“Many faces of one Self”, part II, Chapter 34: Letting go of your own path
© M I L L E N I U M , Ediciones B & Avihay Abohav
When the soul focuses on the Self, it can release convictions, dogmas and patterns in its particular path and welcome true freedom.
The following is my metaphor for teaching and awakening: The fruits of the tree suddenly come off of it, although its ripening process could have taken time. This is the Awakening to simply Being. And when they fall to the ground from their beautiful branches, they already carry their roots inside and even the tree itself, because they contain the seeds. They no longer need the tree and begin to walk on their own, giving off their unique flavor in this world, taking the true freedom to walk.
And what Antonio Machado says in his poem: “Walker, there is no way, there is a way to walk.” Self-realization implies detachment from teachers, religions and institutions, dogmas and automatic forms of living. What if you know God in you through Islam or Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism, your independent path or a particular lineage? Do you want to carry that sack on your back or is it really that you are not interested in letting it go and vibrating with direct experience? To my great surprise this is the attitude of some individuals on the path from the soul to the Self, who insist that “their tradition”, their “lineage” or their particular path are the best or even the only one that exist.
Once we have reached silence, peace and joy, we understand that all paths serve, that the Self is above any path.
A few years ago, I sat down to meditate with a group of people from the radhasoami or Sant Mat tradition (“Path of the saints”) for a long time. It was a very nice group of people who practiced meditation on inner sound and light for many hours a day from very early in the morning. They played Indian instruments, sang mantras, and spent a beautiful time in their temple, in the middle of an ecological estate in the south of Spain. I love to meditate in different temples, with different traditions and to converse with individuals who are in their way of self-realization. But on that occasion, after the session, I was approached by a man from the group, who received permission from the teacher of that lineage to initiate people into meditation. He looked at me with critical eyes and tried to convince me that without proper initiation with a sacred mantra and the accompaniment of a living teacher one cannot “grasp” the Truth. “But who initiated your teacher?” I asked. “Evidently, his teacher,” he replied. “And who initiated the first teacher of lineage in the nineteenth century in India?” “No one, he was the first to have that revelation,” he replied. “Then, for me, each one of us can have revelation directly and my most suitable mantra now is silence,” I explained. The man accompanied me to the car and kindly gave me the photos of the last two teachers of the lineage, which I accepted with pleasure and gratitude.
I have nothing against mantras, quite the contrary. In fact, in the meditation retreats that I give, I sometimes take the opportunity to teach and chant mantras of various traditions because I know it is an important way to help the mind focus on the intention of the heart and absorb itself into silence. It is important to develop an attitude that highlights in advance the plurality of many paths as individuals. In our days, the paternalistic attitude that only a mantra, a concrete path or the initiation of a living teacher, possesses the truth does not seem appropriate to me.
That same thing happened with the Transcendental Meditation in the seventies of the last century, which insisted on initiating each disciple with a mantra of his own, secret and particular to his soul, but afterwards it was discovered that among so many disciples many had exactly the same mantra. Nor do I recommend that teacher give new names or initializations to their students, as did osho. Who am I to give you a new name if you are a face of divinity?
If someone feels that his old identity has vanished and that he has found a new meaning in life, he will find and put a new name from within, as did Ulrich Tolle, changing his name to “Eckhart”, in honor of the Christian Dominican German monk Meister Eckhart. As a rule, it is better to let go of your path than to carry it like a flag or a sack on your back. As they say: when you have crossed the river with the boat, do you do not need to carry it on your back the rest of the way?
The process of self-realization from the soul to the Self is always individual, unique, as is the soul itself. The time of “missionary doctrines” belongs to the Middle Ages, not to the XXI century. Moreover, how can someone, a spiritual master, a religious authority or even a doctor, tell any other individual what to call themselves, how to be healed or what to do in their lives? Is not the mastery listening to oneself? Why do human beings need to form lineages and institutions of power that only create stagnation, attachment, intrigue, misconceptions and a “spiritual ego”?
Sometimes we identify ourselves not with a specific spiritual tradition, but with ideas that we consider as “science” or only valid truth. Many people believe only in what they consider as a “science” within rationalism. For example, I once told met a retired professor of nuclear physics and told him about my experience as a young scientist in a nuclear center. He was the father of a friend of mine at the time and in the end he told me: “what a pity! Science has lost a good scientist in favor of a mystic.” And no matter how many “proofs” he would have gotten, he only believed in what he considered “science,” not even in his direct experience. Although he recognized the value, the improvement and the impact of the session I had with his wife a few hours before, for him the way was “science”, that is, what the scientific community declares as “science”.
I wanted to recommend to him Thomas Kuhn’s book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, so that he might inquire a little about what we consider as the official paradigm of science. Many times it is no more than a consensus of the scientific community about the current theories. It has broken down so many times throughout human history to make way for new paradigms. But then, I observed my own emotions and became aware of how he offered me an opportunity to embrace the path that I myself made since my adolescence with love and compassion. I felt grateful that he was listening to me and for allowing me to reflect upon my journey in this life and I dropped any attempt to convince him of anything. I simply thanked him for the compliment and we started talking about other topics.
But I am not always patient with dogmatic attitudes of people who claim to speak in the name of “science.” On another occasion at the Hospital Clínico de Málaga, the psychologist who coordinates the meditation activity asked me to meet a man who had lost his wife a year and a half earlier. He was very interested in my vision from a “scientific” perspective. I took a few phrases from my website to explain its meaning and I did it with pleasure. Then the psychologist, who was present at our meeting, said: “I feel that his wife really made me call this meeting, but I am myself a rational being, just like him, and I do not believe in these things.”
So I decided to rest inside, at the threshold between time and space and ask his wife from the Other Side to send the necessary images through my mind for them both. I do not need to channel in the ordinary sense of entering into trance, since meditation at the Source, in the center of the hologram, makes it possible to perceive all the information we need. I asked the two of them for a few minutes of silence, after which I began to ask the man:
– “What does an electric piano mean to your wife?” –
– “I bought her an electric piano before she left and never touched it. Yesterday I took it out to put it in the living room and I thought about learning how to play it, “he said.
– “And what does it mean to fill or draw Mandalas?”
– “That’s what I bought him for coloring and spending time,” said the psychologist this time.
– “What does a recent grave, near which you and your wife were in another country, when you were young?”
– “That tomb was from my wife’s sister, who died very young, we visited her many years ago when we met.
– “And a small cafe on the corner of a street in the middle of the city?”
– “That’s where we first met my wife and I when we first met.
– What does it mean to “keep the small car and leave the bigger one to you”?
– “There was a time when my wife and I parted and I left her thebig car, staying with the smaller car.
– “And what does it mean, to walk in green fields with a dog leach?”
– “One of my wife’s dreams was to learn how to train the dogs, but she did not do it.
– “You know,” I said to both of them, “for a rational person a single sign of failure is enough to break their paradigm, more so a “repeatable error” in a scientific paradigm. So that a true scientist would be shattered from his or her concept of reality and investigates another paradigm. I am giving you six signs, but you insist that you are “rational”. Actually you are believers of an old paradigm, which sometimes implies being irrational and discarding the signals that would alert a real scientist and stimulate him or her to explore how did that information come into my mind, where it comes from and whether there is anything beyond the visible physical reality that makes this possible communication.
Letting go of one’s own path, whether it be a spiritual tradition or some kind of idealism, requires the courage to live life from one’s freedom, without trying to convince anyone.
To me, the encounter between science and spiritual traditions has been very fruitful to establish what I call “self-consciousness.” I have investigated both science and various spiritual traditions with passion and love. I discovered that Buddhism, Hinduism, Kabbalah, Sufism, Taoism and Sikhs speak about the same reality of the Source, described by science. Terms of science and computing, such as “hologram”, “space time relativity”, “particle-wave duality”, “fractals”, “black holes”, “RAM memory”, “hard disk”, have helped me to Establish my current understanding. Being a responsible and conscious individual means offering tools, giving advice and helping others when asked, never imposing, or pretending that our path or lineage are the only ones that can lead someone to their truth.
A good indicator that we are on a true path to self-realization is the ability to embrace all the paths in oneself and to let go of the attachment to the path we have taken. The great saints, sages, yogis and mystics have already answered this question and I quote Ibn Arabi, the medieval Sufi scholar from Murcia, Spain, who said: “There was a time when I rejected my neighbor if his religion was not like the mine. But now my heart has become the receptacle of all religious forms.