Tag Archives: Spirituality

What is Truth

Today, on the long commute home from work, I started pondering the core reasons I first became interested in spirituality. Why did I dive down this rabbit hole? What was my goal?

And I came up with two:

  1. As a means of coping with the mental health challenges
  2. In the pursuit of truth

Given that as my mental health challenges subsided I still continued on this quest, I will focus on the second reason as the constant. Pursuit of truth.

As I continued the first thought that came to me was a common piece of spiritual advice that I had heard on many occasions, and in many forms. It was to stop believing your thoughts. To stop thinking that whatever your mind says is automatically true. So if I am earnest in my pursuit of truth, and I heed this advice, I should cease to continually pour so much energy into the obsessive examination of my own thoughts.

As an experiment I convince myself momentarily that my mind has nothing to offer in this spiritual quest. As this paradigm takes hold I find myself retreating from my familiar home in my head and my focus diverts to my immediate surroundings. My environment starts to feel fuller and sense of calm begins to develop. Simple items near me start to gain depth. I postulate the following idea: what if the most obscure item in my car provided a more profound gateway to the truth than my mind could ever conjure. Unfortunately, but predictably, this feeling doesn’t last. There is far too much momentum in my habitual thinking.

But why do I even want to know the truth? Why bust my ass to find something so elusive?

My initial answer is to enable a life well lived. I had thought that in knowing the truth I could then make the right decisions to shape my life in the most desirable way possible. But if the greatest spiritual teachers tell me that my mind is not a source of truth, my idea of ‘knowing the truth’ does not make sense. It reduces something as divine as truth to just more ego stuff.

Perhaps truth, and a life well lived, are actually one in the same.

If access to the truth is found in the present moment, and living life in the present moment is the object of the spiritual quest then they are in fact inseparable. I can’t use the truth to find my purpose, truth is my purpose.

 

Image Courtesy of ‘Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock.com’

Obsessing Over the Question – Who Am I?

Now THIS is something that I know about! Quickly to start, here is a truncated list of the many different ways I have sought to learn more about myself:

Having completed all of the above and still finding myself without a solid understanding of who I am sure seems to be a classic case of paralysis by analysis.

Valuing self awareness as I do I am forced to question my whole approach. From a spiritual perspective this constant pursuit of figuring out who I am, under the pretext that it can help me live a better life, keeps me entirely out of the present moment and intensely focused on some future state. It is the ego trying to leverage spiritual knowledge to make life better for the ego.

My current gratitude practice is definitely something that I can improve. Is my current life so terrible that I must use all of my energy making things “better”?

Obviously it is not.

I have a healthy family. I have a steady, well paying job. I have friends. I have a roof over my head. I have more luxuries than 99.9% of the planet. And I live in one of the safest countries on the entire planet.

Now, perhaps being in such a privileged position has burdened me the responsibility to make the most of it. Contrarily, if the energy I bring to my daily interactions leans towards negativity because of this burden than a life well lived may be the best course of action.

My needs are simple. I want to laugh. I want to feel safe. I want to live a happy healthy life.

Additionally, this tendency towards obsessive self assessments seems more suited for someone in the pursuit of extreme success. The presence of this proclivity in me may be largely influenced by the incessant social media narrative of the same theme.

But, truthfully it doesn’t seem very appropriate for someone like myself. Success of this nature would certainly bring with it more stress, and I am certainly not known for my innate ability to handle stress!

Image courtesy of ‘ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com’

Knowing Yourself is the Key to Knowing Others

It has been a while since I posted anything on this particular blog but after a lengthy phone discussion with an old friend I have been inspired to reignite the examination of this side of myself. Perhaps the truth of the matter was that I never stopped on my journey.

Challenge

My biggest challenge in life, as it has always been, is figuring out exactly how to interact with the world. I possess strong opinions and a desire to engage, but I always feel inadequate when expressing myself. And the ideas that I am trying to unleash remain trapped within my brain.

Additionally I feel a simmering urgency to get involved as it is incredibly frustrating witnessing how people interact with each other on social media. It is absurd that so many people hold on to their ideas with such a unwavering certainty when even a cursory examination of spiritual principles could cast enormous doubt upon any perspective.

Fear

However, I believe there is an underlying shadow of doubt that is feeding the divisive world that we find ourselves in. People are subconsciously realizing that the paradigm upon which they base their value system is dissolving beneath their feet. And with the desperation of a drowning swimmer they cling to the familiar, no matter the evidence laid before them.

If I claimed 2+2 = 5 no one would react so strongly in denying that untruth. One would simply know it’s wrong and move on. But when foundational ideas about the very way you live your life are challenged…. you get loud, you get angry, and you certainly don’t go down without a fight. There are examples everyday of people experiencing this huge identity crisis. 

In no place is this more apparent than in the social media trend called ‘Cancel Culture’. This draconian and unforgiving practice reeks of fear. It requires a person to completely disregard their own flaws, while highlighting, as paramount, the perceived failings of another and ultimately punishing them harshly for it. And all of this based on a minimal amount of information.

Temptation

The temptation I feel is to respond equally as harshly to those promoting cancel culture as a useful approach to improving the world. But the unfortunate irony is that in doing so I am becoming the very thing I am most passionately opposed to. The upside is that perhaps in understanding more deeply what I need to transcend this anger I gain an understanding of what others need. And I believe this element is at the core of my spiritual journey.

Understanding the essence of who I am, in turn means I understand others. And within this understanding is the gift of truly being able to make a difference in this world.

 

Photo Courtesy of: De Visu/Shutterstock.com

 

What is Awareness and What is it Good For?

When you feel depressed, awareness does not cheer you up.

When you screw up at work, awareness does not say you’ll do better next time.

When you yell at your kids, awareness does not help you calm down.

When hit a car in parking lot and drive away, awareness does not forgive you.

When you are unfaithful to your spouse, awareness does not justify it.

When you steal some bread from the grocery store, awareness does not take away the guilt.

When you lose a loved one to cancer, awareness does not bring them back.

When you have spent your last penny, awareness does not put money in your account.

When your desperate for a spiritual awakening, awareness does not make it happen.

Awareness is always just…..there.

Doing nothing. Helping no one. Changing nothing for the better.

It is the source of all inaction.

Instead it is infinitely loyal. It will never leave you no matter what despicable act emerges from you. It knows nothing about judgement. It knows nothing of worthiness. It knows nothing about evil. It knows nothing of heaven or hell. It knows nothing about death. It knows nothing about suffering.

It knows nothing.

Absolutely squat.

It is not there to heal you. It is not there to make you live longer. It is not there to make others love you.

So what in the world is awareness good for.

There is one way to find out. And that is to align with it. Be a witness to your perceptions. Open yourself up to feel whatever is brought to the forefront in the field of your observation. Let it wander. Do not focus on any witnessed feeling as more important than another. Allow this freedom to dwell in your mind and body.

If you are walking, listen to the pebbles crunch on the ground as feel the pressure of each step. Notice your head moving from side to side looking at the trees. All of a sudden you turn off the road and onto a walking path. Why did you do that? You don’t recall making that choice. Now you notice each leg moving one after the other. You’re not actively choosing that either.  A random thought pops into your head that you should eat healthier.

Why?

You didn’t decide to think that. Things are happening and you don’t seem to be involved in any part of the process.

Soon you start to notice everything. The way your tongue is resting in your mouth. The way the cool spring breeze is making your eyes water just ever so slightly. The rising of your stomach with every breath.

Then it suddenly strikes you.

I am none of this.

Such intense witnessing has released you. You begin the understand the role of the witness. Your dreams. Your hopes. Your struggles. Your judgement. Your accomplishments. Your failures. Your suffering. All of these things are not “You”. They have simply been witnessed by “You”.

Now, even more dramatically. All of the ways in which you have defined who “You” are begins to fade away. The simple gap between something being inherent to your identity, to simply being observed, causes a cascading avalanche of the former self into oblivion.

Ultimately the realization hits. The me that has ruled this life, does not exist. There is no meat to this ego. There are no obstacles for me to overcome. There are no requirements for my existence. There is nothing that was there before.

There is only awareness.

Random Thoughts on Existence – Part 2

The spiritual gurus have said that an enlightened life takes no effort. Can anyone teach me what is an effortless life? As far as I can tell it would be like floating in a river and not trying to swim in any direction. What is the equivalent of floating in life? I cannot just sit in this chair staring at my computer screen and answering the phone. That would just be another kind of swimming. It seems so natural and easy to align with the flow of the river. There’s no arguing with it, no judging the decisions of where it goes, and no resentment of paths missed. But what makes up the river of life? Is it my routine? My job? My favourite show? I have forgotten what it’s like to live an unstrategized life. I feel so tired, but not quite tired enough. Can I simply choose not to swim or must I wait until this helpless body can’t put up a fight anymore…

Knowingly of Love

I’ve staked a claim

Where gratitude was needed

I’ve run from all pain

As forgiveness was pleaded

I’ve puffed out my chest

Desperate to disappear

Outwardly at my best

My heart burning with fear

Blinded by destiny

I could never be here

A prayer to sleep restfully

I whispered in your ear

Even God could not speak it

In a way that was enough

It’s laughable that I seek it

And talk knowingly of love