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spiritual purity, love, life and true spiritual growth.

December 9, 2011

Deep within, at the base of each life, we yearn for the purity that we deny in our day to day, the world of enlightenment we are afraid to believe could exist and the innate spirituality that is not about experiences of higher consciousness or of healing, but rather about the simple purity of heart and spirit. What we all need, more than spiritual states of awareness, is a way of life that truly is an expression of our highest and deepest conscience, of the wisdom that transcends and predates our rational mind.

For this alone as we well know, can bring us peace and realise in us the heights of our potential, as spirit having a physical experience.

This struggle, the human condition of guilt, justification, egocentricism and deviation from the ideals we inherently have in our deepest essence, along with those culturally defined, forms the backdrop of our lives and civilization. It is this struggle within ourselves we must address if we wish to find peace in our lives. And if we wish for our spirituality to be more than just for show.

A notion found in all the great navel gazing traditions of the world, for example,  in the book,  the Quran, narrated by the Archangel Gabriel is written; the true religion with Allah is Islam, for this is the original nature according to which Allah fashioned mankind, this is the true religion, but most do not know.

But, what does this mean? Allah is a word for God-(itself a very nebulous and misunderstood concept), but like all words not born in English, it contains nuances that do not translate well, but which are nonetheless critical for understanding its meaning, these nuances are; oneness, unity.

Islam likewise has nuances, literally it means peace, but its nuance is to surrender.

Therefore we could translate this sentence as; The true religion with (god/unity/oneness) is (peace/surrender), this is the original nature according to which mankind was fashioned, this is the true religion, but most do not know.

The self-same statement is found echoed in the Tao Te Ching, written by the immortal, Lao Tzu, we find that; the way to the Tao is through the Te, Te resides in the natural.

Or in a vague English approximation, the way to the supreme Nature of the Universe is through Virtue, Virtue resides in the natural. “therefore shedding all things that bind and envelop you, attain the state of completeness before birth”

and, as another example, speaking for the Logos, Jeremiah 31:33, “I will write my law on their hearts.” And Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this-(human created) world.”

While it is far beyond my understanding to debate and critique the thousands of varied theological and spiritual philosophies on life and spirituality that have germinated around the planet, simply because I do not know either the truth or the philosophy, suffice to say that there is found throughout these traditions, dialogues and discussions a few universal concepts and, while religion as a general rule is completely useless, if not dangerous to spirituality, one of the persistent themes is the idea -(and examples) of spiritual purity, of saintliness.

What is saintliness? Spiritual purity? and how do these relate to human life?

In life there are two kinds of purity, the inherent purity of reality just as it is. And the second, the purity of our relationship to reality. Often mediated and purified, (when it comes to the impressionable human mind) by ritual, geometry, ceremony, singing, contemplation, or meditation.

The first kind of purity is the kind of purity spoken about by the mystics, the ever-present purity of reality. The radiant, ecstatic inner-most beingness of consciousness,  both within and without, as the very so-called particles that compose our apparently exterior experience of life, and the eternal, infinite purity of the fundamental nature of space itself, of life itself, and ultimately, more importantly, of that beyond forms, unchanging, beyond concept, beyond alteration. The divine dance of the timeless source of reality and the manifest world of the living earth.

If we chose, for one second to perceive reality as it is directly, instead of through the lens of boredom, or familiarity, the profundity, the sacredness, the brilliance of it’s every motion, deeper than the deep, more present than the presence, would change our lives forever, there is after all, a reason why the Buddha statues are always smiling. There is no need to discover something extra, what is most profound is closest to us.

It is an eternal and nearly incomprehensible shame that humanity has become more interested in what their culture, schooling, parents and television told them was real, the jobs, the things people make, the interactions of ego, and all the nonsense they confuse for life, than they are in the direct realisation of the fundamental nature of life, of consciousness and of the immense profundity and sacredness of it all, the universe, reality as it is before thoughts kill it. Not psychically, not entheogenically, not intellectually, but directly, simply as that choice.

It is so simple that it is missed, so challenging it is not attempted and so gateless it is not a gate, if you wish for truth, withdraw the energy of your awareness from your senses from the experiences of your awareness, and place it on your awareness itself alone, right here, right now. Be disinterested in thoughts, and have a heart and mind only for awareness itself, remain in this state without alteration, without the slightest distraction, without waver, with full concentration. Desiring only to know the truth, once and for all, but desireless. For, when you thus truly choose to look within, not analytically, not conceptually, not guided by belief, ego or experience. But within the actual being itself, with sustained attention and awareness liberated from forms, thoughts and deviation into experience, if you are not distracted, do not become attached to the states of awareness that unfold, as they will, but rather allow them to be, to progress naturally, you will perceive by default your cosmic nature.

In layman’s terms, (such as myself), there is no other way to see other than look.

All beings, no matter their state of grace can be aided in this, and by many agencies, not just as is most common, humans. But regardless of our experiences in life, mundane or so-called not, there is no other way of self-mastery than choice, experiences only exist to stimulate our heart and mind towards the numinous so that we may choose more wisely in our day to day. For no other thing we can ever do, matters one iota in comparison. All else, and even this, is but a dream within a dream.

The second kind of purity, is the purity of the heart. The relationship of the life, the human life, with the innate virtue. This is the purity which allows the direct experience of reality, as described by the mystics to be lived. Liberation comes when there is equal purity between vitality and indweller. This is why spiritual experiences inspire and teach, so that we may cross this divide into oneness.

This purity is more important than the mystic states, because this purity is our creation, our responsibility, our relationships and our lives. This purity alone is what transforms our lives and our world, and this purity is our humanness, our innermost heart, and the inheritance we bequeath to ourselves.

We have inherent in our nature, inherent in our humanity, certain scientific axioms, for while in the nature of the absolute, of the real beyond the real, there is only eternal purity, in the world of the relative, of the individual, of the self, there is a chain of cause and effect based upon these axioms that connects all things. And so, relative purity exists. For us, the human part of that chain, is our hearts.

Religion could be seen -(if charitably inclined) as one of mankind’s attempts to deal with the human part of that chain, by directing our remembrance, our thinking and feeling, towards the divine. For, while it is my experience and that of many others, through meditation, that the journey of reality and of my soul, from the beginning of time all the way through this moment and forwards to the end of time, is divinely ordained, all as it is meant to be, all known down to the position of every speck of dust, every moment, every life, every star, an incredible orchestra, music of deep sacredness and wonderment that culminates every moment in greater heights of ecstasy and newness, heading for the climax of our cosmic ride, the universal festival. It is my experience, of being human, that allows this. And of the two, it is my humanity that demands my attention, the other, is merely its basis and home.

There is an absolute truth and a relative truth, and both are important. To deny free will in its absolute profundity and eternal implications, is to deny any relevance that spirituality may bring to bear on life at all.

While it may be true in an absolute and philosophical sense, that the greatest evils of the history, present and future of our life together, the wars, the rapes, the genocides, the species-icides are in the greater and deeper context, somehow meant to be, it is not the case that such rationalizing of suffering and evil in the world can truly find rest in our heart with such ease. Some things, while demanding compassion, are just fundamentally wrong.

From the perspective of our natural mind, the mind of love, empathy and compassion, that the sciences have shown to exist a-priori in all humanity, (and no doubt in all life) concerned with the well being of another, with harmony and wellbeing. To say that rape, genocide, torture, was meant to be, is a deep distortion of our humanity. This tension, the relationship between our subconscious mind and super-conscious minds, can not be resolved by rationalisation, nor by experiences of heightened states, but only by a life lived in denial of fear and in the service of our innate humanity,-(unrestricted by fear and judgements) and by the choices of awareness.

Unformed awareness may be a powerful liberator of identified patterns of behaviour and response, (if we choose to hold them in our awareness and allow them to become free) but as Jiddi Krishnamutri said; “In our relationship with children and young people, we are not dealing with mechanical devices that can be quickly repaired, but with living beings who are impressionable, volatile, sensitive, afraid, affectionate; and to deal with them we have to have great understanding, the strength of patience and love.” all beings are children, and this is our humanity, the desire of our heart for peace, harmony, justice, wisdom and love, our invitation to take responsibility for how we are and what we do, to live well.

There is a great movement in the western spirituality, driven by the influx of shamanistic and eastern thought into the dialogue of the western semi-secular, semi-religious spirituality we are born into, that has been growing in the western world for the last hundred years, to see now, the present moment, as the panacea for all spiritual ills. This is a dangerous position to take mindlessly, for its logic is flawless, and in a sense it contains within it the key to understanding many spiritual paths, and misunderstood can thus belittle other deep and ancient wisdom’s.

In the present moment, there is only what is real, the rest, the personal demons that plague us, a construct of the thinking that cannot exist there. But it is not enough to merely rest in what is real, to deconstruct, (or avoid deconstructing) by resting our own insanity, we must also construct, act, create, live.

Ultimately the position of believing that now is all that matters, that of absolute truth, fails to highlight the relative, the human. And thus the key to any spirituality, our hearts. Love, and compassion, awe, creativity, kindness, imagination, active participation in life, in relationships and the acceptance of our own humanity, compassionately, with all its delusions.

Avoiding our relationships, our delusions, our fear, our anger, our pain, our love, our joy, our bliss, our attraction, to escape into the present moment, is avoiding the present moment. Real surrender is an embrace of our humanity, just as it is. Without judgement, without needing to change our patterns, but with grace allowing it to be changed into one of love. This is the true power of the present, and the liberation of the formless intelligence of awareness. Real alignment with our hearts does not come about by repressing our emotions, by feeling less, but rather by feeling more, by being open to being hurt, by being open to love, and by not discriminating against our inner world, by allowing peace and love to direct our lives.

It is our responsibility, the exercise of our will and the freeing of our innate desire to love unconditionally, actively, that can set us free, not just using the conceptual tool of remembering to bring awareness to bear, in order to find the freedom from reaction and identification we sometimes need in order to breath and to remember what is important.

Now is all there is, it is impossible to be anywhere else, it is impossible to be anything else. Therefore the attempt to “be here now” is in actual fact the use of a structure of thought, words used to stimulate the cognitive remembrance to let go of the content of awareness, and return to that awareness itself, intelligence. To allow formless awareness to dis-identify the practice of a story, a past, identification.

While to travel extremely deeply into the space described as now, is meditation, meditation is not living, its psychological and spiritual enlightenment, and even the enlightened must live.

Spiritual purity begins and ends in our hearts, in how well we allow love to be the driver of our life. Not in the absolute, but in our own lives. In the simplicity of the pain that has hurt us, the fears we live with and the suffering we see around us and within.

Religion recognised this, but in sharing this message, has too often repressed people further, to deal with the feelings of guilt that are experienced when we are honest about the difference between our super-conscious calling to our nature and our subconscious interpretation of our life as lived by our reactive mind and it stories. At the level of the conscious mind we may justify and conceptualize our lives with lower mundane wisdom, to the extent we can live without hesitation. But at the level of the unconscious intelligence that knows all, there are certain scientific facts that cannot be denied.

For example, cruelty does not make the world better, or you happier. Like all transgressions against our soul, in leaves darkness in your heart and soul, darkness that you then run from and hide from by searching for personal happiness. The more we transgress against our own nature, the more guilt we feel in our subconscious substratum and the more fear we have of turning that pattern around by owning it. Eventually the unconsciousness is so deep, we are often not even willing to admit to ourselves that it is there. There is so much pain, so many lies, so much avoidance of deeply caring for others, that we start to feel as if only us and our story that matters to us. A simple biological and spiritual impossibility, but nonetheless quite possible with a limited conscious awareness.

Even ‘spirituality’, our new shiny schema of life, can become a way to rationalise away pain, and through our thinking and our certainties about life, to avoid feeling the compassion that could set us free. This is the great sadness of life, that we are offered heaven, if we are willing to choose it, but would rather chose our story of guilt, of pain, of blame, of self-importance, each day again and again, rather than through maturity and responsibility, the gentleness and honesty of freedom.

Spiritual purity is more than just a word, more than an experience, more than a practice, it is our acknowledgement of the indelible record of every thought, every action, every emotion that we will ever feel and have ever felt. It is the calling we feel to live as saints, and the recognition of egoic identification and confusion that makes us feel that our happiness is better served by denying this. The degree to which purity is important and possible is so far beyond how most experience life, that it is impossible to express.

At the beginning spiritual purity is the call to live with a great conscience, and with the knowledge that every thought and action, every perspective and word, matters, and exists for eternity, bringing implications and consequences we cannot escape. As they ripple inwards and outwards through the tapestry of life.

Even great spiritual teachers, masters of present moment awareness, meditation and wisdom like Siddhartha Buddha, could not escape the fruits of his own past actions, his karma.

In the middle, spiritual purity is the call to live with great spirituality, as a power of compassion, of love, of kindness, of presence, of healing and of wisdom. It is a conscious choice. An allowing of our truest heart essence, behind all stories, utterly present.

And in the end, spiritual purity is the calling to live with great conscience, compassion, and freedom from fear.

This is the real Jihad, the war waged within for the prize, peace with and surrender to our soul.

This world however is more than what it appears to be, it is more real and more spiritual than we like to admit or are ready to acknowledge, our minds see it as fallible, dreamlike, concrete, meaningless, an endless loss of the past into a future that never arrives, letting us live with the falseness we choose in the illusion that it disappears. In reality, nothing is ever lost, it is the depth of relationship to our past that will bring us to spiritual enlightenment and grace, and the ability that this and this alone gives us to relate to the present that will bring us peace and true integrity.

There is a repetitive dialogue occurring in the world of “new-age belief” that speaks of us manifesting the things we desire in life, as if the human mind had within it the secrets to making the world give us what we egoically desire, however, while the mind and our worlds are intrinsically connected at the deepest level, perhaps the real secret is how we think and feel can affect how we experience what happens in our experience of life.

What do you think is more important? the external or internal and transient world of forms, or the internal world of the eternal soul. Will we attract the experience of bad and good things in life, according to our ego, by virtue of our own thinking? Perhaps it is more likely that this belief is yet another illusion conjured up by the ego to support its own existence, its own importance. Yet another form of egocentricism.

As the famous Tibetan saint, Jetsun Milrepa said

Though grief in the Ocean of Samsara
Is preached, and its renunciation is urged,
Few people are really convinced
And renounce it with determination.
Though knowing that life will ever turn to death,
Few feel uneasy, or think that it will end.
Though their life is blessed with good prospects,
Few can practice abstention for a day.
Though the Bliss of Liberation is expounded
And Samsara’s pains are stressed,
Few can really enter the Dharma Gate.
Though the profound Pith-Instructions
Of the Whispered Lineage are given without stint, few
Without fail can practice them.
Though the teaching of Mahamudra is expounded
And the Pointing-out demonstration is exercised,
Few can really understand the Essence of Mind.
To the hermit’s life and the Guru’s wish
One can always aspire, but few
Can put them into practice.
The perfect, skillful path of Naropa
May be shown, without concealment,
But those who can really follow it
Are very few. My dear lad,
You should follow in my footsteps
If in this life you want to do
Something that is worthwhile.

Life is already occurring, already in flow,and while our actions and thoughts and feelings can affect how we interact with it, life has its own cycles which it will complete. Our alignment to the numinous, in thought, word and deed, can integrate states of sacredness into our living, states that can affect those around us, and the place in which we live, but not the fundamental nature of the interconnected, interdependent and complex world in which we live. The mind, the ego, and the life-force are a tremendous impostor that has come upon the nature of who we are, not the reverse.

The calling we have to sacredness, each second of each day, is as fundamental to reality as well, reality itself. It is not half-hearted, half enough, or a path to walk down, or become, but rather an inner song that replies to consciousness. And all it requires is for us to allow its functioning in our heart. Ignorance, habitual interest in the mundane, or stories about reality that lack, deny or direct us away from this calling are no excuse, and will not bring about the fulfilment of answering that calling. Practices, healing and paths are not required, all that is required is purity of heart, or the acceptance of spiritual maturity.

As Jesus Christ said(without mincing his words), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

The ultimate point is this, while we can transform all states and all events into the deepening of consciousness and the purity of spiritual bliss, and through that alchemical process deepen our own awakening, it is only through practicing purity of thought, word and deed, as a human, that we truly answer the call and can ever begin to realise the true potential of a human being, far beyond our imagination, each second of each day of our very short and fragile lives. And both of these, require our full surrender to truth.

 

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