NON-DUALITY

yinyang panda

Non Dual Yin Yang Dog

 

See yourself as the experiencer of everything that life has to offer.
Feel every frequency range you find yourself in; and you do not need to judge the situation as either good or bad, right or wrong. Simply feel what resonates with you and what doesn’t. Then with the power of your attention, consciously choose to create more of the experiences you prefer to experience.

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Is Spiritual Enlightenment Earned?

In my perspective, the answer is no.

To be enlightened, all an aspirant has to have is a pure desire to be enlightened. Desire is the key. Without the desire for anything, that desired thing does not occur in one’s reality. Hence, I found it ironic that Buddhism shuns desire when it is the very act of desiring that summons experience, that summons life. And to determinedly rebuff having a desire is itself an intense and arduous desire. Perhaps Buddha was misunderstood.

Spiritual enlightenment is not earned. That is, if ‘earn’ entails doing some specific steps, processes, or special actions to earn points and merits to make enlightenment happen.

When I was little, my catechist Catholic mother and Baptist brother passionately discussed whether the grace or the mercy of God is acquired through good works. The Bible stated that the grace of God is not acquired through good works, but through faith – and faith alone. I found this to be true in the case of spiritual enlightenment.

Amidst all the unfairness, injustices, strife and tragedies we see around us, it seems to me that the fair, merciful, and just Creator made sure that the Kingdom of God is accessible to everyone, regardless of who they are and what they do, or not do.

ego-enlightenment-quote

If spiritual enlightenment is attained only by doing certain good works or any of the so-called preconditions to enlightenment, it would be unfair since not everyone is in the position to act in certain ways to get enlightened.

For example, some people can’t afford to attend spiritual talks and seminars, buy certain books, or travel long distances to meet a certain guru. Does it mean then that these people are unfortunate (have bad karma) and are farther from being enlightened (or are more distant from the Kingdom of God) than those who are in the position to do one or all of these things?

Those who dress in certain ways, eat only certain “spiritual” foods, speak softly and calculatedly, offer money and incense to a deity, live in an ashram with a guru, meditate long hours, chant mantras – are they any closer to God than those regular-looking people in the street?

Third Dimensional tools and processes do not guarantee that one gets closer to the truth, or to God. Tools could be helpful up to a certain point, and then if one clings to them, like most seekers do, they become the trap of the seeker.

So what to do then?

There is no one right or even wrong path to God. There is no secret method available only to a chosen few. There are no specific steps, procedures, or hallowed practices that one must strictly adhere to in order to get closer to God.

But in every thing desired, whether it be spiritual awakening or any other wanted thing or experience, all one needs is a burning desire that is so pure and focused. This intense desire itself is what summons the means for one to access all that one uniquely requires for his or her journey towards enlightenment. If one needs to meet a certain teacher, or to travel to a certain place to get to the goal, what is needed to do all these things will be provided for, in expected and unexpected ways.

However, if the means towards what is wanted does not show-up, do not despair. This only means that you do not really need what your physical mind thinks you need in order to be what you want to be or where you want to be.

After all, if it is God you seek, if it is the Truth you seek – know that It is within. And the one who looks inward, rather than outward, is the one who will find It.

The Kingdom of God is very much open for those who seek it. There is not even a gate or a heavy door to push open in one specific fashion or another in order to get in.

Just enter.

 

Self-Love: The Key To Personal Liberation

no apologies

They say, the most difficult thing to do is to love one’s self. In my experience, this is true.

What does self-love mean, and why is it so difficult?

Self-love:

  • Self-love is to be honest with one’s self first and foremost. Even if you choose not to be honest with others at any given moment.

  • To appreciate and accept yourself as you are: to give yourself permission to be exactly what you really want to be.

  • To care for yourself enough to live your life according to your own will and not to the demands and expectations of others.

  • To validate and approve of yourself, your choices, your desires, your unique self-expression, no matter what the rest of the world thinks.

  • To love yourself enough to trust yourself.

  • To accept your ‘wayward’ emotions without judgment.

I don’t know if you agree about the difficulty of loving one’s self. I have explored and struggled with this thing called self-love for some time, and it felt like I was challenging the whole world with its agreed upon belief system which demands that we must put others first before ourselves, so that we don’t appear selfish by catering first to our needs before the needs of others. The result of this hypocritical belief is that while we may appear generous, kind and strong on the outside, we may actually be suffering, tormented and fragile inside because we are too scared to show our true feelings, to express our true desires, and live authentic lives.

If we love ourselves enough to give ourselves the permission to be who we are, it will be easier for us to permit others to be who they are. As we accept our idiosyncrasies, our mistakes, our nonstandard or non-mainstream desires, we will find ourselves more understanding and permissive of others’ mistakes and idiosyncrasies. If we love ourselves enough not to beat ourselves up to conform to some established standard of normality or morals, we would not also be as critical and judgmental of others who we think are not measuring up to such social standards.

It is true that, at the core, the way we treat ourselves (consciously and, mostly, unconsciously) is the way we treat others. It is when we are cruel and exacting of ourselves (even if we don’t know or admit it) that we also become cruel and exacting of others.

So when we fully love ourselves for who we are, we set ourselves free. We let ourselves off the hook. And simultaneously, we set others free. For it is in understanding and acknowledging our own complexities, our strengths and weaknesses, our fears and insecurities that we truly come to develop genuine understanding and sympathy for others.

The Only One Thing That Motivates People To Act

rumi on love

 

I had been thinking: what do people look for when they do what they do, whatever that thing they do?

I initially came up with three obvious basic human motivations:

1. Love – The need to love and be loved
2. Survival – ‘To exist’: The survival of the body and/or a person’s self-image or Ego.
3. Search for meaning or a higher purpose – The desire to know the purpose of existence. The desire to seek, reach out, or unite with a greater power.
Some people look for fame because they want to be admired. The admiration they seek is a form of love.

Some people do things and fancy being appreciated for what they do. The appreciation they seek is a form of love.

People act on their passion, joy, bliss. This is simply love.

People do things to provide for their loved ones. This is love.

The search for meaning or a higher purpose is to fill the void – a non-physical need. This search is equally motivated by love – self-love.

People kill other people; nations go to war for various reasons.

At first glance, we may say that the reason for this is simply hate. But why would one hate another if not for fear or a perceived threat from that other?

The reason could be fear, religion, self-defense, revenge, or to control more resources. These are all premised on self-preservation or the survival of body and self-image/ego.

Self-preservation of body and self-image is also a form of love – self-love – albeit a distorted sense of self-love, if you will.

It does appear that the common motivation for any action, whether it be considered an appropriate or inappropriate action, is love.

Therefore, “all we need is love”.

So don’t hesitate to wish love for friends and enemies alike, for they may be fighting an inner battle we know nothing about.

 

Unconditional Love

waterbabe

I love, honor, accept, respect and approve of you as you are.

As you seek to find your own special way to relate to the world the way you feel that is right for you.

It is important that you are the person you choose and desire to be, and not someone that I or others think you should be.

I realize that I cannot know what is best for you, though perhaps sometimes I think I do.

I have not been where you have been, viewing life from the angle that you have.

I do not know what you have chosen to learn, who you have chosen to learn it with, or in what time period.

I have not walked life looking through your eyes.

So how can I know what you need?

I allow you to be in the world without a thought or a word of judgement from me about the deeds you undertake.

I see no error in the things you say and do.

I see that there are many ways to perceive and experience the different facets of our world.

I allow, without reservation, your right to make the choices you make in each moment.

I make no judgment of this, for if I were to deny your right to evolution, then I would deny that right to myself and all others.

If you would choose a way I cannot walk, whilst I may not choose to add my power and my energy to it, I will never deny you the gift of Unconditional Love that the Creator bestowed within me for all creation.

As I love you, so I shall be loved.

As I sow, so shall I reap.

I honor and respect the universal right of free will: that you walk your own path, following your love, light and truth, creating steps or sitting awhile if it is what is right for you.

I make no judgement of these steps, whether they are large or small, or light or heavy, or that they lead up or down, for this is just my viewpoint.

While I may perceive that I see you do nothing and judge it to be unworthy, I honor and respect that it may be that you bring great healing as you stand blessed by the light of the Creator.

I accept and honor that I cannot always see the higher picture of Divine Order, and that it is the inalienable right of all beings to choose their own evolutionary style.

And with Unconditional Love, I acknowledge your right to determine your future.

In humility, I bow to the realization that the way I see is the best for me, but that does not have to mean that it is also the best or the right one for you.

I know that you are led as I am, following the Inner Excitement of your own path.

I know that many races, religions, customs, nationalities and beliefs within our world bring us great riches, and allow us the benefit of diverse teachings.

I know we each learn in our own unique way in order to bring that love and wisdom back to the Whole.

I know that if there were only one way to something, there would need to be only one person.

I love you, unconditionally, whether or not you behave in a way I think you should, or believe in those things I believe in.

I  Thank you, unconditionally, for being YOU, and for the many blessings your Being brings to me, and to the world.

– A rampage of unconditional love by Abraham Hicks

 

 

 

 

 

A Lesson in Unconditional Love

toreachgod

I believe that at a certain juncture, a spiritual seeker comes to a point where he has to let go of all the tools in the path, and even let go of a certain path, or paths, in order to transcend all worldly constructs. I see this process as a pivotal step towards spiritual enlightenment.

When a seeker stops clinging to the tools in the path, and stops holding on to only “one right path,” he arrives at the equanimous, balanced state of Non-duality, or Oneness. 

A non-dualist and unconditionally loving person does not judge and criticize others who act and think in a different way from his definitive notion of what is right and wrong. A non-dualist understands that people act the way they do because of a reason – some reason he can know and understand, but many other reasons he may never know and may never understand. And so his best recourse, as a non-dualist perceiver, is to accept and love others in spite of who they are and what they do, in spite of how they choose to live their lives – knowing and understanding full well that anyone who is in their best state of mind would not deliberately do anything to disadvantage themselves or another. So instead of judging and condemning another who may be doing something “wrong”, a non-dualist perceiver would instead feel compassion towards the other.

In my early journey as a seeker, most of the teachers and spiritual traditions I encountered are wrapped up in dualistic consciousness: they maintain a strong idea about good and evil. In consequence, they tend to act that as if a lurking evil is out there to get them. Some of them do rituals and repeat mantras to “protect” them from the alleged onslaught, or corrupting powers of so-called evil forces. A fear-based spirituality such as this is threatened by so-believed lower vibrational beings, impure situations, sinful elements, immoral people, people who are certain to reap negative karma, etc. As a result of this fear, and perhaps mixed with a feeling of righteousness and superiority, fearful spirituals actively resist associating with certain people and situations which they judge to be of “lower vibrational frequencies”.

Ironically, what we resist persists. The very people and situations we are trying hard to avoid all the more pop up in our reality to get our attention. It is because we attract our disowned parts until such time that we learn to embrace, integrate, and to love them unconditionally.

There are some people, whose ingrained beliefs are threatened and challenged by a different perspective or paradigm, who often form exclusive groups with members who only agree and validate who they think they are. There is certainly nothing wrong in choosing to hang around certain types of people; I see nothing wrong with fortifying oneself with like-minded folks who tend not to create friction in a perfect bubble world. My rebellious temperament, however, often gets the better of me that I find it wrong to judge and censure others who happen to have divergent thoughts from certain established dogmas.

I had a recent personal experience. For the past 1.5 years, a spiritual guru, whom I have neither seen nor talked with in person, often appeared in my dream state. The dreams were repetitive and consistent in their theme. In dream state, he was sending me letters, emails, books, invitations, calling me through a cell phone, gazing at me while projecting very loving vibes. For some reason, the “giving” was only one way: he was doing the action while I was a passive recipient of his actions. In waking state, however, the situation is very different. I was the one initiating communication with him, mostly only to tell him about the dreams and to ask his opinions about it. His vague but standard or typical guru response, as to why I was dreaming about him, is because we have a “soul-connection”, “mystical connection”, “past life connection”. My unusual dreaming about him intrigued me greatly and drew me closer to be more interested in him.

In waking state, our atmosphere of interaction is quite formal. And in fact, we at times vibrationally clashed because of our differing approaches to spirituality. He is one of those teachers who maintain a dualistic mode of thinking and perceiving. He pushed my buttons. I might have done the same to him. Since his vibes in dream state and waking state are incongruent, I was perplexed as to whether he has a conscious agenda or not. It turned out that he has not. He was not telepathically contacting me in dream state, at least, not consciously on his end. Since I thought he was just a source of unnecessary confusion, I tried to totally avoid him. But as I “blocked” him, the dreams became even more intense and outrageous.

Lesson learned:

I claim myself to be a non-dualist and who is then unconditionally loving. Yet I perceived this individual as a dualist, and I was “bothered” by his dualistic teachings. I was provoked by some of his strongly held dualistic beliefs which I considered to be judgmental and discriminatory against other people who do not necessarily share his spiritual convictions.

He censured others. I censured him for censuring others. He judged others; I judged him for judging others. I criticized him because I wanted him to be more like me – a non-dualist – one who does not see higher or lower, but only strives to focus on the good in others. However, by judging and perceiving him as a dualist, by being provoked by his dualistic teachings, and by censuring him for censuring others, I have become a dualist myself!

I just found myself re-schooled in my lesson about non-duality and unconditional love!

Vegetarianism – A Path to World Peace?

Kat contemplating world peace (arguably)

Kat contemplating world peace

A while back, I blogged about vegetarianism and meat-eating which was a part of an interesting exchange I had with a certain spiritual teacher who is a staunch advocate for a vegetarian lifestyle.

Said spiritual teacher believes that vegetarianism is the answer to world peace. I understand that his premise comes from the belief that vegetarians are more peaceful, compassionate, non-violent people because of their diet and non-involvement in violence (the killing of animals for food).

Personally, I agree that vegetarianism can significantly contribute to world peace. However, it is not always the case that vegetarians are more peaceful and less inner-conflicted than meat-eaters.

I gave him two first-hand examples.

I have vegetarian friends who belong to a certain religious persuasion, and there was this incident I heard from some of them:

A group of them entered a restaurant and instructed the food servers that they do not want meat, oil from meat, and MSG in their food. The cook, in his total ignorance and lack of exposure about vegetarian people, put a little MSG on the vegetables as he worried that plain veggies would not satisfy the palate of the diners. Upon discovering that there is MSG in their food, the group of vegetarians stormed out of the restaurant, cursing the cook and the rest of the crew, upsetting other diners.

Where is the peace and the love, brothers?

Another story is the story of my friend who had been a vegetarian for more than a decade. For more than ten years, he did not join his family for meals. If it has meat in it, he refused to eat what his mother lovingly cooked as he was resolute about his vegetarian beliefs. And then, one day, he joined a volunteer group to do some projects in a very remote province. He observed that the indigenous people who welcomed them to their villages made all efforts to make them comfortable, despite that these people lived very simply and that they do not actually have much to offer in terms of tangible things. My friend observed that the little they have, they gave it all. If they have hunted meat, they served it to the guests first, and only after the guests have eaten their fill, the host family ate if there were leftovers. If there is no other ‘presentable’ food available, they catch their chicken (which they would not normally eat by themselves on ordinary days) to have something especial to feed the guests. They sacrifice their chicken so they can serve the best food they know of.

And the best food they know of happens to be meat!

Why is that?

For two reasons:

First, within the indigenous contextual framework, the meat of animals, specifically, wild animals, contain a special life-giving force. And the animal that allowed itself to be hunted down means it was willing to impart this life-giving force to its other relations – the human kind. Within the same contextual framework, the hunters reciprocate through the rituals and offerings they do before the hunt, and in the thanksgiving celebrations they perform after hunts and harvests.

Second, it has to be taken into account the fact that these remote villagers are mostly farmers, hunters and manual workers who work hard with the land and with raw nature. Hence, the best viand they know of is meat, for the reason that they feel it gives them more strength and energy which they specially require for their hard labor.

In addition, compared to people in towns and cities where commercial meat (with much less life-giving force) is readily available, these indigenous people do not have the luxury to eat meat any time they want. This adds to the special value they put on meat. This is also one reason why it is an absolute ‘paniyu’ (taboo) for them to waste animal meat.

Naturally, in a cultural context where hospitality means everything, people feel obliged to give their guests what they themselves consider is the best. And it so happens that for some, the best food to be offered to guests is animal meat.

With that peculiar experience and exposure, my vegetarian friend started eating meat again. He said he was deeply touched by the unsophisticated villagers’ nurturing quality, their authenticity and deep hospitality which he realized are values more important than rigidly adhering to a particular doctrine.

He learned that in a world of rich diversity, there is no absolute right or wrong. There is only what is appropriate at every given moment.

Is vegetarianism the key to world peace?

No, not entirely.

The first step to world peace is inner peace. And a crucial step to inner peace is to be at peace with the external things you cannot change. Again, this does not mean that you are condoning the wrong that you see in society. But maintaining a strong aura of peace is more influential and more transformative than any change that can ever come from militant and agitative action. How do I know? I’ve been there, done that.

A solution to world peace is certainly not found in arguing as to whether vegetarianism or not, is the answer or a path to world peace as this act is obviously not any different from the never-ending ideological and religious battles raging around.

Yes, compassion is definitely the key to world peace, and compassion includes understanding, tolerance, open-mindedness, and non-judgment.