Re-learning to play in Life
All wrapped up in beliefs, hang ups, dogmas, moral standards, traditions, emotional traumas and perspectives… the inner child is unable to enjoy Life.
The innocence of the child is replaced by the self-righteousness of the “I,” who is not looking to play, to enjoy, to give himself… but to be “right.”
Without a healthy inner child, there cannot be enjoyment of Life.
Enjoyment is not just pleasure… but pleasure is part of it. Enjoyment is the ability to taste the “now” as it is, to wonder, to smile… and to move on “naturally.”
Enjoyment is not something that could be learned through a method, or some spiritual practice; but it is the outcome of unleashing the inner child from the oppression of the compulsive “adult,” who is only interested in “righteousness” for the sake of looking holy, saintly, moral, conservative, a “good example for others.”
When following by the “dot” a made up moral standard, law or tradition without the ability to move as circumstances dictate… is when the inner child is lost.
Someone who is used to follow a paragraph of law for the sake of being “right,” is compromising his intelligence and his originality just to fit in, to feel accepted.
Without intelligence and originality, we have a society of robots, unable to feel, unable to leave their minds aside, unable to be aware of themselves.
It doesn’t matter what type of “practice” someone in that state may perform, as holy as it could be; that practice is not considering the mental, emotional and physical health of the individual and thus, it will not be effective.
Where do we start?
Obviously, the starting point is to unleash the inner child in the “now,” for without enjoyment of Life, all we will have is the promise of the future; “the future will be better.” That could be the “biggest lie,” a person could rely on. Some like to label that as “hope.” A nice label for uncertainty. An empty promise to exchange the “now.”
The “sin” entails in not living the present for the sake of a “better future.”
Observe a child. As the number of “Do’s and Don’t s” increases; emotional trauma will increase.
As the number of beliefs increases; fear will increase.
As his actions are catalogued as “right or wrong,” judgment will appear in his mind.
Isn’t there anything “right” that our society and “spiritual” community are doing for our upbringing?
Nothing “right” nor “wrong.” It is the awake individual who will have the courage to step out of the cycle, not as a rebellion or as an antagonist step, but as a “natural” step as when we go from kindergarten into first grade.
An awake individual is aware of his own process and that awareness will give him openness to understand anyone else’s.
If that “natural awakening” doesn’t happen, then we have idealists or intellectuals pretending to know the “solution” of the “problem” as if they were trying to escape from quicksand… When in reality they are trapped, deep in it…
Because their consciousness is the same despite their intellectual ability, their talk will not match their walk.
Interpreting experiences to create dogmas
Every time we interpret an experience, we create a belief.
Every time we find an intellectual explanation supporting our belief, we have made a dogma.
A dogma cannot stand the movements of Life. A dogma is destined to collapse or to continually re-create itself to survive.
In my Life experience, I had some people telling me about my future. We call those “fortune tellers.”
It is my experience that their prediction became a reality, even when my Life at those past moments did not show any remote likelihood of what I was being told.
Obviously we have different kinds of “fortune tellers.” My experience was with the “good ones.” 🙂
Do we want an explanation about the power of “fortune telling”?
If we live under Yogananda’s experience, we could say something like: “ That person is able to tune into God’s mind.”
If we live under the consciousness of a fundamentalist Christian, we could say: “That is the work of the Devil.”
If we live under the scientific “know it all” consciousness, we could say something like: “It was a subliminal message. You were influenced through that story and you acted it out.”
Do we see that in all of the different consciousness interpreting an experience, there is an explanation?
Which is one right?
That is not the right question. Just observe that there are different states of consciousness formulating an explanation.
Some years after this “fortune telling” experience, my destiny brought me into a religious group who believed in something they call : “The cycle of time.”
Basically, it is the “eternal return” explained by Nietzsche in the West, but understood by many other ancient cultures from different parts of the world with their own spin.
In a nutshell: Every moment is eternal. We could say that every moment will repeat again; however; that is merely intellectual “information.”
In “reality” every moment is completely new.
Paradoxically, because every moment already “has happened,” some “fortune tellers” with that gift, could see it. Life is a movie and some individuals have the gift of “fast forwarding” or “rewind” the movie of Life.
The above merely shows that the “I” is an illusion. We are part of that movie, not something separated.
From that perception, we could perceive the beauty of Totality which others may call “omnipresence” and yet others, “God.”
Let us say that I believed in the religious explanation of the cycle of time given by this religion.
“This is the time to change your destiny. If you don’t do it now, you will not be in Paradise and that unfortunate event will repeat for ever.”
Obviously, my experience of “fortune telling” was supported by the explanation of “eternal return” which at the same time was interpreted in a religious way by some religion due to another experience that I had.
What is the result of so many interpretations?
A dogmatic view of Life.
The fact of recognizing that the “I” is an illusion in a continuously changing world, will clearly allow me to see that the “I” is not “doing anything.” Because everything changes there cannot be a static entity such as the “I.”
Nevertheless, the consciousness of the “I” and the “Me,” (normal consciousness) will compel me to see the “reality” of the “I” doing things.
“I need to go to Paradise.” “I need to achieve God consciousness.” “I need to be saved.” “I need to become a guru.” “I need to be an angel.”
All of that is the illusion of the ego to maintain the “I.”
Are you saying that we are predestined and that there is no free will, then?
I am saying to forget that intellectual nonsense of believing in labels and to feel the moment as “it is,” that means to enjoy it. Isn’t that “good karma” after all?
I am saying, that Life is not pressuring anyone to accomplish anything. Just enjoy the moment.
I am saying that “YOU” as “YOU” are right now, cannot go to Paradise or any other “holy” place until that “YOU” goes away… and at that point, there is no need to go anywhere….
Ananda’s Life experience is already showing in the palms of his hands. Ananda’s Life is related with the position of the planets and stars in the sky. Why?
Because Ananda belongs to everything and he is related with everything. Ananda is not something existing by itself.
The ego arrives and says: “ I can do whatever I want with my life.”
Right. Just like regulating my breathing or stopping my heart beats or changing my consciousness or stopping my thoughts or becoming “more intelligent”… Sure, we can change all of that at “will.” No self-help books needed or Gurus for that…
Are you saying that “I” am a “puppet” of destiny then?
No. Once the “I” goes away, the “right” answer in that consciousness will arrive … all by itself. 🙂
If the “I” remains then the duality of being “predestined” or having “free will” will exist and with that, more beliefs to believe in…
Limited by my own experiences
The “soul” or essence, cannot be viewed only as something individual for paradoxically; the Totality is in it.
If the above cannot be understood, perhaps by looking at the concept of “self-similarity” which brought about “fractal art,” then this idea could be intellectually understood.
The whole has the same “shape” as the parts.
In consciousness, “we” are the parts making up the whole.
Therefore, our consciousness of how we relate with the world is nothing but how we relate with ourselves.
“I am the world.”
This “I” has a personality in it. To go beyond that personality is to find our essence.
To deny the personality just to embrace the essence is what a “black or white” consciousness could observe.
The personality is “bad.” The essence is “good.”
However, when we understand the world through its paradoxical aspect, we cannot embrace one side of the coin and deny the other, for one side depends on the other side to be a coin.
This understanding will bring about a different consciousness.
Yes, we are the essence, but while living life, we also have a personality which could develop ego, that is isolation from the Totality which in turn will bring the effect of suffering.
That is how spirituality is not about denial. It is about integration of the 2 sides of the coin.
That essence, the soul is timeless, but when our consciousness is located in the personality, then time exists.
Does time exist?
🙂 Tell me about your consciousness and “I” will tell you an answer according to that.
A wrist watch has hands moving continually in a circle. That is life.
When the point of reference is 3 o’clock, then our consciousness will believe that it has 60 seconds to enjoy life, for after that, 3:01 will arrive, which is different from 3 o’clock.
We call that death.
Nevertheless, the hands of the watch will keep moving and even repeating the same movement, for that is the way a watch works. Just like the Universe. Life.
Who created the watch?
No one. The watch is all there is. It exists the moment we become conscious of it.
But… someone has to give power to it, for the hands to move… 😉
50 years ago, the example of the wristwatch would not have been a good example, for a battery is needed for the watch to work.
Someone created the battery… and the battery is something separate from the wristwatch.
Now, we have solar-powered watches. No battery needed. The Universe provides itself the energy which it needs to move. Movement is what exists. Nothing is idle.
This example only wants to convey that to understand and explain to others “how everything works in life” depends upon having experiences that could closely match the phenomena.
“I” am limited by my own experiences.
That is how paradoxically words which are meant to explain something or to describe something, will be limited by the experiences of the one explaining his experience.
Any spiritual teaching has the same issue.
If I didn’t know about “fractal art,” I wouldn’t be able to explain the paradoxical nature of the soul. If “fractal art” did not exist, then there couldn’t be something in my experience to convey what I would like to.
I will be limited.
When we abandon all the concepts including the ones explained above, we only need to realize about our own immortality.
That is all. However we get there, that may need to be experiential.
That is the “time” when enjoyment truly starts…
Put the ideas and concepts aside. Put the reasoning aside, and then we are left with the experience of enjoyment of what is… for however long is lasts… for that enjoyment can only last as long as our consciousness is aware of it. Paradoxically, when we forget about ourselves.
Everything resides in our state of consciousness.
The outside of the inside
“As it is inside, it is outside.”
We could get lost in that phrase intellectually or just mechanically repeat it without knowing its “real” meaning through observation of the self.
Using the intellectual abilities of the mind, we could infer that there is no difference between the outside and the inside after considering the phrase. It is the same. Thus, the division between “outer” and “inner” is fictitious.
This is the conclusion of a logical, reasonable mind; what is typically called an “intelligent” mind. Nevertheless; the true meaning of the phrase “as it is inside, it is outside,” will not be known. Without experience of this phrase at a level beyond the mind, there will be only information.
The “job” of a spiritual person sooner or later will be to “get out “ of the mind. That is to be free from the mind. Not to think in intellectual terms anymore, in duality. Here is where “not thinking,” can only be understood by those who have experienced being out of the rational mind. For the rest, “not thinking” means blindly following someone.
To “get out of the mind” is not something that happens through force, through will power. It happens through awareness.
Wisdom does not reside in thinking. Knowing is not thinking and this knowing is not related with finding out the square root of 666; but something even greater: To know how to live life without stress, with harmony; in balance. This is the first and ultimate knowledge.
To experience ourselves without the hindrance of the mind is to liberate ourselves of a heavy weight.
That lightness appears only when the thoughts related with our own “movie mind” ceases to play.
The easiest way to experience this state is to become lighter of any unnecessary responsibilities, to be able to enjoy a whole day by yourself without a thing to do. Nothing to do. Nothing to take care of. Can you afford that? 🙂
When there is nothing to think about, a walk in the park is refreshing. Then, we could enjoy the scenery and being part of it. While walking, we could be observing different faces, attitudes and behaviors from people, without taking that in as: “Why that person did not say hello to me?” Why that person did not smile back at me?” The mind is not there to take thoughts into the “me” “center of the universe;” thus the feeling of lightness appears and then that episode of liberation from the internal movie of the mind will be cherished… only if we realize that magical moment of liberation, that is; if we are aware. Awake.
Stages of spiritual development
The following will be just my own observation on what could be experienced as “stages of spiritual development.”
The first stage is the acknowledgement of duality. Good exists. Good is Godly. Evil exists. Evil is Satanic. It is Maya, (illusion) it is against that which is good.
Therefore, the need to “do” good and destroy evil. The fight is against evil.
From this recognition, the “outer” experience will be about “changing the world.” The need to moralize the world out of evil.
Politics, philosophies, social structures, economic policies thrive in the recognition of that which is evil, bad, negative and their whole idea is to change that into Godly, positive, pure, etc.
The means to reach to this “goal” of change will vary. That is, through force, through fear, through discipline, through laws. It is about “doing,” that is, making things happen. The means could justify the end.
The above is ingrained and exploited by our society. We have the heroes and the villains. We have the workers of light and the ones from darkness. Laws are “black or white,” commandments are in place and the intellect has material to learn and understand how to live life “by the book.” Spirituality turns into an intellectual endeavor. Nevertheless, this way of seeing the world will create will power in the individual to adhere to laws and commandments.
The above understanding is useful to create religions and fanaticism as well.
Typically, this first stage of awareness of change deals with the outside world, “others.” However, it could be used for the “inner” experience as well.
I am a sinner. I am guilty. I must destroy the vices in me. Here the personality is divided into the “good” tendencies and the “bad” tendencies. Fanaticism in this search for “inner” evil, could lead into mental issues such as complexes. Many “saints,” are in this category of development.
In the second stage, there is a realization that any belief system about “good” or “evil” does not reflect the reality of good needing evil to exist. There wouldn’t be “good” unless there was evil. The mother of those 2 kids, is the same. Duality is recognized as a source of separation. Therefore, the outer world, will be just a reflection of the inner world; for whatever I perceive is nothing but a reflection of what I hold inside. This is the stage when beliefs are no longer needed, for the reality of being is for the first time experienced. As “I am” so I will “do.” Here the mental game of the duality of good and evil is acknowledged by experiencing the craziness of fragmenting the personality into “good and bad.”
This stage will deal with mental issues. It will deal with discovering the mind and its intricacies. Beliefs are no longer needed when the truth of the self is realized. The intellectual mind, thirsty for information, is left aside. Gains happen through “losing things,” by getting rid of things such as complexes, ideas, beliefs and previous learned behaviors. The heart and the expression of it through communication (Throat chakra) will develop at this stage.
In the third stage, all dualities are left aside. The method of using duality, which was used in the first stage, is completely gone. Acceptance to all, without labeling becomes the practice. Being “good” happens automatically by being wholesome, by seeing unity rather than division, by discovering the manifestations of the inner source of happiness; by being acquainted with silence, stability, serenity, calmness, elegance, and harmony through personal experience.
The third eye and the 7th chakra will play an important role here. Wisdom could emerge.
The above is not a “recipe,” it is just a description of something which does not have stages nor limits and that could be experienced in a totally different way by someone walking the path of the spiritual walker.
The theory of the Self
When we discover how a human being “works,” we could see that we interpret information according to a set of previously learned behavior and act accordingly.
For instance, if your child tells you that you are not as intelligent as he is; You may react in anger. You may even punish your child for being so disrespectful with you. On the other hand, if your boss at work tells you the same and he has the power to fire you on the spot, you may not react with anger. You may try to find out the reasons behind that statement.
Same situation, different people and circumstances. My reaction will be according to what I have learned, what I find as beneficial. That is the bottom line.
In theory, there are names for those components dictating my activities: The mind, the intellect and the sanskaras. The mind perceives information about what is going on. The intellect decides how to react on that information and the sanskaras are those learned behaviors from the past, which could determine my action unless the intellect interferes.
When there is such a division, religions and moral reforms will be made to voice a particular “component” as being more important than the others.
There are the ones who believe in the mind. The mind is the container of that perceived information. If that information is able to break the stability of the mind; that means that our mind is not strong enough. Thus, as long as our mind is fully stable, whatever enters into it, will not create havoc. In this position, welcoming perceptions without judgment is the “right” attitude. In this way there is an alignment with totality.
Then we have those who believe in the intellect. Here is where “moral codes” are necessary. The intellect will learn some rules and regulations on how to behave in life. The intellect will intercept any information coming from the mind and then will decide a course of action.
Is this “good or bad”? The aim is to follow as close as possible those rules and regulations which are deemed to be “right,” or “good.”
Finally, we have those who believe in the sanskaras as the thing to change. Sanskaras come from previous life experiences from another reincarnation. There are those who will work through those by using hypnosis or any other method to “submerge” the non desired sanskaras. Our predisposition to act now as we do, comes from the past. Thus, sanskaras are nothing else but stored actions of the past. Those activities came from the interaction of mind and intellect.
In self-observation, many will start their self-transformation by emphasizing one of the three components of the human psyche.
Nevertheless, when there is greater understanding on life, we could see that a human psyche is not separated from the totality of life.
When we realize that life is like a movie, then with this realization, we should see that it doesn’t matter how the movie is; for it is what it is.
Those sanskaras are just part of the movie. To “submerge” a sanskara will not do anything on the quality of my intellect and mind. Submerging is not changing a behavior.
If we concentrate on the “intellect,” and its ability to grasp a particular “code of good behavior,” we will find out that emotions will be in the way of things. Here there is a “law” which I need to obey even though my sanskaras (represented by emotions) are pushing me to do something else. This is the inner battle. It becomes a tiring inner fight.
That is why it is suggested to deal with both: The intellect and the sanskaras.
However, we create a dependency for a perceived change could be maintained as long as the intellect adheres to a specific set of rules and provided that the sanskaras are continually submerged.
For most individuals, “submerging” a non desired sankara means to deal with actions related with the first and second chakra. That is survival and pleasure. The way to submerge a sanskara from those first levels, is by activating higher chakras, such as the third one (will power) and the fourth one (heart.)
The heart is used as needed to transform the “lower” inclinations. Nevertheless, “real” change will not occur unless the heart is used on a regular basis, thus creating a new sanskara.
In my own experience, there is a need to strengthen the mind. That means that our complexes, hang-ups and learned behaviors need to be broken from our psyche in order for that change in the self to be permanent and lasting without the use of any ritual or practice to maintain that change.
In the “reality” of experience, names such as “mind,” “intellect,” and “sanskara,” are not important. Their function is not important either.
What is important is to realize that “my perceptions,” are colored by my previous learned behaviors. Thus, “my perceptions” are limited. Then, the mind is tuned into becoming aware, to observe itself without emitting judgment, for the perception of my own movie does not need any “critics,” but just to know that it is a movie. It is at that point that we could change the movie “channel” and watch and experience something else.
Different flavors of Spiritual Knowledge
Spiritual knowledge could be put into 3 “containers” in the human being:
1) The intellect: Reforming religions are in this group. It is about a philosophy behind it as “how to behave,” laws, commandments, etc are included. Their knowledge is meant to reform human beings. God is used as the source of that reformation. Examples: Christianity, Islam, Brahma Kumaris, Judaism.
Their views on “laws” are balanced with love for God. Without that love, their knowledge would be dry to digest. Notice that all of those religions have a philosophical eschatology (end of times) in their views. Even Buddhism could be considered here as pointed out by Wikipedia:
2) The heart: The above religions could also fit into the heart in a way. There is that love for God. Probably Sufism is one of the higher exponents of this love to a super natural entity called God; but the “pure” path of the heart is shown by Taoism. In Taoism, it is about Nature and that love is not related with philosophical ideas or intellectual knowledge, but by observation and relation with Nature. That on going relationship brings that love with practical knowledge based on that observation. Thus, there is no philosophy about the origin of times or the end of times, nor explanations about God. It is the path of the heart because of that union experienced with everything while relating in it.
For many, God is metaphysical experience and hard to relate to. Nature however is available for all, although, most are not sensible enough to relate with it in that love. That demonstrates that our sensibility to beauty and gratitude to life is not developed.
There may be other paths as well relating with the heart.
3) The mind: This is the path of perception and deep observation of the self. Even though there may be, a philosophical belief of end of times or beginnings; the emphasis is on the mind since the mind is the filter, the lens which will connect us to our “reality.” Without a study of the mind, our perception will be colored by beliefs only. Zen is probably the highest exponent of this path. Buddhism also has the study of the mind as a main teaching.
Therefore, we have those 3 paths. All of them bring different experiences in the self. As a matter of fact, those individuals who are balanced in those 3 aspects in whatever their religion may be, are realizing wisdom. Then that wisdom will automatically take them into the ultimate “container” of knowledge; that is our ELEVATED ACTIONS. In other words, the confluence of those 3 paths should take us into our plain activity in the world. Our actions will show our spiritual level based on having walked the path of the intellect, the heart and the mind to know ourselves.
The law of karma (cause-effect) demonstrates this, for an elevated activity brings an elevated return.