Thursday, June 30, 2011

Surrendering Everything

In relative terms, the human being is made up of spirit, mind and body. Absolutely, there is just spirit; Love. In what we refer to as "spirituality ", there is the seeking and investigating into realm of spirit. In the West, when the intellect and psychology (mind) become dissatisfied with organized religion, there is often begun a "search " for a "more meaningful spirituality ".

In this search for meaning, many turn to Eastern philosophies, many of which also contain an element of religion. Some "seekers " will swap a religion that has lost it's meaning for a new religion that seems to answer questions that were left "hanging " in the old belief system. But many in the West want to jettison all "belief " systems for a logic based, "scientific " view; a spirituality without spirit.

At the other extreme, we find those who put great value in "spiritual experiences ". We hear of "blue light experiences ", mysterious figures, or rising up to heaven in a kind of self styled "transfiguration ". Some of these also like to use the name "God " as if such a "sky captain " were a reality. Where is a simple seeker after Truth to go in this spiritual marketplace?

Those who advocate the logical, scientific view teach a kind of "biological/psychological" spirituality, or as I said above, a spirituality without spirit. These are the ones who see "love " as a biological process inherent in the brain. They also are the ones who engage in psychological "games " and "tricks " like "watching the mind" , "shadow work " or simply asking us to stop our minds in order to experience "awareness" without thought. (as if that were possible to do with the mind!) These are all wonderful psychological practices and are helpful in quieting the mind and finding psychological "blockages ". But they are not spiritual, they are in the mind.

And again, the "spiritual experience junkie ", with his vision's of "God ", "explosive awakenings" , or "blue light experiences " is also living in the mind, as this is where these "experiences " happen. These are the teachers who tell you to look for a particular experience; particularly one like they have had, that can be defined in a particular way. They see no problem with being able to say you must have this kind of experience, or it's not authentic. Again, this is obviously in the mind. If your "experience " is definable or describable, it is in the mind. Again, where is the simple seeker after Truth to go in this spiritual circus?

We have been given examples of spiritual masters, gurus and teachers for centuries. There have been examples in every major belief system from Buddhist, Advaita, Christian, Islam to those of no fixed or specific system. They are all different, have different approaches and have formulated, or not, methods and practices. Although they very widely in their behaviors, they have some things in common. The first being that they lived out their teaching in lives that were unique and set apart. Lives of humility, unconcerned for the conventions of the world. Buddha, Christ, Ramana Mahrashi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, all lived lives that were not only different from ours, but different from the time and people they lived among. (Of those, Nisargadatta lived the most "ordinary" life, but his earnestness, love and generosity were anything but "ordinary".)

To say that there is nothing "special " about these teachers, or spiritual masters is foolish on it's face. How many Christians live as Christ? How many Buddhists, outside the monastery, live as Buddha? How many live as Ramana Maharshi or Nisargadatta Maharaj? This is really the key. The spiritual life is a life apart; a life unique. It is a "being in the world, but not of it". It is a life worked out by oneself, following the call life gives you.

To think that you can engage the world in an "ordinary " manner, ordinary meaning in this context, living for ordinary, worldly values and aspirations, is foolish, but this is what many of the teachers of "spirituality without spirit " will tell you. On the other hand the teachers of "spiritual experience ", with their rarified awakenings, visions of "God " and all the rest of it, are separating those with "The Experience " from those who have not had "The Experience ". They will tell you of course, that you too can have this wonderful experience as well, but are sure to tell you that you have not had it yet, unless you are like them, and see it in their vision . The intellectual, "spirituality without spirit " teachers are living in, and teaching from, the mind, and the "spiritual experience " teachers are living in, and teaching from, the world of ego (also mind).

To be "in this world, but not of it " is clear in a Buddha, a Christ or a Ramana Maharshi. Why fool yourself by being a Sunday Christian or a Satsang participant who forgets all the inconvenient truths while living your daily life. When Christ told the rich young fellow to sell his possessions and follow him, the fellow went away sad. What makes you think you can follow and hang on to anything? You need to leave all behind, be it mind games of psychological "discovery " or dream visions of "The Experience", and follow the call that calls you to be yourself.

Nisargadatta's famous quote; "When I see that I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see that I am everything, that is Love, between the two, my life continually flows." is the beginning. To live that out, without psychological self indulgence, or "experiential " spiritual pride is the beginning. To do this is to "step off the cliff " into the unknown, the unsure, and the potentially unsafe. But to the True "seeker "; the one who is called by something other than a desire for peace of mind or to relieve personal "suffering ", there is no choice. Love is calling, calling from within. You will either follow or remain in the "safe" world of the mind.


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