I remember a professor saying in a business class: “It is Ok to use people but not to abuse them.”
That saying lingered in my mind for many years. It rhymes; it acknowledges the fact that the means do not truly matter, but only the end result which in this case; is my own personal gain, my profit. That saying could be similar to: “It is ok to choke people, just don’t kill them.” Why do we use people for our personal gain?
For many, this way of operating in society is alright. “Everyone does it.” John may use Mary to obtain his own goals. Mary becomes a “thing,” an object and loses her essence of being a human. As a society we are used to use people to obtain what we desire.
In the “spiritual world” such behavior has a consequence. When our ego separates from another being, then the other is not important or less valuable than us. The degree of importance given to others changes according to our consciousness and moral values; but nonetheless using another has been a common practice.
If someone would like to progress in BEING; then that practice of using others to attain goals, needs to observed. When we are caught in DOING for the sake of our own achievement, then that observation may not matter.
I could become “friends” with someone just to gain a benefit. That is not truly friendship although it may look like. It may look like I love someone. It may look like I care. That sort of dishonesty is the one going on in our typical behavior in society. “It looks like” is preferable than the actual fact of BEING it.
Although out of such “useful” relationship many great things could apparently happen. However, the seed prevails and as the tree of using others grows, it will fall as soon as fully grown. For most, the line between using and abusing is only seen when it is conspicuous, so obvious as when the “friend” becomes dry wood and a fallen tree. Otherwise, there is plenty of time to “milk the cow,” while serving our purposes.
The business world may have its own rules which are many times conflicting with goodwill practices and care for others. The conflict going on in most human beings is whenever values are antagonistic of each other: My “progress” means destruction of “the” environment, for instance. We do not see that as “my” environment.
It is that greed, that selfish desire to enhance the “me first,” the one masked with pretty words and sophisticated ideas.
“Why should you care about conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” is the title of a current “news.”
“It is a corridor for pipelines taking oil and gas to world markets.” Forget about humans killing each other. Forget about the unnecessary human suffering. We do not perceive how that suffering will affect us, we cannot perceive the connection. It is all about geopolitical and economic considerations, not humans.
That is how any talk about “peace” could be mere lip service, when there is the ultimate motive behind: The pipes which are good for ME. That is the “reason” why I should care about.
Using but not abusing, all under the dignified label of “peace.”
A time will come when we want to DO things “right.”
However, what is our standard for that? Our conditioning of what “right” should be.
It is from there how we envision “spirituality”: A God that should act in the “right way.” A “Paradise” where right-full people should go to enjoy Life forever, since they were busy suffering the mishaps caused by “others,” who in turn, will pay their dues in “hell.”
Our idea of “justice” is framed within those parameters: Give to A the same amount as to B. That is our concept of equality.
From there, a family will automatically implement those “values.”
Education then, becomes nothing but training to implement these ideals in the minds of children. We call that to do the “right thing.” Those “unfortunate” who are away from the system, are uneducated, handicapped children who are not in the same condition to “compete” with others in “Life.”
We could inquire into the “fairness” of competition. Then, we will find 2 contradictory “values,” justice vs. competition.
Contradictory “values” are the signature of our society. Thus, be smart. Use those as convenient. That is to be politically correct, right. Right? 🙂
Therefore, any spiritual teaching in alignment with values of society, are only preserving mainstream understanding. Those teachings could be helpful for some to fit with society’s values; but rest assured; that these teachings are not a reflection of the reality of Life. They only reflect our society.
The first thing to understand is that Life is not only what happens between 8 to 5 at work. It is not what happens on TV. It is not what happens in the family.
Life is more than that. To grasp Life we will need to go beyond our need to preserve that who we think we ARE. Our identification with that, will not allow us to move into the changing waves of Life.
Who we THINK we ARE, is not who WE ARE.
What others label us, is not who we are.
Let it BE undefined, without a conceptual idea.
Society is not prepared for that, but that is the starting point for deconditioning, otherwise; we become successfully trained with these teachings.
What are those teachings?
In a word: FEAR.
The future is more valuable than “now.”
Fear of punishment here and the afterlife.
Fear of the unknown. Death is perceived as something to avoid.
There are “good” and “bad” individuals. They could be easily recognized as if they were wearing a particular t-shirt color. Thus, we fear labels.
If you are not like us, you are against us.
If it cannot be controlled or regulated, it is “bad.” Sex comes to mind.
Pretty words and politicians will save the World.
Technology and math are the key for happiness.
Those values are heavily imprinted. This perception becomes our trauma in Life.
How could we be able to OBSERVE something different when we have that ingrained in our core?
That is the first question to resolve (for an intelligent seeker.)
Freedom from the known, is at the end of the street.
All Life experiences will move through a range “full to empty or empty to full” (- It is just a way to describe) which the conditioned mind is not able to grasp. For the conditioned mind, to go from “full to empty,” means to lose, to be worse off, to go down, etc. Likewise when someone is going from “empty to full,” we label that as becoming better, improving, getting to the top, etc.
Notice that our labeling will determine how we feel about our experience.
Although we are the same human beings, we are different. Every human represents a particular point of an experience on the range of experiences.
For instance, a fat man with a high appetite, low sexual libido, a funny personality and a great fear of heights; represents different ranges of different experiences, all in one “package” which we label as “John Doe.” A thin, bulimic woman with a high sexual libido and bipolar personality, represents another range of experiences.
There is nothing to judge or to label but to observe that there will be people in between those ranges of the fat guy and the thin woman. Life will offer us through all living beings different ranges of experiences and possibilities. Those things are never static, change is guarantee.
Humans caged by their mental “static”conditioning, will be in charge of labeling and defining what is “right/wrong, good and bad.”
This creates a “traumatic” experience.
Every experience in Life, is just that… an experience. We may go to sleep and never wake up again. That experience is out of our control.
Choosing one experience in duality, will bring unavoidably the rejected one. So why choose? Why attach our consciousness to an ideal which will bring the opposite?
Notice that because we are alive, then death is a certainty. Notice that because we are young, old age is certain. That is the range of experiences.
We like to compare labels such as “young” is “better than” “old.”
However, it is a polarity of the same type of experience: Aging.
Every single individual has a perception, a way of looking at things based on their conditioning. We like to label that as “true” or “truth,” but it is just a perception.
Many individuals are caught up in finding the “right” experience in Life, the “true” perception of “reality,” and in that search, they are willing to fake it and will pursue what is not for them to experience.
That is how we betray ourselves. If the “majority” sees a blue sky and I don’t; I must believe that the sky is blue to fit in. Peer pressure. Majority rules. The power of the masses.
What is the bottom line?
To enjoy whatever perception we truly experience, for it is only a perception and it is meant to change, to evolve.
What do we do instead?
We want to hold on to a mental ideal of what “should be.” We strive for that.
We hear many times: “Be yourself.”
That is meaningless unless we are willing to de-conditioning by dissolving our beliefs, taboos, hang ups, ideals and values; that is what Spirituality is meant to bring.
Someone may be experiencing a debilitating disease as an experience. What is there to enjoy?
A disease does not come by itself but adds up a circumstance around our lives. There are many other items that come along. For instance, the opportunity to have free time, the opportunity to be in the company of loved ones, the opportunity to enjoy certain items which other “normal” individuals cannot. There are so many other things to enjoy around the circumstance.
What do we do instead?
We curse our lives, our “luck,” the moment we were born, our parents. That focus in one particular aspect of Life which we reject will poison our being.
Because we are so focused on that one thing, we are unable to see the rest, we do not have the capacity to step outside ourselves, out of the pitiful “I” to observe beyond our narrow tunnel of thoughts. Whatever it is, it will change.
Enjoyment is around that “I.” Enjoy that moment! There is nothing that could last forever. That is a great blessing, indeed! 🙂
We rely heavily on words to understand. We think we know, when we got the concept or a definition. “Life/Spirituality” is not in the realm of words and language. Words are merely vague descriptions.
For example, the “problem” is “anger.” The solution is to be “centered.” Thus, to “practice” being centered, is the “homework” to attain the label “conqueror of anger.”
Anger is not a problem. The consequences on how we handle that energy is the issue. Anger is an experience, an emotional experience which needs to be observed, conscious of, aware of. If we label it as a “problem,” we are denying the other side of duality.
“What is that?”
The same energy that produces anger in one extreme, is the same one that will produce compassion on the other side.
Daylight and night are the experience of what we label as a day. Both come together. If we make a “problem” out of daylight, then our days will be fixated in “solving” something that does not need to be solved, only observed.
In the “office world,” we are taught to “solve problems.” We are trained to be “problem solvers.” That same mentality does not “work” in Life. There is nothing to “solve” but rather to be aware of as everything changes at its own time. We could push change by following our own agenda, by using violence and hide it with pretty labels such as “justice,” “the need of the time,” etc.
Our society, morality, values, spiritual coaches and religions are typically caught up in identifying “good,” defining it, labeling it and “practicing it.” That mentality does not have any depth. Any change in it is superficial.
Observe how many laws and codes of conduct man has followed throughout history. Observe that any change in human psychology has been superficial. Only in behavior and as long as someone is “watching.”
That is how God was needed. An honest, “God fearing individual” knows that “God is watching him,” thus that is no honesty at all. It is just a “spiritual” façade.
“To practice good” is the most dishonest behavior a person could engage in.
You ARE. If you practice something that you aren’t, you are merely covering that which you ARE with some belief of what “should be.” BE AWARE of what you ARE so change can happen.
A person “practicing” to be centered as to avoid anger, is making himself believe that he is achieving something. The reality is that the word “centered” is misleading our mind. Thus, I will practice what I believe to be “centered.”
My belief is based on my understanding, my interpretation of some spiritual class, some “best seller” book or just my understanding of the dictionary definition of the word “centered.”
Observe that we are caught up in words. We are caught up in the understanding of the mind. Just observe the energy of anger (don’t even use that label internally) without reacting. Be aware of it, let it go through you. This is to acknowledge the process.
Most individuals only want the “magic pill,” the “method to get rid of anger.” That is why “spiritual salesman” of quick-fixes are making a living by “helping others.”
Those individuals buying quick-fixes are not ready yet for inner Awareness. The same happens with Tantra. A “quick fix” to have “great sex,” to “last longer” will not necessarily lead to a fulfilling Life. Selling the icing of the cake without the cake is like building a house without foundation.
“But Ahnanda… you have written good arguments but you have not given a solution to anger… “
Well my friend, it seems that the above hasn’t been understood. I wonder If I am not using the “right words.”
Here is your “solution.” Remove yourself from the world for 90 days. Live by yourself, alone without any human company, TVs, phones, computers, etc. When you go back to the “real world,” you will be AWARE and sensible about the energy of anger.
“But Ahnanda… that is not practical. We have to make a living, we have jobs, studies, relationships, a life to take care of…”
I understand. Then, follow a quick fix. Pick any. Practice it… Pay for it so it is “worth it.” Ask for a money back policy. Would that work?
“Ahnanda… you surprise me. First you say that “quick fixes” are only superficial, but yet you are giving me that “solution” to my serious enquire about anger. Why are you doing that?”
Ah! My friend…So you don’t get angry. See, I am “helping you.” 🙂
A sage once said: “ If you make spiritual knowledge yours… you will forget it.”
It is obvious that intellectual understanding will take us into believing that “we know.”
That is an illusion, which creates the need to “practice” that knowing.
Intellectual knowing is not BEING and that is the main issue as to why we see people who “talk the talk but who do not walk the talk.”
That is called plain and simple hypocrisy.
Jen was going to visit some relatives for the holidays. She confessed that her sister “pushes her buttons” a lot.
Jen was kind of anxious about this upcoming “test” in her life.
Once Jen discovered that her own expectations were the core of the issue and not her sister’s ability to trigger emotions in her; Jen said: “ I will practice not to have expectations with my sister.”
Is the “practice” of not having expectations truly a practice?
Just observe the expectation. Be aware of it without labels. As Guru Porky pig said: “That’s all folks!” 🙂
Once we know an expectation is there, then we could follow it or not. Easy!
“I must not have expectations!” That is repression.
In the realm of “doing” we could get into many practices. We could practice hatha yoga to be limber, we could lift weights to be stronger, we could run to gain stamina, etc.
In the realm of “being” which is what Jen is dealing with; there is no such a thing as “practice.”
Our core, our essence already knows. It is already full of what we call “virtues.”
Practice mindfulness. Practice compassion. Practice being happy. Practice detachment.
All of that is a big mirage.
What we would like to BE is not obtained through practice, through DOING an action by repetition… That is a great misconception!
When we realize that all those virtues are already in us, then why is there a need to “practice”?
Perhaps the need is to clean up the layers of ego covering those virtues; until we discover and dilute those layers, the light will not be visible.
In other words, dilute that ego through awareness/observation and virtues will arrive by themselves. No need to make labels such as: “This is detachment, that is tolerance, this other is joy, etc.”
That is where all sincere inner work starts, by seeing “what is” without repression or labeling.
Practice a virtue and…it will be all fake.
A Tiger is tenacious without “practice.” A tiger does not know what tenacity is.
A human being realizes that his own ego is not allowing for a virtuous behavior to appear. That is it.
If we use our thinking and intellectual abilities to define the words that we would like to be or to practice, that is totally artificial, that has no value for what we ARE in that moment will come out when the “practice” is stopped or forgotten. That is dependency.
If there is a dependency on anything to obtain a higher consciousness, then we ARE not that consciousness. We are just pretending and become dependent on a method to be someone who we ARE not.
Honesty anyone? Starts with the self.
It was another beautiful day in the park were Mathias, the wise tree lived. Flowers were blooming there; the wind was flowing in harmonious movement caressing the faces of the by passers.
You could see green everywhere in that park. It was a landscape to appreciate and admire without comparison.
Many times we could try to ask a “brainy” question such as: What is the cause of this problem in life and what is the solution?
Nevertheless, that question may need to be rephrased.
Because the way life “works” may be different from what we perceive due to our upbringing, learned traditions, our conditioning.
In other words, a logical, reasonable question; may not necessarily fit the “reality” of life.
Ananda: Hello Friend! I have a daunting question in my mind. It is about the significance of human values.
You see, everyone has a list of what they consider to be a value in life. Those lists could change according to cultural upbringing, life setting, beliefs, etc. Those are non consistent.
Is there something that we could consider a consistent value for everyone?
Mathias: Yes friend. To live life and to be happy are appreciated values across all living beings. Every living being values life and to be happy.
Ananda: But yet, some people argue that “our values” as a society are degrading….
Mathias: Lesser appreciation of life and the experience of unhappiness. That is all.
Ananda: That is bad! I think human beings need to shape up their behavior and become good-natured again! Spirituality is the path for that. I think our own ego is the cause of that suffering; and the solution of that degradation of values will be in conquering ego. Everyone has to make effort for that!
Mathias: (smiling) Friend, Have you seen a snowball?
Ananda: Yes, of course! How is that related with values?
Mathias: Is the snowball able to remain in that same form forever?
Ananda: Of course not! The seasons will change and that snowball will become water once the heat increases.
Mathias: Very good friend! Mathias is impressed with your knowledge!… And once it becomes cold again… What could happen?
Ananda: We will see snowballs again…
Mathias: Those snowballs are like “values.” They will diminish; degrade as time goes by, as heat increases in the environment.
Ananda: Wait a minute! What you are trying to tell me is that “degradation” of values as experienced now, indicates that those values will be “full” again at some point in time?
Mathias: Don’t you know that everything in life is cyclical? Just like the 4 seasons. There is no season that will remain the same for good. Seasons change by themselves. No “help” needed for that!
Ananda: Yes, but that doesn’t mean that someone who lacks values will change into a person full of values by himself without doing something, right?
Mathias: My friend, that depends in your role in life. You know that, don’t you? That is called the Drama of life. In that Drama, changes do not necessarily happen in one lifetime. Everyone has a different role, which will allow for changes in consciousness to gradually occur at the right time. There is a process, just as when wintertime becomes spring again! In this process, a flower dies and a tree loses its foliage little by little. For someone with a limited vision, that is “bad.” For someone who is able to see the whole “movie” every activity has an ordained purpose. Everything is “good”! 🙂
Ananda: But…then what I am supposed to do now… to wait around until the “values” in people become full again? I want a solution now!!
Mathias: Do all snowballs turn into water at the same time? Every one of them has its own timing. What you can do is to learn to appreciate the process. Life is a journey and not a destination. As you become aware of your own process, then your consciousness will open up; and with that opening, you will be able to enjoy life and become a living example for others; in a way, like giving others the courage to change as well. In that consciousness, there is no longer a need for beliefs.
Many fear that change, you know…. That melting of the snowball is necessary for springtime to occur.
Let me ask you a question:
What comes first the melting of the snowball or springtime?
Ananda: Both are interdependent.
Mathias: Great answer, my friend! Remember that interdependence, for everything that happens to you has a relationship with everything else, with the Totality; with the Drama of life!
Ananda: Ohl! then, I can see now how my change will affect everything else as well. Then, I can say, “I am” the solution of the problem of “degeneration of values”!!
Mathias: You could. But also you could say that there was no problem to begin with, for that called “degeneration of values” is merely a stage in life. Only a still frame in the “movie of life.”
Like everything else, that picture will change at the right time.
Ananda: Ha! That is why predestination is needed for things have their own exact timing…
Mathias: You could say that. But also you could say that because you have free will, you have chosen to change… 🙂 and to become the “solution” of the problem…
Ananda: Friend, then how I am supposed to change? What do I need to do?
Mathias: Nothing. You do not need to do anything. You only need to be happy and to enjoy life!
Ananda: Do nothing? I have to do something!! Otherwise, how change could happen in me?
Mathias: Your consciousness will open once you accept life as it is, for what it is. Once you learn to move along with the direction of the current in the river of life. Your life experiences will teach you if you are willing to learn. Those experiences are designed just for you! Then, a smile will appear in your face with no reason… Trust life!
Ananda: That is the time when I will know that I have learned?
Mathias: No my friend… That is the time when you will know that you have recuperated all your values! With that experience in your consciousness, then you could share that with others. That is how the chain reaction will happen at its own time.
Ananda: It seems that everything in life is about timing.
Mathias: …And patience my friend… lots of patience… You are the cause and the solution of any problem that you could think of in life. When you realize that, the search for a “culprit” is over and then you could look at you… get to know you.
You could enjoy life and be happy! In the meantime… 🙂