Q: When you experience yourself in your true nature does that entail withdrawal from the world?
R: It may do. I think it important to remember that not all self-realized beings are engaged in teaching, or necessarily courting any kind of public profile whatsoever. Nonetheless to have attained the divine condition is itself a service to the whole of humanity. But for the spiritually-minded adept or student today it is increasingly self-evident that spirituality, or the quest for the divine, may be quietly and consistently followed while leading a secular existence, which means involving yourself in roles and functions that are ordinary and basically human. The way of paradox leads past itself to the insight that everything is ultimately divine — everything, without exception.
Q: But what about ignorance, evil, wrong-doing and so on?
R: It all depends on how and from where you are looking at it. If you can see that everything is tending towards good — and not good in the sense of good and evil, but goodness in the sense of absolute goodness — then that is an entirely different view from, for example, a moral position or an ethical standpoint, which is loaded with a value system filled with assumptions and emotional filters. Rather practice awareness, acceptance and deepen in understanding out of expanded consciousness in relation to the world about you.
Q: Can I throw a few concepts and one-offs at you for a quick reply?
R: Go ahead!
Q: Spiritual pride?
R: A contradiction in terms. When spiritual life is realized in the practitioner, there is no one to feel proud.
Q: Well, what about spiritual experience then?
R: Strictly speaking, no, you can’t have it, because when transcendence is present, you are not. This is the meaning of the Mahavakya inthe ancient Upanishads which expresses the unity of the Universal and the individual as “I AM THAT”.
Q: Gnana yoga?
R: The penultimate spiritual practice that leads to complete renunciation of the world; the method of using the mind against itself until, with the cessation of mental activity, the truth appears starkly on a pristine background.
Q: Humanistic psychology, before the introduction of the transpersonal?
R: Humanistic psychology gave us back our sense of individual responsibility for our lives, deepened our understanding of the inner world and psychological states, provided a new paradigm for inner exploration and demonstrated incontrovertibly that psyche is mind, which is to say that the unconscious arises in form.
Q: And Transpersonal psychology?
R: From the beginnings with Jung, William James and Maslow to the present day Transpersonal psychology has been both a hollow, unfulfilled promise of transcendence, one of the greatest missed opportunities of the past 100 years, but it has also provided a gateway, the beginning of a sophisticated, informed spiritual approach for the western mind that specifically addresses the crucial need for a spiritual approach to personality in the age of individualism.
R: I prefer the Buddha’s original teachings, which were wordless — even before the famous Flower Sermon. The Buddha originally, after his enlightenment at the bodhi tree, realizes that he cannot convey what he has discovered through words, but only in mouna, or silence.
R: And Christianity…
R:… teaches the way of authenticity in the world, how we may live in the only way that manifests full intelligence — through kindness, compassion and love… and that’s a tall order as the Gospels show, but it is the expression of our authentic self, our true nature.