While it isn’t my intention to insult anyone (Alright, for the purposes of this article it IS my intention to insult any ‘one’, and I’ll explain that later) I would like to offer a few suggestions for your reading enjoyment and/or disdain.
For what it’s worth, I have examined and explored the Worlds authentic Spiritual Traditions for well over a decade, and have provided hundreds of workshops on Spirituality to thousands of participants. Recently I have surveyed much of western Canada on the topic of ‘Spirituality’, and what I have found is this: there is very little that actually addresses the nature of authentic Spirituality.
What is usually called Spirituality is actually self-esteem building, identity strengthening, various approaches that attempt to solidify, heal or grow the ‘me’, as well as entertaining New-Age fluff. And while some of these efforts are at times absolutely essential (and I can’t say that strongly enough) they have little or nothing to do with Spirituality. Freud called Religion the “opiate of the masses”. In discussions I hear many adamantly assert “I am NOT Religious, I am Spiritual”. The Spirituality these people are speaking of is at best the same kind of opiate Religion offers: comfort and consolation through belief systems (again, absolutely essential). Make no mistake about it; anyone is free to call anything by any name they choose. You can call the earth flat, you can call asleep awake, and you can call the ‘me’ Spiritual, but the false (‘me’) does not become the Real (Spirit), no matter what you call it or how much you believe in it.
In my explorations and experiences, Spirituality has seldom been a ‘feel good’ endeavor. I would define Spirituality as ‘the movement towards Reality’, which often means away from comfort and consolation. This means disillusionment via the abandonment of unnecessary beliefs. What are unnecessary beliefs? All beliefs are unnecessary. Should I say that again? All beliefs are unnecessary. All. Do you need to believe you exist? Do you need to believe in your current experience? Do you need to believe you are alive? Do you need to believe in this moment? Do you really need to believe in anything at all? If so, why? Security? Comfort? Programming? Belief is what separates us from directly experiencing Reality here now. Belief is what we create to comfort us from the enormity of Reality and our fear of the Mystery that is Life. Beliefs are based on hand-me-down dogmas and un-examined stories and myths. Reality is what is left over when beliefs are seen through. Reality is not available to ‘me’. Why? Because the separate ‘me’ IS unreal, ie an illusion. Upon close inspection and sustained scrutiny, no ‘me’ is ever found. But what am ‘I’ then, if not a ‘me’?
What I AM, is ‘AM-ness’ or pure BEING.
BEING is PRIOR to the ‘me’ or ‘mine’ thought.
BEING is IMPERSONAL, not ‘mine’.
BEING is KNOWING, direct, unmediated, and immediate.
BEING is the SPACIOUSNESS experience arises within.
BEING is EVER-PRESENT, always here and now.
BEING is HEALING, because it is REAL and TRUE.
BEING is SPIRITUAL i. e. BEYOND the ‘me’.
But what I really AM is often obscured by what the mind and body produce as their natural function, which is combinations and patterns of thoughts, emotions, sensations, and interpretations. These combinations are called ‘experiences’, and seemly produce an ‘experiencer’, some ‘one’ that experiences, called ‘me’. Seemingly.
Consider this: Before you can be anything, first you must BE. You must simply BE. BEING is primary and is the underlying aliveness of existence that is ever-present. BEING is recognized as an ever-present Fullness in the center of the chest radiating outward through the body and beyond. BEING is not dependent upon outward circumstances and cannot be contained. Therefor, BEING is also unconditional Freedom. I AM that Fullness. I AM that Freedom. I AM that BEING. And so are you. This understanding is the place of genuine healing, because it allows us to be with our experience AS IT IS, however it is, without resorting to dramatic stories and fearful interpretations that cause us to recoil and pull away from the immediacy of our present life experience.
Now, if you have been insulted by the harshness of these words I apologize for my polemics. My point is this: the feeling of insult is a result of becoming temporarily lost in the limited and limiting story of a ‘me’, produced by the mind and felt in the body. The ‘me’ was exposed, and BEING was lost in favor of the story of ‘me’. That story is not what you are, but does produce the illusion of a ‘me’ to which it belongs. If there’s a story there must be a storyteller, right? Wrong! Authentic Spirituality is not about improving the storyteller or the story, but recognizing that the storyteller and the story are both part of the same illusion. That may not feel good or safe, but if it’s all about ‘feeling good’ and safety, then maybe Spirituality can wait until Reality becomes the most attractive force in your Life. Until then there are plenty of worthy endeavors to explore, and of course you can call them Spirituality if you like. But when you are ready, you will be drawn to the realm of authentic Spirituality, and it will be seen and known that there is no one to heal although healing may happen; no one that grows although growth may occur; and the ‘me’ is but a playfully insulting belief that happens to no one at all. And that’s just the beginning. Believe it … or not…
May these words remind you of what you truly are, helping you to live and express your deepest truths.
Aaron McNaught is an Educator, Consultant, Author, Psychiatric Nurse and Certified Hypno-Therapist, specializing in ‘De-hypnosis’ & Waking Up, as it relates to healing, growth, and beyond. He lives in Red Deer Alberta Canada