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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

10 Spiritually Transmitted Diseases


It is a jungle out there, and it is no less true about spiritual life than any other aspect of life. Do we really think that just because someone has been meditating for five years, or doing 10 years of yoga practice, that they will be any less neurotic than the next person? At best, perhaps they will be a little bit more aware of it. A little bit.
It is for this reason that I spent the last 15 years of my life researching and writing books on cultivating discernment on the spiritual path in all the gritty areas--power, sex, enlightenment, gurus, scandals, psychology, neurosis -- as well as earnest, but just plain confused and unconscious, motivations on the path.
As I have come to know hundreds of spiritual teachers and thousands of spiritual practitioners through my work and travels, I have been struck by the way in which our spiritual views, perspectives and experiences become similarly "infected" by "conceptual contaminants" -- comprising a confused and immature relationship to complex spiritual principles can seem as invisible and insidious as a sexually transmitted disease.
The following 10 categorizations are not intended to be definitive but are offered as a tool for becoming aware of some of the most common spiritually transmitted diseases.
1. Fast-Food Spirituality: Mix spirituality with a culture that celebrates speed, multitasking and instant gratification and the result is likely to be fast-food spirituality. Fast-food spirituality is a product of the common and understandable fantasy that relief from the suffering of our human condition can be quick and easy. One thing is clear, however: spiritual transformation cannot be had in a quick fix.

2. Faux Spirituality: Faux spirituality is the tendency to talk, dress and act as we imagine a spiritual person would. It is a kind of imitation spirituality that mimics spiritual realization in the way that leopard-skin fabric imitates the genuine skin of a leopard.

3. Confused Motivations: Although our desire to grow is genuine and pure, it often gets mixed with lesser motivations, including the wish to be loved, the desire to belong, the need to fill our internal emptiness, the belief that the spiritual path will remove our suffering and spiritual ambition, the wish to be special, to be better than, to be "the one."

4. Identifying with Spiritual Experiences: In this disease, the ego identifies with our spiritual experience and takes it as its own, and we begin to believe that we are embodying insights that have arisen within us at certain times. In most cases, it does not last indefinitely, although it tends to endure for longer periods of time in those who believe themselves to be enlightened and/or who function as spiritual teachers.

5. The Spiritualized Ego: This disease occurs when the very structure of the egoic personality becomes deeply embedded with spiritual concepts and ideas. The result is an egoic structure that is "bullet-proof." When the ego becomes spiritualized, we are invulnerable to help, new input, or constructive feedback. We become impenetrable human beings and are stunted in our spiritual growth, all in the name of spirituality.

6. Mass Production of Spiritual Teachers: There are a number of current trendy spiritual traditions that produce people who believe themselves to be at a level of spiritual enlightenment, or mastery, that is far beyond their actual level. This disease functions like a spiritual conveyor belt: put on this glow, get that insight, and -- bam! -- you're enlightened and ready to enlighten others in similar fashion. The problem is not that such teachers instruct but that they represent themselves as having achieved spiritual mastery.

7. Spiritual Pride: Spiritual pride arises when the practitioner, through years of labored effort, has actually attained a certain level of wisdom and uses that attainment to justify shutting down to further experience. A feeling of "spiritual superiority" is another symptom of this spiritually transmitted disease. It manifests as a subtle feeling that "I am better, more wise and above others because I am spiritual."

8. Group Mind: Also described as groupthink, cultic mentality or ashram disease, group mind is an insidious virus that contains many elements of traditional co-dependence. A spiritual group makes subtle and unconscious agreements regarding the correct ways to think, talk, dress, and act. Individuals and groups infected with "group mind" reject individuals, attitudes, and circumstances that do not conform to the often unwritten rules of the group.

9. The Chosen-People Complex: The chosen people complex is not limited to Jews. It is the belief that "Our group is more spiritually evolved, powerful, enlightened and, simply put, better than any other group." There is an important distinction between the recognition that one has found the right path, teacher or community for themselves, and having found The One.

10. The Deadly Virus: "I Have Arrived": This disease is so potent that it has the capacity to be terminal and deadly to our spiritual evolution. This is the belief that "I have arrived" at the final goal of the spiritual path. Our spiritual progress ends at the point where this belief becomes crystallized in our psyche, for the moment we begin to believe that we have reached the end of the path, further growth ceases.

"The essence of love is perception," according to the teachings of Marc Gafni, "Therefore the essence of self love is self perception. You can only fall in love with someone you can see clearly--including yourself. To love is to have eyes to see. It is only when you see yourself clearly that you can begin to love yourself."
It is in the spirit of Marc's teaching that I believe that a critical part of learning discernment on the spiritual path is discovering the pervasive illnesses of ego and self-deception that are in all of us. That is when we need a sense of humor and the support of real spiritual friends. As we face our obstacles to spiritual growth, there are times when it is easy to fall into a sense of despair and self-diminishment and lose our confidence on the path. We must keep the faith, in ourselves and in others, in order to really make a difference in this world.
Adapted from Eyes Wide Open: Cultivating Discernment on the Spiritual Path (Sounds True).
 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Polarity in Thought

Polarity in thought does not mean that a thought can be both criminal and philanthropic, both dark and light, both negative and affirmative , or both false and true.

Thought is like a magnet. Magnetism is in every form, and it has positive and negative poles.

With the positive pole , it expands. With the negative side, it focuses. Without focus , there is no expansion. Without expansion, focus is dead. Focus relates man to the need of the present. Expansion relates man to the need of the future.

Our emotions also have a polarity: our self and the other self , or the all –self. Without the self, one cannot see the other self.

Polarity of emotion does not mean that you love and hate. Actually , negative emotions have no polarity.

Polarity of emotions means attraction and repulsion. You attract good and repulse evil. This is how you can keep your equilibrium of polarity.

Our bodies have polarity. They are magnetic and radiator. Sometimes the magnetism is more than the radiation, or vice versa. They fluctuate.

Thus our bodies , emotions, and thoughts have polarity. The point of equilibrium is the ability to choose which pole to use for certain occasions and in what dosage. The point of equilibrium works according to the need and the conditions.

Polarity is not composed of two forces which try to destroy each other , but of forces which try to cooperate with each other. For example, I think, “ let me help that person, without hurting his wife, ”this is polarity in thought. Both if I say ,” let me help that man , to hurt his wife,” I have two thoughts---a constructive thought and a destructive thought. Two antagonistic thoughts destroy polarity in thought.

When a thought has no polarity, it is not a thought but an obstacle in the mind. People fail because they carry antagonistic thoughts in their minds . antagonistic thoughts are food without nutritional value, which poisons the system.

The same thing is true for emotions and actions. If a person has antagonistic emotions, he is in confusion, in storm, and he has no true emotions. He cannot love and hate the same object, although he may deceive himself with words.

Our actions also have polarity. However good and evil are not polarities but antagonistic forces. Polarity in action means that your action is good for you and for all that exists. If your action is good for you only or others only, there is no polarity or equilibrium in it.

Polarity in action means that your action is good for your body, heart, and mind. if it good for your body and bad for your mind, there is no polarity in it.

Insanity is absence of polarity in thought. Sanity is the presence of polarity in thought, used by the power of equilibrium.

Polarity or pairs of opposites:

1. Higher worlds , daily life
2. Rest , labor
3. Silence, talk
4. Attraction, repulsion
5. Interest, indifference
6. Labor for oneself, labor for others
7. Attack, retreat
8. Personality, soul

The polarity of thought is, in a sense, the law of balance. 

Concentration

People think that concentration is only a mental ability, by which you focus your mind on an object. But this not the whole story. Concentration involves not only your mind but also your physical, etheric, emotional, mental and spiritual energies. When all these energies are focused on an object , you are in a state of concentration.

It is very strange but true that the majority of people does not have any object of interest where the weight of their life is concentrated. The majority of people does not have an object of concentration, and their attention is scattered. Such people do not have any life focus; every day, every month, and every year they change their focus from one object to another, from one part of the body to another.

* Dedication is concentration
* Devotion is concentration
* Enthusiasm is concentration
* Faith, in its real meaning, is a concentrated enthusiasm plus the awareness of the future achievements.
* A promise is a form of concentration
* Consistency and stability are forms of concentration
* Endurance is form of concentration
* Nobility is concentration.
* Another form of concentration is self – denial.
* Heroism is concentration.

Enemies of concentration: 

* The greatest enemy of concentration is doubt.
* Another enemy of concentration is the control of the past upon you.
* Another enemy of concentration is cleavages found in your nature.
* Another enemy of concentration is disturbance in space or in the environment.
* Guilt feelings destroy your concentration.
* Another enemy of concentration is imitation of the ways of our adversaries.
* Another hindrance on the path of concentration is emotional hang ups or traps.

How can we help our concentration?

Dedicate your self to a creative project, which will help humanity to free itself from all dangers. 

                                                    Do everything you do with all your heart. 

SUCCESS = INTEGRITY + LEVEL OF TARGET / SELF-INTEREST.