Labeling the Journey
“Since Life presents many perspectives which are labeled by humans according to their conditioning, what is the point of a spiritual path?”
To be ONE with Life. However, that cliche answer is not truly what it is.
“Then… what is, what is?” 🙂
We are already ONE, but we are not aware of it.
To “gain” that awareness, there have been 2 apparently contradictory paths. One is the path of Yoga (Union) the other, is the path of Tantra (Openness/Expansion.)
Observe that in Life, paradoxically openness and union are the same exact thing.
The question is: Who opens and who is in union?
Thus, the “I” is the main thing, the link between those 2 apparently contradictory paths. That is why all paths return to the “I.”
In Yoga, the “I” is the last thing for someone to become fully aware of. It is the path of resistance, struggle, suffering of the “I” to become something else, greater, improved, magnificent. I am not referring here about memorizing the definitions of Patanjali about yoga or the practice of pretty asanas like in the “yoga” studio near you.
Yoga is the will power to be someone else and the struggle to make it happen through controlling the mind.
In Tantra, the “I” is the first thing to become aware of, by going into the beliefs systems, taboos, hang ups, ideals, moralities… all of that which makes up the “I.” It is the path of pleasure, enjoyment, openness, by being “nothing,” that is being away from the mind. Thus, emphasis on unlearning, leveling the mind, regaining innocence of a child and not trying to be someone… such as “equal to God.” Taoism is closest to Tantra than any other path. However; to understand it we need to live it, experience it and put all books aside.
I can put this writing together about yoga and tantra into 2 pages long, because it is my Life experience. It does not come from a book. Although many salesman are putting together their own versions of yoga/tantra, know that in “reality” those labels only describe a Life experience and every salesman, only puts their own flavor in it. Their “creation” is ready to be sold with the “right” package. Happily, purchased by the masses who are looking to solve their problems by taking that “magic” pill. Let me share with you something that I have found true in my journey: Every book/writing which has been of any help in my journey, has always been free of charge, easy to download. No salesman involved.
Yoga and Tantra are 2 ends of the same continuity. When the “I” becomes someone equal to “God,” then to be in union with Life, that “someone” will need to go away. But that is at the end of the “yoga” journey.
In Tantra, that “union” preached by Yoga, arrives when the “I” opens up to Life. Open, open, expand, until the “I” is no longer there…
In your Life at this time, you may be living your interpretation, your creation, of one of those 2 paths. However, a fruit matures at the end of the journey. Thus, in spirituality, in Life the journey is to go through both paths without choosing, without making a brainy “selection” coming from the “I.” Life will give the opportunity when the “aspirant” is ready.
I realize that “yoga” has a name recognition. A “good” name. Easy to follow. Easy to understand. Tantra instead, has a “bad reputation.”
To go into the path of pleasure, before having experienced fully the suffering of the “I,” means to find suffering in pleasure. Nevertheless, as we know; all experiences are “good.” They are part of the journey.
“How do you label your own journey then?”
In this life I could call it: From yoga to tantra. The offspring of that marriage is Ahnanda.
Both, yoga and tantra; are paths of self-discovery. Life may give someone a book, another a guru, yet to another a spirit-guide, etc. The means are different, but the end is the same: Self-discovery. To be one with Life.
The gift of self-realization
Self-realization is a gift to mankind. The “I” offers itself to be no-self.
The “I” with all its tricks, desires, wants, plans, etc. will go away little by little creating pain and agony in “going away” from Life, just to be someone different, unknown, mysterious.
That offer is not related with an ulterior motive. It is to be part of the Totality through a particular role, according to time.
In a way self-realization is unpredictable like death. We could plan all we want for the future, but when the time arrives, there is no going back.
While experiencing this “death,” there is very little interest in any hopeful belief system for the future; in the “after life.”
Being one with Life is not in the future. It is right now.
The wonderful “I” with all his beliefs of salvation and a better Life in the future are left aside to embrace what is now. Fulfillment, enjoyment, appreciation of Life are in the “now.”
Here there is no praying necessary, nor any special offers to the Gods to be made. There is no promise of any kind to no one.
Life has no promises other than being what is, thus a feeling of appreciation to Life is the ingredient to enjoy it.
We are free.
Do we want a method to reach “heaven”?
Do we want everlasting “insurance” and good “karma”?
Do we want to be happy in this Life?
Then, why is it that Self-realization is not being preached to others, why is it not being taught to others rather than beliefs in everlasting life in the afterlife?
We cannot teach it or preach it. It is not something to be taught or learned from a book. No one knows how to get “there,” even if there is experience of it.
That is why there are so many beliefs and so many holy books instead. Those are things that most everyone could understand or interpret, the method to “get there;” to attain that “special” state, everyone wants to play it safe by following a “planned out” trip to “Heaven,” “risk free.”
All you need to do is to believe, to follow, to entertain yourself with the thought that you are getting there, becoming, arriving … soon…
If there is no method, if there is no way to proactively pursue and obtain that self-realization, what could be “done” to attain it?
Nothing. So enjoy what is.
It is not about “doing.”
It will happen when we are ready, not before or after. “Being” ready is not about “doing” things.
When we have gone through the experiences of the pendulum of Life from one extreme to the other, and our capacity for experiencing suffering has reached its peak, in the depth of that darkness; perhaps light could be seen.
As the “I” takes that helping light to move out of that space of suffering, the “I” perhaps will realize through the experiences of Life, that there is only suffering because there is “I.”
That is a day to celebrate!
The very thing the “I“ has been struggling to and searching everywhere to attain, is in the absence of that “I.”
The medicine resides in the disease.
Suffering= “I.” Pleasure= “I.”
Thus, duality = “I.”
Nevertheless, observe how our society from time immemorial, has been trying to build up that “I,” through beliefs in the eternal permanence of that “I.” Isn’t that ironic?
Some say “Life is suffering.”
That is nonsense; although many are repeating and spreading that line of “spiritual wisdom.”
Life is the mirror of the “I.”
The “I” suffers.
How is the “I” capable of being one with Life?
It does not mean that we shouldn’t feel pleasure or pain. NO! It means that while experiencing those experiences we could understand the “I.”
The trauma of the experience, the anxiety, the neediness, the “I cannot live without it” state or the “I need more of that;” those are the ingredients which acknowledge a well built up “I.”
If we stop the urge out of compulsion to practice asceticism or if we go all out for it in full indulgence, both extremes will increase our experience of suffering. It is the “I” driving the show.
Do we see that?
Thus, the middle-way… which is not “middle-way,” but there are no words to express inner balance within Life.
The word is harmony. Behind that word there is absolute emptiness.
Ohh.. now I get it! That is why the “I” cannot “do” anything to become one with Life!
Because anything the “I” does, takes the “I” away from Life. It is the doing of the “I” which gives greater presence to the “I.”
You said it. However, know that it cannot be said. For everything which is said, it is half-truth and half-false. Duality within words.
Words are only deceiving pointers to a place with no name.
Do you see the “truth” of this article?
See its “falsehood” as well.
The “truth” cannot be written in words.
Until July 6th! 🙂
Sensual pleasure in “Spirituality.”
Isn’t sensual pleasure part of the experience of living life?
Why it has been denied in many ways and in many beliefs?
The word “spirituality” is identified by many as “beyond the body.” To reach that belief of “beyond the body” for many, it is about denying the body. That acceptable practice could be mystified by adding another word to it: Purity or to purify our self.
Pain and suffering could be easily accepted as “life lessons” or “karma” but the experience of pleasure is to be rejected as “non-spiritual.” 😉
We accept one side and reject the other. That surely will bring issues in our lives.
Individuals nowadays are addicted to thinking. Their feelings have been shut down. Because the mind is always looking to repeat a pleasurable experience, then addiction appears.
“Thinking” when it is related to pleasure means repetition. Something to compare to. Something to enhance every time, to make it “better.”
When the mind meets an experience in life full of thoughts, taboos, beliefs and traumas, it is obvious that there will not be a fulfilling experience, even while that is pleasurable.
Thinking separates the subject and the object. It is in that separation when “loneliness” arrives. However, not only loneliness arrives but everything else that we believe to be “me.”
Neediness, emotional traumas, addictions, taboos, beliefs, etc.
Pleasure or desire is the opportunity to calm or fill even momentarily our own feeling of emptiness through something beyond our sense of self.
That is how pleasure was satanized by cultural beliefs and religions, for it became an addiction.
“I” could enjoy a party if paradoxically; “I” am not there. That means the baggage that comes with thinking about “me.” That “me” only exists in my mind.
“I just want to be myself.” 🙂 It is actually “no-self.”
To get out of thinking and the world at the “office,” where logic, analysis and research is needed, we may need to open our feelings. We could do that when we experience the “non-I” which we could find in Nature.
To increase our ability to enjoy life means to decrease our capacity to think.
Our culture worships thinking and forgets about feelings.
Too much thinking kills our feelings and without feelings, we cannot enjoy life.
Pleasure is enjoyed when “I” am not there and because of that, “I” let things happen.
That enjoyment is fulfilling because there is no “I” there to think about it…
At that point, I am living in the “now.”
Sex and pleasure are not bad or evil. It is the condition of our minds which make something “ugly” out of an experience.
Drinking a glass of beer is not bad. Unless you are an addict. (That is a mind condition.)
If I say: “Beer is bad. It is impure…” all I am doing is reinforcing fear to drinking beer and denying the experience of it. Beer becomes a “problem” in my mind.
If you want for something to be remembered continuously in your mind, all you have to do is deny it to yourself, then it becomes a “problem.”
Religions will find a childish solution to that “problem.”
“There is something better than beer.”
“There is paradise in the future where you could enjoy.” Deny yourself now. Repress yourself now. Wait for the future, wait for enlightenment.
“There is a non-sensual pleasure in meditation which is better than physical pleasure.”
“Connect to God and you will not feel the body.”
For God’s sake… the issue is our minds. The issue is our addictive thinking, everything else gets colored by the condition of our minds.
A belief of the suppression of something to cure our minds is like patching our internally bleeding heart with an external band-aid, so everyone could see that “ our bleeding has stopped” but we are the only ones who can feel otherwise.
Question by reader: Daydreaming, jealousy and pleasure
“Let me share my today’s experience. I felt good for an event for which I should not feel good. I heard about a girl who Is going through rough patches in her married life. Around 2-3 years back there were talks about our marriage among our relatives but that did not happen. I was quite neutral about this outcome.
Now my question:
How to avoid this jealous feeling when I trying to experience the moment I m just feeling happy. I don’t mean that I want to feel sorry for her, but still it can’t be happiness because of her misery.
how to put strict ban on daydreaming. I am not able to do that cos it gives me pleasure.
Thanks in advance.”
Thank you for your question for the common good.
Happiness is a label. The feeling of happiness is not a label.
When we are referring to the label, there is an opposite: Suffering. That is duality.
When we live in the moment, happiness as a feeling “is” when “we” are not there. There is no duality. If “we are” there duality will be there as well.
Please read the above paragraph many times until it makes sense.
When “we are” there then the whole web of relationships based on “I” will come up such as: My wife, my pet, my country, etc.
There is an experience that someone is experiencing. Why that experience has to be “yours”?
It will be “yours” if there is an “I” in between. Add the “social conventions” that we have learned (feel bad or good in certain situations) and then you have a good motive to strengthen the livelihood of your ego.
Feel empathy if you would, but happiness is not dependent on external situations.
If the above does not make any sense, there is no problem. If you would like a method to understand the above, stop looking for there is none.
It just happens when you are ready.
Observation is needed to become ready.
The “I felt good for something that I shouldn’t” is unnecessary. Observe that “you” felt good when someone you knew was not doing well. That is all.
Now, do not put a label such as: “I am bad” or an emotion such as “I feel guilty.”
That stuff will take you away from observing what is.
You already found the emotion behind it: Jealousy.
That means that your self-worth was increased in your mind when the girl who apparently was going to be your wife in an arranged marriage, had a rough time in her marriage with another.
Perhaps you think that you are neutral about this, but deep inside, you have some lingering emotions.
If you are single and have nobody with you yet, the thought of being “Mr. right” for her or for someone will bring many fantasies. It just happens to be her the focus of your fantasy.
That is something that you will need to find out by observing your own situation.
If you are in a relationship with someone, perhaps it is not that deep for you and the emotional outlet is there with the thought of her.
That is all.
Observation without judgments is very important to understand the issue.
That understanding will bring your own liberation from daydreaming, nevertheless; because you enjoy the movie in your head, it still will happen unless you become aware of the moment that it is occurring.
It is in the awareness right in the moment, when it is happening how you could decide to go on with the fantasy or choose to play “Nintendo” instead. 🙂
Without that instant awareness the fantasy will go on.
Note that daydreaming brings an emotional rush, which has the potential to bring you “up” or “down.”
In a way, you are having a “relationship” with her although it is all in your mind, the emotions that you feel are real and that is what brings the need to repeat the experience, which you call “pleasurable.”
With those emotions, you may feel alive.
Our minds could create a world for ourselves, a world to suit our emotional needs when these are not fulfilled in the “real world.” However, a relationship with someone comes down to sharing things:
Washing the dishes together, paying the bills, taking the garbage out, doing something for each other, having fun together, growing together etc.
If that is not happening, then it is all in your mind and if you are aware of it, then the fantasy will stop as when we wake up from a dream.
A fragmented personality
Ananda sat by the Bay. He was looking at the Ocean and the Sunrise, Ananda was immersed in “being” that.
All of the sudden he was surprised by the appearance of “something” swimming underneath his feet.
For 2 seconds that something was “newness,” until Ananda recognized that familiar figure to be a dolphin.
Ananda was able to catch the way his mind worked: “Ahh! Nothing new, just a dolphin…” At that moment the newness of the moment vanished.
The above is the description of how we bring our past to meet the present. Nothing wrong with that for we need that information sometimes. The issue is when we rely on that for everything.
For example if we meet an “old” friend who we have not seen for months; memory is necessary to recognize that person. However, it will be an erroneous assumption to believe that this person is the same one that we met back then. There is change in both sides. All that is bringing us together are “dead” memories.
Nevertheless, there is “recognition” beyond memory. That is when we meet someone who we know, we have met “before.”
That knowing is beyond memory. That knowing allow us to acknowledge the present despite the feeling of “this is not the first time.”
That knowing is not truly about a “before,” but it is about a “new” story now. To be continued … 🙂
Sometimes that memory could be the source of addictions.
For example some experience may bring something pleasurable. The mind wants to repeat that experience.
In that repetition there will be comparison. When we compare we are not acting “freely” in the “now” but we are setting “standards.”
A second time repeat of something could be “better” than, “worse” than or “the same as.”
It is in that comparison where we do not allow “what is” to be. Therefore, any action through comparison is never complete, never total.
When something is not complete, there is a space, which will prompt us to “want more,” to “repeat the same.”
This is the trap of the mind. When we eat something that we like, that pleasure of taste will tempt us to eat more, even though satisfied. Why is that? Our mind wants to repeat that experience even though physically there is no sense of hunger anymore.
When eating has totality, that enjoyment of eating goes along with feeling physically satisfied. We are a complete unit not 2 different things: The mind wanting something while the body does not.
This “normal” phenomenon is known as “being fragmented.” A fragmented person has no experience of totality, completeness, and wholesomeness in his life. There is always something missing, something around the corner to pursue, something promising fulfillment…
Ananda walked down the side walk to return home. On his way he saw a dolphin swimming by him again; looking at him, they met with the eyes. Ananda felt with his heart the appreciation of that encounter, that experience of being “there,” and only “being.” That was a complete , unique moment which did not need any further repetition.
Comment by reader on Duality and non-duality
Who is “the one” who is beyond duality, and experiences “non duality”? It is too a “separate thing/consciousness” isn’t it, or just a role? Check it… A “thing” that is conscious or not conscious of himself, that says or does not say “I”, is still of a separate discrete existence. Try biting your tongue, and experience how that extreme pain “is just a role”, playing through you. You will see how much you exist…even though to experience that pain is – “just a role after all” 🙂
Thank you for your comment. Avyakt7 wanted to put your comment here for the “benefit of all.”
Non duality is not an “experience” as when you “experience” duality.
In your understanding of non-duality, you are coming from your intellectual mind, your mental reasoning to get to certain conclusions. With that “tool” all there will be left are just concepts to mentally “understand.” If avyakt7 could put this issue in different words to be understood, “I “ would.
This is about observing it in “yourself.”
Try tickling your feet. Would this experience show you “how much you exist”? Why this pleasurable experience should be different from biting your tongue?
Non duality is not about not feeling pain or pleasure. It is about going beyond those dualities by fully accepting them as what they are: “experiences” without the labeling in our minds.
The issue is the mind. When we feel pleasure we would like to experience that again, we look forward to that experience again and in that selection, we reject experiencing pain. This is not intellectual. See it in yourself.
On the other hand when there is pain, we typically reject it. This does not mean that I don’t have to do anything to lessen it, such as taking medicine. We reject it in our minds as undesirable, then we create a psychological trauma on that experience which will increase into further rejection, fear.
Look at a 5-year-old baby. He can cry at one moment and laugh 2 minutes later with the same intensity. The baby is not thinking about the “painful experience,” or “holding grudges” against someone; otherwise he wouldn’t be able to laugh right away. He is not thinking about a “role” being played. That is to live in non-duality.
If the baby could reason about all the moments he already fell off while trying to walk, he wouldn’t be able to walk quickly for fear of crying when he hits the ground over and over in his attempt to walk… Being reasonable about the “future” of trying to learn to walk would be detrimental.
According to the interpretation of the Bible by some, Jesus/Christ knew beforehand that he was going to be crucified.
However, he lived life until that experience happened. He knew that Judas Iscariot was going to betray him; nevertheless; Jesus/ Christ lived life without grudges against him. He suffered when the time came and not in anticipation of knowing something. He was living in the moment, in non-duality.
Pain and Pleasure to fit all
Robert was meditating in a group meditation. This particular type of meditation is about stillness of the body. To avoid making any movement and to become aware of our own breathing.
After meditation was over, Robert shared with his teacher that he felt bliss.
“It was a sensation of fulfillment;” Robert mentioned.
Then, Robert explained that he felt physical pain after a while during the meditation, but in this occasion, it was the first time that he fully accepted it, and the pain stopped being that bothersome.
His teacher said that it is good to feel those things, but equanimity is the teaching. Don’t take pleasure neither pain. Remain in equanimity.
The students agreed with the teacher.
Isn’t that a good teaching? 🙂
It depends. Some will teach: “Do what is pleasurable. Avoid what is painful. It is good as long as it feels good.”
Another teaching will say: “Sacrifice your pleasure now. Renounce pleasure now for it is just tempting you. You will indulge in it and you will forget about greater things in life.”
Yet, Robert’s teacher mentioned to remain in equanimity by not taking pleasure nor pain.
Which one is the right teaching? For sure, one of them has to be the right one, for those 3 teachings contradict themselves.
That is how 3 different “religions,” 3 different belief systems emerged.
As we grow in awareness, we could see that the first teaching “Do what is pleasurable and avoid what is painful,” makes sense. Most people will follow this. It is for the masses. Nevertheless, it is forgotten that duality does not work like that. Pleasure comes with pain. The more pleasure we pursue; equal amount of pain will be experienced in one way or another. The anticipation of pleasure is emotional pain until pleasure comes. Once pleasure is experienced, comes the pain of not being in pleasure. 😦
The above is the cycle of addiction.
The second teaching is about becoming acquainted with pain, so it is not that “painful” anymore and to avoid the other side of duality, that is pleasure as much as possible. This spiritual teachings was made popular when the understanding about the flesh, the body; as the culprit for not experiencing our spiritual side. That is bring the spirit up, the soul forward by denying the body. The masses could understand this teaching very well. “Don’t do this. Do that instead.” The issue is that pain could become the pursuit. It could become the “pleasure.” More pain experienced means a greater state of sainthood.
Masochists are those who find pleasure in pain.
The third teaching is to remain in equanimity by rejecting both, pleasure and pain; seems logical; it seems “good”… However, in Spirituality to make an “effort” to reject duality means not to experience life but to become a machine. Duality is not “bad.”
All of the above teachings have shortcomings. The issue resides in the type of consciousness we are in.
According to that consciousness, there will be a type of follower for those teachings.
A “normal” person has an addictive personality. If it feels good, you want more of it, always more. That is why the teaching of denying things is thought to be the answer to reform the person. But then, too much denial becomes an “abnormal” behavior. The question is, what is “too much”?
Thus, to deny both sides of duality; takes away the experience of life.
When our consciousness accepts pain with the same equanimity as pleasure, then there is equanimity in acceptance. That means, there is equanimity in experiencing life. When pain is not taken as pain neither pleasure as pleasure, when we abandon those ideas, there is freedom from pursuing something. It is just an experience.
Until our minds are not-self absorbed in the experience of one side or the denial of both sides of duality, then we will no experience balance, we will not enjoy life with gratitude.
It is pain bad? No. It is pleasure bad? No. It is pain good? No. It is pleasure good? No. They are neither bad nor good.
What are they?
Pain and Pleasure.
Please realize that it is our clinging mind, our mind full of attachments to liking something or even rejecting something (we become attached to that idea) that state is taking us out of balance and harmony.
The above teachings are not concerned about individuals, so they discover the state of their minds through experience and observation. Those teachings are more into putting a paragraph of “do “ and “don’t do” in a basic law, in a book to worship, so it fits all.
A “Fit all sizes” type of deal, will not fit all very well. It never has.