Some time ago I had a person come to me for some spiritual counseling. Let's call him Jack, and he was about forty years old. Jack was not a happy chap. He hated his job and was planning his escape, a nice trip around the world. In particular he was going to visit all the great spiritual destinations out there.
Nothing wrong with that, you might say. Good on him for having the goolies, so to speak. Yet as I spoke to Jack it became quite clear to me that he was living a fundamental delusion. This delusion is common in alternative spiritual circles, so I am going to discuss it briefly here today. It also mirrors a psycho-spiritual delusion that is the foundation of many religions across the world.
Jack had been told by a certain spiritual teacher that he was going to ascend one day, and this formed the basis of his spiritual belief structure. 'Ascension' is the idea that you are going to be pulled up and out of the body and into a higher dimension. This other place is trypically seen as having a higher vibration, being more blissful, and generally just a lot nore groovy than the mundane world of the earth plane. Sound familiar? Well, to me this other place sounds a lot like the Heaven or paradise of most religious philosophies.
Here's the problem. Ascension is a false teaching. It is not going to happen. There are two reasons why this is vitally important to understand.
Firstly, what generally lies behind the belief in ascension (and Heaven) is the rejection of what is here now. There is a subtle desire to escape. In this sense ascension entails a rejection of the life that is before you, and also the 'you' that you are now. You are saying that this life is not good enough, this 'me' is not acceptable.
Secondly, this rejection of your life makes it impossible for you to be fully present, and it is in presence that the true joy and love of "God" is found. If you speak to those who have experienced strong transcendent experiences they will tell you that they almost always emerge when the mind is in a deeply embodied state of silent presence. Thus the great irony is that the belief in ascension actually cuts you off from presence, from God, and from Heaven on earth.
What is now before you is the truth of life. There is tremendous simple joy to be found in just being here now, in the body. You were not put here to escape. You were put here to be here.
What drives the delusion of ascension is the dissociation of mind, body and spirit - and the trauma this entails. Your mind feels this pain at all times, but it doesn't know quite what is wrong. In fact if you stop and become fully present, you may actually find yourself falling into a state where you begin to feel this pain within you. If you have the courage to give it a voice, it rises from belly and into the throat, expressing itself as a sad whining sound, like a lost child which cannot find its mother. It is the fundamental feeling of being lost and unloved. Empty. This is how I have experienced it.
The mind, in its dissociated state, is unable to recognise that it has created the pain by itself, by not being here fully. Instead of stopping to be here, it runs. It tries to escape. It finds solace in entertainment, fiddling with gadgets, 'romance', eating, drugs and alcohol, sex, gossip, reading blogs like this... Or going on a spiritual journey. It might even believe that it is going to be lifted out of the body and beyond the mundane world into a better place. In this endless seeking it turns toward a hoped-for better future, and away from itself. Yet in all this there is no relief. The pain does not heal.
The quest is doomed to failure, for it merely perpetuates the split, the separation.
This is what I told Jack. I told him that he was already a being of light, love and compassion. There was no need for him to ascend, merely to deepen into presence. In that moment Jack didn't understand. He didn't want to. His final words to me where that he had arranged the meeting to check to see if my knowledge was coming from a higher plane. But alas my understanding is not higher, merely deeper. He decided to keep aiming for the higher place.
Yet one day, one lifetime, Jack will get it. Maybe that little seed God planted in him that day as we talked will find fruition soon. It is not for me to judge.
The only way to heal your pain is to be here now. That's it. One of the great mysteries of our species is that this is so very, very simple. Yet only a few extraordinary individuals have ever been able to master the process.