05 April 2019

There is nothing at all normal about adopting a deep spiritual practice.

It is not normal nor easy to change the direction of one’s attention away from the world and those around you, inwards towards feeling for the I-sensation, focusing attention on any of the chakras, doing visualizations, or even doing nothing as a meditation. These are not instinctive actions of a normally adjusted person in our society.

It is also not normal to fall so deeply in love with another person, a lover, a guru, even a celebrity, or with some nonhuman entity or historical figure such as Jesus, that your whole life and every bit of your attention revolves around the other. This is considered an obsession and unhealthy to most people.

Therefore, it is altogether rare to find a person that is engaged for even one year in some sort of deeply spiritual process such as meditation, self-inquiry, or pursuing abject devotion.

Most people who considered themselves to be seekers only read books, attend seminars, and perhaps attend one or two retreats in their lifetime. Such a person never penetrates even 1 inch into the deep body of spirituality, of God or self. Yet often they think of themselves as experts and give advice, or actually considered themselves to be enlightened because they understand Nisargadatta or Ramana.

Only someone who has been in spiritual practice for decades, has had numerous awakening or near awakening experiences, has practiced meditation for thousands of hours, or who has spent years with spiritual teachers, or who has loved another so deeply and completely and thereby emptied the depths of their being in surrender, even begins to know the depths of the treasure that is of one’s own self.

Spirituality is not about knowledge. If anything, it is about escaping from knowledge, even previous knowledge about one’s own self. It means dropping all concepts, even those gleaned from reading hundreds of books about Ramana, or Nisargadatta, or Ramakrishna, or Buddha. You really do have to become dumb as a rock allowing you to see everything inside of you anew without concepts, without trying to glean any new understandings, but instead become simpleminded, innocent, yet aware without trying to learn. You just allow yourself and the world to unfold within and without you without engaging the mind. This begets wisdom. It is not a learned thing. It is an acquired depth of beingness.

Truly it takes decades of steady introspective persistence, either through meditation or deep devotion to gain this wisdom, which has nothing at all to do with knowledge. Instead, one learns to sink into the heart, into the body, into life and feel the pulsations of the universe within you. The mind has to be abandoned totally, leaving you feeling empty and alone, naked but unafraid.

The great teachers of Advaita, such as Ramana, Nisargadatta, or Robert Adams all lived and studied themselves all their lives, at least for 50 years of practice. Only then can we really call them self-realized, because they live through themselves not about themselves. They have escaped the mind and live the truth as only they can express it, as they have become truth, which is often the very different from the truth of their teacher, different from Buddha, different from Christ. Each one sings the song of their time whether it is of devotion or of inwardness. Each generation must find a different song for the world as it is then including its culture, science, level of civilization, ethics and mores. But always the message is of stepping outside of the normal, the usual, the mundane, stepping out of logic, convention, and the expected. These are all seen as being traps, impediments to authentic expression of one’s own self.

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