Constantly I observe seekers wanting to improve themselves. These seekers will go to different places, take different classes and DO different rituals believing that “now” they are better, they have arrived.
In a short time, reality will hit them when there is no such change. DOING cannot change BEING.
The whole set up of what is called “spirituality” is made on the premise that someone else is able to save me, someone is able to heal me and someone is able to tell me what to DO with my life.
While we divert ourselves in fixing what we see as broken, typically we fail to understand what IS.
Humans have 3 centers within. The mind, the heart and the gut. Without feeling these yourself, I am merely giving information. Once it is felt, then you know. If you know, I am merely supporting with words what is in your experience already. Thus, I am not a teacher. You are not a student. I am merely sharing.
Desires to fix what is perceived as broken or to transform “bad into good” comes solely from the mind.
The mind, is the repository of ideas given to us from the surrounding conditioning. There is no “spirituality” per say, when someone is relating with Life from the mind for we are striving to find ‘reasons’ for everything. Life has no ‘reasons.’ Nevertheless, a beginner will try to understand Life from the mental perspective. Beyond the mind, there are other ways to be in tune with Life.
The heart is the next center. Emotionally, we are connected with Life through the heart. The heart has no reasons. Many times we will hide our emotional feelings with some mental reasoning. This will give us the sensation of not being satisfied. Mentally we may think that we acted in the “right way,” but emotionally, we will feel empty, hurt, unsatisfied.
We will not perceive this lack of harmony if we are looking for external ‘quick fixes.’
In some religions, there is the practice of looking at the navel to meditate.
The gut feeling is not something to meditate on, but something to feel. We are connected to Life and to our mission in Life through the gut. The language of the gut arrives when we feel what is going on there, while being barely connected to the mind. The mind merely receives the message, for without the mind; there is no interpretation, that is to put what we feel into words.
How many are in tune with these 3 centers within us? Not many. For our culture, the mind is the main center, when in reality to maintain the wholesomeness of a human being, the mind should be the last center in use. First is the gut.
The gut like the heart does not know about ‘reasons.’ To feel fulfilled in Life, we will need to learn to listen to the heart and the gut.
For instance, a seeker may be stuck in a job that he does not like. He may be listening to the mind and its reasons. The heart may have some emotional conditioning while connected through the mind, but the gut feeling only needs to be heard. Ask the question and listen for the “yes” or “no.” This is what takes “practice.” Trust arrives little by little.
Do we want to take a class to learn how to listen to the heart and the gut?
Do we need easy to understand steps, methods and classes? That is what the mind desires.
Part of the process of “improving” as a seeker is to unlearn in order to learn something new. Unlearning is a necessity. Newness comes through this. Most seekers are unwilling to go through this process of unlearning, as this means that the person will be “new.” Practically, this may happen as having a different occupation, leaving the settings of the previous life, knowing new people and naturally, cutting ties with the old ones, etc. Life will put this situation. This is not something that someone should try to “DO.”
In the meantime, how do we start? We need the time to experiment within. We need willingness to go into this journey. This is known as solitude.
This is necessary to understand ourselves. It is through that “understanding” (this is not mental but rather openness) how change takes place without looking for it, without expecting it, without believing that this change will make us “better.” In other words, it is a natural change.
What is natural will develop once the unnatural, conditioned barriers of our minds are left aside.
If we could look at ourselves in the same way we look at others, if we were able to grab and read our own personalities the same way we do with others, we will obtain the blueprint of our “I,” just to disassemble it; rather than enhance it with some idea of what ‘better should be.’
That is to help ourselves.
It is amazing how the “keywords” are more important than the experience itself.
“You have to live in the now.” “Women want a sexual partner who has presence, who is fully present in the act.”
Those phrases sound amazingly good. Knowledgeable stuff. Best seller material, but…. what is presence and what living in the now mean?
Do you know? Do you practice it?
There is no definition. There is no practice.
Do we need steps or methods to get there?
How can we explain something which defies our language?
Through a common Life scenario.
When we drive a car, as we become familiar with its operation, things become “second nature,” that is “automatic.”
We are driving for some time and our thoughts will appear and process some incident of the past or fantasize about something in the future, or even create a story out of some current Life episode. Have you noticed that?
If we haven’t noticed that, we are not ready to live in the “now.” We don’t know what that is, even if we repeat the latest definitions and use the more hip-hop terminology. At that point, we need to read “best sellers” on how to practice “presence,” and how to live in the “now.”
We need definitions, we need “how-to’s” and ideas to make this practice permanent in our everyday life.
However, a time will come when we notice our fantasizing, our dream world or tele-transportation into a remote past… then we are AWARE. No more “best seller” material needed.
When the mind is full of thoughts, we are not living in the “now.” When we drive the car in the “now,” we are automatically alert, even though it is the same avenue that we drive every day to work. Thanks to our mind, we can remember the familiar sight. But, thanks to our mind, we will snooze into unconsciousness due to the familiarity of the sight. It is the same old thing. No need to be alert.
When the mind is empty of thoughts, we are alert, aware, conscious. When we add content thanks to the conditioned mind; that pristine moment is not. Then, we do things in “automatic mode,” thoughts take over and we forget what we did 10 seconds ago.
After hearing this “revealing” explanation, some will say: “From now on, I will practice to empty my mind of thoughts, so I can live in the now.”
Please don’t put yourself in that stressful situation. Observe that there is no practice whatsoever. AWARENESS is not a practice. Emptiness of thoughts is not a practice. As our consciousness and state of BEING are in a tranquil state, the necessary space to separate ourselves from the mind will appear, then we could observe the mind.
Ahnanda is not saying “my mind,” but just the mind.
At that point, we will become AWARE on how we have obeyed the dictates of the conditioned mind for so long, thinking that THAT was ME.
No wonder, the greatest teaching of all time to remember is “Know thyself.”
Paradoxically, it is not a “Best seller.” 🙂
“Life at the office” is the term used to describe our worldly experience of a man-made world away from the laws of Nature.
When our mind is immersed in the “world at the office,” then our understanding of the Universe and the way Life operates will be very limited.
Anne wanted to “improve” herself. Anne was taught that “knowledge is power” so she went to the bookstore where she found plenty of books. Anne decided to go for “Self help” under that, she found “spirituality” and in another subsection, there was “Western,” “Eastern” and “New Age,” thought. The labels were neatly divided into different religions and philosophies and then into different authors.
Anne felt a bit overwhelmed that she had to read so many books to “help herself.”
Anne decided to hire someone, a local Guru who she heard “talks pretty good stuff” to “coach” Anne into getting certified as a “spiritual life coach,” so she can become a teacher to “make the difference in the lives of many.”
Anne heard: “You could be what you want to be. Your past does not determine your destiny unless you decide that. You could follow a proven path to help your clients to reach their goals.”
Anne then had a successful training in the “Secret” and in metaphysical studies.
Anne became a proven knowledgeable Guru of life… She was certified and she went through rigorous training… 🙂
The above scenario illustrates our belief in the “world at the office” to understand “self-help” or “spirituality,” which Avyakt7 likes to call “living life with joy.”
Obviously, there is no way that any sort of “book learning” and “certification” could give anyone the wisdom coming from insight.
But… what about if Anne joins a religion?
What about if Anne stays in that religion for 30 or more years? Could she become a “true” spiritual guru?
Of course she will. The followers of her path will be her audience. She will be the example of dedication and love to whatever they believe is worthwhile in life.
Certifications are not required here, but unbreakable loyalty to a dogma is the most important valued item.
However meaningful that may be, it does not mean that Anne will experience the art of living life with joy, that is to be “spiritual.” 🙂
That cannot be learned by following a particular path, for life is greater than just one path.
Something outlined to be followed to reach “illumination” will present the typical duality: Acceptance of “my path” and rejection of other paths.
Isn’t it? Do we see that?
If you hear someone who is representing any religion, once you heard that person; you have heard more or less all the followers who belong to that path.
You know their definitions. You know their philosophy. You know what they believe in. You know what they represent.
The structure, the dogma becomes very important to repeat. Repression will arise in that circumstance and with that the inability to perceive Oneness.
The “world at the office” has taught us: “This is good, that is bad. This is right, that is wrong. This is moral, that is not. We have the truth, they do not. We have God with us, they do not. We will go to heaven, they will not. Our ideas are correct, theirs is not.”
The Universe, Nature, life, does not support that segregation.
The experience of the path of “certifications” or the path of “loyalty to a dogma,” both are good experiences.
The issue resides in the belief that “we have found the truth.”
That is the biggest illusion. That is the greatest ego builder there is.
If we would like to understand life, Nature, the Universe, that means to become it, to be that truth, not to talk about it.
For that, we may need to observe.
To observe we may need to clean our minds from previous learning.
That cleaning is personal. Every one of us has different experiences, different beliefs, different emotional issues, different traumas, etc.
In other words, as our minds become “pure” by dissolving all the previous learning, we have the space, the openness to observe and learn from Nature itself.
That is the meaning of being born again.
It is evident that no bookstore or teacher is going to teach us that, because all we could get from them is more information (books, CDs, DVDs) that will cloud the mind with preconceptions of life…. of Nature.
However, if the above is just accepted because Avyakt7 says so; that is a big illusion as well.
It has to be realized. It has to be the product of our own experience. It has to be the fruit of previous search, of previous experiences of looking for answers… This is the “homework” that may need to be done so the next chapter starts afresh.
The beauty of the range of experiences in life will take the “life walker” from gaining information into emptying himself from it. The “method” is according to where our consciousness is located. Some may need to gain information, others to dissolve it as beliefs.
As that emptiness is necessary for our insight to appear, we could be like those birds who already know about flying in a “V” formation without ever going to a library to learn… and that insight cannot be put into words for “others” to follow.
It is immediate, intuitive…reflecting only the moment, the now.