Spiritual evolution is non-conceptual and is not bound to any development of a more advanced thought process or conditional approach to life. Self-improvement, where one learns to live in a more balanced and harmonious way in this reality (the unnatural projected world) is one thing, but to completely step beyond this perception requires a completely different process.
When one takes an interest in spirituality, it is common to fall into the trap of simply reworking one’s mental concepts around a new spiritual framework that one picks up from various talks or books. Thus one begins to construct a certain mental picture of what spirituality is, what enlightenment is, and what illusion and ignorance are, etc. One may even project a whole future linear trajectory for one’s spiritual path: ‘so-and-so is needed for enlightenment to occur; I need a guru; I need to receive shaktipat and get my kundalini awakened.’ However, such thoughts still occur on the level of ideas, dreaming and speculation. And thus in this day and age, there is a rapidly expanding thought-space or cloud of conceptual spirituality that is based merely on hearsay, hallucination and baseless bookish pseudo-knowledge.
Even adepts who have been on the path for a while and have refined themselves to some degree may still harbor certain stagnant ideas about the spiritual path. But just because certain people write about spirituality, it doesn’t mean that spirituality is confined to words or ideas. Certain beings have chosen the written word as a means to spontaneously express self and transmit knowledge. Such texts are not to be memorised or studied, they are simply to be felt and perceived, and on an intellectual level, forgotten and let go of. A great deal of corruption has come about from beings reading scriptures or writings and assuming that the written information itself is the crucial point. From that point, translations, interpretations and new texts were made that were not based on actual experience, but rather on the dry without-transmission words themselves. Now there are hundreds of thousands of books which claim to talk about spirituality, and yet, that is truly all that they do: they talk, speculate and gossip about what spirituality is and is not.
Concomitant with the written word is the spoken word. Many videos are made where people simply chatter and gossip about spirituality, as fish would chatter about what life is like outside the water. Thus, there is now a growing cloud of conceptualised and half-baked thought-space taken up by this chatter of dilettante spirituality that never scratches below the surface. One of the greatest challenges of this age, even for sincere seekers, is to step beyond this swamp of spiritual ideas and preconceptions that are based on speculation rather than experience.
The less concepts and ideas one has about spirituality when one comes to the path, the better. A great amount of work has to be done on the path simply to break out of the boxes of imprisoned and conditioned thinking. When one is stuck within concepts then one can never truly experience anything for what it is. Even if one experiences something real then that experience will be instantly neatly tucked into its proper conceptual pigeonhole of, ‘This was so-and-so experience, and this experience usually leads to this.’ or ‘ Now I have arrived at this point in my spiritual journey.’ But there are no levels and no points and no categories of spiritual experience. Real spirituality is beyond conditional experiences and beyond the causal flow of the projected earthly experience.
One of the biggest traps on the path is to turn spirituality into another ‘thing’. To fit one’s spirituality into a conceptual framework is akin to living in a prison and then building another prison around the previous one. Not only will one have to break down the walls of the first prison, but one will also then be held within the prison of fake-spirituality and a newly constructed spiritual ego which sits somewhere in a hierarchy of ‘spiritual people’ with certain levels and sets of distinct spiritual experiences or ‘achievements’. Tragically this additional prison that spiritual seekers build often goes unrecognised and many so-called teachers and students simply roam around this prison squawking about freedom when they are still deeply entrenched in both the inner prison of victimisation, undigested and unrefined emotional trauma, comparison, narcissism, and also an outer spiritual container which tells them that they are already beyond these kinds of issues because they are, ‘One with Everything’, or they are ‘Nothing’, or ‘Everything already’, or ‘Abiding in Non-Duality’.
Spiritual knowledge emerges from blissful, equanimous conceptless and idealess space. When one touches upon this space for the first time, then this can be called a first awakening. But if touching on this space fails to illuminate what is false and cloudy within one’s perception, then what is the use of it? There is no guarantee that an awakening leads to refinement or even disillusionment. Awakening can actually lead to a massive reconstitution of the limited self-perception around a new core of conceptual dead spirituality. One of the real roles of a spiritual teacher or master is to guard the student against rebuilding the walls of the limited perceptual prison. With the help of the teacher, one undertakes the work of slowly breaking through the walls of one’s perceptual limitations without laying another single brick of falsehood in the wall of limited self-perception. If one follows a true teacher then it will be far more difficult to build up this fortress of illusion whilst one is regularly and sincerely interacting with that teacher. The true teacher evacuates the limited self-perception and ignorance from everything within their space of awareness, and this includes the minds of whoever they happen to communicate with. It is why it is said that the real teacher gives one nothing; they help one to see what one already is, whilst also showing one what one is not.
Honesty to self, equanimous absorption and contentment are the same thing. One is only able to be honest to self when one creates some distance or space between what is and what one merely appears to be. Spiritual knowledge, which may be expressed through certain texts or the spoken word, blossoms from the knowledge of what one really is – the natural unconditional Reality. When that pure perception meets the projected apparent projection, then knowledge naturally emerges of how that apparent projection is created, maintained and destroyed within the overall space of Reality. This and only this can be termed as real spiritual knowledge. Such knowledge always contains the seed to unfold such knowledge further in those that resonate with it and those that do not wish to merely take and cling to the words dogmatically. Such knowledge is alive and spontaneous, and whether written or spoken, is constantly flowing through and from those rare beings who realise, cultivate and perfect their inherent immortal essence.