Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mindfulness: An Important Part of Being Spiritual

The Course says truth can never be known here because the world was literally made to protect us from it. However, we can become increasingly aware of truth’s reflection here when we get our bloated nothingness out of the way, forgive and listen to the still small voice within. We are not expected to give up our egos, our bodily identification, but only to let that identification become less important; both as a symbol of pain and pleasure, damnation and salvation. Seeing our experiences here as opportunities to learn spirit’s truth, then choose it and not the ego’s illusions, we come to see that there are three different ways of living in the world.

The first is to see the world and flesh as evil. Many choose this way. This makes sex and money bad, indeed, makes all pleasure bad, and supports the belief in the need for sacrifice and asceticism that is so common in most of the world’s mainstream religions. Here, the body, made by the ego, is real and thus so is the original sin of separation from spirit. Focusing on bodily pleasure and pain, either to deny it or sacrifice it, makes the original sin of separation real, reinforcing the ego’s illusion of life.

The second alternative goes to the extreme of bliss. Here, the world is seen as a wonderful place, the source of all happiness and pleasure. However, this view is unsustainable. Suffering and pain can not be escaped here. Valuing the world sets us up for an inevitable let down. By teaching that the body is the source of both pleasure and pain, teaching there is a difference between them, the ego skillfully enables us to maintain our separated, individual existence, thus perpetuating the original sin of separation. The body’s inherent nothingness, as a mere figment or our decision maker’s incorrect choice of the ego’s illusion instead of spirit’s reality, is thus concealed behind its capacity to feel sensations.

The third choice, is the middle path of moderation. It is not about behavior, pleasure or pain, or making the body something important or serious. We live in the body because it is our learning laboratory in which our decision makers learn to make a different choice, for spirit and against the ego. Bodies in and of themselves are not good or evil, sinless or sinful; the mind’s purpose alone, our decision maker’s choices alone, establish its worth. The body is a means, not an end. It has no purpose of itself, but only what is given to it. Only the mind can set a purpose, only the mind can see the means for its accomplishment and justify the body’s use. Mindfulness is an important part of being spiritual.

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