Question: Moving on from a religious path

Friend,
First I would like to thank you for your sharing of your experiences in life and how to live life with more meaning with freedom and connection:)
I have used your blog to experience for myself and the most useful thing has been about really just re-connected with now, being present and being in the flow of life. It has made me appreciate how narrow minded it seemed I had become whilst living what I thought was the ultimate spiritual life!
I guess I have a few questions for you, which you may like to answer?! I don’t wish to depend on any one individual anymore or anyone for that matter, so I ask you whilst aware of dependency traps!
I have been walking the path of life closely with the Brahma Kumaris for the last 10 years. I felt it was the truth, that this was God, that heaven was my birthright and many other things which are taught by the BKs. I feel now that I am questioning all of what I believed in and finding that if feels like I don’t necassarily find all of the BK teaching to be so much ‘the only path’ now….what concerns me though is that to be open to life and to really make the journey of life my own, opens up a lot of joy and possibilities, whilst also opening up loneliness and uncertainty. I really feel in some ways that I have neglected many things in life over the last 10 years, whilst in the pursuit of purity and peace…whilst I have had many beautiful experiences as a BK, I also feel I have rejected a lot of life and suppressed a lot of feelings/emotions…life isn’t always so easy;-/
I guess I have isolated myself from the bigger picture of life in pursuit of a ‘spiritual lifestyle’. By being more open recently I can see that people in the world are much broader than simply ‘shrudras’ and that there is a lot to be gained and experienced through friendships with people who don’t label themselves as BKs!
In going with the flow and as you shared recently about flowing with the wind, I can see when I allow this, it is a beautiful experience. I have a concern though!-0…If (hypothetical question) I am in a relationship and with children who depend on me and if in going with the flow, I find I connect with someone else who I’d like to spend more time with than my partner and children, then is this still going with the flow?! Sometimes, it seems desires can drive us more than our deeper purpose and the ‘damage’ caused could be greater….of course, suppression of lust, desire, needs for companionship wouldn’t be helpful either….
Last comment/question (honest) as otherwise I am going on too much! It feels like the last 10 years has been a lot about battling with lust and suppressing many interests in life, including being close to people, in particular females. I used to have the best (and worst!) time with girlfriends in the past. Somehow, I feel that I have been suppressing my desires, emotions and that nothing has really gone away…now I’m confused. Do I want a pure lifestyle? Would I rather be close to another person again? In being close to another, would I open up to being extreme in lust again?!
Right! That’s it! Muchas gracias mi amigo

Thank you for your honest question. Last year I decided not to answer questions any more… So I am “lying” now, because I plan to fully answer your question.
Is Ananda a liar? Is that bad?
“Avyakt7″ is the one who made that statement not Ananda but paradoxically, it is the same guy but not the same. :-)

Things change. Life changes and our consciousness will change as well. It is the way of life. There is no “I” statically living life, but we are life itself with those changes.

I recall one time that I was speaking with a dear Brahma Kumaris friend of mine. She has been a friend of many lives (even though she does not realize it yet) about the intricacies of “Good and Bad.”
She said to me: “ For me there is a clear line between good and bad.”
I listened to her and didn’t say a word for there was nothing else to say.

A couple of years later, she said to me: “I don’t have a clear line between good and bad now” I said to her: “Good.” She just smiled.

What changed her perception?
It was an experience that she was going through at that time. That experience represented the very thing that she was repressing in her life.

Life experiences will make the changes in our lives, not intellectual understanding.

Repression is not the answer when trying to “conquer a vice.” Don’t separate yourself from what is. Don’t consider that to be “you.” Just observe, accept and transform that energy which we label as “lust” into good wishes from the heart. Feel. Don’t label as “good or bad.” It is important to “learn” to feel again.

A religious practice based on beliefs is able to put layers of things in top of our “vices,” but a dependency on a system is unavoidable. We are not free. We become dependent.

Ananda is very thankful of the experience that he had in the Brahma Kumaris.
Without that experience, he wouldn’t be able to understand (not intellectually) many things that he does now.

Let me share some of those realizations.
We are caught up with this thing, which we call morality, the “good and bad.” That is a belief that we have acquired in this world. Many of us, need to experience that belief to the utmost.

That is the role of the Brahma Kumaris in my view. It is a path of reformation by changing our minds to be conscious of that duality which otherwise, we wouldn’t be aware that even existed practically, not just intellectually.

“God says that broccoli is good. Ice cream is bad. Ice cream and sweets will make you suffer by taking you to the dentist office or even worse, the doctor. You must eat all your broccoli if you want to be good and then, God will be happy with you. “
Then, God will change his words when the kids are becoming “smarter” according to time and he will say something like: “OK. If you eat all your vegetables and broccoli, then at the end of the day, you will have a piece of dessert.”

When the time comes, the kid cannot eat dessert because his stomach is full of vegetables and so he claims that “God has cheated on him.” Then other kids will find out that “God gave ice cream to so and so when he preaches that ice cream is bad.” God is liar, they will say.
What is God’s task? To keep the kids fed with “good” vegetables as much as possible, for when someone’s mentality is fixed in “good or bad,” they do not have the ability to see something else. “Black or White” are not the only colors, but how could that be taught when someone does not want to see other colors?

That kid mentality does not allow someone to look at the bigger picture.

The path of asceticism will take our experience to one extreme. Buddha was an example. He went to that extreme and then he was left alone by his “friends” and disciples when he no longer wanted to do that practice because of a realization. That is how the path of the “middle way “ started. Many followers will say: “I will follow the middle way only. I will not go into extremes. Everything in moderation.”

In life unless you experience things in your own skin, you will not know. Intellectual understanding is completely and utterly useless. (Although “good” at the office world.)
We may need to experience that extreme in us.
The Brahma Kumaris offers that valuable opportunity for those who need that in their life experience. Ananda understands that there are many who still may need to experience that path. They have the right to experience that path themselves without “my” input. My experience is just my experience.

For the serious seeker, to be alone, to feel alone is part of the ride. That is the chance to become one with yourself, but that is not the end of the road, for we live in relationship and that oneness that we have realized, needs to be observed under the mirror of relationships.

Let me add another thing.
Brahma Baba is truly a being of light. However, he is not the only one. Brahma Baba’s path is not the “only one” although his follower may think that to be the case.

Every being has a role, which is not depending in our petty morality or how well it fits it, but in the common good.

Life my friend, is not concerned with our beliefs or moral standards; however, there is a consequence for every action as we know.

Flowing in life is to take away the baggage, the weight of the “I.”

In your hypothetical question, when we learn to feel that who we need to be in that occasion, that is when we are honest with ourselves, we will know that we have acted, as we should. That action does not need for people to applaud us or to say “Good boy, you did good.”

We need to learn to discern our emotions and desires from that calling of life. One thing is to realize something and a different thing is to put that realization in action.

When your feeling is honest, then it is honest also to accept the consequences of that honesty and to move on in life.

Note that Ananda is not giving formulas of “good or bad” for life changes at every moment, every time and to flow with life is to appreciate that change, to ride with the wind while it lasts.
We are eternal. Enjoy the ride of experiences, amigo… :-)

Interpreting life through beliefs

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One of the most fascinating aspects of self-knowledge is the ability to sit down at the couch with nothing to do or think about and just enjoy that moment for the emptiness of it.
To be empty is a delightful feeling.

No thoughts to think about. No beliefs to be fearful of. No memories to fantasize with.

The thoughts appear slowly, but then to observe them as we see a distant star in the sky, is all there is. I wouldn’t dare to call that “my thought” as I wouldn’t call that star, “my star.”
If there is identification with that thought, then that thought becomes “mine” and with that an emotion will appear as a consequence of that possession.

Do we need any scientific evidence to become aware that those thoughts are not created by “us”?

Find out for yourself by getting rid of all beliefs in your mind. The first and most challenging belief is the existence of the “I.”
is it too drastic, huh?
Maybe we just need less distraction and entertainment and more idle time to reflect, to recharge, to feel life, to observe.

Seeing life and feeling it, does not require interpretation of any kind.

Any belief system or tradition is merely a way to interpret life.
If you are a seeker and you worry that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” let me share a secret with you: When you feel gratitude and appreciation of life from your heart, there is no one who can take you to the “underworld.”

My friend Mathias shared that with me, but I put that advice into practice, so it is “my” secret now.

On the other hand, if you become an intellectual head, thinking and analyzing beliefs, then you’d better do lots of “good things” to get “busy” with, before your unobserved mind takes you to wild trips.

Seeing the world through borrowed glasses of some ideology or tradition will not allow someone to put the time where it is most important.

What is that place?
That which is known as the “I.”
Self-discovery.
To discover that which we call “the self” is to fully live life.
Without that self-discovery all we have left is pointless activities, which we may call with several glorious labels… but at the end it is just to kill time… until time kills the one… who practiced killing time. Karma! :-)
No interpretations in that.

“Positive thinking” viewed from a different consciousness

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In the beginners track of “Spirituality 101,” thinking and thoughts are emphasized.
Welcome to the world of “good thoughts and bad thoughts.”

The “thought” goes like this: “If you change your thinking, you change your life. Learn to choose your thoughts. Change them into positive thoughts. Be positive.”

Wow! That sounds great. Terrific! If you have a thought, just be aware of it and change it into something positive. Believe in that positive thought and make it a reality!

Such “pep talk” is easy to sell… Here is my latest book for only $9.99 plus taxes. The latest techniques in “positive thinking” thought by the greatest “spiritual geniuses of the world” are compiled just for you!
You will experience a change in your life! Guaranteed!
That is the business side of the story of thoughts…

Are “my” thoughts, truly “mine”?
That is the first question to ask.
Second question: If those thoughts are “mine,” why I cannot stop them?
If we could stop our thoughts at will, there wouldn’t be a need to spend $9.99 plus taxes in learning about the art of “positive thinking.”

All right, I will let readers find out for themselves by self-exploration, the moment in which “we” decided to create a thought to be thought about… As guru Tweety Bird said: “I tawt I taw a putty tat!”

Thoughts are mostly a reflection of who we are. What it needs to change then is “me” not the thought.
“When I change, the thought changes…” :-) Shall I put a “trademark” note on that phrase?

Ralph took a “positive thinking” class. The minute right after his interview for a job, he thought: “Am not getting hired!” then a depressing mood surrounded him. He was upset and his mood changed completely… then he remembered about his positive thinking class: “ I will get the job,” he thought. He wanted to be positive so Ralph tried hard to smile… He said: “Fake it til you make it.”
Ralph, an aware individual; discovered something interesting about himself.
He wasn’t being honest with his feelings.
Choosing another thought to entertain himself will not change the way he feels.

Thoughts are like clouds on the sky of the mind. A thought will appear according to who we are at that time.
Worried? Anxious? Fearful? There is a nice collection of thoughts to express that. Like a Christmas card in Christmas…
We will identify with that thought, make a story and… Voila! A “new movie “ has appeared waiting to be played in the movie theater of our minds, several times during the day.
Thoughts come and go. If we reject a “bad” thought; it will come back with greater strength.
Don’t try this at home!

If we “choose” another thought to think about, we will not be acknowledging how we truly feel (fake it til you make it, life style.)

Be aware of the thought. Let it go like a cloud moving in the sky.
How we feel is the “real thing” and as we become open to the experiences that life brings through healing our emotions, we will experience that a cloud is not the vast sky, unless we believe that.

Honesty has a greater meaning when it is about the self.

-Who is the thinker?
“I”
-Is “I” real?
Yes and No.
In that answer, there are 3 different types of consciousness.
Thus the “right teaching” will be according to that state of consciousness.

Triumph is not just a moment in time

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Today was the ceremony when Dacio (Raysha and Ananda’s father) was going to be part of the Totality.
He had a unique name, just as his life was.

Ananda was representing that transformation through physical means: He took a piece of bread representing matter and started diluting his own ego. He placed that piece of bread into a glass a water which was representing the subtle energies.
Hard matter becomes soft through subtle energies, just as a human being who has harsh manners becomes soft and pliable through subtle energies which are placed into the fire of life experiences.

Ananda took the glass and placed it in top of the flame.

Mathias; the wise tree, was directing the ceremony while Raysha was able to see “live” what was happening to her father in that region of light known as a “parallel world.”

Mathias: “ The once separated consciousness of the observer and the object observed no longer separates and observes but then only feels. The next transformation is to become light only to be empty and from that essence back into the Totality, the Universal intelligence. That experience is the triumph of living life.”

Ananda took the glass with water and soggy bread and drank it, representing the process of once separated things, become one into the Totality.

Raysha observed how her father was speaking with what appeared to be his ancestors during that ceremony. They told him that this is the ceremony of complete dissolution of the “I.”
Dacio lied down in what appeared to be a rock. He looked at Raysha and told her: “Thank you for everything. You promised me that you were going to be with me until the end. I promise you that I will be with you when you need me.”

Saying that, the ancestors gathered together around Dacio and raised their arms… when they dropped their arms; Dacio in his body of light was no longer there.

Mathias finished the ceremony while the ancestors left the “place.”

Mathias: “Raysha… I want to speak with you. Do you have anything that you want to say?”
Raysha: “No, Mathias. I don’t want to say anything but Thank you.”
Mathias: “What about you Ananda?”
Ananda:” Well… I wish I could have seen what was happening, but perhaps a little explanation will help me understand. Friend, Is the process to transform from physical matter into light and then back to a physical reality?”
Mathias: “From the physical to light then into the essence in emptiness which will go back to the Totality as one. Empty to be full again… and then empty to be full again.”
Ananda:” What about the ancestors that were there.. They did not go through that transformation?”
Mathias: ” They did. But once you “were” you always will be that.”
Ananda: “That is because there is no time “there.””
Mathias: “What is “there” or “here”?”
Ananda: “The manifestation of that scene.”
Mathias: “There is time because you have to go to work in a few hours, but there is no time as well, it doesn’t exist.”
Ananda: “If I look at something beautiful and then I become it, becoming one.. why that does not happen when I look at some human misery; which we could call ugly?
Mathias: “ Our essence is that beauty. If you reject or judge that which you call ugly or bad; you get trapped in it. “
Ananda: “To reject something is to become it. I don’t understand that very well…”
Mathias: “Ananda has understood already. That which is trying to understand intellectually, is not Ananda.”
Ananda: “Has this experience finished for Dacio?”
Mathias: “This experience of triumph of your father is not just a moment in time.”

Experiences are unique. Experiences are needed to transform. Those experiences cannot be put into words as to explain to another, for that explanation is not the experience which is necessary to transform. It has to be lived, second by second.
Every human being has his own experiences and the words that he uses to explain those…. are limited by his own experience with words and limited language.

Explanations are good for the mind. Experiences are for the hearts to change.
So here is the “teaching.” :-)
Embrace life as it is, be thankful and appreciative of what is; for that and nothing else is what is supposed to be.
No need to worry about it. It is just Perfect.

Paraphrasing “Depeche Mode’s” song: “Did not tell you anything you didn’t know when you woke up today…” :-)

Believe to self-enclose

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Every time there is a belief in our minds about anything, every time there is a space where we come from or a particular identification with some idea or thought; at that time we have created a personality, a little enclosed wall is born….thus, life itself will crack it.
The experiences of life will break apart that wall, for life is like the wind: “We” flow with it unless we want to fight it. That “self” appears alive to stand in the current of life, cementing itself through ideas, beliefs, traditions, etc. which are all static, unmovable.

As the wind of life gains greater force and momentum, as the wind transforms into a hurricane, that self will be vanished. That struggle calls for suffering.

That process of awareness, we call “self-transformation,” “spirituality,” “dying alive,” etc.

It does not matter which belief we have. Any belief becomes a static “reality” withstanding in the continuous movement of life.

That enclosure that a belief creates becomes a path of self-absorption, self-righteousness and rigidity.

In life, when something is rigid, it is dead.

It is my experience that invariably, every time “I” take a stand thinking that this is “the right way” and make out of that a self-imposed dogma of righteousness; then life will show me the opposite: Clearly, without a façade and then I could choose to “rationalize it” just to hold on to my belief.
My “belief” becomes more important than life.

What was “the right thing” at one time, may not be at other times.

My own definition or mental concept of something, which creates a belief, is not only a “half-truth” at the most, but a mental jail to cling to for security.

I no longer believe in anything. Isn’t that sad? :-)
Not at all. It is refreshing, uplifting, liberating.

Life is not a mental construct made of stories and plots to segregate the “good boys” and the “bad ones.”
Life is way more than that. Life is too great to fit into a definition or a belief system.

Moving through the winds of life becomes the art of gliding through it. Use that force to move, to explore, to wonder. The winds of life will keep someone floating effortlessly as long as we do not become an obstacle for our own journey.

Take a stand. Take a position… and you will put your feet on the ground; the self has positioned itself to fight…yet another time.

How irrational…

Emotional food

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In the process of becoming “one” from a fragmented personality, we may need to deal sooner or later with our inner child.
That “inner child” has been described as the “7 year old kid that is always with us.”
Many of the emotional issues that we experience in life as adults, are related with the way that “7 year old” feels.

Many times as adults we reject or even worse, shut down that natural expression.

When that inner child drowns in the “adult” self, by wanting to be heard and acknowledged, then yet another inner conflict will appear. Sometimes that conflict may have consequences for our health.

Typical doctors who are unaware of the depth of emotional issues, merely will treat the obvious, the surface which does not take care of the issue.
“Don’t eat that. It is “bad” for you.”

In Ananda’s experience, there was a time when he used to drink “pepsi cola” and eat strawberry shortcake when he was a kid. It was a very enjoyable experience after putting up with the rigidity of the school system!
That was his “reward.” Ananda used to walk 3 miles to go back home rather than taking the bus, so he could stop by the bakery.

As an adult, the thought of eating healthy and getting away from “junk food.” That decision took his reward system into the other extreme of the spectrum.

The 8-year-old kid who enjoyed Pepsi and cake was denied in order to be healthy and to “look good.”

As years went by, Ananda experienced an ascetic life style of self-denial. Drinking water is “good.” Pepsi is “bad.”

Eating cake made by some individuals practicing asceticism was “good.” Eating cake made by the bakery was “bad.”

The inner kid was denied in favor of fashionable thinking and the idea of obtaining an image of a responsible adult wanting to have a “six pack “ in his stomach, along with conforming with a religious belief.

Observe how a kid will eat what he likes without further thought. The adult will put the thought based on counting calories, self-image, prestige, narcissism etc.

That is how we discover the value of emotional food in our lives.
Ananda will drink “Coca Cola” to enjoy the taste. The inner kid will feel happy. The adult who has learned the value of the “middle way” is not a tyrant with himself anymore.

Here is the key Lime cheese cake, Ananda!
Great! let me take a piece, let me enjoy it…

When we are out of balance, is when our face turns into a harsh expression, almost painful to watch.

When the inner kid is happy, a smile comes out without any effort.

What is the “spiritual value” of this sharing?
When you smile with the innocence of a child… you have experienced the value of “junk food.” :-)

The guilt of the sinner is the repression of the saint

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The “I” is the issue to comprehend, to understand, to experience.

When a religion or a philosophy is based on giving life to that “I,” we will experience many inconsistencies, many contradictions.

The consciousness of an “I” is like a wall in between life.
When that wall becomes strong as a brick, then the force to dissolve it, will be equally strong.

The struggle to keep that “I” alive is observed in different belief systems.

For example, we may “know” that everything is eternal, but then we are afraid of the “end of the world.” We need to observe that intellectual information is of no use when the “I” is only striving to keep itself alive.

Unless our consciousness changes through an experience of life, then our head will be full with information.

That information could be worshipped; it could take a particular form as to give us the impression that we are safe, that the “I” has obtained life insurance for the afterlife.

The issue is not the “afterlife.” It is now.

It will take lots of courage to “re-set” our minds from beliefs and traditions deemed “good” that we have learned.

It will take lots of courage to accept a life of living just to experience that “I.”

Ego is a word which denotes the answer for every question. Why is there suffering? Because of the “I.” Why is there war, famine, beliefs, taboos, separation, etc.?
Because of that “I.”

Knowing that intellectually, does not “do” a thing. It is all theory until we are willing to explore it inside ourselves, observe it without rejection.

At that point, we have gone beyond the child “spiritual state of consciousness” of blaming things on the Devil, God, Maya and everything else, without looking at that “I.”

Fear is used as a mechanism to trap someone into a particular experience. Sometimes, we do that to ourselves.

We could label the energy of fear as “bad” something which is not “good,” something to reject… however, as my friend Mathias said: “ a brave man is not the one who does not feel fear, but the one who knows how to transform that energy into strength.”
When we realize about transformation of energies, how could we deny or oppose something which is happening in us?

How could we feel guilty of that experience? Trapped in the “black or white” mentality we get trapped into the duality of the “sinner and the saint.”

The child mentality wants to be a “saint” and rejects the sinner in him. It is that rejection, that fear of being a sinner, the force which will keep that sinner alive and guilt will be the shadow on that journey.

All of our fears only strengthen that thing which we fear. When there is no rejection, then we are back into being one… The one who transforms himself.