Thursday, June 6, 2013

Te: Spiritual Sojourner

The road to Spiritual Solace can be a tricky and hazardous one. The traveler may themselves seek protection from the trials and tribulations of life itself; the futile hope to become insulated from uncontrollable changes. Then there's also the pitfall of those organized religions which are all too happy to offer these empty promises, often with conditions of becoming 'good', or 'good enough' – by defining what 'good' is and must be.

It's a bait and switch tactic. Spiritual Solace on the condition of being 'good' will bring you fulfillment and happiness, but, ultimately, what you get is entrapment.
“...chasing an illusion of what it means to be a ‘good’ person: by being too humble, self-sacrificing or introverted; by thinking simplicity means denying themselves practical, emotional and spiritual support and abundance; by trusting everyone and everything without reservation or question. Rather than living within their ‘Te’they restrict their integrity and potential by following someone else’s guidance, expectations or demands, of what is ‘appropriate’,‘virtuous’, ‘moral’ or ‘good’. They work hard to be‘correct’ and yet they feel unhappy, unbalanced and unwell, and they don’t understand where they are going wrong.” 
I know I've encountered these obstacles in my over 25 year spiritual journey. My mother's death triggered it. From the hallow ritualism of Catholicism and its unofficial belief that you don't really deserve spiritual solace, to Atheism's lack of any promises (empty or otherwise) and its absolute lack of any path or hope, to Christianity's close minded  spiritually shallow bandage solutions, to Gnosticism's cynical (and hopeless) world. One always ended up falling short of being good enough and solace would only ever be found in ignorance or denial. (And please don't take my comments as insults against these world (or not so worldly) religions. There are only my personal experiences). Freeing oneself from these 'religious' fetters is the step in the right direction. This is the Mu Portal, escape from the Edenic Birdcage.

It was the longest time before I could readily identify what I was really searching for and then sometime before I could admit it. I wanted to find happiness (when I only had to unlock it) and I wanted to be protected from the worry and anxiety of uncontrollable change (when I needed only to embrace this apparent chaos). This was the entrapment.

It was 5 years ago that I stumbled across Jungshin Sooyang (“Moral Culture”) in the beginning of my journey of attaining my Black Belt in Taekwon-do. And Jungshin Sooyang was my first real and practical encounter with Taoist concepts and tenets. (Through Taekwon-do I learned that one of my biggest challenges and obstacles was Fear itself).

I have also experienced startling healings through acupuncture, also based upon Taoist concepts and influences.

I think that is why for the past 5 years I've been slowly gravitating towards Taoism and Buddhism.... and that should be a bit surprising, because for what I claim to be looking for, it is the last thing Taoism offers.

David James Lee, of Wu Wei Wisdom , might have stated it best (if somewhat bluntly) when he asks:
Do you seek out the certainty and comfort of life’s smooth and open road, whilst secretly fearing the hidden corners and unknown twists and turns that inevitably lie ahead?
All life and energy will move and transform whether you like it or not...the hidden corners and unknown twists and turns will always remain.”
My answer to his question would have been “yes”. However, I've also realized that isn't my
answer but my Ego's answer, and my Ego, I am not. (That I learned from Buddhism).

In Taoism the only thing that never changes is Change itself.
What an unsettling thought!

And that is where my warfare with the Ego commences. That is where my wu wei nature comes into direct conflict with my illusionary self (Ego).
Understand that your Ego may try to control the direction and speed of your life journey as a misguided form of self-protection. Unlike your... Spirit centred mind, your restricted Ego... doesn't perceive value in the unknown or the unfamiliar. Instead it constructs negative outcomes and certainties where none exist. 
Remember, your Ego is your friend yet you should always take firm and loving control of it, almost as if it’s a scared or out of control child. Allowing yourself to be enticed by its illusions of an imagined future will draw your precious energy and attention away from truly living in the present. You begin to assume that change and uncertainly always mean disaster and distrust your authentic ability to be flexible, creative and resourceful in the face of new or unexpected circumstances. 
Moving away... like this disconnects you from the abundant and glorious flow of Universal energy. You separate yourself from Oneness. Most importantly, you overlook the many possible lessons.” Wu Wei is trusting as you move into the unknown 
I think that's where my attraction to Buddhism comes into play. Buddhism has the facilities to educate and give you the tools to engage this illusionary adversary.

Having long since moved beyond Christianity, I find myself at the crossroads where Taoism and Buddhism meet... and I think I very much like this place...

Am I there yet? No. To be honest, I'm not convinced there is a 'there' anymore. But for the first time in over 25 years I'm on the path.

haven't found a spiritual destination I call home (I'm coming to the conclusion that there isn't one), but I've become at home with this spiritual sojourner I have become. I'm beginning to think I am, at long last, following my Te.

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