This spiritual thing needs to be unpacked. This thing about transcending the world, being immune to the world’s suffering, turning away from the world to go inside and contemplate your navel, achieving a higher state of consciousness in which nothing touches you. All this .. it’s no longer relevant today.
For a start, you can’t transcend the world. You can’t do that. It’s nonsense. The raw reality is that you are here. You simply cannot escape being here in this experience. Becoming spiritual is not a viable escape route .. except in the imagination. You imagine that you can do spiritual things, you can become more spiritual, you can make progress on the spiritual path .. and that you will be cocooned against the pain and horror of the world.
My friend, spirituality won’t save you. It will just imprison you. You will become imprisoned by your imagination, imprisoned by your expectations and your striving and your hope of salvation.
My friend, there is only one answer to your pain and to your problems. To be absolutely present and absolutely open in the midst of the human condition. Not just sometimes when you’re on the cushion meditating. Not just sometimes when you’re sitting with a spiritual teacher. Not just sometimes when you feel happy and you feel like being present and open. But always, always, always.
When you let the suffering penetrate you all the way, when you let the injustice pierce your heart open .. this is grace. Grace is not some state that elevates you above the human experience. It is simply the absence of resistance to what is here. When you let the world obliterate you, when you let the world annihilate you, you just might be lucky enough to become a lover of what is. It has nothing to do with liking or disliking your experience. It has everything to do with tenderness and the deepest acceptance.
The thing is, the nature of existence is duality. There is nothing you can do about that. There is birth, there is death. There is up, there is down. There is light, there is dark. And so on, and so on, and so on. The waves of life keep going … since the beginning of time until the end of time. There is nothing you can do about that. The deepest acceptance of this duality, is freedom.
The more you accept, the more you allow, the more you bow down to life as it appears in your experience, the more you will fall into a state of such ok-ness, such tenderness, such beauty, such richness and depth, that all attempts to awaken in order to escape reality will be seen as childish and futile. And all attempts to be more spiritual will be seen to be useless.
My friend, the only salvation is here and now. No escape, just this. Just this unadulterated presence and unwavering openness.
- photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash