” You are the stupidest wise individual I know.” My Expert’s words cut directly with the Spiritual intoxication I had actually been under. Twenty Years later on I can still really feel the sting of fact. With the shock of a band-aid being promptly swindled, his words revealed the truth: that the only means my inner injuries can recover would be to subject them to power of elegance instead of keep them concealed with the ‘band-aid’ of bliss.
I had actually been living a life of spiritual euphoria on the banks of the sacred Ganga River for several months then and also going through inexpressible experiences of divine Oneness. I had splits of bliss streaming down my face and also felt touched by a power and presence I had never ever envisioned feasible. In spite of everything, I had, just on that particular day in December 1996, responded to a situation as an ‘unawake’, victimised, ego-centric child.
What had happened?
When my Guru used the words “foolish” and “smart” to slap me awake, He was not describing a lack, or abundance, of knowledge, capacity as well as talent, neither was He describing my qualities through which I had actually constantly evaluated my scholastic prowess.
Rather, He was describing the existence or lack of gyan, of actual wisdom in my life. The paradox of his statement made it clear that although I was “smart” both in the typical IQ-testing way as well as in the deeper method of having experiential understanding of the Reality, nevertheless I was still “foolish” in my failure to bring that wisdom and spiritual experience into my formed practices of reaction as well as victimisation. I may have had the knowledge and the experience, yet I was still incapable to use it consistently as the structure of my actions and reactions.
Living an unaware life
Before pertaining to India, I had graduated with a level in psychology from Stanford University as well as was enlisted in a psychology PhD program, subsequently, I spent most of my time lodged in emotional research study. When I pertained to India and was touched by the existence of the Divine, I uncovered peace, bliss and also ecstasy more genuine than I had ever before imagined. All the mental theories, procedures as well as insights faded in contrast to the magnitude of the experiences I was provided. It was as though the waters of Ganga rushed over my very own obstacles as well as neuroses simply as easily as She rushes over the rocks in the riverbed, lugging away remnants of dealing with the past.
Then, the ‘case’ took place and also I burst into splits like an injured 8 year old. Unexpectedly my tears were not of delight, tranquility, or Reality, yet of fear, grasping and also yearning. I was not a 25-year-old swimming in spiritual euphoria– I was a frightened, injured kid. And also all it took was for somebody to act in such a way that pressed my buttons.
As my Expert looked at me with a mix of compassion, omniscience and also incredulousness, He refused to allow me sink back right into my well-rehearsed role of sufferer. Instead, He compelled me to truly look at what was going on. Just how might I be so smart therefore silly at the exact same time?
I’m not ‘done’ yet
Jack Kornfield, a popular Buddhist meditation educator coined the phrase ‘spiritual bypass’. It is a really alluring short-cut to just what shows up to be an informed life. The concept of a spiritual bypass is that when one has Deep Spiritual experiences of Oneness, it is very easy to assume that one is ‘done’ as for inner work is worried. If I’ve merged right into the experience of Samadhi, happiness, and union in my meditation or petitions or in the visibility of my Master, then I’m ‘done’. My only goal comes to be having that experience much more regularly as well as for longer periods of time.
This is fine if one is staying in the jungle, doing nothing however meditation and communicating without one. Troubles emerge when one stays in the globe as well as has to connect to other individuals– all whom have their very own problems, concerns, egos and also wishes. Instantly and also unfortunately for most of us, we realise that having had the deep, happy experience of the divine does not necessarily make us anymore geared up to react to our family participants and associates with love, empathy and also understanding or to get over the neuroses we’ve had since childhood.
Interconnected, not exempt
While the Spiritual Path and also the emotional course are deeply interwoven as well as interconnected, one does not substitute or exempt us from the other. Equally as a deep psychological process, loaded with understanding and also growth, is an unlike a deep spiritual awakening, in a similar way the experience of Poise does not exempt us from having to look at our own temper, envies, vanities and fears.
Many of us know people that do rounds of japa on their mala everyday, or spend hours in reflection, and yet that are provoked by the smallest disrespect or distress. We see individuals who carry out extensive pujas and yet are not able to get along with the people around them, or that abuse alcohol or drugs or gamble or have promiscuous sex or merely struggle with instability and also depression.
Meditation, prayers, japa, puja, kirtan are all matchlessly wonderful ways of connecting to the divine, of experiencing the integrity, the efficiency, the fullness as well as excellence within the Self. In most cases, they are neither instant remedies neither are they magic wands that make our issues go away. What they offer us is a palpable understanding that we are extra compared to our childhoods, our dependencies, our depression and also certainly even more than our fallible body. They attach us to a Self that was never ever over used, betrayed, abandoned or deprived. They offer us that touch of the sun’s warmth, makings a tree defy gravity as well as expand horizontally instead of up and down simply to get nearer to that light. But we need to do the very same work as the tree– we have to continue to grow!
Behind the veil
Psychological job without spiritual experience can become a dilemma of darkness. It is very easy to sink into the mire of our own backgrounds, wounded identifications, fears and also desires, to live as well as experience them over and also over once more. A brave inquiry into our very own inspirations, reactions, compulsions as well as anxieties is an excellent friend on the spiritual path. A desire to look with truthful inquiry into our own failings while simultaneously knowing our best divinity unlocks to a much deeper experience of the Self.
On every spiritual path being existing is hailed as the magic key. Whether it’s a course focussed directly on recognition, like vipassana as well as insight-based reflection, or whether it’s a course much more concentrated on bhakti, gyan or karma, in every course, we are exhorted to “be existing” and also “remain in the here and now moment.” When we exist, we know. When we realize, we could recover. When we understand, we witness the rage, witness the ego, witness the longing, the comprehending, the pushing, the slipping into familiar routines as well as functions, witness the repeating of decades-old scripts. None of it is incorrect or bad or unclean. It is just ignorance or, as my Guru said so unabashedly, “stupidness”. That ignorance has been, in my experience, very much like the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, scary when veiled, significant when predicted, but human and also ever before so manageable when brought into the light.
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