I recently heard that someone said spiritual practice was self-torture, and that I am a composite of negativity. It is and I am. For a lot of people that is the truth. So much of sadhana is uncovering the truth; the truth that lies under a giant fortress of lies. The delusion that who we are is the one that thinks is what keeps us locked in a fight against the truth. The thought form of torture manifests when we resist learning.
To resolve this, or anything else for that matter, is torturous and removes the pleasure we so pursue. If someone wants to keep the pain and misery of something secret and unresolved, then I am a torturer. Ganesh is the remover of obstacles; remember, that is what Baba used to call me. That is a function I perform. So someone who is wed to a secret and calls it all kinds of adjectives except the true one is going to not feel comfortable around me.
If who you think you are is who you think you will be at the end of sadhana, then you are in the fight of “your” life. Sadhana will be self-torture, because you are going completely in the wrong direction.
If you know that you are a prisoner of who you think you are, then sadhana is a jailbreak to the light of day.
Until that awakening, the shrunken self is a criminal who holds you hostage. You pay ransom and are never freed. You enable and indulge the shrunken self, and it only gets stronger.
We have to starve the shrunken self, and redirect our attention away from it, in order for who we really are to be revealed by grace. The shrunken self will feel that this is only self-torture until we no longer identify with it. Until then, the one who is complicit and the criminal are one and the same: the shrunken self that powers rather than loves.
The irony is that when you are committed to power, you are the criminal, not who you really are. And you are the torturer.
Grace is experiencing that you are not who you thought you were; it is the experience of “knowing”, not thinking an idea. Changing your idea of who you think you are is not the same thing as being who you are. It is a beginning, and will help you see that thoughts are just thoughts. We then have to let go of those thoughts, even the good ones, to get to the emotions and then more subtle vibrations until we are at stillness. From the stillness, we arise.
As long as we believe the one who is thinking is us, we are in prison. A great delusion is that somehow we are instinctual animals that do not need to be trained, that everyone will learn the same functioning and life skills through osmosis and time. This cannot be further from the truth.
Christ makes it clear that the choice is either the prison of the shrunken self or the daylight and freedom of Love. “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14: 26-7, NRSV).
This speaks to the fact that as long as we are wed to our family system we cannot go to God. The first step is to hate our family system; then we disentangle from the system until we see it for what it is. Finally, we are free to be with family again but with the Love of God within. We know that it was not our family that ruined our life; it was following the map of the family system and thinking it was taking us back to God. It never could. We tortured ourselves with our own resistance to God. Now we can see that sadhana and the Guru take us to our true nature: Love.
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