Saturday, June 12, 2010

Spiritual Materialism

The physical reality we perceive has its foundation on emptiness or void.  Science provides some validation of this in claiming that our universe has a significant component that is empty and never changing - the void of space, the singularity. Out of this void exists an ever changing creation. Atomic particles are in fact vibrations churning in an empty void of space. In this process, matter and energy exist. We perceive this matter/energy individually and collectively to be our world, our universe, our existence.

A similar thing exists in the realm of the spirit and mind. A stillness or never changing aspect exists, over which churns a constantly changing and evolving series of thoughts, emotions and memories. Many of us are entrenched in this existence and choose not see the void.
Some of us perceive the void in our existence and experience depression or struggle to grasp the meaning of life. Fewer still simply embrace the experience for what it IS.

Is it possible that our physical existence is in fact a holographic illusion that resides in an empty void? Does all that we achieve and suffer cease to exist for us when we die? Regardless of the answer, while we are alive, this existence is everything to us - it IS what it IS. We can choose to live in it or create an illusion to avoid seeing it for what it IS.

One's Spiritual Journey could be said to be the interaction of our internal spiritual existence with our external universe.  We can choose to experience reality and interact with it directly. Alternatively, through the power of will and deception,  we can create our own reality. We can bring others into our sphere or influence to experience it with us and establish a collective perception of reality, or possibly even a collective illusion.

It could be said that we are all on an Infinite Journey, or at least that Journey lays before us if we choose to embrace it. We can either invent a reality for ourselves or choose to experience it for what it IS. The latter requires that we proceed on the Journey experiencing the universe for exactly what it is, without embellishments, without fantasy, without creating myths about what it might be or where it comes from.

It is the experience of the mundane nature of reality that compels us to embrace the void and embark on the Infinite Journey rather than stay static in a self or collectively created illusion.  It is from this perspective that one can experience the true wonderment of creation and embrace infinite nature of our journey - to experience a Creation that continually blossoms, dies and blossoms again in the stillness of the void.

When one proceeds on this Journey of light, one must also embrace the shadow that falls on the path. One must either choose to embrace the void, embrace the emptiness, or live in fear and trepidation of it. A common experience for Infinite Journeyers is confronting the mundane experiences of depression, disillusion and emptiness. It becomes essential for the Journeyer to cease creating false realities or fantasies.

Unfortunately the creation of fantasy and illusion is a common trait of practitioners of religions and spirituality. This "Spiritual Materialism" is infinitely more deceptive than abject worldly materialism. At least worldly materialism is based on what we all commonly experience with our collective physical senses. Spiritual Materialism is based on faith in myths and concepts that cannot perceived directly. It is fueled by the same desires that cause one to covet material things - the desire for power, the desire to be important, self gratification. It is very often driven by fear of the void, emptiness or feelings of meaninglessness.

Spiritual Materialism allows one to justify actions and behavior that otherwise cannot be justified or excused. It spawns wars, destroys families, causes dishonesty and deception. It can be used to justify the  abuse or taking the life of another human being.

Spiritual Materalism is often practiced by spiritual trainers, masters, self proclaimed saints or gurus in their promotion of goal based spiritual practices. They claim to have achieved great spiritual conditions and offer their disciples the hope of achieving the same.

An analogy might be that of a car mechanic who claims to have created the most advanced automobile and insists that all should entrust him to make their cars equally advanced. Like the car mechanic and his customers, neither the guru nor the disciple spends much time embarking on any journey of their own. Instead they pontificate endlessly about achieving spiritual perfection and speculate whose spiritual condition is the highest. Money and souls are exchanged for the privilege of achieving great spiritual heights. Meanwhile the Infinite Journey awaits as they covet and worship the Guru's spiritual condition wishing it was their own.

Automobile owners have the choice of having a pristine automobile on display in a covered garage for all to see. Alternatively they could risk getting their precious car dented or dirty and embark on a fabulous road trip to see the wonders of the world.

Similarly, our spirit/soul has the choice of remaining stationary to achieve what is perceived as a perfect spiritual condition as opposed to actually embarking on the Infinite Journey. While the Soul on the Infinite Journey might not appear to be the most pristine or impressive to the outside observer, it is on the Journey none the less.

Comparing higher or lower spiritual conditions is on par with judging whether the the music of a virtuoso musician, in all its technical splendor, is more moving to the Soul than a simple folk melody played by an uneducated musician.  The Soul is moved by the music, not the technical prowess of the musician. The folk musician, having experienced life's journey more completely might just convey more than the virtuoso  whose lived a sheltered life and only knows their instrument and nothing else.

This Journey begins when one chooses to see the world around them for what it is, not what they want it to be. On this Journey one experiences how one's actions impacts the world around them. This ever unfolding interaction between the Soul and the universe is in fact the Infinite Journey. It is not based on illusion or myth, but on experience and interaction. It is neither higher, lower, more evolved or less evolved. It simply IS.