Friday, September 3, 2010

The Bugbear of Spiritual Progress

Those who consider themselves being in the spiritual path often tend to measure their progress or achievement. Sometimes they feel elated when they see themselves freed from some hang-ups or attachments and at other times they feel dejected at their failure to be so free. They can even set themselves a standard, say of total detachment, when the "soul can enter the dark night" and find themselves still stuck with some basic attachments like money, sex, achievement, food or what not.

But I think this is all bogus. As long as the measuring mechanism is operating, it is clear that it is active, looking forward to the future and measuring the past against the future. And all these are just ideas. If a person is truly detached, he wouldn't care about enlightenment or liberation. He would be "stuck" with whatever he is or has in the present. In some sense, he is psychologically dead. There is no other life. If it is pain, he is the pain. (Of course, he may not be able to help himself taking a pain pill.) Whatever he is doing, he is involved in it. If he is not, he may just be totally aware of everything. But there is no other life and there is no enlightenment either. He has no choice but to let everything else go. Even when he is occasionally involved in them, he doesn't have feel good or bad about them. That's what he is and there is no transcending them; because that presupposes there is some other life. If he is attached, he is aware that he is attached. On the other hand, when he is deeply involved in them, he may not be even aware of them. He may be stuck with them for the rest of his life. But that's life! As UG says, it's the goal that's the problem, even the goal of letting go of attachment.

The so-called "spiritual hunger" is part of the bogus affair. UG and others usually say that he has no "hunger", meaning that the person has no drive to break through. But trying to have enlightenment as a goal and strive for it, is just as much an involvement as any other. I realize that I don't have that kind of hunger. So I am stuck where I am. But so what?

P.S.: Is There a Thought that Results in no Thought
? The question arises because when there is a moment of mere awareness, it is often preceded by a thought. (But then what other state is not preceded by a thought?) The thought may be one of understanding, disillusionment and some such thing. If the thought results in such awareness, the question is whether the thought is motivated, in other words fraught with duality, or it is not. If you say that it is motivated, the question arises as to how a dualistic thought can generate a non-dual state of mind? On the other hand, if you say, that it is not so motivated, that it is one of mere understanding and so forth, then the problem is how can there be a thought without a motive? I think this paradox can only resolved by accepting the idea that the thought may very well be motivated, but saying so what? It doesn't matter if it is. If this awareness we are talking about is also dualistic, because it is generated by a dualistic thought, so be it. I don't care if you call it a pure awareness or dualistic awareness -- I just don't care about pure awareness or enlightenment. If it happens fine, if it doesn't, fine, too. I think we generate unnecessary duality by worrying about a problem like this.