Spiritual Seeking

Youll-be-thatDuring the last one hundred years there has arisen a longing to understand the nature of reality, genuine humanity, and the true nature of the Divine, often referred to as God.  Spiritual seekers have arisen across cultural, ethnic, and educational backgrounds searching for an answer to the “Great Matter of Life and Death.”

For thousands of years humans had mostly been content accepting definitions and understandings of the Great Matter through organized religions.  A spiritual seeker investigated Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, or maybe Shinto religious texts and teachings discovering which faith group seemed to resonate within their soul and became a member of one of the various sects associated with that belief system.

But, as people lost confidence in organized religion there arose a movement toward a new understanding of who we are, why we are here, and where we are going.  There developed a demand for innovative and even firsthand experiences of the Divine.  The most important questions a spiritual seeker asks has to do with our relationship with the Divine Spirit within.  We ask and answer many, many times, discovering greater depths with each exploration.

Who am I and what is my purpose for being?

What does it mean to be awake?

What legacy will I leave?

Am I connected to Mother Nature and all life?

What and who inspires me?

How can I serve life and spirit?

How might I find peace and live it?

Who benefits from my life?

How can I cultivate compassion, generosity, and a loving heart?

27C6BC6800000578-3046897-The_number_of_schoolgirls_at_risk_of_emotional_problems_has_rise-a-4_1429525696475Unfortunately, with modernistic thinking, spirituality has gotten mixed up with emotional needs, and self-fulfillment.  So, people decide to judge a sangha or spiritual circle on the basis of how good one feels belonging to the group.  So the questions tend to take this form:

Are these people welcoming and non-judgmental?

Are my opinions valued and implemented?

Am I feeling happy and uplifted?

Am I loved unconditionally?

Am I being healed from my childhood traumas?

Can I trust these people in an intimate relationship?

Do I feel respected?

All of these are excellent questions, and yet…is getting our personal needs met the responsibility of a spiritual teacher or a sangha?  The members of a spiritual learning circle are unlikely to be perfectly loving, kind, welcoming, and totally focused on us and our needs at all times.

When we say we don’t want to be judged- does that mean we can’t accept correction, suggestions, or teachings that don’t make us feel good?

When we say we want our opinions to be heard and implemented- does it mean we expect others to do what we want regardless of whether we know what we’re talking about or if our judgment is helpful or in line with the vision held by that group?

Isn’t it a personal responsibility to learn how to be happy and uplifted regardless of how others treat us or what is said in a dharma talk?

If we are loved unconditionally- does that translate to “don’t tell me how my behavior affects you, because it will make me feel bad about myself?”

Trust happens when we share a vision, a dream, a work, a life.  Trust isn’t something people have to earn from us, it’s a gift of accepting diversity of thought and focusing beyond our childlike emotional neediness.  And respect comes from self-acceptance. It’s not a permission given by someone outside of ourselves.

dark-light-wallpaper-005When we find a true teacher or spiritual circle we will discover that the things we thought should be provided for us are the very energies we need to make available for self and others.  Opening the door to our Divine Nature will shatter our delusions of desire, need, and self-indulgence.  We will stand before the mirror of Truth and begin to understand that we are born to contribute.  We will discover that we have been given a precious human life to imagine and create a world without war, hunger, and greed.  Ego-naked before Divine Source we are challenged to be greater than we ever thought possible, to forget the little self, and become a burning light in the darkness of hell.

The Mud at the Bottom of the Pond

Enlightenment is knowledge previously undiscovered but now exists as new consciousness. It’s a new understanding of the world.  Let’s take medical knowledge for example.  It’s now possible for people who have joint pain to have their joints replaced.  What has been the result of this enlightenment?  Freedom from pain; longer life; ability to have quality of life.  In other words it helps people to flourish.

Enlightenment, therefore, helps us to flourish as spirit beings.  Enlightenment allows us to be pain free and assist others to be pain free.  

When enlightenment occurs, even in a mundane way, it’s not universally accepted and there are challenges to the manifestation and acceptance of the new knowledge.  In order to live our lives as the Avatars of Divine Spirit we are being challenged to modify thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in order to bring them into alignment with Divine Spirit rather than following our own ideas of how things should work.  To discover this Divine Spirit alignment is as simple as asking these questions- how is this kind to myself and others?  What does this decision have to do with creating more peace or love in the world?  Who will be helped?  Who will be left out?

The enlightenment process requires extreme vigilance of our mental and emotional states of being as well as our true motivations for taking action.  It’s important to be accountable for the decisions we make.  We are trained to believe that what we think is real, that what we feel is real, and what our body tells us is absolute. However, thoughts are an illusion of organic mind, emotions come and go for no apparent reason, and our body reacts to situations that are not factual.  Think of the last time you had a body reaction to a stick thinking it was a snake.

mud-mud-glorious-mud-11As in all times when we begin to embark upon a new enlightened state of consciousness, a time of initiation into that enlightenment, we are most likely going to experience a stirring up of the mud at the bottom of our pond.  The mud at the bottom of the pond colors the way we perceive the world.  During a time of expanded consciousness, it’s important to pause, to consider results, to consult with wise individuals, and to understand motivations BEFORE reacting from what we are feeling.  This is because once we have new insight we must integrate those understandings into our life.  Having a moment of enlightenment doesn’t mean it will last.  Having a moment of enlightenment that leads us to make, and manifest, transformational, permanent changes in our life anchors that knowledge into reality.

ANY strong emotion is a problem.  Love, joy, delight, anger, fear, pain, and grief- any strong emotion is a problem.  Love can be a problem.  When we are overpowered with “true love” we make impulsive decisions.  The emotion of “true love” “romantic love” wears off and what we have left will determine if the two people can continue in relationship or not.   Long term relationships can only be based on the fact that we actually like the other person and that person actually likes us also.

Consider- Emotion simply exists and it is totally up to us what we will make of it.

When there is a lot of mud stirred up at the bottom of the pond there is a real need to not make decisions from anger, pain, grief, disillusionment, resentment, and victimization.  These are the emotions arising when the mud of unconscious emotions are stirred up at the bottom of the pond.  When this happens we usually respond from one of two ways- Depression because we think we are at fault, or Anger and Blame because we believe whatever has happened is someone else’s fault.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaalpaaaajgy1nzgxm2y1lty5mgytndnjms1izgq3lwyyztlmmtu4yzywygTO BE ENLIGHTENED WE MUST DISCOVER THE MUD IN US!

It’s helpful to try and use muddy times to focus on Evolution rather than going to Hell and taking others with you.  Try to imagine what it means to be Sacred.  Imagine that you can accept yourself.  Imagine that you are able to truly live from your heart so you can act from your ancient wisdom.  When you live from your heart you are listening with the ears of Divine Spirit. You are listening for love, joy, and peace!  You are not listening for insults, judgments, and anger.  You are not afraid of dark entities or evil times.

If we are reacting to life rather than actually choosing life, we are not free.  There is a lot of talk about free will and being free to do what we want to do rather than what some authority tells us to do.  But we are programmed into following the path of least resistance- meaning we do the same things we have always done, think the thoughts we have always thought, tell the stories we have always told, and react the way we always react- this means we no longer understand the meaning of Free Will. 

The Path of Spirit is not there- EVER- to make your life work.  It is there so we have somewhere to stand when our life does not work.  It is the foundation on which we can depend because the Dharma will tell us what to do to restore ourselves to peace, compassion, kindness, and love.

Any Path that tells us that we can have what we want if we follow the proper forms, say the approved prayers, and believe in the correct god, is lying.  Life is not Safe.  There are no guarantees.  We cannot buy enough insurance or say enough prayers to make life safe.

Ash-E-Tah- I accept what is happening.  I don’t like what is happening.  And none of my emotions about this event matter because I will choose to do what is right according to the Dharma of my Spiritual Path even if that does not make me happy right this moment.

Healing restores us to wholeness.  It does not make us perfect.

To learn to Accept the self means accepting all of the self, including our ancient darkness.  We recognize our muddy pond and decide to grow a lotus.  Acceptance means to stop placing blame on others- our mother, father, teachers, friends, spouse, neighbors, or anyone else.  Blaming others will not help us have a better life- changing ourselves and the way we interpret life will help us have a better life.

ENLIGHTENMENT- See it.  Recognize what it is.  Accept what it is. Change it if necessary.  Then you can expand, grow, and be who it is possible for you to be.  Remember it only matters what you DO with what you FEEL.

enlightenment-vs-wisdomThe Path of Enlightenment is for those who are strong enough to follow the Path of Self Questioning.  Yes- question authority.  Your authority-for you are the greatest authority in your life…you always believe you know what everything means.  Do you every question your own authority or do you assume you should not be questioned because you know the truth?  Imagine asking yourself hard questions about what is truly right and not just what feels right in the moment.  Are you choosing from Divine Spirit’s Way of love, joy, and peace?  Or are you choosing from your will, your way, and your story about the way thing should be?