Most people start walking the path to higher awareness in a conscious way when they find some kind of spiritual or religious teaching. People have an awakening or conversion experience, and they now join a religious or spiritual – or perhaps a political or charitable – organization.
Such an awakening experience is always the result of the longing for something more, the desire to understand, the sense that there must be answers to life’s questions. This longing – although it can lead to pain or a sense of aloneness or emptiness – is the safety mechanism that prevents you from becoming totally lost in the duality consciousness. This is what we might call the “quest for truth,” and it is the driving force behind all personal growth.
The main goal of your subconscious selves is to prevent you from awakening to a higher sense of identity as a connected being. They will do anything within their power to get you to ignore or deny the quest for truth. This can be achieved only on a temporary basis, and eventually the quest for truth will resurface. Even then, your selves will not give up.
The selves will take the spiritual or religious teaching that served as the outer tool for your awakening, and they will seek to use it to neutralize your quest for truth. This discourse will expose some of the methods that the selves use to achieve their perpetual goal of trying to make sure that the latest step you have taken on the path becomes the last step you will ever take.
The vain dream of a guaranteed salvation
The undivided truth of higher awareness is above and beyond the many dualistic “truths” created by the mind of separation. The essence of your quest for truth is a longing for a direct experience of the source of truth, the Spirit of Truth. It is this experience which is the truth that will set you free from the selves. No man-made, dualistic belief system can do this for you.
The selves, of course, will never understand this truth. They are seeking to misdirect your search for truth and make you believe you can find some ultimate or absolute truth in this world and that this dualistic truth can guarantee your salvation. A common result of an awakening experience is that people begin to believe that by joining an outer organization, they have somehow “made it,” have been saved or have arrived at the ultimate destination.
This belief is always promoted by the selves because they want you to believe that by the mere act of stepping into this “ultimate” teaching or organization, you have automatically qualified for salvation. Perhaps the organization defines a process for you to go through, but nevertheless, the selves want you to believe that as long as you stay in the organization and keep following its outer requirements, your salvation is guaranteed.
The reality of the situation is, however, that the selves have managed to herd you into a fold that they will now attempt to turn into a closed box, a mental prison that traps you indefinitely on the false path. By making you believe that your salvation is now guaranteed, the selves have neutralized your quest for truth.
The selves can often silence your inner longing for an indefinite period of time, certainly for the rest of one lifetime. The selves have managed to make you think that because you have now found some ultimate teaching, you no longer need to think—you no longer need to exercise higher discernment.
There are millions of people who believe they are religious or spiritual people and that they are saved or are making great progress. In reality, they have stopped their spiritual progress and have allowed their selves to trap them in a “holier-than-thou” attitude. This is the false sense of righteousness that Jesus denounced so forcefully in the scribes and Pharisees. The true righteousness is higher awareness in which you never stop transcending yourself and thus flow with the River of Life that is the Spirit of Truth—the Living God rather than an selves-made idol.
The driving force behind your quest for truth is that you ask questions. When the selves make you believe in a guaranteed salvation, they have made you accept that there are certain questions you either are not allowed to ask or do not need to ask. You no longer need to stretch your mind and reach for a progressively deeper understanding of the spiritual side of life.
Simply accept the doctrines of your organization and stop thinking about the more subtle or difficult questions. You will then prevent or abort the direct inner contact with the Spirit of Truth, which is the only factor that can take you beyond the dualistic beliefs of the selves.
For example, many Christians have turned the Bible into a closed box. Many New Age people reject any teachings about higher discernment. They have turned the concept of being kind into a closed box. Their selves have become their teachers.
The selves have now created the perfect mental prison in which you feel relatively content. You think that as long as you stay in the prison, you will be saved. You think you should never look outside the prison. As long as you accept this approach to spirituality and salvation, your selves can feel safe because they know that the conscious self will never discover the existence of the selves.
Should you begin to see through the illusion of an automatic salvation through an outer organization or guru, the selves can still win. Many people have realized that a particular organization or guru was not what they first thought it to be. Instead of searching for something better, they give up on the path, which means they now have nothing to lead them beyond the logic of the selves. The selves have won either way.
Black-and-white, gray and beyond
Let us look at how the black-and-white and the gray approaches (as described in the previous two discourses) relate to this:
- When you take the black-and-white approach, you think there is truth in only one belief system. You never need to look at any ideas outside your belief system. You think you should reject all such ideas as dangerous. This explains why many Christians believe that anything which is not in accordance with the Bible is of the devil and why some New Age people think they should listen only to their guru. You become stuck in one belief system and can never move beyond it. This approach is based on fear, the fear that opening your mind makes you vulnerable to false ideas. This is the selves saying that unless you allow them to control you, bad things will happen.
- When you take the gray approach, you think there are no false ideas. You are willing to look for ideas in many different belief systems, which can seem to be more open-minded. If you do not have the willingness to discern (as explained in the previous discourse), people often end up doing what we might call guru-hopping. They go from teacher to teacher until they find one that confirms their belief that they can be saved without discerning and confronting their selves. Or they continue to go from guru to guru, constantly thinking that the next one will do it all for them, all the while refusing to see that no serious growth is possible until they take responsibility for their path and exercise their built-in ability to know truth from an inner source. This approach is based on pride, the belief that you could not possibly be wrong. This is the selves saying that they are always right.
Although the two approaches can seem very different, the reality is that they are based on the same basic psychology, namely an unwillingness to reach beyond the duality of the selves and attain the discernment that can come only from higher awareness. It is only through higher awareness – which is the open door that no human can shut – that you can experience the Living Truth. It is only this forever self-transcending truth that will free you from the dualistic “truth” – the graven images – defined by the selves and the forces of duality.
The mechanism that can bring you beyond the prison of the selves is the quest for truth. The selves are constantly seeking to stop this quest. If they cannot stop you from asking questions, they will seek to divert your attention. The central aspect of the selves’ efforts it that they are trying to make you believe that ultimate, absolute truth can be found in this world—in one of the belief systems of this world.
Truth cannot be confined to the words and images used in the material world. Truth is a Living Spirit, and thus you can know truth only by having a direct, inner experience of the Spirit of Truth. In order to have this experience – to know the undivided truth – you must be willing to look beyond the graven images – the idols – created in this world.
The selves are trying to make you believe in their own mistaken belief, namely that the Spirit of Truth can be captured in – confined to – a belief system in this world. If you believe this lie, you will limit your quest for truth to a particular mental box, and thus you will not encounter the Spirit of Truth—except possibly in rare glimpses. Your selves will never see that the Spirit of Truth bloweth where it listeth and thus cannot be confined. The conscious self is able to see this truth and then decide to reach for the direct experience.
As long as you are searching for truth outside yourself, you will never find the Living Truth. There simply is no belief system on this planet that will guarantee your salvation. No outer system can ever take you – automatically – to enlightenment. The reason being that enlightenment is an inner condition that can be reached only by continuing to look beyond all outer beliefs systems, until you attain a permanent state of oneness with the Spirit of Truth.
Take note of the subtle distinction here. This is not saying that all belief systems are false or that it is wrong to follow a belief system or teacher. In order to make ultimate progress, you must become aware of the mechanism whereby your selves turn the outer belief system into a closed box. If you are not aware of this, you will inevitably be trapped by the selves, and your progress will come to a halt—even if you have been following a teaching and diligently performing its practices for many years.
Take note that the selves can use even a true and valid spiritual teaching to create a closed box. Once a teaching is expressed in words, it enters the realm of duality, and it can now be used by the selves. There is no guarantee against this—except your personal alertness and discernment!
Also take note that there is only one way to have true discernment. In order to expose a dualistic truth created by the selves, you must have a frame of reference, you must know a truth that is not dualistic. This can be attained only through a direct, inner experience of the Spirit of Truth whereby you have a direct experience of higher awareness and can thus instantly expose all dead doctrines coming from the mind of separation. No outer teaching can do this for you. There simply is no substitute for a direct experience of the Spirit of Truth.
Many people will read these statements and think they do not apply to them. They will think that they really have found the ultimate teacher or belief system, and thus their selves cannot possibly trap them. There are also those who will think they have such a sophisticated intellectual understanding of the path – perhaps even of the selves – that they could not possibly be fooled. The selves are subtle, and it is precisely the people who think they are above the selves who are trapped in the most subtle weapon of the selves, namely intellectual and spiritual pride.
Out of the jungle
To illustrate the process of growth, let us look at a parable. Imagine that you have a group of people who are trapped in a deep gorge with vertical walls that cannot be climbed. The gorge is large enough to give people everything they need in order to survive. It is covered with dense jungle that prevents them from seeing the top of the cliffs. On top of the cliffs are other people who know the world is much larger than the gorge. In order to help the people inside the gorge, they have lowered a variety of devices, such as ropes and ladders so that people can climb out of the gorge.
Many people in the gorge are aware of these devices. Some of them have gathered around one device and believe that one day some superior being will climb down the device and save them. Others go from device to device without being able to settle on one. Others claim that their device is the only right one and that all the others are false or dangerous. Some are even seeking to destroy all other devices than their own. Hardly anyone has decided to climb up one of the devices to see what is above the canopy of the jungle.
Each device has a particular form. The purpose of the device is to allow people to climb higher, be it steps on a ladder or knots on a rope. The particular form of the device is only meant to be a temporary means to an end, namely to lift people above the blindness of being in the dense jungle. It is not the purpose of the device to give people some ultimate truth about what the world looks like above the jungle. To truly know the greater reality, you have to experience it yourself, and the device is meant to facilitate that experience.
The form of the device does not necessarily say anything about what is above the jungle. What can the particular shape of a knot on a rope possibly tell you about what the sky looks like? Likewise, there could be more than one device that could lift people into the clarity above the jungle. Surely, some devices may not be able to lift people above the gorge so one needs to be careful.
Some might be made of ropes that have rotted and might cause you to fall to the ground. Others might have been disconnected from the rim of the cliffs, thus leading only to the tops of the trees. Others might have been lowered by people who have climbed the trees, and although they can take you above the ground, they cannot take you beyond the gorge. Although it is necessary to exercise discernment and evaluate the condition and origin of a device, one should not become too attached to the particular form of any device.
The meaning is, of course, that the climbing devices are symbols for the spiritual teachings found in this world. There are a number of valid ones that can potentially lead you beyond the confinement of the gorge – the duality consciousness of the selves – and allow you to see the greater perspective of higher awareness.
You should not allow your selves to make you attached to the particular form of one teaching. No true teaching is designed to give you absolute truth. It is designed to give you a series of steps that – if you climb them – can take you to a direct experience of the Spirit of Truth. It is this direct experience that will raise your consciousness, not an intellectual understanding of the outer teaching. Climb any valid ladder instead of arguing with other people over which ladder is the only true one!
The important message of a true spiritual teaching is that there is something beyond the teaching. The outer teaching is only meant to show the way to the kingdom of higher awareness that is within you. If you allow your selves to make you believe you can reach the kingdom by staying in a closed box – based on the particular form of an outer teaching – you will never enter the kingdom.
How a living teaching becomes an infallible doctrine
There are two ways whereby your subconscious selves can use an outer teaching to trap you in a closed box and prevent you from reaching for the non-dualistic truth of higher awareness:
- For most people the personal selves are not strong enough to come up with a belief system of their own so they look for a ready-made belief system that claims to have some form of infallible or absolute authority. This form of authority is an external authority, such as the Catholic Church’s claim of being the only true church of Christ because of the succession of popes going all the way back to Peter. The more outrageous or bold such a claim to infallible authority is, the more fanatically the selves of some people will accept it. The purpose is, of course, to make you believe that your salvation is guaranteed so you no longer need to think.
- Once the selves have made you accept an external teaching as having infallible authority, they will come up with a set of personalized versions of the outer doctrines. These are designed according to your personality and beliefs so they vary greatly from person to person. Most religious people and most inexperienced spiritual seekers are unaware that they have created such personalized versions of their church’s doctrines.
For example, many Catholics will claim that they strictly believe in official doctrines, but in reality they believe in personalized versions of the official doctrines. These personalized versions allow their selves to hide and allow people to live their lives the way they want to—while still believing they are good Catholics who will be saved.
The personalized doctrines allow people to violate the commandments of Jesus without thinking they are doing so. They can then maintain the illusion that they are good Catholics and the belief that their salvation is guaranteed. You do, of course, find a similar mechanism in all other religions and in New Age teachings. People who are trapped in gray thinking have taken this approach to the extreme.
Let us look at a few examples of how the selves can misuse any spiritual teaching to create a closed box. Bear in mind the following facts:
- Once a teaching is expressed in words, it has become “frozen in time.” The teaching will not change by itself, and if the connection to the source of the teaching is lost (the original teacher dies or the connection to the ascended masters is broken), the teaching cannot be renewed from Above. The selves then have the perfect opportunity to turn it into the “ultimate” teaching that never needs to change because it is already perfect.
- There is no teaching expressed in words that cannot be perverted by the selves. It simply is not possible – given the current level of consciousness on Earth – to bring forth an selves-proof teaching.
The selves will never understand the true purpose of a spiritual teaching, namely to help you attain a direct connection to higher awareness. This may seem like a contradiction, but to the selves there is no such thing as an absolute truth—namely a truth that comes from beyond the duality consciousness. The selves see any spiritual teaching as just another concept that can be debated and interpreted according to its dualistic reasoning.
Once the selves have interpreted a teaching the way they want to – have created their own version of the outer doctrine – they will elevate that version to the status of infallibility, trying to make you think you should never question it. That is why the selves of two people can interpret the same words in mutually exclusive ways, yet each self is absolutely convinced that its interpretation is the only true one.
The selves are not seeking absolute truth – meaning a direct experience of the Spirit of Truth – but are seeking to take a relative expression of “truth” and elevate it to the status of being absolute. It is not seeking to find absolute truth but to define it based on its own dualistic reasoning.
The modus operandi of the selves is that they will look for statements in a spiritual teaching that can be interpreted as giving absolute authority to the teaching, to the person releasing the teaching or giving superiority to the followers of the teaching. Once the selves have found or defined such absolute statements, they will seek to establish a culture in the organization that makes people believe they never have to question these absolute statements. They are raised to the status of infallibility, which means the following:
- The teaching comes from and is one hundred percent backed by the highest possible authority—often God or God’s highest representative on Earth (take note that for all true representatives of God, value judgments are meaningless—the Christ is not higher or lower than the Buddha in a human sense).
- Since there can only be one truth – or so the selves believe – all other teachings are false.
- If you follow a false teaching, you go to hell, but if you follow the only true teaching, your salvation is guaranteed.
- The teaching is higher or better than any other teaching, meaning that its followers are better than all non-members.
- Because the teaching is absolute, it could never be changed or expanded upon. Nothing should be changed, and you should follow the teaching the way it has always been done.
- Because the teaching is absolute, there could never be a higher or more advanced teaching. You can set aside your longing for something more, your quest for truth. The quest has now been fulfilled in you finding this teaching here on Earth.
- Because you have this perfect teaching, there is no need to seek a direct experience of the Spirit of Truth. Such an experience is either impossible, unnecessary or reserved for the leaders who will then tell you what to believe based on their infallible experiences. In most orthodox religions, a direct experience of the Spirit of Truth is discouraged or forbidden. That is why the Jewish leaders were so upset when Jesus preached that the kingdom of God is within you, meaning that you do not need an outer priesthood to tell you what is true. You can contact the source of truth inside yourself.
- Because the teaching has absolute authority, who are you to think you can ask questions or seek a deeper understanding of the teaching than what the leaders are giving you?
- If you ask a question that the leaders cannot answer, there is something wrong with that question. If you are not satisfied with the official answers, there is something wrong with you. If you question the leaders or the official doctrines, you are questioning God and will go to hell.
The overall effect is that you can forget about the quest for truth and simply follow the outer doctrines and rules of the belief system that claims it can take you into the promised land. Now that you have found the ultimate spiritual teaching, you no longer need to think; you no longer need to use the intuitive faculties that led you to search for a spiritual teaching in the first place. Just leave them at the door and forget all about them.
You have seen virtually every religion and spiritual movement on Earth be affected by this mindset to a smaller or larger degree. Some have become so stifled that they have lost any element of the Living Truth, thus becoming virtually useless, while their followers still believe they are the only ones going to Heaven.
Why higher awareness starts new organizations
The Spirit of Truth cannot be confined to words. Once a spiritual teaching has been put into words, it is no longer the Living Truth. The selves can use the dualistic reasoning of the mind of separation to turn that teaching into a closed box.
This is an inevitable consequence of the fact that so many people on this planet are still trapped in and completely blinded by the duality consciousness. There is no guarantee against this, it is virtually guaranteed that any spiritual teaching will be affected by it and that some people will have turned that teaching into a closed box.
You must be on guard against the fact that such people will seek to pull you into their box because the selves literally believe that if everyone on Earth agrees with them, then they must be right. As they say, misery wants company, and so do the selves. The selves are convinced that if everyone believed the Earth to be flat, then the Earth really would be flat.
For millennia, the teachers of higher awareness, the ascended masters, have given humankind a number of valid spiritual teachings. In every case it has only been a matter of time before the Living Word was turned into the dead word by the human selves and the subtle logic of the serpentine mind. Is there a way to avoid this scenario? Yes, but only as long as a teaching remains open to progressive revelation, meaning that there is a direct connection to the ascended masters through which they can bring forth the Living Word.
The selves will attempt to distort the teaching from the moment it is given. When the direct connection is broken, it might only take a few years before a valid spiritual teaching has been turned into a closed system that promises salvation without having a direct connection to the source of salvation.
Most modern Christian churches overlook the fact that Jesus did not create a closed box but attempted to establish a tradition for the delivery of the Living Word. He did not send his disciples with a fixed doctrine from which to preach. He sent them with an empowerment by the Holy Spirit whereby they could preach the Living Word.
Throughout the millennia, other organizations have had a tradition for the Living Word. Although such a connection can be perverted by the selves, it is still the main means that has the potential to prevent that a spiritual teaching becomes a closed box.
The only way out is individual discernment. It is the selves that have created the dream of an automatic or guaranteed salvation. It is essential for seekers to realize that there is no way to create a spiritual organization that is automatically guaranteed to be free from the selves and their games.
The only way to combat the selves is through constant alertness and a constant reaching for the Spirit of Truth. However, this can happen only as a personal, inner experience, and although the experience can be shared – so that people’s individual experiences reinforce each other – it can never be institutionalized.
Never become attached to a particular expression of truth. Use it as a stepping stone for reaching for a direct, inner experience of the Spirit of Truth. The Sprit of Truth is the River of Life, and the all-important characteristic is that it is constantly flowing. If you take a snapshot of the river, you stop the flow, and thus you no longer have a true representation of the river. Never settle for a still frame—always keep reaching for the river itself.