We are all on a spiritual journey. For everybody, this journey starts with birth and ends with death. Our life is a link between our date of birth and date of death.
A link that contains all the secrets, dramas, tragedies and comedies of our lives, and we are all abandoned in this performance that we tend to forget who we are in reality.
The book of our life stretches between the two end points, and this book is the chronicle of our wanderings. The track of our wanderings is defined and determined by our thoughts, ideas, desires and our willingness and readiness to meet the expectations.
The story of these wanderings, this personal history may be infinitely varied at an individual level. Breaking through the different heights and abysmal depths along the route in the world of shapes and forms may provide the individual spiritual Seeker with endless joy and immeasurable sorrow. By identifying with our personal history written in the world of shapes and forms we experience ourselves as individuals different from everybody else.
Some people, a small fragment of mankind are, however, able to identify with their own respective personal histories to a lesser and lesser degree. Under certain circumstances they recognize that this Journey along the road is aimless, they are led around and around in various landscapes of the world of shapes and forms. From life to life we chase the same ideas and desires.
We have recognized that we are suffering, we are suffocated in the swamp of the multitude of beliefs and ideas, and this recognition spurs us to embark on a Journey to discover ourselves.
Understanding all this is the beginning of the real JOURNEY along the road. This journey will eventually lead us out of the world of forms and shapes, back into the realm of Consciousness, free from any identification with forms and shapes.
Motivations for Embarking on the Journey
What may motivate somebody to step on the road and start a journey, to exist in the “here and now,” to leave behind and abandon thoughts and mind?
There may be two reasons for someone to start the Journey.
One of the reasons is real, deep suffering, when the spiritual Seeker recognizes the source of suffering, the mind and its functions, and is willing to give up everything (including Ego) in order to escape from suffering (that is what happened, for instance, with Eckhart Tolle).
The other factor leading one towards the Journey is intuitive knowledge, that is, when the individual reaches beyond mind spontaneously, without suffering, and recognizes the operating mechanisms of the human mind. That knowledge is in itself, however, not sufficient. There has to be a deep, internal attraction that draws the individual towards the Silence. Sometimes that attraction is referred to as primeval memory (that is what happened to Ramana Maharshi).
All other reasons that may urge people to start the Journey are derived from the Ego, so these are rather parts of the journey taking one around and around in the world of shapes and forms than the beginning of the real Journey.
One such reson can be is “affectation.” In that case, the wanderer is attempting to escape from suffering itself, but not from its roots and reasons. For the individual, staying in the Presence only serves as a method helping them to achieve a future, better and more beautiful (that is, free of suffering) state.
Another reason rooted in the mind is the endeavour to achieve spiritual development and progress. The spiritual Seeker is looking for a method, a way that best promotes their (that is, their Ego’s) spiritual progress, through which they become a better person. The individual intends to achieve the transmutation, transformation of the Ego through the Presence.
Naturally, there is a whole range of other reasons derived from the mind, but they are all characterised by the same feature: sooner or later they lead to failure. The spiritual Seeker is unable to stay in the Presence, what is more, they are unable to recognize that the Presence is something utterly different from merely concentrating on the current moment, on the current emotions, impressions and observations (that is, naturally, impossible to sustain in the long term even with a considerable effort).
These reactions are, however, not utterly useless, as the failures, experience thus gathered may ultimately increase the suffering of the individual or their intuitive knowledge, and the correct motivational base of the person concerned shall be created.
The Last Chapter of our Personal History
The last chapter of one’s personal history begins when the spiritual Seeker becomes a spiritual seeker. As a first step of spiritual seeking the person starts to look for enlightenment, Self-recognition in the world of shapes and forms (that is, outside himself or herself) in the hope of thus reaching the state of permanent happiness.
The seeker intends to find a dogma, a great Master, an elevating spiritual experience that expands his/her Consciousness. If it is not found here on Earth, the person will be looking for it in the other world, in the heaven of a religion.
The Ego uses the mind as a means of spiritual search. It is through the mind that the Ego intends to understand what is beyond mind and forms. The mind in this way prepares the mental image of enlightenment, seeking, happiness etc.
The mental images are born through the comprehensive process of the mind. For comprehension, the spiritual Seeker also requires information, so the spiritual Seeker shall gather bits of information like a busy ant. From books on religion and spirituality, lectures heard and conversations attended, the spiritual Seekers are attempting to screen information, ideas, opinions and experience necessary for them. The same takes place with spiritual experience. The individual assumes that if they gather a sufficient amount of experience, as a result they will reach a certain point, they will increase their spirituality. The knowledge and experience accumulated shall all form a part of the spiritual Seeker’s spiritual Ego.
These mental images motivate the spiritual Seeker to make efforts at implementing the mental images at the level of daily life, to make these images the cornerstones of their life. Achieving spiritual objectives, however, affords only momentary satisfaction for the seeker, so after achieving one specific goal, relentlessness returns, urging the individual to start working for new objectives. The mind produces new mental images, and seeking starts all over again.
In this way the last chapter of our personal history becomes longer and longer. At some people this chapter will be the most important part of personal history, until death closes the book.
The First Step of the Journey
Closing the last chapter of our personal history and taking the first step on the Journey will come with the recognition of the futility of spiritual seeking.
The spiritual Seeker stops and abandons spiritual seeking. The individual recognizes that all the objectives they have so far been looking for outside themselves, are only found within themselves.
The spiritual Seeker will stop when they recognize the activities of the mind and refuse to follow it any longer. The spiritual Seeker realizes that with the help of the mind they will not be able to surpass the mind. The spiritual Seeker will experience that stopping is the inactive moment of the mind, the silence between thoughts. In that silence, the spiritual Seeker will experience the Consciousness without forms, and recognize that he or she is in fact the Presence without thoughts.
Starting from this internal silence, the person shall start observing the functions of their mind, and shall abandon the accumulation of spiritual teachings and the search for lofty spiritual experience. From the edge (the mind) the person will turn towards the center of his or her being (the Presence appears).
That is when the spiritual Seeker learns to use their mind appropriately. The individual will recognize that spiritual teachings are only worth as much as these are relevant to the individual’s own life.
That recognition will not be a fruit of the mind’s analytical work; it is only inspired by the recognitions starting from the inner silence. These recognitions are best comparable to seeing (in several spiritual teachings these people are referred to as „Seers”) and they work like relevances.
The spiritual Seeker then leaves behind the spiritual seeker, with all the accumulated knowledge and lofty spiritual experience, and takes the first step on the Journey.
About the Author
Frank M. Wanderer Ph.D is a professor of psychology, a consciousness researcher and writer, and publisher of several books on consciousness. With a lifelong interest in the mystery of human existence and the work of the human mind, Frank’s work is to help others wake up from identification with our personal history and the illusory world of the forms and shapes, and to find our identity in what he calls “the Miracle”, the mystery of the Consciousness. Connect with Frank at http://www.frankmwanderer.com/