“Enlightenment is nothing more than progressive disillusionment”
~ Gautama Buddha
I’m completely grateful for my extensive background in personal and spiritual development. It has served me extremely well and it’s brought me to a certain level of growth and fulfillment.
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That being said, I also now see how I’ve outgrown the approaches that these modalities provide in their traditional format. Please understand, I’m not saying they’re not valuable, they are, and I respect them greatly. All I’m suggesting is that I have personally, as The Buddha stated, become disillusioned with them as the end-all-be-all I once thought them to be. At least in their current format.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child,
I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
~ I Corinthians 13:11
Here’s my current opinion and position on these industries—take it or leave it.
Traditional personal development is a shotgun approach that is most often steeped in romanticism and fantasy, and I believe traditional spiritual development to be the same. In my experience both have become much too tied to fantasy, magical thinking, and broad-brush techniques founded in generalities and external saviors… regardless of whether the saviors are individuals, theories, belief systems, or techniques.
As a result… we’ve given up our power to some external source and subsequently, we’ve lost our way.
Obviously, there are exceptions to any rule.
I submit that this traditional mindset is so indoctrinated into our psyche (particularly in the West) that it pervades even economic and political arenas. I recall November 4, 2008, when many believed the “second coming” had been elected to the office of the US presidency. Obama was “the savior” in many eyes and yet here we are almost 6 years later… and we still remain unsaved.
I recall watching an interview in which one romantic follower opined “Now that Obama is president… I won’t lose my home!” Was this true? I have no idea. But I seriously have my doubts.
This is not a political statement of my position pro or con regarding Barack Obama. I’m wise enough to keep those opinions to myself in this forum. Rather it’s a statement about the human psyche and our endless search for an external savior, technique, magic bullet, or secret sauce that I’ve written so much about over and over. (reference both Life versus Fantasy and Alchemy series)
Often when things appear to be falling apart…
they’re actually falling into place on a much grander scale
Maybe it’s time to consider that we don’t need to “be saved” in any way shape or fashion. What would happen if we realize that everything is perfectly on course and in alignment with Universal Will? Regardless of appearances. And regardless of the pain (that we often create from our own resistance and lack of understanding). Regardless of the often childish desires of our small personal will.
With this awakening… how would life and living change?
I remember sitting in a meeting of tree-hugging individuals some years back who was pining over all the animals that were becoming extinct; and how passionate (remember passion translates as suffering in Latin: reference the Alchemy series) they were about saving them.
After about an hour and a half of listening to them all playing to their collective choir, and scratching each-others collective itch, I finally stood up and asked, “What if it’s time for those animals to go so that something new can emerge?”
You could have heard a pin drop.
I could feel the eye daggers from every angle.
If looks could unleash demons they did so in that room in an instant.
In this case, no one did very well.
Needless to say, I wasn’t called upon again.
Had they been around would they have made the same argument for the T-Rex? Seriously doubt it.
They’d supposedly give anything to save the animals “that they loved”… but simultaneously murder me with their eyes and thoughts. Interesting.
You must let go of what is… to allow for that which is waiting to emerge.
Now please, before you unleash your own personal demons upon me, realize that I absolutely love animals; and I’m passionate about the planet and future generations. In fact, as an aside, I think it absolute lunacy that we consider ourselves the greatest species “because of our intelligence” yet we allow pure economic motives and greed to override the ability to sustain and care for our species and our future.
But that’s an entirely different topic, and that was not my point. My point is that there’s something bigger than us in charge. More on that in a minute.
If you want to attempt to save the planet and other species… go for it if that makes your heart sing. That’s a worthy purpose. Frankly, I’m not worried at all about Mother Earth—I guarantee she’ll survive. The human species? Now that’s another story.
Oh, by the way, I’ve just shared a fundamental principle of the next stage of development in my opinion—always follow your own music versus someone else’s. Even if that someone else is a so-called “expert.” Even if they think you’re music is out of tune.
Following your own music presupposes that you must know clearly what that music is. Key point. Ponder it deeply. Ponder it well.
As I stated above, something bigger is at the helm… let’s call that Life itself. Life always moves forward, never backward. Nothing can work contrary to its essence. You’ll hear this from me again and again—you can bet on it.
If Life is about Life then it can only be about more Life. Further expansion, experience, and expression. It cannot work contrary to its essence. Even if it looks like just the exact opposite. Do you follow?
Herein resides yet another principle of the next phase I’m alluding to: Everything in Life is about Life—regardless of appearances. Can you get your mind around that?
“In the entire Universe, there is only one mind.” ~ Erwin Schrodinger
I happen to agree with Schrodinger, and I believe that something way more intelligent than our small personal intelligence and will is in charge, and by the way, I’m grateful for it.
This does not absolve us of responsibility (response-ability: the ability to respond), quite the contrary. It necessitates that we respond with the greatest of faith and trust even in the midst of a shit-storm. Even when animals and possessions, and businesses and things are passing away that we hold near and dear.
Wow! Ruminate on that one for a day or three.
But this is not the party line, is it? And it’s certainly not popular in a room full of those who espouse traditional and/or romantic personal and spiritual development values.
That’s fine. But if we all sing and espouse the same party line, who’s going to shake things up? Who’s going to make us think? Who’s going to take us forward?
No one who was normal ever made history.
Of course we know better about the animals, the planet, our things, our economy, and our lives than Universal Will does, right? Severely wrong.
We want to “control and create our own reality,” don’t we? And we want the Universe to conform to our personal will. We want everything the way we want it! And we want to fantasize that things continually get better and better… expand infinitely without letting go of anything. Well, how’s that one working for you? How childish is that?
We’re often like the child in the grocery store laying on the floor kicking and screaming because mommy won’t buy the candy bar. Seriously?
Mommy knows the candy bar is not good for the child. Mom knows diabetes is rampant. Mommy knows there are better ways to spend money. Mom knows about tooth decay. Mommy knows the child is going to experience tremendous pain when the school kids call him doughboy. Mother knows the bigger picture. Is there a metaphor here? Yes. I think there is!
We might as well pray to the god of thunder, the god of fertility, and the god of the crops like the ancients used to do. Do a few dances. Shake a few rattles and throw some bones. Put out some sacrifices to appease the possessive, temperamental, immature gods we once projected from our own lack of awareness. Hope, pray, chant, dance, supplicate and circumambulate so these gods might just throw us a few scraps from the table of the gods and show us a favor. Please!
The alarm is going off and it’s time to wake up… are you hearing it? Are you getting up? Or are you hitting the snooze?
The apparent paradox is that from a truly awakened perspective we do create our own personal reality. Just not in the childish way we’ve been romantically conditioned to believe. Ponder that one.
Every staircase or ladder we climb
must always start on the first rung.
Let me repeat once more that what I’ve now labeled “stage one” is valuable. It’s in stage one that we realize several critical things:
“Hey, I can do better. I can do something to change my life! And I can build my own business as well as life. I can do something I really want to do. There’s a power in the Universe that I can tap into.”
Yes. Yes indeed.
Even when the aspirant sets off in a deep childish fantasy. Chasing some external understanding, law, technique, belief system, savior, or god (which is most often the case)… even then, in my book it’s good. It’s all good. It’s all more Life! These individuals are actually taking the first step and the initial actions to claim their birthright and take their own power back.
Yes, they’re in for a big wake-up call at some point (if not in this lifetime then the next)… but that’s good too. It’s all good.
There will always be more people in grade school than grad school…
but grade school is always a prerequisite
And the journey continues…
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