Any spiritual teaching presents a vision to understand Life, the world. That vision is like a map. It brings security to the follower to mitigate his uncertainty; although that vision is limiting.
Why is it limiting?
A map is not the real thing. If I need to explain this further, see Life as driving in a highway. We enter into the highway and the “decision” will have to be made right there. There is no time for questions. No time to review the map. Speed up? Slow down? Use your signal? Change lanes? Slow down to speed up? There are so many variants. Are you looking for the “right one”? Was that ever written some place in a holy book?
The “spiritual teaching” maybe something like: “Be careful while driving in the highway.” Fear is introduced.
Let me ask; is there any meaning to that “be careful”?
Perhaps be AWARE is a far better “teaching,” however; it is another pretty word to say to look “good,” concerned…
AWARENESS cannot be taught. You ARE or you may not be AWARE.
It is through AWARENESS how we could realize things about ourselves and through that “teaching” our BEING will behave (DO) in the world. That knowing is experiential and valuable. It is not second hand.
AWARENESS is some sort of sensibility. It comes when we are conscious of ourselves (feelings, thoughts, emotions) alone and in relationship. The word describing our “teacher” in Life is OBSERVATION.
The capacity to observe will bring sensibility and that in turn will bring awareness, consciousness.
We are conditioned to judge, to follow what is believed to be “right,” which is some script that we have learned from someone. We call that discernment. A pretty word to hide conditioning.
When you know the features in your car, you can use them to ADAPT to the environment, what is happening, the “now.”
Observe the person you are talking with. Can you FEEL his intention, his vibe?
Did he shake your hand? Yes?? He was following the map. You “thought” he was a good fellow, well educated, well-conditioned.
Let me briefly explore mainstream “Tantra” teachings: A certified sex guru is needed. Someone to tell us what to DO.
Step #1: Breathe slowly. Step #2: Move slowly. Step #3: Last as long as you can…
That is the software to “practice.” The teaching to follow to be “successful.”
If we had OBSERVATION, we wouldn’t follow STEPS. We would BE those naturally.
OBSERVE our own rigidity. Our own pre-conceptions. Our need to be in control. Observe the need of our ego to perform to some standard. Observe our inability to feel pleasure and enjoy pleasure with the simplest things in Life: The feeling of water running through our naked body, a caress that spreads to our whole being… Observe how our capacity to enjoy has diminished to the point where relaxation is never felt, sensuality is not part of ourselves. Sexual pleasure is merely an “itch” to get rid of.
That sensibility to feel is gained in solitary aloneness. That is the needed space. Through that gained AWARENESS the “map” is no longer needed. Every moment is to BE in the highway of Life. Forget about the prescriptions, the methods, the technicalities. Our unpracticed, unlearned sensibility will take us places… Just relax, unwind. Let the last second “decisions” come without thinking about it.
“Spiritual teachings” are needed only because we live in the mind, so we cannot BE. Thus, we DO them, practice them, follow them, copy them.
Outside of the mind, there is a world of sensibility, which is unknown to most. How do we call that world?
Sensibility is her daughter. AWARENESS, her twin sister. 🙂 The height of human sexuality is in that “family. ” Spiritual teachings, will tell us to DO what is not meant to be DOne.
“You should be like your brother, a good student, obedient and respectful…”
Parents may not realize it, but comparisons will leave deep scars in the “bad” son. Correcting is one thing, but comparing with another is only showing blunt rejection of a particular individuality. The “bad” son must imitate the “good” one to fit the standard. The unwilling separation (good/bad) made by the parent with his progeny, will bring further issues.
We have learned to imitate to gain acceptance. There is always a “model” to copy and to follow.
We experience consequences when acting. If we are AWARE we will learn from our own actions as well as other people’s activities. However; that does not happen very often, that is why a “role model” is important in our society. We just need to follow, imitate. That “authority” is the IDEAL, the standard. That person could be an athlete, a politician, a religious person… All IDEALS. Their behaviors in turn, must fit expectations of that IDEAL for them to continue as “role models.”
Therefore, imitation is the avenue for “success.” Our personality, our BEING may not fit the IDEAL, but our behavior must fit in. That creates hypocrisy, dishonesty. Our DOING is not the same as our BEING.
In the spiritual world, we have the image of Jesus (or some other realized being) to follow, even though we have never met him. There are expectations of what Jesus should have been like. There is this ideal of a “saint” which is painted in the minds of mainstream society. Society is interested in the IDEAL not in the person behind Jesus.
We are conditioned to imitate an IDEAL.
Tantra is sold to the masses as the IDEAL of blissful sex. What the masses shouldn’t know at all costs, is that sex is a personal experience. What is blissful for you, may not be for someone else. The IDEAL of “bliss” is sold, comparison arrives and a “problem” is created. Thus, someone should sell the “solution” or better yet, the IDEAL of a solution.
Do you know why the IDEAL of a solution is better than a complete “solution” itself?
The IDEAL continuously sells… we are always close to the full solution, but not quite yet. A “solution” once applied and proven cannot longer sell.
Imitation is based on an IDEAL. The IDEAL is something that cannot be reached. That is the appeal of it. The masses strive to get the IDEAL of a “saint,” a “holy man,” but it cannot be reached for the IDEAL is not “real.”
Nevertheless, for many imitators, there is no better “reality” than the IDEAL.
Living through IDEALS, we are unable to let go of the mind.
Living though IDEALS we believe in a world which only exists in our minds.
For instance, the word “Love.” It is an IDEAL. The use of that word in a speech could make us look “good,” “caring,” etc. Love thy neighbor, Love the world, Peace and Love, Love and Light… All pretty IDEALS.
What is “real” cannot be put into words, cannot be defined. Once we understand this deeply, we will not try to find meaning in the words that someone says, but we will go right into the feelings, we will feel someone and what we feel will not be put into words…. But we will know.
Then, Love may have a different meaning. 🙂
In your view, what is the most valuable “practice” in the path of self-realization?
That question is not properly made. It is biased with the belief that we need to “practice” to achieve something in “spirituality” to become a “better” person.
Nevertheless, let me share my experience.
To learn to be comfortable with yourself and to have a full life while living alone, is the most important “practice.”
Most “spiritual” people may understand this as to “force yourself” to DO it, because practice “makes perfect.” That is the conditioning, the discipline of practicing something to “achieve it.” That is fine for man-made ideals, but BEING does not change like that.
Life will put you in that situation. That is the natural path, that goes along with individual readiness.
Someone who is not ready, will internally fight it. Outwardly he may be living a life of a hermit like monks and nuns DO. However, they are busy with their own mental ideas, desires and needs to achieve Paradise, enlightenment and favors from God.
When you are comfortable with yourself, at peace; there is nothing to DO, nothing to achieve, nothing to look forward to. In our language and conditioning that may sound as the description of a “loser,” but it is far from it. It is the plain enjoyment of your own company and the experience of feeling fulfilled, at peace, vital.
This is not a compulsory activity (DOING) to become enlightened or “better.” It is a harmonized, natural response of being at peace.
It is in that state of balance how we discover the meaning of to “live in the now,” for the mind cannot go to the future as there is no need to achieve anything: No prize, no grandiose ideal to become, no “spiritual” after-life fantasy to get.
Going into the memories of the past, will show me all the pieces of the riddle which are building the “now,” although without identification with the one who at one time “I was,” the traumatic past experiences do not have the pull to remain in my psyche and change my enjoyment into sadness. The one from that past is not the same as the one who is now. Even though we have the same name and the same memories, there is no continuity of that “I” internally. “I” am free by not BEING a particular “I” at any point in time, by not defining me.
When the mind has no place to go, then enjoyment arrives through the feeling of BEING at peace, in harmony with “what is.”
The mental conditioning of what is supposed to be “fun,” or enjoyable does not allow us to BE, for the mind will look for that idea as the definition of success. Anything less is failure and the conditioning is to avoid it at all costs.
Define something, then that exists. Make that into an ideal to obtain, and the “reality” will be that it cannot be obtained. However, the mind will be entertained with the possibility to achieve that.
What is what I can DO to “improve”?
Become aware of the conditionings. Not to reject them, but to observe that any decision, any choice that we think we make, is coming from certain conditioning which we label as “truth.”
This awareness of all those things that we have learned through conditioning, is the “solution” that will prompt us to unlearn.
Without unlearning there cannot be newness.
Without newness, life may be the “same old thing.” 🙂
The word AWARENESS has become accepted by the collective consciousness (masses) as a viable method for self-help, but the application of that “concept” to “improve” lives (help others) has become difficult.
Because intellectual understanding does not bring change in BEING. That is the main reason as to why all “methods” are only palliative in nature, like putting a bandage on a deep wound.
“So… there is no need for methods?”
Please don’t allow the conditioned mind to believe that it is either “no-method” or a particular method the “only truth.” It is neither following Krishnamurti (no-method) or Osho’s ideas (method) what brings “enlightenment.”
The word “method” and the word “enlightenment” are the obstacles to move forward. A “method” is mass produced. Enlightenment is individual. If you search for enlightenment, you will never find it. It is not found. It happens as a fruit ripens through a process of living life experiences.
The word AWARENESS is only a broad pointer. That is why, I’d like to narrow it down and use the pointer AWARENESS of CONDITIONING.
If we are not aware of our conditioning in our everyday activities and ideas, then we are sleeping and for that reason, “methods” become important. “Methods” to get out of our drowsiness then we may become aware, awaken… Aware of what?
Of our conditionings. No methods needed anymore.
Now, you see how the question: What is the truth: To follow a method or not to follow one?… Is truly a conditioned question. It all depends on your BEING awake or BEING asleep , not on a method or lack of it.
As a kid, did you ever want a skateboard or an expensive shirt that your friends had, but your parents could not afford?
Do you see the conditioning? Probably not as a kid. Then, it became a trauma.
What about if you are well into your 20s without a girlfriend or a boyfriend. Do you see the pressure that society inflicts on you? The labels that you may get? That is conditioning. That collective pressure changes individuals against their will.
What about if you are married and do not have kids, or only have one. Don’t you feel the pressure to have kids or to have the “couple” and to buy a pet for them? That is conditioning. Observe how it manipulates.
What about your profession? Are you happy but not paid well? That will be the source of social pressure for you or your family. Conditioning.
Do you believe in God even though you have not seen him or experienced him? That is a well known conditioning. Why do you believe in what you believe? What happens if you drop it? Can you do that without feeling guilty? The feeling of guilt is behind conditioning.
Do you see money and power as the only worthwhile things to pursue in Life? That is heavy conditioning. Buying defines you. You are what you own. Nothing else.
Are you over 40? Not “good looking”? Do you have a handicap? under tall? Are you homosexual? Middle class? Do you feel that you fit in society? That is conditioning.
No one could ever fit the ideal of the “perfect citizen/person” that society unconsciously is putting in our minds.
Observe how those traits bother you. The buttons that it pushes. Observe your efforts to deny those things, to cover them up. Observe the traumas. Do you want a “solution”? Do you want to change “what is” into something else just to blend into the conditioned collective consciousness?
You see, the “solution” is not to change to the whims of the masses and the collective consciousness, but to merely be AWARE of the game, so you can play in it, and not be played by it.
Become aware of the conditioning and AWARE of how your actions, your DOING are not made through “free will” (you may think you have free will) but through conditioning.
That is the starting point of awakening.
If someone has the desire to become “better” in spirituality, that person will only feed himself with greed.
If a person wants to become “good” by reading books, taking classes or joining a religion; that person will only be full of concepts, ideas, about being “good.”
If a person wants to “make effort” to go to “heaven”; certainly he will make his current Life, full of hell.
The above does not follow the conditioning of the “office world.” I am not saying not to DO the above. By all means DO it. Have the experience of it, so the words above have a new meaning, for the above will not be another belief, another concept.
In the “office world” if someone wants to be “better”, that one needs to take classes, certifications, read books, gather concepts, ideas to talk the talk. It is about gathering information.
That does not work in “spirituality” or better yet, living Life with joy.
DOING things to become someone else is not the answer. Joy is not in becoming someone in the future, but in BEING now.
The word BEING may be one of the most difficult “concepts” to grasp. It is not a concept. It is an experience.
When the mind is; BEING is not.
BEING is not defined by actions. Actions are defined by moral standards, laws, commandments, etc. Those laws are not standards for “goodness,” they are just agreements to live by as a society.
Every cause has an effect. This is not human law or morality. This is the way Life moves, changes. Most of the time humans are concerned in pursuing their wishes, desires, wants, etc. Nothing wrong with that. However, also be courageous enough to take the consequences as well.
“Many times I do not know what could happen out of an action, but whatever happens, I will be there.” That may be labeled as maturity.
This level of natural commitment does not arrive when making “thoughtful decisions,” for we will be hunted by our moral conditioning.
This is good, that is bad. This is wrong… That is right.
If in our core, we act based on morality alone, repression is unavoidable. Our society loves people who “sacrifices for others,” you may get a prize; but deep inside you, there will be dissatisfaction.
That is why it is of great importance to observe who I AM, at that moment. If I am not willing to take consequences, for whatever they are; then I need to understand that my wishes, wants, desires, etc. are not deep enough. They are just mental thorns, torturing for lack of awareness.
“Spirituality” is busy trying to cover BEING with DOING.
If I am with a group of people, and I AM uncomfortable with someone in the group, typically, I could blame that to the other person. I can add mental reasons to explain my feelings. That is to sleep while being awake.
Understand that a button inside you have been pushed. If we are AWARE of that, then there is opportunity for that sensation to continue its path. If it arrives, it must go.
If I am not aware, then I will cover that with some spiritual practice such as: “I should be good, gentle with everyone.”
By covering who I am for the sake of following some moral standard, I have started to build inner dishonesty.
I am not saying not to be nice although I am feeling uncomfortable. I am saying to be AWARE that the issue is with me and I need to identify that. This is how we become our own spiritual guru.
This could be a deceiving “practice,” or it could be a source for inner honesty.
Many will repeat that “BEING is before DOING.” Many will understand that AWARENESS is not a practice, yet as a “new spiritual teaching” is being put into words, the first thing most everyone wants to DO is to “put it in practice.”
Please observe that this is not “wrong,” neither “right,” but you could only practice what you can intellectually understand and that is prone to distortion when we are talking about the immensity of Life.
We could hear that “Life will work for you if you accept it as it is, if you flow with it.” Then, we want to practice that because it sounds pretty good, because it makes sense, because a “super Guru” said so, or perhaps because “we want for Life to work for us,” etc.
Any of the above reasons will bring inner dishonesty. As a matter of fact, any reason behind our “practice” is dishonest, ego driven. We are not BEING. We want to DO what we AREN’T to become something desirable in our minds. DOING does not change BEING.
John was fired from his comfy job. He was very angry; however, he is a “spiritual person,” and he recalled the teaching of “accepting what Life brings.” He wanted to put that teaching into practice at that time.
“John, how do you feel… It must be pretty hard on you, right?” Asked one of his friends.
John replied:” Not really. I accepted it. Life works for me.”
John’s friend was impressed. What a guy! So spiritual, so calm, so cool… such an angel!
Nevertheless, John was angry. Inside he was burning with anger, but he made himself believe that he has “accepted” what Life brought. His meaning of acceptance was simple: Not to make a fuss of it. John wanted deep inside for Life to “work for him,” perhaps by giving him a nice job in the future, so he was willing to try that “teaching.” He had nothing to lose.
As days and months passed by without any apparent external change, John became irritated, he lost hope and he was snappy with others around him.
John couldn’t hide his true self anymore.
His dishonest acceptance, was never acceptance. It was another way to try to control Life, so “it works for him.”
John’s DOING was not according to BEING, his current BEING.
That is how spiritual teachings are misunderstood. We come from our conditioning of “making things happen,” and to “DO something to change things, change the world, change ourselves.” Change happens as we allow it. That is all, but our ideas, ideals, taboos, beliefs, traumas will not let that happen. Acceptance, surrendering in Life is not known by the dictionary.
The type of acceptance that is necessary to flow with Life, does not come from intellectual understanding of the word “acceptance.” It does not come from our willingness to practice that “virtue.” It comes through the assimilation of Life experiences. It is an opening in our Ego mind, a hole drilled by Life itself when there is no resistance, repression in us.
The art of Living Life, that is “spirituality,” is not learned by following books, quoting spiritual phrases from spiritual gurus, or by enrolling in a spiritual class. All of that is conditioning from the “office world.”
I am not saying that it is “bad,” I am saying that all of that is conceptual teachings, intellectual understanding, information. To truly KNOW, we need to experience the process of Life’s teachings; in a word; to be AWARE of it. It is happening in front of our noses all the time.
Busy in trying to change what is happening to us, we will buy any sort of “magic formula” to change our destiny, rather be AWARE of who we ARE. What is going on outside is only reflecting what goes on inside. Life is the biggest mirror, but yet we could be blind to its reflection.
If we cannot be AWARE, then to “practice” the teachings of someone may be our necessary beginning until we let go the conditioning of the mind. Until then, inner honesty will be hiding from our Awareness.
Ahnanda shares the path of discovery within yourself. This is not the path of “how to do it.” This is not the path of “teach me, I’ll pay for your services.” Become aware that change is happening. Through that, learning and teaching become one, and so unlearning. Student and Guru become one and so “spiritual” lineage. Life and “you” become one and so the Totality. Observe it, acknowledge it, enjoy it, let it happen… Tantra is hiding under those words, and that is a close as we can get when something is beyond a definition.
Until January 2nd! 🙂
While the emphasis of “spirituality for the masses” is on DOING, GETTING, ACCOMPLISHING to BECOME someone else; for the “seasoned” Life walker, it is about UNLEARNING, BEING and ENJOYING.
PEACE is not something we “get” by practicing meditation. That could bring a little taste of it as when someone takes a drop of water when thirsty. We could call that a “wonderful experience,” but that label does not mean anything. Thirst will be there.
UNLEARNING is not something we DO. It is the realization, the awareness that who we think we are has been conditioned by several factors such as: Society, morality, family genes, and previous life experiences. All of that is harbored in our minds.
Therefore, we could observe that by emptying the contents of that mind which is the result of living Life under conditioning and traumatic experiences kept by the “I,” what we are desperately looking to become, we already are. Take the fluff which has grown into the static “I” away… Presto!
That “magic act” is not something that “I” can DO. It happens as we let go and do not hold onto the strings that make up our personality.
Observe how a child changes into a teenager. The process is not rejected. The child does not have any expectation; he just allows for the process to take place. Life is DOING already.
A teenager on the other hand, has a mental idea of what he has to be and become. The teenager will hold on to those ideals, defining himself and separating himself from Life.
Eventually the teenager will surrender. He may fight the pimples in his face and make a trauma out of that experience. That is how an adult comes into the picture, with this idea of fighting for everything in Life.
It is that attitude of fight and getting ahead, the one promoted by our society, our religion our morality, the whole system. Fight at any level only defines the “I.” There is no peace in that as the “I” will fight to keep himself alive, and as long as possible.
Unlearning that idea is the work of the “Life walker.” To untangle himself from the spider webs of the past, becomes the new “religion,” for unless that becomes important to us, there is no hope for dissolving the idea of fight and the “I.”
What makes the process of change so traumatic and dramatic is the fight.
“I” will fight against death. “I” will fight against those who think different, for “I” am the embodiment of “righteousness.”
Let it go. Let those ideas which are corroding our existence, dissipate.
Become a child again. You were one of them. Do you remember?
That is how peace appears again, once the dark clouds and strong gusty winds of our own storms in Life, are dissipated.
The sunshine of peace was always there.
Heavy rain and even hurricanes will be in the experience of many. The stronger “I” will require an intense movement of Life, but at the end whether the “I” surrenders or not… It will, for the Sun of Peace is much bigger, warmer and nourishing than our darkest clouds.