The Spiritual Path

Chris: Enlightenment is usually seen as a fruit of the spiritual path or a spiritual life, so what do you see as the spiritual path?

Tony: Lately I have found another way of thinking about this or of explaining it. This is because recently I have written about, and therefore given much exploration to our inner life, and to the process of lucidity and waking up in sleep.

This is such a huge subject because when we begin to think about sleep it poses such big questions. In fact it has been called the little death. So in the explorations of many past cultures into the meaning of life, they have seen the experience of sleep as providing some information about the experience of death. This is perhaps because, as we begin to penetrate the darkness of sleep, we begin to penetrate the deeper levels of our own awareness and have a sense that we are thereby touching the foundations of our own existence. For in sleep we lose awareness of ourselves. See Dimensions of Human Experience

When we see the moon and it is not full, we can see the edge where there is very marked light on one side and darkness on the other. Human life is very much like that. There is a sharp and dividing line between waking and sleeping, between having self-awareness and being as we call it unconscious. Mostly, what we call the spiritual path is about crossing that line, going over that border, moving beyond that frontier in one way or another. When we do that we become a whole human being. There is consciousness all the way through.

I know some aspects of it are said to be about living a good life; about being kind, charitable and loving to others. Well, there may be truth in that, but I do believe that unless one achieves some level of awareness of one’s own internal nature through whatever path one takes, there has not been any real awareness of the spirit. In fact I define the spirit as pertaining to what doesn’t change, what does not shift in human nature, what remains as the foundations of existence. It has everything to do with something that stands beyond life-and-death. And that is why I link it to crossing of that border, that frontier between waking and sleeping. It is about exploring the dark side of the moon.

But often the spiritual is described as if it is something far off, ephemeral, very divine or difficult to attain. What I have come to over the years is these ideas give a wrong impression of it. My simple explanation is that your spirit is you when you remember yourself fully.

What I mean by this is mostly we do not know who we are because we suffer a form of amnesia. It is a memory loss that in our culture is assumed to be normal. We fail to remember our childhood, our infancy, our birth and conception, yet these are all available to us.

When we do take our memory back to include all these and go beyond that to our life in eternity, we remember who we are. Then we know what spirit is – ourself.

In fact, one of the stated facts of what we have called the enlightened human being, is that they never sleep. By this is not meant that the body does not go into a state of what we call sleep. What it means is that while they sleep they have focused awareness still and do not lose themselves in unconsciousness. That is why lucidity is such an interesting subject. When we penetrate these levels in sleep or in waking we begin the process of remembering who we are. This is what happens in learning what I have described as LifeStream – Lucidity

Carl Jung describes the consciousness of a human being, with its experience of being awake and asleep, as being like a sphere. He said that on this sphere, or ball, there is a small spot of light about the size of a pea in relationship to a tennis ball. This small spot of light, he says, depicts our experience of waking. It is a tiny part of our whole self, the rest and greater part lies in the shadows of unconsciousness, of sleep.

Of course, most of us have glimpses into that dark world when we remember a dream. Therefore, as Freud suggested, dreams are a royal road to the unconscious. But there are many other paths that have been developed through the ages. Most of them in one way or another are ways of throwing the spotlight of awareness into the darkness of that large sphere that is our total being. See Opening to Life

Example: ‘I was sitting opposite someone during an enlightenment intensive workshop. We had been posing the question for days – “Who are you?” Suddenly I realised that it was a silly question, because I was the answer. All thought stopped and I existed as the answer. My being had always been this. In this state there was an awareness of being connected with everything around me, in the beginning of creation. This was the first day.

While in the state of simple existence I was able to observe many things I am usually not aware of. For instance while I simply existed, my usual pattern of behaviour and thought went through contortions to be the centre of awareness again. I could see them almost like habits, systems, that have life, like a body does, and they were dying and twitching in their death throes. Also I saw that I knew that all thought is like a mimic, so all our thinking is like photocopies, without any real life. Also as I saw this I had an image of a monkey that was actually me normal thinking self running alongside my every motion and trying to mimic it. It was almost as if as I as a person walked along, another mechanical person ran alongside trying to keep up and mimicking everything I did in an attempt to be alive and real. Yet thought can never be life.’

Another person says, ‘Unexpectedly everything changed and my fundamental self was something that existed throughout all time. It didn’t have a beginning or end. There was no goal to achieve. I am.’

Slightly different but still the same enlightenment. ‘Everything seemed to slip away and I felt as if I melted back into the primal being of the universe. It didn’t seem as if my ego was gone, just melted into everything else. It was blissful.’

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