In spiritual matters, if the first step is in the wrong direction, the whole path follows in being wrong. The very suffering it aims to quench is perpetuated by this initial mistake. Once this tiny mistake is corrected, the path becomes straight and clear and Spirit pours through. What mistake is it that I am talking of? The mistake is to think of yourself as being a limited entity.
The mistake is to think of yourself as being a limited entity.
It is like travelling on a wagon with a stone lodged on one of the wheels: the ride is bumpy and uncomfortable. And the faster you drive, the more effort you put into it, the bumpier the ride – there are no points for effort here.
Effort alone is not enough. Effort has to be skilfully directed for it to be effective. We must attack the problem directly at its root. If you take the time to stop and examine the wagon, then remove the stone from the wheel, the journey becomes smooth. Furthermore, much less effort is required to drive once the root problem is solved. Similarly we must also stop and look at our very basic assumptions about life, challenge them, see how they are erroneous and cause needless suffering and ensure they do not operate in daily life.
Effort alone is not enough. Effort has to be skilfully directed for it to be effective.
And what are these assumptions? They are primarily about our identity, our idea of ‘self’ or ‘me’ or ‘I’, also known as the ego. As long as you assume you are a limited separate entity you will consider yourself to be vulnerable to injury and death, so suffering will continue. You will seek security and pleasure, and fear uncertainty and pain.
As long as you assume you are a limited separate entity you will consider yourself to be vulnerable to injury and death, so suffering will continue.
This in turn gives rise to the notion of doership – the notion that the individual is master and controller of their thoughts and actions. There are many other concepts that we hold, often unconsciously, but all are tied to this notion of a separate ‘I’ (the illusion of separation). If that is rooted out, then all the other branches that grow from it wither and die. If the ‘I’ is left intact, then new falsehoods grow back and suffering continues.
So instead of simply ploughing forwards on a spiritual path, first try to stop and look. Find out who you really are. In terms of spiritual understanding realise that this does not mean that you accumulate more knowledge of ‘who you are’. It means that you dispel falsehoods. Find out your concepts of what you are and critique them. When all false assumptions are seen to be mistaken, then they are naturally discarded and what remains is what you are: Ultimate Truth.
So instead of simply ploughing forwards on a spiritual path, first try to stop and look. Find out who you really are…When all false assumptions are seen to be mistaken, then they are naturally discarded and what remains is what you are
This cannot be described, and need not be described. Every description is misleading, including calling it ‘Ultimate Truth’. It can only be ‘lived’ or ‘experienced’. Self-knowledge is non-conceptual; for how can the Self, what you are, be encapsulated in words? It cannot!
All descriptions of Truth have value as they may be useful pointers on the way but they should be known to be ultimately false. Hold onto helpful teachings while they are useful, then throw them away! (They fall away naturally if you let them)