by Robert Wilkinson
I've been reading a lot of "spiritual" works lately, from Gandhi to Ramana Maharshi to Masters KH and Morya to the newest breakthroughs in solar and wind technologies. Yes, there ARE other paths to enlightenment than merely studying and practicing esoteric and exoteric philosophies and rituals.
I know we have been programmed to believe that only forms of religion and philosophy are "spiritual," with all else merely the impermanent forms of our 4 dimensional reality. This includes the notion that only the "non-dual" has any true spiritual "validity" or reality, and that all else exists in Maya, erroneously supposed to be the Great Illusion.
This is an extremely narrow minded view of our Eternal Self and its possibilities of Self-realization. It seems to me that All-That-Is is the only reality we can be aware of, since it in fact includes All That Is, both seen and unseen. If All-That-Is is the totality of our reality, then because there are infinite ways to discover All-That-Is, and many things to find within All-That-Is, we cannot exclude anything that leads us to a greater awareness of and enlightenment regarding All-That-Is.
Through our 5 senses and our minds, as well as our subtle senses, we discover elements of the Infinite and Eternal All-That-Is. Things must be sensed to be experienced, even if it does not involve the usual 5 senses. (If we didn't have any sensory attention to our inner changes, then how could we experience anything?) That would imply that as we cultivate our ability to sense the infinite shadings of subtle experience, we can learn about that which is beyond the 5 gross senses and the mind.
As an aside, what is it that registers subtle sensations and realizations beyond the 5 gross senses and the mind? It has been demonstrated countless times in countless ways that what is perceived and experienced as Eternal Spirit pervades All-That-Is. It is also accepted in both Eastern and Western philosophies and religions that we each "possess" an indwelling Spirit that "watches over" or inhabits our bodies, feelings, and minds as these move through experiences.
Through the experience of the Spirit We Are, we experience our eternal connectedness with the Omnipresent Spirit pervading All-That-Is. Describing the infinite ways individual Atma-Buddhi-Manas relates to Paramatma is a great thing to contemplate, but that subject is really beyond the scope of this article.
The point is that there are many pathways to Truth. It was once stated by a Master of the Wisdom that there are 3 schools to Truth, and each has its own unique ways and means to their ends. They do not necessarily agree on the methods and goals, but each are equally valid paths to Truth. These schools are Art, Science, and Philosophy (including religious forms purified of dogma and selfish intention.)
We've already briefly covered some issues concerning "enlightenment" as debated in the philosophical schools. Of course there are other issues, but again, that is off the topic of this post.
Art is as valid a pathway to Truth as Philosophy or religion in purified forms. Art, in its Sacred forms, awakens those who appreciate those forms to greater inspiration and possibilities of experience. Art allows us to merge in undifferentiated unity within the sound, or form, or expression of that art.
In art we find connectedness with subtle sensations beyond the usual gross forms. Art connects us with past, present, and future in the eternal Now. A photograph, painting, sculpture, dance, movie or song can uplift humanity and change the world for the better. There are an abundance of obvious examples.
Science is usually not regarded as a path to enlightenment, but in investigating the principles of the natural world, we unlock the keys to push the boundaries of our understanding and ability to create things that were previously unimaginable. It's not that all scientific discoveries lead to a higher view and awareness, but science is a path to discover that which was unknown, and unlock the secrets of nature in ways that advance human evolution.
An example of this is that in the discovery of the principles of light, science created a thing called "the laser." This device can be used many ways, to cut through solid metal to giving eyesight to the blind. Drugs that decrease suffering may help many to experience a pain-free body for the first time. And who could doubt the spiritual qualities of science helping those who once would have died miserable deaths to live to experience greater awarenesses, regardless of where, what, or how?
Art, Science, and Philosophy. Three routes to enlightenment. Three routes to Truth. All work together for human evolution, moving it from the unreal to the Real, from darkness to Light, and from death to Immortality.
Knowing and honoring the many paths to Truth and awareness could decrease much of the misunderstanding and conflict about what enlightenment really looks like. Just a few things to consider in this time of radical polarization and "us versus them" thinking. A final thought - selfishness and exclusivity kill Truth, whereas goodwill, fellowship, and inclusivity further human evolution.
© Copyright 2010 Robert Wilkinson