What is a Spiritual Path? In our society there are many options for us to explore to attain Spiritual Enlightenment. There are paths based on a religious practice, paths rising out of eastern traditions and more modern paths stemming from new age thinking and recently established religions. Which one is best? Which path is the right path? How can you know?
The purpose of this article is to explore the meaning of a spiritual path and to share some of the experiences of the writer. It is not the intention of the article to make any practice right or wrong. It is an exploration based on my personal knowledge, learning and experience.
A Starting Point:
My own search started many years ago. My first school was St. Thomas Moore Catholic Primary School in Toowoomba, Queensland. The school was run by the Sisters of St. Joseph and in my grade prep and one years they taught us all about Jesus Christ and about Creation. This set my young mind wandering.
“God created Heaven and Earth in 6 days and he rested on the seventh day,” they said “and before that, there was just God, nothing else.” How does a kid get his head around that? I remember walking around out in the yard at the family farm, wondering about what that looked like. All I could visualise was this big white, bearded and translucent old man just sitting there, filling up everything, watching. It is an image that never left me.
I stuck with Catholicism until I was 21. I remember standing in church one day and looking down at my watch, realizing that I had just looked at it for the 6th time in five minutes. I thought to myself, “I can’t do this anymore.” So I left. Apart from a few weddings and funerals, I have not been back inside a catholic church since. Now Catholicism works for some people and that is cool. It just was not answering the questions I wanted answers for.
Plus, I was sick of feeling guilty for being a young bloke with a healthy libido.
Probably due to discouragement, I abandoned any spiritual exploration for several years after that. But still the questions nagged at me. I started meeting people and reading books. I began to explore more. At 29, when the Salmund Rushti “Satanic Versus” controversy struck, I was inspired to learn about Islam as there were so many viewpoints flying around and I knew nothing about it. I did not want to become Muslim; I just wanted to have an understanding of the teachings. I then began to explore other religions. I started to explore Buddhism, Taoism and even Yoga, meditation and various alternative healing modalities.
I became inspired to find some answers. I explored emotional healing, went to seminars, workshops and courses, and read some amazing books. I began to follow the worlds most prominent spiritual teachers as I felt that they had the answers I was seeking. I felt I was getting closer. But something else was happening.
My ego was growing by the minute. I am lucky enough to have a pretty strong intellect. The IQ tests tell me I am intellectually fortunate. So as I read, listened and studied all of this amazing material, I was getting it; on an intellectual level. I could re-hash and explain the concepts to anyone. In fact, I could present a great seminar on the topic. I was becoming some sort of authority. I cringe now at what I was doing. But, that was all part of my path.
What is a Spiritual Being:
What does it mean to be a spiritual being? For many years now, more and more people have been “exploring their spirituality”. Until recently, I’ve never stopped to contemplate what that means.
First, we often talk about being spiritual. So my first question to myself was, “What is a Spirit?” I asked a friend that question and he said, “It’s the stuff on the top shelf.” Typical Australian answer!
When I think of a spirit, I think of a being that has no definition…not restrained by physical things. A ghost perhaps! A spirit moves when and to where it wants. If you believe the stories of movie makers and those who have told of close encounters, a spirit also appears to have a loving non judgmental presence.
For many, being Spiritual is a persona they carry. It is nothing more than their ego presenting a way of behaving that seems to match a generalised acceptance of spirituality. Some would call it a spiritual identity. And often, a person creates this spiritual identity as a means to gain a level of superiority over others, in a subtle sort of way.
I choose not to judge people for this. When you learn some profound things you tend to feel a little separate from people who perhaps have not learned those things. I’ve been there.
But this is nothing more than the result of a lot of intellectual learning about spiritual practice and about the operation of consciousness. However, because this only involves the gathering of a few new ideas without an increase in awareness, these people are as far away from being spiritual as the money hungry lawyer or the mean tempered bikie.
So what does it mean to explore your spirituality? It means to start living like a spirit lives, trusting your capacity to move and create at will, without fear. It means exploring life with a sense of curiosity, finding new limits and then moving beyond them.
Our right brain appears to be the centre of our Spiritual drive. It is where the core of our spirituality seems to sit. It constantly dreams of breaking free and pursuing a life of purpose, freedom and genuine service to others. It appears to be motivated by love and all of the things a spirit is. It is constantly there, urging us forward, creating opportunities for us to learn to fly by jumping into what seems to be a void. It appears to not be able to see definition or limitation.
But then, there is the left side of our brain. Here we find all of our beliefs, indoctrinations and our fears. This is where the ego lives. It is the ego that wants to keep us safe. It is about survival. It does not want us to leap into that void.
I feel that if we were all Right Brain, we would have no definition; we would be very much like spirit. But the fears, beliefs and indoctrinations existing in the left brain are what solidify us into a solid and very limited being.
So here we have the conflict. The Right Side is saying “Step out of your comfort zone. Feel where you need to be. Go for the stretch. Leap now it will all be ok, the universe will adjust and accommodate your leap.” Then the Left side pops up with, “Don’t be foolish. Wait till it is safer and more appropriate. What will people think? Don’t waste your money. Don’t venture too far from home.” But all of this is indoctrination.
Personal experience tells me that the Right Brain knows. Your spirit knows. Your higher self knows. When it says go, it is time to jump.
Out of these two brain hemispheres arises both Instinct and Intuition. Intuition is often confused with instinct. They are not the same. Instinct operates through all of our fears, beliefs and indoctrinations. It is there to help us to survive. It is very Left Brain. It is not spirit. Intuition is totally Spirit. It is wise, clear and knowing. It does not operate through any of the filters that instinct operates through. It knows. Many people operate through Instinct and believe it is Intuition. This stops them moving forward.
So, what is it to be Spiritual? In my understanding it is to be an explorer who challenges the boundaries set by the ego; the left brain. Being Spiritual is to slowly break down the resistance of the left brain and to become more free and less fearful. It is to constantly seek to stretch oneself beyond one’s own programmed limitations. And it is to be totally compassionate toward and supportive of others as they seek to do the same.
But the defining piece of this is that the spirit’s motivation for this stretch is to make life better in the collective consciousness, for others. Self serving acts are the work of the ego.
Being Spiritual does not involved trying to demonstrate in some way to the world that you are spiritual. That is probably nothing more than an ego mimicking what it things spiritual is.
So, which void are you going to jump into next?
The Development of the Non Spiritual
How did we get to where we are? What happened? Basically, when we are born we are totally free of all indoctrinated beliefs and opinions. It is fair to say that we still have beliefs when we are born because DNA is a product of beliefs. Even science has accepted this.
Let’s Go Back to the Atom:
An atom comprises a nucleus, made up of Protons and Neutrons and has electrons buzzing around that nucleus. The solid matter as we know it, the Protons, Neutrons and Electrons make up 0.000001% or less of the space in the atom. The rest of the atom is made of space, or energy as some refer to it as or perhaps consciousness.
Quantum Physics reveals that scientists are not really sure if the so called solid particles are actually solid. If our bodies are made of atoms, it means that only 0.000001% of our body is actually solid matter and it may be much less than that.
It is has been revealed that DNA, even though it is so small, is largely a non physical quality that most likely contains the beliefs that create our physical features and some of our behavioral traits.
So when we come into this world, we are little more than the foundational beliefs that make up a human form – a spirit existing within a body with very little definition.
A baby does not worry about how it looks or about what other people think. It watches, enjoys and does not need to calculate. Its intentions are pure and it will be loving toward anything that does not frighten it.
That is how we all start out – a pure and blissful being with no limiting beliefs.
Awareness as the Light of Life
Have you ever used PowerPoint? It is a wonderful piece of software that you can use to make all sorts of colorful and graphical slides. As each slide is displayed inside a projector, the powerful light from the projector, behind the image, projects the slide up onto a screen.
Imagine if Awareness had this light quality and that it beams out into the universe, through each of us. Perhaps we are like a slide. The beliefs we hold create the graphic that the light shines through. The resultant image that beams out in front of us is the reality we know as our life.
The slide is not made up of pixels, as it is in PowerPoint, but of beliefs. As the powerful beam of awareness energy shines through the beliefs, our reality creates out in front of us.
When we are a baby, with a small number of beliefs, we see all possibility out in front of us and we are amazed by it. But as we grow and take on more and more beliefs, the image projected out in front of us becomes more complex and chaotic.
And as we create experiences that we do not wish to take responsibility for, we begin attracting things of a similar flavor from other beings in our universe.
As started so clearly by Harry Palmer, our Beliefs precede our Experiences.
The Path of Indoctrination:
As we grow we are instructed as to how to live, how to be. We are told what to do and what not to do. We are handed beliefs by the bucket load. We watch and observe others. Sometimes we choose to create certain behaviours to get our needs met. Perhaps our parents don’t give us enough loving and nurturing attention so we learn how to attract it.
As we grow, we choose to take on more beliefs. With each new belief we become a little more defined as an individual. Our collection of beliefs make us more and more unique.
From this point, a child no longer looks at people, things and events from a pure place with no opinions. The child begins to look through the filtration of beliefs. The connection and experience of the person, thing or event is no longer pure. It is laced with judgments and thought.
It is our layers of beliefs that lead us to think constantly. Instead of just observing things in our world, we are reacting to things in our world. As time goes on, we begin to do things that are out of alignment with our own integrity. When we do, we typically try to justify or rationalize what we did, but at another level we know what we have done. This creates further layers. Soon our mind is so busy trying to manage our life, reacting to belief and keeping wrong doings from being detected, that we have no more energy left to simply be and observe.
And all the while, some of us who have read enough books are telling others how they should live.
As time progresses we begin to believe the story we tell the world. We say things like, “I am too busy!” Or “I can’t afford it!” or “I have to work harder!” Soon these become the mantra of our existence and instead of being a free flowing spirit, we become a rigid, restricted, trapped person.
The brick wall you see in front of you is nothing more than the image of a limiting belief being projected from the depths of your own mind.
The Collective Hold Back
Most of us are ruled by our egos. The ego wants to keep things comfortable, keep things the way they are. Your friends’ egos don’t want you to change. They want you to stay the way you are. The same goes for family and people at work. Collectively everyone is striving to keep things predictable and comfortable.
Have you ever noticed that the only new inventions that ever really see the light of success are the inventions that add to our comfort or entertainment in some way?
But the challenge is this. Where are we headed? It is probably not a good place as environmental destruction and degenerative disease takes over. Really, it is degeneration on all levels, all around us.
What would happen if everyone around you was constantly encouraging you to transcend your boundaries and to strive toward your full potential? Then the world would swing around and move into an amazing new phase of existence.
The Path Out
The challenge now is to get back to the pure essence of the baby. That is the spiritual path, to get to that place where we can be in the world and hold a peaceful, observing presence, without thought, judgment or opinion. When we reach that place, our mind will be quiet and still unless we chose to use it. Our intuition flows easily and we can make decisions from a place of incredible awareness; knowing.
So how do we get back to that place? We are not Benjamin Button. We need to find a way to integrate all of our beliefs, make good on all the things we have done that are out of integrity and eventually still our minds.
The amazing thing is that some people can get to this place through a near death or otherwise traumatic experience. But I don’t recommend that as a solution. If we want to find our way back to the freedom of living a spiritual existence, we need to find a path.
This is where the spiritual practice comes in.
Now some Spiritual Practices were created centuries ago and don’t fit well in the 20th century. Most people feel they do not have the time to meditate, for example, for half an hour in the mornings and half an hour in the evenings.
Many religions struggle as they attempt to indoctrinate their followers with more beliefs. They perhaps make the journey more difficult as the followers try to adopt new beliefs and resist old ones. It can be a challenging process.
The Turning Point:
So back now to my story! As my reading expanded and my search intensified, I met many people. I did self development courses and searched the internet. Some of the courses left me feeling fantastic for several days, but then things gradually drifted back to the way they were.
Then one day I met a lady who seemed to have what I was looking for. She sat there and remained totally present, connected and emotionally available throughout our conversation. She listened as I talked and fully appreciated what I had to say. For the first time I felt I was having a conversation with someone who wasn’t trying to either compete with me or stroke my ego. It was a profound experience.
Later after leaving, I asked another person what that woman did and I was told that she was an Avatar Master. I had never heard of it and was told it was a sort of self development course. When I got home, I googled the course and read the website. It was intriguing although it did not give me any real data as to what the courses was about. So I registered anyway.
Four years down the track, being an Avatar Master is a major part of my professional life. Why? Simply because I found what I was seeking, a still mind, spiritual freedom, a calm and peaceful presence and an ability to look at life with amazement and appreciation, with no judgment.
Avatar is the study of and an exploration into the workings of human consciousness, using your own consciousness as a personalized case study. There is no belief presented that you should subscribe to. You simply use an incredible array of exercises to explore your own consciousness. The answers you find will be your answers.
Are you up for the journey of a lifetime? Enlightenment awaits!
Whatever path you choose, it may well be wise to start now. Times are changing. Who knows where the collective consciousness will lead us next? I do believe that if there is more compassion and forgiveness added to the collective, the direction will be more likely to be positive.
Before I finish I have one more question for you. Did your ego read this document or did you read it. My sense is that if your ego read it, you will very quickly have come up with a reason why you don’t need to explore Avatar. If you read it, I believe you will already be headed to the Website.
Avatar can be found at www.avatarpacific.com
You may wish to subscribe to The Avatar Times, a 26 edition Newsletter written by Harry Palmer that will certainly assist you on your journey. http://theavatartimes.com/
With much love, I wish you well on your journey.
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