So many of us begin our spiritual quest, a time when we are seeking answers. We want to know the meaning of life and we go to gurus, teachers and take courses. But do we consider that the teachings coming to us from the East may not fit in with our Western lifestyle?
After 15 years of spiritual questing I have been coming to some very different conclusions for myself.
Like many I have meditated, explored many different spiritual arenas from angels to psychic development to chakra balancing to healing. I have followed the teachings of channellers from new age thinking to gurus from the East. Some have taught about being present being the most important thing to experience and be, some have taught visualising skills to create my reality, some have given me confirmation of who I am and why I have been suffering. But now I realise too much questioning, too much navel gazing, too much spiritual delving is not good for my spirit.
And maybe it’s time not to ask any questions just to live!
While balance is important, I am even coming to the conclusion that learning tools and techniques to expand myself, to sit in my own being is potentially not good for me in my life any more. For now, anyway.
The gurus of the East, the spiritual teachers like the Buddha and Papaji, while brilliant in the East, I feel only offer benefit to those in the West that have lived manic, busy, full lives and came to the conclusion that all the stuff, all the material and physical possessions they may have had no longer brought them satisfaction. It is then that Eastern philosophy can help these type of personalties to slow right down, to be present with what is, and to look for the blessings and tranquillity in the simple aspects of life.
Now, if your like me, you may have not experienced abundance, prosperity or very much of the material world. Following Eastern philosophies of focusing on being present, on not wanting so much, or releasing desires may not be good for you any more.
A background of me:
Before I went travelling to Australia I read a few self help books, I wanted to know why relationships never worked for me; why I suffered so much. I then went to Australia and life provided me with my synchronicities and a change in my perspective on what life is all about. I was on a soul searching tour of my inner world. I read book after book, immersed myself in many different teachings and was amazed at the grandness of life and how life was and is far bigger than I had ever imagined back then.
Time went on, I followed many teachers, I was a follower, yet nothing seemed to fix me (I did not need fixing but I did not know that back then). Nothing fulfilled me or satisfied this longing in me. So I had to go from teaching to teaching until one day I stopped looking at teachers for answers and looked within myself.
I know what many have experienced and are experiencing right now – that of poverty consciousness. I lived a very lack full state of being. I had many fears and blocks to prosperity and abundance. And no spiritual teaching shifted this within me, no amount of questioning shifted this within me. So I spent nearly 2 years on my own wandering through nature, making peace with what is. I had dropped all feelings of ever being able to have what I wanted in life, I had given up this. It was not a deep let go, but an “I give up” more from an undeserving place.
So I managed to bask in the simple life, living off what many would consider crazy resources. I not only managed, I felt fairly blessed to have a roof over my head, food in my belly and the comfort of one friend. I embraced aloneness and my own company. I sat and watched my thoughts and let expansion fill me. I was empty and let myself be empty.
And then one day I felt intense depressive thoughts. Something was missing. I felt this intense desire that there had to be more to life than this. I allowed myself to want again. Somewhere inside me I made the decision that it was okay to want.
And from that moment on, life provided me with opportunities to experience the material world in all its glory.
Because now I realise the material world is glorious!
Surrounded By Stuff
We in the West are surrounded by ‘stuff’, things to do, see, have, eat, taste. Everyone around us has ‘stuff’. And the Eastern teachers I feel would not be able to come here and be so much in their Buddha nature.
If the Buddha turned up in New York City for example, do you think he would be in the presence or peace 24 hours a day? It is easy when sitting under a Bodhi tree for years on your own to find that peace, but bring him to the fast paced living of the West and perhaps he would have to embrace all the ‘trappings’ of the material world and embrace the physical as his own meditative practice.
In addition to this, many people don’t realise that the Buddha spent years as a young prince, where he had everything he could ever want, so to him a change in his life was to leave the palace and explore the rest of humanity, to experience less and to experience the simple life. He had experienced wealth, abundance and prosperity in the material world prior to the simple life he chose to experience afterwards.
I remember reading some time ago about a Monk that felt he had it all sorted, all together. He felt he had reached enlightenment. He moved back to the city to be with his wife and children and fell into chaos, where nothing held together. Being in a monastery is very different from being among the living, breathing chaotic and exciting world of humanity in the West.
While the slow relaxing techniques of the gurus and masters are beneficial for slowing down, for many in the West, some of us need to speed up not slow down. Yes gain a balance of relaxation and peace followed by activity but not solely relaxation. It is not in our nature. We have been born into the Western world. Even our brains work differently from Eastern cultures. We have physically different types of serotonin.
People with a proclivity for depressive thoughts that spend a lot of time alone and those with no real experience of the material world due to poverty may need to do less navel gazing, stop questioning and take part more in activity again and in human experiences.
I am writing this blog entry because I have felt myself in this loop over the years where I allow myself to dream and desire and then when it doesn’t instantly come to me I go into depressive thinking and then I go back to the Eastern teachings of being present, meditating and to be honest it has not helped me whatsoever.
And has anyone following the many teachings on offer, on being on the ‘spiritual’ journey ever looked at those around them who are also following similar paths and journeys? Do they look happy to you? Most I see have a worried look, they are constantly introspective, wondering why so and so has happened, what was the deeper meaning to it all. Even those that appear to be enlightened to me don’t look like they are enjoying the fruits of being human, of being part of this world.
If I wanted to ascend to the point where I am sitting, being and letting thoughts flow through me like paper thin clouds, where I am so at peace, I may as well transcend this body and go back into non-physical. Most of the people who are at ‘peace’ do they party? Do they eat lots of wonderful amazing food? Do they make lots of love? Speed around a racing track in a car? Explore? Or are they teaching, serving, in an Ashram there for followers to teach them how to be and reach enlightenment?
Teachings like this have only increased my own depressive thoughts. And I don’t mean this in a way that these thoughts needed to come up to be released, no, they were familiar thoughts, thoughts I had thought many times, nothing new was coming up, it was the same old.
Maybe some day in the future I will take time out to simply be, navel gaze again but it will all be part of my naturally unfolding world. Don’t the best moments of peace and tranquillity come when we are not intending them to? We are not sitting cross legged meditating, we may be enjoying a really good cup of coffee.
What About Enlightenment?
Most people on the spiritual path, as much as they try not to, are still seeking enlightenment.
Enlightenment cannot be found. We cannot ‘try’ or technique our way into enlightenment. Many of those few enlightened souls on the planet earth had a sudden revelation through a crisis or they were sitting one day reading the newspaper, having something to eat and suddenly the answer appeared. They were not sitting cross legged. It rarely, rarely happens this way.
And for me now I am not sure if I want enlightenment. I want to experience joy, passion and fully fill myself with the fruits of this earth.
We have all this wonderful food, experiences, people, physical things we as humans have created to enjoy. And I want to enjoy it all.
Why question this?