Trends

Posted by on November 8, 2016

Butterf

 

I read this morning that the early Christian church took on the laws and structures of the Roman state.

It was when persecutions of Christians ceased and mandatory affiliation as a Christian became the norm.

It was an ancient trend.

Trends are nothing new, groups form and share what is attractive or
fashionable and trends take hold. There were, however, apparently some who felt the new structures, the new religious regime although widespread was not
favorable for spiritual awakening. In Christian terms, it might be said it was
not favorable for knowing God. It was a trend, a style of life that was in
vogue but may not have been helpful in spiritual awakening.

Where are we?

Our spiritual work is not a trend, although Zen seemed to offer a flashy
alternative for those who wanted to be in a chic spiritual practice.

The “church” whatever that might mean today, continues to struggle with ancient laws and structures of a Roman state. To affiliate with a particular denomination or religious dogma is not the norm today. Neither is popular from a worldly perspective to study the Dharma unless it is hip deep into psychology and brain science. These new interests may be all the rage in Buddhist and Christian circles but they do not serve the spiritual seeker, and they may not be a favorable environment for spiritual liberation.

The ego-self is happy to be in a dalliance with modern ideas.

In such an affair the ego remains strong, frivolous and the center of our lives. As long as the ego-self holds a central position our ability to know the Dharma is blocked.

What is the environment that matches an inner longing to awaken for you?

Is it to continue where you are, as you are?

Or is there a sense of seeking that is not quenched by the material world of psychology, science or even religious laws and dogma?

It seems there may be a sense of foolishness that conflicts with an inner sense of purpose and we get stuck on this ledge. It is on this ledge we battle and may live out the short life we have been given in an inner skirmish between the ego and the Dharma.

We don’t want to be seen as fools but we do want to know our purpose. The ego continuously bangs the door shouting, “You fool!” when we consider devotion to the Dharma as our purpose.

Devotion of this sort requires guts and a keen sense of inner loyalty to this
devotion. This type of devotion is not understood by the material world.

Where is your allegiance?

This work demands a greater honesty than psychological analysis, where defenses are reworked and rebuilt in more “appropriate” and “healthy” ways.  A mask of defenses is still a mask and it disguises and blocks knowing the Truth.

As human beings, we tend to relate to everything as “mine” and this masquerade although often acceptable in the material world is a death mask in the spiritual realm.

Let me give a little example.

When we are alone, feeling blue or lonely we tend to want to find a way to get rid of this feeling. We hunt for things to make this feeling go away.

The dispelling of the feeling often takes the form of what can I do to feel better? Call a friend? Do something? The sense of “me” is central. This is the human condition and is normative in the material world.

What about “me?”
How do I look after “me?”

If we seek help from the material world, we will get directions on how to get what we need or how to get what we want so we won’t feel “lonely” or “blue.” We can barely imagine another way, a way that looks for the Dharma of the feeling, of the moment, of what is actually going on in a given circumstance. It is similar to being in the darkness, when we are in the darkness we hunt for a light switch to end the darkness. What if we remained with the feeling, facing whatever it is as God’s voice, the voice of the Dharma rather than reacting to an inner impulse to escape the feeling?

What if we met it, met the feeling as part of our interior landscape without rationalization or even reason, but just to meet it. It requires an allegiance and devotion to seeing everything, the whole panorama of inner experience as the voices and sights of Dharma and letting go of the topography as “MINE.”  It means accepting whatever is happening, wherever we are, as our life. This inner geography is our spiritual life with God whether we see it or not. It requires relinquishing fantasy for something to be better.

This practice is an expedition of leaving “ME and MINE” and crossing into the unfamiliar spiritual geography of solitude, silence and wholehearted engagement with the diversity of the Dharma, the assortments of God.

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