The Road To Becoming A warrior Part 3
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe”. - Dalai Lama
Judgment is another problem in enlightenment. We have to judge every day of our lives, don’t we? No. But we have to discern the right way and the wrong way to do something in accordance with cause and effect. To judge doesn’t just mean discernment. It often means placing yourself above others. As we discussed in the first part of this series, to judge others is often to poison them. But it does not stop there. You often poison yourself as well.
It is therefore important to understand rather than to judge. We need to be able to discern correct action from errant action. In other words: negative from positive action. But we need not judge and artificially place ourselves above others. That is the kind of judgment that prohibits you from enlightenment.
The Dalai Lama does not judge the universe. What does this mean? Perhaps his own words can tell us? “All major religious traditions carry basically the same message. That is: love, compassion and forgiveness. The important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.”
How does one not judge the universe when it one sees it as responsible for our ills? In the Toltec tradition one of the essential steps to enlightenment is forgiveness. It is said thus: You must forgive those who you perceive have done you harm. Then you must forgive god. Only then can you forgive yourself.
You must forgive god before you can forgive yourself. This is what the Dalai Lama means when he says he does not judge the universe. Forgiveness and judgment are tied together as opposites. If you do no forgive you judge. If you do not forgive yourself you judge yourself. As the Toltecs point out one of the reasons we suffer is because we continuously judge ourselves, which leads to unnecessary guilt.
But we need to feel guilt so we can change, don’t we? No. We need to stop doing what makes us feel guilt and make restitution if the circumstance warrants. Then never do it again. But to do this we often have to figure out why we are doing what makes us feel guilt.
Sometimes we just need to perceive our actions in a way that they do not produce guilt. Often by understanding, guilt disappears. Saint Paul helped the Romans persecute Christians before he had his vision. After he had his vision he could no longer do what he used to do. It seems from his writing that he never forgave himself. And yet that is what he should have done. He now understood that what he had been doing was wrong, but he also understood that he would never do it again and that he would make restitution. He failed himself in the end because he continued to judge; and he judged himself most of all. He even must have believed he received absolution and forgiveness from his god. Yet as Gurdjieff said, he was taking the way of the monk, concerned only with the struggles with the affairs of the heart and faith.
U.G told us: “You have to be saved from the very idea that you have to be saved. You must be saved from the saviours, redeemed from the redeemers.”
You can only save yourself and you are the only one who can save you. I’m not talking about a way to get to heaven or stop reincarnating. I’m talking about achieving peace of mind for yourself through becoming an enlightened being or a warrior. If you feel you have to be saved, you are the one who has to do the saving. And when you realize you don’t really have to be saved, you can forgive yourself.
Forgiving yourself does not mean rationalizing bad behaviour. You will not hide your rationalizations from yourself. You may mask your feelings of guilt but they will never be gone. You must sincerely do your best. This is what the Christian god asks for as well. Just like the Tao, Christianity values Kindness, sincerity, and humility. If one does their best and is sincere one can let go of guilt and forgive themselves.
Confucius tells us: “Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.” This is related to another of his quotes: “Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.”
All these people are telling us the same thing. The road to inner peace is in forgiving yourself for your mistakes.
Enlightenment has three purposes. The first is the most important: To be at peace with yourself. To be like a calm in a storm. From that vantage point you can see and discern your actions. You can control your own destiny, as it were. You are in control of self and you take full responsibility for your actions.
But to achieve this you must resolve your inner conflicts and inner demons, and all religions and philosophies try to get you to that point. It doesn’t matter what they believe in. That is secondary and we will talk about some more later. It only matters that all of them have come to similar conclusions if not for the same reasons. To me that is the key. The reasons they come to these conclusions is irrelevant. The conclusions are the patterns of existence. We all see them, we just interpret them in different ways.
Gurdjieff taught us that all subjects are related. This is something so simple and yet so true. When I was finally introduced to Gurdjieff that one thing struck me most of all because I had come to that very conclusion years before. A Zen Buddhist also later told me, you can gain enlightenment and all the knowledge of the world by studying just one blade of grass. And this is true. One subject leads to another because all subjects are about one thing: The patterns of existence. There is but one subject of study. Each subject is part of that study. Each subject is one part of the puzzle. It does not matter how mundane or ordinary it sounds.
One of the patterns of existence is unity. As all subjects are related all things are related. So all religions and philosophies see those relationships and interpret them in different ways. But the preparations they all propose for enlightenment are all the same. They cover the same topics. How could this be otherwise? The human condition is the same for all humans, no matter where they live on this planet. We are all in the same boat. In an old 1960s turn of phrase: “We’re all just bozos on this bus.”
So the fact is, it doesn’t matter what religion you belong to. They are all set up to give you some form of enlightenment if you want it. But the best way to achieve it is to do away with what you know for now and start fresh. If your quest for enlightenment is sincere you must forget all you think you know and start from the beginning.
Some religions say we must purify ourselves. Some philosophies tell us to do away with our conditioning. Regardless of the words used or the rituals performed, they all elude to the same thing. We must open ourselves up to truth. The fastest way to do that is perhaps the hardest thing you will ever do, but it is the most important: Forget all you think you know and start from scratch. Only you can be your teacher in the end. Why not start out that way?
Many would say you need a teacher to go farther. But look at all the teachers we have. I have named but a few already and we shall hear of more.
But be warned, if you take this journey as I suggest, you must be careful to fall to none. By falling to them I mean do not take any as the ultimate teacher or the ultimate answer. But use whatever you need to use.
As we go on with this series I will try to put all the steps together for you. But we are all capable of coming to understanding without the aid of teachers and gurus. There is no hidden knowledge and no secret way. It’s there for the taking.