There is a need to write at least briefly, what is a spiritual development, because different people have different meaning in this concept, in the process.
At the beginning, the path of spiritual development is a process of revitalization of consciousness. This is the first step in the process.
In genuine spiritual schools no one is forcing you to fight with your thoughts.
Let me remind you, that meditation – is a European term, which is unrelated to Eastern school of spiritual development. The Indians took the term “for use” on the advice of their European students, but the meaning for them was entirely different: they tried to replace the unclear word “Dhyana” from Sanskrit, which literally means “observing”. Synonym for “observation” is awareness (because, as I wrote on our website and in our blog, the observation is our mental function, which is called “consciousness”.
Indian yoga, Qigong and Taoism, Japanese Zen and its father Chinese Chan, Christian Hesychasm etc. – they are all: the art of cultivating attention, and through it – the function that performs the same process, the activation of consciousness.
During exercise in practicing of Dhyana (Zen, Chan, etc.) different objects are used to observe. Sometimes our thoughts are used as such an object. In this case, the goal is not to fight with our mind. There is only one objective: to observe your thoughts without trying to deal with them, without trying to somehow modify them, to become a “total witness”.
“Witness” or in other words – “observer” – is the opposite of “participant”. We are talking here about a simple process: the withdrawal of the total representation of our mind and emotions (dual thinking) in our psyche, total exemption from such representation and, if it turns out – the person becomes calmer. He/she stops being torn apart every second by excitements, estimations and phobias and other reactions. In this way a person is released from total dictatorship of the Mind over himself.
This is a real state of the art practice – development through increased awareness. But we can still find in some schools – entrancement practices, ie attempting to escape into the “unconscious”. But there is not one word regarding representation of “subconscious” in Yoga, Qigong, Taoism, Hesychasm any other spiritual system. The subconscious mind – is the animal function, it is all our instincts, phobias, complexes, the repository of our life memories, etc. And the objective is opposite – to awaken our higher mental levels – not to become “unconscious”, but “super-conscious”. Self-tuning of body and mind, self-healing and recovery, occur only when the mind and the emotions lose their total representation in the body and mind and relax – that’s when the process of self-development begins.
No need to quote Castaneda on the need to stop the “internal dialogue” … not worth remembering Boyko and his idea of waking subconscious – these guys have no relation to the classics.
But in general, it is all a question of terminology. For example, in Buddhism sometimes talk about “moving minds” and that it “must be stopped.” But that means is: our perceiving consciousness is filled with moving fluctuations (thoughts, emotions, images, etc.). This “filling” is just as radar picks up signals … that’s also how the mind perceives the thoughts, images, emotions … But these fluctuations occur from our mind. Therefore, it’s all the same – we should “stop” our Mind’s work.
Why did I write the word “stop” in quotes? Yes, because it’s not a literal call to stop it (!), but the final idea of the completion of total representation of Mind over our awareness function: this representation, this dictatorship will not end if the person will specifically seek to stop his thoughts – as this will be a work continuation on the mind territory. We only need to switch our efforts to revitalize another function – the consciousness. Just sit back and accept. Be aware. Start to use the alternate function of the mind – consciousness. Let’s not be like animals in their disabled “meditation,” but instead “engage”, be alert, attentive. And then gradually our mind work will reduce its hyperactivity. In the end, the objective is not to “stop” the mind, but contrary to run more clearly, precisely, and – under finally, under OUR control and direction. At this stage the average person is the opposite – it is a person, who depends on his emotions and thoughts, phobias and stereotypes.
These, shortly, are the aims and methods of the higher schools of Yoga, Zen, Chan, Taoism, Qigong, and all others world’s spiritual systems.
And sometimes there is such confusion: sometimes in Yoga and Buddhism they say the word “mind”, but mean different thing: it is much more comprehensive mind, Mind-Universe, in which all was originally born, everything is living: the subconscious and consciousness. And this can be confusing too, and this is happening all over the place. But this is just terminology, because of such different terminology an understanding happens. Just to take a common denominator, and begin to understand each other, I have described the essence of the processes and nuances that can only be understood by practicing for years and every second, trained on specific technologies, sometimes practicing for long time in special retreats.
Understanding comes only from practice, when there is an implementation of transition from the state of total representation of the Mind – to a condition the opposite of this, freed from it – a representation of Consciousness. And then begins recovery. All diseases are from the nerves, emotions and mind. Remove your nerves, emotions and “show off your intelligence” (reading of books and trying to understand the mind of these processes, reasoning and discussions) – then comes full health. Most people are ruled by their mind. Our foolish mind, full of different obscure books. Because to understand these things through our mind is basically impossible. It is an experience, which by definition is beyond the mind, beyond its representation.
So, I would stop there. This is only the first stage and it is not a spiritual development yet. To start working directly with your soul (with your true self), you must first finish the first stage – get a release from your Mind, by activating your Consciousness. Only after that there will be “something to work with”, but until then, there isn’t a “spiritual practice”, as there isn’t something to work with.
Spiritual practice is not a morality, not an increase of ethics, not “a life according to conscience”. All of these things are good and helpful, but are related to the mundane (the territory of the mind and the evaluations), but not to the spiritual. To explain it simply, the spiritual practice is what some people say an out of body experience, travel, development, and life outside the body, beyond time, beyond space intuitive by mind at all. But this is very corny explanation. It is difficult to write on these topics. Only after gaining enlightenment (liberation of the mind) – you get highest Yoga, Christianity, Buddhism … There are such levels and in our system, “Wu”, the path from the base of the spiritual level (Yin-Shen) to the highest (Yang-Shen). It is a way of gaining Eternity and the return to our Divine Nature. This is the second phase of it, and we’ll talk about it, but a little later.
Sincerely, Oleg Nazarov,
Wu Chan Zhong Qigong