Originally Published: October 22, 2012 by remingtoncooney |
Last week, I was fortunate enough to be able to host an in-store talk at the bookstore I work at – Banyen Books. For this particular talk, an author by the name of P.T Mistlberger was discussing his latest release: Rude Awakening.
Rude Awakening explores, in an almost cautionary-tale style, how embarking on a so-called spiritual path is not really all smiles and rainbows like so many of us think it is. Granted, many spiritual seekers (myself included!) begin walking the ‘spiritual’ path with the intention of reaching the smiley, rainbow place, so as to escape the suffering experienced in the everyday ‘non-spiritual’ life.
The “rude awakening” is the experience we have along that path when we realize we can work our butts off doing these so-called ‘spiritual’ things only to realize that these acts we are undertaking (yoga, meditation, etc), while they benefit our bodies and minds, are not going to get us to a place of liberation. There is no way to truly escape life, while you are alive.
From my own experience, it has still been extremely beneficial walking down such a path full of spiritual activities and musings because it has brought me to this place where I now stand – and that place is a place of realization; a place where I understand that what I was searching for at the end of this ‘spiritual’ path was actually right at the beginning. But sometimes you need to take the long way round or walk all the way down, in order to see that there is nothing at the end and everything at the beginning. And this is the “rude awakening” Mistleberger speaks of.
This is one of the reasons why the great Taoist and Zen sages believed that the true nature of life is cyclical. Everything that leaves, returns – as does our epiphanies and awakenings. They come and go. Ebb and flow. One minute we are asleep, the next minute we are awake. In Zen, this cyclical nature is represented by the Enso
I love to think of life as a returning process. A boomerang, if you will, of all our thoughts, ideas, musings, actions, friends, family, people, places all leaving us in one moment only to return in the next (whether in this lifetime or the next). This is the inherent nature of interconnectedness.
During his talk, Mistlberger spoke of interconnectedness and its relation to manifesting what you want in your life. And while the entire talk was, how should I say it…enlightening (?) it was this part that I enjoyed the most. He said that so many are looking for magic in their lives, like a mystical experience, and this is one of the reasons why we start walking along the spiritual path. One of these magical experiences that many famous new age personalities have capitalized on, is the art of manifestation. This notion of having the power to will anything into your life, which is so often advertised as big cars, houses, lots of money, the perfect partner. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch ‘The Secret’…….on second-thoughts, don’t watch it.)
Mistlberger’s response to this art of manifestation, is that there is no magical experience. It’s not about “pulling rabbits out of a hat.” Instead, realizing you can manifest anything; realizing you have the potential to do anything – comes from an understanding that you are not separate from that which you want. There is no separation between you and the big house or the nice car that you want (if that’s what’s at the top of your list.) But more importantly, there is no separation between the person you are and the person you want to be. Why? Because it is all interconnected.
Many spiritual seekers (guilty again!) begin a spiritual path because we want to become someone perhaps more pure, more wise, more in-tune than the person we are at this point. But the person you want to become is the person you already are. The only separation exists in the false duality that the mind creates:
The mind says: I am A, therefore, I need to do such and such so that I can become B.
You are both A and B at this point in time. It is simply a matter of the mind, and more specifically, the ego, to whether you believe you are A or B (or both!)
It’s one thing for me to say this, it’s a completely different thing for me, or anyone else, to actually truly embrace this. This is oneness.
At the heart of all of this is, of course, The Tao (Way). The Way holds oneness. To know that we already are what we want to be, is to understand this interconnectedness. To know that we are not separate from that which we seek or desire, is once again, accepting this oneness. To know that there is no ‘spiritual life’ and ‘non-spiritual life,’ is also oneness. All of life is spiritual, and all of it is not spiritual, right at the same time.
And soon you realize you are the world because the world is within you; just as you are within the world.