Saturday, March 28, 2015

Jeff Foster - Question everything

“The moment you follow someone
you cease to follow Truth”
- J. Krishnamurti

If your spiritual teacher promises you unending bliss, an end to all your problems, freedom from anger and doubts and sorrows, permanent access to higher states and realms, the complete transcendence of all human concerns…
… well, then, your doubting is ingenious, and holds infinite creativity.
Walk away from anyone who makes you such promises, and never look back. Then, you are free. Because, finally, you trust yourself, as you did when you were very young and hadn’t yet split yourself in two, the knower versus the known, the certainty versus the doubt. You are no longer a carbon copy of someone else, buying into the dreams of another, clinging to second-hand promises. You are original again. No longer seeking what others seem to have, 
but resting in original knowing.
The old spirituality is dying, friends. The spirituality of “I am more enlightened than you”, “I am in a higher state”, “I am awakened and you are not”, “I have the answers”, “I have transcended anger/fear/doubt” - those teachings of superiority and separation, fear-based teachings that pathologize our humanity and dismiss our pain, are now crumbling under their own weight. For their foundations are constructed of fear rather than compassion, and they cannot hold themselves up in the blinding light of truth.
No matter what anyone says, however enlightened they claim to be, however many books they’ve written, however many fans or followers or disciples they have, however shiny their smiles and charismatic their personalities, however perfect and ‘spiritually correct’ their language, they really do not know. They are a child of life, as you are, innocent at the core. They are not the authority, have no privileged knowledge, do not hold answers. (And of course I include myself here!). They can only share their journey, their insights, what they have noticed. They are what you are, consciousness itself, and on that level, you are profoundly equal. There is no ‘club’ for the awakened. No wave in the ocean is more ‘ocean’ than any other wave. Life knows no levels in this way. Humility reaches everyone in the end.
Nobody can be ‘in’ a higher state. States come and go. Even the most blissful feelings, the most ecstatic highs, cannot be permanent, just as no wave can be permanent in the ocean, and cannot be maintained. If you are chasing states and experiences, striving for the ‘next big thing’, you will be exhausted before long. And that is a wonderful thing; it is the beginning of a great awakening.
Your exhaustion is sacred, see. Your sorrow is not a sign of your ignorance, but a fresh expression of life. Your fears are not mistakes. Your pain is not an indication that you are far from awakening, or that you are being punished for your ignorance. Your longing is not something that needs to be eradicated. Even your confusion is holy. And your doubts have kept you supple, curious, open; they have protected you from the greatest pain of all: arrogance.
You are not a victim, friend, but so damn alive. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 
It would be their loss, anyway.
Be clear about this: Meeting pain, being curious and kind towards these tender parts of yourself, is not the same as wallowing. Embracing sorrow is not the same as indulging in it. Staying with discomfort is not the same as feeding it. Honouring your fears is not the same as clinging to them.
Friend, do not be ashamed of your thoughts or feelings, however uncomfortable or intense or unexpected or uncommon they are. And do not compare yourself, ever - even with the shiniest teachers and seemingly infallible ‘experts’. No matter what anyone says, your experience is valid, and yours to embrace, and ultimately trustworthy. You MUST walk your own path, walk into the Unknown, even if you quake with terror as you walk. Anyone who makes you ‘wrong’ for feeling the way you feel, anyone who tells you that your experience means that you are much lower down the spiritual ladder than they are, anyone who pathologizes or pities you or calls you a victim, anyone who labels you as ‘self-indulgent’ for your courageous willingness to truly meet your pain and walk your path, is only talking about themselves, their own fear, their own inability to courageously walk, their own unwillingness to be present, open their heart, be vast, love openly.
You tire of the promises. You get exhausted from trying to be something that you are not. You get sick of walking another’s path, following someone else, trusting their truth over your own gut. It is not your nature, to follow, to worship, to create external gods.
Slow down. Come closer. Get curious. 
Question everything.
And most of all, trust your doubts as you walk.”

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