Adopting A Tradition
Tradition: the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.
This could also be called programming. Traditional, practical values of decency and compassion are important for a society, as long as this is not abused by corrupting powers: programming by the few for the many to follow.
Spiritual traditions are also a transmission of customs and teachings, which may be a mixture of genuine, empirical guidance and beliefs.
Empirical: verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.
Traditions or systems can help us organise our approach to our feelings, to clarify what we are actually experiencing, as long as it genuinely entails looking at our experiences as opposed to something imposed. Again, we have to be aware that, in any tradition, there is some programming to conform: this conformity can even appear comforting.
There are many traditions, or ways of seeing. Which do we choose? Or do we just follow the crowd? 🙂 On a relative level, we cannot be free from traditions, customs and beliefs, as we are learn these at a early age from our parents, and this colours everything we see and do. Our parents’ way of seeing was influenced by their parents, and so on. Ordinary people have routines, rituals, and habitual patterns of behaviour, even down to the way we speak and how we pronounce our vowels.
So how do we get free of all this? And is that necessary? Have we just been infected with ideas? People conform to a type or profile, which is a person’s psychological or behavioural characteristics; our adopted preferences.
Our situation cannot be helped because we were born into a family, a society and a geographical area, so that is where we have to start. It’s no good complaining – this was all set up by our own karma!
Technically, a spiritual tradition is meant to free us from habitual patterning. However, if we cling to that tradition with its techniques and rituals, we may become spiritual fundamentalists! A bit too obsessive. Are there Buddhist fundamentalists? Unfortunately, yes.
Liberation is freedom from the karmic programming that obscures our clear seeing.
When we sit,
watching the breath,
or being aware of awareness,
or absorbed in pure consciousness,
there is no tradition, no meditation, no ‘me’ wanting to be free.
Effortless relaxation, barely conscious in realisation; this is freedom itself.