Jul 20

The Spiritual Path Q & A

What is the spiritual path that so many walk?

It all depends on what culture, religion or belief system you a part of. It is described in many ways, from oversimplified slogans to dense concepts that one can spend a lifetime trying to understand. It is traditionally known as a way to find one’s true nature by transcending the ego to find one’s true self.

Why do some people seek the spiritual way when the rest of the world is going in a different direction?

Some people look at the world and see that things are not right. There is violence, killing and ideological clashes all around the world. The spiritual seeker realizes that he cannot change the world but can change himself, so he embarks on journey whereby he can move beyond the world’s imposed limitations.

What do you mean by the “world’s imposed limitations?”

We are unwitting recipients of societal and familial conditioning at a very early age and so much of our being is imposed on us. The child is unaware of this process and its limitations, but some find their way out of it as an adult.

Can you explain the conditioning process?

The conditioning process in a child shifts their natural outward focus inward so that societal and familial conditioning can take hold. The child is taught to self-reflect (look inward) in order to maintain their imposed conditioning. Because this is an unnatural process, it creates an inner environment that is susceptible to influence, both as a child and an adult.

What does this have to do with the spiritual path?

The path to move beyond one’s conditioning, to restore the natural outward focus of the innocent, unconditioned child, is the actual spiritual path.

Is this the same spiritual path that religions describe?

I believe it is. The spiritual path described by any given religion is heavily laden with mystical and otherworldly explanations. But they all point to freedom of the self or ego. Since the self or ego orientation is really an inner orientation, one brought about by the conditioning process, they are actually talking about the same thing.


    • Michael on August 30, 2007 at 3:37 am
    • Reply

    Most or many, spiritual paths, suggest that the individual “go within” to discover their Source. Your advice, however, is quite the opposite. Not that I find your logic or reasoning faulty; in fact, it strikes me as more than adequate. Can you elaborate a bit on the difference or similarities between these two approaches to Self-definition? thanks. MC

  1. The “inner orientation” means that we are directed by our conditioning, both by society and family. This phenomenon is not unique to our Western culture, but is worldwide. We see clashes all around the globe that are directed by the content that one holds. So, by holding these influences within we are separated from one another.

    The “outer orientation” is one where the inner has been purged. The content that separates us is absent. We then rely more on the senses. The experiential reality is one of inner peace, since the inner content is largely absent. However, there is a greater sensitivity to the world at large, both with people and nature.

    The concepts used to describe our inner world, such as “self-respect”, “self-esteem”, etc., do not apply to the outer orientation — the outer orientation is not a self orientation.

  2. I like your taking the “inner” orientation to task. We hear all this talk about following our “inner voice” which could well be nothing more than ego chatter. It could be that resolution occurs when “inner” and “outer” can no longer be distinguished…

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