Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Spiritual Path is a Slippery Slope.

In any place that you may be standing there is a circle surrounding you. The circle has a deep and profound meaning in relation to life but we won’t be going into that within the (pun intended) parameters of this post. Suffice it to say that a circle is more than a circle even though a circle is a symbol of the whole. It also restricts what is within it and is a barrier for what is outside of it; if not a barrier then certainly a demarcation line.

I don’t like to get into negative associations at this blog. The link I offer here is by way of exampling a particular area of endeavor that is referred to as ‘spiritual’. It’s a typical proponent of the New Age. You will note the obligatory list of radio and television appearances which are meant to confer legitimacy; the writing endeavors which also confer legitimacy and last but certainly not least, ‘The Angel Blessing Candle Kit’. This last does not appear to be an expression of legitimacy but it certainly indicates market sense.

You can follow to the main site from this page and scan the author’s stable, which also contains some amount of the fodder drawn for conventions around the U.S. and I suppose... foreign venues too. This is one circle of representatives of new age thought. There are others. If you’ve ever walked into a large spiritual new age book store you’ve seen the hundreds and thousands of books that deal with emerging modalities that treat all mainstream and arcane conditions with some ritual or routine. For all I know there’s some good to be found in some of them. I’m not here today to address the efficacy of any of them. I learn enough from the presentation to make an informed judgment for myself.

Much of these therapies and practices have spilled over into the mainstream. You’ll find the books at Borders and any other chain. There are conventions and seminars and retreats. There are lectures and tapes and DVD’s. It’s an entire department store of information and items that may or may not do what they claim. They’re not unlike religious bookstores and religious stores that sell pictures and icons, statues and jewelry and assorted relics that may or may not possess some mysterious power or impact upon the mind toward the stimulation of faith.

Attendant with any movement that presents itself as new age or spiritual there follows the business end of the operation. In this sense there is no difference between them and ordinary business. They offer something for sale and you purchase it. Whether it is long established, organized religions; new age systems, flying saucer associated operations like The Raelians or Scientology, there’s a company store that takes you a step at a time toward something... somewhere.

There are organizations that present themselves as agents of light and there are darker venues that make no bones about their affiliations. There’s a question of legitimacy with most of them and all of them make a circle that keeps something in and something out. Some of these groups like the Elizabeth Claire Prophet group are said to have an affinity for machine guns. Rajneesh who became Osho had quite the security setup and that group’s story is well known. The Hari Krishna meltdown is nicely exposited in the book, “Monkey on a Stick”.

I think highly of Paramahansa Yogananda but if you look at his organization and the splinter groups with their war of words on the legitimacy of this or that group claiming to be the true vessel... it’s a discouraging thing.

It always seems to come down to money and power. It’s about the inside and not the outside. Since the ancients tell us that the kingdom is within and that it is realized by shucking off the things of the world, or learning to live in the world but not be of the world, it’s a strange contradiction what happens a lot of the time.

I don’t see anything wrong with selling books or DVD’s. It’s a matter of balance really. It’s a matter of where the priority lies. My concern here is whether you get what you are going after, not any particular peculiarities of any particular organization.

Personally, I think you need a teacher. I’m convinced that you won’t get far without one. I’m also convinced that at any point where the impetus strikes you to seek for the answer that you have a teacher already; whether known to you or not. I think the onus on the seeker is to have good intentions and to be consistent in efforts and practices. I think the seeker also has to be willing to let go of anything at any time in order to evolve in understanding.

If you have a teacher then there isn’t much need for books except to give the mind an opportunity for inquiry. For some people this succeeds, for a time, where simple self-inquiry might prove too arduous or amorphous. Is ‘the self’ contained in a circle with everything else beyond the perimeter? What is the self and which self are we talking about? We look outside and we see a multitude of selves. We look inside and often see a multitude of selves. The inside of the mind can be as much of a funhouse hall of mirrors as the outside.

You hear about the voice within. If there is only a single self within then to whom is that voice within speaking? Maybe it is speaking to the soul, which is a vehicle for the self. Maybe it is something similar to how the reins in the hands of the wagon driver inform the horse. That’s how it seems to me and I have to admit to being affected by the Hindu posters and art of various sorts. Maybe the soul is a more permanent self than the mind’s identity of the holder in a particular incarnation. Maybe the soul at some point then merges into the supreme self and becomes God. This would account for those who are great souls and those who embody the self. By example I give you Gandhi as opposed to Ramana Maharshi or he whom Meher Baba claimed to be. I don’t dispute Meher Baba’s claim. I like Meher Baba. The truth is that I just don’t know.

It’s a slippery slope. Even when you are on the right track there are wrong tracks presenting themselves on all sides all along the way. How do we gain the focus and determination not to falter? We are all at different levels of understanding. Let’s imagine for a moment that we are not neophytes. I would imagine that for those who are not neophytes, the presentations of religion and new age thought as well as so many philosophies and various available clothing and outfits are veils before an aperture. Sooner or later you find yourself where neither books not organizations can take you any further. It is natural that we should discard outworn devices. For most of us, this is not possible or desirable. It can be downright frightening. This is why I always come back to Love. There may be something greater than Love but I doubt it can be discovered without it.

My point is, in the confusion of all that is offered, I suggest you fall back on Love. Somehow, to me; Love, Wisdom and Realization are deeply connected at the source and the pursuit of any leads to each and all. It’s a simple thing. Of course, the mind and transient identity insist that comprehension is within their grasp. I suggest that it is not and never will be and that is frightening too. So Love seems to presume trust and faith as well.

As much as a circle may demarcate what is inside and outside of it, it also leads back to its own beginning in the linear sense; ergo, the serpent with its tail in its mouth. Basically, I don’t think you can go wrong with Love even it you don’t know where you are going. For me it is the safer course and since it has been said that Love makes everything like itself, it might be that that is the answer to the question of the self. I don’t know but it is what I think about.

Visible sings: Color Ball by Les Visible♫ It Must Be Love ♫
'It Must Be Love' is track no. 8 of 12 on Visible's 2007 album 'Color Ball'

Color Ball by Les Visible


kikz said...

mornin les,

i have no idea how to classify myself (neophyte?) in my wanderings...
but in a spirit of love/light i wanted to share some of my findings, which i hope will be useful for others.


i tend to the more ancient/perennialist schools for my lessons. as such, my understanding is that when the seeker/student is ready/prepared to learn the teacher(s)/knowledge find the student, whether the student is conscious of the teacher or not. the teacher(s)/lessons may take innumerable form, from contemporary mortal entities and situations to ideas/ideals expressed in ages past. my key is... the core message remains the same, no matter the teacher/lesson or the culture/time. the continuity of message does not alter.
the thread winds its way thru age and medium, unbroken.

on a silly the immortal words of led zeppelin "The Song Remains the Same". :)

if in my studies i find divergence from this continuity, further examination reveals unerringly...(so far) that i've wandered down a dead end 'reflected/false light' path.
as my studies have progressed, i've noted that my intuitive faculty has progressed and this recognition of false light is usually quite swift. saves time for the good stuff :)

the teacher teaches as an expression of Love w/in this plane of existence.

my limited understanding of the nature of 'Love' is that it is given freely, and can not be bought or sold. for if it is, then it's not what it proports itself to be, just something else entirely... most probably a cautionary lesson on the true nature of love.

if - the teacher is charging for that Love/Light...
i naturally question how genuine the 'Love/Light' actually is. :)

Anonymous said...

The only time I've ever had contact with new age itemry has been in religious bookstores that had a toy I wanted for my kid in the window. So I was led in. In a way, these bookstores remind me of the shops in Guyana and in Teheran. Those locations had stores with a one product idealogy focus and nothing else although they describe themselves as a convience store does. (Neon, thugs leering around outside, empty refrigerator cases, no soap, no matches, no food). I get the idea that New Agers definitely don't exist on the plane I inhabit, or yours. They're more like the greenies, voices of reason from the far right preaching to the choir. We must as a people have reached population saturation. There are so many more people than we imagine. They all want a gig. Thus we end up with things like Christmas light-up conch shells with a plastic Jesus.
Its weirder amd weirder out there.

Love, Nina

Anonymous said...

I wrote the postmortal song for me
And it was played on my funeral party.
Donations were made to the Cult of Thee:
The Lord, The God - A Wonderful Artist...

Anonymous said...

There will be A Day of Life Abuse:
no working day for working women...
TV will run historical news,
news from Life that went in oblivion

Anonymous said...

An ancient esoteric text "Light On The Path" says "when the pupil is ready the Master appears".Getting ready is being selfless and serving out of Universal Love.The Master is always waiting for us but we are yet to be ripe.It has nothing to do with organisations.It is individual awakening.

Visible said...

Chapter 10 of Spiritual Survival in a Temporal World is now up Here

Visible said...

Chapter Five of the online thriller, "The Whine" is now up Here

Sorry about being slow putting chapters up. The book is finished so I've no real excuse except for being really busy.

I'm having real problems getting blog fonts and text and colors together since Blogger screwed up the interface and hasn't repaired it. I don't know when it will be possible to fix everything. Hopefully I can move all of my blogs soon where I won't have to be dependent on this service.

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Visible,

I am hidden though a great source of light and heat.

I stumbled across your blog and thought I'd say hi, and then double it !!

Grasping the unseen, without hand...


99 said...

Two things I'm certain help the seeker with enough depth to really see are: [1]the book Learning How to Learn by Idries Shah, and [2] the Zen quote, You are not it; it actually is you. Actually, the Zen canon is rife with quotes that make one weak in the knees once realization has dawned, but that one seems a really good one for people to gnaw on while they try to drop the distractions and experience reality. The seeker does not choose their teacher; the teacher chooses the seeker. How could it be otherwise? Karma sets one in front of you when you are ready. Spiritual consumerism only leads away.

the_last_name_left said...

Syncretism is not only, as the dictionary says, "the combination of different forms of belief or practice;" such a combination must tolerate contradictions. Each of the original messages contains a sliver of wisdom, and although they seem to say different or incompatible things, they all are nevertheless alluding, allegorically, to the same primeval truth.

As a consequence, there can be no advancement of learning. Truth already has been spelled out once and for all, and we can only keep interpreting its obscure message.

If you browse in the shelves that, in American bookstores, are labeled New Age, you can find there even Saint Augustine, who, as far as I know, was not a fascist. But combining Saint Augustine and Stonehenge -- that is a symptom of Ur-Fascism.

Umberto Eco

Visible said...

There is a new chapter of Spiritual Survival in a Temporal World Here

Chapter 11.

Anonymous said...

Obama offered the job of chief of staff to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, ABC News' Jake Tapper reported today.

And..........THEY'RE OFF!!!!!!!!



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