As you have noticed, somehow I have not had the itch lately to write on this blog. One of the main reasons is that I feel like I have said everything I wanted to say already, and that I am starting to get bored at myself repeating myself. Anyway, I am currently traveling again sitting in a street cafe in lovely Tirana/ Albania while it is raining. I can’t help it but when I am relaxing and resting, like now, I quiet naturally come to think about the human situation and the universe.
Something I have been wanting to share for some time is a “translation” of Eastern spiritual terms into Western (psychological) concepts. While concept remains concept no matter how it is framed, the de-mystification of Eastern terms is a necessary task in one’s spiritual journey, I think. I’ve seen it many, many times that people get lost in the spaced-out mumbo-jumbo of the esoteric new-age kind just because they misinterpret spiritual terms as real facts or as magical gates to another world. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. Spiritual terms are very clever down-to-earth symbolic tools pointing to immediate everyday experiences and not to imaginary worlds. They try to break the hallucinatory spell of the mental image world, not replace it with a new one. For it is our images of the world that create our suffering. It’s the fight against our own mental “ghosts” that create Samsara.
Thus, this post is all about spiritual terms (“pointers”) and what message they actually want to bring across.
All One / Not Two
The universe is a completely inter-dependent, symbiotic organism. Nothing is not connected to the universe/ organism (“IT”). Since all there is, is IT it is misleading to speak of “all one”, because “one” implies “two”. Thus, “not-two” or “non-dual” is the correct pointer pointing to that which transcends other-ness.
“Not-two” is not something that can be grasped by the mind because our minds are hard-wired to work in dualistic terms (aka “pairs of opposites”). We can only know “good” as we contrast it with “bad” and vice versa. “Good” and “bad” either arise co-dependently in our minds or they won’t arise at all. So, our mental world, the source of our suffering, is made up of such pairs of opposites. Or in other words, our minds create the (mental) world we live in by interpreting the sensory experience according to our dualistic ideas about reality.
So, “not-two” is the tool to transcend the dualistic mind and thus the ultimate pointer to the unfiltered, immediate experience of the present moment: that which “is” prior to the mental noise about it. The experience of “not-two” is the experience of “this as it is” (“reality”).
Ignorance / Dream-State / Maya
Because of the pair of opposites, we perceive the world as separate bits and pieces while in reality they are different aspects of IT. The most fundamental illusion of that kind is the perception of a “me” vs. an “other”. Yes, we are different individuals but at the same time a mask of IT. We are all IT. Everything is what it is and at the same time IT. Two and not-two simultaneously.
Attachments are psychological hang-ups due to clinging or resisting to mental images of reality. These mental images of reality (“how things should be”) are based on judging aspects of IT as “desirable” or “undesirable” and thus are rooted in ignorance about the fundamental nature of IT.
The human organism’s survival function that defines one’s characteristic social role. The social role is the ego’s answer to our fears of vulnerability. In fact, all of the ego’s expressions (like assertion, denial or adaptation) are based on this fear which in turn is nurtured by the ignorance about IT.
One’s genuine personality that is covered by the social role and only shown when we feel “safe”.
The capability and readiness to emotionally sharing somebody else’s vulnerability as one’s own vulnerability is acknowledged.
Living hung-up on one’s attachments.
Realization of the illusory nature of one’s mental images. Experience of “reality”.
Liberation / Nirvana
Emancipation from one’s self- or socially induced mental images about reality.
The state when mental images have become transparent and are dismissed easily as devoid of reality.
The absence of the urge to seek for change, to produce results or to one-up due to the falling away of the need to justify or prove one-self after liberation.