I’ve been a pray-er for as long as I can remember. As soon as I became aware that there was a power in charge and there was a possibility of a direct line to that power, I was all in.
Who I pray to and how I pray has taken different forms throughout the years depending on the spiritual practice I was involved in at the time. I’ve gone from simple praying to a personal God figure for help to a more cerebral kind of praying to a scientific quantum level of connectedness.
Praying to myself seemed strange so I used the mantra “Om Namah Shivaya” during meditation which means I honor the divinity within myself. However, that also plays to the illusion of calling forth something for guidance and help that is hiding out someplace waiting for permission to show up. Now that I’m drawn to nonduality…who am I praying to?
Even tho prayer is not a major part of my life like it once was, I still like the connectedness and need to stop analyzing it and just enjoy the silent conversation….with whatever it is….
I never understood the Christian idea of original sin and the concept that we are all sinners until I heard a theology professor interpret sin as simply a pulling away from God. Through our human conditioning, we perceive ourselves as separate individuals and lose touch with our connection to Oneness which causes suffering.
To use the much over-used metaphor of the wave and the ocean, we could say that when we are only aware of being the wave, that could be interpreted as living in sin. When we are aware that we are the entire ocean perceiving ourselves as the wave, we are saved.
For the last few weeks I have not been able to do some of my regular spiritual practices or reading and find that I feel more like an isolated wave than the ocean. Things don’t seem quite right. I’m aware that my thinking is different, my body feels more tense, my mind works overtime and my peace is fading.
Does it take constant vigilance and effort to ride the wave and enjoy the ride? At some point shouldn’t the ride become effortless?
The definition of sin is a transgression or violation of divine law. The story goes that we are all born with original sin, there is no escape unless we receive the holy spirit (or whatever the tide-turning event may be).
As a seeker I guess I have been looking for the holy spirit in one form or another….calling it many names. Maybe the answer is just to accept that the nature of a wave is to appear to be separate from the ocean on the surface….underneath there is no difference.
Sometimes I feel like such a hypocrite. I see myself as a spiritual person, a seeker possessing some clarity and think I have life in perspective. All this is easy and flowing when my life is easy and flowing. It’s when life brings me difficult situations that I pull out all of the tricks in my “awareness/enlightenment bag”.
I’m in a difficult situation now caring for a parent and all thoughts unpleasant are arising from the past. I want to be the spiritual me and see the situation as growth, a challenge, opportunity, practice, learning compassion, staying with the here and now, integrating the past, acceptance, what is. All the words and concepts help when I’m away from the situation but when I am immersed in it….they are not to be found. Emotions are set in the default mode and don’t respond to reason.
During these times I want to whip out my bag of tricks to help get to a place of peace and clarity. I need to meditate, I need to do more yoga, I need to drink alkaline water, I need to eat more organic foods, I need to stay in the here and now, the past does not define me….anything to help.
Maybe the conditionings of the past will never leave…maybe this is who I really am…and the spiritual me is the illusion. These are the thoughts that scare me the most.
Why do bad things happen to good people is a question that generates a variety of concepts each constructing a solution to the fairness of life dilemma and how judgments of good and bad are to be made. When circumstances are examined closely there seems to be no direct evidence that there is a method of fairness existing here. It certainly isn’t very comforting to maintain that stuff just happens, that there is no system of justice operating and we are all just here until we’re not.
Strange as it seems, this question arises for me when I look at a windshield splattered with remnants of what used to be a bug. The bug was just flying along enjoying the day, not a care in the world and then in the blink of an eye it’s just bug juice on a windshield. We think nothing of it, it just happened and that’s a bug’s life…. no plan, no justice, just happening, nothing personal about the bug’s life.
Of course, it appears that a human life is much more personal than a bug’s life because we’re so entwined with complex characteristics, memories and relationships. I like the idea that my life is personal and important with purpose and would like to hold on to that idea. However, nothing really makes sense to me except that the bug’s life is no less or no more important to the Absolute than my life….it’s really nothing personal….
This morning I read an article posted by Science and Nonduality, “Stop Trying to Solve Problems” by David Rock who has been researching what happens during the “moment ” of insight. Neuroscientists have found that complex problems are usually solved during the brain’s “downtime” not during vigorous activity. My own experience confirms that when I stop thinking about a problem for even a few minutes, consciousness continues to sort out data without my interference and suddenly the solution comes to light.
A constant thread in nonduality literature is that the mind is not the tool for perceiving the Absolute reality.
I agree that searching for Truth with the mind can be fun, interesting and exciting because of never ending concepts to explore. But maybe the Absolute reality is not to be explored anywhere but is always here waiting for the mind’s “downtime” in order to be discovered. If the answer is always here…where am I?
I recently went through some old spiritual books and found a small dog-eared booklet of daily meditations by Roy Eugene Davis, a disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda. Today I have a different understanding of the words than I did twenty years ago. Something has changed and I understand it differently.
Here’s an excerpt of one of the daily meditations:
“It is a mistake to believe in two powers, a good force and an evil force. There is only one Power in the universe but, because of its expression as differing frequencies, man often tends to believe in a power in opposition to God……Seen from the overview, the one Power is doing what It has always intended to do……” ~Roy Eugene Davis
Over the last twenty years I held the belief that I existed as a separate part of that one Power and read the above with an understanding similar to a child/parent relationship, being part of something but still separate. That seemed perfectly logical and comforting to me until this summer.
I had been reading modern nonduality authors and then stumbled upon Liberation Unleashed, a site where guides lead willing people to realize there is no personal “me” or “I”. They are relentless in their mission to dissolve the concept of a separate self. I haven’t joined this group but reading the journey of others created a shift in perception that cannot be undone now.
For me it has helped to change the language that I used in the past. I notice that whenever God is used as in the excerpt above, I fall back into the perception of me being a fragment of something bigger. When I use the word One or Absolute, I don’t hold on to that separation concept.
I thought I was comfortable as a separate self seeking to unite with a vast one Power….Now there is no Power to look “up” to or “find”….I am that Power.
I guess I’ll never read my old favorite spiritual books in the same way again. Nonduality…where are you taking “me”?
I don’t know that it’s possible for a lifelong seeker to retire from seeking. I continue to read something inspiring (to me) almost daily. It’s almost like an addiction. At least I have narrowed down the Search nowadays. I’ve narrowed it down to nonduality writers, who are the ones who talk about ending the seeking but then write the books so you can continue the Search.
So I have come to realize that the Search may not continue in the same way for me. I no longer have a conceptualized path that I am continually trying to work my way “up” by accumulating knowledge from every sage (ancient and current) who claim to know the way. Instead, the Search has taken a different form.
There may be no path, no particular sage and no hidden knowledge to search for and that is the end of the traditional Search that is referred to in the nondual writings. However, another Search has started now (if it can be called a Search) and that is the understanding of direct experience. That would be to stop seeking through second-hand experiences and begin to look for my own direct experience. At this point, though, my direct experience doesn’t seem at all as interesting or as magical as the people who write about their awakening experiences.