Friday, May 1, 2015

Arriving Back To Where We Started

Last night, I came across a famous passage from T.S. Eliot that explains the spiritual path and process very well. I had started to write "better than anything else," but I am training myself not to live a life of comparison, which has become a moment-to-moment challenge.

Eliot wrote:

"We we shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

Front cover TS Eliot's "The Waste Land"

These few potent lines sum up the spiritual journey. Eliot's seeking or "exploration" is a necessary and vital step. Opinion is divided on whether the "exploration" is necessary when we are already what we are seeking. But this view tends to come from those who have Awakened to their true place and hence have realized "they have arrived back where they started," which is why they say there's no need to "explore."

What I find hard to understand, though, is when this place is reached, why
are all the years of "exploration" that went into getting to here suddenly dismissed. Something about it doesn’t feel right. Without the "exploration" or seeking how can we arrive "at the place." The "exploration" provides the fuel for the journey. Sitting back and simply saying, "Yes, I am THAT" is only likely to result in some kind of conceptual illusion with no accompanying transformation.

Understanding at a conceptual level leaves the identity or ego-I intact and in many cases this ego-I changes to a spiritual ego I which is very hard to penetrate. The spiritual ego-I is more clever than the purely materialistic ego-I. The mind of ego-I is always ready to be quicker than the soul or consciousness and without putting in years of necessary "exploration" falls prey easily.

I think I should
now write from my experience and apply it to my own life because it has integrity and feels authentic. My "exploring" began in deep unhappiness when I was nine. It took the form of a plea to "God" to remove two protruding teeth that were the cause of my being bullied in school. Having both teeth knocked out when I fell on the street one day answered my plea; it began a lifetime of exploration that was underpinned by an absolute conviction that there was "something" other than me out there. Although my "explorations" have taken different forms over the years, that faith and trust in "something out there" has never wavered. I haven’t stuck rigidly to one path, but I have listened intently to my intuition and, as a result, I have "explored" a great many spiritual paths and traditions as well as personal self-development programs because I believe that both are necessary part of "the exploration." I have been criticized for this because the conventional wisdom states that the way to "arrive where we started" is to commit to one path and stay with it for life.

If you look at those who have followed this line of thinking, you won’t see too much evidence of Awakening among their ranks. Indeed, some of the most profound Awakening experiences in which people got to "know the place for the first time" have happened for people who weren’t on any kind of spiritual path, people like Eckhart Tolle.

That said, I did study and practice Mahayana Buddhism for almost 10 years which was the longest time I stayed with any practice. It was invaluable for understanding the mind and strengthening my nervous system so it could withstand the force of Kundalini when it rose spontaneously in 1998 and 1999.

What marks the "end of our exploring?" How do we know when we've come to the end? I assert that there is "no end." What ends are cycles of “exploration.”

The first stage of my "exploration" lasted almost 35 years and culminated in the experience of Awakening. Now begins another cycle, which I am clear will continue in future lifetimes. This is not something I have evidence for; it’s a deep intuitive knowledge given by the Grace of Kundalini. Any Awakening experience results in "knowing the place for the first time." Mooji always says, "It’s right here, right now, you are that."
Without any doubt, Mooji "knows the place" and he tries valiantly and tirelessly to point it to others. However — and here I can only state my opinion — others have not done the necessary "exploration." Mooji advocates the exploration of self-inquiry, which has come down from Ramana Maharshi and Papaji. It is an effective technique for exploration, but it is an advanced technique that requires a firm foundation in understanding how the mind works. 

Am I As I Am

Many years ago, I did a similar exercise with a partner that consisted of looking into each others eyes. Each had 10 minutes to say "I AM." I began with gusto: "I am a woman," I am a daughter, etc… At some point in these ten minutes, I reached the bottom of the ‘I AM something’ and found myself simply as the I AM, a space of nothingness which is very hard to write about. Even now, as I write about it, I feel how profound it was. The experience didn’t result in that state of consciousness becoming permanent, but I was unconcerned about its going. I had touched something whose memory would never leave me.

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