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The Complicity in Complacency

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"With great power comes great responsibility."  ~Voltaire

While this quote was originally directed toward the imbalances which existed at the time of the French Revolution, and later attributed to Marvel hero Spider Man, its underlying concept rings true in regard to spiritual adepts and those on a conscious spiritual path. You see, it's just not enough to learn about spiritual truths from spiritual masters/guides and then take them on as your own without actually living from them. Your are responsible to live and make choices from the level of your understandings.

In other words, you have to be not only willing, but determined, to walk your talk. Anything else is pure hypocrisy.

I realize this is a big statement, and one that will ruffle some spiritual feathers. It should, because it's true for many seekers today. So, are you a spiritual hypocrite? Does your life revolve around the spiritual community...going to meetups, attending local spiritual workshops, following prominent spiritual leaders on Facebook and "liking" all the comments that you agree with? Do you take time to comment on FB, feeling a need to add your own personal story as a way to show others how enlightened you are, all the while harboring judgments and ill feelings toward those outside of your spiritual circles?  Be honest, now. Can you love your neighbor when they let their dogs out at six in the morning and wake you up? Do you love your boss when he/she tells you that you aren't performing up to expectations? Do you maintain your level of loving for those you care for the most when they don't meet your expectations?

Tough questions to answer from an honest place.

Spiritual seekers tend to be hard working in the gaining of the mental knowledge needed to dissolve the attachments and desires of the world, but quite complacent in the application of these teachings.  As I often tell my students, it's not enough just to see what's at play because seeing it won't dissolve it. True dissolution takes place when you move through the emotional level of each fear, belief, and attachment, because that is where the energetic charge which holds the dynamic in place is held. You have experienced pain in your lives at a time when your hearts were open and vulnerable.. The intensity of the pain was so strong that your mind engaged an entire matrix to keep you from re-experiencing those feelings. The pain was never dealt with and the energy was never neutralized, so it remains trapped within your consciousness. The way to liberation from the energy is to move back through the original pain...experiencing all the dynamics and owning it...and then using your higher understandings to see through the story. You must own it before you can disown it and holding the fear in the level of the unconscious only delays this process indefinitely.  This is exactly why you experience such strong emotional triggers in your life that are brought on by those around you.  It's not them you are reacting to, but your own level of denial over what they represent to you.  It takes great courage to go into the fear...into the void of your own consciousness.

So, how does spiritual complacency lead to complicitiy?  Maya Angelou was quoted as saying something similar to the following:  "You did what you did because you didn't know better. But, when you knew better, you did better."  Wouldn't it be grand if this statement held true for everyone? Complicity comes in the form of the seeker knowing better, but not doing better.  There is a certain amount of grace attached to taking wrongful action from a place of true innocence, such as the small child not understanding death who kills his first bug. There was no intent to harm within the child's action. However, when that child grows and is given the understanding of life and death and to respect all life and then goes on to take pleasure in the torturing and killing of a small creature, that grace is no longer extended to him and his actions are karmicly binding. You see, he knows better, but because of the selfish desires of the ego, he chooses not to do better.

This is why the spiritual path is steep and narrow. The status quo of life before understanding vanishes quickly for the true seeker and the level of personal responsibility increases steadily as the personal self dissolves. You can no longer stand by and be complicit to the suffering around you by your conscious non-action. Where a need comes into your awareness, you do what you can to fill that need; not attaching to the outcome of your assistance, but extending your assistance to the best of your ability for its own sake.  This is the Christ...this is God.

How many "spiritual" people have I witnessed making light of human tragedy?  I hear things like, "they must have drawn it to themselves" or "its all perfect, so it happened exactly as it was supposed to."  This is not in keeping with the teachings. Hear me well. You do not move into states of detached awareness in order to disassociate from the world and from your place in it.  The Christ engages because he/she is the only one who can truly be of assistance here. Do you understand? The personal self can't truly be of assistance because it is polarized in the act of assisting. The Christ is not attached and lives in a state of compassion that the personal self has no means to understand. And it is this state of loving, compassionate equanimity that can change the world as we now experience it.

Do yourselves a favor...don't come to the table until you're ready to eat. If you aren't hungry enough yet, leave room for someone else who is. And, when you are hungry enough to sit down, don't play with your food...dive right in!

"Always let your conscience be your guide."  ~Jiminy Cricket






What's Your Excuse?

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When I go through my Facebook feed, I see loads of people sharing pretty pictures with quotes about how the world is just a dream and how we all need to move out of duality consciousness.

Lovely, right?

So, if all these “awakened” people truly believe what they share, why aren’t they attending Satsang or working with a spiritual guide?

The truth is that it is simple for the mind to embrace a concept and for the personal self to then identify with that concept. (That’s how you’ve ended up creating the reality you’re currently stuck in, by the way.) Those who espouse talk of non-duality, non-attachment and higher consciousness are most often trapped by the same ideals they have embraced.

We all know the “lightworker” who is afraid to acknowledge the dark side of life and terrified to confront it. We say, “Oh, what a shame that they can’t see it is their fear that keeps them trapped.”   You need to see that the average seekers of enlightenment…those who spend their time reading, liking and sharing these types of Facebook posts, are victims of the same fate as the lightworkers that they judge. The seeker’s identity is wrapped around concepts, just like the lightworker’s. Yes, the concepts have been born out of higher truths, yet when identified with from the level of the intellect (personal self) these concepts only serve to enslave the seeker further. Forever the seeker…never the sought.

The sharing of words of illumination is done by the mind as a means to support its own sense of how “awakened” it is.  If I say the right words and act like I understand them, then others will believe that I am that. It allows me to judge myself as better than others…more awakened, more enlightened, more in my heart.  Or so the mind would have you believe. In truth, you are scared. The idea of being unenlightened terrifies you, so you wear the mask of seeker for all the world to see. But where are the actions to back up these lofty words of illumination?

This is where the rubber meets the road. Are there enlightened souls out there sharing quotes on Facebook? Absolutely! And when you view how they live in the world, you will recognize that those words are authentic to them and their experience. The “concept” level of understanding has fallen away for them and they live from their experiential Knowing. Are there true seekers sharing quotes on Facebook? You bet! And you will know them by their actions, as well, for they are the ones attending Satsang, or engaging in serious dissolution work with a qualified guide. They are consciously attempting, every moment of every day, to live from the understandings that they have been shown and not just trying to prove to the world (really themselves) that they are awakened.

Spiritual ego runs rampant in would-be seekers. It is fueled by mind’s unmet need of enlightenment and the corresponding desire for illumination. Spiritual ego thrives on judgment of those less spiritually evolved than itself and it constantly seeks ways to show others how “right” it is and how “wrong” others are.  It’s job is to gratify its own self-righteousness at the expense of others.

Really enlightened behavior, isn’t it?

Remember, many are called, but few are chosen. Why is that? Because, it takes a certain level of surrender and humility to truly wake up from the dream of separation, which is not a marker of the average fallen human out there.  The mind is highly threatened by the thought of dissolving the personal self. Let’s face it, it’s a whole lot easier to play the game of seeker and live in deep, unconscious denial than it is to actually go ahead with the sometimes gut-wrenching self-inquiry required for experiential awakening. The seeker who desires, above all else, to feel “good” will never attend Satsang with me, and if they somehow do end up in session, it will be the only time, because I don’t humor or edify the personal self… I work to tear it apart.  Satsang, like any deep inner work, is not fun. It’s not meant to be. It requires an enormous amount of focus, dedication and effort on the part of the seeker to begin to uncover the true nature of the heart of the Divine which sits within them.

If you’ve made it this far in this post, ask yourself where you fit in. Be honest. Are you all too quick to agree with a lofty spiritual concept and spread it around to others, while at the same time not be conscious enough to witness how you don’t even live that concept in your own life? Or, are you one of the few that contemplates these higher understandings, looking deep inside to uncover how and why you fall short in being able to live the ideals that you want to believe? And, if this last example is you, then…

Why aren’t you attending Satsang?

Really, I mean it. What’s your excuse for saying you want liberation, but not committing to the work?

There is no more direct route to living from the heart and rediscovering one’s divine nature than being in the presence and awareness of one who has walked the path before you. Remember, many are called and few are chosen.

I’m calling you now. Isn’t it time for you to answer?


The Winning Position

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Children constantly observe their surroundings and develop their sense of self from input taken in through the senses. When a child witnesses a battle of egos, his psyche will pattern itself after both sides. Consciously, it will choose the side it agrees with, or the one that feels ‘right’, while unconsciously it patterns itself after the winning position, or the tactic the ‘winner’ of the battle used. Later in life, this ‘winning position’ will show itself when the person’s ego is triggered in a similar fashion. It is reactive, as the unconscious mind comes forward and takes over the person’s capacity to function from his own will.

As an example, let’s say a 4 year old boy hears his parents arguing while he is supposed to be sleeping. Their raised voices startle him, so he sneaks out of his room to see what is happening. As he peeks around the corner into the kitchen, he sees his mother, arms crossed and head down, as his father stands over her, leaning toward her in an aggressive posture and shoving his index finger into her face.  The mother is crying and the boy can see her shaking in fear.  The father yells his last remark and pushes past her, knocking her off balance as he strides to the door. He grabs his keys and leaves the house, slamming the door behind him. The mother crumples to the floor, pulling her knees to her chest, buries her face and cries.  The boy knows she is trying to be quiet because she is aware that he is sleeping (or so she thinks) and sneaks back to his room where he cries himself to sleep.

The boy feels many emotions. He feels sorry for his mother, he is angry at his father. He is also shocked, confused, disillusioned, powerless, etc…  The imprint from the scene is strong on his young mind and it will make a long-term impact on how he will function in the future.

The boy hated what he saw his father do to his mother. Daddy loves mommy, so why would he be so cruel and unloving? He sees that his mommy was definitely the victim and daddy was the perpetrator, or “bad guy.”  Even though he despises what his father did, his young mind already has a need to place itself “on top,” and daddy’s behavior showed the boy what “works” for men when in conflict with women.  The mind, being a database capable of immense amounts of information, stores every piece of information from the incident away.  The next day, the boy witnesses his parents being very sweet to one another. It seems as though nothing ever happened and he tells himself it must have been a mistake. But, the impression that is in his mind will remain and his mind will now continue looking for more evidence that the winning position he witnessed does indeed work. Since he is looking for it, he will certainly find it. More fights between his parents, movies, stories from friends, etc… will all reinforce what he already knows and give more power to the unconscious pattern.

Years later, the former boy, now a young man in college, has an argument with his girlfriend. Let’s say he saw her talking to another guy after class and he is feeling jealous. He questions her and she finds herself feeling defensive. Her conversation with the guy was about a test they just took and they were comparing notes. She did nothing wrong, but her boyfriend’s words, their tone and his body language energetically tell her that he knows she is lying and wrong. His jealousy and her reaction to his accusations triggers in him the same reactive state he witnessed in his father when he was 4, and he becomes incapable of seeing clearly, or of being rational. He gets in her face and threatens her. He calls her a “bitch” and a “slut.” She stands still, trying to argue her point…to make him see that it was innocent, but he won’t listen. When he calls her names, she begins to cry. She feels powerless, just like his mother felt with his father. He gives her a shove and tells her to get the hell out of his apartment, feeling justified for his hateful behavior. She leaves and he distracts himself from feeling the pain he is really in by turning on a football game and grabbing a beer.

So, you can see how the winning position works. This man, the one who hated his father’s behavior and felt so badly for his mother, is now exhibiting the same behavior with his own girlfriend, whom he cares for a great deal.  He can’t see that the reason he got so angry was because seeing his girlfriend speaking to another guy triggered painful memories for him and brought forward the pain from his past, making him experience it again in the present. Instead, he only consciously experiences the anger, judgment and justification that the jealousy brings forward and he reacts from that state.  Later on, they will talk and he may even apologize to her. He may end up feeling guilty and shameful about his behavior, but even his shame won’t stop it from happening again.  He may be able to keep his temper in check for a while, but the winning position will always return at some point….it HAS to.

What holds the winning position patterning in place is the need for the ego to be “right” concerning its position. In order to be right, in this case, the girlfriend has to be wrong. Mind always sees things as one or the other.  In order to transcend the reactive mind’s control within the patterning of the winning position, the individual must see through and release the underlying beliefs that lead to the initial triggering. In the case of the boy, to make it very simple, his self-esteem is very low and when he sees his girlfriend talking to a guy it triggers his own fears about not being good enough for her so he projects onto her that she is looking for someone else. It is completely erroneous, but he can’t see it. So, he makes her wrong for something she didn’t even do and he holds to his story firmly, withholding his love from her and driving a wedge between them.  He is unknowingly creating the exact situations which will lead to her leaving him, which will then further reinforce his faulty beliefs about not being good enough. It is a vicious cycle with no end and it will follow him from one relationship to the next, until something happens to awaken him to enough conscious awareness that he can see the problem is within him and not with all his girlfriends. When he is ready to look deeper at what has constructed his sense of self, and do the work necessary to undo the beliefs he acquired as a youth and has held firmly to as he matured, he will be able to move back into his natural, healthy levels of self-esteem and will no longer experience the need to feel threatened by other guys, even if he sees one speaking to his girlfriend. He won’t see them as a threat and he won’t automatically assume she is interested in them. He will trust her when she tells him she loves him and will now see her outgoing social behavior with others from a new light. He may even end up loving that particular part of her!

There is much work involved in unraveling the winning position, but this will give you a good understanding of why people end up acting in ways they never dreamed possible. It’s not you…it’s patterned consciousness.