My writings about freedom, enlightenment and the intentional or non-intentional goal of spiritual pursuits, recently culminated in the book ‘The Elimination of Karma Factor’. I had an interesting time communicating with my readers and listeners during my lectures and workshops. In principle, spiritually inclined people have a tendency to be mildly confused with what I am saying. This confusion is mostly the result of a hunch, a kind of intuitive understanding, that the information they are receiving goes against what they have learned so far. There is no obvious and immediate clash; it looks as though all of it comes from the same world of spirituality, but then again…
In the next few articles I will write about the frequently asked questions. They reveal the critical points, almost invisible mistakes in understanding whereby the illusion creeps among the troops of its supposed enemies thus turning them into its followers.
To say it loud and clear – there is a huge difference between what I am saying and the content of most spiritual teachings. Sometimes, it is even a matter of opposites. To see what I am pointing at, you will have to turn your head (your mind, actually) in the opposite direction.
All right, let’s take the first question – the one that pops up almost everywhere.
How can you be sure that what are you talking about – enlightenment – is really the end of the road? Maybe, it is just another step in the development of the soul, after which there is another, and another…
To see the answer to that question you have to reconsider the direction you are heading in. In principle, the answer is very simple, but the difficulty in seeing it lies in the tendency of ours to look at spirituality as being equal and the same as any other activity of human life.
We are used to seeing life as a kind of climb up a ladder, constantly learning and creating something new. No doubt, life is about that. First, we have to learn how to walk to be able to learn how to run or climb a mountain. We gather different skills and develop abilities while building the construction of our life. That construction grows in different directions, sometimes with purpose and meaning, sometimes without it. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes we experience great difficulties. But, whatever our experience of life may be, there is no doubt that the future relies on the past. We build our life like a giant jigsaw, hoping that the final picture will make some sense and that we will have a feeling that the effort was worthwhile.
Some people at certain point in their life stumble upon spirituality and include it in their jigsaw. Sometimes, they start from self-help, working on themselves, improving their abilities or, if they are more spiritually ambitious, trying to develop higher states of consciousness (whatever that means). Spiritual insights become a part of the same building. They dig deeper, revealing otherwise inaccessible knowledge and giving otherwise unknown experiences.
In that picture, where is the place for an “end”? From where does the idea that the process ends somewhere come – that there is some kind of “goal” after which the path is no more?
It is difficult to imagine such a finale. To restrict the possibility of development requires a mass of bold assumptions and unprovable beliefs, most likely connected to some kind of “higher force” or intelligence, which from the standpoint of reasons unknown to us, declared the end line for human possibilities. Without that encroachment into believing, is there any reason to think that development has an end?
On a material level, the one in the domain of science, as well as on an inner level, usually in the custody of spirituality, there should be no reasons for limitations. The endlessness of growing towards something larger, biger and better is almost guaranteed.
All right then, why is Patrick talking about something (enlightenment, liberation, moksha) which is supposed to be the end of the path? Isn’t it logical that after the enlightenment there is some other level, some other point to reach?
It would be logical, yes, if enlightenment would belong to the same category as other experiences; if it would be something we achieve after some learning or work has been finished. Luckily, it is not so. Enlightenment is on the other side of the spectrum, in the place where you are not looking when you look forward, in the direction of your own development.
Enlightenment is not something you can achieve; it is something you already are.
And if it is so, where do you have to look to see it? Forward, in the direction of endless possibilities that you can enjoy only if you do this or that, or backwards, in the direction of the place you started from?
How many possibilities are there for that place? If you started from point ‘A’ and now you are at point ‘G’, obviously, you can continue to point ‘L’, ‘S’, ‘Y’ or maybe back to point ‘C’, or in circles, small and large, wherever the path may lead you. But, if you follow the path backwards, where will you arrive? Only to the place where you began. One place. That place. You cannot go further back.
If the spiritual path is defined as the return to the origin, then that path has its ending – the point of the origin. If you are looking in the other direction, forward, you may end up anywhere, and continue forever. There is your endlessness. If you are into constructions, there is no limit to their number, size, meaning, incidence, grasp, range, deepness, quality or any other attribute you may think of.
However, if you are going in the direction of deconstruction, there is only one place you may end up: the beginning, the origin, the basic element every construction supports itself with.
Today’s spirituality is a complex set of variegated information, knowledge and methods. 99% of that (even more, actually) fits nicely into the scheme of endless development and the discovery of new worlds (outer and inner). Only one small, almost imperceptible portion, deals with enlightenment.
Don’t misunderstand me, I have nothing against development. Quite the contrary, the creative process is exceptionally dear to me. Learning something new is one of my most cherished pastimes, no matter the field. The thing is, however, that out there a very deep misconception about the role of spirituality in human life prevails. Or, to put it another way, if spirituality is just one of the streams in creating new constructions and life stories, then the path towards enlightenment would not be the part of it. It would be literary contra-spiritual.
However, the more likely explanation is that the meaning of spirituality has become distorted with time. Without true answers and signposts, spirituality has drowned in the common structure of the picture of life. Do not forget that in its roots, spirituality was about the search for the source, for the foundations of life. No matter where and when you live, no matter the circumstances of your life, your experiences, knowledge and skills…. enlightenment can be here. Or not.
That path, the path towards that goal, has its end. The story about endlessness in that direction is just a myth.
Next article (summer 2016):
Omnes viae Romam non ducunt
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