As we progress on our spiritual practice we have quite a few a’ha moments. These include the many and varied realisations about: our practice, our friends, our job, the nature of existence and the futility of our existential angst.
After we experience one of these moments of realisations it is common to have that self talk and self congratulation of “I have realised …”. However,,,,, the true realisations are those that are able to be experienced without the filter of perception as we see the true nature of the phenomenon that we are contemplating.
For this reason a true realisation is the furthest thing from “I” or “me” as you can get because you have managed to eliminate all of “you” in the understanding of that phenomenon. Therefore, it is not a matter of “I have realised …” or “now I understand” as that has immediately welcomed the ego dog into the process.
The true realisation is a matter of “so THAT is the nature of that phenomenon!!”. To speak of that understanding is to bring the perception and filter of language. To speak of that realisation in specifics is to bring the ego back and to drive away the realisation.
To hear, to know, to realise.
As the day dawns and the external light brightens the day
Our mind drawn to actions planned and paid
Leaving our spirit to lay in submission to ego
Growing weary as the sun traces its path across the sky
The ego falters and fades as the light
The spirit glows and beams as it pleads
To give the chance to occupy and grow
Take advantage of the weary ego
To practice and perfect the way of compassion
With the basis of wisdom of an intelligent mind
Free from the basis of self and the deception of I
To soar and occupy the realms of all that is, was and will be.
Today as the Sunday sun rises and announces a new day in whichever part of the world you might be in. Take the time to be thankful for whatever that you have.
If you had a place to sleep, give thanks and develop the wish for all people to have a place to sleep.
If you have food, give thanks and develop the wish for all people to have food.
If you have health, give thanks and develop the wish for all people to have health.
If you are happy and free from suffering … well, you know what to do.
When we sit to our worship and our prayers, request not for ourselves but for others that they may be well, may be happy, may be free from suffering and the causes of suffering, and may they live at ease.
Wish this for loved ones, acquaintances, those that we might call enemies, and for all those that are in times of famine, crisis or war.
This is my wish.
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?
See the people drowning in a sea of stimulation
Craving, desiring and consuming
Drawing into their being the essence of advertising and confusion of needs and wants
The suffering that is only eased by more of the same
Happiness depending on the external – falsehoods one and all
See the people claiming that their way is the blessed way
To the exclusion of all others
The pain the suffering the torment written on their face and in their being
Those in holy uniforms of segregation and separation
Diversity in unity
See the people focussing on the elimination of those not like them
Those that are all one under God but defying the true teaching, so they say
Those that act not in the way of theirs
Those that follow another teacher, another way, to the same destination
The blasphemy interpreted by the judge of self defiant of true teachings
See the people that realise the essence of truth
See the people that abide with the truth in all things
See the people that live in grace as they realise that truth is universal
See the people that have not created a new awareness
See the people that have eliminated the falsehood of false interpretation
See those that are realised in robes of all colours and styles
See the people that put no value in the external
Universal – Accessed
It is amazing how focussing on the inward allows us to realise the external.
For this reason all traditions benefit from meditation in order to give the thoughts initiated by, and that nourish, the Ego Hound to subside.
Breathe in, Breathe out, being aware of each breath deprives the distractive thoughts to fade.
Practice Practice Practice
Even traditions that have mantras, prayers, and utterances provide the opportunity to focus on the meaning and intent of the words by way of meditation.
Next time you utter those lines taught since you were a child – think about what the meaning and intent.
And the “A’ha” will follow.
Whilst considering the motivation of those that attempt to force others to change spiritual practice through force I went through the following thought process:
a. To forcefully attempt the change the behaviour of others should be without anger, as anger would be ego and that is being possessed by self, however if without anger is this wrong?,
b. This would be like a mother using force or punishment to change the behaviour of a child that is doing something that is dangerous,
c. If we are taught that there is a certain way of doing something so that we have a positive effect and we see our child doing something different then we act because we have a sense of responsiblity to teach the child,
d. Likewise with religion and dogma, if we are taught there there is a right way of doing something, and have some faith in that method and that it has positive results then we feel confident in that method,
e. If we are also taught that our way is the only correct way and that those that have a different methods are causing a dilution of positivity and that we have a responsibility to the divine world to correct the deluded behaviour of others so that the world will cease to suffer then we feel a sense of duty to act – not dis-similar to the mother and child
f. If we also sense that we must stop others doing this thing so that they will stop hurting themselves or others then we might feel a sense of “right” to use any method available.
SO, my question and my dilemma. Obviously the people that are being stopped will have their own perception of right method and that they should be free to practice what they know to be true. SO, how do we bring these two conflicting views to a common sense of unity such that they can practice their own belief systems with mutual respect and understanding.
More meditation to come – “A’ha” moment not yet achieved.
We talk of God and Spirit, of our belief and their belief. Discussions that elevate the concepts to the “unknowable”, of the “holy”, the EXTRAordinary. As a result these discussions become elitist, remote and, sometimes, irrelevant to our daily life.
How would the same discussion go if we were discussing the air around us. It would be relevant, immediate, mundane, and essential. The air around us has mass, it is essential to life, we focus on it when we meditate, we die without it, and the same air we breathe is breathed by others, is all around us and is the medium by which we communicate, sense, and smell. Basically we take it for granted but we are always aware of it. To thrive and to fly in air we accept that which is best suited to the medium. We can try to breathe air that is not conducive to human life but that usually results in failure/death. We can try to fly in air by jumping from trees but that usually results in injury. We don’t fight the qualities of air, we learn and adapt.
Similarly God, Spirit, Universal Consciousness/Spirit is the medium in when we exist. It is as special as air or gravity and as mundane as temperature. To best survive in this medium we learn the qualities of the spirit, we acknowledge and recognise that this is the same medium for all beings, to describe it is to apply words to a concept. To argue over those same words does not change or invalidate the truth of the medium.
To know the qualities of the spirit is to understand the actions/behaviours that are best lifted and match the medium in which we exist. To fly within the medium of the spirit is to fully submit to the medium and that is which we call holy. Through constant practice of holy flight we can maximise the synergy of the gross and the spirit and reduce the times when we are unable to fly due to the weight of the ego.
To be aware of that which surrounds us as an essential requirement of life in no way different to the air that we breathe is the challenge for which the greatest reward awaits.
In a time gone by in a place set back from prying eyes there came a meeting of those that heard, taught and guided. To this meeting came Siddharta of the Sakyas, Jesus of Nazareth and Muhammad of Mecca. Food was served and water was consumed and conversation between those of similar mind came about.
In a common language of compassion and logic and love they recognised that each had taught based on the realisations of the others. Realisations that some acknowledged as messages from God, from those gone before, and ultimately from a common source that brings life and love to all living things.
Conversation followed about the means by which they taught their followers and how they incorporated skillful means to ensure that their lessons were relevant to those that heard them. This included the way that they ensured that the current practices were shown for what they were and a new way was communicated and how lessons were framed for those of different abilities and backgrounds and how those of different thoughts and faiths could not be forced to believe otherwise but should be treated with compassion.
In despair they spoke of the troubles of communicating that which is good and the means by which all living beings can know that which is true for this and future lifetimes. The battle of their teachings with the lusts of their students. The battle of Soul over Ego. That which will grow and last over that which will fool and fade. The battle between the new and the old. They each spoke of how they had to leave their communities and were branded radical. Siddharta left his life of plenty and followed the life of the aesetic, Jesus was branded a criminal and Muhammad was forced to leave his city.
In these radical changes and by giving living examples of how life can be changed by the adoption of these teachings their followers remained loyal. This loyalty even went to questions about matters not related to the key teachings about how they can live a life of subjugated ego and a liberated soul. In these discussions these three leaders did not always agree but they did acknowledge the relevance for their communities and the truth of the teachings.
As the day wore on, they acknowledged that the teachings were valid, living beings were worthy of a life of hope and in need of guidance and they ventured into the night to continue their teachings.