Several recent events have reminded me of a key point worth clarifying.
The spiritual path is dominated by surrender. It requires we let go of attachments, of the grasping “me”, of suffering, of whatever binds us to being small. Not by force but by allowing, by releasing the grasping.
This allows us to settle in to who we really are, beneath the noise of a person.
The initial awakening requires only the briefest of surrender for the shift to happen. More advanced stages require progressively more profound surrender, even of our progress to date.
But this surrendering I refer to is surrender to our higher Self, to the divine. It is letting go of our limitations to allow who we really are to shine forth.
If we are of a devotional nature or in a devotional period, there may be additional styles of surrender to the teacher or guru. Or to God or to the Upaguru, one’s mate.
But the key detail here – we’re surrendering to the divine within, NOT to the person or to the form or “graven image”. The greeting Namaste reflects this – it is a greeting to the divine in the other.
Spiritual surrender is NOT:
– surrender to a teaching
– surrender to an astral being
– surrender to a person
– surrender to charisma
– surrender to a belief
– surrender to rules
All of these are mind-stuff or less, not the divine. Hence, they are not spiritual. “Spiritual” doesn’t mean anything that’s not physical. Energy is not spiritual, for example. Neither are thoughts or emotions.
Any teacher that encourages surrender or devotion to themselves personally or their teaching is walking a dangerous path with very difficult consequences. It can lead to massive temptation to express what they have unresolved with their students. And it can very easily cause students to get quite side-tracked.
The teacher has to be clear on what of themselves is divine and what remains to become same. Humility helps because the unresolved can often be the unseen, the unconscious. The Rig Veda speaks to this: “By virtue of unitedness and by means of that which remains to be united, I perform action to generate wholeness of life.” Note that key point – what remains is the means, what drives life forward. But if we’re confused about that, what remains can steer us sideways if we overestimate it’s divinity.
Teachers are human so mistakes are natural. The key – do they learn from them? Do they resolve and unite? Or is the sight hampered? Do they seek co-dependency? Do their students “graduate” in some way?
A teacher may well be frustrated by the students blindness but attempts to control will not help. Enforcing rules will culture co-dependency, not growth. If the student isn’t ready, the texts say to have them do seva, service. But again, to the higher not the form.
Similarly, any teaching or teacher that says they are the one and only way is deluded. All roads lead to Rome. Some of course are easier ways but “better” is not “only” and no one road will suit all journeys.
But again, we have to discriminate the message. For example, Jesus is said to have said
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Some Christians feel this means Jesus is the only way to God. But Jesus goes on to say “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well… Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
Clearly, Jesus is not talking about himself as an individual. He is describing his divine nature which is one with the Father, pure Being. If you know him this way, you know the divine. If you confuse that with his form, you’ve fallen for the graven image.
Good teachings speak of discrimination, of self authority, and of paying attention to how something feels. If it doesn’t feel right, then it’s not.
Now, we have to discriminate here too. If something triggers fear or other emotions, that is our reaction. That is not intuition or feel. Feel is behind that, a little deeper within.
We all have an inner teacher. This doesn’t become reliable until we’re clear on subtle levels, often close to Unity. But it’s cousin intuition can still be profoundly useful in our lives. Clear enough of the emotional noise and our intuition becomes a powerful ally.
What’s another name for intuition? Discrimination.