Liberation from “spiritual” ideas

I have written about this before, as with so much here.

“Spiritual” ideas may be helpful stepping stones for some. They may function as a carrot, something that captures the initial interest.

And after a while, they may reveal themselves as something else. Perhaps as a hindrance, if solidified and held as real and true. Any story has its drawbacks and unfortunate consequences when held as real and true, even the most (apparently) beautiful ones.

So here, we become more interested in seeing them for what they are.

We may look for the spiritual idea, whether it’s reincarnation, emptiness, awareness, heaven, hell, insight, light, identification, non -identification, no-self, awakening humanity, or whatever it may be. Can I find it, outside of words, images, and sensations? How is it to look at the images, listen to the words, and feel the sensations, and ask some simple clarifying questions about them? How is it to rest with each of them?

It can be hugely liberating to see that I cannot really find any of these as anything concrete, or real, or tangible. In my direct experience, they are made up of images, words, and sensations.

We can also ask ourselves some simple questions: What do I get out of holding this idea as true? What am I afraid would happen if I didn’t? What would I have to feel if I didn’t find comfort in this spiritual idea? (Whichever idea it may be.)

Some of these ideas may still be helpful, as shorthands for communication, or pointers for exploration, or a bridge to communicate with people who hold them as solid and real. And yet, to the extent they are recognized as composed of words, images, and sensations, there is a freedom there. A freedom from holding them as real, solid, or tangible.

When I wrote “Liberation from spiritual ideas” as the headline for this post, what I mean is just that: Freedom from holding them as real, solid, or tangible.

There is another aspect to this. Some of the spiritual ideas may be subject to scientific research. For instance, is there something that looks like reincarnation? If so, what is the range of possible explanations we can think of that fits the data? (Traditional reincarnation is just one of them, there are other possibilities.)

We can also explore these ideas in a more sober way. For instance, some think humanity is in an awakening process. It may seem that way to some, because they happen to live in a where more people are into those things, or they connect with similar minded people through workshops, centers, or online. A sober look at the world will perhaps reveal a different picture. Reality is also that some people at all times have thought that we are the threshold of something good. We don’t need to look further than the history of Christians. It’s a common projection, and a comforting idea.

It’s also an idea that many tend to hold onto early in our process, and then later on recognize as an idea, a projection, that we don’t really know, and that it’s more liberating, honest, and comfortable to not know.

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