Our “spiritual” upbringing suggests that “I have a choice” in ending what is perceived to be “wrong.”
For example, there are the vices of lust, greed, anger, ego, attachment, etc. Spiritual seekers want to be “free” of those for they believe that those things are ugly, evil which will not let them grow.
Religious groups as well as psychology support groups have made clever “tricks” to avoid repeated behaviors, as they consider vices as behaviors (DOING) rather than an expression of BEING.
For instance, the importance of waking up very early every morning to pray, is a replacement behavior so the sexual urges in a healthy person will not manifest. We could call that the “cure” to attain celibacy.
Similarly, I was told that methods to deal with drug addicts are based on this principle. That is to replace the time where the behavior is more likely to appear, with another behavior considered “better.”
However, the “vice” is still there but unable to manifest.
J. Krishnamurti mentioned:
“When you determine to end envy, there is a conflict. You may suppress it, overcome it or escape from it, but it is still there.” Public Talk 1 in Madras (Chennai), 7 December 1974
Observe that every known vice has its opposite virtue. Observe that vices are not opposites of virtues, but complement each other. In other words, the potential to be lustful is equal and the same as the potential of having compassion. That is duality. In Life, that is the total range of an experience, on the other hand, for society we need to support one side (virtues) and “conquer” the other (vices) for the sake of “order.”
Life experiences will take a person to experiment a particular place within the total range. That is unavoidable at this time. Observe that greed appears as we develop, that is as Life experiences are assimilated in a particular way. As we develop greater perception inside our own emotional layers and “self-study” our own triggers, and realize instantly when “vices” or “virtues” arrive; we will learn to OBSERVE without further comments or judgment. J. Krishnamurti could call that as “insight.”
“Insight can only take place when the mind is observant, attentive, without a direction or motive, listening without the interference of thought. This is real meditation, in which there is no operation of will. Will is time and thought.” (Bangalore Jan. 11, 1973.)
That is a necessary step to understand ourselves. This requires ample time and supportive circumstances to be emotionally tranquil to “see.” As we reach our “own center,” by leaving the typical busy Life; a new “breath of Life” arrives. We call that “new” consciousness. What was there before, in time will leave. Whatever that is; as long as the mind doesn’t evoke what is naturally gone.
I understand that the above is not practical at all. Most individuals want a “fast solution.” They want to have control (will power) of their own inner world. That is why, repression, suppression and escapes have been crafted by psychologists, religions and support groups to make us believe that we got rid of some “vice” when in fact, it is there. That is the reason why most will relapse, once their method is no longer followed. They go back into “temptation.”
Every experience will bring its changes in a person which will eventually allow that person to evolve; however, OBSERVATION is a DOING in itself, for that will give us the awareness of all changes happening within. It is that OBSERVATION, that inner AWARENESS the one bringing a new light of consciousness (insight) which will change the experience.
Note that there is no “method to attain the solution and get rid of the vice,” as most are conditioned to expect. The above is not practical in a society interested in instant changes at will, and “successful stories.” If a person hasn’t reached a level of awareness where inner OBSERVATION is part of his Life, that person however; will obtain “help” through any method which brings repression and inner conflict; where fear is a factor so the “wrong” behavior is not expressed again. That we are used to, through the conditioning of society.
That experience is not “bad” at all; for still it will bring further changes in the individual according to what he needs to experience in Life; although society may have a preconceived idea of “what should be,” or “what is right.”
However, Life has its own ways and we are ALL in it. No one is ever alone.
At the elemental level, a person “awakens” to spirituality when he realizes that “he has vices.” Whether that individual joins the AA group or a religion to “fix” that, it will be part of his journey.
At this level of awareness, it could be taught that a person with vices is an “addict” of what the “outside” provides to him. Love, power, self-respect, all of those “virtues” are coming from the “outside” rather than the “inside,” it is said.
Therefore, become “powerful” to avoid that dependency.
The “I” has to become loving. He has to radiate that love and influence the outside with powerful vibrations… That is the goal, the dream.
That level of understanding fully depends on the existence of the “I.”
In another level of awareness, we could observe that there is no difference between the inside and the outside. The Dalai Lama’s outside world of experiences is no different of who he IS “inside.” Similarly is with every one of us.
The outside is not influencing the inside. The outside is the inside. The world is a mirror.
In another level of awareness we could understand that through many experiences, we have accumulated emotional traumas, which have increased the presence of the “I.” The “vices” then, will manifest according to the heaviness of that “I.”
Therefore, in the natural process of living Life; we will accumulate that “rust” (vices) as a nail accumulates rust. We already ARE that perfection that we are looking to become, but that rust which is the byproduct of living Life is surrounding us. Remember, the nail is a nail even when it has rust in it.
Therefore, spirituality is not a matter of “working on a virtue.” It is a matter of taking the rust away.
That dissolution of the “rust” is the dissolution of the “I.” It is not about empowering the “I” so the “I” becomes “powerful.”
It is about dismantling, opening, diminishing the size of the “I.”
That indeed is the ultimate journey of the Life walker, in my experience.
Traumas, hang ups, taboos, beliefs, ideals, emotional dramas; all of that needs to transform. That is the “rust” creating the “I.”
Awareness and observation of who we truly ARE at this time, will allow for Life to dissolve that “rust” by giving us the experiences, tools that we need.
Life is never separated from who we ARE. Awareness is the initiator of change.
When others love us we feel love. That love that we feel is not the “outside” as different from the “inside,” but rather; is the consequence of who we ARE.
When that awareness is lacking, we could say: “ I want more of that love from the outside. It makes me feel nice.” At that point, the “I” will start DOING things to “accomplish that.” That DOING becomes the source of attachment.
That DOING breaks the natural balance of receiving according to what we ARE. The “I” wants to control what he experiences. He wants to control Life… when in reality, we are Life itself.
Life is not about “giving.” Life is not about “receiving.”
Giving and receiving are the same, not different. We are all one.
High tide, low tide. Same type of experience, different polarity.
A rusty nail is still a nail. 🙂
In a “Black or White” mentality there are only 2 options, which are separated by a line drawn by someone’s moral standard.
That standard is utterly convenient, static and meant to separate the virtuous from the sinner, thus supporting a dogma. At the end, the dogma is the bottom line, not the feeling of happiness.
If we understand the implications of polarity in our lives, we could see that courage and fear are opposites, therefore; they have the same nature, they are connected as cold and heat are.
Do we see the connection between cold and heat?
Two extremes of the same thing. What is cold or hot becomes a subjective matter until someone draws a line. Morality appears and the division of “good” and “bad” is born.
When our minds are lost in duality, we are unable to see the above. We can only see 2 different things, 2 opposites and then we will choose one side and reject the other.
That is the way our society, our mental make up, our dogmatic views have survived for so long, implying the separation between feeling and thinking.
Obviously, that has created problems in our mental health.
“Anger is “bad.” Avoid it. God does not like angry people. Conquer anger to become an angel.”
Yet, we are told at the same time to be compassionate.
The same energetically source making up anger, makes up compassion.
Two extremes of the same thing.
Therefore, the answer is not to reject, to fight, to conquer; but to transform, to change the polarity of that which is taking place, for that we need to acknowledge, observe, allow it to be without judgment… and see its potential.
The Super-hero “Green Lantern,” wasn’t chosen by the magic ring because he was fearless, but because he had the ability to transform that fear into courage.
Self-transformation is not about denying lust, anger, ego, etc. for those extremes make up altruistic feelings, compassion and egolessness at the same time.
That is why, we are complete as we are. We ARE everything already.
Are you hot and want to be cool?
Are you cold and want to be hot?
Isn’t that simple? Do we need to use our minds full of preconceptions, traditions, teachings, beliefs, etc. to comply with the “black or white” mentality?
To move is “good.” Not to move is “bad.”
One of the first things for a seeker to understand is that he cannot rely on his mind, for the mind is past which is no longer present.
It is future, which is no longer present.
To live in the “now” is basically to recognize what is mind.
The mind is like a book and we follow it to the dot. That information has some benefit, but it is not the ultimate truth.
“You” are, when “you” are not the mind. Time-less, in the “now.”
Aren’t virtues and vices the same thing with different polarity?
Isn’t the journey to go from one side to the other of those extremes, just to come back?
Isn’t the ego the one taught to DO things, to fix things according to the information residing in the mind?
How is newness possible in that state?
We may need to learn to observe our mind.
Perhaps we will discover that ‘black or white’ are not the only colors.
In the surface, the “vices” are ways of bringing humanity down. A way for perdition.
Nevertheless in the world of duality the experience of one extreme means the necessary experience of the other side. How could you know “day” if you have not experienced “night”? In Life, knowing is experience. Without experience there is no “true” change.
That is the journey.
I am not saying that vices are “good.” I am saying they are necessary in the journey of Life as the experience of them will allow us to know, to experience and to transform.
Greed is one extreme. Generosity is another. Our potential to be giving is equal to our potential for greed.
We get confused and biased by the labels we use to describe a human character, but we are only looking at one point, one day of the whole journey. We get caught up with our experience with one person, limiting him to that experience. We don’t see that change is part of it.
For example, if Bruce Wayne (Batman) “developed” anger and guilt through one experience in Life, there is a process to come out of that and transform within himself those energies.
Without that anger and that feeling of guilt, Batman would have never been born. Do we see that? Can we say that anger and guilt are “bad” then?
What would have happened if Bruce Wayne had learned when he was a little boy: “Anger is bad. You must get rid of it”?
Bruce Wayne would have learned to repress anger to conform with a moral code, a perception… but anger would be there.
What would have happened if Bruce Wayne would have been told: “ You must make effort to conquer anger”?
He could have believed that it is in “his” hands ( the “I”) to change BEING at will.
Who is the one making effort? The “I.”
What is anger if is not a supporting energy for that “I”?
How is it possible for the “I” to get rid of a supporting energy, which makes up himself?
That is the deception. Nevertheless, the above is “spirituality” for most; as the time to find about that “I” hasn’t arrived to their journey yet.
Bruce Wayne was meant to be Batman. That was his destiny. In his path, “he found” a teacher when he was ready to transform that anger. Life brought the teacher when the student was ready (as we know) but that teacher was not really a friend for he was helping with an ulterior motive, later on he became Bruce’s enemy.
Shall we judge Life’s method to transform Bruce’s anger?
Why Life didn’t give Bruce an angel to “help” him? Or a saint? Or an “illuminated” one?
Because Bruce Wayne didn’t need that. He was to become Batman.
Bruce Wayne healed his anger and guilt through Batman.
Religious beliefs and moral codes have a “black or white” vision of the different energies that a human could come across, without considering the process of a particular human being.
To label “Lust” as ugly, bad, evil, etc. does not consider the process that every human being will go through. What could be the teaching of experiencing lust?
That love and lust are like water and oil. They don’t mix, they don’t become one.
The typical “medicine” will be to drill in his mind: “sex (or whatever the trigger is) is bad. Don’t do it.”
We may only control our actions, but we cannot control what is natural in a human being. We could repress ourselves by not acting, but without understanding of the circumstances, the setting and the time, that repression will cause damage to ourselves.
Repression is neither “good” nor “bad.” There are times when it is useful and times when it is not. To be able to recognize timing, is part of the inner wisdom which appears as we experience Life in its different facets.
That insight is not learned through holy books or holy teachers. It is the consequence of all experiences that we have had in many Life times. Openness by acknowledging all of those different perspectives of Life, is what minimizes the size of the “I.”
Accumulation of “vices” will make someone a vicious man, but that is the “natural” path as well, for being vice less. It is just a matter of time. Paradoxical!
It will happen as the size of the “I” diminishes. This is not a mental, intellectual exercise, but it is openness of the heart.
Every man is in a different stage of his journey. There is no goal in that journey, all there is; is the journey itself. The words “goal,” “destination,” “objective,” “perfection,” are all beliefs of an intellectual mind when related to Life itself. Those words have the power to make the life of many a very dissatisfied one.
Who is Batman?
Anger, compassion, guilt, forgiveness, millionaire, who experienced in his own skin what is to be poor, a playboy, a faithful man to a woman, a philanthropist who builds weapons; loneliness, aloneness, intelligence, stupidity, ironical sense of humor, seriousness… it is that type of integration, that type of openness and acceptance of the different roles and experiences in his lifetime which will give him the insight to know. It is not about rejection of one side of the coin and acceptance of the other. It is about integration, for in that integration there is healing, acceptance and the opportunity to change, to grow.
To understand that there is more than our own selves, is to understand that as we take the steps to integrate into the totality; there will be the experience of being born again into something greater than our previous small selves. When the “i” becomes smaller, we could see the immensity and beauty of all …
There is no angel who hasn’t been a “sinner.” 🙂
Change means life. There is nothing static. Movement is ongoing. Our emotional and mental suffering is related with our inability to let things go on or because we cling into something made up by our minds which is not “here” yet. These are desires.
For someone who is not aware, changes will tend to degenerate, that is “entropy” is the default when there is no awareness. This could be explained simply by looking at a nail after several years, rust will be building up. The former shiny nail will lose its color.
This “rust” is what religions and moral teachings have identified as “vices.” Therefore, well-known religions and moral teachings are all about cleaning that rust by “doing” something.
Some religions will apply sandpaper over the nail. The nail will have to go through lots of friction and discomfort to get the rust out… however, sand paper is not the “solution” to maintain the nail clean from vices, but just a temporary method, for if sandpaper is not applied to that nail on a regular basis, then more rust will appear.
This creates a “dependency” of the nail for sandpaper. Notice that everything here goes at the physical level.
For example, If I realize that sex lust is “bad,” then I should not look at a woman. Then, I should think that a woman is my mother or my sister, so the desire will go away. “Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” 🙂
This is sandpaper. That is, to identify something which is “wrong” with me and to do something to get that out of my system.
As long as there is sandpaper, then I should be “clean,” if I “do” a good job. 🙂
There are other religions or philosophies which proclaim that “everything is what I should be,” and I do not need to “do” anything to change. I am perfect already, but I do not realize it. 🙂
Many have misinterpreted this religious/moral teaching as to “do what is natural.” Thus, Anger is natural, lust is natural, greed is natural, etc. When there is this huge misinterpretation, there is more rust accumulated in the nail.
Zen Buddhism and Taoism have been misinterpreted in this way. For many is about sitting for meditation looking at the wall and performing some devotional rituals and nothing else after that except to think about a “koan,” to dissolve the mind. Here, there is no striving to be “better” for there is nothing to improve.
The problem is that there is no inner observation of what “is.” That comes with awareness and dear reader, awareness cannot be taught, it happens, by itself when we are continuously observing ourselves and by being in contact with Nature to be nurtured by it. Nature is subtle and that subtlety needs to be ingested by a person who is only aware of the physical realm.
When looking at the moon on a windy night, being mesmerized by the beauty of the moment, when appreciation appears, when the heart spontaneously awakens with love, in that moment there is a connection, there is a “something” that is perceived in the air, the setting. That something is subtle and it comes as spiritual nourishment by itself as long as our mind is in that tranquil state of appreciation.
That nourishment changes individuals. The only task is to be aware enough to perceive it. To be open to it.
Then we can see that the utility of sandpaper is just to get us to that point.
Then, magically; the nail is covered by anti-corrosive paint, as long as we could experience that subtle nourishing energy which is everywhere as long as we are aware of it.
The effect is the feeling of gratefulness and peace. When that peace manifest in movement, there is harmony.
This is the “natural” state. Once we know this state by experiencing it, then there is no need to do anything to avoid rust on the nail. Then, we can “do” what is natural, not before.
Therefore, the task is just to be aware. To “gain” awareness after our many years of lethargic sleep.
The sleeping beauty wakes up when the kiss of awareness of the prince, touches her heart.
Thank you for your question!
A “vice” is a state of consciousness. A vice is not an activity, but the activity becomes vicious through our state of consciousness. Therefore, when the state of consciousness changes then, activities will change accordingly to match that. “Being” is before “doing.”
Reproduction is reproduction. That is not a vice. What makes it a vice is our state of consciousness. Animals and other living things are a reflection of what is going on with us. As BapDada has mentioned, “the furniture.”
So, as the “masters” so the “furniture.”
Without “living” fully the path which we have chosen, there will be unavoidably misunderstandings. Spirituality is usually taught by a religion, a Guru, even God; in the way religions understand it as well as its followers. Someone who we deem to be more “elevated” than us. We want to become like “them.”
To live fully a path is to be immersed into it so we can understand practically the “why’s and why not’s.”
Without that full understanding, we will reject everything from the outside, that is; we will repress and control. Paradoxically, that which seems to come from the outside is nothing else but the “inside” manifested.
Let us take the example of the word “control.” We need to “control” our mind, we say. That sounds “good” proper, but impractical. Who is controlling who? Are we splitting our personality in 2 people? That is the mind (which we usually think as “bad”) and the “good guy” that is the one who has “moral teachings” in his head. However, most of us when we hear that our teacher or guru or God mentions that we need to “control” our mind; that is exactly the way “we do it.” We split ourselves; we separate ourselves and create conflict.
Was the teaching wrong? No. Our understanding, our interpretation is flawed. How could a teacher would be able to express “mastery of the mind” without giving the idea that our mind is “alright” as it is?
The word “control” will be used, BUT our understanding of it is based on our experiences of that word “control.”
To “master the mind” is not to identify with it, that is to be a “detached observer.” However, that word “detached observer” becomes a larger problem when the word “detachment” is improperly understood without an experience. We use the dictionary and that is part of the problem.
Most are happy just “moralizing” the self with commandments, rules and regulations and “following” those without the experience of the “why.”
Let me use another example. Let us talk about celibacy.
Celibacy is a problem for most. It is probably one of the biggest issues that any “normal” human being will “react to” if told to become celibate.
The intelligent question is to ask: why?
Without an in depth experience of it, we will only say: “because it is “bad,” it is lustful, our guide has told us to do that.”
With the experience of it, we can recognize that there is no other way to know about lust and anger in the self and how intricate that could be unless we take away “the candy from the little child.”
Then, the little child will scream, the little child will look for ways to get that candy: He will dream about it, He will make up stuff in his own mind to get it, he will play “moral” with others, even though, inside is burning like fire…
That is what is called repression.
When we repress, we have not “conquered.” Repression is not meant to be with us throughout our lives unless we want to get an emotional disease but.. the good news is that we will be known by others as “ moral” or “strong,” …until we “explode” and “indulge in that vice” to catch up for all the years of being repressed.
Ladies and gentleman, the above is to “follow” without understanding.
When we start our spiritual path by “repressing” or “controlling” something that seemed “natural” to us, it is not meant to be so we can “escape” the world and live isolated; but it is meant to be so we can study the self.
Please be aware that “Maya,” the “devil” and all his friends are in us. They are not entities “outside us.” The outside are just “triggers” to show us what we have inside.
Obviously, “morality” will not help there. That is the origin of people living a “double standard” life: That is, “you” should do it because it is good for “you,” but I can get away with not following it. Dishonesty.
Once we have learned in our own skin how “sex lust” appears and what it does to us and we have stopped “indulging in it” because of following honestly a “code of conduct,” then we are ready for the next step; that is “to practice what we preach” practically. Those are the so called “tests in life.”
There has to be inner transformation to succeed and “get out” of repression. To be able to live “free” and not to have “fear” that I will be falling from the path of celibacy.
The issue is that most “seekers” will stay in repression until it is no longer manageable or live in denial, guilt and fear for the rest of their lives but well regarded for his “morality.”
That is the most important aspect “self-transformation” of lustful energies into “good wishes and pure feelings from the heart” hasn’t manifested yet.
Those individuals are still living into the “moral” standard: “You must be celibate” rather than, “I have transformed sex lust.”
A third step once we are sure of “having conquered,” that means, “mastered” a particular vice, is “openness to life.” Without being open to life and the experiences that life could bring, there is no “next step.” Everything is movement. That initial repression and control needs to be transformed into acceptance and easiness. No one can change your ways, when they are truly yours and you acknowledge their value in your life, your own disciplines, if you would (which will allow you to live life fully;) but anyone can “tempt” someone when that inner understanding is not there. Then, we will look for a “escape goat” to rationalize our lack of inner understanding.
Spirituality is to go beyond repression and control. It is to be free. Freedom.
With that freedom, we can know love…. This is why it is a “numberwise” path.