Progress and Motivation and Spiritual Growth

The Photographer and the North Rim

The Photographer and the North Rim

FLAGSTAFF, AZ—Progress is slow on the new website I’m designing. I’ve spent the last two days buried deep in technical pages while researching various open-source packages.

And while not a line of code has been written, I’ve still learned a lot. I’ve grown. And because I’m learning all this new stuff, it’s keeping me motivated.

Though no code has been written, I’ve progressed.

For about 20 years I did the, “Who am I?” inquiry that Ramana Maharshi advocated. This question is designed to reveal the core of the Self (if you can see it, it’s not you). 20 years of my life, yet I never felt rewarded. I never progressed much with the technique.

I suspect most students of traditional non-dual teachings feel the same. The drop-the-ego-all-at-once technique is so all or nothing. They don’t see any progress. Just maybe a big bang sometime in the unforeseeable future.

It’s discouraging.

Mystical Oneness—with its gradual approach—is different in that respect. You see and feel progress almost immediately. The Eternal practice helps you overcome fear. The Radiance practice helps you become more loving. The Emptiness practice helps you see through your thoughts.

Day-by-day you feel yourself progressing.

And progress helps keep us motivated.

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11 thoughts on “Progress and Motivation and Spiritual Growth

  1. Thanks for the post! By the way, if you ever need help or feedback with Web work, I have extensive experience and study in the field. Just wanted to offer a friendly hand if ever needed.

  2. I guess the problem for all approaches – old or new – is that any notion of “you are progressing” can reinforce the illusion that will be dropped. I suspect that on part of “the path” you can make gradual progress, guided by words, but somewhere there is a dropping of any notion of path or any other separate thing, and this cannot be approached by words.

  3. Also, I wanted to add in my own feedback and experience that the Advaita path was very helpful for me in that I was brought to it by Grace following an awakening. So for me the “big bang” had already happened by other means. The personal self then returned after a period of time and I then went in search of answers with new questions. The Advaita path has been hugely advantageous following that awakening.

    So in regards to having a sense of progress and motivation, I can see that those were largely present in hindsight. I was fully aware of deeper states of presence and oneness and that the personal self was to blame for the illusion of them seemingly disappearing. Since I had an awakening and then found Advaita, the more the personal self dropped away, progress was sensed. If I recall correctly, I think that Ramana Maharshi once said self inquiry is like using a thorn to dig out another thorn. It would almost seem to suggest that one would have to know there is a thorn there in the first place? Don’t put the horse before the cart as it were? I don’t know, but maybe it might be relevant and something to consider when looking at Advaita and self inquiry as a path or tool?

  4. John & Lokin: I’ve become more and more convinced as time goes by, that OR’s are an illusion. Like both of you seem to be saying (and I agree with), it’s not gradual OR sudden, but gradual AND sudden. It’s not Advaita OR Mystical Oneness, but both (indeed, the Emptiness quality is basically Advaita inquiry). It’s not separation OR unity, but separation AND unity. OR’s imply dualism. Simple as that.

    Thanks for your insights.

    • Ha-ha-HA! At first I thought “OR’s” was referring to an acronym and could only come up with “operating room.”
      Once I came to an experiential conclusion about who I am (admittedly through guidance), all other questing ceased… except for a possibly spurious wonder about what to “do” now. It’s as if I’m still in a room–this illusory? incarnation–considering how to operate.
      [I may have missed what your “new website” designing is about. Is this a project for a client or for the new direction you’re taking with spiritual growth commentary and mentoring?]

      • Hi Jo, I hope that I may reply to your spurious wonder about what to “do” now. It almost seemed like an open invitation for commentary. Please forgive me Wayne for the post waylay.

        I have heard from respected teachers that suggests the ego is still somewhat operating thinly when one finds oneself asking those types of questions. Which makes sense in a way. Spirit I would imagine would not need to truly ask what to do, it would just flow naturally by it’s own spirit like any animal in nature.

        I do believe that we all have a Dharma in life and that until we awaken on the level of heart and emotion, it’s very hard to know what that Dharma is. Well I should say it’s hard for us to trust or surrender to that Dharma we truly feel in our hearts, to be more precise.

        I found a meditation once to ask within, to truly ask within.

        “How can I use my unique gifts and talents to serve others and myself?”

        The idea is to seek that which is in harmony with the Tao and in harmony with the life/story. Naturally it will change over the course of our lives but I feel that there is still a general story arc. I love how Joseph Campbell always suggested to “Follow Your Bliss”. That the universe will then open doors where there were only walls. Wayne Dyer also has a lot of books/videos on PBS/Youtube/library about finding your inner dharma/calling and talks quite often about the Dao in his later years.

        Joseph Campbell also once talked about having an “Ariadne thread” from the story of the minotaur and the labyrinth. If we think about the woman in the story as “Her” or the Tao, then the thread that we hold onto is our connection to Her and leads us out of the labyrinth to our hero’s destiny or Dharma. When I think of this thread I almost imagine it like the bliss within. If there is something that lights you up inside, something that speaks to your heart and gives you passion, that is your “Ariadne Thread”.

        I once heard a video on youtube where someone asked Sri Mooji if passion was ego, to which he said then it must be God’s ego than because ego is gone and yet great passion remains. If you look, passion also comes up from the heart, and all great saints are shown with huge loving hearts that flow unafraid without any egoic suppression.

        So if passion is there, don’t call it mine, let that passion be the universe’s passion, and follow it! If you find this to be of great difficulty or tumbleweeds; then I would suggest looking deeper into emotions to see if your level of awakening has truly cleared you out on that level as well. Adyashanti talked a great deal about awakening on the level of heart that I found to be very guiding and helpful.

        Much of the above guidance is just pieced together though by my own heart from various teachers. I am by no means a great example of walking the walk, but that’s because following our heart’s seem to be the hardest thing to do. But at the same time, what better way to spend a life then to move in spirit with the dao from a heart unafraid to live and love?

      • To what Lokin said above, I respond, “Amen.”

        BUT, and again this is about the OR thing in the sense that all limits and boundaries are illusional…

        It is expected to feel lost/directionless for awhile—see my “Drifting” posts. Eventually we become attuned to/gain faith in Her whispers and just follow along regardless of our mind’s objections.

        You are separate AND one. You are lost AND guided. 🙂

  5. Thank you for yours. I have been looking at the Tao as the unmanifested and then the ten thousand things as the manifested, but I have also been seeing it as an OR as you suggest.

    Yet it has also seemed to me as of late, almost like the yin/yang, and that there is still yet a perceiving of both? Perhaps the Yin/Yang as a symbol fits well with your system of emptiness and radiance? Looking at the image link below and examining it again with fresh eyes, it does seem interesting and relevant? This emptiness perhaps could then be compared to the Yin energy. Whereas the Radiance would therefore be the Yang energy? Emptiness and space are perceivable by a deeper witness self as is Radiance. The self is the one moving as yin and yang and yet neither. However, most of the later is more intellectual rather than experiential beyond fluctuating experiences similar to what others have described regarding states of emptiness/witnessing/oneness/light & light.

    I’m just noticing that it also embodies and points to what you are saying in your reply. Such as “it’s not gradual OR sudden, but gradual AND sudden.” Very Beautiful.

    http://www.nhn.ou.edu/~jeffery/astro/constellation/yin_yang.png

  6. Wayne and Lokin, I find value and reassurance in what you say (and what Sri Mooji said), especially the parts about passion, drifting, and intuition. It’s good to have friends like you. (That last sentence came from asking my intuition what to say, and it emphatically feels true.)

    • It seems to have genuinely came from your heart as well; to which my own heart responds in kind. Namaste.

      “One life
      With each other
      Sisters
      Brothers
      One life
      But we’re not the same
      We get to
      Carry each other
      Carry each other
      One” – U2

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