Spiritual breakthrough is the inevitable truth and we are all gunning for it subconsciously through our unique individual journeys.
I have been through the plethora of self-help / spiritual books over the past few years. These books have given me the insight to achieve spiritual progress. The Buddha in me had woken up who just wanted to know the answers to life, the truth. And in turn attain this spiritual breakthrough faster. There became a strong addiction to these books, be it from whichever author from whichever country and with whichever principles. They made me feel really good and only increased my thirst for knowledge further. I not only understood the teachings from these books (now that my mind had become so receptive to these logic) but also applied the learning in practical life to the extent possible. If you have been a seeker yourself, you will appreciate the above phase and will relate better to it.
However, subconsciously I was always playing into the mind games, that of giving it the pleasure it seeks. I happened to realize this only later. It played so well to the occasion and at such a subtle level that I felt the mind was me. And I was always out there doing my best to pacify the mind in turn giving it to it under the guise of attaining spiritual breakthrough. All these readings from various books were also nothing but a means to please the mind.
A mind is a fear machine. It senses the fear and wants you to stay away from it. So if it finds someone or something that takes you away from any of your fears, it will simply make you latch on to it. To the mind, this is what you need to survive. It isn’t surprising to come across people who are stuck up in the same in life trying to get hold of all that they can to move away from fear, in turn giving into the tendencies of the mind. If the mind were a separate person, it were to have a gala time watching us getting disguised 99.9% of the time. And alas! Even in the name of spiritual breakthrough. How cruel can it really get!
But then, there eventually came a time when the spiritual breakthrough genuinely happened. Some people try fasting or some read scriptures for attaining the spiritual breakthrough. Many resort to prayer and sermons or any combination of the above. For me, there was not one, but three reasons that helped me make the much sought after spiritual leap. These 3 reasons can prove equally potent for your spiritual breakthrough as well as these practices very well blends themselves in to the present modern lifestyles.
SPIRITUAL BREAKTHROUGH FACTORS
Factor I – Meditation is elemental
Firstly it was the Meditation. Meditation started giving me intermittent glimpses of the mind – the robot as I now call it. I realized that I was a witness looking at the mind and not the mind itself. It was the single most important factor that I can point to in quest for spiritual breakthrough but one that will still have to work in conjunction with the other two that follow. While I realized during this time that I was the witness, I would not be able to retain this state and understanding for good. After a longer period of time the compulsions of mind used to take the better of me.
Factor II – Functioning of Mind reveals a lot
Secondly, it was about knowing the way mind functions. I browsed through a lot of books and articles which detail the way mind functions physiologically. Getting information these days is just a matter of pressing some keys. As I correlated my experience of witnessing during meditation with what researchers in the field of brain study had to reveal, I became increasingly convinced that my experiences during meditation were indeed not some figment of imagination.
In one such study, researchers found that 8 weeks of meditation by a properly researched study group (regular office going guys who have not meditated before) positively affected grey areas in the Hippocampus (emotional regulation), Temporo Parietal region (perspective taking) and the Amygdale (fight or flight center). These changes in turn lead to a more stable and stress-free living through increase in your coping ability. You can find this study below :
This connection between meditation and brain gave me the necessary confidence that I was indeed on the right track. In some instances this study about the mind can turn out to be so revealing that it can effect a positive change in the life of an individual permanently. If you realize (and not just know) that brain which produces thoughts is an organ just like kidney or lungs over which you have no control, it would diminish in importance right! Even your die-hard beliefs are nothing but simple programming of the brain that has taken place decades back. It’s all about how you have been conditioned.
Factor III – Preaching of Sages nailed it
And finally, one fine occasion I came across the preaching of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. His famous book ‘I am That’, finally helped me overcome the block of giving in to the temptations of the mind for good. That was the final nail on the path to spiritual breakthrough. The book records Maharaj’s answers to his disciples on various queries relating to life and living. He at one point and in response to the seeker’s question about the difficulty in realizing the spiritual transformation simply asked us to trust him (or a guru) and give in to his views. Otherwise it will be difficult to come out of the mind-body loop. He asked us to accept that we are just the witness and remain as the witness seeing all that is happening with full belief in it. He categorically stated that one should not try and question this belief intellectually in order to pacify the curiosity of the mind.
This finally hit me. Maybe it was the futile attempts earlier on that made me go his way. I got the power to stay as a witness for a larger duration of time. And the more I stayed as a witness, the more I realized the power of staying so. And the more I realized the pawn that I had been at the hands of my mind – whether it was giving in to fear or embracing ways to move away from it. Through those techniques I was playing the mind with the mind. I actually had to transcend the mind, and that would not have been possible till the time I kept reasoning each and everything I heard of with the mind. Mind was the problem. He was indeed correct.
I realized that the pleasure I had felt all these years on reading through various books in this genre was a dupe. It was nothing but a ploy of the mind and the chemical reactions inherent in it. I stopped giving into it and I laughed the fact out that it seemed so real and consistent then. But eventually, it was just the conditioning of the mind through childhood and the inherent genetics that has played itself through the chemical neuronal connections in the brain giving it a consistent pattern. Through this understanding I realized I had made a crucial leap forward. Meditation will be the most important factor. It will not only give you first hand experience, but will also enable you to better corroborate the readings with your experiences which would in turn lead to deeper realization. However note that in my case eventually all 3 factors had to go in conjunction to bring that noticeable transformation and hence the delay of a few years for the realization to set in. The time required to achieve a spiritual breakthrough could vary across individuals. For some just one factor could be enough. For me, I had to be convinced at an analytical level (which is to corroborate facts from recognized sources) which helped me in overcoming the mind. Else it would have been tempting to give in to the insecurities of the mind and question the very experiences that I faced during meditation.
Overcoming the mind is the key to spiritual breakthrough. But in order to do that, you will have to respect the rules of the mind and play to its approach. It is not as difficult to get to realization nowadays as it was centuries ago. There was no real and easily available source of information in this regards. It was difficult to benchmark your spiritual progress then and easy to give into confusion and apprehension. Unless you were as persistent as Buddha, it would be difficult to pull it through. But now all that has changed. You can measure your spiritual progress with findings of well known spiritual sages as well as scientific researches using new age technology from the current times. All it takes then is a structured methodical approach and a strong will to rise above the mind. And be out of this rut forever.
There are more blogs on the topic of spirituality which you can read on Spirituality page.
However I would also strongly recommend reading through the book ‘Can You Play’. It’s a book that covers a wide spectrum of topics right from the in-depth working of karma to achieving vitality to your life’s true purpose – scientifically and with relevant examples. It also explains why spirituality has to be the path and how can it be achieved given the modern day lifestyle. The holistic understanding will do more good than reading on a single topic ever can. Wish you a happy spiritual journey!