By George A. Boyd © 2017
Many seekers go to a variety of spiritual teachers, learn a plethora of meditation techniques, and after years of following this pattern, have little or nothing to show for their efforts. Why is this? It is the problem of diffuse aspiration.
Diffuse aspiration occurs when you have not clearly identified a spiritual objective, you have not made a commitment to obtain that objective, and are not working regularly to achieve it. You don’t get results in any Path you encounter, because you don’t complete it. You are left with multiple false starts and incompletions, and a lot of confusion about the metaphysical truths that inform your life.
Consider the example of the student who takes classes of interest a la carte in college over a five-year period. Then compare the progress of the student who decides on a major, takes a full load, and takes all the classes required for the major.
The student who takes classes a la carte may accrue 40 to 60 units, but has no degree, and has no marketable skills. The student, who decides on a major, graduates and has marketable skills for a career or has built a foundation for further graduate education.
Diffuse aspiration takes a variety of forms:
- Spiritual window shoppers – These seekers go to innumerable lectures, have darshan of many saints and Gurus, buy lots of books that they never get around to reading, and can offer their opinion on many teachers—they are particularly adept at spiritual gossip. They rarely, if ever, actually take a class, receive initiation, or actually make a commitment to ethical rules and self-discipline required to actually progress on the spiritual path. [If they do take a class, they often do not finish it.]
- Spiritual syncretists – These seekers actually read the books they buy, but given that these books describe world views that are radically different, these seekers put this together in a complete intellectual mish mosh. They have archangels who hang out with Sat Gurus of the Transcendental Sphere, side by side with Ascended Masters of the Second Planetary Initiation and Yogi Preceptors of the First Cosmic Initiation, with a few extraterrestrials thrown in for good measure. If they are having a difficult life, this creative weaving together of unrelated material can move to the dark side, and generate elaborate, paranoid conspiracy theories.
- The “secret” collectors – These seekers get initiated into a variety of Paths so they can learn the secret techniques. They don’t actually practice the methods for more than a few weeks, but now they know… the secrets! At parties, they let it drop that they are “initiates” of [list of Gurus] and have learned the “secret mysteries.” Others are impressed. They don’t get many dates with this approach, however.
- The eternal flow-ers – These seekers get locked into the flow or Tao, and remain monitoring the present time—the stream of consciousness that arises in each moment. They do not use their will or intention, so they drift through life, from one misadventure to another. If they do serendipitously run into the circle around a spiritual teacher, they may become initiated, but their continual mindful monitoring of the flow of life makes it challenging for them to actually do the techniques—as they have practiced their stream of consciousness approach to life for so long, it is difficult to break out of this mode.
- The spiritual analysts – These seekers get caught up in the minutia of each word the spiritual teacher uses in books and lectures, and attempt to analyze their meaning. They torture themselves if they do not understand the exact meaning, and they are hopelessly confused when they are presented with alternate presentations of the same word, or the word used in other contexts. As a consequence, they never actually meditate, and hence make zero progress on whatever Path they embrace.
- The purists – These seekers hone in on the moral failings and faults of the Guru. They hold the Guru to the highest standards, and believe that the spiritual teacher must live up to the seeker’s values and expectations. They cannot allow the spiritual teacher to be a human being: to make mistakes, to experience human emotion, to laugh at jokes, to have human relationships, or to have regular interests like other people—the spiritual Master must be perfect in every way—a living god or goddess. If their teacher does not live up to their impossibly high expectations, they find an excuse to leave the Path. As a result, these seekers typically make good progress during the early stages of their spiritual journey under the tutelage of this spiritual teacher, but then they leave when they find that he or she is “not perfect.”
- The mysterious and powerful – These seekers aim to gain powers to control their experience and make others respect them. They are attracted to hypnosis, techniques that enable them to control their body and mind, and to ostensibly demonstrate miraculous powers over Nature. If perverted, these individuals can become charlatans and cult leaders, who attempt to control the lives of others. If misguided, they can dabble with powerful techniques that result in disabling Kundalini syndromes or outright madness. If they continue their pursuit of the mysterious and arcane, they may become magicians, occultists, or cabbalists—making no actual spiritual progress, but becoming experts of “secret doctrines” and “the words of power.”
To avoid wasting your time on your spiritual quest, it is important to understand some basic ground rules.
- To learn something, you have to actually study it—and remember, integrate, and use what you learn.
- You need to understand ideas in the context or territory in which they are embedded. The word “Soul” has a different meaning when it is viewed in the Planetary Realm of the Continuum, in the Cosmic, on a Supracosmic Path, or on a particular Transcendental Path.
- The objective of spiritual development is not to learn secret techniques; it is to develop your spiritual essence to completion in any Path that you begin.
- There is a time to “be” and to “flow;” there is a time to use volition and intention to actually guide the direction of your life and to make steady progress on your chosen spiritual Path. You need to be able to function in both modes. You need to know when each mode is appropriate.
- To understand abstract and subtle spiritual ideas, you cannot penetrate them with reason. You need to begin to use your intellect and intuition to enable you to grasp the ideas conveyed in the spiritual languaging of books, discourses, and scriptures.
- Realize that if your standards are extremely high, no one will be able to live up to them. While many spiritual teachers have mastered the art of entering into—and in some cases, living in—an altered state of consciousness, so you can see the mirror of Divinity within their spiritual essences, they don’t stop being human beings. Have some compassion and understanding for your spiritual teacher—he or she is a human being just like you—and also has needs, issues, and aspirations.
- It is important to understand that spiritual progress is founded upon the bedrock of service and compassion for the suffering and struggles of others. If you gain spiritual powers, how will these help someone else? How will they relieve the misery and travail of someone? Does the secret knowledge you gain actually help someone make progress in his or her life, overcome a problem, or travel further on the spiritual Path? While hypnosis can be used therapeutically, using it to control or enslave others is a strategy of the Dark Forces, not of those who dwell in the Light. It is important to look at your motivations as to why you want to gain powers. Instead, consider the question, “what can I learn and do that will help and uplift others and assuage their misery, overcome their ignorance, and assist them to actualize their personal and spiritual potentials?”
If you want to make progress in life, or on the spiritual Path, you have to know what it is you want, and then pursue it until you achieve it. When you are presented with a spiritual system, you need to ask, “does this meditation system get me to my goal or not?”
You need to be clear and ask yourself, “What is the goal of my aspiration?” Do I want to go to heaven after I die? Do I want to become an Ascended Master? Do I want to become a Yogi Preceptor? Do I want to become a Cosmic Master? Do I want to reach the spiritual summit of a Supracosmic Path and gain the same state of consciousness as a particular Guru? Do I want to reach the highest Plane on a Transcendental Path and merge my spirit in its origin? Do I want to obtain Multiplane Mastery?
Once you are clear you know what you want, look for someone who teaches you how to attain that goal. When I was in my seeking period, I decided I wanted that I wanted to find a Sat Guru, someone who could guide my spirit to its origin on the Second Transcendental Path. I specifically looked for a Sat Guru.
My third teacher, Sant Darshan Singh, was a teacher who could deliver on this. I studied with him and finished this objective. [If you want to learn about my spiritual journey, read the article, “My Spiritual Journey.”]
Once you decide on the Path, take initiation. Practice the techniques and work with the teacher until you reach your objective. Do not settle for anything less.
Turn your diffuse aspiration into laser-targeted clarity about what you are striving to do, how you do it, and what you will need to do to actually accomplish your goal. You will then—as the character John Luc Picard of “Star Trek: the Next Generation” used to say—“make it so.”