Awakening Vs. Spiritual Evolution
The spiritual quest has two directions to follow depending on how you understand it. This two directions are completely opposite and irreconcilable.
In one hand you have the path of Spiritual Evolution, which involves human development, spiritual enhancement, becoming a better and happier person, wandering and exploring the playground of life, cultivating positive emotions such as gratitude and expanding your potential without limits within the dreamstate.
In the other hand you have the path of Awakening, which means truth realization, to see clearly what is true and what is not, abiding non-dual awareness.
To walk a “spiritual path” and to “awaken” are two related but completely different things.
Spiritual evolution is about becoming a better and happier person, it is about constructing a better ego, while awakening is about deconstructing the ego and the beliefs we hold.
Can ego achieve awakening?
The fundamental conflict in the spiritual quest is that ego can never achieve awakening. Ego may desire truth realization, but ego can’t cross that line. Ego is the only thing in the way of Awakening. To someone who wants to get to the truth, who you are is what is blocking the way. Ego is in the way.
Truth is uniquely challenging pursuit because the very thing that wants it is the only thing in the way of it.
So, how the fundamental conflict, “ego cannot achieve awakening” is resolved?
The fundamental conflict can only be resolved by altering the equation. Spiritual realization gets redefined as something attainable by ego, and now the equation works to everyone’s satisfaction. Ego gets to continue the noble quest and a thriving spiritual industry continues to thrive. Of course, no one gets the grail, but if you understand the fundamental conflict, you’ll see that no one really wanted it anyway.
Waking up is a pointless action unless you absolutely must
The awakened state is not, as commonly supposed, the special and mystical state. Awake is just awake. It’s nothing more, it’s everything less. The awake state is simple, natural and easy. Carrying no baggage. Not spending your lifeforce animating a fictional persona.
The awakened don’t have something that the un-awakened are missing, it’s the other way round. The unawakened posses massive structure of false belief.
Waking up is a pointless action. It means deconstruction, looking at the falseness of your most treasured self and all you have created. Who would do such a thing? The point of a dream is to dream, not to wake up. If you dream a comfortably, happily life, why mess with that? If you are having a wonderful dream, what’s the point of waking up? Why mess with a wonderful dream?
However, if you become the person who can’t stand the falseness of the dreamstate, and your interest shift to cut the crap and figure out what’s true, then you’re in the wrong place and there’s no point in pretending otherwise, but trying to do it before you absolutely must is as ridiculous as slicing off parts of your body.
Can you wake up by perfecting your dream character?
You don’t wake up by perfecting your dream character, you wake up by breaking free of it. There’s no truth to the ego, so no degree of mastery over it results in anything true.
Putting attention on the ego merely reinforces it.
Adyashanti said that “Spirituality has nothing to do with enhancing you or your status in the dream state. Spiritual progress inflict no damage on ego, usually spirituality will reinforce rather than dismantle self-image.”
The biggest challenge for most spiritual seekers is to surrender their self importance, and see the emptiness of their own personal story. It is your personal story that you need to awaken from in order to be free.
What is meant by the Zen term “Makyo”
During Zazen meditation, the student can experience all sorts of amazing experiences only to have the master splash him with cold water by calling it “makyo”.
When a Zen master uses the term makyo, he’s telling his student that the precious gem they’re stopping to pick up or the pretty flowers they are pausing to collect only have value or beauty in the world they’ve chosen to leave behind.
The Tao says “beware the flowery trappings because, in order to posses them or benefit from them, you must cease your journey and stay in the dream.”
Breaking free of delusion takes everything you have. The price of truth is everything. Everything. That’s the rule and it’s inviolable.
Can someone become enlightened?
Truth realization is not a personal thing. Self cannot achieve no-self. The result is not a realized-self, it’s no-self. No one can say “I am enlightened” because there is no “I” to it.
There is no such thing as an enlightened person. There is only awakeness, non dual abiding, which is undifferentiated. It’s not my reality, it’s reality.
Success in realizing one’s true nature is absolutely assured. Struggle to achieve truth is, in its own way, as ridiculous as struggling to achieve death. What’s the point. Both will find you when it’s time. Should we worry that if we fail to find death, death will fail to find us? Of course not. Everyone will end up fully “enlightened,” regardless of the path they take.
Awakening to your true nature is like dying; it’s a certainty, inevitable. You are going to get there no matter what you do, so why rush? Enjoy your life, it’s free.
Life is but a dream…