Nice people often want to help others and spiritual people are no different, but as we begin to seek our own enlightenment, we find out very quickly from those that have gone before us, that we can not and must not try to “help” others spiritually, until we have attained to our own enlightenment lest we hinder them.
We describe the process of self-realization and enlightenment as “waking up” because we have learnt that everything we may not have previously realised is already there.
We all function normally with our own perspective, born out of our own needs and cultivated by our actions and beliefs throughout our lives. If at some juncture, we begin considering our spiritual side, we soon realise that the boundaries around the ideas we have of ourselves are nothing more than imaginary fences that we have constructed in our psyche to protect and maintain the idea of who we are in the eyes of others. We encapsulate ourselves as something and someone to present to and function within the world and usually end up making the mistake of believing that we are the act.
With attention these misconceptions are dismantled and ignited by the fires of our own awareness, resulting in our perspectives widening.
With a less limited outlook, life feels different, we feel more real and we begin to see the defilements of others easily. Without a very mature humility within our morality or a super keen intelligence, the ego will inflate for a while as we bask in the light of realization, instead of observing that realizations always happen to us, rather than them be by our own doing.
When we make the mistake of claiming realization for ourself, it is inevitable that we identify with the new experience and we are then in danger of re-labelling ourselves, proclaiming our new vision and preaching to our community.
This error results in solidifying an alternative delusion and hinders any further development. It also leaves those subjected to the sermon, bemused, confused and most harmfully, disapproving of whatever “spiritual” knowledge the individual may have been preaching, no matter what its intrinsic worth may be.
If the realizer is intelligent, they will mentally “give up” any realization that they may have had, and the results to a higher force in order that it is not possible to identify with it as their own. This keeps the individuals focus of attention internal and this way, they are eventually presented with the opportunity to hear and thus begin observing the unordered narration inside their head, rather than attempting to fulfil it’s command, as it.
The internal reporter has been likened to a mad monkey, a tiger or a snake. It is more cunning than a fox, smarter than a computer, quicker than a cat and more persistent than a determined child. The mistake we make of accepting the narration in our head as who we are has caused every single problem in the human world.
Because it gets cleverer as we do, if we begin challenging it’s authority, through observation or meditation practise, it will fight to remain in charge by tricking us in any one of a million ways.
The quickest and most common way the ego suppresses any challenge from an individuals higher self is by convincing them that meditation is not for them.
The higher self always knows if the life is unfulfilled and if it becomes too dissatisfied, it will take up the tool of a meditation practise in order to expand or simply to cope with life. Without good understanding and much determination, the dominant mind can easily dissuade the potential meditator from continuing, by convincing them that the practise is not for them.
When we try to observe the mind in meditation practise, the mind deters us by telling us that, “this is too hard” or by repeating, “I can’t do this” and many times, an individual is forced to accept this, the ego swats aside the challenge from the higher self and they are left with a story that goes, “I tried meditation once, but it wasn’t for me”.
If you hear this, you are listening to an ego. The me in the declaration is the very mind that the higher self challenged but failed to bring into awareness.
We fail because we live in a very mind dominant world and the mad monkey is highly skilled. If we are numb, dull, toxic, constricted or suppressed it is likely our higher self will be subdued by the mind.
If we are of determined character, we will stick at our meditation practise and get passed the initial attempts the mind employs to prevent us from expanding and begin to feel the benefits of the practise.
As we do, the mind improves. It gets clearer and begins a different approach to ensure that it remains in charge. It tries to convince us of our superiority, importance or specialness as we begin to see the defilements of others, or it tells us that we have been “chosen” for a “higher purpose”.
It may take the opposite approach of persuading us that we are inferior, undeserving, not good enough or not worth it in some way. Neither are true, neither are an expression of our higher self and both approaches are the work of a mind attempting to keep us under its control.
The silver lining is that feeling inferior, while painful and limiting, is a better platform to approach spirituality from than superiority. Inferiority is very close to the ideal of humility and can be switched quite easily with understanding and common sense.
Spiritual superiority, in contrast, must be brought to it’s knees by circumstance, passing through inferiority before humility can be reached. It is a longer and less likely journey because an individual is much more easily tempted by the ego-strengthening rewards of smugness, particularly if they receive energy in the form of money or attention for displaying themselves, which validates their activities but halts their realization of the true nature of existence.
“It is much easier to convince an inferior woman that she is worth it than to convince a superior man that he isn’t.” Kashi
We can do little about the spiritual ego of others but be wary not to feed them. We are responsible for keeping a check on our own and only our individual integrity, intelligence and honesty keep us from getting ensnared by the increasingly sophisticated traps of our mind as we move from normal thought into awareness.
In the past we have needed teachers to guide us, now we need friendliness to help each other work it out for ourselves before we begin unravelling it. A clean body, heightened senses and an acutely clear mind are our best defences against our own ego’s trickery and it helps to remember the words of a master.
“There are always skies behind us, unexplored” Osho
How do you know how to trust?
For the intelligent, trust follows close discernment. Doubt, doubt and doubt some more. Carry your lie detector everywhere you go, especially online and particularly if you are addressing a spiritual matter or wellness concern, because you need to get it right.
Adopt an attitude of doubt and do not mistake it for negativity, cynicism or criticism. You certainly do not have to express your skepticism outwardly, in fact, in this crazy world, I recommend that you do not.
You are not trying to change anyone else’s opinion, you are trying to discern the truth for yourself. I suggest smiling a lot even when you are saying, “no way” inside. The good news is that truth simply is, it just requires recognising as such. Doubt is just the wisest starting point.
From a platform of doubt, you can use your senses, feelings, experiences, knowledge and wisdom to discern what or who is trustable for you and who or what is not.
The wisest are skeptical of even belief itself and are pretty certain that they don’t know very much at all. These are the people to seek out. They will help you to decide for yourself rather than suggest what you should think or believe. They know that you know yourself better than anyone could ever know you and only guide you to techniques, information or meditations that may assist you, but certainly won’t burden you.