The Great Unlearning

For most of my life I have hungered and journeyed for this discovery of Who I Am. While at times the ambiguity of this journey and quest feels incomplete, I now have the wisdom of years that affords me the ability to detach from some of the more generically sanitized versions of Spirituality that I have watched or played with. Respectfully, while most of these standardized versions continue to serve many, I can now see in my own life they were only temporary pit stops of learning that never quite satisfied the deepest calling of my Soul.

The priests and the prophets would have us believe that something needs to be changed, achieved or fixed, still others purport that something needs to be gained or lost, somehow purified from our Soul. Often it is suggested that a battle is occurring between good and evil; the implication that we all are in fact born into sin and will go to hell if we do not accept without question the existence of one particular dogma alone. Too easily we place the salvation of our own Souls in the hands of others, we demonize others as equally as we demonize ourselves, and we wonder why our lives become more stressful and confusing, how the conflict within so easily expresses itself without.

 

 

 

The Seer sits in controversy, suggesting the divinity we so desperately seek, lies already within us. The Sage with his detached attitude, witnesses the hysteria of the mases coming and going, “individual” waves on an Ocean of singular existence.

 

 

The wisdom tradition of Vedanta suggests that there are really only five reasons for our suffering:

1) We have forgotten Who We Are.

2) We identify ourselves to an ego or small self.

3) We identify with that which is transient and unreal.

4) We fear with that which is transient and unreal.

5) We fear death.

This particular wisdom tradition goes on to say that in spite of there being five reasons for our suffering, all of them are in fact contained within the first reason:

We have forgotten Who We Are!

The Seers and Sages suggest that if we resolved the issue of our first cause of suffering, all the others would in themselves eventually be resolved by default.

 

 

 

In India, there is a term called Gnani (Gyani/Jnana) ~ Gee-yann ee/aa. As could be expected there are multiple variations on the spelling and translations of this word. Simply put, it is one of the paths of Yoga, a way to experience unity consciousness by finding out Who We Are.

Through the use of wisdom and knowledge one has the ability to trace oneself back to the source of all creation. Another alternative definition, one that I find more inspiring is that Jnana yoga is not necessarily about the accumulation of wisdom or knowledge, but instead the process of unlearning.

 

 

The Great Unlearning is the process of discovering Who We Are, and occurs by finding out what we are not. Considered the most challenging of all Yoga’s; when applied, this particular approach to union or unity offers inherent freedom from the hidden assumptions and stories contained within the many doctrines and dogmas of Spiritual nature.

 

 

When I began my spiritual quest many years ago, I initially reached out to the more traditional and accessible forms of religion. I was looking for the spiritual “me”, so I used the immediate most available resources of everyday religion. My road trip eventually lead me to the more exciting and satisfying extremes of fundamentalism and a short, intense, awakening process that eventually bumped up against the inherent limits of systems that were organized.

 

 

When I found what I will call the New Age doctrines, I became like a kid in a candy store. I could actually choose the kind of Spirituality that felt right for me, that fit my box, and so many choices, my God! While I never officially bingded I instead used discrimination and intentionality, I consumed the knowledge balanced with some amazing experiences that at once satisfied the hunger that had been present for so long.

 

 

Now I realize that the consumption and digestion process while enjoyable and on some level necessary, was really just another pit stop along the way. That however wonderful and however fulfilling those excursions and adventures might have been they essentially just revealed what had been there all along.

 

I now realize how easy it is to get caught up in spiritual materialism, thinking that the more I do, the more I gain, the more I know will somehow impact the experience, expression and discovery of Who I AM.

 

So. I’m now in the process of deconstruction. Taking the time to examine and unlearn all the beliefs, all the understandings and all the knowledge I’ve gained that no longer inherently supports my original quest and intention of discovering Who I AM. I realize that I’m not interested in living or acting out some sort of spiritual lifestyle, which has nothing to do with discovering Who I AM. I now realize that by nature my being is not something that needs to be fixed, earned or achieved, and it definitely does not need to be saved by any imagined self or “other”.

 

 

I realize that when my mind is quiet and my body is still, the ever present essence of Who I Am, gently caresses the fore ground of who I imagine myself to be. I realize that Who I AM existed before I began my search, that it exists during my search and it will exist after I decide to give up my search…

 

 

 

 

“… We shall not cease from exploration.

And the end of all our exploring

will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time…

T S Eliot

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