My Spiritual Digital Garden
Hi guys! Welcome to my spiritual digital garden. The contents of this site, which are continuously being tended upon by its gardener, that's me, will be my metaphysical musings. I am an ardent follower of the classical Advaita Vedanta and count my blessings that thanks to the wonders of technology I have come across this ageless philosophy.
I want to spread this wonderful word!
I have often contemplated what defines a man? It cannot be outward appearance, nor can it be intelligence, wealth and so on. I settled then on morals. A man is defined by his morals so I thought. Later I realized it cannot be even morals. What then? It must be belief! A man is defined by his beliefs. Freedom then, which is undefined, must be freedom of beliefs, or at least being flexible enough to change our beliefs when necessary by not being so invested in them. And to this is, to my understanding, what Advaita Vedanta so elegantly points to.
The Four Levels
I identify four levels in our spiritual development. But first perhaps I should explain why we should pursue spirituality in the first place. Well, don't we all pursue happiness in our own ways? The Advaita Vedanta promises we can obtain untold happiness by realizing ourselves as pure, unblemished, eternal, ever-present, brightly intelligent consciousness (see Can AI become conscious and Why should we realize that we are consciousness and also The Simulation Argument).
So evidently we should pursue this unsurpassed happiness if we are rational beings.
Coming back to the four levels, they are:
- Instinct. The only motivation is gratification of the instinctual desires.
- Culture. Through education people on this level (and most of us are), recognize religion and spirituality as important themes, but are too involved (see Involved vs. Detached) in the world to focus their attention on inner development. Moreover, they are still governed by emotions as they fail to take distance from thought (see Feeling and Emotion and Thought is sound imagination). They still very much buy into The Narrative.
- Awakening. On this level there has been a recognition of suffering (see Base Panic) and questions arise about how to take away the suffering, coupled with a strong belief that answers to those questions can be found.
- Practice. At this level awakening to the Truth (see What is liberation or enlightenment) has already taken place (it is is the transition from level 3 to 4). What remains to be left done is shadow-work. Extinguishing all traces of Big Ego. Perhaps one could say give up Resistance altogether and surrender to Cosmic Love unconditionally.
Transition from level 1 to 2 is the duty of society. The more it can, through its education and culture, lift people out of level 1 the more successful society is.
Transition from level 2 to 3 is the most crucial. It is the stumbling block for most people. However, it is simply a matter of generating interest, zeal even by detaching from the world through the recognition of suffering and an intuition as to its cause. Success, sooner or later, is guaranteed after crossing this line.
Transition from level 3 to 4 occurs when all questions have been answered, there exists a solid conceptual grip on the philosophy and some insights have already occurred. The seeker comes to realize (see What is Ego) that it is now just a matter of shadow-work to remove the remnants of Big Ego (see Identification and Ego). Practice is necessary, for example through the most effective embodiment practice of Tai Chi. See my note Training the Will.