The following will be a description of the religious/spiritual experience, according to my own experience. None of the levels are better or more “advanced” than another, for there is a continuity which needs to be divided only for the sake of understanding and the limitations of language.
The label “religion” has a connotation of “faith and beliefs.” At this level, we may have a belief in god, the virgin, saints, prophets, saviors, gurus, angels, extraterrestrial beings, beings of light, etc. There is always someone “higher” than us, humans; who are ready to perform “miracles” or specific actions to help us in our lives in exchange for nothing. Thus, we ask them for salvation, redemption, favors, miracles, etc. Typically there is someone in those religions who has access to those higher beings, or there is a belief that this is so; while the rest, the believers; will use them to intercede into that. A religion has a body of beliefs which are referred as “truth.” Those beliefs are indisputable and require the follower’s full agreement. “Blind faith” is typically the phrase used to refer to this stage.
Such follower may have a code of conduct or behavior which aligns with current values of society, which are known as “good deeds.” Such performance is encouraged by their faith, and according to their belief; become the “measuring stick” of those higher beings to concede special favors to the followers. In that way, societies will support religions, as they are guided by the same recognized basic values.
Later, “Spirituality” came as an offshoot of a religion. The idea of worshiping “higher beings” is placed on a lower level if ever, and the value of particular beliefs known as “truths,” is downplayed. What matters here is the experience of the participant and not how much that participant follows the structure. Spirituality then grew into many avenues and was accepted by the masses as an alternative to worship. The rigidity of a religion was transformed into over flexibility: Use it as it best fits you. That attitude brought a new fashion in style: The spiritual seeker, the one who jumps from flower to flower searching for something “special.”
Out of the many “spiritual” paths, we could recognize two distinct but complementary paths: The one recognizing the importance of subtle energies ( the ones embedded in chakras, kundalini, vibrations, third eye, etc.) and the other which brings the element of inner observation, awareness. These 2 particular paths are not concerned with deities or worship of anyone. There are no particular beliefs to follow, although some may import rituals, gurus’ words and even worshiping practices from the previous stage. However, the main element to “study” is the self.
Observe the shift: From the “others,” the gods, the higher beings into looking at the self. The journey could be put into a nutshell: From worshiping others into self-realization. That shift may take many years if not many lifetimes, but it is bound to happen, when the seeker is ready.
Generally speaking, religions are not concerned with inward study, although there may be rare exceptions.
When a person perceives subtle energies, that person is concerned in exploring their own atypical experience. At the end, they may realize that everything is “energy,” including what we know as “I.” Those without this experience, but however open minded; who have already gone through many “miles” of the journey, will become acquainted with studying the self through their own observation. It is important to mention that both paths are truly complementary of each other, for a person with high awareness will be able to perceive subtle energies and vice versa. When this level hasn’t been reached, then a person following the path of energies will perform exercises, mudras, mantras, chakra cleansing, etc. as another belief system which in turn will help that person to run away from the important item, to know the self.
Similarly those following the path of observation by itself, will be limited by their own findings. Sooner or later they will need to go deeper inside their inner subtle energies, to “advance” the level of their awareness. This occurs through outside help from another, usually of those who are in tune with different healing modalities. For instance; when there is observation of an emotion, there has to come a time when we recognize the energetic value of it, and how that could dissolve. That is a learning adventure in itself.
Finally, the journey will go from “self-realization into no-self and thus, Totality, Onenes.” The inner changes are dramatic at this stage. As there is the experience of suffering of the “I,” for everything which gave us a form of identity, will go away. That has been labeled as “Dying alive.”
Interestingly, those “higher beings” worshiped at one time, may become the teachers and guides to help those who are ready, to cross the seldom walked path of the enclosure of the “I.” That may be “true” Salvation after all.
Once we discover violence within, we may begin to observe the whole system of social conditioning; and perhaps we will recognize how punishment has been observed as another synonym of “justice.”
In general, in our society punishment is the settlement of an offense made by someone. Punishment increases, as the offense is deemed to be “worse.” Laws are in charge of judging the severity of those offenses, but the bottom line is that “eye for eye and tooth for tooth” still remains as the principle of retribution to compensate for a loss.
That principle of punishment is so ingrained in our society that even religions preaching peace, brotherhood, and forgiving another’s offense use the principle of punishment quite often in their philosophies and beliefs. Even “God” could be depicted as a vengeful being who supports a particular land or people over another.
Looking at the penal system in the world, we could see a wide variety of beliefs and approaches: From the popular “If you do the crime, you do the time” to a more restorative and rehabilitative system where the inmate is treated with dignity and high hopes to make him part of society again. The correctional system in Norway is well known for the later.
It could be easy to point out that the level of overall violence existing in a country, is proportional to the type of punishment that they will support. Violence uses punishment as another way of reciprocal violence under the label of “justice.”
When the collective consciousness is continuously fed with violence, there will be manifestation of it and retaliation in the form of punishment. It is interesting to look into this, for we could perceive how our conditioning will make us behave in violent ways even with our closest relatives and friends. When others do not behave according to our expectations, punishment is used to bring that person into compliance, although; our understanding of “fairness” and “justice” is biased by conditioning.
Someone stole a widget from a store. He could be penalized with jail time, a fine or even to chop that hand off. Very few will go into a way to rehabilitate that person and understand his circumstances. Who has the time in a busy society? Fear is the tool used to discourage the person from recidivism.
To understand punishment means to look into our own inner violence. That is the starting point. Someone harming another may be mentally ill or circumstances may be pushing that person. Rehabilitation is a more humane way to deal with violence.
If someone murders a close loved relative like your sibling, and you know who that person is; Wouldn’t avenging that person be the right action? Why is there the belief that by taking the life of the individual murdering a loved one, things will be even?
I could say through experience, that to deal with inner feelings of vengeance is the challenging part. That literally will poison us. Our inner violence will exacerbate and manifest. That is the hardest part. Vengeance cannot bring a loved one back, but it can destroy our own life; for our own violence will be completely unleashed and self destructive.
A “spiritual” person knows that we cannot take “justice” in our own hands. Humans do not have the power to decide over someone’s life and if we pretend to have it, consequences will be experienced. We know that Life is a gift, however; Life and Death are together. We can thank our parents for giving us Life as we have been told, but we forget that through that Life, there will be the experience of Death as well.
Life has its own “justice system,” which is not human: It never forgets and arrives at the “right time.” All we may need to be aware of, is what we keep in our hearts. If we keep the poison of vengeance, then the trauma that we will inflict into ourselves will make our life miserable. The emotion urging us to “get even” is the mind with its own conditioning, learned through living in a violent social system: “An eye for an eye.” Thus, we have the responsibility to look into this as we could experience the poison of vengeance.
We say “forgive and forget.” That is not for “normal” humans; but for those who are willing to go beyond their own little selves and open up their hearts to any experience that Life may bring. Experiences will not always be pleasant for we live in the world of duality; but for sure, those experiences will be exactly what we need to experience. This is not a matter of “luck” but destiny. It is not punishment but a test for growth. It is up to us to make it a lesson or a trauma.
What we ARE, displays in inner INTENTIONS (feelings underneath intellectual rationalizations) which later manifest into outer actions (DOING). This is the “natural way” without struggle.
BEING-→ INTENTION → DOING (Action)
However, the spirituality of “practices” and “training” are placebos for they only focus on ACTIONS.
“Our teachers are trained in compassion”. That is fake compassion.
“Our practices will lead you into being a more secure individual”. That is a fake security.
Practices and training have a place in our society where we are trained to become “something” in Life, but those have no place whenever we deal with inner knowledge, self-realization.
The “spiritual market” selling tips, training, practices, master classes, etc. are only focused on the outcome, the DOING. An actor is DOING something on the screen, nevertheless; that is fake DOING. It is just a script. In that, there is no spontaneity in Life.
Our social conditioning, our “training” deals with structure. That structure is a construct of a controlling mind.
CONDITIONING → Training → DOING
That is the path taught in our society.
BEING “good” or “better” in Life, is not the outcome of performing certain actions which we have been conditioned to believe to be “good.” That repertoire of repetitive actions, takes away the joy of living by feeling Life, but rather supports the pre-arranged script of the mind.
Is drinking alcohol “good” or “bad”? OBSERVE that we are concerned in labeling an ACTION with some moral label. That is the religious conditioning tinted with heavy social traumas. We forget about the people involved and the quality of their intentions which shows their BEING. In our society we are conditioned to simply judge things based on ACTIONS.
Although that formula may work in our society, in “spirituality” or living Life in harmony; that social practice is pointless, childish.
OBSERVATION, AWARENESS, being AWAKE, STILLNESS, TRANQUILITY… those are words pointing to what could be useful in living Life in harmony. We need to discover that ourselves.
For some, that may be the chance to make those words into some profitable “practice” or some best-seller “training” book.
The inner experience of those words are not “practices.”
When the mind is empty of our “busy-ness,” the worries concerning running “profitable business,” and our daily “fill the day” activities; then there is space to sit, relax and smell the roses. Then, there is room for no-mind. Emptiness is a requisite for newness.
The experience of those “keywords” above, will appear all by themselves little by little, without rush. If we “catch them,” then we will be practicing without practice. We will be trained without having training. We will be “better” without “making effort.”
Those are “real” practices. For it is through uncovering BEING how our intentions and actions cannot be fake.
We become “real.”
Life does not have a purpose other than Life itself. The purpose of what IS… is to BE. BEING is the most basic and ultimate purpose at the same time. In the human world, a purpose is something different than what IS. It is an ideal of what “should be.”
Life does not bring any sort of learned ideas, ideals and moral values that human beings believe in. Because those things are needed in a society, it does not mean that those are needed in Life. Most human created Gods are supporters of societies’values but not of Life.
Most humans believe that Life is perceived with their 5 senses. That is a self-imposed restriction to know Life.
Humans want to control Life, however; one lesson to learn in Life is that Life cannot be controlled.
Humans have created their own little society with their own little rules and standards, inventing the words “right and wrong.” Humans have invented so many labels such as “property,” “equality,” “control” and “spirituality,” (to name a few amazing inventions) which are only learned perceptions which humans have labeled as “real Life.”
For most humans, “Real Life” is to comply with conditioning.
“Spirituality” has evolved as a way to control, the self and others. To be “better” is a new way to control.
When a society lives in the mind, fulfillment is only another idea. A topic to discuss. Something to “improve” by bringing laws, methods and procedures.
When a person lives in the mind, self-knowledge is out of his experience.
Our little human man-made world, away from Life itself, separated from the harmony of Nature, is alienating us!
Our reliance in the mind is killing what makes us alive, that is our feelings.
Honesty of acknowledging who we ARE now, is replaced by the ideal of what we “should be.” With that teaching, there is no way to “know thyself.”
In Life, learning is to experience. It is not to read and understand what someone wrote.
In life, to “Do more things” does not equal to feeling fulfilled.
In life, to “get ahead” with degrees, titles, certifications, diplomas, etc. is completely meaningless. Those things are only part of a small game, the “office world.” That game has become our daily “bread and butter” to the point that we believe that meal, to be the only one.
What is the outcome?
We are starved and tired of the same thing. We are looking for meaning in Life!
Do we want “answers”? Do we want “solutions”? Do we want to be “saved”?
Yes? Thus, the “market” screamed for religions to appear. The answer is in the future, by following some policy, some behavior. Politicians took note of that.
All we had to DO is to BELIEVE in another “reality.” Something that few perceived to be “true.” Those became the “saviors.”
Tired of that? Then try to BE what you ARE not. Pretend. Practice. Achieve that.
Can we peel the layers of conditioning and learned behaviors from ourselves? Peel the onion. What you find is not “what is,” but rather what needs to be peeled.
Who is peeling? A layer of the onion that we call “me.”
With that discovery, Life could have a different meaning.
What is that meaning? Peel the onion yourself to find out. In Life, we need to “reinvent the wheel” not to come up with a shortcut. “Time is money” is meaningless in Life. Your time is your Life.
Ps: Ahnanda will be sharing once a week from now on. 🙂
Anything that enters our mind as “knowledge” or “truth” to live Life, is only a belief.
There is no way to frame Life with a little belief system, whatever it is.
When we live in the mind, the above is not “true.”
We need belief systems from how to raise a kid to political, economic and social/religious belief systems. All of those beliefs will give us certainty that we are DOING the “RIGHT THING.”
However, that is only a belief. A system is created to frame our Life, to delimit it. That is all there is. Ahnanda is not saying that this is “bad” and we need to CHANGE it or CONTROL it or REBEL against it.
Those are childish beliefs meant to increase our ego mind through a fake purpose. Change it to what? Control it to what? Rebel against it for what?
For something that “I” consider to be “good.” My belief.
Ahnanda is just pointing out, that most human beings have their life framed by belief systems. It is that AWARENESS alone, the one that will allow us to enjoy the game offered by a system.
It is no longer a serious thing. Something to be preoccupied with.
Have you considered why a self-realized being is not interested in becoming a world leader or the president or CEO or any big title that we could imagine from our society?
Those only could frame his experience. He is confined by a role made up by a system. A self-realized being cannot be defined as belonging to a party, a religion, a nation, a particular belief system. All of those are made up by followers.
Of course, Ahnanda is “lying” by verbalizing something which comes intuitively, without any thought on the matter. The above “why” is not the “real” why, for there is none. It just IS.
A “Why” in Life is a meaningless question.
There are no “why’s.”
Why is the sky blue?
What is the sky? Is it the clouds? is it the space above the atmosphere? Is it the cosmos?
And for God’s sake, what is “blue”?
The sky IS.
Of course, in our society; “Why” is a synonym of intelligence, of someone who is looking to “know” the facts, to be well informed; for information is “power.”
Do we see the contrast?
Thus, “Why” is meaningless… but it is not.
In Life things ARE AND they AREN’T.
In our society, things ARE OR they AREN’T.
How do we compromise that madness?
Believe in everything. Dogs can fly, aliens are among us, etc. It is not a matter of having the “truth” or not. That doesn’t matter at all.
It is a matter of opening up to all possibilities. Thus, also believe in dogs not being able to fly and that aliens do not exist.
See the “exercise”? 🙂
Now let me push the issue: What about God? 🙂
You follow me?
Believing in EVERYTHING means to believe in NOTHING.
The minute we believe in something and not in its opposite, we define ourselves. We are stuck in our own struggle. For in Life an opposite is a complement just like day and night…. But for our society of dualities, Day is “good” and Night is “bad.” Not realizing that one calls for the other, that is why in Life there is no need to “control” to “oppose” or to “change,” for everything comes at its own time.
When we are engrossed in the mind-supporting teachings of our society, we cannot understand the above.
Why do you live?
To earn money.
For what? So I can live better.
What is better?
To have things… and for that we need money…
“Better” is to “have things.” That conditioning is only possible in our society… not in Life.
What is in our minds is mostly conditioning. Learned behaviors, laws, morality, traditions, etc.
It is that conditioning which is the main obstacle for openness, surrendering, no-I.
Ego, the “I,” thrives in conditioning. It feels safe. That is the comfort of the known. Unchallenged, we behave just like robots: According to the software installed in us. A society or a religious group relies on conditioning for the behavior of followers will be predictable.
This predictability is desirable to live in groups, societies. Control is geared to this end: Predictability.
If you are unpredictable, you become a menace to society.
How predictable is the weather? How predictable are acts of god?
Nature is unpredictable that is why it is feared.
Modern man has been conditioned to live in his own bubble of concrete, noise and technology. It is called safety. Nature is out, thus; to decondition someone, Nature should be “in.” That is the first step for humans, are part of Nature.
The whole idea of “spirituality” has been distorted to fit predictability. Become wise like some spiritual entity who can give talks but does not live Life like humans, practice some commandments or some “namas and niyamas,” without ever realizing if “I AM” those or “I am DOING” those. There is a huge difference.
Be nice, loving, compassionate, etc. Those are the teachings.
Because most Humans are not that, but they must behave like that. Nice, Loving and compassionate are concepts to practice, defined by lengthy words. We must fit into the definitions.
Inherent goodness in a person is found in the process of deconditioning, but it is thought and sold that further conditioning will make the trick.
Have you seen a salesman interacting with a potential customer?
The smile is fake. The interest in your needs is fake. The nice and charming ways are fake. Why?
There is an interest, a goal. Sales.
Every religion that has a goal for a follower such as heaven, paradise, god or any other lofty objective has an inherent interest, just like a salesman. However, religions (like salesmen) have a place in society, they have a reason to be: They change our conditioning into another type of conditioning, which we then call “truth,” true love, true morality, etc. That is to differentiate it from the one morality and love which are not “true.”
Here is my statement: Spiritual teachings are not needed to flourish in Life but Deconditioning is necessary to live a happy meaningful life. Before someone invents a “method” or “technique” and puts a catchy label for the masses such as “the True Tantra of Deconditioning,” let me say this, deconditioning cannot be taught. It has to be realized, we need to dissolve our luggage of emotional traumas. Deconditioning is not an idea to be understood, a concept to be practiced.
For lack of deconditioning; methods, techniques, steps are used to obtain something artificial which looks like the ideal, the objective in our minds.
Before trying to become some “spiritual” ideal, it is very important to know who you are for “You” are underneath the layers of conditioning.
In the knowledge of the self, freedom is not gained by fighting, but by giving up. Deconditioning is another word to describe that process. 🙂
When most “seekers” talk about “duality,” they have no experiential awareness of what they are talking about. They cannot recognize “duality” in their day to day lives. It is just another concept to “talk the talk.” If you wish to understand what is conveyed here, only recognize these words in your daily Life experience.
Duality is the general perception of Life that we have learned in society. It is the starting point of beliefs systems, morality and laws.
” This is right, that is wrong” is duality. “This is good, that is bad,” is also duality.
Any spiritual belief system, any philosophy, any world class guru who explains “his ideas” about what to do and what not to do, is preaching duality… and so, is any God speaking through mediums, holy books or while using words to convey “his” messages.
The most obvious observation is that our language supports duality, so our concepts and understanding will be in duality. Anything written/spoken including this writing, is full of duality, thus look beyond the words to understand.
“Do this, Don’t do that.” “If I were you, I’d practice this.” “This is self-realization, that is not.” Duality.
Life in non-dual. It in ONE.
Do you see the issue?
Life is “Yes and No.” Both at the same time. In practical terms: If we reject something in Life by fully supporting the opposite, we will experience that which we reject. If we support “Yes” and reject “No,” it is certain (money back guarantee) that at some point in our journey, we will support “No.”
“This is good, that is bad” is OK to explain things through the shortcomings of language. It is Ok, to make a point; but if we have invested a deep belief in that by calling it “truth,” we have defined ourselves through that belief, identified through that and since Life changes, that which IS (defined, identified,) will not BE…. Sooner or later.
The complete experience of Life is “Yes and No.”
Life is not interested in conforming with human morality.
Typically, when we observe someone in Life who is not conforming with our beliefs and conditioning, we compare. That is an opportunity to validate our conditioning by judging someone, by rejecting that which they ARE. That is duality.
In Life, while they are experiencing “NO,” the other person is experiencing “YES.” That is all there is.
Non-Duality, embraces both experiences as part of the continuous in Life. There is no hard “line” limiting a “Yes” and a “NO.” There is a subtle process as when day changes into night. Most are unaware and unable to pinpoint when exactly the change has occurred. That has no consequence. What is important is to notice that everything is change and people’s consciousness ARE at different positions of that spectrum. Thus, even though, the labels “good and bad” exist in duality; in another consciousness, everything is “good” as it is, for it will change…. it will not be… 🙂