I’m looking at a conjuncture of notions, and not just notions that don’t make a difference, but notions that make a profound difference.
I may have referred to this earlier, but the sense of them is deepening and having an impact on me. But then what’s not having an impact on me these days, blown-open as I feel?
I’ve been saying for years that the basic spiritual movement is to turn from the world to God. OK, that unleashes a storm of requests for clarification. What is the world? What’s wrong with the world? Etc.
Nothing is wrong with the world. It’s just that the Ultimate that we want to know and love does not live at that address. Sorry. Please don’t shoot the postman.
So let me rephrase that a bit more technically, with thanks to Hinduism, which articulated this point much better than I ever could (Sri Ramakrishna, Shankara, Dattatreya, and so on).
The basic spiritual movement is to discriminate between the Real and the unreal, to detach from the unreal, and to devote ourselves to the Real.
We’ve been over that ground a lot and I’d expect that you know what that means and so I apologize if I’m covering familiar ground.
Discriminating between the Real and the unreal is to notice what changes and what does not, what persists throughout eternity and what does not, what is the Source of all and what is its product or creation, etc. Just notice. Make note of, see and recognize.
Why just notice? Because the ultimate act expected of us in life is to recognize who we are. Just to notice and get down to our bones that we are the One. So discrimination is very important on the list of what’s asked of us.
Detaching from the unreal means to take back our yearning for that which does not persist, that which is changing, changing, changing (anitya, anitya, anitya), that which is not eternal.
God so designed life, I think (and so does the Buddha. I’m in good company) that everything impermanent fails to satisfy for long.
Test it out. From now on, drink nothing but champagne, eat nothing but the finest meats you can afford. Eat mounds of your favourite candy. Watch how soon the taste for it pales.
What we do with that is to go from one tantalizing object to the next, as soon as our appetite for the first one pales, in an endless cycle of desire. We seek one enjoyable experience after another, purchase one magic moment after another, but none of it permanently satisfies.
In fact we insist on being born again and again into this vale of tears to have one more … whatever turns us on.
Remember the man hanging from the cliff by a root, hungry tiger above, impatient lion below, and a rat gnawing on the root? And he glimpses a strawberry! Ahhhh…. (1) That’s us.
But God also designed life so that only he/she/it can satisfy.
So why not decide the matter and detach from the unreal and….
Devote ourselves to the Real. I could have said “attach” ourselves to the Real. One attachment will not harm us: the attachment to God and all things divine. One degree of the compass leads to Home: and that’s the degree that points to God.
So this is the basic spiritual movement, stated again.
Now please look at this, if you would. We’ve been through two downloads and are now launched on a third.
The first download was the Mother’s baptism of clarity. The second was her gift of purity. And the third is the tsunami of love.
What is clarity but discrimination or discernment? What is purity but detachment from the unreal? What is love but devotion to the divine?
Are we not being marched through the basic spiritual movement? Has the Mother not made it easy for us?
Is the whole package not being hand-delivered and placed on our table, just waiting for us to sign on the dotted line and accept delivery?
How easy could it get?
You’re welcome to spend six years in a Tibetan cave drinking nettle soup.
You can close your eyes and refuse to open them until you have the vision of the One.
You can smear your body with ash and beg for your food. Be my guest!
And I mean no disrespect to renunciates and sadhus. We’ve all been there and done that in our many lives, ourselves, I’m willing to bet.
But the Mother is setting the table and serving the most exquisite dishes to her children this lifetime and how can we say no?
So the basic spiritual movement, which many people in past generations gave everything to know and master, is before us as if by an “Abracadabra!” All of us stare into the treasure box opened before us and have only to say “Yes!”
How lucky can we be? What more could we want?
(1) We face danger on every side and death is closing in on us and we’re focussed on the delight-of-the-moment, rather than using this precious time to know God. As Sri Shankara said (paraphrase), infancy is spent helpless, childhood in having fun, young adulthood in satisfying our hormones, adulthood in raising a family. It isn’t until our powers are waning that we even have a moment to turn our thoughts to God.