I’m taking the day “mostly off” from family obligations, though I will be having dinner with Mom later. I do think that a life filled with social contact is not conducive to spiritual growth and development: Too many distractions; too many beliefs by others pushed upon us as truths; too much energy spent defending and discussing our beliefs; too much conflict; too much social preparation; too much confusion. None of these are factors while in solitude.
Still, social contact is important for the application (lived aspect) and shoring up of our spiritual development.
One of the things that some full-time RV’ers do when they hang out together is to place a flag outside their rig to indicate to others if—at the moment—they are open to socializing or not.
I think I’d do something similar if I were to hold spiritual retreats or start a spiritual community/commune. Just like in isolation, there wouldn’t be any set schedule or classes. No fixed periods of silence or meditation. Everyone is free to do what they want but must respect each other’s “in solitude flag” (ie: wearing a yellow shirt or something). This way people can still reap the benefits of solitude (meditation, contemplation, communion with nature, …) AND the benefits of a group of like-minded seekers (safety concerns, dialog, shared meals and resources, …).
Maybe a morning or evening, come-if-you-want community discussion/sharing/gathering to act as an anchor (something many communal RV-er’s also do).
In Resurrecting Jesus, Adya describes self as…
…the act of consciousness turning back upon itself and reflecting within. That self-reflection is what self is. Self is not a thing; it’s literally the act of consciousness turning back and looking within.
…by the time self begins to fall away, your sense of self is radiant.
One of the reason I am drawn to exploring spirituality first hand and finding out experientially (rather than just reading about it) is to develop a deep sense of knowing (not just belief). For years I’ve been describing Radiance as an outward flowing Love and Light and the me-thing as an inward flowing contraction.
When I run across evidence—previously unknown to me—that supports my findings, it adds an incredible feeling of truth to my theories and experiences. I’m not talking about truth to convince my readers, but truth to convince and ease any doubts inside of me. Unexpected evidence that I stumble across (mysteriously often I might add), helps these experiences go from feeling like belief and theories into something that feels more like fact and truth.
Adya’s description of self—though he uses different terminology—is practically identical to my experiences (which I’ve documented for years) of outward flowing Radiance and the inward flowing contraction of the me-thing.
Though we’ve come at it from two different directions and backgrounds, we’ve arrived at the same conclusions. This is powerful evidence.
If you’re going to be a mystic, be a rational one.
PS: What I find particularly useful about his description of self is that he focuses on it as a movement rather than (as I am wont to do) as a entity. Focusing on self as a movement helps de-personalize it.
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