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The Search for Understanding

When you enter into the understanding, you’ve entered into Spirit, and the whole thing can become a divine comedy being played out on the stage of life. – John-Roger

This article was first published in the Movement Newspaper, March 1982.

I’d like to look at the spiritual concept of understanding because there are so many diverse points of view present in the world today that it can become a real trial in your heart to decide what you’re going to do, which teacher or guru you’re going to follow, and what the best way is for you. There are so many questions that float through people’s minds, as they seek to find answers in their lives.

The whole concept of the spiritual ideal and God as being someplace way out away from you is a fallacy. The idea that you have to be very pious and somber and go around in a prayerful position in order to reflect a spiritual consciousness is a fallacy. It’s one of the greatest frauds perpetrated against the human consciousness. How you sit does not make you spiritual. The foods you eat or don’t eat do not make you spiritual. The ornaments you wear, the markings on your body or the clothing you wear do not make you spiritual. The location of your home or your place of worship does not make you spiritual.

You are spiritual. The fact that you are present insures that you are spiritual. One difficulty comes when people who do not understand the true nature of spirituality create forms and guises they identify as and call spiritual. Some say, “I study yoga, therefore I’m spiritual.” Some say, “I chant a sacred mantra, therefore I’m spiritual.” Those are outer trappings. They may or may not reflect spirituality.

The outer reflections become important only when they are accompanied by the inner discipline of Spirit. And I’m not talking about the discipline of being an ascetic or flagellating yourself or fasting. That’s not the “discipline” I’m concerned about.

The discipline I’m talking about is the discipline to finish the day’s work you have committed to finish. It’s the discipline of being there to drive a friend to an appointment as you agreed to do. It’s the discipline of saying to your spouse, “You and I are going to function together on all levels,” and maintaining that commitment and the integrity of your life, even when you don’t feel like it and would rather take the easy way out.

These disciplines of life are very important. And if a beaded necklace around your throat reminds you to live a life of integrity and to be disciplined in your living, then that may be the best thing in the world for you. But if you wear the necklace as a sign of piety and use it as a way to spiritually seduce people or mislead them into thinking you’re something more than you are, that is a dishonest action and will come back to you.

People who set themselves up as spiritual teachers and leaders but do not have the ability to handle the karma that comes to them through that teaching action are going to have a difficult time. When you put yourself forward as an authority of some sort and begin to get involved in giving advice to people, you become responsible for the changes that come to them as a result of your advice. That’s why I do not teach nor do I give advice. I share what has worked and is working for me. I tell you of my experience. I don’t tell you what to do
nor do I profess to know what value you might gain from my experience. If you do gain value, that’s fine. That’s you taking responsibility for the information, making your own choices, getting involved in your own growth. It’s not me doing that.

People in the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA) are involved in a process of their own education and upliftment through education. If you go out and steal a car and the cops catch up with you and put you in jail, and then you call me and say, “J-R, help me!” why should I? You created the action. You promoted it. Now it’s yours. Enjoy it. If you get yourself into difficulty, then call me for help, and I change the situation for you, what have you learned? You’ve probably learned to call me when you’re in trouble. Then guess
what I’ve set myself up for? A lot of phone calls!

Your education may be “I don’t like the results of my action. I don’t like it at all so I won’t do that again.” Now, that’s valuable. Now you’ve learned to stay out of trouble. You’ve learned to take more responsibility for your behavior. You’ve learned a little more about how you create your life through your use of the spiritual energy present within you.

Which approach is the most loving? It might appear that helping you out, bailing you out of jail, loaning you money, etc. is the most loving. But I created a dependent human being who will be getting in trouble again and again and again. The most loving approach can often appear to be a harsh approach, “No. I won’t come down and bail you out. No, I won’t loan you money. No, you can’t stay with me.” And I’m not doing that out of animosity or anger or indifference. I’m doing that out of loving concern, knowing that if you don’t
have any choices, you will have to learn your lesson of responsibility and will be so much further ahead once you have that wisdom. Then I’ve assisted you in being responsible, independent, and strong, and you can turn around and share your strength with others who are coming along on the path of “education.”

Those lessons in spiritual living are universal. A loving approach is a loving approach in the United States, India, Europe, Africa, everywhere. Loving behavior can be recognized whether it’s expressed by a Christian, a Jew, a Moslem, a Buddhist, an atheist, an agnostic, or anyone else. Thank God there is variety on this earth, and thank God, beyond the variety, there is an essential oneness of all beings. That oneness is the love. It’s God’s love, available equally to all.

When you are expressing an unconditionally loving quality, you transcend understanding. And that’s a real nice concept, except that you are still involved in your day-to-day life, which contains the usual, human assortment of hurt and pain, confusion and despair, anger and fear, etc. Sometimes man is allowed to take himself to the depths of despair to enter into a greater understanding. Sometimes you have to understand that you can’t do the things you did last year or five or 10 years ago. Things have changed.

You can’t take an approach that works today and say it’ll be good for the next 200 years. It probably won’t be and if it is, you’re not doing anything. You’re stagnant. You can’t be stagnant and bring forward the new age. Of course, the concept of “bringing forward” a new age is nonsense, too. For some people the new age has been here for years. For some it won’t be here for a long time. And for others, it’s appearing right now – and that’s exciting.

The new age is always exciting, whenever and wherever it appears. When you glimpse the new age in your consciousness, go for it. Do whatever you have to do to reach it. It’s worth it. And if you see it one day and the next day it seems like a myth, that’s okay, too. You’ll find it again. Keep in mind, though, that you weren’t placed out here on this little speck flying through the universe, abandoned to your own misdemeanors and your own foolishness. Realize that there is direction and purpose and order to all of life. Seek the understanding, but seek it through yourself not through someone else. I seek my own understanding; you seek yours.

One of man’s prime directives is to understand his own beingness. That’s a full time job. It’s an eight hour a day job anyway. And you spend another eight hours fulfilling the karma of the planet by working. And you have another eight hours for fun and recreation and whatever else you can think of. So you’ve filled up 24 hours a day, without sleep. Which eight hours do you take the sleep out of? Do you take it out of recreation? Or do you take it out of understanding? If you take it out of understanding and hope you’ll luck into it somewhere between dinner and cocktails and the latest movie, sorry, folks. It doesn’t work that way. You won’t luck into anything. Be active in your search for understanding. That’s really taking care of yourself in a very positive way.

Sometimes when you look across the planet and see all the disasters that are occurring and the difficulties that people are having, there doesn’t seem to be anything about the physical world that is humorous. I mean, it all seems very, very serious. There doesn’t seem to be a lot to laugh about. And yet, when you enter into the understanding, you’ve entered into Spirit, and the whole thing can become a divine comedy being played out on the stage of life.

God is the dance and God is the dancer. He writes the music, and He plays the tune. And you’re just a manifestation of his beingness. And nothing of the “play” here really makes a bit of difference.

Seek the understanding that it doesn’t make any difference. Look beyond the illusions of the physical world. Seek the order behind the apparent chaos. Seek to know how man has created the destruction and turmoil that appears in the world today. Seek that understanding by observing yourself and your own actions in the world.

When you start to see how you create the turmoil in your own life, you’ll begin to see how it gets created on a larger scale, too. These things aren’t mysteries. They don’t appear independent of human action. They are the results of very specific behavior and causes. It’s true that some of the causes go way, way back in history and the years in between have created a lot of complications and variations, but it is still “cause” and “effect.”

What can you do to change things? You have to start with your life. You can’t start by changing the way that one nation relates to another. You have to start where you are. You educate yourself through observation. You watch yourself behave in a non-loving way and you observe the results. You watch yourself behave in a loving way and observe the results. Which results are you most
happy with?

People are our most valuable commodity. Loving is the most important action. When love is present, it’s hard to do anything wrong. If you’re looking for a place to start a spiritual life, start there. And then, within the loving, choose what you want to do.

You can do spiritual exercises in loving expression. You can build a house in loving expression. You can teach a child to read in a loving expression. You can talk to masses of people and awaken them to their hearts – in loving expression.

When the loving is present, you are manifesting God’s presence. And you will stand as an example and a guiding Light for those around you, not as a teacher but just as a human being who is awakened to his own divine nature.

God bless you.

Baruch Bashan.

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