In this article, I want to explain my spiritual path, which was discovered from a frustration with the way meditation and spirituality is taught.
To explain my problems with most spiritual teachings, let me start with a small story.
Once there were 3 little piggies who were born in a spiritual world of light and love. When they became adults, their mother, the Divine Mother, said they now needed to go out into the material world and fulfil their purpose. But she warned them the Egoic Wolf would come after them and they needed to prepare.
The 3 pigs went out into the material world and immediately found it full of fascinating wonders.
The 1st pig really enjoyed the material world and decided to take its pleasures to the max. So he decided to become an influencer. Specifically, an Instagram Butt Model (IBM) Yoga Teacher. He would post pictures of himself (often in states of undress) on social media, along with captions like “It all happens for the best”, “Live your life like it’s your last day” and with a lot of hashtags like #blessed. He soon became really rich, popular, and of course, #blessed.
The 2nd pig hated the physical world and hated the 1st brother’s shallow spirituality even more. So he decided to become a hardcore meditator, meditating for hours a day. He couldn’t wait to go back to his Mother in the spiritual world.
The 3rd brother decided to find a balanced approach. He knew if the Mother had sent them to this world, she must have had a reason. The material world is beautiful and full of joy, but he also knew the material world was full of traps.
So the 3rd brother decided to mix working in the material world with his spiritual work. He made sure the spiritual work was grounded and could survive contact with the material world.
But his approach meant his progress was very slow. Meanwhile, the 1st pig became a millionaire and the 2nd also became a really popular guru due to his spiritual power. Both brothers had millions of followers and were famous.
But summer turned to winter. The sun set and the harsh cold moon came out.
One day, 1st pig came home to find someone waiting for him. It was death.
Death had the form of a skeletal wolf. He smiled widely when he saw the 1st brother. “Live every day like it’s your last, eh? Well then, this won’t surprise you.”
The IBM piggy was scared and closed his eyes. “Think positive! No negative thoughts! Thoughts have power over the world!”
But when he opened his eyes, the wolf was still standing there. “While thoughts have some control over reality, they cannot hide from the Truth. I am Death, I am the Ultimate Truth.” And saying so, he ate the 1st pig.
The 2nd pig saw what was happening and took precautions. His spiritual power was so strong, not even death could invade his house. So he locked the door and decided to wait for summer.
But Death was cunning. It took the form of a beautiful young girl and went to meet the 2nd pig. “Oh, master,” she said, “won’t you come out and teach me some Tantric sex?”
The 2nd pig was too smart to fall for that. “Fool, I am a celibate monk.”
“But master, you are enlightened. You are no longer bound by these silly rules that govern the unawakened people.”
Piggy number 2 had been suppressing his desires for years. That was the only way to become an enlightened master. And though he felt peaceful in meditation, a small doubt always gnawed at him. What if he enjoyed the material world just a little?
Death saw him weakening. “Come on, Master Piggy. You can be my guru. Teach me everything you know.” She winked at him seductively.
Piggy 2 felt weak. What was the harm? After all, he was an enlightened master…
As soon as he left the house, he realised how wrong he was. But too late, Death got him too.
It was now the 3rd pig’s time. Death Wolf came to him and tried the usual tricks– tempting him with money/sex. While the pig still sometimes struggled with his base instincts, he had made peace with them and wasn’t fooled.
Death got angry and started attacking his house. The 3rd pig wasn’t as spiritually powerful as the 2nd, but he did have enough grounded-ness to keep the Wolf away.
After a few attacks, the Wolf gave up. “I will return, little piggy. If not soon, then at your death. You are not immortal, I will get one more chance to get you.”
The 3rd pig gulped, but he heard the Divine Mother whisper in his ear, Don’t worry, I will help you when he returns.
My Problem with Most Spiritual Advice / Paths
1. Most spiritual advice is either very shallow, what I call the Instagram Butt Model School of Yoga. (IBM School of Yoga? Will I get sued if I start using this term?)
2. Or the advice is very other worldly, Ooh the world is an illusion, there is nothing to do. And while sometimes these people might go deep into Eastern teachings, they cannot balance the material and spiritual lives.
The 1st type only stay on the surface of the spiritual life; the 2nd types go deep, but then they go so deep they forget about the material world and become Spiritual Bypassers or Spiritual Narcissists.
I wanted to have a “new” approach which balances the spiritual and material life. I say “new” in inverted commas, as many people have been claiming to teach this for at least a hundred years. And yet, when you actually look at the details, they are either:
a) Monk types who clearly act like the renunciate life is superior (though they may claim otherwise). They will be monks and so will all their top students, but they will pat some married couple on the head and say “Oh yeah, the married people with day jobs can also become enlightened”. Said with just a hint of condescension
The monk types I can tolerate, as they are at least honest. But, though they may wave their hands in the air and say they accept the material world, their ultimate goal is still to run off to some nirvana, monastery or monkhood.
The IBM types live and accept the world, but their spirituality is very shallow, and dare I say it, very selfish?
And so I wanted to find a path where one does serious spiritual practice, but without denigrating or running from the material world. That is, live in the world and enjoy it, while still living the spiritual life.
With this in mind, this is the key value for me:
The goal of the spiritual life is to live a fulfilling and purposeful life. And not become a meditation nerd who can sit for 4 hours but doesn’t have a life outside of meditation.
Also, note: A life with purpose, not a “happy” life. Any life worth living will be full of ups and downs.
The material world is as important as the spiritual world. So there can be no spiritual bypassing. You cannot hide from the world, the goal of spirituality is not to escape to some nirvana. How deep you want to go into the material world is up to you, as long as you don’t ignore it completely.
The Dark Path, or the Negative Path
Which brings me to the key point of my path, one which separates it from most others:
Instead of running from our suffering, we go deep into it.
Note, this is NOT a form of masochism or looking for trouble. Rather, it is looking at the suffering we already have and seeing how we create our own misery.
Also note, suffering is different from pain. Pain occurs from external events like disease, death, accidents etc. Suffering is the story we create around our pain. A story where we are the victims and the world is out to get us.
Pain is inevitable: Even the most enlightened master will die. But suffering is not inevitable.
Eckhart Tolle talks a lot about this, how we create our own suffering by always trying to create a story around the thoughts in our head. But it is the other Eckhart, Meister Eckhart, who really put this into perspective for me:
The soul does not grow by addition but by subtraction.Meister Eckhart
I heard this quote in a lecture by Richard Rohr, and it stuck with me. Richard says our True Self is one of joy and peace. And the spiritual process is one of removing all the blockages that stop the Light of the Universe from flowing into us and healing us.
And this has been my own experience as well. The hard thing is stopping the part of us is resisting and even fighting the Light from healing us.
And so, on this path, one doesn’t try to feel happy clappy or “positive” all the time. Instead, one looks deep into our own darkness, our shadow self, as it were, to see where we are blocking the light.
Once you remove most blockages, you start feeling the love of the universe. But this love cannot be hurried, or grabbed, or forcefully taken. You must prepare to receive it, often spending years in the “spiritual desert” before you find the promised land within yourself. And that’s why I call it the path of suffering or darkness, from an old Indian saying (though all cultures have a version of it): You can find the Light by going completely into the darkness.
So this is a summary of what I believe in, and why I built this website. The goal of meditation is to live a fulfilling life, and we do that by removing the stumbling blocks that stop the Light of Divine Intelligence from healing us.
I shared the story of the 3 piggies to explain this point–it was without judgement as for a long time I was piggy #1 and #2, running after shallow “Can I become a millionaire by manifesting now, thanks God” to “Nothing matters, the world is a cruel place, the only solution is to escape is completely.”
And I found both these approaches lacking. The 1st one led to disappointment and anger, the 2nd one led to a dry and heartless “peace”.
More than anything, I want a path with a heart. By heart, I mean love and joy. I find that love/joy is more important than peace in the spiritual world, as it gives you more spiritual strength to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life.