This article serves as an overview over the entire spiritual path as we teach it here. It’s based on universal mechanics and is applicable to anyone who is seriously interested in diving deeper into this practice. Our teachings are neither Buddhist, nor Christian or Hinduist etc.. They are aiming at a direct experience of true and consciousness, beyond denomination, believe-systems or ideologies.
The path is composed of three essential trainings, or cultivations. These three are like the foundation, the walls and the roof of a house. The foundation is necessary as it offers support and stability. Without it, the house would eventually collapse. The walls are protecting us from intruders, animals and the weather. Without walls, there can be no roof. And without a roof, we will never be completely protected. In oder to have a good shelter, we need a solid foundation, strong walls and a good roof.
The Foundations of the Path
The foundation consists of character training, association with “wise friends” as well as light- and shadow-work. In short, it’s all about taking responsibility for our own thoughts, feelings, actions and their results. If we can manage this aspect of the training well, our life will become quite peaceful and pleasant. We will have good connections and our mental, emotional and physical energy will be relatively stable. Family, work and private affairs will be in order and fruitful. Most importantly, we will have time, energy and space for the higher, more refined levels of evolution on the mental and spiritual planes.
Complete with a Roof
Finally, there’s the roof of wisdom. It depends on strong walls which are resting on a good foundation. Once we have the roof, we are completely protected from outside influences. Wisdom offers complete protection from all suffering. When we gain insight and realize the true nature of reality, we attain freedom from all forms of suffering. Wisdom is primarily self-knowing awareness. It’s a very subtle stage of the path. It requires great stability of the mind in order to “look into its own eyes”. But when we manage to break through and sustain insight, suffering will be eliminated and our heart becomes incredibly light and free. This process can be explained with the simile of a dreamer:
Like the Walls of a House
The walls are all about mental quietude. If the mind is still, it is well nourished and efficient. Stillness is food for the heart/mind. Mastery of mind means mastery of stillness. Those who can allow their mind to become still, will be happy and healthy. They will also have plenty of energy and access to intuition. A quiet mind has tremendous power. Our mind thrives on stillness. It’s the source of all creativity and our sense of aliveness. If our mind is filled with the mud of thoughts and emotions, it lacks brilliance and joy. With an empowered mind, we can see deeply into the nature of reality and free ourselves from suffering.. A well-trained mind is like a house with solid walls. It offers protection and comfort.
Structure of the Teachings – The Simile of a Dreamer
A dreamer who doesn’t know that he is dreaming is entirely unfree. He is completely bound by the dream and the dream itself is governed by past conditioning. This is someone who lives without any introspection or spiritual training.
A dreamer who realizes that his actions and reactions are controlling the dream and his experience of it, will become more careful. Such a dreamer takes responsibility for his thoughts, feelings and actions in order to make the dream pleasant and useful to himself and others. This is like someone who is building the foundation of this path.
A dreamer who is using his dream in order to achieve inner stillness, will transcend the dream from time to time. He will tap into the substrate of the dream and go beyond appearances. He will have a great understanding of the nature of reality, but is not thoroughly free yet. He is still depending on the dream. This is like a spiritual practitioner who is proficient with the second training (Meditation).
A dreamer who is able to realize that he is dreaming, will attain a great degree of freedom. He is unbound by appearances and able to transform them at will. He can give the dream his own direction and moves with great lightness. He knows that the dream can never really harm him. That’s why he moves playfully, free from hopes and fears. It’s the first stage of wisdom.
As the dreamer becomes more and more lucid, he will eventually transcend all appearances and merge with the ground of consciousness itself. Upon transcending the duality of dreamer and dream-content, he will attain freedom from all suffering.
This simile of the dreamer at various stages of awareness helps us to understand how the spiritual path unfolds and leads deeper. As long as we are completely absorbed in the layer of sensual appearances, we are far from the spiritual path. The path is not about having nice dreams – it’s about transcending the dream-like reality of life and finding something that is by far more reliable when it comes to happiness and freedom from suffering.
Life confronts us with illness, old-age and death. It inevitably forces us to experience things we dislike and separates us from everything we love. If we use our time to build a solid shelter for ourselves, we will be at ease, even when the cold winter-storms of loss, illness, discomfort and death are approaching. Most people spend their sunny days engrossed in transient, shiny distractions. They are carried away by building sandcastles on the shore of life, fighting over meaningless things, investing energy and time in stuff that will offer no lasting value or benefit whatsoever. Like a dreamer that’s carried away and entranced by all the various appearances in his dream, they merely play or fight with empty forms.
Those who dedicate time to build themselves a good shelter will be comfortable and safe, even when the weather is really bad. This is the power of skillful spiritual practice. It makes our happiness independent. After all, freedom from suffering doesn’t mean freedom from unpleasant circumstances.
True happiness means that we are at ease, no matter what happens, able to shelter ourselves. We don’t need to depend on circumstances or others to feel good. Autonomy and freedom is the ability to “lean on our own spines”. As long as we make our fulfillment, our happiness and our level of satisfaction dependent on things, we are enslaved to things. If we make it dependent on people, politics, weather, or something else – we become bound to that.
In short, this is a path leading to freedom. It’s leading out of chaos, entanglement, suffering, stress, pain, fear and hope. It leads into the now, not elsewhere. The path of this world leads us away from ourselves. The spiritual path leads us back home into ourselves. We may get lost in the world, but when we meditate we find ourselves again. And those who find themselves, find everything they have ever been searching for. The path of this world is never ending and always leads back into dissatisfaction. The spiritual path leads into deep satisfaction and fulfillment. It awakens our highest potential for the benefit of all beings. In my opinion, there is nothing more worthwhile and precious than walking on this path.