Supportive Disciplines in the Way of Adidam

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The Role of Conventional Wisdom in Serving the Greater Purpose

Much conventional wisdom
that is, wisdom developed for purposes less than Spiritual Awakening from the dream of limited existence can play a role that serves Spiritual Awakening. All the scholars, researchers, and clinicians in an area such as, say, diet are studying the same phenomenon: the human body, how it assimilates and eliminates food, how different foods facilitate or detract from this process, and the positive or negative side effects on the body altogether, both in the short term and the long term, of different kinds of diets, etc. It is just that the results of these dietary studies are primarily used to address such questions as health and longevity; whereas, in the Spiritual Way, the same results are harnessed to a different purpose: the freeing up of energy and attention so as to expedite Waking Up.

The same point can be made for the conventional studies and conclusions reached in many of the other areas touched upon in this section: health, exercise, relationships, business management, etc. It is here, for instance, that we can take Stephen Covey’s well-known The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and use them to handle business effectively, so that we can “put first things first” (one of Covey's principles), namely Waking Up.

Interestingly enough, putting the Great Purpose of Waking Up first, and reorganizing one’s life around that purpose tends to support, as a secondary matter, many of the conventional aims of ordinary life. For instance, health and longevity are supported. Avatar Adi Da Samraj points out that most of us do not die of old age per se, but rather of the self-contraction. This is even dramatically displayed in the common curving of the spine and hunching over of the body with the passage of time (not because of age per se, but because the habit of self-contraction manifests on all levels, even the physical); and, most graphically, in rigor mortis not the mere “stiffening” due to chemical breakdowns, but the curvature that stiffness takes in extreme cases Narcissus frozen in his pose, caught in the act of bending over the pond in his self-obsession. On a more subtle level, many of the diseases of the body are secondary manifestations of the self-contraction (recall the hierarchical structure of the ego, as depicted in Figure 1 below). Transcend the self-contraction and the rug is pulled out from under an entire network of causes and effects, including all kinds of negative physical and emotional-physical symptoms.

The Structure of the Ego
FIGURE 1: the structure of the ego

Just so, consider for a moment, our day-to-day work or business life. Consider how complicated it is made by politics, self-imagery, fear, sorrow, and anger, lack of integrity, etc. Consider how simplified your own relations with others at work would be if you no longer felt separate from any of them, and were not being driven by this or that emotional reaction. Consider how much more effective you would be at your work if you were simply an unlimited creative force, able to focus on the work at hand without being hampered by the dysfunctional patterns established (or re-established, if one considers reincarnation) in childhood. Consider how much more simply you could deal with relational difficulties in the workplace if you were not hampered by fear!

Unlike the image we sometimes associate with "Enlightened Beings" namely, that of the Buddha sitting motionless in a lotus pose the person who is truly Awake, or who even has deeper self-understanding in the Spiritual sense, is completely able (and willing) to engage life fully. The Awakened One is far more effective at playing the dream than those bound by the dream. After all, what has He or She got to lose? Now life can become a completely creative, playful affair, a point Alan Watts used to love emphasizing.


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