Burning Cookbooks & Maps

Most spiritual traditions emphasize finding ourselves as any combination of (a) the ground of Existence, the pregnant void, (b) pure awareness, (c) anything that happens in the present.

And among these traditions, there is a difference in how integral or not their approach is.

Some emphasize an integral approach, including all our levels of being – absolute, pure awareness, abstractions, emotions, energies, physical body, larger social and ecological wholes, existence as a whole, etc.

Others emphasize one or a few levels or aspects, maybe most commonly the absolute and/or pure awareness. They may at most use some of the others as tools for finding ourselves as the absolute and/or pure awareness. These traditions can seem a little more onesided, even to the point of putting the other levels – such as abstractions – down.

It is understandable why they use this as a teaching strategy, as most people are identified with abstractions and not (yet) as the absolute or awareness. It can be a useful nudge sometimes. But if it becomes habitual, then they may just operate from another idea and fuel dualistic views.

It can even appear as it comes from a lack of sincerity – a lack of seeing and speaking from what is plainly given – that we are our full holarchy of being. All three levels of it: the absolute, pure awareness, and anything happening in the present (human self and beyond).

As Joan Tollifson says, you don’t have to burn the menu to enjoy the meal.

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