings are misunderstood. We come from our conditioning of “making things happen,” and to “DO something to change things, change the world, change ourselves.” Change happens as we allow it. That is all, but our ideas, ideals, taboos, beliefs, traumas will not let that happen. Acceptance, surrendering in Life is not known by the dictionary.
The type of acceptance that is necessary to flow with Life, does not come from intellectual understanding of the word “acceptance.” It does not come from our willingness to practice that “virtue.” It comes through the assimilation of Life experiences. It is an opening in our Ego mind, a hole drilled by Life itself when there is no resistance, repression in us.
The art of Living Life, that is “spirituality,” is not learned by following books, quoting spiritual phrases from spiritual gurus, or by enrolling in a spiritual class. All of that is conditioning from the “office world.”
I am not saying that it is “bad,” I am saying that all of that is conceptual teachings, intellectual understanding, information. To truly KNOW, we need to experience the process of Life’s teachings; in a word; to be AWARE of it. It is happening in front of our noses all the time.
Busy in trying to change what is happening to us, we will buy any sort of “magic formula” to change our destiny, rather be AWARE of who we ARE. What is going on outside is only reflecting what goes on inside. Life is the biggest mirror, but yet we could be blind to its reflection.
If we cannot be AWARE, then to “practice” the teachings of someone may be our necessary beginning until we let go the conditioning of the mind. Until then, inner honesty will be hiding from our Awareness.
Ahnanda shares the path of discovery within yourself. This is not the path of “how to do it.” This is not the path of “teach me, I’ll pay for your services.” Become aware that change is happening. Through that, learning and teaching become one, and so unlearning. Student and Guru become one and so “spiritual” lineage. Life and “you” become one and so the Totality. Observe it, acknowledge it, enjoy it, let it happen… Tantra is hiding under those words, and that is a close as we can get when something is beyond a definition.
Until January 2nd! 🙂
“You said that there is no choice, but I can choose between one thing and another thing. Isn’t that choice? It is obvious that “I am choosing,” so what you said is nonsense….”
I asked Timmy: “Do you want strawberry or vanilla ice cream?”
Timmy said: “I want strawberry.”
I asked Timmy: Is that your choice?
Timmy said: “Yes, it is.”
Question: Did Timmy “choose” to like strawberry?
No. That flavor came as part of BEING Timmy. There was no choice. It is in him.
Few people are aware of this.
Most say:” I like red, I love roses, my preference is for watermelons over mangoes,” and believe that those are “choices.”
Little old Anne is trying to cross the street, but the traffic is pretty heavy.
Mr. Smith, a candidate for president; happened to be near Anne. He did not choose that. It happened.
Mr. Smith wasn’t sure if he should help Anne to cross the street.
Then, he “thought” in a second: “Many paparazzi may be around with their cameras. If I help that little old lady cross the street, that action will look good and may help me in my career.”
Did Mr. Smith choose to do that “good action”?
No. He is merely bound by what he IS.
His activity is selfish in nature, for Mr. Smith is selfish. Although from the outside it may look like he is a good Samaritan. The intention and intensity behind the action drives the consequence.
“…but Mr. Smith made a choice between helping Anne or not helping her…”
Yes, superficially. That is what we are taught to believe.
At a deeper level, Mr. Smith expressed through an action who he IS. That is all. Paradoxically, what he IS does not depend on him. There are circumstances, level of awareness, experiences behind Mr. Smith’s self. To observe that ACTIONS are not defining someone but rather the intention, is certainly another notch of depth.
Mr. Smith couldn’t choose not to “help” Anne, for that action could go against his presidential campaign.
Certainly, the outsiders will praise Mr. Smith for being such a “nice guy,” but that is the nature of dishonesty; it is about making others believe what we are not.
Whether Life “chooses” to help Mr. Smith in his campaign or not through that action of helping little old Anne, it is completely out of Mr. Smith’s hands.
Let us say that Mr. Smith went to help Anne and she responded with violence, for she thought that she was being robbed. That “choice” will bring suffering to Mr. Smith’s life. Do you see that? That is why it was expressed that “our choice” is our source of sorrow as well.
When the “I” chooses there is duality. That brings anxiety, stress for the “I” wants to be “right.” When there is no choice; there is agreement with the Universe. Timmy’s selection of ice cream wasn’t a choice at all. He just went with what he IS, and what he IS can change at any moment, whether he recognizes it or not.
An honest strawberry flavor “choice” without choosing. Free of beliefs and conditioning. 🙂 Shall I “choose” to move on from the topic of “choice”?
The importance of feelings cannot be overstated. Through feelings we feel fulfilled, satisfied in Life. Love is a feeling and such is happiness, what else do we need?
Note that the word “feeling” is not enough to express the experience. We could use the word “emotion” to add complexity for the mind wants to “understand.” Spirituality is not about repeating concepts, it is mostly about your inner experience, your inner observation, how aware we could be. Labels only confuse, segregate, separates, dissects the experience.
Please consider the following not as a belief or as interesting info. Just see it in yourself, if you could see these descriptions in “you.”
The feeling that brings fulfillment is the one coming from the BEING itself through the “gut,” thus a “gut feeling.”
Take the time to observe it and recognize it. Some may call this “intuition” which is another label pointing to the same direction. Japanese medicine knows this area as “hara,” and in Chinese medicine it is known as “lower Dantian,” or the “sea of Qi.” It is not only the “gut” or the stomach, but the manifestation of vitality of BEING in this physical plane.
When that zone is relaxed, you feel relaxation, you feel good!
Perhaps we could observe 3 main centers of “feelings.”
The gut or “hara” as explained above is the main one but, we are not in touch with it. BEING according to our role in Life will manifest there. That is honesty in a nutshell. Our conditioning is to sugar coat that with thoughts, beliefs, ideas we have been exposed to and which we consider “thoughtfully,” “mindfully” speaking, to be “right.”
The second center is the heart. Thus, “heart feelings.”
We have been conditioned to believe that the “heart” has the most important feelings to “listen to.” Nevertheless, the “feelings from the heart” come actually from the mind. Those “feelings” have the conditioning of many past experiences.
For instance “love.” It is a label with many meanings. There is love for parents, for siblings, for offspring, for a partner, etc. All of those forms of love are different, but yet we use the same label: “love.” Where is the conditioning? In the way that we should express a particular “love” for a particular relationship. Observe “Love to God.”
Why do we use the “father” type of love? or even the “beloved” one? Is that what is missing in your Life? Why isn’t there a particular type of love for God as there is for a sister, a father, a son?
If you are aware of your conditioning, there will be greater openness in you.
Finally, the center in the head, which we label as “mind,” “brain,” etc. That is where most people function. That center is the furthest away from the gut. We use reason, logic, words to create our world.
For instance, you may hear poetry. The words “touched you.” The mind has been touched. A word brings the experience as the mind has a particular meaning for a particular word. “ My heart has been touched while hearing that beautiful poetry.”
Words… don’t bring an experience other than the one we believe they mean. The word “snake” could bring different reactions in people according to their experiences, however, for mainstream, that word brings a negative connotation due to religious beliefs or sexual hang ups. Conditioning.
That “feeling” is conditioning “stored” in the mind.
Again please observe those centers within yourself, otherwise; the above will just feed your mind with additional information.
In spirituality, knowing is BEING it. Not READING about it.
As shared in previous articles, the journey of a “seeker” is to increase his ego just to let it go.
Our society’s make up and religious beliefs are truly “methods” to increase the size of the ego.
For example, in our dualistic mind we are programmed to only enjoy when someone praises us: “ Oh… Robert… He is a loving, fun, compassionate guy…” If Robert is hearing that comment, his ego will inflate as a turkey puffing its feathers out.
Robert may say to himself: “ I should be humble. My religious teachings say so. I will not allow those praising words to get to me.”
However, it is too late… the minute we are aware that we need to reject something, to change our thoughts… it is because we ARE not that which we BELIEVE to be or want to be.
We are not humble. To be humble is not a matter of rejection of praising words.
Robert heard from someone: “ …That Robert is an angry, greedy and obnoxious guy.”
At that point, Robert will get very upset. Robert cannot accept to be something which does not fit the “image” that he has about himself. That image is “pure” ego.
Robert could be “angry only today,” but he cannot tolerate to BE anger. Robert could have been greedy in one action; but he is ready to ask for forgiveness to his God, so everything goes back to “normal” to his previous image; but Robert is not ready to accept BEING greed.
Ego has chosen an image that Robert must fulfill.
In religious groups and in our society we learn to play the game of being “virtuous,” but we cannot accept to be the opposite (sinful) as well, in that way; inner dishonesty is created. We have ben taught to identify with one side of the duality.
Chaos and order are not opposites but complementaries of each other. They are 2 changing states of the same thing. Those states will replace the other by themselves, for Life is change and it can change because of the movement created between those apparent opposites. It is the dance of Yin and Yang.
When the mind is dualistic, it will be attached to one side of the duality (virtue) and reject the other (sin) thus, ego increases through that attachment. Observe that our definitions of what is sinful and what is not, delimits our duality.
We may believe that we are “virtuous” because we follow a particular law or “word of God,” but observe that there is not a single thing in Life which could be separated as “Black or White” as everything is inter-related. The only place where that separation could exist is in our dualistic minds.
Therefore, if a religion tells me that ”I need to DO” certain things to gain Heaven, it is without a doubt a “method” to increase ego.
Increasing ego is not “bad,” for that ego needs to mature, to be big enough to explode.
Every religion, every belief system, every Guru can only offer “methods” to increase the size of the ego. That is why, there is no religion, no belief system, no Guru, who could be “bad.”
Little ego, means that a person does not need yet to get involved with religions and Gurus. Once the ego becomes big enough to bring inner suffering, then the “search” for a “solution” starts.
At that point, every “method” will be “good” as long as ego increases to the point of “explosion.”
Not to follow a “method” is also a “method” to increase the ego.
When we are beyond that, not as simple mental understanding or a rejection… then the “practicing a method” is no longer part of our consciousness.
We have gone beyond that duality.
“Superhero” movies illustrate how a past traumatic experience could direct our Life. The superhero has powers to overcome the “bad” guys but he cannot overcome his own pain.
An interesting common condition between superheroes, is the painful trauma of their childhood. Most of the time, it has something to do with parents: Killed parents, lost parents, tough parents, etc.
A “superhero” will live in the “now” with that past pain. To be “good,” helpful, to put his life in danger is the antidote to an otherwise unbearable pain.
Most movies make of that “superhero” character a martyr, a near-saint, who is willing to sacrifice himself for the “good” of others.
The “drama” of these movies reside in how the superhero cannot forget the past. He is continuously living in the past and trying to make things “right” in the present to calm down his feeling of futility to change his past, which is tinted by anger and guilt.
A superhero wears a mask to protect his identity and to protect his “loved ones” from “evil” repercussions. Thus, fear is part of his experience.
The mask will give a superhero the opportunity to be who he cannot be, without the mask.
The pain, the trauma of something which has happened is not allowed to go. That incident shapes his ego.
That experience of suffering has built a strong ego who is typically looking for revenge, to get even, to express anger due to an unbearable experience.
To help “others” means to change someone destiny, which is something that he couldn’t do for himself. That is how in a subtle way, the superhero gets even with Life.
Paradoxically, suffering is what will dissolve the illusion of the ego, when the time comes to surrender.
The superhero must surrender to life to heal, to be someone new. The word “surrender” is not an accurate description of “giving yourself into” Life, by stopping the rejection of a past experience. That is opening yourself to Life.
The ego is the child of that “past tense” mind. Although an illusion, it becomes a source of identity and the pain will be proportional to size of that ego.
We don’t see experiences as building blocks for change. We catalog experiences as “good or bad” according to the moral value that we have upon them. That value system is not congruent with Life.
Ego arrives when our fight, our rejection of what has happened is strong. Because of our inability to control the outcome; we could try to destroy ourselves in a desperate attempt to “win.”
That is why a person with such pain, is unable to know what love is.
Their love is only a moral standard: “To do good unto others.” But the quality of their actions is not consistent with their true feelings.
Their “good” is coming out of their pain. Life is not a celebration for them, but a traumatic experience, where “self-protection” from others becomes the number one priority.
That is how the ego encloses itself into a box, there may be “good” actions, “good” deeds when viewed from the outside, but the inside is colored by anger, pain, trauma and fear…
Obviously there cannot be love when we are inflicting pain to ourselves. If we cannot love ourselves, how could we love others?
That is why a simplistic morality which only judges the value of a person from their actions, is not concerned with the well being of the individual. Actions are just the face of the clown as the “show must continue”… but; the clown is crying inside.
No one seems to care about that… not even the clown himself. After all, there is no time for that, when “others need you.”
It is that belief the one that perpetuates lack of self-respect. Paradoxically; our society may call that love to yourself as being “egotistical” which in turn, is the source of dishonest human behavior, spiritual self-lies, and political correct facades.
If the content of an experience hasn’t been processed in Life, then different experiences will bring similar content, until our own perception of “what is” changes without rejection. Inner alignment occurs when we see what we are.
That “change” it is not a mental game or a well-applied method from some ideology or an ideal. It is simply who we “are” at that time in a natural way.
Richard went to the beach a month after his episode with little fish.
This time he went with a couple of wise friends.
After a nice and meaningful talk, Richard was ready to go for a swim; then in that precise moment a guy on his right, called him by making signals. He was a fisherman! He caught a big fish! 🙂
The fisherman was about 30 meters away from Richard’s spot. Richard ran towards him. The fisherman speaking broken English and with joy said: “Picture, take picture!”
The Fisherman caught a small shark.
Richard took the Fisherman’s smart phone/camera, and participated in the joy of the fisherman.
The Fisherman posed for the camera with his catch and Richard took 2 pictures and gave the camera back. The Fisherman gave his thanks and Richard went back to his friends.
Both friends knew about Richard’s previous episode with fish and how he feels about them.
His more “subtle” friend asked: “What did you feel?”
Richard said: “I felt the joy of the Fisherman. I participated in it.”
“and… what did you feel for the fish?” his friend, asked.
Richard responded: “I felt compassion.”
Richard’s friend said: “Because of that compassion, the fish was thrown into the Ocean again… Look!”
In fact, the small shark wasn’t with the fisherman anymore. Richard later found out from the Fisherman, that it was let go into the Ocean. Apparently, sharks could be out of the water for several minutes.
In that episode Richard discovered the meaning of compassion.
Compassion is not pity but far from it, it is a feeling of acceptance of someone’s destiny in Life. In that acceptance there is no sorrow but a sense of being OK with the process, knowing that it is not the final product, the end… but a degree of experiencing something in Life… the circle of polarity.
Richard did not use his passive ego to reject the situation but considered the joy of the Fisherman. He participated along with the Fisherman’s perspective of Life. In that act, at that moment; the Fisherman was the hunter and the fish, the prey. To acknowledge that duality which makes up “One,” is to be aware of what is.
Richard did not use his mind or thought to weigh the possibilities and “choose” a preference, but he acted as he felt, as he was at that moment, knowing that it wasn’t a religious precept or a teaching that he was following, but acknowledging the capacity to feel for both actors: The hunter and the prey. That was a honest action.
When Richard’s compassion and joy was part of that story of the hunter and the prey, the polarity was changed as a new feeling was added in the story: It was the feeling of joy and compassion of the hunter and the compassion and joy of the prey mingling with the joy and compassion of Richard; after all Richard was part of that scene, not as the hunter or the prey, but as a joyful and compassionate witness and observer.