Column: The Spiritual Realist
Allow me to begin by recounting the old story of the 3 blind men holding the different parts of an elephant: One felt the elephant's trunk and thought it was a snake. The other felt the legs and thought it was a tree stump. The last man held the tail and thought it was a rope.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
It seems to me that self-knowledge about who we are is an important prerequisite to better communication.
And that self-knowledge about who we are is there because our flesh is weak. For because it is weak that we experience fear. This fear permeates our being and gives rise to our emotions... and that in turn affects our thinking.
But despite this, we occasionally overcome our fears Every time we do that, we experience the spirit. And each time we do or don't, we also define ourselves.
To love, to lose it and to love again. To try, to fail and to try again. To experience lust and to recognise it for the emptiness it brings To make a decision to move on, to let go. Again and again. Or not.
In this act of self-definition, an important distinction is between REAL and IMAGINED fears. Real fears can be solved. However, imagined fears - the illusions grounded in denials, rationalisations, compartmentalisations - defy resolution by any other but ourselves. For any attempt by another to solve the problem will only cause the imagination to create another.
Note: Denials, rationalisations and compartmentalisation are fear-based systems of thinking. I call these "mental constructs". And these systems are carefully guarded by the ego.Imagined fears can be grounded through traumas, bad childhood experiences, and I imply no blame. Nevertheless, they need resolution. Imagined fears have no bearing to the objective/subjective reality to the situation you are in at the moment (by subjective, I mean seeing the other with clarity) It is something brought forward from the past, which obscures and colors the moment.
And so the spiritual journey must always be a personal one (although it can be guided). And every time we overcome a fear, we experience spiritual growth.
Note: Some have concluded that denial of the flesh is the path towards spirituality. I believe that it is through the EXPERIENCE of the flesh therein lies the path to spirituality By experiencing our fears, anxieties, anger, grief, lusts, etc... and seeing them for the illusions they really are. Maybe even our happiness.
Security is mostly a superstition. It does
Whether we do or don't confront our fears - real or imagined - we define ourselves, and from this self-definition we define our world.
Overcoming my fears is the only way I know of engaging my spirit.
If I try to meditate, and know deep within me that I'm running away from something important in my life, I sense a disturbance in the spirit. If I take no action towards solving those issues, then the meditation brings no enlightenment.
Let's see what Martial artists have learned and if it is applicable to understanding the spirit...
In martial arts like Aikido, there has long been the understanding that imagined fear is the enemy of presence, of being in the moment, for imagined fear puts us back in time (by our history) or forward in time (again by our history - past conditioning, fear of failure, unrealistic expectations).And to be in the here and now you must have NO IMAGINED FEAR to start off with The only way I know is to distinguish between real and imagined fears. And that can only come if you are connected to the spirit, at that moment, for the spirit has no fear.
This only takes place in the moment.
Without assumptions, prejudices and preconceptions (that binds us to our past, that may or may not have any bearing to the present) This is the beginning of learning.
To see the present clearly, learning can only take place from the spirit Increased learning takes us to a place where we are able to see each moment/each situation clearly, without preconception. For it is only in the moment that the answers are revealed. To come full circle and knowing it for the first time in our lives. It takes us to the place where we stop trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It takes us to the place of understanding how things are, and how things work. We begin to move with the FLOW.
It is very difficult to see ourselves clearly with our propensities for self-denial. And the way we communicate is a mirror of our current realities. It creates your realities.
If you communicate from fear then that will become your reality. If you communicate from the spirit, you create a different reality.
And that is why you are never given the total answers It's the way of the universe to encourage us to communicate. The laws of attraction.
For me then, spirituality is that growth in each of us towards an understanding of the/a higher power... and its purpose in our lives, for our lives.
That journey is defined by our ability to separate real fears from imagined ones.
The understanding begins by first defining ourselves - and that takes place by first experiencing the purpose for our flesh (and engaging our fear-based emotions and thinking). For the flesh is weak so we may know the spirit. This self-knowledge defines our limitations and reflects back on us by how we communicate.
And that path must lie in the direction away from imagined fears... and towards learning.
The guide in this journey is our SPIRIT and it is a personal journey towards unveiling our gifts, our talents, our purpose in life.
It is the path to faith. And the defining moment is when we begin to love reality (God's imagination, creation) more than we love our illusions.
There seems to be much confusion between the tools towards spirituality... and spirituality itself Meditation practiced as an end to itself. Spiritual messages bound with messages of fear. The offering of spiritual principles without acknowledgement of the process. Spiritual teachings that have produced subdued, fear-ridden people (rather than vibrant ones who dare to live, experience, question and grow).
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