Sunday, 30 March 2008

Always spiritual......never religious

For me there is a difference between being religious and being spiritual. From the age of 11 - 18 I was boarding away from home in an Irish Catholic boarding school. Each morning we were made to get up for mass. One day a young priest came to say mass and he said something which began my spiritual path. He said 'God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts' . In that instance I knew there was a difference between being religious and being spiritual. I didn't know what that was but I resolved there and then that I was going to be spiritual and not religious. I did not know what being spiritual meant or how I was going to do it but I was clear that I was not going to have anything to do with religion. I see clear differences between being spiritual and being religious. Religions have tended to put some figure at the head and pronounce that one to be the only one that can take people to the Truth. To be spiritual means to have no figure head only the ONE from which, through which and in which everything is possible. To be spiritual means to have this Union with the One as the goal of the spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is truly one that is made by the Alone to the Alone.

At the moment I am reading 'God lived with them' - Life stories of Sixteen Monastic Disciples of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Chetanananda. What is striking is that all of them left normal life to found monasteries. Yet most of them became ill and died and I am left wondering what was it all for and what use is it now. The last couple of days I have been thinking deeply about whether or not the Divine, when it finally manages to purify a human form to be empty of ego to the extent that some realization can be given wants it then to leave society and set up Monastic orders. I am aware that this may be viewed as controversial but I feel an urgency to write it.

There is a school of thinking that posits that once the soul becomes God-realized that it is only then that the Divine can experience what it has created. While the soul is unconscious and not God realized, the Divine cannot experience what it has created. It seems somewhat ironical then that when this state of God-realization descends on Yogi's and they enter into continuous Samadhi or God intoxicated states that they are giving to the Divine more of the same. Whereas if it were possible to accept this state but still function in the world, but function to make a difference by the magnetism of this God-realized state then this is really what the Divine wants. To work through an awakened realized form to shift spiritual evolution onto the next level. The more of this book I read the more I feel that the purpose of the God-realized state is not to remove oneself from the world but to be effective within it.

The Self-realized state does not result in this taking oneself away from the world to found Monasteries. To be self-realized is to know without any doubt that who we think we are is not who we are at all. It is to know that underneath everything that is changing is that which never changes. But this is more of a coming home, a realization of that which we already knew but which the ego fought against us knowing. It results in a state of peace, bliss, joy, one-ness with all that is. But this is not the God-realized state. It is a state which results in greater love and connection to all beings and awakens the desire to be of service.

The God-realized state as I understand it and I stress that I don't consider myself to be there is experienced as a deep and continuing bond with the beloved. It is so strong as to make everything else fall away. It might be because I have no experience of this state that I am questioning the actions of those in this state who choose to make the deepening of this state the most important thing for the rest of their lives. I wonder if this is really what the Divine wanted when it lifted the veil for these men.......

No comments: