Monday, September 19, 2011

Sanctimony is Counterproductive

"Q: I have definite spiritual ambitions. Must I not work for their fulfilment?

A: No ambition is spiritual. All ambitions are for the sake of the [individual mind]. If you want to make real [spiritual] progress you must give up all idea of personal attainment. The ambitions of the so-called Yogis are preposterous. A man's desire for a woman is innocence itself compared to the lusting for an everlasting personal bliss. The mind is a cheat. The more pious it seems, the worse the betrayal."

--- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj ("I Am That")

"Most of spirituality is a myth and a dream. It belongs firmly to the dream state. 90% of what we call spirituality actually serves the dream state rather than serves waking up from the dream state."

--- Adyashanti ("Complete Interview") (but here's a better introduction)


jim said...

C.S. Lewis had a similiar take on this emphasizing personal humility and Christian fellowship over longing for immortality as the driving force in Christianity. He said, "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures arts, civilizations--these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is the immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit..."

Jim Leff said...

Yep! Great quote!

But I'm not sure these particular quotes are about humility. After all, you can try hard to accomplish something or become someone without being proud.

I think what these guys are saying is that for most seekers spirituality becomes a "project", and this outlook strengthens the bonds they're supposedly trying to dissolve. It's another thing to learn, another faculty to develop, another skill to get good at. Like learning French. And that utterly misses it. In fact, it thwarts it.

If you live in a two dimensional flatland, you're not going to experience the third dimension of depth via study, or by creating lots of models and diagrams and theories. That's all just more futzing around within two dimensions! You may spend decades at Depth, read every book on Depth, teach Depth Arts at Flatland Community College, and generally have loads to say about Depth. But everything you've learned and done has taken place (quite comically/obviously to anyone observing from outside) within the same-old two dimensional field.

It's all just shit, with no actual third-dimensionality to it at all, just an ironically inane dance within the same old two dimensions, though you might earnestly claim your life is entirely devoted to Depth.

By investing into a Quest for A Third Dimension, you actually heighten your entrapment in two dimensions, because it plays out in two dimensions, and anything you achieve would need to all be cast aside to have a chance of really experiencing the third dimension.

So the point is to not to get caught by identifying yourself with any of this. It's about surrender; a "letting" rather than a "doing".

jim said...

Perhaps I am forcing Lewis' square peg but I see this as the difference between big and small physics: There is something in the grandure of universality/spirituality that does not translate from the tiny individual.It is not just that it cannot be attained but something precious is lost in the effort.

Jim Leff said...

How can an individual claim awareness of the delusion of individuality?

We're all one, but some seemingly are more "one" than others......

Blog Archive