Tagged: religions and philosophies

Living in a mental box of “righteousness.”

Life is unexpected, dynamic, ever changing. Our society taught us to behave and meet situations with a recipe or pre-cooked package of actions, moral standards and laws.

We believe that a particular action labeled as “moral” is useful for all situations. That is not so. When our moralists realize that, then we try to create another recipe that will fit all. As a consequence, many discusions will arise leading nowhere.

As we go beyond conditionings, we will find that Life is only met fully in the moment.
Experiences are personal and could be used as personal guidelines but never as commandments or laws which can apply to all.
This realization will take away our neediness to be “right,” or to give free advice to others.

One thing is to say “in my experience…” another to say “my advice to you is…”

My favorite cup is made of blue glass. If I was that cup, I will see things “blue.”    (reminds me of the “blue song.”) Through that center of personal experiences all I could feel comfortable with is that which I recognize: Perhaps another cup made of glass. I will not be able to distinguish colors as all I see is blue.
It will be a mistake to believe that everything is of blue color. In fact, I wouldn’t know colors at all. I wouldn’t understand what a color is, for I will need to experience contrasts to see that.

Most individuals in the world are trapped in their sense of self and their self centered perception, their own experiences which would like to label as “truth,” “right,” and all of those words which will make us feel “better and above.”

We could choose to meet Life intellectually. We could choose to follow a determined philosophy or belief but in doing so, we are creating a particular cup of a particular color. Life is much greater than that.

As I observe my kitchen, living room, bedroom, house, neighboorhood, city, country, continent, etc… I could observe that there is no end. Everything is so different, unknown, mysterious and yet “I” pretend to know it all… “I” pretend to be “right.”
I am just a cup of glass with extraordinary value as I am unique, but just like everything else. We tend to value things through their utility, but that is another conditioning. If it IS, it has the right to BE. That is value.

I heard the saying “Ignorance is bliss.” I understand the meaning of that; but also that “knowledge” is truly a kind of ignorance.
Blissful, if we don’t take it so seriously as the “only truth;” however, miserable if we completely believe in it.
There is no knowledge able to contain Life.

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Fixated in being the “same.”

All-a-matter-of-perspective

A painting could be observed from different locations. That location will give a perspective, a point of view.

Life is just like that. Many perspectives, many points of view according to the location of our consciousness.

That location changes, for everything changes in life.
If we deeply go into this, we could perceive that the idea of an “I” who is static and unchanged only exists as “true” in a fixated mind.

Our inability to flow with changes in life will create a trauma to an “I” who is searching for comfort, security and permanence.

Religions and philosophies thrive in offering comfort, security and permanence to an “I” who only exists in fixated minds.

That fixation is a jail.

We are willing to cling to a dogma, to a “truth” that is forever trapped in dualistic words in the name of permanence, security and comfort.

A belief is just a fixated perspective.
Freedom resides in opening the doors of that golden jail and break loose from it.

The “I” is searching for an identity. Once the “I” is satisfied with an identity it will cling to it, demanding permanence.

That is a sure trip to insanity.

“You are a superhero. Superheroes are supposed to behave like this and not like that.”
The label “Superhero” becomes a mental jail, which does not allow someone to be something different.

Look at yourself.
How many labels do you think you are? Isn’t your life just about living up to those labels?

Anything we think we are, becomes a trap, a restriction to be something else.

When we were kids, we allowed our consciousness to take us freely into different perspectives of life. Somehow, we lost that ability when the “I” wanted to have permanence. At that point, beliefs to maintain the “status quo” were needed… so the belief was about “bettering the I.” 🙂

Consciousness wasn’t allowed to change by itself.

I could wake up one day and all of a sudden, “I” could truly not believe in all the beliefs I had before. I may want to be free from them… but fear of not being the “same one” appears.
There is no change when we are the same “old thing.”
The “I” want that permanence, but yet religions and philosophies teach about self-transformation.

How can we transform if we don’t allow our consciousness to change?
It is that “I” who does not allow that transformation to occur.

The baby becomes a child. The child becomes a teen. The teen an adult. The adult reaches maturity and then old age sets in… at that point the baby appears again… that consciousness comes back again, without invitation, without “making effort” all by itself.

Nevertheless, the “I” is unhappy. The “I” wants to relive the “past,” the identity hasn’t gone away… so there is suffering… to mitigate that suffering, let us believe that the “future will be bright” in the after-life…
Whether Paradise or Heaven exists after someone dies is not the issue. The issue is to see the intention of the “I,” the desperate need for permanence.

Are we aware of that?

The belief of predestination and free-will

mj-quote-there-not-there-sandcastle
Any “serious” religious system or philosophy about life will pretend to answer the question: Are we predestined? Or we have free will?

Whenever a concept is developed, its opposite is in place as well.
If we create darkness, we have created light as well.

If we are able to grasp this, we cannot be caught up in the duality of beliefs.

Let me explain:
For example Christianity and their philosophers (as well as many other monotheistic beliefs) believed in “free will.”
What was the consequence of that belief?
Predestination was born. Calvinism appeared with that “idea.”
Many religions and philosophies are caught up with believing one side of the coin to be the truth, and negating or labeling the other side as “false.”

“God has given us free will” they say, “that is why we will be judged at the end.”
Then, another set of believers will find that “God chooses his people.” They are destined to be the “ones.”
Obviously, a contradiction is born.

That is the “problem” that arises from thinking minds, when only logic and analysis are involved to perceive the world.

Then out of the 2 opposite extremes, consensus arrives… Another religion “marries” Mr. Free-will (groom) with Ms. Predestination (bride.)

Something like: “You are predestined, but you choose first.” 🙂 “If what you wanted did not happen, then that was predestined.”
Or in other religious words: “Everyone will attain Buddhahood at the end” and until that doesn’t happen, you will be (“doomed”) experiencing rebirth again… 🙂

Choice/Free-will, has to be in that sort of belief, so “punishment” could be given if the “laws of God are not strictly followed.”

That keeps fear as “input” in followers and obedience as the logical “output.”

When the drop of water separates itself from the flowing river of life, the scenarios explained above will be experienced.

In another consciousness, none of the above exists as “reality,” for the river flows where it should go and the drop of water is not something separated from it, but the river itself.

Is the “right reality” to see things as the metaphor of the river and the drop?
No. If we understand that as the “only reality” or the “right reality” and label everything else as “illusion” we are in duality again, we have created darkness and thus, light.

That has been the “problem” of most religions and philosophies.

A mind that is beyond duality is not concerned in labels, which bring duality… it goes beyond thinking to grasp “what is.”

Ananda was observing how the picturesque river was flowing aimlessly heading west into nowhere. That park had a wooden sidewalk where many animals dwelled. Squirrels, alligators, ducks, birds, insects, as well as many types of flowers… All of them brought a particular perspective of life. The wind was blowing west and the Sun was sharing its warm space with voluble clouds who were about to speak “fluently rain” to the visitors of that park.

Analysis and descriptions separate the whole into parts, creating a perfect duality for mankind to choose from: Right or wrong, good and bad, free-will or predestination… Trapped in those concepts we are unable to see “what is” beyond beliefs…and when we “escape” the mental prison, in that second of illumination; we could understand that enjoyment of “what is” goes well beyond our mental indoctrination.

Birds, Alligators, Bees.. How can they be together, One… if they are different?

That is a human perspective. That could be the perspective of the majority, but that does not make it the “reality.”
Birds, Alligators, Bees… bring togetherness, they bring their own beings to make “what is.”
When we learn to see from different perspectives we cannot help it but to be amazed at the beauty of different shades of the same color.

What I think is no longer what is right, nor what you think.
No one is “right” because there is no one “wrong.”

Duality is out of the mind and with that, our beliefs.

It is “what is.” Enjoy it.

In that consciousness is when freedom “to be” arises. The box of sacred beliefs is thrown away and thus in that moment, we could be who we are meant to be.

The Golden rule

Golden


Once we understand the different types of consciousness, then we could observe how this consciousness of individuality has influenced our moral teachings, which are brought alive through different religions and philosophies.

For example:

“One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” OR
“One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated”

Here we can see the division between “you” and “I.”
The golden rule then states that there is a division, a difference which needs to be bridged through a “new” behavior.

That is what a moral code entails.
As people could not change their behaviors through “nice words,” then the addition of “strong words” were needed along with elements of fear and punishment to keep things in “control.” 🙂

“You must not do this.”
“Do not try that. ”
“Never do this or that..”

Those are commandments.
Humanity has decide to live “happily” with those “moral ideas,” nevertheless; Humanity as a whole has not understood the teaching of reciprocity among humans.
There is no change in consciousness despite the many religions and philosophies and the high number of adherents to them.

Do you know why? 🙂

Because the same consciousness of individuality has prevailed.
In other words, psychologically there is no change. External agents such as laws and moral codes do not change consciousness, they merely change behavior through fear.

Once we see this without covering things up and defending our own beliefs, then perhaps a light for change of consciousness could be perceived.

The Golden rule is a great teaching as long as we stay in the consciousness of individuality, because it pretends to avoid further conflict among humans.
The Golden rule teaches reciprocity, as in “if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours,” but in that “equality” there is no change in consciousness, it is just change of behavior at the most.

“If you don’t do that reciprocity game, then you will go to hell for ever.”
That is Fear. Inducing change through fear is like blinding yourself from seeing the Sun by covering your eyes with one hand.
If you need to do something else, you will take your hand away from your face at your convenience (making sure that no one is watching you) and cover your face again as “needed.”

As we could see, what is required is to change our consciousness and not to patch our external behavior through commandments and laws.

When there is the consciousness of Totality, of relatedness with the whole, then we could behave in that consciousness without fearing anything. Consciousness drives behavior naturally.
Laws and “do not’s” only change behavior.

In that consciousness of Totality, our activities will be for the common good rather than for the benefit of “me” and my “group.”

Then, it is in this consciousness of Totality how there could be a change, without repressing ourselves.

That consciousness is developed when we go back to our origins, to Mother Nature. That is the practical aspect of it.

Without a close proximity to Nature, our paths will lead us into further separation.

On “Purity”

In Spirituality, “purity” has the significance of harmony and balance. It is completeness of being. Wholesomeness.
Typically, the word “purity” has been used to refer to the practice of celibacy. However, as most religions and philosophies are mostly caught up in the physical aspects of being, as the beginning point on self-realization; then this is the common assumption.

Nevertheless, celibacy is one aspect of purity. It refers to the physical aspect, on how to channel our sexual energy to be integrated in our spiritual development. This does not mean rejection or sublimation but once again, integration. However, the achievement of this integration means, “partial purity” only. There is more to purity.

The second aspect is related with our mind and the relationship of thoughts and emotions expressing through it. A person who is practicing celibacy but represses himself/herself will not be in a healthy state of mind. His/Her emotions and thoughts will be scattered and divided between his sense of “duty” of following a celibate practice and his “desire,” to express sexuality as any “normal” human being. This inner fight is not consistent with purity.

Although, the beginning of this path has the experience of inner fight, a spiritual being, needs to understand and be integrated with that which started as a rejection.

Therefore, the practice of celibacy out of compulsion does not mean “purity,” but it means partial purity if in fact, there is no repression in the practice of celibacy. Otherwise, it could be named as a “mental case,” if repression is there under the veil of fear. That fear could take many faces: Fear of failing, fear of not being “good enough,” fear of sinning, fear of God, fear of not getting heaven, fear of his own self.

That is why, once the very important step of following celibacy is taken, a deep observation of our mind is essential. To be able to find complexes in ourselves, to be able to find “hang ups,” to be able to find conceptual ideas and how much rejection to our own self (things which we did not achieve in life or our own perception of the self which came from our past without the reference of spiritual knowledge) and rejection for others is lingering in our psyche and being covered under the name of “spirituality.”

Achieving mental clarity then, is another level of “partial purity.” That clarity may be expressed through the exercise of our own wisdom, that is to live life free of fear.
Finally, there is that purity which brings together the mind and the physical being; that is the heart. Those are the feelings.

We cannot pretend to have “pure feelings” when our mind is scattered.
We cannot pretend to have pure feelings, when we are repressing and rejecting ourselves at any level.
We need to be congruent in every aspect, when we are building our spiritual path.

The heart brings that harmony between the physical pole and the mental pole. When we have achieved that completeness, then we can speak about purity that is complete, “full” purity and not a fragmented belief of it.

It is in that harmonious living, when there is no longer struggle due to being pulled into different directions (mind, heart, physical body) that is fragmented; but there is unity, a harmonious single direction.

That is the meaning of being wholesome. Thus purity is wholesomeness. Our “normal” fragmented personality is no longer there.

God is the truth

god-is-truth

God is the truth, is a statement that we hear all the time from different sources.
Let us inquire into this.

We know as “truth” as “that which is in accordance with a fact or reality.”
Throughout these writings we have been able to observe that only perceptions are all we could ever obtain, because there are different roles performed by different actors in this Drama of life, which have different stages of consciousness.
Human beings do not perceive things in the same way.
As we progress in our knowledge of the world and the universe, what we call as “fact” is merely a perception. That is why to “know that we don’t know” is to be “real.” 🙂

When we approach God, we have religions and philosophies dealing with him in several ways as something “outside” us. That becomes a source of debate about “who has the truth. Who has God.”
It is important to note that we could only get perceptions of that experience which we may call God. Some may say, that God is this or that. Perceptions.

Every religion has its own procedures to deal with the perception by extending the experience of one individual as the “way” of knowing God. That becomes a belief. Something to have faith on.

That is why, some will extend the meaning of “knowing God” as knowing “the word of God,” that is someone knows God when that one hears “his words” and follows those words literally.
Those words accordingly are written in some sort of scripture, some sort of book or booklet, where we could “get the truth.”
Nevertheless, as shared many times in this blog; there is no way that words could reflect truth, specially spiritual truth.

Why?
Because any ordinary language can only express duality, and the depth of spirituality resides in understanding that duality exists, but also to go beyond it.

That “going beyond,” is not in the realm of words.

That is why to connect with feelings of the heart has been used by religions to connect with the “truth,” with God. Nevertheless, the outcome of that connection has to be shown in our own actions; otherwise those feelings become mere sentimental, emotional outlets, a source for devotional upliftment for the heart, but without the force to express itself in our own activity.

It has been said that: “The highest truth cannot be put into words. Therefore, the greatest teacher has nothing to say. He simply gives himself in service, and never worries.” (Hua Hu Ching )
Activity over words and language. Don’t talk, for, it could be misunderstood. Just do the walk and let everyone see.

For example, some scriptures could express that marriage is “bad.” Others that celibacy is “good,” etc.
Please note that this “all or nothing” approach is not reflecting truth but is reflecting a teaching according to time and to certain individuals according to traditions and levels of understanding.

If marriage was “bad,” then societies wouldn’t be able to survive. For a society depends on a couple as the building block to survive.
Likewise, celibacy is not for everyone. As we know, “actors” need to come on to this “stage” of the Drama of life and that happens through reproduction.

Similarly if we go to an extreme, like in killing, we could observe that life may offer “tests” when
killing may be necessary as a last resort as in self-defense or even when euthanasia is considered.
We also know that there is “no killing” in the unlimited, for, we are eternal beings, but there is “cause and effect,” thus, what we do will come back to us.

A commandment such as “you shall not murder” could be extended to murder of animals for some, while for others that is not the “true” meaning of that commandment.

Note that religious teachings have been given according to the consciousness of those being taught.

Note that “black or white” statements are meant to reform personalities, their ways of living. They are meant for a particular type of people at a particular time. That is why, the “word of God,” cannot be put into words as the “ultimate truth,” but rather as a reference for behavioral change.

Therefore, the only thing that I could truly attempt to know in its fullest extent is the self, for no one can know more about myself than myself.

Below some quotes to spark the need for self-knowledge:

* Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.
Proverbs 21:2
(Actions are in itself neutral. Our hearts, our intentions, our consciousness make those activities “good or bad.”)

* When asked what was the most difficult thing, Thales replied, “To know thyself.”
When asked what was easiest, he replied, “To give advice.”

* Katha Upanishad: The Self lies beyond the senses and can only be understood by him who knows It is.

* Ramayana: Enquiry into the truth of the Self is knowledge.

* Koran: And Do thou, Oh Muhammad, remember thy Lord within thyself.

* Tao Te Ching: Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering
others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.

A spiritual seeker, perhaps will start looking for the truth. He will start looking for anything outside him including the idea that he has about God. However, that search sooner or later will go back to the inner self, that is the only truth we could ever get close to in a world ruled by perceptions where our perception about ourselves is our own reality.
Spirituality then is meant to change that perception to the highest one of ourselves.

That truth cannot be put into words.