I have been thinking about the process of gain lately. When a person wants to gain knowledge and education it’s quite a common task to reach out and find a teacher. This is the process for Material gain. When I sought to learn a technological skillset, I found a teacher who could train me. Through books, videos, instructors, I’ve gained a lot in the Material world. It’s quite the opposite, however, when dealing with the spiritual goals.
Material knowledge is in the appropriation and accumulation of ideas and knowledge. This is common sense and it can be very attractive of an idea to incorporate that into the spiritual world. In fact it’s quite common today to shell out loads of cash for spiritual training.
Material vs. Spiritual
There is a pivotal difference between Material gain and Spiritual gain. Where Material gain is in the “adding to” our knowledge, the Spiritual gain is in the Removal. Too true, we do learn things in the Spiritual paradigms as well… we learn to meditate, we learn self hypnosis, magic or other ideas. We may read some books and construct or own system with pieces of other systems.
Yet with the Spiritual goals I believe that one isn’t seeking to add to their nature, but rather to take away from their nature. Instead of taking on the persona and ideologies of others, I believe the Spiritualist is seeking to remove the barriers and fetters that hold them back.
Most of my work these days is not in learning a new “system,” but rather letting go. When I go into my own spiritual practice, I feel there is more for me to let go of. Let go of old relationships, or ideas, or thought patterns.
The reason for the divergence in goals, is that the Materialist goals adds to one’s nature (learning new skills for example), but the Spiritualist is looking to take away the layers obscuring the core of their being… the eternal soul, reflecting the Deity.
Tools Not Dogma
This is how I came to the conclusion in a previous post about seeking tools, but leaving dogma behind. I believe spiritual tools are generalities. When the tool becomes so specific that one stresses over if they “are doing it right,” then to me it is a dogmatic process.
While this mentality works for Materialist goals (like learning a martial art), in my opinion, it denigrates the spiritual goals. Dogma becomes more layers that can lead to illusion.
Take the role of dogmatic grimoires. “Draw a circle with these elements inscribed, at the corners place these other symbols… write these names in some foreign language… Speak thusly in Latin/Hebrew/Greek…” These are specific mechanisms that may have worked for the originator of the process. That doesn’t indicate, however, if they will work for everyone else.
One can learn from the tool of ritual. They can then decide if they need a circle, or if they should repeat some ancient written oration, rather than speak from their own heart (in their own language).
In my view, the tools can be learned, but they shouldn’t be turned into dogmas… else it becomes a Materialist gain – “adding more dogma into the spiritual process,” which in turn obscures more of what lies within. That obscuration, in my personal bias, can become illusion.