Monday, following the conference, I spent the day with Linda, Christina, Taka, and all their friends from various parts of the country as we all relaxed and enjoyed ourselves.
And I got a taste of how life may be like after we all start working together and traveling to various parts of the world or working with people from other planets and star systems.
Travel throws into relief various aspects of one’s self and others and can lead to all manner of unforeseen consequences – but all manner of insights and learning as well.
It requires a deft hand and I’m not sure I would call myself, these days, either well-traveled or deft.
Here are some examples. Some people may want to do a group hike and others may consider that a day hiking in the desert sun is not their idea of a good time.
Some are in love with the desert vista; others find it barren and hunger for the sight of green grass and trees. And there can be tug-of-wars (tugs-of-war?) to see who can budge the other on what score.
The tug-of-wars themselves often show who’s willing to go how far. Someone who’s seen as going too far in promoting or too far in refusing can give offense.
Oftentimes for me, I learn something about myself either by a refusal to participate in something or else by a failure to acknowledge the value in the line of conduct I’m refusing to take up. I drop out on seeing what is valuable or desirable in a way of being that doesn’t appeal to me.
By looking at my refusals and how I refuse I see ways I be that can lead to offense.
Travel is also educational in that by working backwards from my resistances I can discover new aspects of who I prefer to be that I remained ignorant of before. And becoming aware of them raises my conduct from unawareness to awareness.
Here are examples of differences from spirituality. In India there are different paths. One is the path of bhakti or devotion, which might involve singing the names of the Lord, ceremonies and rituals, perhaps decorating the pictures or statues of the Lord, etc.
Sometimes this path is also called dualism (although the word does mean what we New Agers mean when we refer to duality). Dualism means we see the Lord and us as separate and we adore and serve the Lord to realize Him or Her.
I know myself to be a non-dualist. In fact Archangel Michael has told me that I was a non-dualist priest in Atlantis. In India, non-dualism is often called jnana or wisdom. It tends to be more spartan than bhakti.
It’s a classic split: Some people prefer dualistic devotion and others non-dualistic meditation and contemplation. The jnanis have little use for ritual and ceremony; the bhaktis see it as the heart of their practice. Neither is wrong. They just suit different temperaments.
This bias that I have towards meditation, looking for the Lord within, sensing that I and the Lord are one, etc., can lead to resistances, which again need to be managed so that others aren’t offended.
For example, if I identify anything as “ritual,” I shy away from it. Well, many things that we do when we come together show up for me as ritual. And I saw this trip how much I stay away from anything I see as ritualistic.
A second example would be a kind of scientific spirituality that involves a knowledge of higher-dimensional practices that awaken chakras, clear energy meridians, enhance health, etc.
The non-dualist has a bias that “goes straight to the heart of the matter” and turns aside from enabling ways and spiritual practices that it does not understand, preferring instead the clean, direct and unencumbered ways of contemplation and meditation.
Moreover, the non-dualist tends to go inwards and to pay less or little attention to what is transpiring outwards, which is seen as unreal, temporary, illusory. Anyone into nature may look upon the non-dualist as “a boring lump,” etc.
Furthermore, the non-dualist doesn’t identify with the body and can pooh-pooh many sage practices as catering to a temporary mechanism that will soon be dropped, gets in the way of concentrating on the One, or wastes precious time.
The non-dualist doesn’t care if he or she drops the body, etc., etc. For me dropping the body is a quick trip back to Arcturus, that I welcome. I find myself feeling satiated with this world because I don’t pursue many lines that would have me grow fond of it, something AAM is trying to wean me from.
The non-dualist can also miss out on very helpful discussions of colors, rays, mudras, (1) therapeutic procedures, exercises that awaken latent or dormant capabilities. On and on I could go listing elements of spirituality that I identify as “ritual” or “detours.”
I got to see on this trip just how extensive was my refusal to let matters like these into my life.
But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was how the way I (or we) go about distancing ourselves from things we don’t want to participate in risks offending. And that’s something I (and perhaps we) need to guard against in the months and years ahead.
Usually when we don’t want to take part in something, we end up defending our choice, standing on principle, feeling justified in refusing to participate, etc.
We may not watch to avoid giving offense out of too strongly defending our perceived rights or entitlements. We turn down invitations to participate and, in our focus on our rights, we can say things that give offense.
I became aware of the importance of demurring without offending or appearing to cast an aspersion on what another person does or holds dear.
Or, even better, participating to the extent I could as a gesture of respect to others following a different path. I saw how often a sense of entitlement leads to situations that give offense.
For the first time in my life, I caught myself in the midst of what I was doing and saw how easy it would be to give offense. And I stopped myself.
That’s just one of the lessons I learned from the rich experience of traveling, of going outside one’s daily routines, preferred lines of conduct, and comfort zone.
Apart from last year’s trip to Sedona, I probably haven’t traveled in years. It’s been very educational and hopefully I didn’t offend others too, too much.
It’s taken me this long to even see the necessity of declining politely and avoiding giving offense. Now I return to Vancouver to mine the knowledge this trip has given me.
(1) Mudras are ways of holding the hands or feet that often have mystical significance and benefits.