Re: Enlightenment Myths
>Could you please give me an example of the "suffering" which you say incurs when one does not try to kill the ego.The Buddhists have suffering down to a science. Just put the words Buddhist & suffering in Google. To be specific in my own experience about suffering that occurs when one does not try to kill the ego, it's not that one should try to suppress the ego because of guilt. With suppression one cannot look at what needs working on. What happens is that the ego becomes less and eventually dissolves, or burns to inert ash because a meditator decides to take up the discipline needed to change the personality. As for a personal example of suffering, when I first took up meditation, I found that I had a strong desire to be dominant with my wife. The wisdom I got from meditation was to always give way to her, which was a very hard thing for me to do, but I did and that desire eventually went away. I always got a consistent answer about this with offering it up, and it did not hurt her. She died of cancer some years later, and my second wife, who came from a very abusive prior relationship tried to be very dominant with me. It took a long time, but she eventually learned to trust me. I must have really had some karma around this issue because it was very hard for me to deal with.
>The term "more evolved" eludes me. Could you give me a description of one who is "more evolved"? Who is it that gets to determine whether one is "more evolved" than others?When I said more evolved, I meant that in looking at my own personality I find I am much more contented with my life, that I relate better to others. This is my own perception of myself; however, to give a more general answer, you should look at the opening of the Bhagavad Gita with commentary by Swami Chidbhavananda where the forces of good and evil are apposed to each other. There are some very good comparisons made between good and evil. If you want descriptions of people who are highly evolved, then read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. Finally I should say that of course you cannot just look at someone and determine if they are enlightened. For that, you need to be enlightened and then you can compare the experience to see if it is the same.
>Is one who is "more evolved" able to write and speak better than others? Or, to be "more evolved" must one travel to the hills and live a life alone experimenting with one's belly button?Obviously people differ in their ability to talk and write, and I am well aware that there are people who have the same experiences I have had that can describe the process better than I. Like any other specialty, the person who has studied and experienced a specialty can of course expound on it better than one who has not actually done so. For instance I would not go to an instructor to learn to fly an airplane if that person had never been at the controls of an airplane. And, experience is not everything as some people just have the patience and ability to describe how something is done better than others with the same technical ability. As for living the life of a hermit, my own experience is that if I am not around others, the stimulation I need to bring up the issues I have to work on is not there and I go sort of inert after a few weeks. I cannot speak for a person who has resolved all ego issues for themselves. For that take a look at Saint John of the Cross' book "Dark Night of the Soul". Dark night refers to the fact that the burning ego issues have gone out, not that one is having a hard time of it. In that situation in Dark Night of the Soul a person would then evolve towards God's nature and perhaps a solitary endeavor would be appropriate I guess, but I am sure a person could continue to live a social life if they wanted to. As for watching ones belly button, I find I much prefer watching my breath. I find belly button gazing too stressful on the muscles, but maybe I should not criticize Hatha Yoga as I do not know that much about it (or maybe it's not even Hatha Yoga, I don't know much about belly button experimenting).
>The spiritual path is harder than living the mundane life? I beg to differ with you. My experience finds that those seeking spirituality are attempting to escape mundane life. Is there a thing --- an essence, if you will, that can really be identified as "spiritual"? Can it be that "spiritual" is a mind mirage as opposed to an optical mirage? You comment that I am content, so I should stay the course. That is not it at all. Basically, I am NOT content to run away from learning the hard lessons of the mundane life by jumping into a spiritual fantasy. Why is this quest for "spirituality" so important to you...I am musing here...just a rhetorical question.I cannot speak for your acquaintances, and whether they are trying to escape the mundane life; however, for myself, I am a householder and I find incorporating spirituality with the mundane is the way to go. I have chosen the spiritual path imbedded within the mundane because I prefer it, because my life is better for it. As for "spiritual essence", this is where it gets difficult to talk about because I believe you are referring to "enlightenment" and the pat answer for that is it cannot be described; however, if you will accept a Christian term for it, then it would be the Holy Spirit, but that is not defined either as near as I can tell.
>So different, we are. That is just the way it is. I respect your quest for a spiritual life...I just question what it is that makes you think it is so difficult.Well, I just meant that the ego wants to stay with what it knows, even if one makes the same mistake over and over again. Also, I agree that it takes many kinds of people to make the World go round.