Archives for posts with tag: lessons learned spiritual path

In case you’ve been wondering if you’re addicted to consumerism…

Parallels

by Ben Naga; re-blogged because it’s worth another read…

 

And so one day this guy comes up to you and says: “Hey man, did you ever try heroin? It’s really great.” And you say: “Oh, how’s that then?” And he explains like how it gives you this really nice feeling, man, and you’re a bit suspicious, of course, because you can’t believe it can be that easy and haven’t you heard that it can be dangerous? But he says no, it’s not dangerous as long as you know what you’re doing, so you say OK and you take some and it IS really nice, so you take some more. And so on …

(And so one day this guy comes up to you and says: “Hey man, did you ever try mass production economics? It’s really great.” And he explains how it’s this fantastic system where if you use machinery to produce lots and lots of everything, it all comes out cheap, so that everyone can afford a flat screen wall mounted TV with a DVD player and surround sound and a CD player in every room in the house, a computer, a laptop, an i-pod, a mobile phone, a digital camera, a microwave, two cars, a washer and dryer, a dish washer, a fridge and a deep freeze. And you’re a bit suspicious, of course, because you can’t believe it can be that easy. But he says: “What could possibly be wrong with a system like that? It’s just what we’ve always been looking for. Here, have this free gift and 14 days free trial in your own home WITH ABSOLUTELY NO OBLIGATION AND A MONEY BACK GUARANTEE AND 0% INTEREST FINANCE.” So you do …)

And then you start to notice after a while that maybe you don’t get to feel quite as great quite as easily as you did before, and it seems like you’re needing more of the stuff. And not only that, but when you don’t have any you don’t feel good at all and it’s like you’re beginning to have this NEED and that need keeps growing and you’re needing more and more and the price keeps going up and you start to suspect maybe the stuff is being cut with something and that’s why it’s not having the same effect. But you can’t be sure though and whatever – you can’t afford to pay for your habit legally any more and you’ll do anything for dope or the money to buy it. Running to keep still. Mortgage on your soul.

(And then you start to notice after a while that maybe you don’t feel all that happy with all this stuff, certainly not as happy as the people in the magazines and on the TV, but then you don’t have all the things they have yet, at least not the new models. And your work and your whole life doesn’t seem very satisfying either somehow, as if you’re kind of separated off from everything, and the things you’ve bought don’t seem to satisfy either (though you pretend they do) and again it seems to be a separation from something. And the price of whatever it is you want next which will finally free you keeps going up and what you have keeps wearing out or proving unsuitable or going out of fashion, and someone else always seems to be doing better than you and it makes you so mad. And you’ll listen to anything that promises satisfaction (“Buy now and save!” “More than you can possibly use in a lifetime!” “Vote for me and I’ll make everything OK.”) and agree to anything the system says is necessary, even a nuclear war.)

And finally you awake from your technicolour fantasies of horror and ecstasy and allow yourself to realise you have been sucked into a situation of total need. Terminal addiction. The only way to avoid the excruciating pain of withdrawal is to tie yourself in knots trying to pay for your ever-increasing consumption of the poison which is killing you. You can choose between death by intoxication and the voluntary suffering of a pain which you are afraid may also kill you as the only escape from your sick body and back to some kind of health. Some make it one way, some the other.

(And finally you awake from the advertisements braying between the taped laughter of the sitcoms, the obsessive violence of the thrillers and the ritual humiliation of the big money quiz shows to learn that you are living in a multinational board game, a cross between Monopoly and Risk, mesmerised by an intrusive and pervasive media telling you not only what to think (too obvious) but what to think about; where corporations not only buy and own politicians, but can sue governments whose policies cut into their profits; where goods are more abundant than ever before while the number of people without shelter, work or enough to eat is constantly growing. At home the tap water tastes like a swimming pool and you can be thankful if your child isn’t among the one in three on the poverty line; with a floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean that’s twice the size of Texas; the “third world” is as in third world war; you can smell the fuse for the Christian/Muslim explosion to come; AIDS, starvation, pollution, war and corruption are a Jehovah’s Witness dream/nightmare coming true and you are a cell in a sick body, sucked into a situation of total greed. Marooned on the terminal beach while “safe” nuclear waste leaks slowly into the oceans. Much of the world is starving and oil, metal and timber are running out, while the only remedy will throw most of our industries out of work and collapse the (already teetering) world economy. You can choose between capitalism, where man is exploited by man, and communism, where it’s the other way round. The only way to avoid the excruciating fear of “the enemy” is to tie yourself in knots trying to pay for ever-increasing overkill potential: nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry. Prophecy a-fulfil, ya.)

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I’ve been reading quite a few books, blogs, and websites in the past several months, and I’ve noticed some patterns. Also, a dear friend asked me recently if I could help them learn how to better connect with their spiritual guides.

When we feel confused, we become particularly susceptible to thinking that another person holds the answers for us. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent most of my life in that state!

It helps me to view teachers as stepping stones, rather than destinations.

I sure haven’t figured it all out, but over the years I’ve become happier, so I figure something’s working. Since I’ve noticed some patterns, I’ll share some observations:

1. Please follow what you feel best suits you, in your heart, as often as you can.

2. Please read this post in my blog All About Enlightenment, about what to look for in a spiritual guide.

3. Please turn your back peacefully and confidently on anything or anyone who seems to enocurage you to feel fear, guilt, regret, or inadequacy.

4. Please try your best to reach an understanding of how none of us actually exist. None of our joys or sorrows or accomplishments or failures or possessions or losses have any power over us, other than the power that we give them.

5. You have nothing to fear.

6. There is no one to criticize.

7. No one can send you to heaven or hell; only we can do that to ourselves.

There exist beings “out there” that we may not be able to see or sense. ‘Out There’ simply means that we don’t recognize them as parts of our Self.

But that’s what they are. We’re all connected in so many ways… Usually on levels that we, in our ‘gross’ bodies, find elusive.

We all bear light, and we all harbor dark sides, too.

This creates balance. This allows us to make choices.

We arrive here swaddled in forgetfulness, and choose whether to exit this moment in confusion, or with wisdom and joy.

No politician, disclosure, stock market, currency, teacher, relative, boss, judge, doctor, offspring, failure, success, meal, muscle, organ, weather, conquest or evasiveness offers true relief or condemnation from our choice to have appeared on this planet, in this moment, with this set of conditions and riddles.

Because we’re born into forgetting, we may find ourselves at the mercy of a few who have figured out a bit more of the game.

Some people get a taste of power and that fall into the trap of thinking that the adrenaline rush is the prize.

Knowledge produces strength. Some might say that ‘knowledge is power’, but power distorts.

Strength multiplies itself when shared with others.

When we meet people who relish their own power as a means of bending others to their will, we can recognize this in many forms.

Some are obvious, and these usually provoke anger. We can deal with that easily enough.

The ones that can lead us ’round the bend into the dark noggy place are the ones who pose as teachers and healers, while withholding the means we can use awakening ourselves.

Or, who pose as teachers and healers just because they seem to have more knowledge than some others. Et cetera.

Fact: as long as you’re in a body, you’ve still got something to learn.

Accept and enjoy.

Don’t let anyone intimidate you with rank or knowledge.

At the same time, maintain humility, because…

Fact: As long as you’re in a body, there will always be another ‘body’ that knows something you don’t.

We designed the Universe that way.

(‘We’ as in all of us.)

We can access all the knowledge we need; we’ve taken the first step when we dare to believe this might be possible.

We’ve taken the second step once we become willing to trust in ‘the unknown’.

With two steps, we find our feet planted on a completely new path.

Don’t worry – you’ll find friends and kindred spirits quickly.

It’s one amazing ride – relax and enjoy!

[This is a re-post from: http://thinktoask.com/2011/12/28/knock-knock-whos-there/]