Saturday, October 25, 2008

COMPLETING THE SEVEN-STEP JOURNEY AFTER TRYING THE TWELVE STEP JOURNEY, Part Two

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FROM A SITE VISITOR: [See the 24 October 2008 post for the entire e-mail being addressed. The main issues raised in that mail include]:


***DUI, problems at work, problems in relationships

***feeling suicidal

***being miserable most of his life

***denial and ego and minimization at the core

***did the 12-step program

***still feel there has got to be more

***still suicidal at times

***wonders if the Advaita teachings might help him move on

Signed: Anonymous

F.: Next, Anonymous, understand that your more recent experiences regarding your “self-help” efforts are typical. By whatever means, after the years of misery you admit to, you found your way to a program that—according to a $22,000,000 study some years back—only has a 3-5% “success rate” nowadays. (Teachers of the Advaitin philosophy cannot claim that any more than a fraction of seekers will ever understand these teachings either.)

[Note: The lenient standards in the multi-million study mentioned above required only five years of “sobriety” or “staying clean” to be considered a “success.” Hundreds of thousands, and maybe even millions, who have gone the route you’ve gone will profess to having undergone life-altering spiritual experiences. Many are now absorbed in a one-dimensional existence where their “program” has become their “life.”

Here, there will be no debate with them, and this issue is only addressed when one in your condition arrives and inquires about what else might be available. In your case, the facts presented suggest that some kind of change has indeed occurred; yet the facts also suggest that you have found only a part of what you are seeking, the remainder of which is beyond what you have been given so far.

The description of your own experience shows that the places where you have sought so far have not led you to find all that must be understood if you would function in the relative existence from a position of neutrality and from a platform of happiness and peace and joy.

The evidence includes the fact that you “no longer want to drink but still want to die”; includes the lingering restlessness and emptiness that drives you to feel “there’s got to be more”; and includes the statement that you “still haven’t found what you’re looking for.”

But understand that there is no competition between this philosophy and any other program or institution or organization or “self-help” programs. They do what they do, and often they do shift persons to the third step of a seven-step “journey.” They simply cannot move anyone to any of the steps beyond that third of seven.]

Yesterday, the duality of the comment that “I cannot live with myself any more” was mentioned. All sensations of feeling torn in two, feeling split, feeling divided, and feeling as if one is not whole are rooted in duality. Part of the treatment for those conditions is an understanding of the unicity.

It must be understood that the True Self is merely consciousness that has been freed of belief in all the ideas and concepts that were taught, accepted, and allowed to block the consciousness from being aware of ItSelf and that resulted in it focusing only on the false self or false selves instead.

[Note: that Self is not really a Self at all if the notion is that a “Self” must have some form or name. Take the True Self to be the Pure Consciousness—or the Re-Purified or Unblocked Consciousness or the Pure Witness, if you will—that is able to see all false beliefs first and then the truth afterwards.]

Your work with the Twelve Steps may have moved you past your earlier suicidal thoughts. Fine. Yet it has not eliminated such thoughts completely. Furthermore, that work will never move you beyond the assumption of false selves. It will, in fact, reinforce them. Moreover, a failure to move beyond the assumption of false selves will prevent the peace you seek from ever manifesting. Why?

What you have done is to merely trade old personas that were thought to be “bad” ones (such as “The Driver Under the Influence” or “The Bad Husband” or “The Unsuccessful Employee,” etc.) for personas that you have been led to believe are “good” ones ( such as, “The Spiritual Man” or “The Religious Man” or “The Sober Man”). In reality, the so-called “good personas” are as artificial as the so-called “bad personas.”

The “good ones” will block you from seeing truth as much as the “bad ones.” Either set of personas will fixate you at a point on the “path” that will prevent Full Realization, will impede a complete understanding of Self, and will preclude any chance of finding the peace which you seek.

One can never be comfortable with self…with the false self or the false selves assumed as personas. (The notion that you have become “A Spiritual Giant” will result in a sense of separation as much as any of your former, “bad” roles. Having assumed the role of "The Spiritual One," who else could possibly be as grand, once the belief is that "the summit" has been reached?)

How could you not have problems in relationships if you are constantly uncomfortable with self/selves, if you are feeling “better than,” and if your thoughts and words and deeds are being driven by one or more of the many varieties of determinism rather than by choice and logic and reason?

How could you ever understand atonement (that is, "the at-one-ment with All") if you cannot know the oneness of Self? The Twelve Steps might get you to the third of seven steps on the “journey” to Full Realization, but far more remains if you would complete the entire “journey” to Full Realization.

The fact that you have only begun to move along the “path” explains why you said in your e-mail that even after all that work…

you still “wanted to die,” felt there “has to be more,” felt that there’s “a lot you’ve missed,” felt that “something is still not right,” and feel you “haven’t found what you’ve been looking for.”

And that is also why co-author Mark wrote in A Twelve-Step Journey:

“..I had a belief system that the [twelve] steps alone would be enough. That belief system almost killed me.”

Based in the content of your e-mail, you too are clinging to some belief systems that can lead to a physical death (or to something far more miserable, namely, death-in-life). Please enter the silence of contemplation.
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