Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What are you looking for? - Seeking without the Seeker

The reasons for seeking are many, but much "seeking" is done to "get something", or "get somewhere", not simply for it's own sake, or for love's own sake.

So many seekers in non-duality come from other spiritual "places" where they felt "let down" or "unfulfilled". Many come from mainstream churches who's "rules" or "unbelievable" dogma made no sense. Some are rejecting "belief" altogether, and looking for an intellectual understanding that "fits" with their "intellectual development". Non- Duality has become a favorite of the "educated spiritual" crowd, with proponents appearing on Oprah, and doing "satsangs" all over the world. "Enlightenment" has become the "crown" on the head of a complete "education". Not withstanding, the understanding that the mind cannot grasp "enlightenment", endless discourse ensues about "self" and "no-self", "present awareness", and all the rest of the "non-duality speak". But educational self-improvement is not the only reason so many seek non-dual teachings.

Just recently, I heard a spiritual teacher say that pain or suffering are often the reason for people to be drawn to non-duality. This may be the case with some. It may be the case with many. If this is so, it is a shame, as awareness, or "enlightenment" is not a "cure". Those who seek comfort or a "better life" in non-duality, should realize right from the start, that non-dual teaching does not bring "improvement", it simply brings clarity.

There is so much mingling of psychology and non-dual teaching, particularly in the West, that it might be a good idea to look into where the two meet or dovetail with each other. "Self-help" programs, "Life Coaches", substance abuse programs, in addition to psychologists and psychiatrists, abound in the West. Psychological exploration can be very useful, both as therapeutic recollection, and as "self-inquiry", but psychological techniques should be left to those trained in that field, and no "free-form" psychological experimentation should be attempted by a non-dual teacher unless they have studied and know the "results" well. Certain psychological methods, like group therapy can be very useful in self inquiry, but when the group therapy methods are used as "satsang", or a sort of "hot seat" group session, this can be a problem.

There are places where non-dual teachings and psychology merge, but care must be taken to understand the differences. Clinical Depression is a perfect example. It is recognized that many, not all, depressions have a chemical component. Solve the chemical imbalance, and the mood changes. Simple body chemistry. Sufferers of Clinical Depression are treated with chemical substitutes, and counseled that the depression is the result of chemistry, and has no "real" cause. The depressed person learns that he is not the body., and that the feelings of "loss", "sadness", and other signs of depression are only caused by chemicals, and not "real" events. This can result in the sufferer having a "complete" experience of himself as being not the body/mind, but something that can "look" at itself. But the "depression", the chemical imbalance, goes away only with medication. From personal experience of this kind of depression, I can tell you it is quite fascinating to watch this "depression" as an observer; watching as "pain", like any other thought floats by. Not confusing it as a "feeling" needing a response, but the simple chemical process of "pain thought". This process, this "I am not the depression", is a psychological process, not unlike the beginnings of non-dual understanding. The problem with both this desire for self improvement psychologically, and the desire for self improvement educationally, is that a desire for an improvement to a self, is a selfish desire. Selfish desire does not lead to non-duality, even if that selfish desire is for non-duality.

The only "reason" to be a seeker is that you are "called" to be a seeker. There is no choice. The seeker who loves "God" and goes in search for him or her, without thought of a "heaven" or "hell" is the one possessed with the "earnestness" Nisargadatta spoke of. Of course, there is no need to love a "God" , or an image of a god, specifically, but there must be love. Love of Wisdom, love of Truth, simply Love itself. No other goal will take you "out of yourself"; will allow the "you" to die. The self improvement of the mind is only enhancing the mind, self image and ego. The self improvement of your "happiness" level, or the learning of methods to hide your pain, only give temporary solace to a still existent "you". Only when you are lost in seeking that which you are; that which draws you to itself, will you be absorbed into that which you seek. Only when both sought andseeker are absorbed in seeking is there non-duality.

Only selfless love will BE selfless Love. If we seek Truth, Reality, Love or any other name you like, we must vibrate with a love so strong that we want only that. If we seek intellectual "wisdom", we can find it, but it is not Love, it is just more thoughts. If we seek emotional security or personal self improvement, we might find it temporarily in some practice or group of "satsang" supporters. But that which is sought with love, without fear, or with the acceptance of fear, is that which is. Seeking only with fervent Love, without thought of intellectual reward, and accepting confusion or depression as part of the unfolding will open you to the flow of grace that Love is. Seek only to answer that call. Let the seeker vanish into the seeking. Let "yourself" vanish into Life!

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