Posted 31 October 2016 by Sal
Prayer and Belief
I went through a really painful experience of letting go of my concepts of prayer, meditation, and connecting to the divine. It was really painful. I felt like I was letting go of a huge part of my life. This must be such a normal part of the process. We have all of these ideas and concepts. For me, they have been comforting and have given me a sense of being taken care of, or having some comprehension that there is a reason.
I agree. Look at how many people believe in God. They do for exactly those reasons you explained. It gives comfort, hope, meaning, and a purpose, as well as the feeling of being taken care of. When seekers raised in a Western culture and religious beliefs start to doubt, they move over to more Eastern beliefs and start to derive hope from enlightenment in the future, or nirvana, or other dearly held beliefs about spirituality (Advaita, non-duality or whatever). So, in that way, nothing has changed essentially for them; they have just switched to a new set of beliefs. These new beliefs feel exciting and offer new hopes and comforts of becoming in the future. But they are the same false security.
How many people are willing to be free and to stand alone? How many are ready to be fully reconciled with the fact that what is, is, and there is no escape? How many are willing to be fully human, with all of its joys and pains? Suffering comes from not being reconciled with what is and instead, arguing with what is. It’s understandable to not enjoy painful or unpleasant experiences, but if we are honest, we must see that is a fact of this life. This body-mind organism does not only experience pleasure; it also experiences pain—physical, mental and emotional.
That’s why what you are doing is not for everyone. It’s very mature to want to actually know what is true. We can only know for ourselves, now. Now, is where freedom is. Most people are too afraid to lose that sense of security of the known that their beliefs offer. They are not ready to stop believing in a perfected future, which includes enlightenment, Heaven, Nirvana, etc. These beliefs almost always have to do with an escape of some sort. I understand that, of course. No one wants to feel bad. So, those beliefs may offer comfort in the midst of unpleasant experiences.
For whatever reason, and we have no idea why, the intention to find out what is true appeared for you. Because of that, these things I mentioned can be reconciled. Then the suffering that comes from arguing with what is, in the form of avoidance, escape, hope, and becoming, can end. It can definitely be painful to have those beliefs fall away, or even be challenged. But it is not something you even need to think about. Just keep knowing what is true and those beliefs will just be gone and you won’t miss them.
But you can still have fun with it, right?
Just be honest. Is it fun or is there a belief there? You have to see for yourself. You can say it is just fun, but still be secretly harboring some hope that it is true, or seeking comfort there. Only you know that. But, there is nothing for you to do. Just by having holidays, a shift of knowing has happened for you. And you are coming to know something that is essentially true, here and now. By knowing this, those beliefs have been put into question and can be finished. You didn’t do that. You didn’t even let go of it. Knowing truth started it and knowing truth will end it. Just keep knowing what is true and whatever is not true will go, without you needing to let go, or do anything at all.