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Tham gia ngày: 05-10-2007
A simple map of a Spiritual Path
Why did we enter our spiritual path? What benefits have we reaped and what difficulties have we met? What do we want to be our ultimate goals? Have we a map or a clear direction for our path? Where are we on it and where is it taking us to? Do we feel unclear and confused about the religious systems, the spiritual organizations or the disciplines in which we are participating? Have our collected knowledge and experiences ever seem so tangled or a loss of direction? This article attempts to create a systemized summary of perspectives and experiences gathered from a good number of teachers and practitioners, in hope that it could help each of us find the needed answers for ourselves.
Why did we turn spiritual? It may have been one or more of the following reasons:
(1) We suffer greatly, no way out and we just want to die…Illnesses, losses, disappointments, seeing everything as temporary and impermanent, so we try to find liberation via the spiritual path.
(2) Seeing others suffer so much that we want to turn spiritual so that we may be capable of helping, saving and serving others
(3) Many of our loved ones and friends turning spiritual, so we sort of join in the … movement.
(4) Finding life meaningless, we search for something more meaningful, more sophisticated.
(5) We don’t know the exact reason; we just know that there is a relentless calling deep within.
(6) We want to find our higher Self, to know who we really are.
(7) We ourselves or our loved ones suffer incurable illnesses that in desperation, we seek out a cure through spirituality.
(8) Other reasons.
Our reason for walking the path may change after a time into our spiritual cultivation. Understanding that the original motivation was just a wonderful trigger needed to help ease us onto our path and recognizing it to be a part of a miraculous higher orchestration, we will feel more content and happy to keep on walking. Eventually, we may find that spiritual cultivation is a natural process that doesn’t necessarily require a particular reason. But before we could reach that point, it is necessary to view such process more clearly.
How have we cultivated? On a spiritual path, one often experiences a number of the following steps:
We start to discover that there may be something greater, more miraculous and sacred.
We eagerly gather as much knowledge as possible.
We rejoice, excited, wanting the whole mankind to learn the same.
Vigorously we explain to, debate with, serve and even teach others.
We vaguely recognize a new and special identity in ourselves.
We continuously gather newer experiences, newer spiritual knowledge.
We begin to recognize all the flaws in other spiritual practitioners.
Armed with heaps and heaps of collected knowledge and experiences, we begin to face confusion, vaguely question why we seem to get nowhere. there seem to be something that haven’t yet been fulfilled.
We begin to search further, going even outside of our present path.
Then either being fed up or awakened, we decide to stop; we sit still.
We recognize deeper things within and we feel somewhat peaceful.
We recognize the “flaws” within ourselves and try to overcome them.
Then gradually, we realize there are “flaws” that we are hopelessly incapable of overcoming. This troubles us greatly. At times, we might feel tired and just want to give up the whole spiritual thing.
So what happens at the end?
Our heart begin settling deeper, our inner drives faltering, and our “flaws” troubling less and less.
Gradually, we come to realize that there is a being within that has been peacefully observing in stillness. All the other troubling no longer seems a part of our being. From deep within the limitless silence, we feel peaceful and content. All searching comes to a halt. We merge into the Stillness and then carry it along back to our daily life. Wisdom that had nothing to do with mind-knowledge surfaces frequently.
At this stage, our perspectives become more expansive. Mind activities become less reactive. Personal opinions and differentiation of right and wrong, good and evil are steadily fading. Our heart and mind move closer to the peaceful, “Is-ness” view of the worlds around us.
We now experience deeper equanimity and tolerance. Instead of speaking and acting according to our own needs as previously, it seems that we naturally tend to speak and act in the interests of others. The personal “self” gradually “self-abdicates”. We become free in all our doings; we take care whatever comes our ways and relax when action is no longer required, without even a mere pondering thought on our mind.
(In the next 2 postings, we will be discussing about: • What do we need to do to liberate ourselves on the path? • The yardstick of spirituality or how “high” are we spiritually?)