For the transcript…
Hey everybody! I hope your day is going well! My day… even though it’s cold and rainy outside, I smashed three fingers in a door this morning, and I got about 4 hours of sleep (which is not enough for me), my day is going AWESOME. And hopefully… by the time we’re done… a little of that will rub off on you. Make no mistake, today’s episode is brought to you in part by… coffee… but thanks to coffee, we are ready to GO!
Welcome to the I AM Podcast, where we answer all the questions about spirituality and inner peace that you ever wanted to ask, and where we learn the secrets of humanity and divinity through a better understanding of both. I am your host, Sean Webb.
Okay… so here’s the main paradox of this podcast… and for that matter… here’s the paradox of every book you will ever read regarding spirituality and inner peace, every video you will ever watch… every seminar you will ever take… and every retreat you’ll ever go to:
In all of these communication paradigms that we use to discuss spirituality and the path to inner peace… we use words… to convey ideas… that try to help us understand better what it is we’re looking for… and how to get there. But here’s the thing:
True spiritual understanding… can never come… from words… that convey ideas… that provide us a better comprehension of things spiritual. Our true awakening… real spiritual enlightenment… the thing that I think God put within each one of us to find for ourselves by looking within… can never come as a result of reading that one extra sentence in that particular book. Or hearing that one extra lesson from that really good podcast. Or going to that one extra seminar on compassion or whatever. True understanding will never come via thinking about it. Note that it could potentially come from going to a retreat if you engage in a very deep meditation. But other than that… you’re never going to learn your way into the actual enlightenment. You’re never going to reason your way into awakening. True awakening cannot come about as a result of mindful activity. And here’s why:
Spirituality is something that MUST be experienced to be understood. There is no other way to spiritual awakening than experience.
I’m working on a book because a number of you have asked for one… and it’s coming… but in one of the chapters I liken spiritual awakening to the experience of plunging your hand into warm swirling water. If you’ve never experienced warm swirling water before… I could literally talk to you forever… trying to explain to you the concept of warm… and the feeling of wet… and I have no idea how I might approach trying to explain swirling to you… it would literally take thousands of lifetimes of analogies for you to maybe kinda be on the fringe of understanding what I was talking about… and you might certainly be ready to identify that you were experiencing warm swirling water when you actually experienced it… but until that moment of you actually experiencing it… you wouldn’t fully understand. You wouldn’t really know.
But… that said if you were able to get yourself into a position of being able to plunge your hand into a pool of warm swirling water… BANG… instant understanding… complete epiphany… beyond how anyone else might ever try to explain it to you. No more words need be spoken at that point. No more ideas be conveyed. And the same is true for spirituality and attaining ultimate truth that is within you to find. You need to experience it to the point that the words and the ideas become useless for you because you already know by having been there.
You need to have the mystical visions that are brought on by deep meditation. You need to find that place. You need to have the experience of being completely engulfed by unlimited love and you need to experience the feeling of universal oneness where you expand to become the entire universe, and where the entire universe flows through you. And you need to see that for yourself.
Carl Gustav Jung explained it this way: “When you look inside yourself, you see the universe and all its stars in infinity. The result is an infinite mystery within yourself, as great as the one without.” I bet you didn’t know Carl Jung was enlightened, did you? And how well did Carl Jung understand psychology? Do I really need to make a reference to the accuracy of the Body Mind Spirit model here?
See… tongue in cheek self promotion aside… the reality is that I can talk about this spirituality subject until I’m blue in the face… and I can talk about the mind, and explain the details of what causes human pain and suffering, which might help our daily lives until more of us can attain a more dramatic awakening… but it’s only at the point that you’ve had the actual mystical experience yourself… that you will no longer need the words… to convey ideas… so that you can understand. You’ll have understanding without all this crap.
There’s an old zen saying… “When two masters meet on the path, not a word is spoken.”
Chuang Zhu said it this way… “The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.”
And what that quote… and all the eastern philosophies are pointing to… Buddhism… Hinduism… Taoism… what Kaballah within Judaism is pointing to… even what the teachings of Jesus are pointing to in Christianity… for a quick reference, look at the Gospel of Thomas, verse 13 where Thomas says to Jesus that his truth is beyond words… beyond ideas… where Jesus says, “you got it brother”… again pointing to the fact that we must understand and experience what exists beyond the mind… what is beyond words and ideas. Don’t listen to your preachers. Don’t listen to me. The Buddha even said not to listen to him if what he says doesn’t ring true with you. You gotta listen to yourself… and not the little voice inside your head, that’s your ego. You gotta listen to what exists within you beyond that voice… into the silence.
So… all that said… are the books and seminars and videos and retreats that use words and ideas important? Well… yeah… actually they are. And here’s why:
First, when we learn about spirituality stuff those teachings ready you for being able to understand the awakening experience itself. You wind up understanding it a little better when you find it. Second, most of us exist in a non-awakened non-enlightened state. We’re looking for enlightenment… but we haven’t found it yet… so words and ideas are how we get a little closer… and how we remove pain and suffering manually before we get to that place where the removal of pain and suffering happens automatically. Third, the sharing of our thoughts and ideas can help others along their path.
I would have never understood that Satori, awakening, enlightenment… whatever you want to call it was even possible, had I not read the book Introduction to Zen, by D.T. Suzuki, which led me to meditation, which led me to enlightenment.
And I guess there’s an important #4 here also… because all these books… and podcasts… and seminars… and retreats… even though they by themselves can’t get you there… and even though I can’t tell you about your inner truth and have you understand it… even though I can’t explain what that feeling of warm swirling water feels like… I CAN lead you on a path up the mountain… to where a pool of warm swirling water exists… and I can instruct you on how to plunge your hand into that warm swirling water… to where you can get that instant and complete understanding. And that’s why I’m here. And that’s what I want my role to be… a guide for you. Because once you know the path… you can walk the path without me. And I’ll be out of a job besides maybe explaining some of the cool little details that we can now look at together… and understand collectively.
So it comes down to this: Meditate. Find those minutes during the day that you can shut down your mind and discover what exists just beyond it. Listen to whatever lessons may help you… but don’t lose sight of the ball… that your ultimate awakening is going to come from within… that it will never come from outside you. You need the experience to fully understand spirituality and gain complete and lasting inner peace. Okay on to our homework.
Have you guys listened to Steve Jobs’ biography on Audible? What did you think of it? Does it talk about his travels through India where he spent a year taking psychedelics and got a glimpse into spiritual enlightenment? The reason I ask is that I’ve downloaded it… all 25 hours of it… but haven’t started listening to it yet. It cost me about $10, which is equivalent to one of the two monthly credits I get for being a Platinum Member at Audible.com. If you want to get a copy of Steve Job’s biography in audio book form… go to AudibleTrials.com/IAMSpirituality. You can get it and keep it for free if you sign up for their 14 day free trial for listeners of our podcast. If you support them, they support us.
So that’s it for this week. Go meditate now. Know that I love you. Peace.
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