Yesterday I received an email from a fellow spiritual teacher and close friend who advised me to just teach my bliss without attacking Advaita. This sort of surprised me because I was unaware that I was perceived as attacking Advaita or any other religion. So I reread the article I sent him and saw what he saw, which was not what I meant.
My fundamental point was that there was no truth in words or concepts when they are believed in to give information about our worlds or our lives. The great Zen master Hui Neng said there was no truth at all, and even this truth about no-truth should be regarded with skepticism.
For example, the story of Christianity is about a supernatural all powerful being who so loved humans he sent his only son to earth via a divine birth to be sacrificed by power hungry clerics, and by so doing, he paid for the sins of all mankind, allowing anyone to go to heaven if they believed the story and accepted his path of love and charity.
Buddhism is a psychological story that begins with the premise that life is suffering, and there is a way out of that suffering by ending all desires through a practice known as the Eightfold Noble Path so that ultimately we reach Nirvana, a place of ultimate peace and happiness. Buddhists also speak about the equivalency of forms and emptiness or the Void.
Now, I don’t think either story is very compelling or reality based in any way, more or less the salvation stories of two millennia ago. I ask, what is the point of telling or receiving these two stories or any like them, like Advaita? Here we enter into a new way of looking at spiritual stories, and that is how do they make us feel?
Buddhism obviously appeals to those who feel the pains experienced in life far outweigh the happiness and pleasure in life, and feel they are following a credible path to end their fear, anxiety, depression, even physical pain by becoming indifferent to it.
The Christian story is an epic one of epic wars between angels and demons, God and devil, wherein a supreme and totally invisible being created a son within the uterus of a married virgin, who was destined to speak about his divine father’s nature, a path of love and a path of surrender to that supernatural being and his dead, yet alive still, son that ended with an entry into eternal happiness.
Setting aside the credibility of the story, the feeling state conveyed is one of safety from evil if you believe the story and follow the rules provided by the son and the Church.
What I was saying to my old friend was there are all these spiritual paths and spiritual stories out there, all of which proclaim for themselves truth, that they are stating facts about existence of the world, or the nature of the divine, or of our inner states of being.
My advice is just not to regard these stories as true, and instead, look at how they make you feel, which is the real intent of Buddha and Christ. They may actually have believed their own story, but they knew that the story itself could have an immediate healing impact, and their story could heal or calm anxieties within the lives of their listeners and promised even more relief, well-being, or immortality in the future.
So these religious/spiritual stories should not be regarded as truth. From my viewpoint, Christianity, Buddhism, Advaita, Shaivism are all great stories that provide a framework for behaviors, practices, feelings, but only if you believe the story. These are mega stories, or world class stories that involve millions or even billions of believers, but they are only concepts, stories, and as such are only representations of parts of the broad spectrum of human experience.
On an individual level, we have our own life stories of memories and partial acceptance of bits and pieces of the above megastories, along with partial acceptance of dozens of other mega stories such as Communism, Republicanism, democracy, cosmology, biology, and stories of political movements, the deep state, celebrities stories, etc. We live in stories mostly, in our heads, and not in our own beingness.
You see, if we lived in our own beingness rather than in a world of concepts, we would have different experiences, such as the feeling of being a Self, a sense of being alive and vital; a story of being an alive spirit living within and around our physical bodies. Going within even more deeply, we might be lucky enough to find emptiness, or the Great Void which permeates all the world as well as our own existence. And out of this emptiness, one may be lucky enough to find an overwhelming love emerge by finding in another human being their spiritual and energetic essence, and be so captivated by their essence, that you fall to the ground in total worship of that life force in them that is loving you back. Further, you may find that in complete devotional love comes a surrender so deep, so compelling that you feel overwhelmed by a sense of feeling God’s most sacred love and grace entering you, wiping you clean of all past failures or sins.
Then eventually you might find that great love is actually your present experience of your own beingness and you experience becoming love itself. And eventually, you might find as some say that God becomes so pleased with your devotion and surrender he (or she) decides to reveal his true power and form to you in a most explosive and ecstatic experience.
This is the outline of my own story that I offer up for others as a possible story to consider. It is not solipsistic involving one’s own self alone as in classical Buddhism or Advaita, but it is relational, and not in the sense of having a relation with God or his son, but of finding God through love for another human being or any other sentient being on this earth. It is a story of human relational love growing so deep and profound that it provides a way to experience God within one’s own self and in the other.
Now, I live this story. This is my story and the story of many others, and I humbly offer it up as another vehicle to take you to ecstatic states of bliss, deep devoted love, surrender, and ecstatic God-realization through relational human love. Love that through its depth and completeness becomes elevated to the status of divine, ecstatic love.
Not only do I teach this in words, but I sing about the ecstasies that can be felt, and I can directly pass a whiff of those energetic states to others during Satsang face to face. This is direct transmission of both the I Am sense, and the God-sense to each other through love, energy, and story.
is this story true? You need to be the judge of its truth for yourself. This story comes out of my own experiences, how I experienced them, and the meanings I attributed to them.
A better question to ask is how does this story make you feel, that out of a very deep love for another human, a love that continually deepens, and becomes more and more ecstatic, and turns into complete surrender of your human self to another, and from which an until now God within feels pleased and reveals his own and your own divine nature to you as the life force, both the embodied life force, and the life force as a universal principle?
This is the story I love to well because I lived it, it made me constantly happy and nearly constantly ecstatic, and revealed the divine to me, as both Other, and external God of the universal life force, and as the life force in me that interacts with the life force in others.