The Backlog

The Backlog

Filing Pile by Cas
Filing Pile by Cas

The old texts tell us we have mountains of unresolved experiences (karma) in our catalogue. When we learn how to heal and accept experiences that arise, it can seem like an endless task. And that’s just the “suitcase” we came into this life with. What the heck is the point of doing all this work when we have such an endless backlog?

It’s important to understand that the purpose of practices of acceptance and healing are not to fix ourselves. We couldn’t possibly process every unresolved experience from innumerable lives.

The point of such practices is to shift how we respond to life and the challenges it presents. This allows us to wind down the suitcase and stop producing new problems for ourselves.

The key for handling the backlog is Self Realization. We approach this through a platform of transcendence or samadhi. We need something to bring true Yoga. This does several things.
– it brings us to source
– it helps us to discover who we really are
– it cleans house
– it prepares the ground to sustain awakening

With Self Realization, the light of consciousness severs our attachment to our past. This roasts the mountains of backlog and anything unsprouted in our suitcase.

But why just the unsprouted seeds? They die when the attachment to the ego ends because they remain a seed, in a potential state. But sprouted seeds have become kinetic energy expressed into the world. They have to be resolved in the field (nested space) they’re expressed in. I discuss related points further in The Humanity of a Teacher.

However, there is also some variation in thoroughness. The depth of the awakening and the resulting ending of attachment determines how much is roasted in the moment of awakening. Some have a distinctive break whereas others wind down over time. It’s common for there to be some “shrapnel” to be resolved post-awakening.

It also takes time to wind down old habits and let go of stories and the other residues left after a cleaning. The end of ignorance can take time.

All we then have to deal with is the seeds unfolding in this life.

With new habits of being, we stop creating new seeds and stop rejecting the consequences arising in our life. We learn to resolve and complete.

We don’t have to tackle all of it, one at a time. Just enough to learn how to be. And a few hard nuts. This still takes time but each major step is an upgrade in quality of life and our future.

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    1. Hi Ron
      Nice story. Most of us won’t have that kind of support though, so working it out through inner work and awareness in life is the key.
      In some ways, it’s part of why I write. Most don’t have that kind of support. And it’s OK.

  1. Jeff

    This is the biggest reason why we no longer have to retreat to the forest for a lifetime or two to become enlightened. Although I loved to attend long retreats for deeper meditation. I am more amused by Facebook posts where people try to tell you that you can be happy by just changing your attitude. Instead a of long period of time learning lessons from a Guru, one just needs to meditate and act to become enlightened. Of course, asanas, pranayama, eating good food, and drinking pure water help facilitate the process.

    With meditation, it is only necessary to integrate silence into activity. That process can be measured by eeg, with alpha one brain waves, but also with witnessing sleep at night, and throughout the day.

    Now, we are also fortunate to live in a time where there are many people who have become awakened. They are very good role models, but more importantly, they enliven silence, which helps raise the quality of life not only for themselves but for everyone.

    1. Hi Jeff
      Well – meditation and action do go a long way. But those hard nuts sometimes require some remedial attention.
      I’d also note that while good food and water are important for a healthy physiology, the habits of mind and emotions have a much larger impact on spiritual progress. For example, if we live a pure lifestyle but hold anger, we’ll still pollute the whole thing.
      Having an attitude that we’re above all that is in the same arena as changing your attitude. There are a lot of spiritual practitioners who get caught by that. (spiritual bypassing) Ego likes to be better than.
      And, yes integration of silence is key but we also have to be willing to let go. Meditation teaches us how but how deeply has that been applied?
      Yes, very fortunate. And yes, they serve as examples. When alive silence sits with silence that is awake to itself, it can help the shift happen.

    2. Daniel Skedelj

      Hi David,
      I am not sure if you want to comment on other teachers, so if you don’t want to answer that’s completely fine.
      In the last months more and more accusations against Mooji became public.
      Abusive teacher-student relationship, sex with students,..
      I’m not interested in your opinion on the accusations, but do you think Mooji is really awakened? I even attented a retreat with him 2 years ago, which I liked, but the whole guru thing was quite shocking for me. People kissing his feet, all this things.

      1. Hi Daniel
        I’ve heard something of the accusations but have little background. High profile teachers are also bound to collect the disappointed and the dissenting.
        I’d refer you to the Humanity of the Teacher article and the APST. The second was formed to educate both students and teachers.
        The main point is that enlightenment does not confer perfection. The person remains human, continues to have their karma unfold, and so forth. Growing up and cleaning up are distinct processes from waking up. Someone can be very awake and still be an angry jerk, for example.
        Put anyone in a position of power and it can quietly corrupt them unless they are very conscious of power dynamics and avoid things that can draw them into it.
        He’s not been culturing healthy boundaries in any case. Westerners don’t generally respond in healthy ways to eastern devotional expression.
        Alas, corrupt spiritual leaders are all too common. Along with bad ideas about what enlightenment gives us. It’s not an escape from our humanity but an upgrade.

  2. K

    Ah yes! Those hard nuts. It is amazing how the small events, and their different psycholoigcal issues are rooted in spiritual progress. I am always impressed how much psychology and spirituality are intertwined. It is probably true that our physical anatomy/physiology has some relationship to our spiritual structure but that is harder for me to see than psychology and spirituality relationship. For me (and I assume everyone is different) it feels like my spiritual progress comes through some sort of psychological “un-knotting” or unpacking and ensuing clarity. Ay Karamba!

    1. Hi K

      Yes, it’s all interrelated. Spirituality influences psychology influences physiology influences spirituality. Spiritual progress comes most deeply through touching source. But the above means we also have to prepare the ground to support that in the psychology and physiology. Thus we tend to notice progress when there is shifts and unknotting in the medium of experience. Something releases, we open, and deeper values rise to the surface.

  3. J-J

    Thank you David. I like the sprouted seeds analogy. So the unsprouted seeds are dealt away by meditation and the awakening process but since the sprouted seeds are in the relative, we should address them at that level, right? This should be something that we take it as it comes or else it can pull us to far into “ego fixing” and endless navel gazing which can reinforce ego identification.
    There seems to be a tendency in spiritual communities to engage in spiritual bypassing, right?
    My question is: did the Vedic tradition (or other ancient traditions) addressed spiritual bypassing or is this more of a modern issue with the west?

    1. Hi JJ
      Yes, the sprouted seeds will show up as blind spots, reactivity, and events in our life. They are essentially unresolved experiences so we can resolve them by experiencing them.
      This usually happens through events and reactivity. But as we get clearer, we can begin to feel the contractions within. Then we can heal them energetically and don’t have to live them out as much. On that level, we just feel the charge or emotion. It washes over us briefly and completes. Done.
      And yes, we don’t want to spend our days trying to fix everything. Rather, when events arise or we feel a contraction, then we know things are ripe and it’s a good time to let it go.
      Spiritual bypassing is quite a bit more subtle than most realize. The reason these things are not conscious is because they have a shadow quality, based on their tamasic nature. That also means there is resistance to change (let go). Ego loves to take the attitude that is is above all that petty stuff like emotions and we tune out emotional awareness. Yet if you ask yourself how you feel right now and there is a blank or no words, there is shadow in play.
      Spiritual traditions have talked about this but the West has become experts in emotional suppression. The scale of bypassing is much greater in the current time. But thats just the blind spot of this particular culture. Others have a an issue with emotional excess, for example.

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