Looking to Both Sides of the Equation

One of the biggest issues (it seems to me) that gums up the work for people’s pursuing awakening to what they really are is a confusion that stems, in my opinion, from the “what you are” vs the “how to be” distinction.  It’s a combination of thinking that working on “how to be” will make a difference in “what we are” (hint: it won’t) and a sliver of guilt that comes from feeling that we are somehow shirking our duty by taking time away from “how to be” to look honestly into “what you are.”

It seems to me that this is why in the “spiritual marketplace” (and I should say that  I adamantly have no issue with the existence of a “spiritual marketplace”) there is often a sharp division made between everyday life and the time we give to “woo-woo” self inquiry.

For my money that’s bollocks.  In truth we are reality.  Each one of us.  And that’s the rub, each one of us.  Uniqueness and individuality are here to stay, and are part of the game.  In this game, spending all of our time and energy on one side of the equation is basically shooting your evolution in the foot.

With all the changes and upheavals going on in the world right now, as they always have been and always will be, take some time here & there (and wherever you can spare) to take a look at you, the real you, and report to yourself with absolute honesty what you find.

Doing that, while still attending to “how to be” will double your results quite naturally.  ;)

I’d love to know what you think!  Leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)



  1. sundog
    3 years ago

    You've put your finger on a major stumbling block. The "Noble Eight Fold Path" ascribed to the Buddha (right action, right speech, etc.) is pure "how to be" and is supposed to eliminate suffering. Actually it's just more preaching and I can't believe he actually said it. Self improvement is a specialty of the ego and can keep the wheels spinning for a lifetime. Discover what you are first and there will be no need for preachers.


    • Travis
      3 years ago

      Sundog,

      Glad you liked that distinction. It's something that has puzzled me for a long while. I recently re-read Siddhartha and realized the seed of that distinction was planted by Herman Hesse. Great book if you haven't read it yet. Highly recommended!

      The difficulty I see is the enormous capacity we human's have to pull things into our own framework. When someone who is mired in the "how to be" realm knows they need relief from suffering and believes they can get it from some enlightened person who is living comfortable with the "what you are" realization, translation errors can arise. Also, it seems intrinsic to awakening to have compassion come forward in a big way, so the awake person wants to help however they can.

      The Buddha got confronted by this, as did Ramana Maharshi and may others. I heard an interview on BuddhistGeeks.com where a highly regarded Buddhist teacher who also happened to be a therapist said that 85% of all issues discussed in the personal interviews he gives when holding retreats are therapeutic in nature and not strictly practice related. (Practice in this context being the "what you are" concerns of Buddhism.)

      So, I don't think we can place all the blame on the person playing the part of the awakened in this equation.