Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A few "first steps" for someone new to spiritual awakening.

I found this article on a website by Tom Stine. These eight tips are probably worth more than a whole bookstore filled with metaphysical and spiritual books. Since they are so common sense and clear, I've reposted here.

Just basic common sense tips. These tips also highlight where 90% of spiritual aspirants get lost, or fool themselves into believing they are doing work when in fact nothing is being done besides "armchair spirituality", conditioned thinking and talking.

Enjoy (and thanks to Tom Stine for writing these).

Tom Stine: 8 “First Steps” for Someone New (or Old) to Spiritual Awakening

* Start sitting. As I often say, you probably can’t sit too much. I’m far less interested in what you do while sitting, more interested in that you spend time sitting often. However, I think it safe to say that fantasizing and planning your day are not the best uses of your time. Rather, spend time doing absolutely nothing. You are not trying to still your mind, you are not trying to focus on breathing or a thousand other meditation techniques. You are just sitting still, maybe noticing what is here, what is now, what is your current experience. There are no mental tricks or games or practices. Just sitting and being. That’s really enough. Maybe try doing some sitting, allowing everything to simply be, for 15 minutes every day.

* A little bit each day, put your attention on awareness. (Many ways for doing this)

* Find a teacher or two or three, and pay attention to their teachings. Don’t try to precisely comprehend it all, but instead allow the teachings to “soak in.” You don’t need to become a follower of these teachers, take them as your “gurus” or send them all your money. But having someone (or several someones) to guide you along the way can be very, very helpful.

* Read a wide variety of spiritual books. These books can be very helpful. Don’t try to find “the answers” in those books. Rather, allow them to move you and guide you, not satisfy your minds desire to figure out everything.

* Make-up your own damn mind about what’s what in the spiritual world. Don’t believe a single word any teacher says, any books says, nothing(!), unless it really resonates with you. You don’t need to be an out and out skeptic. But don’t take anyone’s word for it. So what if Swami Salami says that enlightenment is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Is it? Do you know that? How about sitting with it and seeing what arises in you?

* Attend a few satsangs. Satsang means “talk or gathering about truth,” and attending, - watching or listening to one can be extremely helpful. If you don’t live near a teacher with whom you resonate, then watch satsang online (and no, that isn’t just a plug for online live satsang with yours truly). There are a number of teachers doing satsang and posting videos online. YouTube has more videos on spiritual awakening than you could ever hope to watch. For those of you who live in Hooterville like I do, the Internet is a veritable godsend.

* Recognize one very important truth about spiritual awakening and spirituality in general: most of what passes for spirituality is not going to help you in the slightest. I know that sounds extremely critical, but I don’t intend it to be. The issue at hand is really simple: what is going to help you the most on your journey? That’s all the matters. And the crazy part is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” path or approach that works for everyone. In a very real sense, you have to discover the unique path that is for you and you alone. And so the obvious realization: most of what’s out there just isn’t going to work. That’s why I keep encouraging you to…

* Sit some more. Really. I know I am making a big deal about sitting, both in this article, during satsang, and in the Shortcuts, but it really can’t be over-emphasized. It is a rare person who sits too much. If you will notice, most of the teachers and gurus out there, as well as most historical “enlightened” folks, did a lot of sitting. It’s about seeing how the mind/ego ticks. Most people won’t see through it without some time getting familiar with it. Sitting is the best way to do that. Remember, how is less important than actually doing it.

(Original article here: http://tomstine.com/8-first-steps-for-someone-new-or-old-to-spiritual-awakening-a-beginners-guide-part-1/)

As I understand from his website, Tom seems to have finished posting new material on his website, and has gone offline since then for various reasons. However, there is still some very worthwhile material on the site which I would highly recommend for reading.


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