The core of any worthwhile “spirituality” or self-help/psychology is in the understanding of our own mind.
I am not saying “study” of our minds. This is not about what scientists have discovered and for us to use that information just to be “right.”
When we are understanding ourselves, to “reinvent the wheel” is necessary. No one can give us insight through second hand information, unless we are ready to look, become aware and learn from that.
Observe the conditioning in our minds. What we know about or “civilized” society is conditioning. We expect “reality” to follow those guidelines but we may find out that Life does not follow the commandments, laws and guidelines of the “Office world.”
We have a thought. Did we willfully come up with it? Or perhaps, it just appeared? Have we observed that.
Do we become aware of the thought arising, or we simply IDENTIFY with it and call it “mine”? This question is the beginning to find out more about our minds.
At this time, there are millions of people suffering from some kind of mental issue.
What do they have in common? Contact is lost with external “reality.”
In other words, these individuals strongly believe in what their minds dictate.
Someone suffering from schizophrenia, have a “reality” which is undeniable to them. They feel very strong about it. That creates the clash with a different reality of “normal” people. Psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, dementia… all of those fancy terms, basically describe a mind that is not in touch with “reality.”
If we identify with the contents of our minds, we may live a miserable life. Ego resides right there. Ego is interested in being “right.”
As a person evolves into a different consciousness, that person will realize how forceful our minds could be.
Someone suffering from OCD, is bound to perform certain repetitive actions because in his mind, those activities will bring some benefit. If those actions are not performed, then a sense of guilt and uneasiness will arrive. The mind has control over that person.
Because our society lives in the mind, there is no other “authority” to trust but the conditioning and contents of that mind. That is until we know about out gut-feeling, our heart feelings or any other fancy label to describe a direct knowing which is not necessarily logical or follows a particular benefit for ourselves. To be able to trust “that,” and discern it from the mind, is to create the gap from the rule of the mind.
It is that space, the one that will allow us to observe our own mind.
For example, when we interview someone for a job. We could ask the same questions to all candidates, grade them, add them up and see who is the top candidate. That is the world of the mind, what we have been conditioned to believe. The worshiped idea to be “fair” is there. Nevertheless, personality traits may be covered by someone who is a good talker, a funny person, etc. To observe beyond the answers, becomes important, and to listen to our gut feeling is even more important. Nevertheless, that is not considered to be “fair,” for it is not following “guidelines,” etc. That is the dilemma.
The bottom line is that, we could learn about this experience only if we are AWARE, otherwise; we will perform mechanically the same steps every time there is the label “interview” in our minds, for the conditioning is strong.
We are asleep.
Thus, in that example we could follow the strict steps of the mind to hire someone, or we could go with our gut feeling; but what creates insight and open up our consciousness, is simply to be AWARE that we went with the mind or the heart.
That AWARENESS is the choice-less choice where freedom from the tyranny of the mind resides.
Jack had a Mom with a strong personality. She was the “boss” in the house.
Jack developed a shy personality as a defense mechanism to deal with his mother.
On the other hand Jack’s sister; Melissa had decided early on, not to put up with her mother. There was a continuous struggle to be in good terms with her.
As Jack and Melissa grew up, they used those personality traits to relate with others and to perceive the world.
Jack’s shyness developed into insecurity. Melissa’s fighting attitude, developed into trouble for her and her close relations.
That is the everyday situation for most of us: Something that we have learned unconsciously, will remain in our behavior no matter what.
People around us work as giant mirrors. The consequence of behaving with some sort of neurosis, could be observed in our relation with others.
Melissa will behave with bossiness whenever possible. Nevertheless, Melissa may not like to deal with Claire because “she is too bossy.” Melissa may not be able to recognize her own bossiness because she will feel that she is “normal.”
Let us say that Jack ended up having a good job. Jack had to deal with many individuals under his supervision. Jack may still have that shyness when dealing particularly with women. Jack may not be able to pinpoint the “reason” for that unless, Jack looks back into his relationship with his mother.
The “reflection” that other individuals bring to our lives is meant to show us something about ourselves.
The above description is not psychology. It is self observation. The above is not a religious story to “believe in” and to feel “peaceful” about being “a good person.”
The above is spirituality.
That is why a religious person may not be spiritual. That is why, a spiritual person may not be religious. It is not a matter of belief. It is matter of observing and being aware of ourselves at every moment.
Life is offering us the means to observe and to live fully, but for many it is easier to practice a devotional activity or to pay the psychologist so they could figure out our own issues.
That is the proof on how little we know ourselves… or how much willingness we have in deeply looking “inside.”
It easier to pray to God to change someone else. To send that “other” person good wishes so “she can change,” but we do not realize on how what we perceive in others is a reflection of ourselves in different degrees.
The game of being “aware,” “conscious,” is an interesting game. We are not awake because our eyes are wide open and because we can move around.
We are aware when we are continuously conscious that “we” are not, because then paradoxically; we could observe. Just as when we observe our neighbor without difficulty, because they are not “us.”
One day Patrick was walking barefooted around his father’s room, then he jumped into that bed. His father immediately “pulled his ear,” by telling Patrick that his feet were dirty and that he must not jump into a clean bed. Moreover, Patrick’s dad was very particular about the ceremony of “washing hands” before eating and after touching anything that could have germs…
“Did you wash your hands?” was the ongoing question from his father.
Patrick learned about germs and the need to wash his hands after touching anything “dirty” for otherwise, to forget about it could be very contagious to others and potentially harmful for himself.
The seed for fear was created and for feeling guilty as well.
You wonder how is it possible for a human being to live when there are so many germs around us and inside us as well… 🙂
Patrick’s father was afraid that someone could break into his car. He used to double-check that his car was locked.
He double-checked that the door in his house was locked and that there was no light on inside or outside the house, to save electricity and his electric bill.
“Why is this light on?” was one of his recurrent questions…
Patrick’s dad was a perfectionist as well, specially with Patrick.
What a great dad! He is always looking to save some money and concerned about cleanliness and security in his house… 🙂
As Patrick became older, he developed the same insecurities and guilt since he was a highly “moral” person. Patrick felt guilt if he didn’t comply to what his father has taught him. Patrick developed OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder.)
Patrick had some thoughts which provoked fear in him. Patrick needed to repeat his activities to make sure that everything was well done even though he was aware of doing the task “right.”
Guilt was the feeling. Something “bad” could happen, someone could get a disease, or lose a belonging due to not checking enough.
The same obsessive behavior was latent in his religious practices. Patrick needed to pray to God 10 times every day so his sins could be absolved.
Patrick felt that God, the father; could punish him if he did not follow his prescribed routine. Patrick called that fear of being punished as “love to God.”
Hell was waiting there for him unless he became a perfect “saint.” 🙂
This fear was in him already. Patrick needed to do things “perfect.” Nothing but perfection. Otherwise, he could feel anxious, worried, fearful…
This fear of making “mistakes” was obvious in his life. Patrick wanted to change. He realized that this fear was just a ghost from the past, and he wanted to stop those repetitive actions, but he couldn’t.
“From now on… I will not repeat my checking or any compulsive activities” he would promise himself.
But he failed… then he felt guilty… then he asked God for forgiveness which in turn meant to pray 10 times.
Patrick asked the priest how to liberate himself from this mental disease. The priest told him. “You just have to have will power and ask God to help you.” “Just fight against that. Don’t let that dominate you.”
Patrick learned to fight for everything. Patrick learned to oppose, to reject.
After a long while of seeing his own “failure” and after asking so many times for forgiveness, Patrick decided to change his approach into a different way.
It was a great realization.
Patrick learned about not going into the opposites, the extreme polarities of things.
The world teaches us to oppose things, to reject. It is the fight of “evil against good.” When we apply that teaching in ourselves to improve a habit, this only means to suffer mentally or physically the effects of that inner fight.
Patrick decided to use the “middle way” instead.
How is that?
Whenever Patrick felt that need to repeat things, he would stop and say to himself: “ This tendency to repeat things is not mine. It belongs to my father. Let things be as they are.” Then he would sit down and to pacify the feelings in his body, he would eat a candy and calm his martyred inner child’s mind: “Things will be alright. Enjoy this candy instead.” Then the feelings subdue.
Patrick used the same energy but channelized in a different way. There was no need to use “will power” to stop things but just to be aware.
Patrick learned that there was no need to reject or to fight against himself, but just to recognize that what he had learned many years ago was to feel guilty and that this feeling has made him feel that he does not deserve good things in life, but rather to be fearful by not doing things “right.”
Spirituality is more than praying or asking for things. It is primarily about that inner discovery, that inner change through our own observation. There is a LOT to see in ourselves.
Someone who feels guilty and who is unable to perceive that guilt will not be able to live life to the fullest no matter what religious practice this person engages in or how “saintly” his life seems to be.
Guilt, fear and OCD will be there despite any external practice. Observation and openness by no rejecting or opposing things may be the greatest “spiritual tools” to experiment in life.
Free of charge… so guilt free.. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your story. Please read this post as well.
Having personally experienced the friendship of a soul with bi-polar disorder, I could say that this is an ongoing challenge for you. Consider the fact that a life style of a BK will be challenging as well for you. Outsiders will not understand it. If those outsiders have known you while you were experiencing those bi-polar episodes, there is the likelihood that their “help” will be to get you out of your chosen spiritual path.
Also be aware that unless that illness is not affecting you, there is a likelihood that some conflicts may appear in your relationship with BKs and non-BKs as well. This is something that you need to understand fully.
I am saying this because above you shared “others didn’t help me to come out.” We cannot ask for others to help you to come out of it.
Be well to make those decisions. That is the most important priority.
As a BK, I could only suggest for you to hear the Murli and ask for answers while listening the Murli. As a friend, I would suggest to look for the advice of a local spiritual minded counselor who will know the details about you, your current life issues and your specific condition.
All the best.