This 8-minute read is about finding the balance between your spiritual pursuits and living the everyday human experience. It is about coming to terms with everything.
Lack of Balance
Humans have a tendency for excess – To go overboard. We find our new hobby and we go all in for a little while. The lack of balance always catches up to us and then we go overboard in another direction. I’ve seen this tendency in spiritual life too, first and foremost in myself. The following thoughts can arise when you’ve taken spirituality too far:
“I shouldn’t think like that. It is not spiritual.”
“He is so not present. He should meditate, like me.”
“Her ego is so big, it’s annoying”
“I am so spiritual and awesome.”
We have for some reason divided life into spirituality and what I will call materialism. Here, I use the word materialism in an extended sense. Materialism is association with matter and the mind. What we can touch, see and feel – Everything that enter our awareness through our senses. Spirituality is association with pure conscious awareness.
Are You Too “Spiritual”?
Ask yourself the following questions for an accurate diagnosis:
- Do you ever feel guilty that you’re not present enough to the moment?
- Do you ever feel guilty because of your desires?
- Do you take your spirituality really seriously?
- Do you judge other, less spiritual people for not being spiritual enough?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you might have spiringitis. .
Are You Too Materialistic?
Ask yourself the following questions for an accurate diagnosis:
- Do you ever feel like a coffee machine will solve your problems?
- Do you ever feel disconnected from society even though you’re always on WIFI?
- Do you feel lonely at parties?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions you might need a dose of spirituality.
Reframe the Question
Reframe the question to “am I integrating or dividing?” The fundamental reality is oneness. From this simple logic it follows that you should accept everything as parts of you. Give yourself some love.
What You Resist Persist
Splitting life into two halves creates disharmony. It leads to a judgment of which part is best. If you judge spirituality to be better, you have to start denying parts of you that is rooted in materialism. You create a shadow that starts inhabiting the lower reaches of your personality. You resist it and it becomes stronger. It goes deeper and is harder to control and see. That is what happens to the things you resist. They persist.
The Ego of Spirituality
Judging spirituality to be better than materialism also builds on the ego. The monster we all want to avoid. Every time you judge you’re reborn. This is from the Law of Dependent Origination, Paticca Samuppadda. It calls the moment you either judge, or do not judge, Passa, or contact. It is when your awareness comes into contact with one of your six sense bases, the eye, ear, nose, tongue body or the directing mind and one of the six sense objects, form, sound, odor, taste, touch or thought. Lets repeat that long and cumbersome sentence. Your awareness, the smell and your smelling sense come into a three-way contact. At this moment you have either ignorant contact or wise contact. Ignorant contact is when you judge. You say or think that that smell was lovely.” I really like it”. Your ego is reborn bigger. Wise contact is just observing the contact or the smell. All the same feelings arise. You get a warm pleasant feeling and you feel the same smell, but you do not judge it. You do not add it to your long list of things you like or do not like. Your ego dies a small death. What we have come to call spirituality is the judgment that certain actions and thoughts are better than others, which in itself is building on the ego.
Relax and Live Life
There is no hurry to be spiritual. You’re spiritual all the time. What you seek in your spirituality is the individual consciousness’ experience of pure consciousness (Sounds like a paradox). The experience of pure consciousness is a short and fleeting experience. It is a holy shit-experience. Aaaaand, then it’s gone. The rest of life is the human experience. This is what “we” are here for. We are all everything – You and I are one. In this vessel, however, we can experience something totally different from being everything. We can experience uncertainty, novelty, excitement, fun, desire, laughing and love, from an individual standpoint.
Alan Watts said it eloquently, and Tragedy & Hope captured it in a beautiful Youtube video:
…Let’s suppose that you are able, every night, to dream any dream you wanted to dream. And that you could for example have the power, within one night, to dream 75 years of time, or any length of time that you wanted to have. You would naturally, as you began on this adventure of dreams fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure you could conceive. After several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each, you would say, “Whoa, that was pretty great. But, now let’s have a surprise – Lets have a dream which isn’t under control. Where something is going to happen to me that I don’t know what it’s going to be. You would dig that and come out of that and say, “Whoa, that was a close shave wasn’t it!” Then you would get more and more adventurous, and you would make further and further out gambles as to what you would dream, and finally you would dream where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today. That would be within the infinite multiplicity of choices that you would have – Of playing that you weren’t god. Because the nature of the Godhead, according to this idea, is to play that he is not. So, in this idea then, everyone is fundamentally the ultimate reality. Not God in a politically kingly self, but God in the sense of being the self – The deep down basic whatever there is. And you’re ALL that, only you’re pretending you’re not. – Alan Watts
You Will Return to Being Ultra Spiritual When You Die
So there is no hurry to be spiritual. You’re all this. When you die you return to the force.
You can’t be more spiritual than being everything eternally. Enjoy this short ride where you don’t HAVE to be spiritual, but be spiritual also. Integrate instead of denying parts of you. It is all you, so why do you deny it? What you do or deny does not change the underlying truth – It only changes your subjective experience of that truth to one of more disharmony.
If you can’t wait for death to be ultra spiritual, you can learn how to be ultra spiritual right now, from this guy:
How to Experience Pure Consciousness and Oneness
We have a part of our pre frontal cortex called the Orientation Association Area (OAA). This part of our brain helps us orient in space and see where our body is relative to “other” objects. It does help you make sense of the world and makes your body an efficient carrier of your DNA. It is however, also the part of the brain that disconnects you with the rest of creation. When this part of your brain turns off, the mental boundaries between you and the rest of life disappears.
This effect has been shown with meditating Buddhist monks under brain scans. Experienced meditators have been shown to be able to turn of the OAA and become one with everything. It has been said that it takes 11 minutes of pure concentration or focus to reach Satori. Satori is loosely translated into “seeing into one’s true nature” or understanding that you are one with everything.
There is another path to the experience of pure consciousness. There are certain states of mind we can enter in our everyday lives, where the OAA shuts off. What it has in common with meditation is that it is triggered by intense focus. This state has in later years been called flow. The group of people that has been shown to get into this state most consistently is adventure sport athletes. We commonly call these people adrenaline junkies, but this term is grossly mistaken. Most of these people say that they don’t like the adrenaline rush that comes before jumping out of a plane or setting out into the rapids with a kayak. What they do it for is the complete shut down of conscious thinking and the feeling of oneness. River kayakers say they feel one with the river. Climbers feel oneness with the mountain. One man who tried to parachute into a cave, and almost died, said he felt oneness with a wounded bird that lay beside him – He felt no separation between them.
The Peace of Non-Judgment
When you stop dividing life into good and bad – when you stop trying (!) to be spiritual – You will find peace and harmony.
When you jump into life and concentrate deeply on the moment, without judgments, you will find oneness.