Any spiritual walker has been through many experiences in life. The recognition that spirituality is a number one priority in our lives is the trademark of “experienced” beings.
It does not matter what you believe in. Reincarnation or eternal life or nothing at all; the fact, is that there are some people who are “naturally” attracted to being at ease with life and to find a purpose for being here in peaceful enjoyment and harmonious living in relationship with all.
Usually that “search” appears when the glamour of just being trapped in the values of our materialistic society, comes to an end through “sheer” disappointment. 😦
At that point, there is a “re-birth” for finding inner fulfillment. 🙂
A spiritual walker may find in his path different religious beliefs, which are in tune with him for a certain period of time. That length of time varies among individuals. Please note that to belong to a religion is not the end of that “search” in itself, but to be awaken through conscious living.
As explained yesterday, the main tool to change our vision and attitude in life is done through self observation, that is; by watching the mind: Our thoughts, the way we communicate with others, the type of energy that comes out from our relationship with the world; knowing that those energies will come back to us.
In theory that is known as the law of karma. Practically, if we are sensible enough; we will see the consequences in our own lives.
That is why, anyone who thinks that he has a complete understanding as to how life should be, what to believe; or what is the “right thing to do;” sooner or later will find out that those ideas are not accurate. They are incomplete for “my ideas” are just a part of the totality. Because life is dynamic as Nature is; those rigid patterns will need to change according to time. Everything changes in life.
A rigid mind is a dead mind. In that state there is no openness for “newness,” but only a desire to continue with whatever seems comfortable, desirable and “right” according to our beliefs.
In short, to get out of our own self-centered ideas, however “holy” we think they are, is the first step.
As mentioned in many articles before; once we use a method to arrive at a higher consciousness, we need to abandon that method at one point in time, that is; if we are truly concerned to find out if our perceived “change” is real. That is if honesty is of paramount importance to us. Otherwise, that change of consciousness is not real. It is dependent on a method for that “new” consciousness to be experienced. This is a very important personal call. It is not for everyone to do.
As we “work” on the spider webs of our own minds, openness will arrive, some sort of acceptance of things and people as they are. Appreciation is born and with that the opportunity to heal the heart.
Why is it so important to heal the heart in this process?
Because the mind is like a computer monitor. Once we are conscious that our computer monitor is merely an output device; we can truly go deeper by “erasing” the information stored in the hard drive of the heart. To heal the heart means to “erase” previous information and to place there “newness” instead.
By understanding the mind, we will be conscious of the keyboard and the mouse. Now, we are aware that whatever we input through those devices, will be seen in the monitor. Nevertheless, the computer retrieves previous stored information all the time. If the hard drive is full with information from many experiences, the computer will be “slow,” that is any newness coming from the keyboard and mouse, will not be processed at ease.
Working with the heart and emotions is like erasing that stored data. Little by little.
Formatting the “hard drive” of our life is something that few people can stand. It is dying alive.
Life will bring the right directions when we are ready to work on our heart. The right people will appear. The right circumstance will be unveiled. However, without a previous work in our minds; we will tend to reject the “newness,” and to continue with our “old” ways, our “old” pains.
The security of a known suffering….
As we can see, to go through the above consciously, is a matter of accepting the tools that life brings.
Religions are nothing but tools. Beliefs are nothing but tools. Tools are not meant to be worshiped.
Tools are not meant to create dependency.
Tools are meant to be used, to be respected as ways in our paths to better know our own selves.
Knowing ourselves is the common end of any spiritual walker from any path, from any method.
“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
― Lao Tzu.
Why are you a Christian? Why are you a Muslim?
Why are you a BK? Why are you a Buddhist?
If you take a look deeply at this simple question, you will discover a lot about yourself.
If your “ism” is only about beliefs to keep you together with “others” or if it is based on a particular experience; you may need to consider if those beliefs are there to teach you about yourself, that is the work of your own mind.
Why do you label yourself to fit into a “something” and separating yourself from everything else?
We mirror each other, we are inter-related.
“I want to help my heart by eating less fatty foods.” Do you think that the above phrase is correct? 🙂
You are not helping “your heart,” you are helping yourself for without your healthy heart; you wouldn’t exist.
True spirituality is not related with a belief system.
“They believe in this, and we believe in that” that phrase separates at the mental level. The same thing happens when we use other labels which imply separation.
“My buddies will do everything for me to help me while in war….” The “others” you are fighting against are not your buddies: They do not feel like you, they do not breathe like you, they do not have hopes like you. Only their minds have different ideas….
Please see the illusion of mental separation.
In true spirituality, unless we have not looked at our minds closely; we have not done anything to change our behaviors, attitudes and prejudices.
To consciously look at our own minds does not require a religious view or perspective, it does not require “help” from “up above” until we have given the first step of courage to see all of our own dogmas, rigid values, prejudices, traditions and ideas … until we realize that those ideas are making our own hell on Earth, until then; we will be separating things and people.
Anyone could believe in anything. Anyone could have a practice of anything; but the main goal of any discipline related with Spirituality is meant to look at all the lies inside our own heads; those thoughts that we believe in, those ideas, which make up the way we relate with humanity and the world.
Do you think that life is “logical”? Do you believe that God “thinks logically”? 🙂
Maybe, maybe not. You don’t know neither do I.
Why deal with beliefs then? Isn’t it more constructive to look at what we think and the way we think?
In true spirituality, the mind is first. We can know all the theory about “how it works.” We could describe the mind and its components. We can analyze that data and come up with wonderful theories about the mind. We can obtain prizes due to our original research… 🙂
All of that is of no value for the Spiritual being.
Take a look at yourself. Observe the movie within yourself. Do not believe in that movie. It is not real.
Just because it is only in your head. There are other missing items.
Life is not the movie that we carry with us in our minds.
See that all our own hang-ups, beliefs, ideas and prejudices are secluding us from the wonderful, thoughtless experience of life.
Do not deny your mind, just observe it. Be conscious about the things that are going on there without judging.
Just become aware that it is happening.
Being aware that is happening without believing in it, is the easiest way to move on from that trap of beliefs.
To become free from the rigidity of our own minds is the first step of courage, the first “real” work within ourselves.
Once that step is taken, to heal the emotions of the heart will be next. In this way, our vision will change totally without the opportunity of going back.
We will become a “new” human being.
Searching for “truth,” could take someone through different paths.
That which makes you look forward to living. That which gives you passion to live.
In that search there maybe different paths:
Religious paths, “self-created” paths out of conceptual understanding, and the path of “doing what everyone does,” all of those paths will bring different experiences.
Religious paths are ways of reforming the self. In other words, the belief that we are “sinful” beings who need to be reformed to align with some “plan.”
That is, God’s plan or some other “elevated” vision of whom I should be. The issue is that most of the time, the emphasis on changing into a virtuous being, is surrounded and manipulated by rituals and devotional practices which are meant so we can belong to a particular creed, rather than allowing that person to explore his own limits and discover by himself what being virtuous is all about.
After all, it is truly a pathless path which may need a little “push” from “up above” to get us started.
Therefore, that original reform becomes a source of dependency, that is “I am virtuous, or I am with God as long as I belong to that particular path.” With that narrowed vision of what is truly meant to be unlimited, universal and wholesome; fear will be built rather than trust in life, in my own capacity and abilities.
That is, doubting in my own honesty to be spiritual.
Thus, someone is not spiritual just because that person does not practice a particular ritual, but because there is no sense of inner balance and inner beauty in their life; harmony is lacking. In a sentence:
“When the smile in the face does not come from serenity of the heart.”
“Self-created paths,” means to create your own flavor according to the whim of the moment. There is the danger of misunderstanding in this path.
For instance if I want to try Taoism as a guiding path, there is the main teaching there of “being natural” and doing what is “natural.”
Obviously this word “natural” may get interpreted in different ways according to my whims and my state of consciousness.
Thus, doing what is “natural” may not be what is “right.”
For that reason, it may be important to start our spiritual quest through the direction of some sort of reformation.
Why is reformation important?
Because as long as a person does not know about his “higher” destination in life (other than getting a great job, a big house and a beautiful partner,) that person will be lost in life. What we are looking in life is not something more to “do,” BUT to “BE.”
Peace, serenity, love…those are not small things to “be.”
Those things cannot be bought with money or degrees or social status.
If that is your goal and you do not know where to start, you may need to look into reforming the self, for the “brainwashing” of “doing” before “being” needs to get out of our system.
Then, your search has truly started.
The Path of “doing what everyone does,” is the path to be like everyone. More “doing.” That simply means entropy. Going down.
Why is that?
Because it is the world of duality, the world of search for pleasure over pain. The world of “me” versus “them.” The world of divisions, the world of “getting things done.”
None of the above mentioned paths is the “only path.” As a matter of fact, different combinations of those paths will be experienced by many.
In life we can recognize that there are no 2 people who are the same. Similarly, there cannot be 2 paths which are alike.
Nevertheless, “true” spirituality starts with a search. It has to be a search of something, which we know exists, even though we cannot put it in words. We cannot search for something, which we do not know what it is.
Life will bring the other ingredients towards finding that which we are looking for according to our sincerity, our honesty.
Then, honesty is the most important part in “being spiritual.”
Spirituality is for those who are sincere, honest. For those who are not afraid of viewing themselves as who they are, without covers. For those who do not perform to satisfy the “normal” status quo. For those who do not pretend.
It is in the heart of that main virtue of honesty, where all other virtues could appear.
Life will only peel the layers of confusion out, so the gem could shine. Chiseled by the experiences of living life; it will be bright; all by itself, as the sun rises in the horizon dispelling the clouds of confusion of the mind.
The experience of being a “detached observer,” is one of those things which come together with the experience of the “true” self. To maintain that state of being, that consciousness is the trademark of true spirituality from my perspective.
Witnessing is a key word in Spiritual talk. Witnessing or being a “detached observer, “ or a “trustee” means in essence to observe life as if it was a movie show where “I” am a participant and part of the audience at the same time.
This paradox could also be referred as the “I” not being there; that is dissolved; then there is Oneness.
For those trapped in words and concepts, that state of being could be labeled as “bad” by those believers in individuality, when in fact; it represents harmony with everything in the Drama of life, the movie of life.
The paradox being that individuality leads into Oneness. The foliage and expansion of the branches of a tree, will eventually lead into the seed.
When there is the consciousness of “I” there is separation. When there is the consciousness of the “real” “I” there is no conceptualization of individuality.
The paradox is that to feel the “real” “I” means to be in oneness with all.
That is witnessing. That is being a detached observer.
Otherwise, it becomes the mind making sure that there is “I” being separated form everything else and “I” “making effort” to be in harmonious relationship with the movie of life.
When we are trapped in concepts, we will merely act a pretentious detached observer role. That is, “I” will think that “I have to practice being a detached observer for 3 hours every day.”
That practice is the practice of a mind driven concept, which is not near as close as what the actual sensation of that state of witnessing is.
In short, to be a detached observer means to experience the self as being “separated” from the roles in life but at the same time; having the experience of that role. Both, separation and unity; not just one aspect. This is embracing duality.
Let us say that someone has a stomach ache. That person wants to become a detached observer from that pain. When that person is practicing this, that person will repeat to himself: “I am not the pain, I am not the body, I am separated from the body, etc.”
Those words become the struggle of being free from that pain in the stomach. We could almost say that we are rejecting that pain.
Acceptance is the first step to go over anything in life.
Without the experience of the self, there will not be an automatic acceptance and therefore, a calm way to deal with things in a “detached manner.”
Take your medicine, treat the pain; but rather than being the “star” of the show; become the one sitting in the first row of the movie theater.
I could “choose” to be the spectator of the movie of life or I could become the protagonist.
To know that balance without thinking about it, is to exercise our “free will,” without knowing about those conceptual words.
Thank you for your great question!
In a nutshell; those are expectations from the “I.” The spiritual path is meant to make that same “I” disappear. 🙂 That is how those expectations will be gone, for there is no one to “expect” anything anymore.
We do not get there by simply “joining,” we get there by knowing that which is beyond that “I.” To experience that, is what the spiritual path is meant.
That is why, it is very important to recognize what is an “accessory,” what “looks nice and spiritual,” and what spirituality actually is. Once we realize that the spiritual path is not about “knowing God,” but about getting rid of all those layers of ego protecting the real self, (thanks to this Divine, Godly knowledge ) then it is for very few to have the courage to remove those layers. The “tests” will come thanks to following the “Code of conduct,” and then you will show to yourself; what you are made of.
In my experience, if you understand/conquer anger and lust; you are on your way for “true spirituality,” until then; we are just “playing with dolls,” which is a necessary first step for many.