Fear of Being Duped By A Spiritual Teacher

Posted by Gary on Jul 19th, 2013

Some people write or talk to me about their hesitancy or resistance to taking steps forward on their path of discovery.  One of my favorites is:

There is a fear of being duped by a Spiritual Teacher 

Fear of being mislead by a teacher. Fear of being duped and giving away a trust in myself. What is discernment, what is judgment? When am I doing which?

I find this reasoning kind of funny.   A person is using their fear to guide their thought process away from taking actions.   Why should we trust our fears?  Isn’t it usually our fears that more often mislead us in our thinking and actions?

Often this kind of “fearful thinking” is called skepticism, and often by people who claim to be skeptics.  However, in this case the fear is using this tool of skepticism to be fearful of something different, and keep other fears in place by preventing action.  A more skillful use of skepticism would be to apply it to these fearful thoughts.  Until you apply skepticism to your fears, fears will use that tool of skepticism against your own emotional well being.

To balance challenging your fears of a teacher, don’t go leaping in with both feet towards what any teacher tells you either.  It is reasonable to be skeptical of a Spiritual teacher, or even therapist, just don’t be fearful.  Take your time time getting to know them and see what they are like, and if it is a good fit for you.

You might find some good guidance on evaluating a Spiritual Teacher from Jack Kornfield’s book, “A Path With Heart.”

Chapter 16 is entitled:   You Can’t Do It Alone: Finding and Working with a Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Search For Reality

Posted by Gary on Nov 2nd, 2010

“The search for Reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings, for it destroys the world in which you live.”     Nisargadatta Maharaj

I would say to this that the “world in which you live”  is a reference to the belief system of our mind.  It is a virtual world of symbolic language and images that we use to understand the outside world of reality.  As much as it is a tool to communicating and understanding the Reality, it in effect blinds us from perceiving Reality directly.

It is the dismantling or destroying  this virtual world of the mind that can seem frightening, and at the same time exciting in its feeling of liberation.

In the field of the Four Agreements this one is a reminder of  “Don’t Make Assumptions”

Posted Originally at ToltecSpirit.com a resource for spiritual warriors practicing the Four Agreements.

 

Fear and Power

Posted by Gary on Jun 6th, 2010

My friend studied political science. He said politics was basically a scramble for power. But power is a need to control,,,, and a need to control is only necessary if you are afraid. So the scramble for power is really just a reaction to fear. If we really want to study political science we need to understand fear. Power is just the tail being wagged by the dog.

The irony here is that those that seek power often do so because they are powerless over their fear.

As a spiritual warrior,,, you will not develop real personal power until you develop awareness and win over your mind from fear.

 

 

 

Addicted to Suffering

Posted by Gary on May 9th, 2010

Are people in love with their suffering?

People are not in love with their suffering.  Rather I’d say that either it saddens them, or they hate it.  In either case their emotional reaction of hate and sadness to their suffering causes them to suffer more.

What is important to breaking this cycle is the awareness that our emotional reactions are not something that we control.  But this very idea that we are not in control,,,  this frightens people more.  So to avoid their fear they cling to the idea that it is reasonable or justified to hate or feel sad about their condition.  In effect they close themselves off to the truth out of fear of acknowledging something that is already happening.

 

Originally posted at Addicted to Suffering

Published at ToltecSpirit.com   Guidance based in the Four Agreements for  Spiritual Warriors seeking happiness and love.

 

 

Fear of Death

Posted by Gary on Jun 22nd, 2008

A spiritual warrior doesn’t fear death. Death is inevitable. A warrior recognizes that to fear death is ridiculous waste of time.

It is also an act of disrespect towards the gift of life.

That a warrior has no fear of death is not extra ordinary.  It’s just common sense.  What is extraordinary is how a warrior is able to face such an inevitable outcome with sobriety and not flinch with fear.  A warrior is able to do this because she has control over her attention.  She is able to look straight into passing of her body with the awareness and will power  to not let her self be distracted by a  thought or belief.

To have control over one’s attention doesn’t just mean to focus on something by controlling your will. You also have to control the point of view you see it all from.  Many people can focus on death but do so from a point of view from fear or uncertainty.

A spiritual warrior is able to hold their attention on the immortality of their body from a point of complete acceptance and love for the unknown.

Overcoming your fear of death is not a major accomplishment.  It is a fairly obvious and straightforward approach to living a satisfying life.   The extraordinary accomplishment is the control a warrior has developed over their attention.

 

Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness

Posted by Gary on Jun 4th, 2008

Money and the comforts it can purchase can’t protect you from fear.  A big house, in a gated community can’t protect your mind from thoughts, self judgments, and emotions.

A private plane doesn’t protect you from the fear of flying.  A life insurance policy for $10,000,000 doesn’t insulate you from the fear of death, ill health, or the fear of losing a loved one.

No amount of money can protect you from an untamed mind that can take your emotions into a downward spiral of suffering.

If money buys happiness then Howard Hughes would have been one of the happiest people in the world. As it turns out his money didn’t protect him from his thoughts, beliefs, and fears.

The reason part of the mind looks for simple rules to describe the nature of emotions like happiness.  What people find difficult to accept is that one exception like Howard Hughes breaks the rules. Money doesn’t by happiness.  It’s just one factor of how your mind affects your happiness and your emotions.

What can protect you from fear, self judgment, and false beliefs is awareness and love.  Awareness and Love can create and insure happiness.

 

Simple Happiness

Posted by Gary on Jan 11th, 2007

Being Happy is easy, once you eliminate what makes you unhappy.

Happiness it is such a simple thing. Yet in the realm of emotions, simple does not mean easily attainable. Particularly as we have been taught to be rewarded for a more complex intellect. All our effort to get good grades in school and be successful, has largely been an effort to think more complexly. This includes having a lot of serious opinions. Thus pushing away being simply happy. In our complex opinions , we get lost in emotions of frustration, anger, sadness, jealousy, and…. well,,,, you have the idea. We are no longer just happy.

If you are to change our emotional state then it seems that a shift in attitude would be in order. After all, if we are in a different emotional state, a different attitude is present. But if we are to change our attitude, then perhaps it would be easy to start with changing an opinion. Now switching sides on an opinion, that can sometimes be tough. I don’t know too many people who just up and switch political parties. So lets start with shifting our opinions on things that have less emotional investment. And then we can build from there. Once you are able to shift your opinions you will find it easier to shift your emotions.

What can you find in your inventory of opinions that you could let go of, or change? For instance, an opinion about the weather. How tough would that be? Try it. When you notice an emotional reaction to the weather, see what the opinion is and just as an experiment, decide to not believe your own opinion.

Then maybe try it about what someone else is wearing. Continue practicing on these little ones. Then, maybe work up to what your opinion is about someone else. Then, maybe don’t believe the opinions you have about yourself. Try it just as an experiment.

You might try these shifts with other people. Where you might instinctively disagree with someone, catch it, and just for practice, agree with them. You don’t need to do this in cases that are critical to your life just things about the weather, politics, fashion, or a sporting event.

You might find that after a while that your attitude about the weather has changed. And your attitude towards other people has changed. You might also find that how you treat yourself has changed. What will sneak up on you though, is more of a simple feeling of happiness.

When I entered into the process of transforming my personal dream, I did so to be happy, no matter what. I soon stumbled upon a man who was happy, don Miguel. What I found out about him was that he rarely had an opinion in his head. I found that he is a very simple man. He has the capacity to be complexly brilliant, no doubt about that. He use to be a medical doctor. But he prefers to be simply happy instead. I think this is a brilliant decision, but that is just my opinion.

Here is another trick to help you let go of opinions.

Whenever possible and appropriate try the following. When someone asks you for your opinion, let your response be, “I don’t know.” You might also do this even when you have a ready opinion to share. Doing this then will be even more helpful in letting go of your opinions.

One of the ways we are often asked for our opinion is by people first giving us theirs, and then they ask us to agree with them (or sometimes disagree with them). This is a perfect time for “I don’t know.” You may find that tossing the conversation back in their court will take off some of their surprise and possible discomfort. A simple way to do this is to ask them a question in return such as: “I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about it. What do you think about it?” or “I don’t know. But can tell me how you came up with your point of view on the issue.”

If we practice letting go of our opinions we will find we have changed quite a bit. With out our opinions, we let go of the attitude of being right. We also let go of the attitude of others being wrong. We also don’t need to carry around all those justifications to prove those points of view. In this way life is becoming simpler. If we let go of our well justified and defended complex opinions, certainly we will change. But perhaps this is what will make us simply happy.

 

Are Emotions Important

Posted by Gary on Jan 5th, 2007

The Quality of our Life is Measured in Emotions, Love, Happiness, vs. Fear, Shame, Anger.

Emotions: The Key to Changing the Quality of your Life
Why is it difficult to change our habits? Often we notice our own disruptive habits, want to change them, and yet don’t. Habits may be as extreme as abusive behaviors with alcohol or relationships, or as simple as repeated negative thoughts and judgments.

All the logical intellectual understanding of why we should break our disruptive habits are known. If we know so much, and we know exactly what we want to change, and we decide we really want to change, why is it still so hard? Why do we so often not make a permanent change?

A pop new age answer is that to change your habit, you just need to change what you believe. That is a concise and tidy answer, but how does it help a person who wants to get out of an abusive relationship. Why not just drop the intellectual concept of not being worthy and pick up the concept that one is worthy and deserves better? While it’s a nice idea, I just haven’t seen it happen yet.

What keeps people trapped under these concepts is the emotional attachment they have to these beliefs. The anchor that holds these beliefs in place is emotion. It is the emotion of unworthiness that holds the belief of unworthiness in place. We can cast the concept of unworthiness away from our mind with an affirmation, but it doesn’t change how we feel about ourselves. But when a person feels that they are truly worthy, then they really believe it. It becomes more than a concept, it becomes your nature. When you feel worthy, you really believe you are. Often when people go back to an old behavior, even after breaking a habit, it is because they are reverting to an old emotional state.

It is my experience that changing emotions is not a simple task. It is more than putting on a happy face. That’s making the outside prettier but doesn’t last, and doesn’t change how we feel deepd down. To make deep down changes requres changing core beliefs and point of view.

Real change is not an intellectual process. If you want to change how you think and act, then start with changing how you feel. The key to unlocking and creating real change in your life is through awareness of your emotions. What we think, is not as important to us, or nearly as powerful, as how we feel about ourselves and our life. Our intellectual thoughts take us to where we are “supposed to” and “should” go. Using awareness to follow our emotins take us to love and happiness.