Who are you and what is this about?
My name is Annelene, and, at the request of a few friends, I have endeavored to tell, in a blog format, the story of my recent "spiritual transformation", thinking that it might assist others who have engaged on a journey to "find their Self". All posts prior to today is in fact written as of today (this is what I call retro-blogging!)
What's in this blog for me?
Well, you tell me! It could be:
• Realize that there has been, in fact, through the ages and all traditions, only one "spiritual teaching"
• Make peace with the word "God", with the religion you grew up with
• Learn more about other religions, or philosophical systems (e.g. Buddhism)
• Get some answers to some of your deep questions about the reality of things
• See how you can integrate in your life the wisdom of the ages, and the teachings from some Great Masters of Life that have walked this Earth
• Get a taste of what an integral embrace of all things may look like...
• Read on how others have faced depression, questions of life purpose, or other life difficulties
• Read on how others have survived relationships and sometimes turned them into an all-encompassing Love!
• If you have already engaged on a spiritual journey, discover what are some of the steps and pitfalls!
• and more...
What are some of the immediate benefits of developing a "spiritual life"?
A few immediate, personal benefits that I found from opening up to Spirit:
• Heal relationships
• Deepen relationships
• Experience states of ecstasy, bliss
• Gain clarity, inner guidance, no more confusion
• Strong sense of purpose, of direction in life
• Better memory, easy access to all memories of life
• Better sex :-), food tastes better, music sounds better, sights look better, etc: everything acquires a limitless DEPTH dimension that was not quite perceived before
• Healthier body, more in touch with one’s body, more perceiving of what’s going on in one’s body
• No more anger, no more jealousy, more control over negative emotions
• Deep, joyful love relationship is possible
What are some of the key elements in your path?
Some key elements which have, I think, been an essential part/manifestation of my spiritual growth:
• Seek the Truth – be open – ask (and it will be answered) – listen
• Learn to control my thoughts, become the neutral Witness
• Look at negative emotions in the face: do not resist pain, dive into it, understand it
• Overcome all fears, become fearless
• Purify / heal myself of all negativity, past and present
• Create my life with intent
What are the hurdles on the path?
In my experience, here are the key hurdles:
• Pride (#1 hurdle by far)
• Taking the finger for the moon
• Failing to integrate your Practice in your Life
• All forms of righteousness
• Lack of openness
• Lack of trust (in others, in oneself)
Does God exist? Is there a proof that God exists?
Well, no, there is no "proof of God". Asking whether God exists is not dissimilar to a fish asking: "does water exist? Can you show me a proof that water exist?" God is the ocean, and you are a wave in the ocean.
As every mystic has told you: God is All That Is.
Of course it sounds like a truism, or a paradox, but it isn’t.
God is not to be proved, She is to be experienced, and that experience is not one of the mind.
Once you experience God, you know that She is not a guy in the sky with a grey beard ;-). In fact, you don’t ever need to use that loaded word anymore. You may want to call Her Life, or Spirit, or Being, or Love, or The Ultimate Consciousness, or Pure Awareness, or The Unmanifest, or The Universe (manifest and unmanifest), or The Clear Space of Mind, or Allah, or Yahve, or Rama, or Atman (the Self), or The-Energy-that-Pervades-All-Things, or The-Texture-of-All-Experience, or What-Is, or (you get the idea) whatever fits you best. "God" is no more than 3 letters pointing to the moon! It is just a word. What it points to cannot, by definition, be articulated. "The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao".
In essence, once you experience God, you know once and for all that God is your Self, you declare like all mystics of all times have: "I Am That". You are now the ocean. Why not try to experience it for yourself? Here is a preview.
And in any case, you may want to make peace with the word "God" if you haven't...
Do you believe in God?
Well, read the answer to the previous question and decide for yourself… :-)
More generally, I have never believed in anything, so all questions that start with "Do you believe in…" don’t quite work for me. All my life has been a quest for the Truth, and it has never made sense to me to "believe" in something. In fact, I do not understand what "believe" consists in. In my world, there are things I know, and things I don’t know… (I know this statement rubs some people the wrong way – but this is how I feel).
Do you believe in reincarnation?
Same as above: I have never believed in anything, and all I can talk about is what I know from direct experience. Reincarnation is obviously not something that can be grasped by the mind and there cannot be a "proof" of reincarnation. To grasp anything that goes beyond the individual wave, you have to become the ocean – i.e. experience "God", or ultimate consciousness, or whatever you call it.
Then, once you realize that, in fact, "You Are That", you are All That Is, and that there is no time (because that awareness IS OUTSIDE OF TIME), well, you start to see that all sorts of things that your mind couldn’t grasp before are possible now... But better let you discover for yourself! :-) (for more on this wild subject, you may want to check out this pretty good essay from Ken Wilber -- may take a minute or so to download).
In practice, what is the spiritual path?
Practically, the spiritual path consists of creating the conditions in which God-consciousness (or Space-consciousness, or Emptiness, etc) may arise, and, if all goes well, stay with you. Every path is of course as unique as you are, and not two are the same, but common practices that help create these conditions include the following:
• Meditation and other contemplation, mindfulness and concentration practices (learn to control thoughts and emotions)
• Introspection, clearing the past
• Affirmation, intention, visualization: living more consciously
• Peace with the body (through exercise and healthy diet)
• Reading spiritual texts and seeking the company of spiritual friends!
The goal is the path and the path is the goal! :-)