By Wes Annac, The Culture of Awareness
I’ve said before that I think every form of desire is a shrouded desire to connect with our creator, who we came from and will eventually return to.
When we read spiritual texts that talk about praising ‘God’ or wanting to know him/her in a deeper way, our minds are usually drawn to the hateful, biblical god we learned about in the Old Testament. Our understanding of God changes once we start to become aware of the spiritual nature of our existence, however.
We might even stop calling our creator ‘god’ and adopt a new label, as in my case. I prefer to use the terms ‘Jah’ or ‘Source’ (or even ‘love’) when I talk about our creator, but a lot of old fashioned spiritual teachers prefer the familiar term ‘God’.
I’ve had trouble with some material from spiritual teachers, and I think the outdated term ‘God’ has had a lot to do with it.
Worshipping God or praying for salvation might sound like an Old Testament concept that doesn’t sit well with modern spiritual seekers, and it can be hard to bridge the gap between modern spirituality and the spirituality of enlightened teachers whose understanding of Source is different from ours.
While I don’t recommend any form of unhealthy or imbalanced worship, once we become aware, we do long to know Source in a much realer and more refined, authentic way and we might even start praising him/her.
I’ve only received small glimpses of the higher states of consciousness we can now explore, and what I’ve seen and felt has made me want to shout my love for Source and this infinite creation from a mountaintop.
I want to grow closer with our creator than most of us have throughout the multiple lives we’ve likely spent here on earth, and fortunately, there have been (and continue to be) plenty of teachers who can help show the way.
We have to chart our own course if we want to experience the unique process of spiritual evolution, but there’s nothing wrong with taking the advice various spiritual teachers have given along the way. Again, I’ve had my share of trouble with material from spiritual teachers, but I’m learning that we can take their advice with a grain of salt.
We don’t have to believe everything they tell us, and disagreeing with certain viewpoints (like the idea that we shouldn’t care about our bodies because they’re impermanent in the big picture) doesn’t keep us from enlightenment because we’re meant to find our own way and cultivate our own philosophies.
In the course of doing so, however, we can take the advice of learned spiritual teachers who know a thing or two about Source, love (which is almost the same thing), meditation and consciousness.
Here, we’ll hear from Sri Ramakrishna about the idea that all forms of desire lead back to the desire to know our creator, and subsequently ourselves, in a more refined way. Once we get a taste of spirit, we’ll chase after that omnipotent high until it becomes a constant, assured aspect of our existence.
There are plenty of things we can do to increase our spiritual receptivity, and while no spiritual teacher would probably recommend what I’m about to say, some people use psychedelic substances like cannabis to elevate their consciousness and communicate with God.
As long as we choose a path that works for us, there’s no reason we should let others convince us we’re wrong for choosing it. No matter what path we take, we can be assured that glimpsing Source and spirit will cause us to devote ourselves to enlightenment.
I feel more devoted to enlightenment and spiritual evolution than ever, and I’m realizing that while we can take the advice of other spiritual teachers and seekers, charting our own path based on our experiences and the practically insatiable drive to know Source is the most helpful course of action.
Ramakrishna tells us that most people don’t hunger for Source until they’ve gotten the earthly experience out of their system.
“Most people don’t feel any longing for God unless they have once passed through the experience of wealth, name, fame, creature comforts, and the like, that is to say, unless they have seen through these enjoyments.” (1)
We don’t long to connect with the Divine Mother, he tells us, until we’ve satisfied all of our material impulses and we’re left with a drive that the material world can’t satisfy.
“A man does not feel restless for God until all his worldly desires are satisfied. He does not remember the Mother of the Universe until his share of the enjoyment of ‘woman and gold’ is completed. A child absorbed in play does not seek his mother. But after his play is over, he says, ‘Mother! I must go to my mother.’” (2)
Once we open our heart and free ourselves from material attachment, our inner search is endless.
“You will feel restless for God when your heart becomes pure and your mind free from attachment to the things of the world.” (3)
A lot of us are feeling more and more restless by the day, and little do we know, the liberation we seek is right at our fingertips. All we have to do is explore our consciousness routinely, and like I’ve said before, creativity is one of the best ways to do it.
I enjoy writing about enlightenment because it temporarily satisfies the drive for a higher state of consciousness. True spiritual understanding can’t be found in the scriptures, however, and like Ziggy Marley says, “not in the books did I find, but by searching my mind”.
Spiritual texts are still helpful and valuable, but they’re incomplete without the dedicated inner work that really takes us where we want to go. Searching within is the most potent way to get a real and lasting glimpse of Source, and the picture will become clearer as we diligently explore our consciousness.
Source alone gives us the restless desire to expand our awareness, Ramakrishna tells us.
“It is God who makes him restless for spiritual life. … When that restlessness comes, man longs for God.” (4)
Even though it’s possible to seek Source from the confines of the earth, our true search doesn’t begin until we’ve passed through the desire for worldly things. Ramakrishna explains this further by expanding on his quote about the metaphorical child who wants his mother.
“The fact is that one does not feel the longing to know or see God as long as one enjoys worldly objects. The child forgets everything when he plays with his toys. Try to cajole him away from play with a sweetmeat; you will not succeed. He will eat only a bit of it.
“When he relishes neither the sweetmeat nor his play, then he says, ‘I want to go to my mother.’ He doesn’t care for the sweetmeat any more.
“If a man whom he doesn’t know and has never seen says to the child, ‘Come along; I shall take you to your mother,’ the child follows him. The child will go with anyone who will carry him to his mother.
“The soul becomes restless for God when one is through with the enjoyment of worldly things. Then a person has only one thought – how to realize God. He listens to whatever anyone says to him about God.” (5)
We’ll seek the Divine Mother and Father when our ‘play’ on earth (i.e. our drive to feed the materialistic beast) has come to an end, and some seekers don’t know that we can end our play right now by focusing fully on Source and sharing the inspiration that results with everyone who’s becoming aware.
I know I already quoted Ziggy Marley, but I’d like to take a quote from another song of his, entitled ‘Jah Will Be Done’. Keep in mind that ‘Jah’ is another name for God or Source, and the name is championed by the Rasta crowd.
In that song, he says, “every day is just a day to sing your praises. And every day is just a day to give you glory”.
Those lyrics reflect the feelings of someone who’s connected with Source and wants to deepen that connection, and they go to show that getting an initial taste can cause us to chase after that higher perception, which nothing on earth can satisfy (except nature, in my opinion).
I appreciate Rasta culture, because Rastas stand as examples of people who value their creator and their spirituality over worldly things.
In fact, most Rastas preach against the material comforts that Babylon (i.e. the powers that be) offers, and they encourage discipline and a natural lifestyle that’s rooted in love and respect for the earth and our creator.
An intense yearning for Source, which I’d imagine most Rastas have, is all we need to connect with him/her, Ramakrishna tells us.
“You must cultivate intense zeal for God. You must feel love for Him and be attracted to Him. … Yearning is all you need in order to realize Him.” (6)
Ramakrishna also affirms my musing earlier that reading scriptures isn’t enough to know Source.
“One’s spiritual consciousness is not awakened by the mere reading of books. One should also pray to God. The Kundalini is aroused if the aspirant feels restless for God. To talk of Knowledge from mere study and hearsay! What will that accomplish?” (7)
Keep in mind that everyone ‘prays’ to Source in a different way, and some forms of prayer aren’t traditional at all. I feel like meditation is a potent way to ‘pray’ to Source and subsequently connect, and I also use things like music to maintain that connection.
There are plenty of things we can do, like writing reports about enlightenment or other spiritual subjects that interest us, and as long as they get the spirit flowing and they help us feel closer with our creator, there’s no reason we shouldn’t embrace them.
We come closer to Source with every spiritually inspired thing we do, and I’ll always recommend getting out to nature and connecting with Source by connecting with the earth. Some spiritual teachers might discourage connecting with the earth, but in my view, it’s one of the best ways to stay connected with our creator.
We’ll all maintain a lasting connection with Source in our own time, and for now, let’s continue to practice the things that elevate our consciousness and help us maintain the connection, even if only temporarily.
Our connection will only be temporary if we don’t keep up with our creative and spiritual practices, and the more dedicated we are, the closer we’ll grow with our creator, who we’re learning is a God of pure love.
Growing closer to Source entails growing closer to love, and this is one reason I recommend getting out to nature and strengthening our love for the earth. Love is the ultimate form of art and creativity, and those qualities are exactly what we find in nature with all of its unique natural creations.
We’re encouraged to connect with Source in whatever ways work for us, and once we’ve found that connection, maintaining it is essential if we want to stay open, aware and receptive to the voice of spirit.
I think writing about spirit is a great way to maintain that connection, and Terence McKenna encouraged us to use writing and other forms of art to maintain the deeply spiritual essence that art’s always been meant to embody.
If we do, we’ll maintain a potent connection with Source that’ll start to amaze us if we continuously pursue it.
We’re given plenty of help from various spiritual teachers, and as long as we can remember to use discernment and chart our own path, we can benefit greatly from their advice and anything else that helps us feel aligned.