I had posted a comment on a Near Death Experience Yahoo Forum and got what read like a bit of attitude from one of the readers, probably due to a misunderstanding of my terminology. My clarification is below the break, but the point I was trying to make was that thinking of yourself as a Soul is not a hinderance to enlightenment, but rather a very important step…
Noni, Susana, & Dilpav,
Thank you all for your replies. Sorry I wasn’t more clear.
One of the most prevalent issues when dealing with such rarely experienced…experiences is the terminology. By “enlightenment” I mean: Complete loss of identity.
Identity is who (or what) you think you are.
So, with that out of the way – enlightenment being the loss of identity and the purest state attainable – I still consider myself a seeker of enlightenment, though I realized my mistake (and the mistake of millions of other enlightenment seekers). I was trying to skip a level of development. Not intentionally, just because I didn’t know (more appropriate, believe) in it.
Ken Wilber, a highly respected philosopher (google him if interested), calls it the “subtle level” of development. This is the level when a seeker starts to shift her identity from the ego (“I am Jane”), to that of the divine within (“I am a Soul who is living in a body called Jane”). The shift is in thinking of yourself AS a Soul, rather than as a human being.
From the Subtle Level (the Soul Level), it’s a much easier jump to identifying with Spirit (the One without Another, God, etc.). You could call this the Lower level of Enlightenment (since you still are identified with a “thing”).
Then, from there, it is a much smaller jump to pure Enlightenment, where you don’t identify with anything. In the Zen Ox Herding Pictures, this is the last drawing – where the monk comes back to the market, happily interacting with the vendors, but no longer thinking of himself as separate.
Anyway, forgive me for going on and on. I just wanted to clarify my terminology.
Benefits to Spiritual Growth
My point is, up until I experienced an unexpected past life memory, I was completely missing this key level of spiritual evolution: Identifying with the Soul.
I really could care less about my past lives (other than the lessons they teach me). What I find important, is that I no longer consider myself human. I consider myself a soul. My identity has shifted – and this was a quite natural, effortless shift – because of all the past lives I have since recalled.
So recalling past lives is simply a tool to help the seeker dis-identify with their ego story – “I am Wayne” – and help them recognize the next LEVEL of their spiritual evolution, “I am a Soul experiencing a human who is called Wayne.”
It’s just a step, albeit an often overlooked step, toward enlightenment. But to skip that step is like trying to go from third grade straight to college. Some people can do it (Eckhart Tolle, Ramana Maharshi, etc), but most of us can’t.
My strong belief that this step is the “missing link” in Western spiritual evolution is why I give away both my ebook, “The Implication of the Soul” and the guided meditation, “Past Life Recall.” I think it is THAT important. No agenda. I don’t even ask for your email address. Linda has reviewed these works and has approved them for posting, seeing that I’m not selling them. You can find both at here. Full disclosure: Donations are accepted, but are not required obviously.
All my theories are based on my own personal experiences, but it does line up very closely with both Hindu philosophy (souls reincarnating, learning lessons along the way) and Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama is probably the most well know reincarnation-to-enlightenment teacher known to most Westerners.
Hope this clarifies what I said before. Thanks for your time.
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