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February 14, 2013

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Though I believe in the practice of the inward knowledge of "know thyself", I can't agree more with the premise of "Contemplating the Roots of Spiritual Escapism". Understanding the roots and motivation of our spiritual beliefs (and non-beliefs) is a path that few venture into because our beliefs artificially give us emotional support. I have been told that psychology precedes philosophy. Spirituality often times is just a means of bypassing knowing thyself and being accountable to its self conscious knowledge.

Truths are even used to hide behind. People use concepts like there is no-self for the purpose of not facing oneself. Extremes begin to take hold like Life is only subjective and ambiguous at best in order to escape relative reality and in so doing conveniently experience culpable ignorance. Contemplating our roots of why we believe what we believe is engaging in the inward practice of "know thyself". Looking within can serve a purpose other than escapism.

GREAT. I so loved this, and I left a comment with the original author of the link you provided which I will copy here:

"i am SO GLAD you have written this article! This is a subject that has fascinated me for a long time, and it is great when you find others sharing your same wavelength.
This bit: “In the Hindu tradition we have our own exemplar of self-mutilation, Bilva, a former prostitute hunter turned traveling monk. Finding, after years of severe ascetic practice, that his eyes were still distracted by the beauty of the external world he cut them out with wooden pegs. Once blind he finally saw.: reminded me very much of what Alan Watts explained in his book Nature Man and Woman, about how the yoga tradition with its ‘on-pointed awarenss’ caused yogis to be fearful of even gazing at nature with its erotic curves and inviting holes etc because of fear be being seduced away from their inner ‘heroic’ quest to ‘perfection’ far away from the body and nature!
I find it beyond sad that belief systems could make one feel ashamed of looking at the beauty of the world, and this needs exposing because it IS world-denying, and considering planet Earth is under attack from a collection of toxic belief systems which at root come from this same patriarchal fear of nature, sensuality, and the body, there is–for me anyhow–a sense of urgency to wake the hell up and explore this with others.
Have you also considered psychedelics too. My first psychedelic experiences when 15 were all mostly eyes-open and these had big influence on me returning to the deep insight of how magical and wonderful and alive nature is. later I was to read so-called experts in the field of psychedelic psychotherapy like Stanislav Grof who would have his ;patients’ cover their ears with music headphones, and wear eyeshades during LSD trips–ie., the same theme of cutting people off totally from eye and sensual contact with the external world!
Now I am not saying there is no value in that, but it is noteworthy how his influence makes out the superiority of ‘going inwards’, as this technique is influenced by the psychoanalytical model, But I have had amazing insights when tripping watching the TV! Strange synchronicities occur when you will turn to a channel without planning and be faced with an experience that really has deep insights. One example was stumbling on a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and with psychedelically liberated eyes seeing right through the conflict to ‘we are all humans and our main connector is Nature’—to UNDERSTAND this!
So how do we compare the world-denying belief systems with the current myth we are oppressed under? Scientific materialism. Well like you say in the former there is the idealism that the inner world is superior to the outer world. But with the current physicalist myth the inner world has been tried to be explained away, and the notion that only the outer world exists, and this has been thought out by thinkers obsessed with their thinking being right lol, and they ALSO reduce the outer world claiming it is basically dead, and mechanical–having no ‘spirit’! Whilst THEIR inner world of thinking, math and ‘science’, is superior. So it is in other words a carry on of the world-denying myth but in dis-guise."

Closing your eyes and observing the movement "within" is no different from observing with eyes open what's "out there" when your observation is stripped of questionable assumptions.

Whatever you're doing, it's you doing it, so the more you learn out about what "you" is, the less likely you are to believe anything.

This is a bit out of the context of your current post, but I am wondering if you are aware of a new "Guru" who plans to spread "Santmat" (based on the teachings of Sawan Singh from RSSB) in the US in a big way.

Please have a look at the following and especially the video embedded therein:

http://hazursawanishwarpuri.com/dera/

I did some research on my own and found that Dr. Ishwar Puri and his father were among the most prominent "Satsangis" of the Dera Beas, but looking at his website and after watching some of his many video lectures available on youtube, it seems (to me at least)that he is not representing RSSB and rather going on his own. In fact, he is planning to establish "Dera Baba Sawan Singh" in Wisconsin, US on the lines of "Dera Baba Jaimal Singh" in Beas, Punjab, India.

Good article, I would like to add that the phrase "within" is an RS catch-phrase.

My father, now an old man has been and still is a fanatic RS cult member. In a moment of weakness he admitted to actually having zilch spirituality- no God contact. Nevertheless whenever one knows he has been to Satsang when he returns like an excited schoolboy, exclaiming at the marvel of "going within", "everything is within", "must go within", "so and so is preventing us from going within", "within, within, within", interspersed with other predictable RS lingo of "eye centre" and "2.5 hours" and useless waffle. Eyes shut without love for God in the heart and pure in mind body and spirit and without God's grace is just that- eyes shut. The desperate person may dream or hallucinate and produce tales of exotic experiences, all within told what to expect to experience; inferring a manifestation of desperation.

There is no such thing as outside reflecting inner reality or God existing purely "within". God is not just realised "within". He is omnipresent and is realised as such. A more apt term would be 'in situ' referring to not having to make pilgramages to holy places (or for that matter, deep "within") to find God; he intuitively is omnipresent in all of sargun form and in a God-realised state, one is immersed in him at all times and visible in one and everything: feelings, actions, inside the mind, in every pore of the body, outside the body, in humanity, in mineral rock and at eventually at a higher spiritual realm of understanding (not to be confused with the "within").

This is not only a waste of time, it is dangerous and immoral. What right does RS have to usurp people's lives? I thank God I left RS relatively unscathed and found him intuitively, but RS has broken my family and ruined lives.

R

"....God; he intuitively is omnipresent in all of sargun form and in a God-realised state, one is immersed in him at all times and visible in one and everything: feelings, actions, inside the mind, in every pore of the body, outside the body, in humanity, in mineral rock and at eventually at a higher spiritual realm of understanding (not to be confused with the "within")."

----Explain what you mean by "in" a God-realized state? Likewise, what is the meaning of, eventually at a "higher" spiritual realm of understanding? I'm not finding fault, just another interesting spiritual claim.

Could there be a spiritual escapism: the trap of "going to a higher" spiritual Realm?

I "deeply" believe that God is omnipresent in a "lower" spiritual Realm.

Sorry guys, I know I am on the "right" side of this spiritual stuff.

You people need to stop your immoral and dangerous feelings from inside.

reading all the comments and the main text, and also having had my own experiences on this, for me the world is a physical expression of our narrow-band mental belief systems. You think, you see in the world. As such spirituality is pure physics and there are no mysteries. We create our angels, ghosts and demons and masters. As soon as we start to get into something that 'has gone before', we activate it in our life, very much like reading a book, and something of that book appears 'outside'. I have seen the shifts and appearances myself. Also, this world has been made to accommodate every belief, so if you believe in Jesus, he will appear, also if you do not believe, because any attention creates. Yes, there is the human and there is the field. We are totally interconnected to both, we are the field and we are a singular entity. Beyond that, we are consciousness. Spirituality in the mystery and 'god-fearing' sense as such is - for me at least - not a healthy foundation of forging my life. I create not by default, but by choice and exploration. Exploration for me includes the outer and the inner. Totality, yes to both worlds, yes to combining both worlds, yes to live in both worlds and yes to be connected.

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