Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Spirit Wants Only to Fly

The title of this blog post is inspired by a quote from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and it answered a question that I have pondered since the death of Nelson Mandela: Why do great leaders of Mandela's caliber die? It seems like we continuously re-invent the leadership and spiritual wheel, particularly the latter. One only has to read about the lives of the great saints and mystics and tribulations they overcame to achieve realization — only to die — leaving a vacuum which devotees of these great Masters did their best to fill. But which are never of equal distinction because the mind and/or heart of the founder has gone. So when I came across this poem it answered a lot for me.

If I don't manage to fly someone else will
The Spirit Flies Free
   "If I don't manage to fly someone else will.
   The Spirit wants only there be flying.
   And for who happens to do it,
   In that he has only a passing interest."
After reading and pondering it for a while. I realized that the physical vehicle isn't important. It is merely the vehicle through which Spirit flies and the challenge for Spirit is to find willing vehicles through which to fly. But ultimately all vehicles die so what is important and permanent is the flying. And yet Spirit doesn't fly in exactly the same way through every vehicle as we see in the lives and writings of the great realizers. Why is this? If it's one Spirit, why does it result in different manifestations?

The differences that emerge are the result of the mind interpreting the energetic effects of Spirit. It is our subtle body and not the gross physical body which responds to Spirit. That response is different for different vehicles depending on the filter through which they interpret them. In my own case, my experience of Spirit, which I see as Kundalini, was very much an energy that rose from the base of my spine up through the body — a kind of Spirit ascension. For some, it's an experience of energy descending from above. In either case, it is the same energy, but the reports of the observer (from memory) and the level of consciousness attained determines how it will be interpreted and more importantly what it means. For human beings, everything means something, it is hardwired into us to seek meanings for everything so that the brain can make sense of the world.

Many Masters have warned against the lure of Spirit and its manifestations, i.e., visions, lights, etc., and have pointed out that spiritual experiences are not realizations and to seek the former at the expense of the latter is go down a blind alley. When devotees spoke to Osho about such experiences, he downplayed them, pointing out that it made very little difference to the devotees ultimate state of realization, suggesting that these experiences be let go of, just as one drops a bag of rubbish into a bin. He was always at pains to point out that spiritual experiences are not IT.

The more profound the experience, the harder it is to let go of. So when I was first told to let my experience go — to not allow myself to become absorbed by it or to let it disturb my everyday, normal life — I was reluctant to do this. I felt that something special had happened and I didn't want to forget about it or let it go. It is only now, so many years later, that I understand why it is essential to let this kind of experience go. It is because everything changes, even the nature of spiritual experience, and to hold onto it is to limit what is possible in the future. It is necessary to let go of the known to make space for the unknown, and thus move from the known to the unknown to that which is unknowable and thus fulfill our purpose as spiritual human beings.