I’m still on my path of exploration (see previous post), trying to sort out what I believe in the midst of teachings that confuse me. There are a couple of notions out there that have caused me some stumbles and I think I’ve finally figured out what works for me.
Here and there I’ve run into teachers who talk about a “transformational moment” in which they were suddenly brought to higher consciousness. Usually they conclude that something in particular, like letting go or supreme focus, led to this leap although I’ve seen a couple who felt that it came out of nowhere. The odd thing to me has been that they all spent years meditating or living in an ashram or studying with some master prior to the great moment. In spite of all that practice they’re either dumbfounded at achieving transformation or create some new theory about how they got there based on what they were doing in the moment. I don’t understand how they discount the years of doing practice as if that had nothing to do with it.
Another theory that has a similar impact on me is that you’re already there so you don’t need to practice or do anything. They dismiss all talk of blocks or issues or veils of illusion; all such notions are themselves illusions because you’re already there. I get the theory. Of course it’s who we already are in the sense that God consciousness or Buddha nature is part of our natural state. However, since most of us have no concept of ourselves as divine (until we stumble onto a spiritual path), I’m hazy as to how this belief works. If you’re completely oblivious to your Buddha nature or maybe even that Buddha nature exists it doesn’t seem to me that you’re living as nor conscious of your true self. If you don’t do anything how do you move from unconscious to conscious?
Notions like separation, blocks, and veils seem to me to be just attempts to explain the divide in consciousness between the part of you that doesn’t remember your divinity and the divine essence that you are. The specific words don’t really matter as long as they help you understand the idea that there’s more to you than you know. The point of most spiritual practice seems to me to be to bridge that gap.
While I can’t claim to have achieved enlightenment (nor am I particularly seeking it) my experience of spiritual practices is that they have profound impacts from balance to moving your energy to different levels to healing and, I think, changing you from the cellular level. They may not be the only way to get to God consciousness but I think they contribute a great deal. If someone has chanted or meditated or done some other practice for 10 or 20 years before breaking through to clarity in the moment or transformation, I think that the practices have helped to get there. Of course, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I’m really into practices.
Some people experience a major drama or trauma and suddenly find that clarity and yes, it’s possible that you can just suddenly believe so totally in your true nature that your consciousness is changed. But most people who reach some degree of higher consciousness or become enlightened have done a lot of practice.
Maybe if I become enlightened I’ll write a post recanting this one. But I’ve been on this journey for almost 27 years and I can’t imagine that I would ever discount all the great teachers and great teachings and practices that have helped me to make every small and giant step along the path. And I worry that when teachers say you should be able to be there in an instant that it sets a lot of people up to feel like failures if it doesn’t happen that way. For myself, I’ve decided to set aside the notion that I could or should transform in a moment or that I’m going to suddenly get through to my essence by just deciding to. I like the journey that the practices take me on. They often take me to unexpected places but they always lead some place good.