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.” 🙂
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.
Little Jimmy used to ask so many questions to his Daddy. Little Jimmy “used to” ask him, until his daddy sent him to his Mommy to answer the “hard ones” instead.
Little Jimmy: Are squirrels good or bad? Grandma told me that one of them stole some nuts from her table…
Daddy: That was a bad squirrel!… but squirrels aren’t bad…
Little Jimmy: What about a snake? They probably have accumulated “bad karma” from killing and eating live animals, right? They must be “bad”!
Daddy: Snakes usually eat alive animals for a living.
Little Jimmy: But they kill animals to survive…. That must be “bad”…
Daddy: “Good and Bad” are made up concepts by human beings. Nature or animals are neither “bad nor good.”
Little Jimmy: Isn’t a human being an animal?
Daddy: It depends who you ask. My answer is: Sometimes.
Little Jimmy: Sometimes? I don’t understand that. We are animals or we are not…
Daddy: Go ask your Mom to explain to you.
When a human being has lots of questions and learns about logical thinking and starts to reason, that human being wants to “make sense” out of the world.
Through that thinking, the need to come up with activities deemed to be “right” becomes a necessity.
That is what we call “morality.” 🙂
Life is not logical, nor Nature. If those were logical then a human being could be wise and happy just by applying logic to his daily life.
That is not the case. It will never be.
Nevertheless, the “thinking animal,” thrives in thought and that is how an artificial society has been born. It is artificial because it does not play harmoniously with Nature. A Human being is continually “fixing” things when his analysis fail to balance the reality of life.
Out of that thinking to “fix” things is how “doing” what is right appeared. “Doing the right thing” is usually an activity which is supported by a thoughtful “moral code.” That activity has to be continuous, that is there has to be consistency for a human being to be considered “good,” or even better a “great soul,” or a “saint.”
See that those labels are artificial and do not represent virtue in itself but the prevalent idea of what is “right.”
Obviously, that idea will change as societies evolve.
When we are caught up in “doing” right, we cannot be “good.” We cannot be virtuous. Why? Because we are not playing harmoniously with Nature. We are merely following a “code of conduct” believed to be the “right thing.”
This is how every philosophy, every belief system, every thought pattern has a contradiction in it, that is something which cannot solve itself with more thought.
Virtue as being in harmony with everything, means to interact with the “Totality” as “Oneness.” That cannot happen as long as there is a thought behind it, for a thought separates.
The thought of “uniting” 2 individuals is simply acknowledging the separation between 2 and pretending with further thinking, in being united.
That is not how animals in the wild act. Their sense of togetherness or unity is not based on “human moral codes,” but there is a “something” which binds their activities to a harmonious balance with the “Totality,” with Nature. That is a non-cultivated wisdom, which human beings have lost.
When a human being acts as an instrument of the totality of life, there is a common binding element; that is virtue. When a human being acts as an individual, then his interest will be contradicting that Totality.
Again this is not something to think about logically to see where my words and phrases aren’t logical, but to observe in “reality,” that is in ourselves.
Virtue is not something that could be cultivated through thinking. That is a faked activity.
Virtue comes in connection, in relationship with wholesomeness, with the Totality as Oneness.
To get there is not a matter of more thinking, or accepting more beliefs, but a matter of opening our feelings to connect with everything without words, logic, solutions, or assumptions.
If our actions come from that connection to that Totality, that is the “common good” then that activity has virtue. If our activities just come out of some belief or some moral code, there is no virtue in that, but greater ego.
We cannot “practice” a virtue. We can practice a belief but never a virtue.
Ananda was complaining to Mathias, the wise tree; about the visit of a friend; Raysha.
Ananda likes to relax, unwind and take it easy. Raysha on the other hand, likes to be with people all the time, by using her effective “healing skills” she was helping many and having many people around her; but Ananda was not used to such movement.
Ananda told Mathias in a lamenting tone of voice with suffering gestures:
“ I couldn’t sleep well last night…What can I do, friend. I have to tolerate and have patience during her visit.”
Mathias responded to Ananda’s sacrifice and toleration: “ Friend, Mathias is amused at your performance…” 🙂
Ananda thought that he was going to get some sympathy from his friend; after all he was practicing the “virtue” of tolerance and being extremely patient with Raysha.
In the consciousness of “you” and “I,” that is when the child is separated from the Father as well as the other “brothers and sisters,” the word tolerance is “good.” It is called a virtue.
A child can “tolerate” another brother or a sister when things are not going according to his wishes.
A child can have patience with “another” when the response he is getting does not fit his expectations.
A child, who can only see separation, will be tolerating things as a “good thing to do.” It is a “virtue” to tolerate others.
However, in another consciousness, to tolerate means not to accept things as they are. In other words, “I” pretend to go along with whatever is happening to avoid confrontation or a childish tantrum in front of others.
Any sort of “toleration” has a breaking point. Things cannot longer be tolerated and then, the “real” self comes out from the repression of having to tolerate.
Is truly to tolerate a virtue?
When the “savage” child pretends to be “well behaved “ for the sake of all, to tolerate may be called a virtue by some. Nevertheless, it is not a virtue, when that performance is born out of separation and it does not reflect the true feelings of the self.
In oneness, there is only continuity in life changes. If we could observe ourselves and see how we “pretend” to be “nice” with “others” through being “tolerant;” we can see that our vibes and feelings change. Using a nice word such as “toleration” cannot mask those vibes.
In oneness there is emptiness of that “I” which puts a wall on things that are happening. That wall is the product of our own beliefs and comfort zones; that is the construction of a personality. When that personality clashes with “others” or with a circumstance, then we could either “react” or be “tolerant.”
To react is to hit something from the inside to the outside. To tolerate is to hit the self, the inside from the inside…
There is no virtue in self-damage, but in the childish world where there is only “you or me,” as separated beings, a virtue is meant to help others over the self. You need to select between you or someone else.
In Oneness, there is no “other.” Therefore, no need to tolerate or be patient. This is not a concept to be analyzed, it is an experience of life through a different vision.
Virtues cannot appear by being cultivated. We are already complete with all of them; but the illusory vision of separation may need to change, the “illusion” needs to be removed for those virtues to automatically appear.
The support of the “I” through spiritual teachings separating the “you and me,” is a beginner step into the recognition of that “I” but is not meant to be the whole “truth” but just a different view according to consciousness.
As we change our view, our consciousness from that separation into oneness, there is a different perception where patience and toleration are no longer needed.