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Precious Spiritual Path
2022, September, Issue 8
Looking at this world, I see people claiming to follow this or that religion, yet not practicing what their religion actually teaches. I see people hopping from one religion to another, without ever knowing what that last religion was. I see people not practicing the profound gifts given generously by great masters. I see people skipping down the Spiritual Path, not aware of their surroundings. This is quite concerning.
Most concerning, however, is when I see people starting with belief, defending that belief, not examining if it is real or not, hanging onto it, using belief as a sort of egotistical spiritual practice. Although this seems like what we should do with belief, especially since this is the main practice of ego, it does a great disservice and it is not respectful of our own Precious Spiritual Path. Our confused mind navigates with belief; however, any belief is a sort of fantasy that is not real.
If we wish to awaken, we must open our heart and mind to what is real, not seek some arbitrary belief. This means showing the utmost respect to our own, very private, Spiritual Path. Belief is merely secondary, something that should be discarded at some point, because it is a lie we tell ourselves.
When I returned from death, it seemed very odd to me that one of the first things people asked me was if it was just a dream or if it seemed more like my brain was shutting down. People were searching for a belief that fit within a material paradigm, which is popular in our times. When I said that death was more real, far more real than either dreams or daily life, this disturbed a few. It was certainly met with concern by almost everyone, because I was shaking up their beliefs. They wanted their beliefs to remain nice and safe. This belief in a material world was shaken.
When we die, we can’t actually take our beliefs with us. We experience reality directly. This may seem like a flash of light or an eternity in light. Not only must we leave every earthly possession behind, as well as all that is attached to that life, we also cannot hang onto our beliefs. This belief in a physical existence must go.
Beliefs are a product of a karmic existence. Our actions, our ego, our grasping at what we assume is reality or some fantasy that we would like reality to be, that is where belief belongs. Belief belongs in a fantasy world.
When we awaken to the ineffable reality that is discovered along with Timeless Luminosity, we discover that we have been asleep for an eternity, without any control, living in a fantasy that we created. This is disturbing for those who are attached to their own delusions, habitually cultivating more unreality in their lives without regard for their Spiritual Path.
In order to show respect to who you really are, it is important to not cling too tightly to belief, no matter what that belief may be. A respectful Spiritual Path is one that honors all viewpoints, while clinging to none. We must be ready to discard what is not helping us to awaken, while cultivating Bodhicitta. When we cultivate Bodhicitta, or this compassionate determination to awaken, it illuminates all of our beliefs. When beliefs are shed by this inner brilliant light, we feel joy that we are beginning to awaken. This is the most respectful thing that we can do.
We should laugh when we realize we’ve caused our own problems, because of ego generating beliefs. It’s not this death experience that is like a dream, it’s our daily life that is like a dream, which is a never-ending fantasy interspersed with entirely too many nightmares. When we begin to awaken, nightmares dissipate into emptiness. They’re not real, no matter how terrible our nightmare, it’s just our own beliefs.
It was very obvious to me in the death bardo that this dark dense realm, this world, this place we engage as apparitions who think they are real, is just a dark fantasy. We don’t need to cling to this. We’ve always been perfectly free to let it go, to become liberated, to become brightly illuminated. The only thing holding us back is this adherence to ego and all the beliefs that ego is defending.
When we awaken, beliefs are liberated. We can at last live realistically, being aware of our real condition, as it is. This is how you treat your own, very unique, Spiritual Path as something that is very precious, not by clinging to belief, but by having enough courage and compassion to let them go. This is how we begin a genuine Spiritual Path, with honesty and conviction.
This Spiritual Path is yours alone. It is precious, and it will lead to your awakening. You will awaken.
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