Are You a Mature Soul?
by Frank M. Wanderer
What does it mean that the Soul is mature or immature?
If, during your Journey, you ask yourself the question: "What do I expect from life?” and you give an honest answer, the quality of that answer contains the response to the question of the Soul’s maturity.
The immature Soul is always full of desires, it has ambitions and objectives it intends to achieve, whether these ambitions are of the lowest order (money, power) or of the most sophisticated ones (religious devotion, spiritual self-implementation). Reaching these goals always requires time, so the future is always important for the immature Soul.
If the immature Soul has spiritual objectives, than it may suspect that all important things take place in the Now, here and now, but the Soul still uses the present moment as a springboard to get to its future objectives. A mature Soul is beyond its desires and ambitions bound to shapes and forms.
An immature Soul wants to live in the shapeless and formless world too, and it wants to be somebody in that world as well! As opposed to it, the mature Soul does not insist on itself, it is pleased to surrender to the process that eventually dissolves it. It gradually abandons identification with the ego (that is, itself), giving way to the recognition that the Soul is in fact a Consciousness without a form.
It is imperative that we should be aware that at any specific step of our Journey we accept the aspect of the mind or that of the Presence.
The Aspect of the Mind
The majority of the mankind is characterized by this aspect at this moment. The center of their life is the Ego-dominated mind, which guides and leads them. What is this Ego? When we are born, it is not yet there; it is developed in an interaction with our environment. We survive if we are able to separate ourselves from the surrounding world, and develop an identity of our own.
The mature Soul, when the question "What do I expect from life?” is posed, provides the following answer:
The first sign of separation is experiencing the notion of ”mine.” This elementary sense of possession is the foundation of the Ego. ”Mine” is followed by ”for me” and ”I” and ”you.” The Ego therefore separates: ”you-I,” ”mine-your.” The Ego even approaches God from this deep, unconscious instinct of possession: my God, our God etc., and we are only able to imagine God as a transcendental one.
These features constitute the framework of the Ego. The identity attached to the Ego is shaped by the answers received from the people in our environment to the question “What am I like?” The Ego is therefore a social product, and is only able to provide a false answer to the question: “What am I like?” The answers are false, because they are based upon feedback from other people and not upon our own experience. The Ego is our identification with ideas, emotions, actions and experience.
Another elementary instinct of the Ego is activity, it keeps doing something, even when it is “meditating,” it is still doing something (concentrating, it wants to achieve Unity etc.) That is why the Ego is unable to do anything with the concepts of emptiness, non-activity. In the eyes of the Ego, somebody who is passive, not doing anything is a zombie, and from this aspect it may be right, if we think of the dead emptiness created by the mind.
The Aspect of Presence and Witnessing
This aspect has become more powerful in the world recently. It means reaching beyond the aspect of the mind. The aspect of the mind is not bad, the Ego-dominated mind is not an enemy of the spiritual Seeker accepting this aspect, because the spiritual Seeker is aware that the Ego is not the real center of his/her Self. The spiritual Seeker will identify with it to a lesser and lesser extent. The spiritual Seeker will start to seek the real center, and rely on it to an increasing extent.
At that stage, both aspects are present in the soul of the spiritual Seeker, who lives in a society, meeting other people at work, and is only able to approach the other people from the aspect of the Ego-dominated mind. At the same time, however, the spiritual Seeker does not fully identify with the Ego (its thoughts, emotions etc.)
When the spiritual Seeker is alone, he/she will turn towards the center, mediates or attempts to bring the Presence into his/her daily life (naturally, after a while, this will permeate the spiritual Seeker’s connections with other people, too). This is a process that unfolds gradually in the spiritual Seeker’s life.
Viewing from this aspect, God can only be immanent, somebody who constitutes the center. Once the spiritual Seeker has found that immanent deity, it will become transcendental for him/her, and the deity (Existence) will saturate the entire cosmos, the whole creation. It will be the focus of everything.
That is the only way to approach God, since transcendental will never be immanent, as it would be contrary to the nature of the Ego. From that aspect quiet, emptiness and non-activity will be filled with an entirely different content, as the riches of Existence, real knowledge will be brought to the spiritual Seeker.
That will be the spiritual Seeker’s identity, where the answer to the question ”Who am I?” will be coming from. ”I am what I am! I am the Existence, the Presence, the Witness, who is not acting, only contemplating the dance of the forms and shapes.”
Lao Tsu asserts that the essence of non-action is the following: "Empty your soul and then stay where you are."
This article may not be reprinted without the author's permission. Frank M. Wanderer
All rights reserved 2014. Posted 1/26/15
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