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.
“As you said, deconditioning needs to be done to live more sensibly and have a fulfilled life which can be done by spending lots of time in nature. Can you suggest some of the ways to incorporate that in daily life ? Taking a walk daily in nature, is that enough ? Or something more needs to be done ? May be taking a weekend off to some place ? What should we allow in ourselves in our daily life to be deconditioned ? To leave the society for long periods of time sometimes, is not possible.”
Thank you for your question. It is appreciated.
Your question allows me to clarify somethings about deconditioning.
Observe that in “spirituality” we want to “accomplish” things. Some want illumination, God, etc. and the expectation is that there are certain methods or techniques to get there. It is not like that, but that is the conditioning based on our goal oriented society. “I want that too” is the motto.
Life does not have “goals.” Consciousness keeps changing without human interaction, without the “I” DOING things.
Deconditioning is not to be done. It happens. Nature is not a method for deconditioning, but deconditioning happens through Nature as well as through other means.
Probably the last phrase does not make any sense. 🙂 I will try to explain.
I could easily say:” Sure, a walk in the park in the early hours is best for deconditioning. At least 3 times a week on an empty stomach.” But that is not so. This is not an exercise meant to fit our busy schedule, so we can accomplish deconditioning along with other things that we want in Life.
Ahnanda only shares his experiences. Ahnanda is not sharing methods or techniques.
In my experience, Nature is important to create the space for deconditioning. I did not “choose to be in Nature,” I did not go to Nature for the goal of deconditioning.
I love Nature. It is Natural for me to seek it without any purpose other than sheer enjoyment of it.
Then, deconditioning happens as my love for Nature took me away from the pursues and busy-ness of the “Office World.”
Nature is a very important part of my Life but, I incorporate the “Office world,” 5 times a week up to 40 hours per week.
If you join a religious group (the most distant from current ways of society, the better) out of a feeling rather than a thought of mental gain, deconditioning will happen as well, but you will be conditioned in a new way. Most followers are not aware of that.
Thus, in your last question: “What should we allow in ourselves in our daily life to be deconditioned?” Be open to Love. Love will do.
Love to Nature, Love to God, Love to Life, Love to someone else…
Love implies acceptance, openness for another, that will necessarily take you away from your comfort zone. That is the needed space to see things from a different perspective. Everything else after that is awareness. Most think that they love already, but they are conditioned, how come? Discover if your “love” is the one that will make you forget about yourself rather than reinforce it. Reinforcing yourself means to reinforce conditioning, and that is not the kind of love that I am talking about.
Deconditioning is not rejection of our previous conditioning. Deconditioning will give us the ability to see our old being, just like when we remember our days as little kids.
There are many ways to see the world. This vision is not about finding what is “right” and reject what is “wrong,” which is the prevalent conditioning.
Observe that every way to see the world will have its chance to manifest. It will appear and then disappear; thus there is nothing to hang onto, nothing to bring as the “truth” for change itself is not the “truth” but just another way to see the world, another vision.
Deconditioning will not give you “truth,” but openness. It is that openness what will bring fulfillment in Life… and that certainly, could be your unspoken “truth.” 🙂
I received some feedback from the last article. Take it easy, Would ya? I am not writing to take away your toys… No! I am just sharing. 🙂
Just as “success and failure” are toys to play with, to entertain ourselves while Life passes by us; there is a stronger ideal which hasn’t been observed: To sacrifice.
“To sacrifice for an ideal is the utmost that a human can do for humanity.” Isn’t that the teaching? Isn’t that the “nice” phrase to live by and quote in our power point presentations?
To confuse matters, the “Office World” has provided some catchy phrases: “To sacrifice is to love.”
Love has nothing to do with sacrifice. As a matter of fact, we sacrifice because there is no love. When we sacrifice we give up something in order to get something else. That something else can be for us in the “future” or to “help” someone else… we believe.
In short, we frustrate ourselves “now,” we block ourselves. That frustration can go as far as offering your own Life for the “benefit of mankind,” it is said; although it hasn’t happened. Life continues on. You live, you die… you live again. Isn’t that the “spiritual teaching”? Why do you sacrifice for? 🙂 Become AWARE of who you ARE do not cover it with pretty phrases and cinderella ideals…
In the movie “Superman II;” Superman did not hesitate to give up his powers to have a human experience with his girlfriend, Lois Lane. Was that a sacrifice?
No. He simply followed his heart. He was honest with himself.
A religious group may label him as “egoist,” because he didn’t “sacrifice for the sake of humanity.” Imagine if Superman decided to play “Saint” and sacrificed his feelings for the sake of an ideal. He would have been a frustrated “superhero.” Saving others would be sacrifice , work. Love couldn’t touch his heart, because his mind was engaged into DOING what is deemed to be “right” by others, over his own feelings.
Through Life experiences, Superman learned about his mission in Life and satisfied with the human experience he experienced, he was ready to continue, not out of a compulsion; but out of maturity, out of living a process in Life.
Superman recovered his powers because his father foresaw this “human” incident and gave the opportunity to his son. Once Superman passed this test by “failing it,” Superman was ready to continue alone without his father’s advice. Out of love, his father disappeared. Superman and his mission in Life were one.
What would have happened if Superman was forbidden by his father to experience the love of a girlfriend for the sake of his mission? That would have been a sin against his own son. Total lack of respect to his human nature and his own process. That is violence.
Any sacrifice is void of love. Many times “failure” is part of the “success” but it happens when we are honest with our deepest feelings… 🙂
Once upon a time, little Timmy was an angry baby. He wanted his way or no way; but he realized that he had to fight, win, struggle, in order to “achieve” what he had in mind. He labeled that “competitive mentality” as what is “right, moral, good, proper, perfect” for him.
Labels make a great difference in our morality.
Anyway, Little Timmy was able to express his anger up until he was 6 or so. Timmy lacked awareness of what that expression was causing in the environment and him. Then, it was time for the “office world” training. Timmy had to go to school. At that point, to express his anger was unacceptable. Every kid wanted things his own way!
Then, the “law” came into effect. “If you express your tantrums freely, you are going to get in trouble, but if you talk it out; then you may get a golden star in your chart…”
That is how, the conditioning started. The “Office world” works under the premise of rewards and punishment. Nice duality to be trained in.
Little Timmy was still angry, but now he had to be “clever” not to show it and to wait until he got home to express it, as he was able to do before school.
Observe that the “office world” is not interested in the way Little Timmy feels. It is not even interested in Little Timmy’s awareness of that energy of anger. The “Office world” is interested in actions or lack of them. The feeling behind does not matter. “Good actions”= Reward program= points for Heaven. “Bad actions”= Punishment, jail time= hell= karma. Those were the equations little Timmy needed to be aware of.
Timmy (no longer little) became “proficient” with the hogwash: “Hide your feelings. Give everyone what they would like to hear.” Use the “right” labels. Embellish them. What Little Timmy wasn’t aware of, is that he believed that hogwash to be the proper way to behave with others but he expected others to be “true” to themselves. That is how, he had a couple of “romantic” experiences where he felt disappointed.
Timmy wanted to find meaning to a Life covered by “proper behaviors and etiquette” for he did not find fulfillment. His horizon had a couple of “choices:” Go with the gold medalists, prove how great “you are,” sacrifice for paper money, build a name for yourself, become “immortal” among mortals by making sure that someone will remember your name (label) 200 years down the road… OR become someone beyond your mortality. That is how, religion XYZ appeared in his path.
Now, Timmy had a purpose, a “reason” to be alive. He felt instantly important, because the “boss of all bosses” (he learned that training from the office world) was with him: God.
With God, things were simple. This is “good,” that is “bad.” Do you see the line?
Anger is “bad.” Timmy wanted to align with God but he didn’t know how to get rid of that anger. That is the time when guilt appeared. Before his religious experience, there was no guilt. Now, guilt surrounds him.
Are religions “bad,” then?
No! Observe that Timmy had an answer for his “purpose in Life,” for his mental quest to “be someone.” Now, little by little through all the traumas that he will gather, he will learn to be “no one.”
Is the “office world” bad?
No! It is like playing a different game. The trauma appears when we believe that this game is “reality.” The office world, the religion, the school system… all games. Play.
Timmy will go through all the suffering necessary for Awareness to arrive. When that happens as all true stories; Timmy will live happily ever after…
Did you like my little bed story? 🙂
The importance of feelings cannot be overstated. Through feelings we feel fulfilled, satisfied in Life. Love is a feeling and such is happiness, what else do we need?
Note that the word “feeling” is not enough to express the experience. We could use the word “emotion” to add complexity for the mind wants to “understand.” Spirituality is not about repeating concepts, it is mostly about your inner experience, your inner observation, how aware we could be. Labels only confuse, segregate, separates, dissects the experience.
Please consider the following not as a belief or as interesting info. Just see it in yourself, if you could see these descriptions in “you.”
The feeling that brings fulfillment is the one coming from the BEING itself through the “gut,” thus a “gut feeling.”
Take the time to observe it and recognize it. Some may call this “intuition” which is another label pointing to the same direction. Japanese medicine knows this area as “hara,” and in Chinese medicine it is known as “lower Dantian,” or the “sea of Qi.” It is not only the “gut” or the stomach, but the manifestation of vitality of BEING in this physical plane.
When that zone is relaxed, you feel relaxation, you feel good!
Perhaps we could observe 3 main centers of “feelings.”
The gut or “hara” as explained above is the main one but, we are not in touch with it. BEING according to our role in Life will manifest there. That is honesty in a nutshell. Our conditioning is to sugar coat that with thoughts, beliefs, ideas we have been exposed to and which we consider “thoughtfully,” “mindfully” speaking, to be “right.”
The second center is the heart. Thus, “heart feelings.”
We have been conditioned to believe that the “heart” has the most important feelings to “listen to.” Nevertheless, the “feelings from the heart” come actually from the mind. Those “feelings” have the conditioning of many past experiences.
For instance “love.” It is a label with many meanings. There is love for parents, for siblings, for offspring, for a partner, etc. All of those forms of love are different, but yet we use the same label: “love.” Where is the conditioning? In the way that we should express a particular “love” for a particular relationship. Observe “Love to God.”
Why do we use the “father” type of love? or even the “beloved” one? Is that what is missing in your Life? Why isn’t there a particular type of love for God as there is for a sister, a father, a son?
If you are aware of your conditioning, there will be greater openness in you.
Finally, the center in the head, which we label as “mind,” “brain,” etc. That is where most people function. That center is the furthest away from the gut. We use reason, logic, words to create our world.
For instance, you may hear poetry. The words “touched you.” The mind has been touched. A word brings the experience as the mind has a particular meaning for a particular word. “ My heart has been touched while hearing that beautiful poetry.”
Words… don’t bring an experience other than the one we believe they mean. The word “snake” could bring different reactions in people according to their experiences, however, for mainstream, that word brings a negative connotation due to religious beliefs or sexual hang ups. Conditioning.
That “feeling” is conditioning “stored” in the mind.
Again please observe those centers within yourself, otherwise; the above will just feed your mind with additional information.
In spirituality, knowing is BEING it. Not READING about it.
“If you have negativity towards someone, that will come back to you; therefore, have good feelings. It is your choice.”
Even though the above sounds very logical and reasonable; very “spiritual,” it is out of the realm of honesty of feelings.
If someone hasn’t realized the unity of all and thus, what we give; we receive; then that person only is aware of the “I” as the center of the Universe. Thus, “spirituality” for that individual has another message: ”Protect yourself. Get insurance against karma.”
It is that fear of “catching the bug” the one that will make us choose “wisely.”
What we truly are, that negativity gets buried with a bunch of thoughts: “Let me send you good feelings…my friend! I love you… I wish you the best. You are always on my mind and my thoughts…”
That thought of being “good” now, is enough to cover our reality of negativity.
When we are living in the mind, we may not realize what is a feeling and what is a thought.
Feeling is what we truly ARE. Thoughts without “action” are according to those feelings; however, we could change thoughts by being aware of the thoughts; but changing thoughts does not change our feelings, who we truly ARE.
Thoughts do not change who we ARE.
Basically, “choice” is in thoughts. That is why, “positive thinking” is so popular among the masses and individuals unaware of inner observation.
That is why, meditation with “positive thoughts,” is also popular: “I am a peaceful being, I am a loving being… repeat after me…”
That is not who I AM, but what I THINK I am.
Many individuals believe that Love is a thought. “I think I love you,” that shows how disengaged we ARE from our feelings.
When Life offers you 2 paths, which one will you choose?
For the one who lacks inner observation, the “I” needs to choose based upon what the mind has learned as “elements good for ME.” Thinking about those will dictate my “educated choice.”
When there is inner observation there is no choice. What you feel is the path. It is not “you” creating the feeling. It is already there.
To recognize our feelings without the filtering of our mind, is without a doubt; the most important aspect to feel one with Life.
There is nothing to choose when we are One. Although we may take path “1” rather than “2,” there is no choice, the “I” is not choosing… there is knowing.
When we are in the mind, we worry about the “outcome,” the “I” wants to be “right.” It is not about BEING complete, but “right.”
Feelings bring fulfillment. The path is already there, we just need to recognize it with our hearts. 🙂
Love is a pretty word. As the song goes: “All we need is Love, love. Love is all you need.”
Then comes the ideal: “The ultimate love is to love humanity.”
Bravo! I believe in that too. Great phrase. Everyone agrees on that!
Now comes the mind: “How do I get there? How do I achieve love to humanity?” “How do I achieve that state of sainthood?”
Then come religious/philosophical/scientific “methods” with clever answers to those inquires… but those answers require certain “doing” from our part.
Therefore, here comes “practice.”
After many years of trying different methods, and practicing then comes disappointment.
The ideal cannot be obtained. It is a mental thing which is fueled by our own greed.
“That is the top state of sainthood to love everyone. I want it for myself.”
That is called greed. It is the wolf dressed up as red ridding hood. Greed in the mundane is hard to recognize in the “divine.”
Where do we start?
Start with the only “real” place you could. That is with you.
Are you aware of how your mind throws violent thoughts around? It could be towards you or another. That violence cannot allow you to be Love.
See, it is not as the song says: “All we need is Love.” We ARE love.
Are you aware on how your mind dwells in the past and fantasizes about the future?
That mind cannot allow you to be Love; for Love is in the “now.” The mind cannot be in the now.
The pretty, “spiritual” words we say could be a trap for self-deception.
To try to achieve the dictionary meaning of those “good” words or virtues is like trying to hold air with our naked hands.
The clearer, the emptier your mind is of thoughts, the easier becomes to know Love without defining it, without labeling it, without describing it.
Thus, “all we need is love…” is just a catchy phrase.
“All we need is an empty mind,” is closer to Love, but … far from being a popular song.