“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.”
― C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Apparently, this quote is “good.” It is a version of “Fake it until you make it.” The word love has to be the most misused, misunderstood and misrepresented as the feeling is seldom felt. If we DO things without BEING those things, we are taught to be dishonest. Behavior can be changed through DOING, but BEING does not change through that. An honest, spiritual individual cannot behave as “if we loved someone.” Spirituality is not the art of conning someone or even worse, yourself. That is politics. Notice that spiritual consciousness varies, so teachings are according to that. Usually there are many levels above that which we usually believe to be the ‘ultimate.’ Thus, by being open to newness our consciousness will be open to understand other teachings.
“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”
― St. Francis of Assisi
It is the FEELING which should drive what is in our lips. In our society, we typically DO the opposite, we talk without meaning that. It is just politically correct to do that. It is in that mediocrity, how our worthiness as unique individuals is lost. We become part of the highly trained collective consciousness where words are important but without the meaning of feelings underneath.
“Love to be real, it must cost—it must hurt—it must empty us of self.”— Saint Theresa of Calcutta
Love is selfless. Thus; to know Love as a non-dualistic feeling, there is no sense of separation from the heart center. What this quote refers as ‘cost’ or ‘hurt’ and even ‘empty’ are words chosen to describe the process of selflessness. In that, ego which is our identity , the “I,” experiences its demise. What we used to be as an identity and protected so much, is no longer there and there is nothing to get a hold of to build another identity. Ego feels in pain. It hurts, it feels like mourning for that identity. The outcome of that process is the expression of what we ARE, Love. As long as we are surrounded by conditioned garments and a great ego, we can only feel the emotion of what we call love (with its duality of hate or fear) which is a distortion of what truly the FEELING of BEING Love is.
Observe that the above description uses words with negative connotation. We can also use words with positive connotation. It depends on the emphasis or highlight the author wants to convey. The reader needs to be aware that any description of a non dualistic feeling or spiritual experience will be using dualistic words and thus making any description incomplete. Many individuals/followers unaware of that, will believe that spirituality is about feeling physical pain or some sort of agony to get to experience the ‘real’ feeling, virtue or idea.
Our society is built upon the idea of separation. There has to be a nemesis to make our Life interesting, to have a purpose.
Humans have developed their little colorful country flags, their little national anthems and the idea that they are “representing” something “special” over everyone else. That sense of identification is misguided through chauvinism.
It is team A against team B. It is “Me” and what I am identified with, against everything else.
To separate, we could use jerseys of different colors, the color of our skin, or ideas. Anything helps to make a separation.
That idea of separation is in our core. When “I” am not representing “my” country, “I” am representing my town, my church, my political party, my “ism,” my race, my social status, my education, my age group, my sexual identity….
It is that idea the one that needs to be flushed out from our system for the repercussions are tremendous. This is a matter of consciousness.
I can litter the streets because those are not “mine.” It is “my” country but my separation mode is different now. Among same countrymen, the streets, the Ocean, the air are not “mine.” Those are “mine” only when someone from another country, someone “different” wants something with them.
That is the stupid idea deeply ingrained which books do not talk about, nor the priest, the religion or the politician.
Those only “talk about” peace, unity, love… Cheap talk.
When we ARE separation, how could we be united? By DOING something?
That conditioning of “survival of the fittest” is flawed as most humans believe it is.
“I” cannot survive without the other things around for the “other” things are truly part of “I.”
Pollute the air, pollute the Ocean, displace animals from their habitat… What happens then?
In our society, economic interests are first. We live in this human made realm to compete. That is our fight to survive.
That is the extension of the conditioning.
With the above in mind, how a man will act with a woman when united in sexual intercourse?
Deep down it is a fight. A competition. A struggle to subdue the other. It comes natural! Although we may label that as “love” or “making love,” or use another “nice” label. We cannot hide who we ARE.
Anything a “modern” conditioned man DOES will only reflect who he IS.
So, am “I” preaching to “change,” to be someone else by “practicing” some idea? NO. I am merely stating my perception. It is just a perception.
Change does not happen when I try to DO the opposite of what “I” understand to be “wrong” to make it “right.” That is infantile.
Change happens when I can clearly see who “I” AM without any additional emotions to defend or condemn myself. Just SEE it completely.
For as long as we do not SEE it, we will only believe it or we will not.
We will add yet another belief in our deep and huge bag of beliefs, that sooner or later will be lost in forgetfulness. All we will have left then, is another “nice” talk about Love, Peace, Compassion, Unity, etc.
The mind can live with the ideal, but “reality” cannot.
Attachments at any level have a duality within. While we have the object of our attachments, we feel secure, safe, comfortable… Once those supports are gone, we will suffer. Life is change, so change is a matter of time.
Many times those attachments are part of our role in Life, as when a wife is psychologically attached to her husband: Her role gives her a sense of purpose. Once the husband is no longer there, unless she is ready to “redefine” herself, that is to change; suffering is unavoidable.
Similarly, we could attach to ideals and ideas. The pursue of an ideal even though glorified such as “peace,” is just an ideal. Many people will give their lives for those ideals. “I will fight for peace in the world.”
Interesting peaceful fighting. “I will practice non- violence (ahimsa) to rebel against the oppressors.”
Interesting contradiction: Rebellion as non-violence.
Our minds may find those ideas “feasible,” but Life will show us otherwise. Any change without a process is violent, although it could be hidden with a pretty ideal. A natural process blends in imperceptibly.
Change is everywhere, but we resist it. That resistance is called attachment.
“My” physical form changes. “My” relationships will change. “My” ideas will change. The ultimate attachment is to my perception of “I.”
It is that “I” the one creating attachments.
Through “spirituality for the masses,” an attachment is perceived as something which we can get rid of; as in “work on it” to “improve” and be “detached.” That is the intellectual game of words.
Just because we ACT as if a particular attachment is not there, it doesn’t mean that it is gone.
Every attachment that we could observe in us, has a purpose in our Life journey. Therefore, to think that “I must get rid of it now,” is a detrimental illusion. Change happens all the time, but “I” want to control what “I” want to change according to my belief or ideology.
That is utmost nonsense.
Observe that a particular attachment is there. Observe the triggers. Recognize the inner neediness. Be aware of how you feel.
The wife in the example, could care for another person as husband, then the attachment that could trigger suffering, will not be there. This is what naturally, many individuals will do (unless they have a social/belief hang up,) but there is a significant difference: They are not AWARE of their attachment, so the next experience, will be the same as before. However, when we are AWARE, CONSCIOUS we could go through Life and observe the moment when attachment appears and it is through the quality of that observation alone, how attachment dissolves naturally. This is known as BEING CONSCIOUS in Life.
“But that is not helpful at all! I want to change now, I want to get rid of this attachment which is making my Life impossible… I need to implement a solution, a cure… “
Observe your conditioning to believe that BEING can change through DOING something. The “cure” is there; but if you are not able to be AWARE of it, then you may need to read some self-help books, spiritual best sellers (Tip: Look for the how-to titles) and ask for advice to an “expert” who has studies to tell you what you have to DO with your life, for a “small” fee…
There is no one better than “you” to observe “you” and learn from “you.” 🙂
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.” 🙂
While the emphasis of “spirituality for the masses” is on DOING, GETTING, ACCOMPLISHING to BECOME someone else; for the “seasoned” Life walker, it is about UNLEARNING, BEING and ENJOYING.
PEACE is not something we “get” by practicing meditation. That could bring a little taste of it as when someone takes a drop of water when thirsty. We could call that a “wonderful experience,” but that label does not mean anything. Thirst will be there.
UNLEARNING is not something we DO. It is the realization, the awareness that who we think we are has been conditioned by several factors such as: Society, morality, family genes, and previous life experiences. All of that is harbored in our minds.
Therefore, we could observe that by emptying the contents of that mind which is the result of living Life under conditioning and traumatic experiences kept by the “I,” what we are desperately looking to become, we already are. Take the fluff which has grown into the static “I” away… Presto!
That “magic act” is not something that “I” can DO. It happens as we let go and do not hold onto the strings that make up our personality.
Observe how a child changes into a teenager. The process is not rejected. The child does not have any expectation; he just allows for the process to take place. Life is DOING already.
A teenager on the other hand, has a mental idea of what he has to be and become. The teenager will hold on to those ideals, defining himself and separating himself from Life.
Eventually the teenager will surrender. He may fight the pimples in his face and make a trauma out of that experience. That is how an adult comes into the picture, with this idea of fighting for everything in Life.
It is that attitude of fight and getting ahead, the one promoted by our society, our religion our morality, the whole system. Fight at any level only defines the “I.” There is no peace in that as the “I” will fight to keep himself alive, and as long as possible.
Unlearning that idea is the work of the “Life walker.” To untangle himself from the spider webs of the past, becomes the new “religion,” for unless that becomes important to us, there is no hope for dissolving the idea of fight and the “I.”
What makes the process of change so traumatic and dramatic is the fight.
“I” will fight against death. “I” will fight against those who think different, for “I” am the embodiment of “righteousness.”
Let it go. Let those ideas which are corroding our existence, dissipate.
Become a child again. You were one of them. Do you remember?
That is how peace appears again, once the dark clouds and strong gusty winds of our own storms in Life, are dissipated.
The sunshine of peace was always there.
Heavy rain and even hurricanes will be in the experience of many. The stronger “I” will require an intense movement of Life, but at the end whether the “I” surrenders or not… It will, for the Sun of Peace is much bigger, warmer and nourishing than our darkest clouds.
“Life works for you” is an example of positive I-ness; and so other common “spiritual phrases” such as: “I am the master of my destiny.” “ I am with God and God is with me always,” “Everything that is happening is only for the highest good of me,” “The universe provides for all my needs,” “My mind and body are in complete alignment with the Universe and I am always in the flow,” “I let go of fear. I let go of pain. I live in love.”
Did you notice how many “I” and “Me” are in those phrases? Those “positive affirmations” support the existence of the “I” as if the Universe was there “just for ME.” That sort of egotistical belief in being the navel of the world, it is like opium for the mind.
A honest person knows that those phrases do not necessarily reflect who he IS.
BEING does not change by repetition of words. BEING does not change by “practice” of mantras or holy words or positive affirmations. Change of BEING does not depend on any action or DOING of the “I.”
“Positive I-ness” is the game of the mind. To manifest something in our lives does not depend solely on repeating words, believing in ideas or worship. There is causality in every step and that causality is moved by the way we ARE and FEEL rather than by what we DO or repeat.
The use of “catchy phrases” only entertains our minds with the belief that by understanding something intellectually, we automatically become that.
If “I want to be peaceful,” I believe that if I imitate someone or behave according to my idea of what a peaceful person is, with practice; I will be peaceful.
That is childish, but it sells a lot of “best sellers.”
PEACE is not something to accomplish. It is not an objective to pursue by the “I.” Paradoxically, it comes when the “I” diminishes.
To “work on” getting rid of the “I” is silly. The “I” cannot get rid of himself.
For the tricky mind, that is possible and “methods” will be invented along with “positive affirmations” to feed the hungry mind with beliefs of BEING something that it is not.
“To repeat 1000 times per day that I am fearless, have helped me tremendously to deal with my boss at work. This stuff really works!”
Nevertheless, the fact is that you ARE still afraid. FEAR is in you. Repetition can divert your mind by numbing it, but fear is not an idea, a word to repeat. Fear is an experience, it IS you… your mind is unable to touch who you ARE.
However, “Positive I-ness” is a step forward into knowing the mind, for those who are aware of it. For those who are not, it becomes another religion, another “solution” to make the white rabbit of fear disappear, by covering it with the magic hat of beliefs, and by uttering “positive” words… Then, presto! The rabbit is not there anymore…
Nevertheless, we know that it is only a magic trick, it is not “real” for to be “real” means to be AWARE that rabbits do not disappear when covered with a black hat…followed by dramatic spells of “positive affirmations.”
Just as Justice is an ideal, a pretty word, a political correct term, a word worshipped by all “who are seeking freedom, peace and harmony in the world”… Similarly, freedom, peace and harmony are more ideals to strive, to achieve, concepts to define… food for the busy mind.
Is man a free being?
“Well, we just celebrated 4th of July, the day of American independence. Of course, those living in America are free men since 1776.”
What about black men? Weren’t they slaves even after “independence”?
What about homosexuals? Do they have the same rights as “free” men?
Any other label to divide?
The ideal is there. We could celebrate it, but reality is something different.
Observe the limits of freedom: Gender, race, nationality, etc, etc. The definition of what “men” are is feeble and so is the ideal.
In the consciousness of most, to be “free” means to roam around as a wireless signal. That is the extent of freedom most people are aware of.
There is also freedom from the known. That is for the few.
That is the freedom from beliefs, traditions, isms, dogmas, etc.
You could be confined, but still free.
There is also the freedom of not BEING. That is to BE the unexpected, the unusual, the formless like the waters of the Ocean.
That type of freedom is known by even fewer.
Are you free to select your type of freedom?
For most, as long as you can roam around, everything is OK. Most care less if they are slaves of the TV, the religion, the office routine, the entertainment, junk food, the drug industry, the marketing for the masses. Paradoxically, those same individuals are proud of their “freedom.”
What about Peace? Same ideal.
No wars equal peace for most. Even though most don’t say “hello” to a stranger anymore for fear. Is fear a conduit for Peace?
Is the ideal of peace something to attain? Something to work on? Something to teach to others?
We are teaching fear, we watch fear as entertainment through all forms of violence. Fear is taking away our freedom.
As long as there is fear, there cannot be peace nor freedom.
What fear? Fear of thy neighbor. Fear of death. Fear of being alone. Fear of god. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not fitting in… Fear of living day by day.
Fear is not an ideal. It is a reality. If we do not face that reality in ourselves then freedom, peace and harmony can only be pretty words to talk about.
Yes, I could repeat to myself: ” I am a peaceful being,” but until “I” face the reality by being AWARE of it…we will smell fear, the “reality” behind our ideals.