Beyond The Spiritual Dream Machine
God essence, Buddha essence, Our essence, are not different.
However, in Pure Consciousness, there is no God, Buddha or Self.
It is the expression of Pure Consciousness that is individual.
So, when we step on to a spiritual path, we step into another’s expression, a spiritual language. In ordinary life, we dwell in a conventional, collective, dream machine, and use language in a limited, conventional way based around my self. Society demands that we consent to what is believed to be normal, which is a self with a permanent identity.
The moment we step out of this ‘belief in normal’, we have stepped beyond. Now, here’s the thing; the moment we step on to a spiritual path, we are beyond the conventional; Shunryu Suzuki called this “Beginner Mind, Zen Mind”.
Now we are in danger of being caught up in spiritual manifestations and elaborations: acquiring expressions and losing the beyond-experience of wonder, we step straight back into the dream machine – but this time, it’s a spiritual dream machine.
This is not bad in itself, but we may be adding to pure consciousness instead of being pure consciousness, in the wonder of “What’s this?”:
In the space of emptiness,
things pop up and we say, “What’s this? What’s this?”
And to that, we say, “Not this, not this. Thou are that”.
And to that, we say, “Not this, not this”,
and come to rest.
Pure consciousness is pure experience without constantly relating to either an experiencer, or that which is experienced. It is purely empty awareness.
I’ve been closely involved with numerous traditions over the years, and have found that no open, honest communication ever takes place within spiritual groups – just expressions of indoctrination. Empathy and genuine compassion cannot exist in such an environment. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s part of a process that creates a catalyst for revealing our emotions, which have cleverly hidden away. Spiritual groups heighten emotions because we are trying too hard and cannot live up to the expectations: everything becomes more intense as we experience guilt, and thus react, justifying and becoming defensive. My wife and I usually found that the best part of retreats was leaving … 😀 It’s such a relief! This is the same as the moment when WE STOP MEDITATING! 😀 That moment is the meditation.
How do we recognise that we are in a dream machine? We get touchy. We only get touchy or over-sensitive when we’re preserving an idea about self. Again, this is not necessarily bad as it’s a process … the game of self is now glaringly obvious, and the light switches on, if we have the courage to look, see, and drop it.
To go beyond the spiritual dream machine is to go beyond the sentimentality of the group, which is the expression of others. Just remember that groups need members, and members need the group, and groups need finances to survive: groups therefore need committees and committees think they’re in charge, becoming more important than the individuals. Honestly, we are free to let go, but it implies, “Be it on your own head”. We are told that we are free, but feel we’re not, and so we keep coming back from fear of missing out on a ‘special’ teaching … until we realise that we … are … free! Life is then the end of the retreat, the non-meditation when we stop trying too hard. If we go beyond the spiritual dream machine, we realise that it is no longer needed, because we now realise the charade.
Of course, being a member of a group in order to support others is altruistic, but there has to be a true interest in others’ welfare. I’ve never ever seen that happen. Still, that’s not a bad thing as it helps us to let go and start again constantly – be a beginner. Being at the beginning … the beginning is the end.
A blog does the same thing, but without fees – without committees – without guilt – and you don’t have to join anything.