Spiritual knowledge starts with asking questions.
What is yours?
Responding to a recently posted blog, Stephen messaged us the following three wonderful questions.
QUESTION NO. 1
Since God has always been and will always be the Perfect Absolute Infinite Consciousness and this has never been and will never be affected by our attaining or not attaining Self-Realization, why bother about Self-Realization?
A very good question from a truly probing mind, Stephen.
Let me respond to it from a consideration of the two co-existing dimensional aspects of God.
- First, there is the absolutely transcendent, cosmic aspect of, in your words, “Perfect Absolute Infinite Consciousness” (a.k.a. Brahman or God the Father or the infinitely “unconscious” aspect of Consciousness), that is eternally unchanging divine BEING. For purposes of our discussion, let us refer to that as “God-BEING.”
- Then there is the immanent, in-dwelling, individuated aspect of the same “Perfect Absolute Infinite Consciousness” (a.k.a. Atman or God the Son or the “consciously aware” aspect of Consciousness), who is the incarnated and “self-aware Selfhood” aspect of divine BECOMING. For purposes of our discussion, let us refer to that as “God-BECOMING.”
Hard as this might be to fathom intellectually, God-BEING does not and cannot have any awareness of itself, by itself alone, without the benefit of an aspect of itself acting as an “object or agency of awareness” somehow, because God-BEING in its infinite oneness exists as pure subjectivity. There is nothing or no one apart from it objectively as an object, by which the indispensable “subject-object” dichotomy necessary for awareness and knowing can be realized and be made known directly by experience.
Hence, God-BEING became God-BECOMING situationally as a sentient being — a human being of the homo sapiens sapiens animal species in our particular case — just so that God-BEING can become “aware” of itself through us, in us, and as us. The individuation of God-BEING into individual Selfhood makes possible the experience of it (God-BEING) in order to fully experience itself in the context of the subject-object dichotomy required for phenomenological experience. In short, Consciousness needs Selfhood in the “I” to experience itself including the many, many forms that God-BEING can be.
From the perspective then of God-BEING, Self-realization is a necessary imperative. Otherwise, God-BEING will not be perfect, absolute and infinite for the lack or absence of completeness in knowing itself. Without the phenomenon of Self-realization, God or Perfect Absolute Infinite Consciousness would not be so. However, it works both ways, too, from the other end perspective of God-BECOMING.
God-BECOMING is totally incomplete without the full knowledge and awareness of its identity — the ultimate human mystery of “Who/What am I?” The process of Self-realization provides the key, vital answer to that question — I am That. And that transformative answer enlightens the mind so completely, so totally, that the “becoming” comes to a halt and ends in a transfigured state of pure BEING.
The circle makes a full turn in Self-realization, closing in on itself. This is represented by the Uroborus, the imagery of the serpent or the dragon biting its own tail to depict infinity realized in the closed circle (drawing at left).
From all this business of God-awakening through Self-realization will finally come true world peace and goodwill among mankind. Out of our collective God-realization, the planet will be divinized into a real Paradise on earth, that was never lost in the first place were it not for our evolutionary “becoming.”
We should bother about Self-realization: Everything God is at stake, and the “stakes” are as infinitely high as God.
QUESTION NO. 2
Some people just need more time in their Truth Seeking and some people need less. However, the former are usually branded by superficial , officious and pompous people as being “shoppers” of “spiritual materialism” who seem to be dilettantes and nothing more. Marc, you yourself are well-versed in the mystical Nondual teachings of many traditions. Why did you bother to expose yourself to so many traditions when only one would do?
The answer is simple. I wanted to know how “true” cross-culturally the Truth teaching of Joel Goldsmith’s The Infinite Way was/is.
I had come through many “spiritual teachings” in the marketplace over the years of my spiritual quest, only for one teaching to be deposed by another eventually for failure to live up to its claim to the “Truth.” If nondual mysticism were to be absolutely and universally true in terms of “THE Truth,” it had to be so under every and all of the major spiritual traditions of the world and despite their cultural and religious wrappings and trimmings. That was the assertion of The Infinite Way brand of mysticism. So, I wanted to taste the “spiritual meat” that Joel claimed to lie at the core of comparative other mystical systems and traditions, before I settle down and make my n-th bed out of a spiritual teaching.
I suppose my training and career as a lawyer and my past experiences with previous esoteric teachings caused me to scrutinize The Infinite Way very well as another commodity in the marketplace to be wary of before buying into it. One thing was certain: I was way past following faddish beliefs promoted on mass media or public advertising that a product is good simply because a personality with the likes of an Oprah Winfrey endorsed the product as good. Her endorsement per se does not make the product good. The product must stand on its own merits, or fall.
As the saying goes: “The proof of the pudding is in its eating.” I ate and ate that particular “one pudding.” I read and learned whatever was laid down before my feet along my path (Consciousness has a way of unfolding itself for you.), and I practiced, practiced, practicing as much as I could and to the best that I understood how.
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13, NKJV)
At first, I thought that oneness was oneness in every comprehensible manner and in any conceivable way. However, I began to discern by grace that there was nondual oneness on one hand, and a oneness reeking of duality on the other hand. That proved to be a watershed moment. The spiritual door that had been opening slowly heretofore finally flung wide open one day, so openly that the Light from within burst through with fire and illumination in quite a dramatic fashion. It knocked down for good the door that had kept it hidden from me. There was nothing standing between the Light and me. I only had to open my eyes, and see.
I am grateful for my cross-cultural forays early on in my journey. It has given me an added colorful, beautiful dimension to the phenomenon of spiritual awakening. I can feel at home in any religious setting knowing the reducible common denominator at the heart of them all.
As a side note, let me say that time in terms of chronos is not really a factor in the attainment of spiritual enlightenment. Enlightenment exists outside of “earthly” chronological time or chronos; it lies in kairos or “divine time” (so-called God’s time figuratively speaking, because there is really no time in God). People who try to speak of the “power of now” by framing that “now” in the context of chronos time, do not know what they are talking about.
By the way, it pays to be a “Doubting Thomas.” You, and only you, get to touch and examine the body of the resurrected Christ up close. (Laughing.) Incidentally, that gospel episode alone is worth a very lengthy discussion of its mystical interpretation and meaning. 😉
“The Incredulity of Thomas” by Caravaggio (a detail of the painting)
QUESTION NO. 3
The Nondual teachings have been accused very often as being “intellectual”, ” academic”, ‘ivory tower type” etc etc etc and not at all practical by superficial, officious and pompous people. This is often used as a “straw man” argument by people who insist on the devotional / “Bakhti” way in which the “heart” is the most important. There are also superficial, officious pompous Nondual people who love to post similar attacks on their fellow Nondualists for not being practical. Of course in my practical real life experience , a poor person with little or no education is very often NOT by default / automatically a highly spiritually evolved virtuous person and he is very often the complete opposite. What is your take on this common nonsense?
We cannot stand in judgment of the spiritual journey of other individuals. Each individual’s journey to awakening is unique. It is part of the uniqueness of the individual’s life.
God-BECOMING is infinite in the way and style of its “becoming.” And, just as apples and oranges are so different from each other that there is no comparing them, similarly how the spiritual journey of one individual is conducted by that individual cannot be compared to, and should not be compared with, the journey of another/others. All variations of the individual journey to enlightenment have one common point of origin — God-BEING — and they all have a single destination in God-BECOMING. It is all about Consciousness, infinitely being and infinitely becoming simultaneously.
Look at the animated optical illusion below. The spiraling arms appear to emanate from a common center. They also appear to converge at the same common center.
Now, try hard in your mind to stop the motion of the illusion. Some practice will help you to see the motion “freeze” in time and stop in stillness, even if only for a very brief fleeting moment. That fleeting moment is like the mystical experience of illumination or realized oneness.
Enlightenment does not consist of returning to the center point source from which all things arise. That is a human conceptual attempt to convey and portray enlightenment as a process — the return to the Source. But we never return to Source because we have never left Source in the first place: We are always with and in Source.
Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, “Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.”
But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, “Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.”
And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.”
(Luke 15:25-32, NKJV)
Speaking of the parable of The Prodigal or Lost Son, let us not be either the prodigal younger son or the indignant elder son, nor see other people in the imagery and light of either son. Instead, let us be like the father with nothing but unconditional love for both sons and radiant with the intense joy of seeing a household whole and complete once more.
Spiritual illumination is the “Aha!” moment when the perpetually moving and changing illusions in the mind freeze-stop before our very awareness and we see with clarity the totality of the picture sans the play of the illusion. That is seeing in kairos time — a spiritual realization beyond time and space, beyond words and thoughts.
The blind is quick to lead the blind and to dismiss matters they do not see and comprehend, because they do not have the spiritual discernment, prudence and wisdom to restrain themselves. Such is the lesson of the popular story or parable about the blind men and the elephant. One’s awareness is driven by perception. If the perception is in error, the awareness follows suit. That having been said, let me say a few things about “nondualist oneness” and bhakti that were raised in the question.
The mysticism of nondualist oneness is the apex of bhakti or devotion, the currency by which day-to-day exchange transactions are required to be made in the course of the spiritual journey. As the journey moves along the mystical path and as enlightenment acquires an ever-increasing value to the traveler, higher denominations of the bhakti currency are issued for the use and benefit of the traveler. Of these currency denominations, the largest in value will be nondualist oneness. By using and applying this largest of currency denominations, the spiritual traveler will be able to purchase “realized oneness” for himself. It’s all a matter then of what the individual can afford in consciousness.
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