What does 'spirituality' mean to you?

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Re: What does 'spirituality' mean to you?

Post by EnterZenFromThere » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:08 am

Thanks so much for that Nisargadatta quote. I read a few chapters of I Am That about a year ago. I didn't resonate with that much of it at the time. Reading the quote you've posted has given me some faith in the wisdom of those who are put on pedestals. Most of the time when I see a Nisargadatta quote it is being used by someone to give their own beliefs greater merit. "You shouldn't do X / You should do X because, as Nisargadatta said [insert misunderstood taken out of context here]". The same for Ramana Maharshi and countless others. I had a feeling they were very wise people but I hadn't seen much proof of it for myself, and was more interested in developing my own wisdom. Reading that quote made me smile big though. So much of what I've been considering recently is represented there. And it's funny that most of the people I see talking about Nisargadatta are doing so in a way that goes against what he's saying here (at least in my interpretation).
snowheight wrote:Each seeker accepts or invents a method which suits him
I find this is rarely respected in the spiritual scenes I have encountered. Often people try desperately to act as though they are respecting the methods and choices of others, while simultaneously desperately trying to shape others in their own image. This kind of spiritual homogenisation is, in my opinion, juxtaposed to the growth of life, which thrives in harmonious diversity.
snowheight wrote:The true teacher, however, will not imprison his disciple in a prescribed set of ideas, feelings and actions; on the contrary, he will show him patiently the need to be free from all ideas and set patterns of behavior, to be vigilant, and earnest and go with life wherever it takes him, not to enjoy or suffer, but to understand and learn.
This is how I feel about my own journey. I came across people who called themselves enlightened and who tried to shape me like themselves. Who acted like my experiences were "not to be sneezed at, but not 'it'" conveniently, they knew what 'it' was but they couldn't possibly describe 'it', so it was implied I'd have to struggle in the darkness of my ignorance with the occasional blessing of this divine being who had 'it'. How lucky! It was valuable going through that confusion. It helped me see that everyone is living within their own subjective reality. No matter how many titles or experiences someone has, they are still operating within their own subjective reality. That's true for higher beings as well as humans. All they can express in their opinion. And no matter their experiences, their experience of being me will never match up to my own. I am the master of myself. I am sovereign of my own independent (and connected) subjective reality. Having experienced the effect such constraining, judgmental and manipulative teaching had on me it's changed me. If I ever began to teach people my focus would be on nurturing them in the ways they choose to explore themselves - not in saying I am a spiritual archetype, become like me - f*&k that! Become like YOU!!!

It's funny looking back on my past experiences. How confusing everything was. It still is sometimes, but not in the same way. The potential of what can happen in the future is utterly magical!

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Re: What does 'spirituality' mean to you?

Post by snowheight » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:23 pm

Sure EZ my pleasure, it's what came to mind from what you wrote. :)

I've never met someone claiming to be a teacher in the flesh but what I've read by way of caution from others is that if a teacher is still unconsciously identified with either emptiness or form, still struggling with ego but unaware of the struggle, then they will tend to project themselves and their experience onto their students.

Aydashanti wrote something interesting in "Emptiness Dancing" on this topic from the other side of the fence. According to him, some folks go looking for a teacher to project what they really already unconsciously know that they are, out onto that individual they've found, in a dance that goes sort of like "here, hold on to my treasure for me, ok? you be enlightened for me for awhile while I get to enjoy being me".

While we each embody a unique perspective, we inevitably form a nexus for the projections of other minds onto the screen formed by our words, actions and other facets of the appearance that this embodiment manifests. I've got a very insightful internet friend who equates noticing this process as it happens -- recognizing our own process of projection -- with the process of becoming conscious.

As Niz said, what every seeker discovers is the same in essence, and this is another way of saying that these unique subjective perspectives are not two from what they are on. All that we ever have to go on for what that commonality is, is what our senses present. This is a relative dance of one thing moving with respect to another, with no solid ground, no bottom to it. It's an unbounded free-fall:

the Universe lives
worlds breath and cry life, feel it
tumbling in the void

The common thread, what doesn't change, what is still and motionless, cannot be captured by any expression of relative movement, and that's what those teachers you rejected were referring to. That essence that Niz spoke of. This is also what Tolle points to as the space between thought.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: What does 'spirituality' mean to you?

Post by snowheight » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:40 pm

EternalPrize wrote:Great question, and something I've been trying to describe better myself lately. I think Alan Watts had a good quote about it.

Spirituality means real life. It is to get directly in touch with the here and now, the basics, the plain. 95%+ people think it means some sort of "transcending" or something "beyond," but really it means what is actually here.

The end.
Yes, well said.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: What does 'spirituality' mean to you?

Post by snowheight » Fri Feb 06, 2015 7:43 pm

Rob X wrote:In 1999 I was going through a pretty rough patch - working too hard and drinking too much. I was totally exhausted and felt that I was on the verge of some sort of a breakdown. One day I was in a newsagents when a little book about meditation caught my eye. Now at that time I had no affinity with anything remotely spiritual so for me to buy this book was a big deal. I didn't tell anyone about it and just put away for a few weeks. Eventually I got round to reading it and tried one of the exercises (following the breath.)

On about the second or third attempt at this meditation, something unexpected and remarkable happened. As I sat there, just staying with the in and out breaths, I became aware of the faint ringing of a distant church bell and suddenly... I fell away. It was as if there was no 'me' in opposition to everything else - there was just simply everything - a sense of utter present-ness and completeness. (This was the nearest thing to a description of it at the time.) It only lasted for a few moments but it felt totally natural and familiar and I knew that my 'normal' condition was somehow laboured and unnatural. Of course I've since come to know this phenomenon as satori and have encountered it many times since.

This 'knowledge' or taste of a deeper, more expansive and natural sense of being is what I would define as the essence of spirituality.
There's a metaphor for the sound of the bell as a sort of remembering, a deja vu. The way I'd describe it is that every still moment of perception, every sunset, every warm summer breeze off a lake, every lover's caress, all the clear and cold glimpses of the stars on winter nights -- all are nit together in a sort of timeless tapestry.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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Re: What does 'spirituality' mean to you?

Post by KathleenBrugger » Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:43 pm

snowheight wrote:
KathleenBrugger wrote:
EnterZenFromThere wrote: To me, spirituality is the exploration of life to raise awareness of life and enhance quality of life.
I like this, Jack. I used to think spirituality meant God had to be involved in some way or other, so when I first got interested in these things 25+ years ago, I said I was into "higher consciousness." At that time I was what I would now call "apatheistic." I didn't much care about God one way or the other (that's a real word btw). What I was interested in was finding out what was wrong with the world, including myself. Why was there so many lies and so little love? As I have written before on this forum, my husband and I followed our own path of self-inquiry, challenging ourselves about our own bullshit.

About 15 years ago, I realized that my path was basically intellectual, and didn't include the heart. There was a lot of understanding but still not a lot of love and compassion. I read a lot of books, principally Alan Watts, and also TPON, and started lovingkindness meditation. Slowly I developed my GLACHH practice, which just recently my husband and I have put in what seems the right order to describe our path: Honesty, Humility, Acceptance, Compassion, Love, Gratitude (just doesn't spell out a good acronym).

After our conversation I wrote this in my journal: First be honest. Say what is true from my perspective without compromise, while, in humility, remember the limitations of my knowledge. Accept the world as it is. From acceptance will flow compassion, because I see that it is all perfect. Out of compassion flows love, because I realize that true love is the experience of acceptance, not some hearts and flowers fairy-tale. Once you have seen this much, your heart opens in gratitude for the experience of being alive.

It's only recently that I've been calling this a spiritual path, and it's because I've come to realize that, for me, spiritual means the search for meaning and purpose in life.
As any notion of the quality of life implicates value, it's natural to make a statement of those in response to that idea, and as far as self-honesty is concerned, as Billy Shakes said "and it will follow as sure as the night follows day that you cannot be false to any man".

There's another cliche that I'm sure you've heard before that I'll justify with the cliche that cliche's are cliche's for a reason .. :) .. you are the meaning and purpose that is sought, and any step in search of that is a step away from it.

This isn't to say that there's nothing to be done. Obviously stuff happens all the time and without actors there is no action. But where there is resistance is where the doer can be found, and it can be inquired: is what struggles, is what makes an effort, is what searches what you are, or a step away from that?
I just looked back at your first post here, about what spirituality means to you, and you said:
After that, I'd consider participation here as my first real dance with spirituality, and I'd define it now as the process of bridging the subjective divide that can be had by reaching common understanding among minds and hearts about what it is that life is all about, or said another way, what it is that we are.
It seems to me that you are saying what I said, that spirituality is a search for meaning and purpose. Am I missing something?

I notice also that you talk about actors, and doing stuff. Does my GLACHH sound like a prescription for acting-in-the-world to you? I don't see it that way. I see it as a description of states of consciousness. These states will inform a person's actions in the world, obviously, but they are primarily states of being.
We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity

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Re: What does 'spirituality' mean to you?

Post by blissrunn14 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:27 pm

Spirituality to me just means everything of me that isn't physical matter or emotional energy. I know there is more to me then that although I'm not entirely clear on what it is made up of, but that part is what I consider spirituality if that makes any sense.

I grew up in an environment of family and people that were very religious, but not in the traditional sense. They kind of had a guru who taught teachings kind of similar to Eckhart Tolle's actually, but like many other very religious groups and communities they warped the information they heard into something entirely different and as a result hurt others around them in the name of "God" or "Truth". They were also very rigid with so called morals and extremely judgmental towards others like gay people or people who had kids outside of marriage etc . I basically grew up around of lot of people who were not very good people behind closed doors (not intentionally, just didn't know any better), but showed a different face in public. They did a lot of damage to me as a kid as a result and my family did severe damage to me as an adult I am still recovering from it. I rejected it all as a teen and about a year ago started exploring and researching spirituality on my own. I've discovered that it's hindering to only accept one religion or school of thought as the truth exists in many different places and can be heard and seen in many different people. I've also discovered that just because people around me may misinterpret and basically corrupt a message doesn't necessarily mean that message doesn't still have some truth in it. I've become a lot more forgiving of those around me in this regard and a lot less rigid in being open to different types of info in regards to religion. At present what I have heard of Buddhism and some things in basic Christianity resonate most with me.

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