The Real Problem With Conformity
There are two approaches to spiritual awakening: the comforting approach and the shock approach. The comforting approach is that we are already, in truth, enlightened beings, but that approach can become a little sloppy, as we may not acknowledge the obstacles that we have created to actual realisation. The shock approach is that, if we do not investigate these obstacles, we will encounter more of the same – or worse!
Conformity is compliance with standards and rules, in order to be able to work in harmony and unison with others, so that we are all thinking the same way. But – and this is a loud But – the Buddha said, “Do not take my word for it that these teachings are true; test them for yourself.” Here, he is saying to investigate and see what is true rather than merely taking the word of others; their expression might mislead because we may be in one place, and they in another :D. Even though others may appear to be right, their right may not accord with our right. This is why there are different traditions, and the same words may have different levels of meaning.
I know for a fact that, if I go to the same teaching by the same teacher, I feel those teachings differently from others – and of course, the converse is true. We are not wrong in our approaches: we just have different emphases, and value different aspects. I think there is too much teaching – too many words – as so much is transmitted in silence.
Teachers are limited because they have to stick to their system, and cannot deviate from that. As an example, I had a question about the absolute truth regarding the constancy of mathematical formula, but no one had a clue what I was talking about because it didn’t register within that system:D If we apply the method and ingredients of a biscuit – the causes and conditions – we will always get a biscuit. Likewise, if we have a certain attitude, we will take on a certain incarnation.
I have taken onboard the basic teachings, but not some of the elaborations and customs, while other love these embellishments, bells and whistles.
If we are so ready to conform to others’ standards, rules and suggestions without remaining conscious of what we are doing, we may, in the next incarnation, just be one of the herd.
This may turn into this …
Then this …
Scary isn’t it?
Always test those you follow:
they may only be
here for the bells and whistles.