I love it when a Church of the Churchless post comes back to life. Resurrection! Praise Blog!
The past week there's been an intense high-quality discussion on last November's "Another RSSB initiate bites the dust" – a 75 comment interchange since February 12. I've followed the conversation mostly from afar, though I've thrown in a comment or two of my own.
As frequently happens on this blog, the specifics often have to do with Radha Soami Satsang Beas, the mystic-religious organization I was involved with for thirty-five years.
But the general themes are universal.
One of which, to my mind the central topic, is whether spirituality involves doing anything at all. My innate laziness likes this notion.
Just be. Simple.
And entirely in line with deep mystic philosophy, from all sorts of sages. Including the guru, Gurinder Singh, who currently heads up Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB).
I went to India in 1998. While I was at the Dera, RSSB's headquarters in the Punjab, I heard Gurinder say at an evening meeting of Western disciples, "How difficult is it to do nothing?"
He was talking about meditation. Interestingly, this is the only thing I remember from any of the meetings where he spoke (aside from some comments he made to me about a book I was working on).
It struck me at the time as being both remarkably trite and remarkably true.
Meaning, it was one of those statements that sound profoundly wise coming from a distinguished looking Indian guru, replete with beard, turban, and flowing white garments, and profoundly simplistic coming from almost anyone else.
Of course, it's indeed difficult to do nothing if this is taken to mean stopping all thoughts, emotions, imaginings, and what not in meditation.
But there's a broader meaning, one which kept arising in the comment conversation that started February 12. Doing nothing except being what you are. Now that's really doing nothing, because there's nothing to be done.
For example, on February 17 Tulsi said:
The One is playing a game of hide and seek with itself. All paths lead to nowhere because there is nowhere to go. Just be as you are, really are, right now, which is just fine as it is.
On the same day Aman replied:
Yes there's no where to go or reach in the end the final realization is of the self which is present now agreed but just the knowledge of the self is not enough there has to be a process which will unfold the real self & that realization will not be a mere thought or belief system which you've come to understand but instead it will be a result & conclusion to your experiment with your self & your soul.
And so the dialogue goes. Where it stops, nobody knows. At least, I sure don't.
More and more, I find myself tilting toward the nothing to do, nowhere to go, no one to become camp. But what do I know? I could be completely wrong.
Maybe my soul needs a total makeover, and I'm sitting here contentedly unkempt, not realizing what a shabby state my self is in.
Who knows for sure? Again, not me.
I'll end by mentioning that while I read and enjoyed all of the 75 comments, Manjit's February 18 submission was particularly interesting. I appreciated his openness and honesty in talking about the validity of his "mystical" experiences.
However, my intense desire for the truth caused me a great, great deal of problems. I began to question, REALLY question, what my inner experiences really showed. I tried testing them. Astral projecting to a place and counting the money on top of a cupboard and then subsequently checking in 'real' life if I was correct (never). Reading the testimonies of countless other 'seekers' who saw the 'radiant form' of their obviously deviant 'guru'. Reading Neural surfer and Chand. Etc etc etc. The avenues which disprove the RS theology quite convincingly are both obvious and many.
Thanks to all for this stimulating interchange. Per usual, no answers. Just great questions.