"When I forget my ways, I am in The Way"

Philosophical and experiential notes on Nothingness, with supporting insights from martial arts, quantum physics and Taoism

04 July 2013

Hyperglycemic Spirituality


Spiritual advancement is stuck in hyper and hypoglycemic highs and lows, in a constant shift from euphoria to depression and all points in between - except, that is, the center.

In the world of controls and engineering this 'overshoot and droop' is recognized to be caused by bias and error. In controls design and programming, these are known, surmountable effects. Yet, on the spiritual path we distort them in our spiritual language using outdated terms like sin and wrong. The so-called seeker often refuses to confront bias and error, and ignores positive tools exemplified by well-known, simple engineering solutions.

Trapped within the consequences of inane platitudes, sugar-coated traditions and outgrown ideals, we worship the highs and lows of 'finding' fulfillment first here and then there. While our salvation lies within the plain language and application of universal principles, we stubbornly cling to the addictions of familiar terms and approaches - even though we probably know they don't work.

Spiritual blogs and websites can be particularly tormenting, especially the ones that post unsubstantial one or two sentence inspirational thoughts. It is a comment on our collective spiritual depth that sites like these will often get 20, 30, 50 or more comments on an inspirational message that’s about as deep as a kiddies’ wading pool.

Offering refined sugar for the masses, we tend to glorify featherweight sayings. We promote guidance and pop tart gurus that whiff away at the slightest puff of breeze. It takes nothing more substantial than an everyday mental or emotional hiccup to cause the followers of shallow paths to either fall despairingly to the ground, or turn away wearing the sly smirk of cynicism.

What point is there in spending an entire lifetime never once experiencing connecting to our deepest inner star? What point is there to being a member of the dead church, or voting for the dead political party? What point is there to joining a majority of friends, family members and acquaintances in a deathly cheer to shallow thinking that praises those who stay that way, praises those who quell their own, individual thoughts, spark and fire?

Genuine deep seekers of greater awareness wallow in solitary confinement, victims of the trickle down economics of spirituality’s global organizational structure: ignored because the 'big money' of organized religion is constantly being spent on ineffective, do-nothing programs, programs whose progress is pathetic when weighed against eternal standards and goals.

Our definitions of deeper thinking, teaching and studentship are skewed, resulting in the acceptance of a 'deeper stuff' standard that is often anemic dribble. Nevertheless, we are so hungry that we throng to grand venues with 10,000 seats or more, filling them to capacity, reaching for our money and smiling boldly - but only when the minister or teacher is smiling directly at us personally. 

Living in the world of forced smiles, Emerson pointedly describes, we "acquire by degrees the gentlest asinine expression," because we are supporting - through our presence, devotion, money and values - the paths of lesser awareness. Facebook embraces us.

Desperately refusing to acknowledge our pathetic state of affairs, we surround ourselves with like-minded seekers, constantly convincing each other and our selves that we are in deep, spiritual company. Age after age passes, and still we fail to scream and demand of our spiritual leaders and teachers, "Give me the principles of the deeper inner path, and the actual experiences of the Divine." Instead, after countless millennia, we continue to ask, "Who am I; why am I here?" We just don't get it. We've 'dumbed down.' And 'dumb' has become normal, just as small-minded dribble has become high and mighty.

Our setpoint of lowered expectations constantly yields a poor crop, wasting centuries, generations and countless lifetimes. We let our leaders, teachers, institutions and authors off the hook because “they are doing the best they can.” We reject anyone who makes points like these.

Our subconscious 'best solution' is to hold out for a savior, because privately, in our innermost sanctums, we absolutely refuse to take personal responsibility. We secretly, selfishly and lovingly embrace Emerson's proclamation: “All of history resolves itself very easily into the biography of a few stout and earnest persons.” Why? Because it lets us off the hook. 

One of the biggest problems I have had overcoming this is my tendency to say, “So what’s your point? There is no way a little, inconsequential, everyday guy like me could have an impact.”

This is a selfish fool’s excuse, the behavior of a weak man or woman who has no problem with sliding his/her responsibilities on to another person, to a next generation, on to an anonymous ‘someone’ who is, in fact, already burdened enough with his/her own responsibilities. 

Yet, when I honestly, openly and candidly admit my complicity, then even with all my shallowness and weakness, I am able to embrace, live and experience what was formerly an unachievable standard:
Stand up and refuse to accept anything less than your responsibility, your mission, your purpose for being here; refuse to live an entire lifetime without genuine deeper core experiences; take responsibility for who you are and where we’re at – play your part; expect and hope for nothing less from yourself and others.
First published 10/9/2006.