When you explore subjects like self actualization and success, you’ll hear messages like “what you believe you receive” or “pretend it to be it.”
This may be true for the field of action, of thinking and doing. But action is a thin film over deeper reality.
If you try to apply these same principles to being, they will fail. We can’t do anything to awaken. We can’t think our way to non-thinking. We can’t feel our way to peace. We don’t become enlightened through techniques or experiences.
Now, this is not to say that techniques and experiences are not valuable. They can greatly enhance ones journey. But the secret is not in doing but non-doing. In allowing. In surrender.
It is only in allowing that we can become. In becoming, it is made real. Enlightenment is about being, not experiences or ideas.
Missing this point is quite a common mistake in spiritual circles but also in philosophic and intellectual circles. Especially if we have a good mind, we are used to working out our problems and solving or fixing the puzzles that arise.
One of the big signs of this is slogans. Quotes from famous teachers used to discount a point – a classic trick of mind.
“Anyone who says he’s enlightened isn’t”, to abuse a quote of Yogananda. Or “If you can talk about it, that’s not it” from Lao Tzu. Now, these are perfectly valid statements in the right context but when they are used as a debating technique, the meaning has been lost.
Recently, I received a well thought message to some commentary I made on-line. They spoke of the fundamental sense of “I am” you would feel in a place of sensory deprivation. They quoted Kant, Zen, and Hegel. And they stated that there is only Emptiness and the One.
The only problem with this is that it was an intellectual construct. While constructs are useful for relating to the world, if they are contrary to our actual experience of the world, they create an internal division and a resistance to what is. Our mind is battling with our feelings and experiences, making them wrong.
And indeed, this particular author tellingly used the concept of the world as an illusion to discount perception. “Perceptions are not real“, as a concept, helps us build such internal divisions. We avoid how we feel and stay in the mind and senses. Which is ironic given that we think we’ve rejected them. Another good sign of ego playing both sides.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with thinking about what can be and seeking understanding of what it is to be fully human. But we want to culture an acceptance of what is, a relationship with who we really are and what’s actually going on inside. This is the path to happiness and truth, not concepts out of touch with our experience.
The literature is full of such things. Debating which reality is “more true” rather than seeing them as stages of truth and a progression. Many years ago, I took a western philosophy course. I wrote a paper stating that different philosophical positions were different perspectives of one truth. This was not the correct answer. You were supposed to take sides. (laughs)
And now, forget a pink elephant.