2/26/2015

Why I Never Go To "Advanced" Courses

I don't go to "advanced" courses any more. I've observed that many folks at "advanced" courses are secretly anxious and competitive, glancing over their shoulders to see if they're really getting more "advanced." The very concept of "advancement" creates distance and separation. I prefer "beginners" courses, where I find humility, innocence, and wonder.

Of course we can always cram more data into our heads, refine our mechanical skills, or make our muscles more flexible.

But none of that has anything to do with the Spirit. In a particular craft, art or science, one can certainly gain technical improvement. But applying this notion to the spiritual life is a disaster.

In the infinite space of consciousness, there are no "planes" to attain. We are either One, or separate. It doesn't matter whether we are separate by an inch or a thousand miles. Separation is all the same distance. There are no steps in the breath of love. One breath sweeps the universe.

If you want to study ignorance, find teachers who talk about "stages of initiation" and "levels" of consciousness. They like to build hierarchies, which only distance people from each other. This is not the work of the heart. Jesus, Krishna, Muhammad never talked about steps to enlightenment. They simply offered Surrender. For the true master, there is nowhere to advance. One can only be more deeply present.

"Islam" is the infinitive of the verb "Salam": Surrender. At the climax of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna say, "Abandon all religious trips and just surrender to me" (18:66). "Sharanam vraja": Give up the journey here and now. The priestly hierarchy rejected Jesus, so he rejected them. Jesus went to the outcast, the displaced, the up-rooted, who had no place to "advance." Through his mere Presence, he offered them immediate surrender. To the criminal on the cross beside him, Jesus said, "This very day you will be with me in paradise."

According to Master Jesus, there is no higher kingdom to which we advance, for "the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21).  In the Lord's Prayer, he said:  "Thy kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven." The realm of the master is the Kingdom of Presence. It is already right here. We enter it when we recover innocence become "like little children" (Mat. 18:3).

On the pathless way, there is nothing beyond First Grade. That's why I don't take any more advanced meditation courses. I just return to the primordial breath, the breath that created the cosmos. I just keep doing what is given to beginners. 

Jai Guru Dev.

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