Spirituality is not a bypass for life. This is fundamental dualism as division. When all that is present are questions, seeking, thought, this is mind, and this is in direct opposition to what is being sought. Any notion of awakening, glimpses, is but the means and the invitation to embody this as direct means, to meet what is, as Beingness, as life itself. Recently, someone shared they could not handle the caregiving of their Brother, who was terminally ill, in ongoing critical care, and they were choosing to go to India for spiritual retreat instead. What arose and was offered, is that being with their Brother, is the Sadhana itself. The self is running away from self and abandoning, over and over again, living in separation, and it is here the spiritual search is born and hijacked. The most direct way to no-self, is to be selfless and serve. The fear or the resistance to the suffering of other is the fear and the resistance to the suffering of self. As such, the illusory notion of other is maintained as a means to remain separate. The self is both seeing and seeking its own reflection.
Compassionate unconditional action, being fully 'in' and as this arising, is to directly meet what is present, what IS, as what is. Any challenge, disagreement, resistance, or aversion to what is, is the illusory belief one can challenge Self, one can hide, one can control, and this is ego, this is suffering, as this is to remain separate and to engage spirituality as a means of bypass. There is no place to go, no place to run, no place to hide. The desire to escape instills and deepens the desire to escape. The self is brilliant at trapping itself, and there is no escape. Notice the degree spirituality becomes spiritual thought, and as such, has simply replaced one mindset for another. One form of conditioning for another. The self is self-conditioning by means of conditioning. Notice how subtle the 'me' remains at center. The great paradox is the self delusion of the endless thinking and study of spirituality and nonduality being all about a 'me'. The self does not awaken, one awakens 'from' the self.
Where is heart? Is heart engaged, present? Is one living in and as the taste? Has a glimpse or awakening triggered avoidance and separation? The mind of ego is deceptive and can create its own perfect trick. Be very cautious in trying to trap the seeker. Spirituality can become another form of hypnosis. If the heart is not open, fully engaged, the self is blocking the light of Awareness, the Light of Love, the Radiant Light of Self. This is living in and as the shadow. If a loved one falls ill, will you serve them, or isolate into spiritual books? If a stranger is in need, will you serve them, or isolate into 'spiritual materialism'? Selfless serving is direct means of no-self. Simple. Does every act seek a hidden or subtle reward or gain, even in giving? Is love always about protecting self and self serving? This is not love. This is conditional. There is a fear of the heart present, and as such, spirituality becomes thought by being hijacked by mind.
Spirituality as escape or a hiding place for self brings suffering. As a note, Ramana took care of others and animals lovingly, selflessly, and directly. Nisargadatta was a householder and took care of everyone lovingly, selflessly, directly. As did Anandamayi Ma, Ramakrishna, and as does Ammachi. Clarity and charity are one. Seva is Devotion, Devotion is Bhakti, and Bhakti and Jnana are One.
Of course it is of great service when one is awake to true nature. However, one can get caught or diverted by the search itself along the apparent way, and after 'awakening', a glimpse, taste, or as clarity, the same is possible. This is the clearing, the purification of all that has been avoided or not met. One must remain vigilant, and loving. Remain as the welcoming to the invitation, and notice how subtle the habit and tendencies of apparent movement 'from' or 'away' arise. These apparent movements define the very notion of who one believes they are. This is the strategy of the stabilizing and reinforcement of the imagined architecture of self. Ego seizes what it can to maintain the story.
Some years ago, the opportunity arose to speak directly with Adyashanti about awakening and the
spontaneous emergence of the Natural State, and the question arose of the heart, "how can this be served". His reply was, "in the many years of meeting and Satsang, and that has been thousands of people, less than the number of fingers on one hand has asked this. The ususal question is 'how can i keep this' or 'how can i get this back'?” That day, Adya offered an informal blessing for teaching, for Satsang.
Every-thing is hijacked and consumed to be about a 'me'. The ego has an insatiable appetite. The very notion of a 'me' separate from 'everything' is core separation. If there is an 'everything', how can this 'me' be separate? The notion of the object-self is determined by the notion and reflection of object-appearances. Is there even an 'everything'? This is a concept, as is self. The self believes it is the subject. When the self is disidentified, and moves from the apparent center, what remains? Separation is maintained by the notion of a subject-object duality. There is but the Pure Subject, Self.
Spirituality is not all about the self. If there has been a glimpse, a taste, or an 'awakening', how can one serve That? There is no self at center, never was. All there is, is Heart, not 'your' heart, not 'my' heart, simply Heart. When spirituality becomes all about a 'me', bring Seva into practice, be truly selfless, be truly unconditional. And this is not the means for self to feel good about self, and reinforce ego. Love with conditions is always 'about' something. This is to use the reflection of other to maintain the notion of self, and as the means to remain self-centered. Be unconditional, want nothing, expect nothing, give freely as Grace and Love. Compassionate action and love are the natural expression of the Natural State. There is no doer or doing required, as This. Grace, Love, Compassion, simply are, and are the light itself. What remains?
The question, the inquiry, who or what appears to be standing in the light? What is seeking 'enlightenment'? To enlighten is but to face the light, to simply turn around, to be in and as the light itself. This is receiving. The habit of the outward facing arc as seeking self-consciousness determines object-other, and reflects as being self-conscious, identified with and as its apparent contents. The senses are sense-objects. Yet this self is not an object, and as such, can not be found. The sensations that arise with this arc of reflection instills the notion of the body-mind identity, and the illusion of a separate self. As the arc turns inward, no longer determined by objects or other, there is but Awareness of Awareness, and the reflection is of itSelf, as Self Awareness. Self Awareness is determined by the habit of self-consciousness. As self-consciousness lessens, Self Awareness increases. As Self Awareness increases, there is no separate self. There is but Self. A separate self can not stand in or as the Light of Awareness. This is to enlighten.
Be vulnerable, be open, move with and AS Grace, for that is all that is. If self-serving is present, this is the doer, and the doer is a thought alone, and a means of avoidance or resistance, a means to maintain the notion of a separate self. To serve as true selfless serving is the realization there is no 'other'. Being itself is the great willingness. It is here the invitation and the welcoming are one as Oneness. The self is humbled by the taste and the beauty, and this is the beauty itself. The meeting of what is present is in being still, as silence, and this is the welcoming of the invitation which is ever present, eternal, and one is That. This is Grace.