Monday, July 15, 2013

Seeking "Awareness" "Enlightenment" and the Spirituality of Food, Chemical, Social addictions.


A few friends suggested this post so I thought I would explain my position on seeking that elusive state of "awareness" and it's companion "enlightenment" that so many folks are trying to achieve once they finally have some remission from food, chemical, and social addictions.

A lot of people become attracted to some of the Eastern/Western philosophies and practices post addiction. I believe there are some great benefits that come from meditative and contemplative practices. There are a few things that I have some problems with that I would like to examine.


Is good yes? We all need to be aware of what's going on around us. The problem lies when we are trying to be "aware" all the time. Particularly of that mindset that says being aware of the moment ALL OF THE TIME is some sort of desirable state. Really?

I have never met anyone who is "aware" all the time. I do know people who bring a lot of focus on whatever they are doing at the moment. And. That is the crux of the problem. Awareness contacts and expands depending on your focus of the moment. Period. Contraction is when you have a narrow focus,
(that would be me playing Gears of War 3 on Xbox or being absorbed in a really gripping book) and when it expands there is a general awareness that is non specific, so we expand in to the world around us.
And all the places in between those two places.

Take for example daydreaming and fantasy. They are both crucial needs when it comes to developing new ideas, inventing new devices or concepts, and art of any sort. We need to let go of the compressive universe for a moment and let the mind "play." Focus on fantasy.

What about when you sleep? You can sit in meditation and contemplation all day and just keep developing that awareness thing to perfection. Then when you fall asleep it all falls apart. The mind craves some down time the focus is on streaming images and thoughts.

So awareness, for me, is just the intensity and direction of our FOCUS, nothing else. We can direct our focus for periods of time. Meditation and Contemplative practices help us achieve this ability. There is no "solid state" place of awareness. It seems to me that a lot of so called spiritual teachers are wasting a lot of peoples time and money teaching them awareness. What they may be teaching is components of FOCUS.

Develop your ability to FOCUS both expanded and contracted. Let go of the fantasy of being in the moment all the time. Humans and I suspect animals are not built to do that. FOCUS is selective awareness. It will help you in your remission. Being in the moment all the time will probably drive you crazy. I know, I bought in to that for several years. Fortunately my insanity drove me sane.


I became snarled again in a useless conversation about enlightenment yesterday. I think it's because I am so sick of hearing the opinions concerning this issue. You know the sort. Useless opinions about who is enlightened and who isn't, who claims it and who doesn't, lineage in the Buddhist tradition and all that crap. (People were arguing about Adyashanti and if he is enlightened or not.)

It's all pretty much bullshit. Entertaining bullshit perhaps. It's all about the person not the message.

Some teachers should come with a warning label, "May be hazardous to your wallet." They love to teach people about enlightenment and that elusive awareness described above. They charge ridiculous fees for "retreats and workshops" and in fact it has become a practice for some to offer "enlightenment" in a day long workshop. OK. Enough.

What the hell does enlightened mean? As far as I can tell it is some sort of license designed to allow an individual to build a big organization of people to play with and make lots of money and massage their egos, all at the same time. It appears that either someone declares that they have been enlightened or they had someone who evidently is somehow enlightened announce their enlightenment. I mean are you really going to trust someone in that mental condition? Can you prove enlightenment?

Tip. Don't waste time and effort on people who even hint at being enlightened. Beware of those titles like Master, his or her holiness, or the great Wizard or Witch of what ever. Costumes are in, mostly in shades of black or grey. They are all selling a spiritual version of "Snake oil." They will preach about the famous "Don't know mind" but will try to make you think they are special at the same time. They evidently have a "Do know" mind that the rest of us need. They will seduce you by convincing you that you live in a "dream state" and they can help you become "real." Dream state? What the hell are you talking about? Think about it. If I can convince you that you need to be rescued from where you are and I can do that, I can then make a pretty awesome living providing that rescue. I mean save your money and just stick a pin in your foot if you want some intense focus. ( I am not, I repeat not recommending this as a tool to acquire focus.)

Truth? We all have our moments of melding with the universe. Tiny little quantum jumps. Then we come back to taking care of business in the universe. At those times our focus expands in to what seems like eternity. Key: I have spoken to a few people about this and most agree that when they were children they experienced this state more than they do now. Why?


Why is all this important to remission? Because we don't want to waste time and/or become frustrated and/or become re addicted to another system of thought driven by other people.

My encouragement would be for you to Meditate and Contemplate. Embrace your experience. Learn to use your ability to focus. No one can teach you how to focus, it's like breathing, it's just there.

Play. Let go within the focus.

I want to know what you think or, more specifically, what your experience has been.

In Loving Kindness.


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