Category Archives: Spiritual strategies

Start from a Blank Page

identity-795260_960_720Spiritual awakening is not about gaining more knowledge, it is on the contrary about unlearning everything the mind has defined for you and to start from a blank page.

Conditioning is a powerful thing. You suddenly appeared in a world. You were given a name and you started developing a sense of self associated with that sound. They taught you moral principles, maybe you were given a religious education to take you even further away from what you are, you learned the right from the wrong and you developed a value system. You now have more or less defined boundaries, you are an individual clearly separated from the rest of the world but you forgot what you essentially are.

After all, the story could end here, “…and the non-self-lived happily ever after”, but direct experience shows that this is never the case. What is impermanent is subject to the cycles of birth and death, of pain and pleasure. What is impermanent comes and goes in space and time, it is relative and limited and it is the nature of duality. The non-self-quest for peace and happiness is doomed from the start as the non-self is an impermanent state of consciousness, it has no reality. The non-self, the ego is not an entity, it is just a thought in consciousness, nothing else.

pen with hand. color from tungsten lamp

If you are looking to re-discover your essence you must start from a blank page and erase everything that has been written on it since you appeared into this world. When all words, ideas and concepts have dissolved all that is left is a blank page and you, object-less presence, is the nature of the page.

What you decide to write on it is up to you, but once you know you are the page, you are in a safe place, you are established in Presence, your own pure presence.

Starting from a blank page is to stop taking your current reality for granted and to stop letting the mind define it for you. The deconstruction of the reality elaborated by the mind is an important step towards spiritual awakening. It is what the Christ indicated in his parable “…and no one puts new wine into old wineskins…”

Calwen

Your Ego is a Sleeping Sun

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Much wisdom, care, and humility are needed while trying to convey the essence of a living experience. Concepts and ideas are just containers, temporary objects, they don’t reveal they just “point to”. We can’t project more than what we are experiencing and what we are experiencing is never a final destination when it comes to spiritual awakening. 

Keeping the above in mind let’s explore a subject which is at the essence of spiritual development: The Ego.

Essentially a newborn is free of identification, there is no “sense of I”, it is pure Presence.

The identification process starts with the name. Presence starts identifying itself to the sound of that name, it associates “its presence” to that sound, it is the initial seed of the impermanent self, the ego appears on the stage.

We now have a name. Our family has its own particularities. We are part of a nation that has a history.

Later we have a job status and the layers keep stacking, identification over more identification, more stories being added to our already existing stories.

What has been happening is that unlimited Presence has been limiting itself through identification. All that remains is a crystalized “sense of I”, a drop of self-awareness adapted to a particular specific environment but essentially disconnected from the ocean its coming from, Presence.

Identification per se is not a problem as long there is an awareness that it is an impermanent state of affair. The big drama is that Presence is “lost” in the process of identification but only “lost” from the point of view of the ego. Presence is essentially never lost. That mystery is described by the famous Hindu quote:

Having impregnated the Universe with a portion of myself, yet I remain.

We can say that the ego is a reflection of Presence through the imperfection of the substance. The essential rays of light of What IS travel through the layers of substance from the mental to the physical levels and the manifestation of the ego is the visible manifestation of what remains from Presence. The ego, although unrefined,  is Presence nevertheless. The light of what IS has reached the dark pit of crystallized matter and impregnated it, yet, what IS remains and the process of purification can carry on.

You probably heard that the ego must be destroyed, that it is an illusion, that “there is nothing in there”, that the ego is evil, that you can’t awaken if you still have an ego, that everything is happening and that there is no need to try to control anything, …etc. well, it is only one part of the story.

rebirth_by_virus69-d3g8a2u_smallContemplated from Presence, the ego is just a vortex, it is neither good or bad, it is just a natural principle. It will absorb the forces and energies you throw at it and focus them through a specific personality, it’s all there is to it, it is a neutral process but a powerful one, once you are functioning from Presence.

Presence cannot manifest itself without creating, focusing and concentrating forces and energies through a vortex, a radiant point “inside consciousness”, very much like you can create fire with a magnifying glass by concentrating the light into a tiny point, stars do it, so do we. Manifestation cannot occur without such a focus of energy, those who are claiming the opposite are fooling you and themselves in the process (see my article on pseudo-Advaita).

Before being able to function from Presence through that vortex, your consciousness needs to be established in Presence and a “little death” might be necessary. Feel free to have a look at my article on the dark night of the soul on that particular subject. The dissolution of the ego does not affect the lines of least resistance of the personality that will be used by Presence in the post-awakening stage. The core characteristics of the boat don’t change, just the captain.

So, to simplify things, in stage 1 we have John Doe and the world,  which is Presence functioning in complete identification to John Doe, life is seen from a dual perspective, unity is not yet intuitively perceived behind the diversity.

As life is experienced, joys and sorrows, successes and failure, peace and dramas, John Doe starts aspiring for more. One day, through spiritual practise or not,  John Doe realises that John Doe was just a mental construct and the ego starts to dissolve, this is stage 2, the dark night of the soul.

Stage 2 can last for a long time. Consciousness is left between what is to come and what was. Light and darkness are very close from each other. Presence and unity is perceived, flashes of brilliance are occurring regularly but there is no stable vortex through which Presence can operate yet.

In stage 3, the ego has largely dissolved, the identity is fairly established in Presence, the illusion has faded for the most part. Presence can come back into manifestation again, through the lines of least resistance available in John’s Does personality. There is a big difference this time, compared to stage 1, Presence is not “lost”, Awareness is established at a personal and transpersonal level, John Doe is aware of Presence, Presence is aware of John Doe. It is obviously just a way to say it as they are essentially one.

Humanity is swift to jump from one extreme to the other one. After embracing the destructive aspects of the ego without limit, it is no surprise that, as consciousness starts expanding, it goes to the opposite extreme of dismissing it entirely.

The principle behind the formation of the ego is neither good or bad, it is just a natural principle which can be compared to a vortex, a lens through which Presence can operate. Once it is understood it can be used to create living “Suns”, radiating conscious centres of living power.

Your Ego is a Sleeping Sun.

Calwen

Neo-Advaita and Nihilism

NihilismIf you have been walking the spiritual path for some times you have surely heard about Advaita Vedanta which is a school of Hindu philosophy and one of the classic Indian paths to spiritual realization.

Neo-Advaita can be seen as a westernised version of Advaita Vedanta that emphasizes the direct recognition of the non-existence of the “I” or “ego,”. The basic practice of neo-Advaita is “self-enquiry”, via the question “Who am I?

The problem with Neo-Advaita is not the essence of the teaching, it is the “teachers”. Most of them are rightfully recognising that their “sense of I” is an illusion, but they consider that the dissolution of their ego is the destination, while it is only a temporary station.

The dissolution of the ego is a necessary temporary step but it is not the ultimate destination. Presence cannot manifest without focusing itself through the lens of the personality. Realisation is the sublimation of the energies and forces available in that particular personality and not, like most of the instant gurus claim, the destruction of the lens.

The “sense of I” is a contraction of Presence, but it is not a problem per se when “standing in Presence”. Presence can only manifest through a contraction of Itself. What is important, is to be aware, at all time,  that it is just a contraction. The actor must always remember he is just an actor on the stage. it’s all there is to it.

Most Neo-Advaita “teachers?” are generally self-obsessed with the annihilation of the concept of “I”. They will go to great length to convince you that it is unnecessary and that they don’t have one anymore. That obsession is based on that incorrect understanding of the processes involved in the manifestation of Presence. They are also insisting that nothing matters anyway because everything is already perfect. That erroneous conclusion comes from the wrong interpretation of the correct concept of “nothing/everything”, I will talk about it in great length in another article.

The unfortunate consequence of the incomplete realisation of those “teachers?” is that an aura of nihilism radiates around Neo-Advaita. Their incorrect interpretations of real energetic processes is misleading many students and they will continue to do so until they enter the next stage of their awakening. By claiming that nothing is real and that everything is already perfect, they are confusing their followers and disconnecting the heart from the head. A flower does not need unpractical metaphysical concepts to grow, it needs water.

Those new self-appointed YouTube gurus are hammering their disciples with the fact that “everything is just happening”. You don’t really need to go through any form of spiritual awakening to realise that everything is happening. What they indirectly point at is that it is not necessary to interfere or control “what is happening” around you, that there is no need to achieve anything. In some regards, their views are actually very close from the views of Objectivism. Objectivism considers that there is nothing wrong in letting the weakest perish at the hands of the strongest as it is the natural order of things. The current Neo-Advaita concepts will indirectly take you to the same conclusion that there is no need to try to control what is happening around you. I am demonstrating on this blog that true realisation will direct you to the opposite conclusion. Presence can only manifest through the shaping of forces and energies. Presence is the source of “what is happening”, it is immanent and transcendent, the eternal witness as well as the eternal actor. Realisation is not about just establishing yourself as the nothing/everything witnessing Presence, it is about embracing your humanity and accepting to function through all levels of reality.

Neo-Advaita has disconnected the heart from the head and, in that regard, it became an incomplete and misguided spiritual strategy. Their rushed approach to awakening appeals to those who are looking for a quick and easy fix to their craving for enlightenment. Neo-Advaita is spiritual bypassing and, although the new YouTube instant gurus will claim otherwise, the core of their nature is essentially driven by a “spiritualized ego”, elevated to the supramental but still deeply disconnected from the heart of what IS, the heart of Presence.

What YOU ARE always loved and cherished what you think you are. Presence and your “sense of I” are one. Realisation is an embrace of Love between Presence and your temporary personality. Your personality is a tool, it is not about destroying it but about subliming it through Love, joy and enthusiasm.

Calwen