Monthly Archives: June 2013
The procession towards gaining a pure understanding of the reality of existence while minimising the influence of ego and perception is a task that takes dedication and motivation on behalf of the seeker. Most seekers start out by realising that, to borrow a line from a fibre advertisement, there is a “better kind of normal”. This can be due to a large number of individual reasons which prompts the seeker to initiate the search.
The search can be the self inspection/introspection in order to “find oneself” or to shop around the well known, and not so well known, spiritual and religious traditions. This often brings people back to the teachings of their culture and/or parents or to experiment with more non-traditional teachings. At this stage the seekers are prime targets for cults and destructive teachings that isolate the seeker from the community for the betterment of the cult or its leaders.
But how do you know when a cult is a cult? Most belief systems have three elements: The Example/Teacher, The Method/Teaching, and The Community.
The Example/Teacher. Is the person that delivered the teaching and showed the efficacy of the teaching as a living example of the effectiveness of the teaching. There are specific qualities that make for a good teacher – certainly how they live their life is an example. Their life should not be at odds with their teachings. They should not be claiming a higher status than that of a teacher or coach for the seeker. This includes those that claim that they are incarnations of Jesus, Living Buddha’s, the next coming, etc.
The Method/Teaching. The method/teaching that is espoused should be logical and provide more than just “have faith” by providing a daily practice that provides a base of behaviour that is conducive to spiritual development that is based on service to others, reduction of ego and the stripping of learned behaviours and criticism. It should not be based on indulgence or damage to self or others. The teaching is more important than the teacher and the teaching and the behaviour of the teacher will provide the proof of the teaching.
The Community. The Community is the community of seekers that support the journey. The identification of the community can be difficult in that there is a community of seekers, of teachers, of practitioners and of people outside of the community. All of them need to work together and be accepting of all and the teaching should provide guidance for those that are outside or critical of the community of seekers. The key to this guidance is that ultimately we are all connected in some way and therefore to be discriminatory of others is to foster discrimination of self.
The journey of reduction of the Ego Hound to allow the Spirit Dog to thrive is not easy and very threatening to some who value their own perception of “self” in that the journey results in the destruction of what they perceive and value.
Which dog will you feed today?
A true sense of belonging is not dependent on others.
The ability to generate loving kindness for others creates the sense of belonging.
When looking to the various traditions and the teachers that have taught lessons that have stood the test of time there appears a common theme – unity.
From Abrahams single deity to the teachings of the Buddha that we are all subject to the same natural laws, to Jesus’ rebellion against the rules of the day that only the well to do may enter the temple, to the trials of Mohammed who fought against the practice of individual deities to bring all of the tribes under a unitary system that sees different methods of worship but with one god head.
They all taught that we are all subject to a natural law regardless of our status, colour or wealth at birth and that there is a way to obtain the best from this natural law which usually involves caring for others and to eliminate the momentary bliss of physical satisfaction.
However, it is apparent that there are other teachings that speak to the ego, the sense of different, invidualism and that I am better than you because I am blessed with: wealth, colour, status, etc as a benefit of birth. Or my people are suffering because we are being tested by the one true deity over the falsehoods of your belief system. In all of these the intent of the original teachings and the historical context is overlooked, forgotten or see as irrelevant.
We are all subject to a natural spiritual law whether we believe or not in the same way that we are bound to this earth by forces of nature, whether we believe it or not.
Care for others as only through interdependence in belief and action do we maximise our existence and those around us.