Mar 02

The essence of the spiritual journey

The spiritual journey can be looked at from many angles. And some of those views do not  look anything like what one could call spiritual. As one distills down the nature of the spiritual life, one finally arrives at the simple truths that underlies all spiritual endeavors.

  • All human beings have two basic natures: the cognitive and the sensory.
  • Children live mostly at the sensory level where they play and enjoy sensory experience to its fullest.
  • Children have little interest in thinking as it is not fun for them.
  • As children begin to enter the adult world, their focus begins to shift to the cognitive.
  • The “shift” includes accepting and internalizing the values of the culture.
  • The “shift” creates a new priority where thought and cognition supersede sensory experience.
  • The child’s joy of simple sensory pleasures is pre-empted in favor of the control of the thought-based life.
  • Thought-based living is considered the goal of the adult life.
  • Thought-based living is arid and lacks the joy that one experienced as a child.
  • Spirituality, “enlightenment”, “awakening” becomes a fascination and motivation for many.
  • Descriptions of “awakening” events read like a return to the sensory world of the child.
  • “Awakened” individuals want to tell the world of their transformation.
  • Explanations of the enlightened state are almost always described in terms of the religious/spiritual system that the individual held prior to the awakening event.
  • The multitude of explanations of enlightenment experiences further remove one from its understanding by creating complexity where simplicity is needed.
  • The “spiritual journey” is that attempt to shift back to the sensory outlook of the child, but with the mature use of thought that the adult has learned.
  • The current methods to achieve awakening are all too tentative; they are like dipping one’s foot in the water in preparation to jump in, but we never actually go all the way. The incremental approach is used because we are afraid to immerse ourselves all at once.
  • If the sensory/spiritual life is the goal, then one must experience it in its fullest long enough to know the difference between the thought-based life that one lives, and the sensory/spiritual life that one aspires to.
  • The method, therefore, must be one where a sensory experience can be maintained long enough so that cognitive dominance may be relinquished.
  • Such a method has been described herein, where one focuses on a visual element to the exclusion of all else.
  • If one can hold this focus long enough, then a “shift” back to the sensory mode can occur.
  • The process may be undertaken as a leap of faith or a realization that one’s current life is inadequate, and that something better waits on the other side.
  • The “focus method” is not a spiritual method and the outcome cannot be related to a spiritual system. However, this is the purest expression of the journey that enlightened individuals often come across by accident.
  • The “shift” as described herein has been elaborated in a fictional story called The Outsiders, which can be found here.

3 comments

  1. I like the way that you have listed, somewhat progressively, these insights into awakening awareness.

    Not to get back into the “spiritual” language, but there is something Zen-ny about shifting out of thought processes.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Beth. You actually made my point in characterizing the wordless state as Zen-like. From the thought-based perspective we attempt to describe those wordless states of being. But from the “being” side of life, the word is not needed or wanted.
    (I know there is a difficulty in discussing this since we are using written communication. I trust you will not take offense for using your comment as illustration.)

    From the thought-based life, we characterize experience as it happens so we can “know” exactly what is happening from moment to moment. This represents an insecurity about one’s life, that we must maintain control at all times. The “letting go” process is akin to immersing oneself in the ocean of life rather than just dipping one’s toe in using various techniques.

    • Laura on April 5, 2009 at 8:27 pm
    • Reply

    When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
    A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
    And all the birds in the trees, well theyd be singing so happily,
    Joyfully, playfully watching me.
    But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible,
    Logical, responsible, practical.
    And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
    Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

    Supertramp

Leave a Reply