Games of the mind
There is single objective to spirituality. It is about letting go of all that one knows. This very objective also creates and proliferates the very hurdles that spirituality aims to knock down. There could be many reasons for people taking up spirituality and thereby engaging with spiritual practices or sadhana. Spiritual practices are aimed towards first un-complicating the mind, making it refined and then letting it go. Only when mind becomes light and refined can it be, let to go. Although such attempts are made, one is still far away from the joy that spirituality promises to give. Why should there be such a deception, if the goal is that simple? It is important to see the motives and the tricks of the mind involved in the spiritual process. Unless an individual is straightforward and truthful in his expectations from the spiritual process it is seen that 99 out of 100, all spiritual processes fail to take the spiritual practitioner towards the final goal of spirituality. We shall look at a few games that the mind plays in making one believe that one is on the right track. These are the impressions that the mind leaves on the individual. Let us consider some of the lines that the mind takes for its make-believe games.
(1) I am selfless
This is the most toxic story that the mind spins. When one is either following a guru or has taken up a spiritual sadhana, the mind starts building stories about one’s sadhana. You start donating to the guru or start holding talks or arranging for programs for sharing spiritual knowledge. As you start spending money, you fail to realize that all this is being done for busting your own mind’s tendencies of owning and possessing. But instead now the mind catches on the feeling that you are giving. This is probably even worse than “not to give or share” The mind builds on stories about your giving and sharing capabilities. As we become popular through our donations, the story takes on an ugly shape. You start discussing your Samaritan activities publicly by saying “On that day, we had a program and in that program, I…” This loop is very toxic and instead of busting the myth of existential ambitions, the mind goes on building richer stories of deceit by strengthening the concept of “Me and Mine”, now around a holier spiritual outset. One starts distributing goods and money around, to believe within oneself that “I am selfless”. There cannot be a more self-centered objective other than this one.
(2)I am humble
Humility is a great mind-game. When we bow to others we tend to display or sport humility. This happens in spiritual circles. Especially when we are in spiritual groups we may tell the other “You are so kind and humble, I deserve to be at your feet and serve you.” In our minds we may be saying “I know that there cannot be another rascal like you. I know all your evil-doings. I am praising you now, because I am forced to do it, given the surroundings.” Our mind is continuously in an image-building spree and is constantly seeking attention. To become humble, one is forced to behave humble because one has understood the outer symptoms of humility and apes it so that others believe it too. You are wanting to deceive yourself so that you can somehow coax yourself to believe this deceit and become recognized in society as a humble being. This is the height of being a narcissist. It is better that one is bombastic and pompous instead, at least in being so, one is genuine although one is ignorant or even not self-conscious about this feeling. The moment one becomes self-conscious about being bombastic, he applies 101 means to prove to the world otherwise, since it is a socially prevalent norm that humility is good.
(3)I care for others
We are bothered by society and we seek reconciliation from it. We want to be praised and recognized for whatever good that we may feel, we are doing. We pay courtesy visits to our neighbors and friends. Although we may be disturbing them, we want all to believe that we care which includes ourselves. We may show unnecessary concern and extend help even if our intentions are otherwise. We may say this to others “Oh. You should visit us. Give us an opportunity to serve you.” In our hearts we do not own a single word that we say and we wish thus “You should never come to us. Do not disturb us.” We continue to be in continuous disharmony with what we feel and what we say or do. Our disharmony is a representation of our self-imposed goodness. The effect of morality on us is such that we feel, unless we care for others, of course, in a dubious way (because we do not feel the need internally), society will not care for us. We are in constant fear that we may be ignored or neglected by society. The fear of not belonging to society makes us confirmed hypocrites. We are dependent on society. Though we do not feel or care for society, we put up an act so that when we are in trouble someday, there is good reason to believe that someone may care for us. This is the hypocrisy of the highest kind.
(4)I mean only good for others
We often decide things for our spouse. We decide what our children should eat and drink. We decide what others wear, especially if they are younger than us. If asked, why you do it, they say “You know, I only wish for their good. I am only asking them to do what is good for them.” The question is, how do you know that what you are referring to them is good for them? It’s a common saying that my medicine is poison to the other man. One is conditioned by 100 things and that is our limitation. With this induced limitation how can we decide what is good for others? Over and above that, one is proud that one is keeping the welfare of others as top priority. One is in this illusory belief that since I am after their welfare “I am a good man”. This is the nonsensical corrosion that is happening to most spiritual people. People even try to impose or somehow try to burden others with their so-called spirituality. Nothing can be even half-toxic than imposed spirituality. Today spirituality is doing more harm than selfishness. Many of the spiritual people learn some new things from their spiritual lectures and use others as the Guinea pig to experiment and profess. Over and above that people want to be recognized that they mean only good for others. There cannot be anything as bad-intentioned as this line of thought.
Spirituality is to let go
All said and done, spirituality also has many dangers attached to it. When people start learning from spirituality, it is a big problem. They try to create newer concepts over and above their existing distorted life-ideas. Concepts themselves are detrimental on the spiritual path. Concepts are never intended in the spiritual path. The goal of all spiritual process is to put an end to the “idea”. Ideation is the mother of conception. It is for conceptualization to drop off and not to create new ones. Only when this is followed as a rule can this become natural through practice. It is important to remember that our unnatural assumptions and habits is the one that has led us into “natural” corruption. Spirituality has become very difficult these days because the mind is so messed up that it only knows how to complicate and has lost its ability to drop ideas. Clasping and grasping is what the mind knows and it does it well. But if one does that in spirituality it is only going to add up to the existing mess. There is no need to understand scriptures or abide to morality as a spiritual practice. Spiritual practices or sadhana aims at dissolving the doing and grasping aspects of the mind. Spirituality is the process of undoing, un-complicating things and then simply dropping it. When the mind is relieved of its holding or upholding ability, if it is simply let to slip into leaving and not clinging to anything, not even concepts; the goal of spirituality is then, more than achieved.