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Escaping the World of Form

Posted by on Nov 30, 2010

Most modern psychology points to our physical being and asks us to view reality through its lense: via the five senses. In Social and Political Thought, p.1 Aurobindo suggests, “Modern science, obsessed with the greatness of its physical discoveries and the idea of the sole existence of Matter, has long attempted to base upon physical data even its study of Soul and Mind and of those workings of Nature in man and animal in which a knowledge of psychology is as important as any of the physical sciences. Its very psychology founded itself upon physiology and the scrutiny of the brain and nervous system.” While it is important to understand the secrets of the physical body, and psychology begins to delve into the human being as a be-ing. It only (in most cases) does so from a very surface perspective. We can explore the self in terms of experience in the manifest form – our relationships with our parents, our friends, our lovers, the place we grew up and the circumstances within which our personalities were formed, but these are all variations on the same surface exploration. Through a less materialistic lense we can tap into the nobleness of being which poets and sages have tried to explain through limited language for centuries. This BEING is what we are beyond all material form. We are divine by our very nature. 

The Four Noble Truths which Siddhartha Gautama Buddha detailed, were in fact, a way to look past material form. The first of these Truths is that Nature is inherently about suffering. Birth is suffering, death is suffering, aging is suffering, illness and separation is suffering. All that we cling to is suffering. In Buddhism this is called Dukkha. In the Yoga Sutras, there is a reference to suffering and its causes. There are the five kleshas or causes of suffering: ignorance of your true Self and the value of Spirituality (remembrance of the true Self); egoism and its self-centeredness; attachment to pleasure; aversion to pain; and clinging to life out of fear of death. The kleshas can be thought of as intellectual, emotional and instinctual. To quote Iyengar: “ Avidya and asmita belong to the field of intelligence; here lack of spiritual knowledge combined with pride or arrogance inflates the ego, causing conceit and the loss of one’s sense of balance. Raga and dvesa belong to emotions and feelings. Raga is desire and attachment, dvesa is hatred and aversion. Succumbing to excessive desires and attachments or allowing oneself to be carried away by the expression of hatred, creates disharmony between body and mind, which may lead to psychosomatic disorders. Abhinivesa is instinctive: the desire to prolong one’s life and concern for one’s own survival. Clinging to life makes one suspicious in dealings with others, and causes one to become selfish and self-centered.” (Iyengar, B.K.S. Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjal. New Delhi, India: Harper Collins Publications India. 1993, p.105) 

The Buddha went on to describe three more Truths: he told us that suffering’s origin is in the craving of things in the material world. Our craving for sensual pleasures leads to more craving which leads to disappointment and more suffering. The cessation of suffering is possible. It is called Nirodha. This is described as a freedom from craving and all the fears and worries caused by craving. The fourth Truth is called The Way or Marga and details the way to the cessation of suffering. The cessation of suffering in Buddhism is the Eightfold Path: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. In the yogic view, Patanjali describes his own eightfold path which is in direct alignment with the Buddha’s. In Patanjali’s version there are yamas and niyamas (observances and things to avoid, essentially) which will help us eradicate suffering. Both the Buddha’s steps and Patanjali’s stages are meant to evolve within the practitioner organically, not followed in a necessarily linear way, but as the branches of a tree, intertwining and bending as is necessary. 

Our true essence as a divine being can only flower when we give up our materialistic clinging, and recall something which lies behind and underneath, beyond and between words and form. Henry David Thoreau told us, “Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.” We are immaculate already. We are not form, though we manifest as form. We cling to our bodies and fear death because we erroneously take this physical vessel to be who we are, but we are so much more. Eckhart Tolle tells us that when Jesus asked us to look at the lilies of the field, he meant, look at them. Really see them. In Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, he tells us, “We are in the midst of a momentous event in the evolution of human consciousness. But they won’t be talking about it in the news tonight. On our planet, and perhaps simultaneously in many parts of our galaxy and beyond, consciousness is awakening from the dream of form. This does not mean all forms (the world) are going to dissolve, although quite a few almost certainly will. It means consciousness can now begin to create form without losing itself in it. It can remain conscious of itself, even while it creates and experiences form.” The study of Soul, and Mind can be accessed easily through Nature. It can accessed through spiritual teachings given by a host of enlightened beings, but until we realize that we are not the ’form’ we arrived in, we cannot evolve spiritually. We must come to realize in its deepest sense what being in this world but not of it really means. We are divine by nature. 

Christina L. Sarich (c) 2008, 2009 2010 All rights reserved.

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