Change means life. There is nothing static. Movement is ongoing. Our emotional and mental suffering is related with our inability to let things go on or because we cling into something made up by our minds which is not “here” yet. These are desires.
For someone who is not aware, changes will tend to degenerate, that is “entropy” is the default when there is no awareness. This could be explained simply by looking at a nail after several years, rust will be building up. The former shiny nail will lose its color.
This “rust” is what religions and moral teachings have identified as “vices.” Therefore, well-known religions and moral teachings are all about cleaning that rust by “doing” something.
Some religions will apply sandpaper over the nail. The nail will have to go through lots of friction and discomfort to get the rust out… however, sand paper is not the “solution” to maintain the nail clean from vices, but just a temporary method, for if sandpaper is not applied to that nail on a regular basis, then more rust will appear.
This creates a “dependency” of the nail for sandpaper. Notice that everything here goes at the physical level.
For example, If I realize that sex lust is “bad,” then I should not look at a woman. Then, I should think that a woman is my mother or my sister, so the desire will go away. “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” 🙂
This is sandpaper. That is, to identify something which is “wrong” with me and to do something to get that out of my system.
As long as there is sandpaper, then I should be “clean,” if I “do” a good job. 🙂
There are other religions or philosophies which proclaim that “everything is what I should be,” and I do not need to “do” anything to change. I am perfect already, but I do not realize it. 🙂
Many have misinterpreted this religious/moral teaching as to “do what is natural.” Thus, Anger is natural, lust is natural, greed is natural, etc. When there is this huge misinterpretation, there is more rust accumulated in the nail.
Zen Buddhism and Taoism have been misinterpreted in this way. For many is about sitting for meditation looking at the wall and performing some devotional rituals and nothing else after that except to think about a “koan,” to dissolve the mind. Here, there is no striving to be “better” for there is nothing to improve.
The problem is that there is no inner observation of what “is.” That comes with awareness and dear reader, awareness cannot be taught, it happens, by itself when we are continuously observing ourselves and by being in contact with Nature to be nurtured by it. Nature is subtle and that subtlety needs to be ingested by a person who is only aware of the physical realm.
When looking at the moon on a windy night, being mesmerized by the beauty of the moment, when appreciation appears, when the heart spontaneously awakens with love, in that moment there is a connection, there is a “something” that is perceived in the air, the setting. That something is subtle and it comes as spiritual nourishment by itself as long as our mind is in that tranquil state of appreciation.
That nourishment changes individuals. The only task is to be aware enough to perceive it. To be open to it.
Then we can see that the utility of sandpaper is just to get us to that point.
Then, magically; the nail is covered by anti-corrosive paint, as long as we could experience that subtle nourishing energy which is everywhere as long as we are aware of it.
The effect is the feeling of gratefulness and peace. When that peace manifest in movement, there is harmony.
This is the “natural” state. Once we know this state by experiencing it, then there is no need to do anything to avoid rust on the nail. Then, we can “do” what is natural, not before.
Therefore, the task is just to be aware. To “gain” awareness after our many years of lethargic sleep.
The sleeping beauty wakes up when the kiss of awareness of the prince, touches her heart.
There is forgiveness of others and there is forgiveness of the self.
Basic “moral” teachings will speak about “forgiving thy neighbor” for the wrong doings that this person may have performed onto us.
Note that there is the separation between “I” and “you.” Notice that this type of forgiveness may be also an opportunity to develop “ego,” as being magnanimous, being “good,” and is a great chance to communicate to the world “how forgiving” we can be… 🙂
When there is a higher understanding of forgiveness, we realize that this “wrong” done to us is a consequence of our own activities in the past. This is known as the “law of karma.” Therefore, when we forgive another; we are basically “settling” that karmic account. Thus, forgiving “others” is thought about bringing a “good karmic account” back to us.
When there is an even higher understanding, we can see that the “other” is basically another manifestation of myself. Thus, by forgiving; I am just forgiving myself. In this vision there is no “duality” but the vision of oneness and interdependence.
When there is even a higher understanding, there is nothing to forgive inasmuch, as outside activities are not affecting “me.”
This can only be accomplished, when there is no “me.” Without “me” there is no need to forgive.
Those are examples of different types of Spiritual understandings.
The above could be understood intellectually by many; but that is not true understanding.
We need to feel this, play the game of life; become like a window which could reflect what is in the outside as well as the inside, which allows light to pass through it, so others can see… what they are ready to see…and understand 🙂
Without “living” fully the path which we have chosen, there will be unavoidably misunderstandings. Spirituality is usually taught by a religion, a Guru, even God; in the way religions understand it as well as its followers. Someone who we deem to be more “elevated” than us. We want to become like “them.”
To live fully a path is to be immersed into it so we can understand practically the “why’s and why not’s.”
Without that full understanding, we will reject everything from the outside, that is; we will repress and control. Paradoxically, that which seems to come from the outside is nothing else but the “inside” manifested.
Let us take the example of the word “control.” We need to “control” our mind, we say. That sounds “good” proper, but impractical. Who is controlling who? Are we splitting our personality in 2 people? That is the mind (which we usually think as “bad”) and the “good guy” that is the one who has “moral teachings” in his head. However, most of us when we hear that our teacher or guru or God mentions that we need to “control” our mind; that is exactly the way “we do it.” We split ourselves; we separate ourselves and create conflict.
Was the teaching wrong? No. Our understanding, our interpretation is flawed. How could a teacher would be able to express “mastery of the mind” without giving the idea that our mind is “alright” as it is?
The word “control” will be used, BUT our understanding of it is based on our experiences of that word “control.”
To “master the mind” is not to identify with it, that is to be a “detached observer.” However, that word “detached observer” becomes a larger problem when the word “detachment” is improperly understood without an experience. We use the dictionary and that is part of the problem.
Most are happy just “moralizing” the self with commandments, rules and regulations and “following” those without the experience of the “why.”
Let me use another example. Let us talk about celibacy.
Celibacy is a problem for most. It is probably one of the biggest issues that any “normal” human being will “react to” if told to become celibate.
The intelligent question is to ask: why?
Without an in depth experience of it, we will only say: “because it is “bad,” it is lustful, our guide has told us to do that.”
With the experience of it, we can recognize that there is no other way to know about lust and anger in the self and how intricate that could be unless we take away “the candy from the little child.”
Then, the little child will scream, the little child will look for ways to get that candy: He will dream about it, He will make up stuff in his own mind to get it, he will play “moral” with others, even though, inside is burning like fire…
That is what is called repression.
When we repress, we have not “conquered.” Repression is not meant to be with us throughout our lives unless we want to get an emotional disease but.. the good news is that we will be known by others as “ moral” or “strong,” …until we “explode” and “indulge in that vice” to catch up for all the years of being repressed.
Ladies and gentleman, the above is to “follow” without understanding.
When we start our spiritual path by “repressing” or “controlling” something that seemed “natural” to us, it is not meant to be so we can “escape” the world and live isolated; but it is meant to be so we can study the self.
Please be aware that “Maya,” the “devil” and all his friends are in us. They are not entities “outside us.” The outside are just “triggers” to show us what we have inside.
Obviously, “morality” will not help there. That is the origin of people living a “double standard” life: That is, “you” should do it because it is good for “you,” but I can get away with not following it. Dishonesty.
Once we have learned in our own skin how “sex lust” appears and what it does to us and we have stopped “indulging in it” because of following honestly a “code of conduct,” then we are ready for the next step; that is “to practice what we preach” practically. Those are the so called “tests in life.”
There has to be inner transformation to succeed and “get out” of repression. To be able to live “free” and not to have “fear” that I will be falling from the path of celibacy.
The issue is that most “seekers” will stay in repression until it is no longer manageable or live in denial, guilt and fear for the rest of their lives but well regarded for his “morality.”
That is the most important aspect “self-transformation” of lustful energies into “good wishes and pure feelings from the heart” hasn’t manifested yet.
Those individuals are still living into the “moral” standard: “You must be celibate” rather than, “I have transformed sex lust.”
A third step once we are sure of “having conquered,” that means, “mastered” a particular vice, is “openness to life.” Without being open to life and the experiences that life could bring, there is no “next step.” Everything is movement. That initial repression and control needs to be transformed into acceptance and easiness. No one can change your ways, when they are truly yours and you acknowledge their value in your life, your own disciplines, if you would (which will allow you to live life fully;) but anyone can “tempt” someone when that inner understanding is not there. Then, we will look for a “escape goat” to rationalize our lack of inner understanding.
Spirituality is to go beyond repression and control. It is to be free. Freedom.
With that freedom, we can know love…. This is why it is a “numberwise” path.