Spirituality: conscious expansion and transformation that proceed until the non-duality becomes clearly recognized.

Advaita Post, Volume 10 No 9

In sensitive seeing: non-duality

Text

In: “Koorddanser” 26 No. 263 (May 2009), p. 13

Spirituality: conscious expansion and transformation

Koorddanser is a magazine for the spirituality of our time and for spirituality, as the front-page of the magazine states. But what is spirituality?

People who read the articles and the agenda of coming events for the first time , are amazed by the diversity of topics. On any given page the words massage, dance, aromatherapy, psychic perception, sculpting, emotion, healing, sexuality, art of living, yoga, meditation, God, justice, and much, much more appear. In the ‘KD-kompass’, the countless topics are listed alphabetically. What is spiritual in all these things? It’s useful to take a look at it, since a firm awareness seems necessary in order to not drown in the large sea of offerings and also to see clearly for oneself what really matters.

The word spirituality is seemingly applied to all different kinds of things and yet a clear definition is missing. The word comes from the Latin ‘spiritus’, which means the flow of air, breath, life and spirit. The meaning has essentially become ‘spirit’. In spirituality you devote yourself to this ‘spirit’. This means in any case an expansion and a transformation of your own existence. In the expansion, your own sphere expands beyond its borders. There is also a transformation: you become freer, purer and more rarified, less heavy in a material sense. And you experience that as you move in a spiritual direction. There are apparently several states each with a different sense of space, freedom, purity and lightness/weight. Additionally you have a sense of something that is more spacious and pure than the existing situation. The ‘spirit’ pulls you and there is a need to go in that direction, so as to attain expansion and spiritual transformation. In any case it receives a form.

The many paths – one essence

In religious spirituality there is the experience of a divine reality, for example, the Biblical God, Jesus and Mary, Vishnu, Ganesha, Krishna. You let this reality work through you, so you knowingly participate in it. This means that your life becomes expanded and is lighter, purer. This applies also to a spirituality that doesn’t focus on a personal God, but rather on Nature, the Cosmos, the Absolute, the Source without images and myths.

The ‘spirit’ can manifest itself in all aspects of life and coexistence. A few important aspects are the cosmically open breath, the arena of free movement, the realm of free-flowing emotions in contrast to a mental rigidity, the area of creativity, the world of the spirit, imagination, thinking, mathematics, the saintly life and holy family, the open relationship with the other (I and Thou), sexual union (including Tantra, the mystic marriage), the meaningful world with significant depth and flexibility in contrast to the world of fixed rules and forms (letter and spirit), the world where justice is and peace prevails.

The expansive and light reality can be recognized in nature. Then you can participate in it or even be absorbed into it. Some people have that experience with pets (e.g. horse whisperer), other wild animals such as wolves, bisons, eagles (shamanism), but also with dolphins. The landscape can be experienced as sacred; absorption into it experienced as a mystical union. Participation in the expanded, pure and rarefied atmosphere of the world of scent in the blossom and aroma therapy can function in a healing way. Also in alchemy, the ‘spirit’ is of a finer state than the material substance  in which you originally participate. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) used to be called the ‘spirit of salt (NaCl)’, because it is volatile. In general, there is the spiritualizing line from the various aggregate states of matter: earth (solid), water (liquid), fire (energy), air (gas) and ether. Different traditions offer different ways to participate in this line towards a more spacious and freer sphere. It always involves a transition towards a wider and lighter reality. This spiritualization can express itself up through the levels, on the mental level (imagination, thinking), insight and cosmic consciousness. In mysticism it can involve a transition to a dimension which we call divine. The experienced reality becomes ‘cleaner’ and ‘more rarefied’, that is to say, less mixed with heavy materiality. It becomes increasingly spacious and the sense of freedom grows. Therefore, it’s understandable that mystics talk of a total freedom in God as a great sphere in which you are absorbed and in which you aren’t bound by the restrictions commonly associated with matter.

 Clarity of mind

Apparently all so-called spiritual activities are about expansion and transformation towards a lighter more rarefied sphere of being. As you recognize the core of spirituality and as it receives the highest value for you, you will increasingly focus on expansion and refinement, on opening yourself up. This requires a clarity of consciousness, a presence of mind, because only then can the orientation remain good. Then it’s clear what the proper orientation is and what deviations are. Then the tendency to enter into a limited situation can be recognized, its illusory attraction penetrated; the proper orientation can continue to function while the deviation no longer does. Clarity of mind, where you remain constantly aware of your own situation, is also a part of spirituality.

Probably you become more and more convinced that clarity, your own space of openness and light, is the essence of spirituality. Your concentration on spirituality then means to promote clarity as much as possible by remaining within it. It’s your own being sphere of lucidity. In the expansion you continually experience fewer separations between yourself and others and everything else. The duality merges into a non-duality. The transformation means becoming freer of everything that had originally limited you. These restrictions appear to have arisen mainly because you followed patterns of thought and feeling that cause duality and closure. The spiritual path of expansion and transformation means a breaking open, a liberation. The essence of spirituality is openness without duality (non-duality).

Non-duality of ‘spirit’ and everyday world

When yogis and mystics come back into everyday consciousness, they often experience that the world is harder than ever. As long as there is a material body, there is a material world and there are physical and mental processes. The breaking open is not only the realization of a spiritual reality, but also the acceptance of a material world. The expansion and transformation continue up to a complete disappearance of all duality, including that of matter and spirit. It’s wonderful when you experience the spiritual or conscious world. You’re free within it, without the limitations of the physical body and world. But as long as there is a body, you still have to deal with material existence. As long as a contrast remains, that duality lets conflict and suffering persist. The problems can only disappear when the two merge into a non-duality. The spiritual process has no limits. The whole of reality receives a dimensional depth that is spiritual and non-dual.

This is already found in the oldest writings that humanity has: the Vedic literature of ancient India. Especially in the last parts of it (the Vedanta: the Upanishads) the core is increasingly posited as the non-duality of all (Brahman) and the self (Atman). There is one infinite sphere of being, consciousness and bliss. This can be recognized as something that you have always already been. It is usually not seen, because people are imprisoned by limited things. It can be seen and therefore it is useful to learn about the different spiritual options. In your actual situation a distinction can always be made between the possibilities that offer more or less space. When you make good use of this capacity for discrimination your spiritual development will continue in a good way. The expansion and transformation will continue and you will remain aware of them. Being and knowledge merge in this process, until the original and always existing non-duality is clearly recognized.

Spiritualization exists only as long as you walk down a path as a person. When you become truly awake, you see that it was a dream. In that wakefulness, you’re free, free from your limited self, free for everything and everyone. That is Love.

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