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
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"
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.