You may have started out not knowing anything about the spiritual side of life, you where only material, but there was something different about you that made you feel something was missing in a so called normal life. Or perhaps you knew some greater truth, but did not have the method of finding it or talking about it.
This was your innate knowledge of the spiritual realm, however, you did not have the teachers or guides to show you what existed. Your parents and schooling never touched on the spiritual parts of life. Religion was too dogmatic and made no sense to you, so you did not find emotional and spiritual consolation there. Since you had nowhere else to turn, you just kept it inside until you forgot about it. That was when life seemed to lose a bit of its excitement and interest. You sedated your hunger for knowledge since it could not be fulfilled.
Because it has been so many years that you have kept your desire for knowledge that could not be fulfilled inside, you may now over-indulge in this new found treasure.
A pendulum that is held too high on one side will swing too far to the other. And then may swing far back to where it began. Anything, no matter how good, in excess, may be harmful.
A key trait of an evolved being is balance. You are not fully evolved, but if you want to get there, you must have balance. To walk the razors edge is impossible without this balance. Balance of mind and spirit and action. Your actions must be balanced between the normal life of work, play and personal/spiritual growth. Because these things are so different in their nature, you cannot calculate balance in equal portions of time.
The correct amount of each is calculated not by outward action, but by inward attention. You can, and in order for something to be a true practice, you should be able to do the inward work at the same time as outward action. In other words, you should be able to self observe while hiking or working.
This means that you do not have to spend every minute of every day that you are not working, contemplating your navel. You must have physical exercise and rest time. When it is appropriate, some entertainment is necessary for your mind to take a break from the efforts of your spiritual practices to rest and regain some strength. There are Fakirs that would take as their practice to hold one arm in the air for ten or twenty years.
That arm becomes useless and the Fakir does not necessarily gain the benefits desired. You must live a path that is best suited to you. Each day that may change as you grow, so do not fix today’s practice based on last week. But make your practice and efforts appropriate for each day considering the season, time, and world you live in, or are travelling in. When you get strong enough, you will be able to carry a strong practice and keep it with you anywhere in the world. Until then, if you do not develop yourself with a firm but gentle hand, you may break yourself and lose interest.
You must also consider that an excess of one thing does not make up for an excess of another. Work steadily and diligently, but not fanatically, ever conscious, and ever practicing.
Mystical practices have been around for thousands of years, and some very fortunate few have become enlightened due to them while others have simply gained an improved life.
The problem and part of the reason that many people do not seriously take up the effort of the practice of meditation is that so very few people actually gain any noticeable results. This makes it hard to put in the effort if one cannot see the practices and effort being worthwhile.
The cause of the lack of success seems to be in the manner in which the mind functions that prevents meditation practice from being effective.
The mind normally runs on memory and perceived impressions of what it hears or sees, we shall discuss this in great depth throughout the program. This makes it impossible for a person to deal with life in the present moment and make use of meditational practices in the most effective manner towards liberating the soul.
And so the first step is, rather than long hours of mediation, to put in tremendous effort towards discovering how the mind works, how your personality and ego colour the way you see and live your life.
By finding how the ego takes a simple situation and builds it into a very different picture, usually to the negative, then it will be possible to correct this fault in our interactions with the world we live in and people we deal with.
Once this error of perception is cleared up, then meditational practice is much more effective. The original teachings seem to say that by doing meditation, you will clear up the minds distorted vision. Based on how many people have meditated through the millennium compared to how many have become enlightened, to any degree, it appears that that principle is not a guarantee. Here we will follow a path of the reverse.
The emphasis is on clearing up the faulty faculty of perception, which causes immeasurable misery, with a lesser emphasis on meditation practices. In this way, the improvement of the quality of life and relationships, which will translate into personal as well as business interactions, could increase at a very rapid pace.
With this reversed emphasis from the ancient teachings, we have found that even if enlightenment is not achieved, life becomes more peaceful and fulfilling by the elimination of the majority of negative emotions and experiences as well as an increase in understanding life in general.
As the student progresses, meditation practices can be increased. Meditation is not simply sitting and contemplating your navel, it is focused thought. There are many practices that are active and are meditational. Activities such as target archery also known as Kyudo, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, walking, and many other places that the benefits of meditation can be achieved as well as improving physical health and other aspects of the being. If a person prefers sitting, that is also fine.
The principle of this school is that the path to enlightenment can be compared to a road that is many lanes wide, this is the road of awakening. All the lanes, the different practices or paths, lead to the same place, but some are for certain cars or certain speeds. Here, we offer many types of different practices that all give the same result or benefit and lead to the same goal of developing awareness.
In this manner, each person can customize their own path within the guidelines of tested methods. It can also be seen as a boat with many seats. A passenger can only sit in one seat at a time, and can only try so many seats. No matter what seat is occupied, they will all reach the destination at the same time, as long as you don’t jump off the ship.
If you had two glasses of water, and your friend needed to drink, but in one glass the water had mud and dirt inside it, and the other glass had pure clean water, which one would you give? We are the same. Our ego and personality is soiled with negative emotions and feelings that we cannot control. So in order to give the best we can to our world, we must clean out the dirt from our hearts, gain control over ourselves, and be the best we possibly can.
The mind must be empty before it can acquire any new information. Not only must old false impressions and concepts be let go of, but more importantly, it is the way of thinking that may require adjustment. The manner in which a person understands, interprets and hears things does not often make use of the full capacity of the faculties that we are born with.
Some people learn to think analytically if they have trained as a scientist for instance, others think emotionally, if their bent is poetry. Whatever way of thinking a person has, clouds the manner in which new information is interpreted. So this manner need be expanded to other manners so that all the value of the information can be reaped rather than only what can be seen from one particular manner of thinking.
Imagine if you where famished and went to the restaurant, got your food and then tried to shove it in your stomach directly. Then you got angry that you where still hungry, and even yelled at the waiter who was trying to explain that you are not doing it right. You would only get more frustrated that your hunger where not getting appeased, but you would still be hungry.
Take this thought as the way in which we all think, we are trying to get information in a manner that is not in accordance with the organ that requires the nourishment. Food must be taken in the mouth, and follow the necessary path to reach the stomach. Knowledge and awakening are the same, they must follow a particular path, one that is different to the manner in which we presently function. If the idea that you do not know exactly how to digest and assimilate this type of information is acceptable to you, then the mind will open up to new faculties of perception and be able to gain insights that may be surprising.
The end goal is enlightenment, awakeness, awareness of ultimate reality, Truth, God, or whatever you may see as the cause of all existence. In being awake and living consciously, there is no separation. There are no longer two sides of the same coin, that is still separation. All things exist simultaneously. When that mode of consciousness is achieved, then pain, suffering and all that causes desire ceases to have any effect, for there is nothing to need because nothing is lacking. All things do exist now.
The steps on the path can be summarized as follows:
To know that you have capacities that you are not using.
To know the reasons you do not access and use these abilities.
To do the practices with great effort.
By getting to know your capacities, even if you cannot access then, that knowledge will speed up the process of their unfoldment.