Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Truth, not peace

Here's a great question to ask oneself:

Do I want the truth more than I want love and peace?

This is a tough question, is it not? It may conjure up unpleasant images that we would much rather avoid. Yet it is a critical question, and it must be faced at some point or the other on the spiritual journey. So are you ready to ask this question now? If you are not ready, no problem - being honest about yourself is always a good thing, is it not? And if you are ready, then go ahead. Get tough.

The truth is that the deep spiritual journey carries no incentive. There is no grand prize awaiting us that makes all the heartache worthwhile. If you are on this journey and holding out for the grand prize, then you are setting yourself up for great disappointment. The deep spiritual journey is its own incentive. We are on this journey, because it chooses us and not vice versa. Any idea that the mind has about pursuing eternal love and peace on this quest is just that - an idea.

The rational mind wants to have a worthy objective and so it makes up a story about the spiritual goals of eternal bliss or eternal contentment. And then it leads us to believe that we are looking for those things. And then what happens? We may have a wonderful spiritual experience or two or even a dozen. But we always seem to return to the life we had before those experiences. In other words, life outside those experiences is not necessarily always blissful or content. So we seek more spiritual highs, and we seek new teachers, new teachings, new techniques - anything that promises us eternal peace. And we end up not with eternal peace, but with eternal seeking. What a mindtrap! Is it not?

Somehow it never occurs to us to question the spiritual goal itself. What if we are deluding ourselves about the goal itself? Am I really seeking eternal love and peace? And even if such questions do occur to us, we dismiss them easily, because mind produces some weighty distractions that help us avoid them. For example, we start to think about all those wise and realized men and women who emanate peace and bliss, and they are shining examples of what can be achieved, is it not? So that justfies the goals we have set ourselves. And it just shows that we need to do something differently to reach those goals. Or so the mind would have us believe. And then off we go -seeking in new fresh ways again!

And yet, can you think of even one realized master who said that he/she was in this to find peace and love for themselves? Yes, many of these masters embody and emanate love and peace. That part is true, but the rest is imagined in our minds. The idea that they pursued that love and peace for personal gain can find no support in their authentic accounts or their teachings. Isn't that true? Don't believe me - check it for yourself.

What these great teachers tell us is that love, peace and contentment are the bye-products of living in truth. But they cannot be grasped at, for what is grasped at and sometimes attained also slips through and is often lost. This love that they radiate is not the idea of love that we carry around in our heads. It is a love that loves without cause. It is a love that loves because it is its nature to love, because it cannot help itself. This is the love that does not need to hold on to itself, lest it should slip away. And this love is a bye-product of seeing and being the truth of what we are. Because living in truth means an openness and appreciation of whatever arises; it means being in unity with what is.

So go ahead, if you are ready. Ask yourself the question:

Do I want the truth more than I want love and peace?

Allow yourself to delve into that question for a few days or a few weeks. Discover what compromises you have made, or may still be making in order to choose peace over the truth. Find out if such a peace really satisfies you in a sustained way. Rediscover what you already know - that the truth is not always peaceful. Really let in what you already know - that you cannot know what this moment will look like for you - that there is no guarantee of peace.

It is not my purpose to make you feel bad, and it is certainly not my purpose to make you feel good! This question is not for the faint of heart. But if you are willing and ready for it, it will change the course of your seeking.


Alpesh said...

In truth, there is love and peace.

When the mind and heart is in love and peace, know truth has been reached.

Monica said...

This writing only could come from that which is uncompromisingly true. How else could it have been so poignantly potent.