07 April 2012

FAITH

I have seen this so many times. It is a watershed in one's spiritual development, when one grows tired of the unending search in various spiritual biographies,  differing teachers and traditions. One feels fed up tasting a little Middle Eastern religion, New Age energy work, Zen koans, Tibetan Mudras  and mantras, healing affirmations and positive thinking, I-am meditations and meditation on the breath, reading about Ramana Maharshi, then Ramakrishna, then Nietzsche and Kant, transcendental meditation, noumena and phenomena. One feels so polluted by 1000 different judgments and concepts about spirituality, gurus, spiritual teachers, spiritual friends, etc., so that one feels utterly poisoned, and one dare not take another bite.

One sees that one has been following a dozen different teachers for five or 10 years, with no real progress. One has been treading the offshore shallows and not gone deep at all into anything, especially into oneself.

You see our path is about Self-Realization, even though that even the Self is eventually transcended.  The Self is the juice of the universe, the potentating agent that makes the universe appear. Objects change; the Self is always the same in one sense as the subject, the knower, even though there is an even higher Knower behind it.

Those whose awakenings have not included self-knowing, self-realization, in my mind lack the richness of love, devotion and surrender, which ultimately is power.  When the Self operates consciously through you, each action carries far more weight than actions by a body/mind who is not self-realized.

There are many paths where the Self is not a goal, and to me, they lack energy, charisma, and true happiness.  For example, most forms of Buddhism emphasize No-Self, which usually is interpreted to mean a personal self just letting “impersonal” activities pour through one’s life, while for the self-realized, all activities are accepted, owned and loved as one’s own.

Therefore spiritual efforts made along some other path than self-realization can only make self-realization more difficult.

So, at some point, somewhere along the line you recognize that your spirituality is really about self discovery, and you also realize this is entirely personal; no one can discover yourself for you; you have to do it yourself.

All the biographies of the great saints, both self-realized or not, as well as all the methods they teach, are their path, not yours.  You may find some sense of commonality reading their biographies, like that of Ramana, but you need to realize you are not Ramana, his way may not suit you at all.

Eventually you need to have faith in yourself, or faith in a guide. All the teachings, concepts about God, surrender, but especially about what the guru is and how are he or she functions, all this must go out the door.  You need to become simple, not complex, focused on the self, not distracted in a dozen different directions.

One must become utterly sick of wasting one's time digging shallow holes in other’s spiritual real estate. One screws up one’s courage and says to oneself, "I have had it. I'm sick of the spiritual marketplace. I know that what I seek is me, the "I am. How do I find that."

You ask yourself, “Does it matter how Ramana or Nisargadatta found themselves? Does it matter what method they recommend?” You say to yourself, I have tried dozens of methods and have read hundreds of books. I am more confused than before I started my search for spiritual knowledge and awakening. I have concepts bouncing around my mind and they all seem equally valid. What am I to do?"

It is this point of maturity that Krishnamurti talks about: The awakening of intelligence, spiritual discrimination. One really stops listening to others about their path of purification, their path of knowledge, their path of meditation, their methodology, their conclusions, their insights. You see for yourself that you have to reject all spiritual concepts and empty your mind. You have to become self-confident and bold, and you say to yourself, "I am through with all of these ideas, concepts, books, and random teachers. No more! I'm done with all of this. From now on I find out only from myself.”

At this point you  are still filled with concepts that you have to discard. Whenever an idea comes up, you need to ask yourself, "Why did I ever believe this? What evidence did I have other than someone said this as their truth in some book or lecture?"

This is like Buddha. For seven years Buddha wandered all over northern India following teachers, reading the Scriptures, practicing different disciplines, Raji yoga, hatha yoga, learning thousands of different spiritual insights learned from others. He became a teacher and had many disciples. Yet he was unhappy. He still was not satisfied. He still did not know which direction to go. He still did not know he was looking for himself.

So he began a long fast to weaken the body so that his mind and spirit could become stronger. He had this concept that if the body was weakened,  the mind and will would be stronger, and he could realize whatever is needed to be realized. He fasted so long and hard that he was very near death. All of his disciples worried about him and beseeched him to eat. Pretty soon he was starving to death. And at one point he realized that his fasting was helping nothing, that his weakened body had also weakened his mind and spirit, and that his life force was leaving his body. So he relented and ate some rice.

After he recovered briefly, he finally came to his senses. He admitted to himself that he had been an utter failure in following everybody else's precepts, methods, understanding, and Scriptures. He realized all this was borrowed knowledge, not his own truth. He realized that only he can discover himself. He couldn't follow someone else's prescription for finding truth.

So, with great determination he sat underneath the Bo tree and vowed  to himself, that if he did not discover the meaning of life, “Why am what I am,” while meditating under the tree, “I will kill myself.”

For three days and three nights he sat underneath the Bo tree meditating. Scriptures do not say what he meditated on. It really is not important. What is important is there was a maturity of intelligence that blossomed in him. He was no longer gullible following any teacher that came along hoping that he had an answer that would satisfy his hunger, or that  The next teacher would have an answer. He saw that that all the methods he had practiced, all the thinking and pondering, all the various meditation types, all the scriptures and hatha yoga postures, had resulted only in confusion and not clarity. He recognized the clarity can only come by stop looking around in the shallows of spiritual knowledge, and instead to go deep within himself relying only on himself. No more purification, only now, immediately, here and now, he had to look into his own soul and find his own truth without books, without guides, without method.

And just before dawn of the fourth day he had his great awakening. Fortunately or unfortunately, his experience is not described, leaving it to the reader to have his or her own experience.

You see, it is also not important what his realization was—for you.  It was his realization.  It was the realization that he needed to come to rest in himself, to find peace, just as Krishnamurti had his own realization, Nisargadatta his, Robert Adams his, and Osho, his.  All were different in a sense, because they were the realizations they needed to come to rest. 

In other words, they didn’t all recognize that the I-thought had no referent, nothing that the word ‘I’ pointed to which is the currently accepted criteria of awakening offered by the neo-Advaitins and some other New Age groups.
However, part of his realization was that any communication that passed between people based on words, was unreal, not truth. All the Scriptures only point vaguely in the direction of the self.  You have to dissolve yourself of any connection with anybody else, any teacher, Ramana, Nisargadatta, Robert, Muzika, and find your own truth.

You have to be ready to dive deep into yourself, no longer tread water in the shallows, but sink to the bottom, go away beneath the mind, shut the mind often go deep inside yourself. Reading does not help you here. Purification does not help you here. Most meditations do not help you here. Just look within at yourself.

YOU MUST HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF!

On the other hand, there is one other way, and that is to have faith in One Teaching, One Guru whose teachings focus on realizing the Self.  But this is a different story for a different post.  But after wandering aimlessly in various disciplines for over 20 years, I found my one and only teacher, Robert Adams, and awakened by surrendering to him, following him, being close to him,  have constant Darshan with him and his tradition.

20 comments:

  1. Faith, Hope and Charity ...

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  2. thank you Ed-ji! your post just came when needed most!

    Alex

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  3. yeah, this happened for me recently. even relating to you ed was impossible. ANY going outside of myself, of this, gave me a sick feeling. why leave This? i must admit that i do call this 'abiding in' God or Jesus, but it's Here and not out there. to me, without God, what you call Self, there is no love, no meaning, no soul. again, this is all personal. some might think God is still outside, but no, He's here. i stay in Him, here. and then my life is a joy, a blessing.

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  4. Thank you for this infusion of courage. This post describes exactly my actual condition: spiritual baggage accumulated over the last 10 years, poisoned by it and don't dare to have another bite. Perfect description!

    Also, I've come to realize that this search is an entirely personal affair and none can do it for me; so stop waiting for something to happen and look within myself.

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  5. Great Post Ed.

    You made some really keys points here, especially this, "Does it matter what method they recommend? Does it really matter how they found themselves?" WOW!!!!!!

    Who would think to question the 'elite' in spirituality? This is as blasphemous amongst those in spirituality as questioning the authenticity of the Bible is to most Christians. It's just not something that you do. This is all part of the trap, which is really a lack of faith in one’s self.

    Why are we so quick to believe that someone else must know what is better for us than what we intuit within ourselves?

    Out of the whole post, the two above statements struck like arrows within me. Nothing more was needed. They girded me with courage and confidence to continue on as I have been doing.

    Thanks for saying things that few would dare to say.

    Joan

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  6. This came at a very good time for me.

    I get tired of accumulating deeper and deeper knowledge; it's has been fun ('Goraknath'; what the heck is that?) but in the end it is not helping. So many teachings and schools and elaborations....

    so thank you.

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  7. Brilliant. It has took several months for me to find a way to proceed with some small insight I had last year in June. My gut feeling back then told me what to do. I ignored it and searched for confirmation from others. All the searching although educational wasted time I could of spent in more qualified practice. All through lack of confidence and looking to others experience to confirm a small insight of my own.
    Thank you Edji for your direct sweeping away of the unnecessary.

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  8. Joan asks why we would be so quick to need to rely on others as opposed to intuiting within ourselves what we REALLY need.

    Isn't it so evident that the long term conditioned reliance on our parents, teachers, religious leaders, etc. virtually GUARANTEES that very, very few of us will have an innate self trust and as such have to go through the spiritual "smorgasbord" till we hopefully see that ONLY this turning within provides the answers for us.

    Mark

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  9. Faith is the bird that sings while the dawn is still dark ...

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  10. Faith is not belief without proof, but TRUST without reservation.

    After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and said to (Doubting) Thomas ...

    "So, you believe because you've seen me with your own eyes. Even greater Blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing."

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  11. I hold on to faith that there is an intrinsic meaning to it all, otherwise it would be too difficult...
    It feels like trust without proof, I'm not so sure about the "without reservation" part. Seems I've got plenty of those.

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  12. "Now abideth faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is Love." 1 Corthinians 13:13

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  13. I was in the same page as others.Thanks for clarification.....

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  14. I havent been on this site or any other for years. No books, no searching. I just read the transcripts of Roberts satsangs and believed his core teaching. It is not real, i am not the body nor the doer. I dont know what I am but I am not any of the above. Massive weight lifted......I know nothing and I will never see or read anything which will explain to me what I am. I only know what I am not. So end of seeking. The truth will come, in this life or another. Does that sound hollow, empty? The gaps left by thoughts and beliefs has been filled with a knowingness.....but I dont know of what.

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  15. Further to my last comment. We cannot "seek to find" anything. We are already it. I am already it, so there is nothing to be done. I self enquire when there is no need to think. "I am". Both Ed and Robert before him have given us this very simple teaching. My true self is satchitananda.......Why? Because Robert told me that is what I am. Either you believe 1000000000% what your teacher says, or you believe nothing. So that is the end of the search. Finished. There is nothing more I need to understand. Everything else is grace.

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  16. Anonymous said "Both Ed and Robert before him have given us this very simple teaching. My true self is satchitananda.......Why? Because Robert told me that is what I am. Either you believe 1000000000% what your teacher says, or you believe nothing."

    In his essay above, Ed wrote:

    "All the Scriptures only point vaguely in the direction of the self. You have to dissolve yourself of any connection with anybody else, any teacher, Ramana, Nisargadatta, Robert, Muzika, and find your own truth."

    To my understanding, these two statements are diametrically opposite of each other. How do you reconcile those two statements, Anonymous?

    For me, the beauty of what Ed wrote is summed up in his phrase "YOU MUST HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF!" Believing something, especially just because someone you love and respect says it's so-- Ed, Robert or ANYONE--is not required and won't result in you experiencing satchitananda or any other coveted state.

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  17. Dear Anonymous,

    After posting my last comment, I realized I was only talking to myself. Why else would I have even engaged with your post? I was just trying to comb my own hair in the mirror! Your understanding and forgiveness is appreciated.

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  18. Hey Jeff, don't worry about it. It's all right, it's all wrong. Makes no difference, it's all just words n pointers. The confusion, the contradictions are all part of the teaching.....:)

    Ed is saying exactly what Robert said " Go and find out for yourselves"......stop emailing me about the meaning of every little experience and how it all fits together :) If I have sown enough doubt in you about who you think you are, then when you don't need to think, practice self enquiry, empty all the boxes of crap out of your house......see the last empty box left? go and sit in that, wait and see what happens :)

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  19. This post reminds me of something Nisargadatta said, "each has his own way to Reality, and there can be no general rule." Ahhhh! The wisdom of clear seeing.

    Truly, the journey 'within' must be as unique as the journey 'without'. For the journey 'within' is nothing more than a retracing, a back tracking through the journey 'without'.

    It is when we feel cramped into some 'particular' method, practice or teaching, or we play the field and get involved in too many 'different' methods, teachings, practices, etc., that we encounter much doubt and confusion.

    There is no one size fits all in Spirituality nor in any other area of life.

    Have faith in yourself. Like Ed says often, "Don't stop to check your mind or your experiences against others...just keep straight ahead."


    Namaste

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