To find truthful answers we must replace the search for answers with the search for truth.~ A.A. Alebraheem
Daily meditation, continuous study, acrobatic yoga postures, energy work, psychedelic plants.
These are just a few of the many tools used for spiritual development in the western world today; but are they completely necessary for achieving the goal of spirituality?
Is there a goal? Is there a destination to arrive at while walking the path, or is the journey itself the destination?
How Do You Search for Truth?
We live in an extremely unique position in the modern age with regard to knowledge. Right now, you and I have access to more information in our pockets than was ever contained in the Library of Alexandria.
At first, this seems self-evident to be a fantastic thing, and it is! But there is a price to pay for its convenience. This ease of access to facts, theories, and data has created a society of information junkies, an addiction that flies so far under the conscious radar that nobody sees it as a problem.
Don’t get me wrong, gathering information isn’t automatically an addiction or even a negative thing. We all do it. The problem is how we respond to and use this information in relation to our daily lives.
For 12 years I was a devout, albeit confused pursuer of what has been coined within various new age circles as ‘Enlightenment.’
The Search for Truth
I read every teaching on liberation and meditation that I could get my hands on, a task that became progressively easier with the advent of the world wide web. There wasn’t a digital or literal stone left unturned in my pursuit of a system of belief that would end my search for Truth.
From teaching to teaching, I bounced back and forth looking for any substantial doctrine that I could hang my dusty coat from and say I’ve figured it out, I get it now, my search is over.
Fortunately, and somewhat mysteriously, there always seemed to be something pulling me back to the search.
Ironically, this happened several times over the years, and each time the authenticity of the realization would fade after only a few days. The amount of personal embarrassment and discouragement I would feel afterward was almost enough to make me give up altogether. Almost.
It was as if my mind would feel the disappointment of having once again been conned by some Guru or other prolific teacher, but something else inside me was unaffected, unfazed, and not at all surprised by the apparent failure.
It was during one of these experiences that something finally clicked…
Learn to Fully Listen to The Truth
It wasn’t the specifics of the information that was the problem, it was information itself. Turns out I hadn’t been fully listening to these teachers, as each and every one of them had expressed this in one way or another.
Alan Watts, Ram Dass, Thich Nhat Hanh, Krishnamurti, Eckhart Tolle, Nisargadatta, Rupert Spira, Ramana Maharshi, and countless others; each giving their listeners books worth of information while simultaneously suggesting that the information is not the teaching.
For over a decade I completely overlooked this; or maybe my mind couldn’t handle the paradox, I’m still not quite sure. What I am sure of is this: the mind alone is not capable of grasping the depths of these teachings.
Conceptualizing the process of enlightenment is not enlightenment.
Furthermore, enlightenment is not an event to be chased after, it’s a choice. The very act of accumulating information about “enlightenment”, could postpone enlightenment, even though it’s not a temporally bound phenomenon.
Confused yet? Me too.
Basically, the thinking mind is good for two things, reviewing past experiences and imagining future scenarios. Neither of which has anything at all to do with the present moment. As long as we are playing around with the contents of our minds, we are overlooking the very nature of our being; or as I like to call it, effortless awareness.
I’m sure whoever reads this is thinking to themselves: Well then, what’s the point of you writing a blog post and filling our minds with more information?
The answer is simple; because I enjoy it. I’ve always loved writing about topics that open the hearts and minds of readers, but not because the information provided is necessary for self-realization.
There is only one thing you need for that, yourself. As Papaji once said to a group of listeners:
“Give me someone who’s never heard of spirituality or enlightenment, and I could point them to self-realization in under 5 minutes.”
By this, he meant those who are ripe for receiving the teaching tend not to have any interest in it, and those who really want it have often accumulated too many ideas about it to see what it is.
I suppose that is my only disclaimer: none of the words or ideas written here or anywhere else are necessary for realizing our true nature.
Writing and discussing spiritual mythology has always been a passion of mine, and I see no harm in it as long as the reader understands the golden rule: the information is not the teaching. It’s simply a pointer in your search for truth.