Friday, May 18, 2012

PART EIGHT: SO WHY DO YOU SAY THAT THE RELIGIOUS OR SPIRITUAL STEPS ARE ONE OF THE SEVEN STEPS?

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VISITOR: [Received 17 May 2012] So why do you say that the religious or spiritual steps are one of the seven steps? And why did Maharaj talk so much about spirituality but then tell people to "Just give up spirituality"?

F.: [Continued from yesterday] Your question touches on several aspects of the teachings, actually:

a. Yes, religious and / or spiritual roles must be assumed and played for a time at the third of seven steps on the path away from identification with the false "I" and to an understanding of the Absolute. (Because 97% of the persons on the planet claim to be affiliated with one religion or another, and because millions more boast that they "are spiritual, not religious," then 99% have probably already assumed the role of either "The Super Religious One" or "The Spiritual Giant" anyway and are already playing their roles to the hilt);

b. the answer to your query also calls for an understanding of the paradoxical requirement to play new roles in order to be free of old roles (and shifting from "different-from roles" to "other-than roles " before reaching the "no-assumed-roles condition"). What does that mean? It means that the roles that the masses are playing are ego-states that trigger egotism, so the masses are already convinced that they are "different-from" and "better-than." To move along the direct path, they must play for awhile roles which are something "other-than" the roles that they are already playing;

c. your question also deals with the need for seekers to shift the focus from the physical to the metaphysical for awhile, to focus for a time on the noumenal rather than the phenomenal;

d. the query also calls for understanding "level-appropriate answers";

e. and, yes, Maharaj did change the content of his message after transcending several stages of "evolution" (those shifts discussed in detail in the book "Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj and His Evolution");

f. the query deals with the need to understand that the direct path method and the Nisargan yoga deals with a three-legged "journey";

g. and the query deals with these two pointers from Maharaj as well:

" ... You should go back, reverse, to the source"

and

"Follow the same path by which you came."

First, the Direct Path Teaching Method used to teach the non-duality understanding does not include contradictions but it does include many ironies and paradoxes. One paradox is that arrogance-based, dualistic roles that inspire the belief that one is "different from" or "better than" "others" cannot simply be cast aside in one fell swoop by persons accustomed to 20 or 30 or 40 years of role-playing.

The capacity of ego-states (along with the capacity of ego-defense mechanisms to protect ego-states when they feel under attack) cannot be overstated. They will not be cast aside in any posthaste manner. They will fight to the end to sustain themselves, no matter that they are illusions which are rooted in self-deception.

The irony is that roles that would be cast aside must first be replaced with other roles that are something "other-than" the roles already being played. That is an interim step that must be taken before the consciousness can reach a "no-assumed-roles condition."

Thus, the roles that your culture labels as "bad roles" must be replaced with roles that the culture labels as "good roles" in order for any shift to occur. Eventually, if Realized, there will be no concern at all for what your culture either values or scorns, but initially, there must be a shift away from attachment to the "scorned roles" and an attachment to the "valued roles."

So, yes, it is a fact that the seven-step "path" from identification with the false "I" to an understanding of the Absolute which is taught here at retreats and in select books does include a religious and / or spiritual step. Those new roles that one's culture values must be assumed and played for a time at the third of seven steps on the path.

Consider Maharaj's statements:

" ... You should go back, reverse, to the source"

and

"Follow the same path by which you came."

Because the "path in" from the Absolute to identification with the false "I" includes seven steps, and because in almost all cases (about 99%) the steps included a stage where either religious or spiritual roles were assigned and accepted as being real, then the "path out" must also include those steps (contrary to what the Neo-Advaitins claim).

Why? Because one who had been abiding under the influence of programming, conditioning, acculturation, domestication, and brainwashing for 20 or 30 or 40 years cannot simple go from step one (false "I" identification) to step seven (Realization) in a flash.

If your mailbox is seven steps from your front door, you cannot walk the seven steps to the mailbox, place a letter inside, turn, and then in one step be back at your front door. (Sorry, Neo-Advaitins, but that can't happen.)

However, there is a problem that is encountered at the third step on the "journey," and it is this: most who reach that level (or who are among the 99% who are already at that level) never transcend it, certain that they understand all that is to be understood. In fact, at the third of seven steps, they are far from The Understanding and even farther from "The Final Understanding."

Yet that step cannot be skipped, for it does provide one change that is necessary for completion of the "journey," namely, a shift away from focusing on the physical only to considering the metaphysical for awhile; that is, there must be a shift that allows seekers to focus for a time on noumenal matters rather than on phenomenal concerns alone, and playing the third-step religious and / or spiritual roles can allow that shift to happen.

[To be continued.]

Please enter the silence of contemplation.

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