I have written a few posts before this one about great wisdom teachers who have taught about letting go of attachments. Money, power, prestige, fame, fortune, family, sex, bank balances, property, so on and so forth. All these attachments take place in the mind, which is the seat of the Ego. The Ego holds the strings to everything.
We never listen to the wisdom teachers and that is simply because we lack the same level of ‘wisdom’ which they had. Why do we lack the same level of wisdom? No, its not because our brains are different from the brains they had. Its because we see and we find more value in the world we can see than in the world the wisdom teachers are trying to show us. We do not see and, hence, obviously cannot find value in the unseen, un-manifest world that the great teachers have, over the centuries, tried to show us.
But what happens to those who give these teachers and their teachings a chance? What would happen to you if you gave them a chance? From my experience, the moment you find a grain of truth in these teachings, you, not the physical you but your Ego / your ‘I’, will start dying. The seed of a great inner revolution (Jesus called it a mustard seed which is the smallest seed and brings forth a huge tree) will start sprouting inside. You will start becoming useless in this world, the material / physical world. Something will happen in the back of your mind, what some call the un-conscious mind, that will take possession of you and will become the BIG FISH (see my post titled THE BIG FISH) in your life. It will become your top priority. Your life will start taking a turn, a U-turn. You will start focusing on things that others find totally useless, things of no value. No one will be interested in listening to you, well, almost no one. There is a Zen saying, ‘be the rice cleaner’, which is another form of saying, ‘it is OK to be ordinary’. You will realize the truth of these words. You will, for the first time, see your ordinariness and also your pretence of being extra-ordinary. You will never be the same again. It will become very difficult, perhaps impossible, to see yourself as someone important.
If this happens, then know that you have made the U-turn. That U-turn is what this blog is about. It is the journey back home.
The material world and the so-called ‘spiritual’ world are the ends of the same pole, two sides of the same coin, two aspects of the same reality. Neither one is ‘true’ and both are ‘true’ and actual truth might lie beyond both, in the no-man’s land between the two. Actual truth might be something which appears or happens when you give up both worlds, both polarities, when you learn to balance the pole. Jiddu Krishnamurti said in his book, ‘The Flight Of The Eagle’, that the eagle flies so high because it knows how to create the perfect balance between the two wings.
I realised a few days back how much I use the word, ‘spiritual’, when someone asks me something about my blog or the books I propose to write or my interests in life. What is ‘spiritual’?
Lets look at the etymology. The word spiritual is derived from spirit (meaning the animating principle in animals, including man) and Old French espirit, both of which are derived from Latin spiritus meaning, soul or breath or courage or vigor. The Christian concept of The Holy Spirit might also have contributed to derivation of word ‘spiritual’ from the word ‘spirit’. In any case, reference is to something holy, eternal, divine, something which animates us, something which brings man to life, something which creates us. Reference is to ‘God’, as some call it.
I also realised how frequently in my conversations with people I actually say, ‘I am more spiritual than religious’. I realised how I am using these labels of spiritual, religious, eternal, divine, etc. I realised how much I had gotten stuck in the trap of spirituality and in the teachings of the great teachers. For the first time, very clearly, I saw that the great teachers had probably never meant people to take everything they were saying for granted. They were probably just saying things to wake us up from our slumber and to make us start observing on our own and to come to our own conclusions, our own understanding and our own connection to the whole.
I realised that it is time to break free from other people’s truth, balance my wings, move beyond the polarities in my life and try to rise above the things that keep me tied down to labels and attachments.
I, therefore, decided as follows:
- I reject all labels, including among others, ‘spiritual’, ‘God’, ‘eternal’, ‘divine’ and any others that I have used in the past to talk about that which we cannot talk about.
- I am not going to take for granted the words of the gurus, including my favourites, i.e., Jesus, Osho, Krishnamurti, Deepak Chopra, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Lord Krishna and all others. I am going to accept these only as pointers pointing in the direction of things that they saw. I am going to read their words less and less and I will try to see the truth / the reality in my own life. They have done their part. They have prepared me for the journey that I will need to embark upon all alone, without them. That is the only way to learn truly, to learn first hand.
- I am not going to be ‘spiritual’ or ‘religious’ or a ‘mystic’ or an ‘athiest’ or an ‘egnostic’. I am just going to be an observer, a passionate observer. That’s all.
I feel lighter and I feel a clarity inside that I have not felt before.
One of my earlier posts is titled, ‘Kill The Buddha’, which was about Zen master Linji’s famous advice to disciples: if you meet Buddha on the road, kill him immediately.
I think I understand it slightly better now. In addition to what we discussed in that earlier post, I think it means, beware of the label and the pretence of spirituality. Stop searching for God. Stop searching for truth, for the eternal, for the divine. Stop all searching. If there is any truth, if there is any reality, it begins and ends with you. Just observe yourself.
No need to go anywhere. Everything is right here, within you. You are a slice of all that there is. The only church is within you. The only scripture is within you. The only god is within you.
Master Linji was probably saying, if you have come looking for Buddha in an attempt to become a so-called buddhist, then you are still in the world of labels, desires and attachments. Maybe you have left behind the world of material wealth, attainment and attachments. But now you have taken up the world of spiritual wealth, attainment and attachments. It will do you no good whatsoever. This Buddha of yours will do you no good. Your buddhism and your spirituality will be another label, another farce, another fake aspect of your life. Avoid it.
Free yourself from all concepts, ideas and words related to ‘God’, all the words of truth coming from gurus and all the ideas of spirituality that you have gathered from here, there and everywhere. Free yourself from all this. Free yourself from the spiritual struggle. And maybe this freedom will create the space and the energy needed for looking at yourself honestly and fully. And maybe in this self-observation a door will open very slightly and will let in a ray of light that will illuminate the place you’re at.