Steven, you often tell that spirituality is about a whole lot more than ‘just’ self realisation and finding inner piece, but you never tell so much about the rest. Why is that?
The real backgrounds of our existence, so the complete information about our spiritual situation, which includes the source and functioning of our thought patters, that is all deeply hidden in the subconscious of each of us. In principle it is possible to get that information to the surface, make it conscious, but it is buried under a huge layer of emotional and metal resistance. Things like “if that is true than my whole life was one big mistake” and more hefty implications alike.
This means one can only allow this information – or should I say ‘subconscious memories’? – in small bits and pieces, and one should stimulate such remembrance only with people who know their own real nature and have the skill to handle the associated resistance and fear prudently and from total honesty.
If this works out well, then the remembrances generally surface as an inner recognition and inner knowing of these things, as the feeling you certainly must take it seriously. This feeling must be strong, for only then you will have the choice to go with it instead of with your inner resistance and denial that will be fuelled by everyone around you. If you still choose to take it seriously, then you will see the bits and pieces of information fit nicely together and together they paint a coherent picture.
This picture will be of enorous help in dealing with all sorts of things that show themselves in your life, now or later.
The time you can keep living your life in your own spiritual inner peace is over. For everyone. In your inner as well as your outer world there is now a revolution going on that is more drastic than any change in human history ever.
But again, before someone can be reached with the answer on the question “what revolution?” a whole lot must have happened first. It’s just no use trying to tell this to someone who isn’t really open. Neither when someone isn’t yet in contact with his own inner recognition or able to respond to it.
Live your love
Have you ever been madly in love? And experienced that you were totally filled with love, overflowing with it, so much so that everywhere you went you flooded the whole place and everyone in it with your vast love presence? And that you couldn’t care less if people noticed and responded to it or not? If they didn’t you just loved them even more, if any. Do you know the experience of having that much love?
Now, that abundance of love is your natural state. That is what all great teachers demonstrated and spoke about. They didn’t only speak about, they demonstrated it every move they made, with every word they spoke. They didn’t need to explain because their actions – their intentions – spoke for themselves. Your heart recognizes this, and when it does, it jumps up shouting “Yeah! I want that too!”
Being such an endless ocean of love is noting less than your birthright.
However, this isn’t given for free. You have to work for it. You will have to burn all delusion and self-centeredness in your love of truth. It requires giving each and every moment the total honesty about your resistance to life as it. Each moment. Over and over and over again. And then again. Until all resistance and all its roots are burned in your dedication to love. So, your suffering, your resistance against life, is your greatest gift. It is your invitation to ever bigger love.
Denying there is such resistance, observing your present experience only superficially and declaring “this is it” and “there no such thing as a ‘me’ anyway”, will not get you there. That is nothing more than abusing spiritual insight for denying the truth about your present experience. If your experience isn’t boundless love yet, then there is still investment in resistance against life. Your whole subconscious may be a big dirty pool of nothing but such resistance. So this may take some time.
Allow it to show itself, and work with it.
Do not make love into some philosophical idea, like some deep recognition of being it already, and do not either mistake getting excited about the idea of love for the love itself. Rather, apply the love you have here and now by not denying the present resistance, your engrained habit of trying to control. Acknowledge it. Find the willingness to totally feel it. Be with it.
Live the love that you are.
Mind that even cultivating a feeling of love can be a way to exert control, for it can be a way to stay away from less pleasant details about your present experience. And mind that knowing you are not some I-dentity but the Boundless Infinite can be used for that same reason too. Both just keep you from growing into such vast love.
Don’t do that.
Be honest with yourself.
And keep doing that until you live as this ocean of love.
There is resistance now. (Big or small, subtle or blatant – doesn’t matter.)
And also there is now the Eternal Ineffable Infinite which is the essential you.
So, be a courteous host and introduce them to each other!
Over and over and over again.
And then again.
Steven on ethics – the subtle voice of the heart.
Some time ago I found out that Barry Long had been a great source of inspiration for Eckhard Tolle, and I really liked that, not just because I am quite a fan of both, but especially because Long defined the essence of spiritual practise, so integrating spiritual insight, like this: “The primary spiritual practice is self-denial, giving and honesty practiced over a long period out of an inner perception of rightness and goodness.”
Generally this means letting go of all selfishness, but not always. There may be moments too that genuine love of truth is shown by standing up for one’s own dignity. However, then one’s own interests aren’t pursued out of one personal interests but out of love of truth. Disregarding one’s personal desires, preferences and opinions is the key.
But of course! You can’t keep living your life for all your investments in you “I”-dea, thus implicitly confirming this very I-llusion as real, and then still expect this I-dea to dissolve. Then you will never get any further than self deception and pulling out all the intricate mental stops. No, instead we will have to let this identification starve by refusing to live for our self centred desires and instead decide to live for something entirely different, and not just every now and then for a short time only, but dedicating our whole life to it. Only then we will make space in which our true being can start moulding our life. Each and every situation is much larger and more complex that your personal interest only. So truly and actually living from being identified with all interests in the whole situation is the only way the ego can truly expand, and therefore the only way truth can flow out into the world through our human actions.
There have been teachers, also in the adwaita tradition, who were known for their focus on the many things they liked – often money, sex and influence. I am not going to have an opinion about this, because that will be not helpful. However, I do want to state clearly this means they missed opportunities to use their spiritual insight for letting dissolve their investments in personal desire –call it karma, if you like –, and therefore setting a few steps in the direction of liberation. Also they gave the implicit message it is all just fine to do so. At least, I never heard of any such teacher explaining he demonstrated how to accrue more spiritual bondage, instead of letting it diminish. Still, radical love of truth would have required them to do so this if they knew what they were doing. Probably they didn’t. Maybe this was because they only identified with their untouchable True Nature, which made them believe they had realized total liberation already and therefore it all didn’t matter. This, however, is a very big mistake, and it is exactly what I want to talk about: the difference between possessing the key and believing this is sufficient, or actually using it in the right way.
From the recognition of ourselves as Emptiness a much needed tranquillity and okayness arises. This makes an inner space in which we can start recognising and hearing the more subtle voice of the heart. But, hmm, I have written, erased and rewritten that last sentence four times over, because “heart” is just another word that everyone interprets in his own way. Mind, the voice of the heart is not something everyone knows. It is just like with our true nature: on one hand it is impossible to be totally ignorant of it, but on the other countless people manage to overlook it during all their life and take something else for it. Opinions and ideas, emotions and desires, they all are all too often regarded as the heart, or mixed with it, and that is just as big a mistake as regarding the ego as your true self.
However, there definitely is a deep and sensitive spot in the heart where is recognised what in any given situation is both true and relevant, so what is the right thing to do. One has to learn recognising this subtle voice, discerning it from ones thinking and emotions that are bound to this permanently running system which is continuously scanning the moment and bringing up strategies, all based on the question: “What is in it for me? What can I get?” The heart isn’t interested in that question. It recognises that is truly important in the whole of any situation, and for whom or what, and what is the best way to make it happen.
Learning to see and feel this, and being honest with it in the very living moment, letting your actions being rooted in only this, each and every moment anew, that is the big secret of using the key of self realization rightly.
In each of us there is a subtle voice that urges us to act in a way that supports the liberation of ourselves and others. That voice is right here and right now already part of your very experience. Are you ignoring it, or not? Are you truly open to experience this whole moment fully and let it all-in, and so do you recognise this voice? Do you hear what it is telling you? And are you responding?
Or are you just looking superficially and telling yourself fashionably “Okay, so this is IT!”
Ethics is very simple. Every thinking being in the universe knows the difference between right and wrong. It is simply a matter of not letting yourself be distracted by your own self centred thoughts and emotions. Not even adwaita-insights.
“Who am I?”
“Who am I?”is the question used as the fundamental tool in non-duality. However, we must understand very well we should not answer the question, but rather learn to use it very differently.
Once you answer a question, it dies. But we can only work with a living question.
Answers seem to provide power, en especially when they also may claim things like “Enlightenment” they appear very powerful. However, in the end answers only give us limitations, the limitations of the convictions that we harbour. So, rather use the question to focus onyou True Being and being present as such, which causes a letting go of convictions and intention. So don’t use it to feed the illusionary sense of control of “I am someone who knows how things are”.