Frank M. Wanderer, Ph.D, Contributor
What does it mean that the Soul is mature or immature?
If, during your spiritual Journey, you ask yourself the question: “What do I expect from life?” and you give an honest answer, the quality of that answer contains the response to the question of the Soul’s maturity.
The immature Soul is always full of desires, it has ambitions and objectives it intends to achieve, whether these ambitions are of the lowest order (money, power) or of the most sophisticated ones (religious devotion, spiritual self-implementation). Reaching these goals always requires time, so future is always important for the immature Soul.
If the immature Soul has spiritual objectives, than it may suspect that all important things take place in the Now, here and now, but the Soul still uses the present moment as a springboard to get to its future objectives. A mature Soul is beyond its desires and ambitions bound to shapes and forms. The realization that achieving the goals and ambitions did not bring it real happiness, made it mature. It may have brought temporary satisfaction, but not lasting happiness.
The mature Soul experienced the nature of desires, the constant variability of the world of shapes and forms, where nothing is lasting, everything is dialectical, changeable. The mature Soul is able to abandon its desires and ambitions, and becomes poor in terms of worldly property.
It is important to know that the immature Soul is only able to imitate that poverty, as it has not yet experienced wealth (whether it is material, intellectual or moral wealth), so there is still a suppressed, unconscious desire in it for those things. Until the desires are satisfied, the Soul will not have a chance to experience the nature of forms, shapes and desires, so it cannot become mature.
The mature Soul, when the question “What do I expect from life?” is posed, provides the following answer: I want to find the real center of my life in order to reach the lasting happiness afforded by the independence of shapes and forms, the joy of existence and the state of unity.
That is the only way an Soul is able to turn towards the center of its own existence! When an immature Soul turns towards spiritual goals and encounters the requirements of a mind-free state, it starts to play its mind games with which it attempts to bridge the unbridgeable gap between itself and real existence.
An immature Soul wants to live in the shapeless and formless world too, and it wants to be somebody in that world as well! As opposed to it, the mature Soul does not insist on itself, it is pleased to surrender to the process that eventually dissolves it. It gradually abandons identification with the ego (that is, itself), giving way to the recognition that the Soul is in fact a Consciousness without a form.
It is imperative that we should be aware that at any specific step of our Journey we accept the aspect of the mind or that of the Presence.
The Aspect of the Mind
The majority of the mankind is characterized by this aspect at this moment. The center of their life is the Ego-dominated mind, which guides and leads them. What is this Ego? When we are born, it is not yet there; it is developed in an interaction with our environment. We survive if we are able to separate ourselves from the surrounding world, and develop an identity of our own.
The first sign of separation is experiencing the notion of ”mine.” This elementary sense of possession is the foundation of the Ego. ”Mine” is followed by ”for me” and ”I” and ”you.” The Ego therefore separates: ”you-I,” ”mine-your.” The Ego even approaches God from this deep,unconscious instinct of possession: my God, our God etc., and we are only able to imagine God as a transcendental one.
These features constitute the framework of the Ego. The identity attached to the Ego is shaped by the answers received from the people in our environment to the question “What am I like?” The Ego is therefore a social product, and is only able to provide a false answer to the question: “What am I like?” The answers are false, because they are based upon feedback from other people and not upon our own experience. The Ego is our identification with ideas, emotions, actions and experience.
Another elementary instinct of the Ego is activity, it keeps doing something, even when it is “meditating,” it is still doing something (concentrating, it wants to achieve Unity etc.) That is why the Ego is unable to do anything with the concepts of emptiness, non-activity. In the eyes of the Ego, somebody who is passive, not doing anything is a zombie, and from this aspect it may be right, if we think of the dead emptiness created by the mind.
The Aspect of Presence and Witnessing
This aspect has become more powerful in the world recently. It means reaching beyond the aspect of the mind. The aspect of the mind is not bad, the Ego-dominated mind is not an enemy of the spiritual Seeker accepting this aspect, because the spiritual Seeker is aware that the Ego is not the real center of his/her Self. The spiritual Seeker will identify with it to a lesser and lesser extent. The spiritual Seeker will start to seek the real center, and rely on it to an increasing extent.
At that stage, both aspects are present in the soul of the spiritual Seeker, who lives in a society, meeting other people at work, and is only able to approach the other people from the aspect of the Ego-dominated mind. At the same time, however, the spiritual Seeker does not fully identify with the Ego (its thoughts, emotions etc.).
When the spiritual Seeker is alone, he/she will turn towards the center, mediates or attempts to bring the Presence into his/her daily life (naturally, after a while, this will permeate the spiritual Seeker’s connections with other people, too). This is a process that unfolds gradually in the spiritual Seeker’s life.
From that aspect quiet, emptiness and non-activity will be filled with an entirely different content, as the richess of Existence, real knowledge will be brought to the spiritual Seeker.
That will be the spiritual Seeker’s identity, where the answer to the question ”Who am I?” will be coming from. ”I am what I am! I am the Existence, the Presence, the Witness, who is not acting, only contemplating the dance of the forms and shapes.
Lao Tse asserts that the essence of non-action is the following: “Empty your soul and then stay where you are.”
About the Author
Frank M. Wanderer Ph.D is a professor of psychology, a consciousness researcher and writer, and publisher of several books on consciousness. With a lifelong interest in the mystery of human existence and the work of the human mind, Frank’s work is to help others wake up from identification with our personal history and the illusory world of the forms and shapes, and to find our identity in what he calls “the Miracle”, the mystery of the Consciousness. Connect with Frank at http://www.frankmwanderer.com/
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