Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Esoteric Path — The One Less Traveled

One morning, I had the realization that what I have always considered to be a spiritual path as opposed to a religious path has really been an esoteric and not an exoteric path. Hot on the heels of that realization came the insight that what I considered "my" path with "my" spiritual experiences including kundalini was part of an already established, albeit less traveled, path of esotericism. This insight was both deflating and exciting. Deflating for my ego in that what I had considered "my" original unique spiritual path was already established and excitement that I finally had a map for my spiritual direction.

Margaret Dempsey
In my book Female Kundalini, I discriminate between spiritual and religious. All I needed to have said was "I have followed an esoteric (spiritual) as opposed to an 'exoteric' (religious) path since childhood" and perhaps more people might have understood what I meant. But this is the esoteric path.

It's like putting together a jigsaw. The first piece represents an attraction to "something." A Presence and response to it. All the other pieces are about being honest and authentic and developing self-understanding and self-observation as pieces of the esoteric jigsaw.

On the esoteric path there is an intuitive realization of the final picture, i.e. a life of sat, chit, ananda (consciousness, love  bliss) and an excitement and aliveness and willingness to play the game to get there. It helps to have an experience in childhood which acts as a constant reminder of "something." In my case, it was having a prayer answered when I was nine. It was this experience which started me on the esoteric path. I wanted to know THAT — that had answered my prayer. I was in no doubt that it had been answered and the way that it had been answered was no accident. I am hugely grateful for this event happening in childhood because it has always been the spur for me to carry on during those periods when self-doubt, confusion, trials and tests were at their toughest. The esoteric path is full of trials and tests and they are all aimed at increasing self-awareness and self-observation.

For me the tests on this esoteric (spiritual) path have all been about a loss of face. What I mean is: I have always been a writer and at various points have made firm declarations like "experiencing the kundalini energy is the peak of the spiritual search" and then I have the realization that "hang on, I have had this experience and I'm not enlightened, all I am, in truth, is an ego who's had a powerful spiritual experience" and this realization brings with it a huge loss of face, particularly as I am the author of Female Kundalini. But authenticity is more important to me than saving face. So instead of ignoring the insight about kundalini not being sufficient for constant, abiding enlightenment I began to look at why such a powerful experience as the awakening of the kundalini energy is necessary, but not sufficient for enlightenment.

This inquiry brought me to my second major loss of face. In another moment of insight, I realized that it is always the ego that is having the experiences, spiritual, mystical or simply ordinary. As the ego is an illusion as all the great spiritual traditions constantly and consistently point out, then there can be no permanency with any such experiences. Hot on the heels of this insight was the realization that the ego is not a structure but it is an activity — the activity of separation, which loves to claim the accolade of kundalini/and or other experiences because it reinforces the sense of separation. I realized that, if I, as an ego, was going to achieve enlightenment I was not going to do it by paying attention to my ego. Doing this is like "being a thief and then becoming a detective to catch the thief." It can't be done and only leads to a dance that goes nowhere. The above picture is what it feels like when these realizations hit and their truth resonates with an inward groaning of "Oh no."

For me, the dilemma with insights and realizations is that, when they come, they are always uncomfortable and force an honest reevaluation that results in a shift from whatever path I might have been on e.g., Buddhism, Reiki, Kundalini. Some have accused me of being fickle, changing my spiritual views, and not sticking to one thing. On one level I understand these criticisms; the esoteric path is not linear. Sticking to one path does not necessarily foster growth. It demands courage to see beyond a current infatuation, a transformation usually caused by a shift in consciousness, itself due to a realization or insight you recognize as not being true to your previous attachment, all of which gives you the courage to move on. Insights and realizations are a sign of a shift in consciousness.

Another loss of face I went through was my firm belief that having a guru was the worst thing you could do; that it was giving away your power and was, therefore, a bad idea. Again, I am on record as saying this. But then it dawned that no matter what I did — whether it was developing kundalini, or deepening my transformational self-development training — it would always and only be me doing it as an ego and, as a result, would never be "IT."

It's hard to write about the effect this realization had on me; it really rocked my world and I was horrified at the implications it might have for my life. I had to face the reality that at any moment I was either paying attention to my ego or creating something else. There is no other option and this is tough for the ego mind which doesn't see it or accept it. It is seen and recognized at a much deeper level; I recognized the necessity of  turning my attention away from ego to something else. Now there was a choice... But would I make it? Would I give up the life that is available and the opportunities that are possible for an ego with an awakened kundalini? Would I face up to the next test for me on this esoteric path?

Shortly after the shock of this realization, the Grace of Guru Bhatki yoga or the path of devotion was conferred on me in the form of a friend bringing me the autobiography of the realizer that I am now devoted to. I guess you could say it was the classic example of the old saying, "When the student is ready, the Master will appear."

I understand intuitively that if I am to go all the way on this esoteric path to self-realization and permanent abiding enlightenment that I have to transcend my ego. Transcending the ego is not the same as dissolving or fragmenting the ego — that way lies insanity. Ego transcendence is when the ego is transcended through the path of devotion, providing access to enlightenment, and nothing else.

This was a hard realization and even though I didn't like it and fought against it for over a year, I couldn't deny the Truth of how the search for freedom from suffering, which we all as human egos undergo in one way or another, is what interferes with the realization of what we search for. Taking a vow of devotion to a Guru/realizer, and taking up ego transcending practices, is what the ego fights against and this is a major reason why it puts up so much resistance using everything and anything to do so. And I did exactly this before accepting the path of devotion.

The ego senses that once attention is turned to the path of devotion that it will be transcended through non-use and non-attention. Having been a devotee on this path for over a year, I can now confirm that I am happy, less reactive to the things in my life, more equaniminous. Living a life that flows and is balanced I am hugely grateful to have found this way of ego transcendence through the path of devotion.

No comments:

Post a Comment