Coincidentally today on Easter Friday, I was led to write this post about “Spiritual transformation”
Duality is considered by some philosophies, Advaita or Kashmiri Shaivaism, a mistake and the reason for our suffering. They believe that if we do not have expectations, we cannot be disappointed; if we do not have attachments we will not feel loss. If we do not imagine ourselves as separate from the rest of the world we do not feel lonely or abuse all that is around us.
However unfortunately philosophy does not create spiritual experience or our way of action but the other way around – spiritual experience creates philosophy and changes our way of behavior.
Feeling the pain of duality, the pain of separation, the pain about the differences between higher and lower consciousness, the suffering between right and wrong actions – is the material for transformation. Denying Duality is like taking the fuel out of a distillery.
Easter is a good example – Jesus brought Duality – a new faith that was opposite to the established religion as a result not only was he crucified but also experienced the pain of separation : (and this not because he did not understand the Non-duality)
Jesus last words on the cross are :
Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
This act of Jesus on the cross demonstrates the nature of transformation. It shows that moments of transformation even in the case of a superior being as Jesus are NOT the result of an undivided inner determination, not without fear, disappointment, desperation, sadness. On the contrary transformation is only possible in the coexistence of polar emotions, ideals and sensual experiences.
All religion prepares us for the moments where life is difficult, maybe because of illness, loss or imminent death. If prepared by a life of practice where we try to live-up to a higher ideal, we can have enough determination to bring these positive thoughts and emotions to that moment – we create a state of different potentials of energy being present at the same moment which will result in transformation.
Physics shows us that transformation is only possible in the presence of higher and lower energy potentials. Why are we therefore so often disappointed when we are tempted or when we cannot live up to our highest ideals ? We have to understand that in states of perfection of equality – transformation is impossible.
Seen from this point of view religious and non-religious efforts for transformation only differ in the formulation of the higher ideals that people bring to those moments of trial. Christians remember in these moments possibly the sufferings of Christ and connect it with the high energy of gratitude and in this create a potential difference to the pain of the moment.
Buddhists add to such moments the great valuation they have created for non-attachment, which again is another form of higher vibration and thus provides the other pole for transformation.
But also those who work in a non-religious context will at best counterbalance disappointment with a renewed return to their higher resolve and vision which will then equally make transformation possible.
Even those that hold “non-duality” as their religion and with it the idea that there is nothing higher or lower, nothing to depart from or to strive for, unwittingly also create this polarity difference whenever they realize that they have failed in their non-duality view and slipped into a duality based feeling or acting.
Non-duality is like all other higher ideals like non-violence, love-they-neighbor, chastity, perfect poverty, faith, courage, un-attachment, love…. an ideal that never can be reached in an uninterrupted manner but that is necessary as the other pole for transformation to occur.
When we experience pain or difficulty and are not sufficiently prepared, we usually blame, explain or do something to not feel the sadness, fear or disappointment or simply drown in these emotions.
However we can understand that we can have moments of transformations not only when we are successful but also when we realize that we have failed, by holding on to our higher ideal while simply being present to the lower manifestations rather than resorting to blaming and explaining.
In short everyone with higher ideals that are in the direction of the evolutionary plan that is willing to invest energy into the realization of these ideals will have moments of transformation.
Moments of transformation are not always associated with the feeling of stress or discomfort but in their more powerful forms of grace are associated both with the feeling of non-duality as much as that of being-an-observer. Spiritual experiences of Non-duality are the result of moments of facing Duality, possibly pain and difficulties, together with a higher ideal or visualization.
From this point of view – many religious practices are simply ways to bring difficulty and pain into a person’s life – no matter how they are justified. For example the missionaries usually thought they bring merit to their soul by converting many UN-believers whereas the actual benefit came from facing more pain and discomfort in foreign lands while bringing the higher energies of trust and gratefulness to the same moments.
The missionaries of the Jesuits are my special guiding lights in this respect :