Monday, August 26, 2013
While working on the theme of Vision Quest I found a remarkable Youtube program "Words of the Prophets" The website is devoted to exploring the themes of native spirituality. If you're interested in such things you'll find this a rewarding channel to subscribe to. There are a rich variety of topics and speakers from different spiritual traditions.
The purpose of spiritual knowledge is to give the individual insight into the nature of his or her experience of being alive. Life itself is a vision quest.
I appreciate the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Krishna, the Upanishads and others. I'm convinced the purpose of life is to wake up, or as Jesus said, come to yourself.
At some point being alive will lead to the conclusion that the meaning of life is to grow old get sick and die while having as much fun as can be had before the end. I suspect this is a common way of approaching the experience of life. This point of view leads inexorably to a harmful state of mind.
Religions which require the worshipper to 'believe' specific doctrines are harmful. Once a person 'believes' something in this way he can not learn anymore. He or she must turn their brain off and repeat "I believe." Not until he stretches the boundaries of that belief system can he see outside the walls of doctrine that enclose him. As soon as he does this he is called a heretic. This has been known to lead to some terribly bad behavior by the 'true believers'. This behavior of course discredits any claim to virtue these religions have made about themselves.
Religion stands between God and man, keeping man from asking questions by giving him pat answers he is supposed to file away and use for help in time of spiritual crisis. In this way religion keeps the 'believer' in the dark.
Spiritual knowledge is different from belief systems. From truth comes knowledge. Knowledge results when 'truth' is understood. Simply assenting to a doctrinal belief is not able to impart knowledge. Truth is an intellectual quality which becomes invigorating when a consciousness grasps its meaning and is born again. Simply agreeing to the correctness of specific doctrines is not able to impart spiritual awakening or transform the mind in a helpful way.
When we are awake we 'know' who we are and what the actual nature of our being entails. Providing that knowledge which reveals our relationship with the source of being is the purpose of spiritual teaching. If your teacher comes bringing a book of rules flee for your life.
What I have found interesting is some insight into a phenomenon referred to as the 'kingdom of God' which is the spiritual teaching Jesus brought to the world which he said would transform human consciousness and impart eternal being to the one in possession of that knowledge.
If a religious tradition is more about changing your behavior, doing the right thing and avoiding the wrong thing it will not transform the mind. It will transform your behavior and very likely make you feel self righteous and superior for all your good behavior and right beliefs. You will, however, be spiritually dead while being totally religious.
If a person wants to wake up he will find knowledge that wakes him up. That is just the way it works. If we seek we find, if we knock the door will be opened. The universe is a friendly place at its core. The sublime hidden in the vestures of religion reveals God is love. But religion has a way hiding or corrupting that understanding.
Spirituality has appeal for many who look at the state of the world and recognize society operates on entirely different principles. Society as well as religion discriminates and builds partitions based on its laws. Religion is societies God and as it turns out society is the kingdom of the Beast spoken of in the mystical work of John. In contrast spiritual teaching draws people together in love.
a Clear Running Water state of mind
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