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Author Topic: Keeping Score in Life and Spirituality  (Read 676 times)
Stillwater
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« on: January 15, 2016, 00:36:15 »

This is a topic I have had in the back of my mind for a while here. I have noticed that there is about a 50-50 divide here on this site. About half here seem to be conscious of this concept, and others may be overlooking it.

People have a built-in mechanism for creating social hierarchies in their head. They want to arrange the people around them on a ladder... some of them below, some above; this may have developed as a helpful evolutionary tactic for helping humans find a mate with the same social standing as they, or just one notch better. But the problem is... how does a person keep score? Evolution did not provide ideas for this. Most people will invent their own variables that they judge others by. Generally, it will be something that they score themselves highly in, so that they can mentally place themselves in a high social standing with respect to most of their peers.

It is easy to see what categories people are keeping score in, based on what they are pursuing in life. Some people keep score primarily in financial assets. There are people really into body building, that will heavily de-value other people if they are not decked out in massive musculature. There are those people who value people by race or ethnicity, and generally every other race is below their own on the ladder. Other people will keep score in the area of "achievements"... things like the portfolio history of an artist or the discography of a composer or musician.

I think that spiritual practice is something like this for many people. They take survey of those around them, and place them on a ladder hierarchy based on how "spiritually advanced" this or that person is. "Achievements" such as mastering projection (as those here are concerned with), developing strong remote viewing abilities, psychic phenomena of various classes, etc, are used as a sort of scorecard to determine that person's worth. You can tell this when some members will look upon other members with deference, rather than treating everyone with the same common courtesy.

Why am I saying all of this?

Well, for me I think that these practices should be about improving one's own life, and their ability to love and serve others around them. The score-keeping aspect can potentially get in the way of all of that.

For instance, are you meditating for 3 hours a day because it is producing significantly more benefit than meditating for 2 hours (of 45 minutes)? Or is it possible that you are meditating this long because, in your mind, it is what "spiritually advanced people do", and you want to be a spiritually advanced person, and thus decide that you ought to be meditating for this long as well?

Have you decided that those experiencing projections several times a day, rather than the monthly projection you have, are significantly more advanced than you, and that you need to learn to have this same degree of frequency in order to be "at their level"?

Have you decided that there is a certain way that "spiritual people" behave, and you immediately apply mental demerits to others that act outside of this image? (JP Sears covers this subject brilliantly in this satirical video, nailing a laundry list of these same points: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kDso5ElFRg  ).

I very much fell into this trap when I began spiritual practice around the age of 13. I was very concerned with advancing my "abilities". I had read in books and scriptures about the achievements of the holy people of ages past and present. I wanted to be such a person too. I wanted to be as loving, as balanced, and as distinguished in their abilities as they were. It took me several years to see through my errors, and to realize that the first two are worthy goals, and the third is meaningless. That is when I started to reap the greatest benefit of all from my practices. I quickly learned the joy of mere existence... a kind of quiet rapture that I carried with me always. I learned to become focused on trying to say what is best possible thing for others to hear in any given conversation. Now I have not always been successful in this. But I generally catch myself when I am saying something for non-altruistic reasons, and attempt to recognize these tendencies in myself for the future. 

Now I am absolutely not saying don't set goals. Rather what I am getting at is that it may be worth examining what causes you to set a goal. Am I setting this goal to genuinely help myself or others? Is it possible that I am pursuing goal X at least partially to feel that I have achieved, and that I can count myself as having more worth on the social ladder? What things am I doing throughout the day are possibly only being used as a crutch to support a stronger mental image of myself, or persona to others around me?

I think it is good to be conscious of this concept for many reasons. If we realize that we are valuing those around us by some artificial scale, and then discontinue this practice, it opens up new doors for us to relate to these others directly as people, and without the clutter of titles or ranks (or some similarly formal system in our minds). We may stop mentally penalizing others for failing to meet our own image of what a spiritual person does. We may realize that much of our own practice is actually ego-gratification. We are focused on "achievements" and gaining social value, and this keeps us focused on the abstract future, rather than on being present to experience the brilliance of the current moment, as I think is well-understood here. All kinds of unseen burdens may be instantly removed from an individual. I think many people realize that the more mental attachments and clutter a person is experiencing, the less at ease they will generally find themselves, and potentially the less able to interact with others with the intention of saying and doing what is best for those others at all times.

I say all of this because I think it may be of genuine value to many here to reflect on these ideas, or to remember them again.

I hope this little bit is helpful, and welcome discussion or debate on the subject!
 
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LightBeam
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2016, 04:08:25 »

Great topic, Stillwater!
I don't remember when I stopped judging people and dividing them into categories. That happened when I came into realization that each human is just a personality entered temporary this life line for a series of very particular experiences they have set to go through prior to entering the physical vehicle. It is not a matter of evolving and becoming spiritual or achieving certain goals. It is a matter of particular experiences a spirit wants to face. Now, after entry, all memories are suppressed in order to effectively learn a particular lesson. All knowledge though adds into the spirit's energy whether we realize it or not. All, the good, the bad and the ugly is necessary to be experienced as well as the joy, the smartness, the success and the happiness. We all as spirits need to experience all the above and even more. Each spirit enters countless characters in different worlds and dimensions. If in this world today as we know it, I am successful and seem to be spiritual and know it all, in another probable reality or as another character, I am dumb, stupid and ignorant person. It may be hard for some people to comprehend this theory, but there is no other way for knowledge building than experiences of various types. So, each character is just that, a character and not the entire spirit. If someone appears to be on a lower level in comparison to your own, that is a false perception. It is not because the spirit is incapable of growing, but because the spirit wants to experience this limitation as a physical personality and have set up these circumstances for this game.
Bottom line, I see way beyond the human personality. I see strong and admirable spirits who have chosen to place limitations on their characters, who are willing to suffer and face challenges in order to gain eternal knowledge and wisdom. That also applies for those who cause pain to others and seem heartless and far from spiritual understanding. That is the nature of this game.
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2016, 04:08:25 »

logoVisit the website of Astral Pulse creator Adrian Cooper.

Home of the best selling book Our Ultimate Reality.

Astral Projection, Metaphysics and many other subjects.

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personalreality
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2016, 05:57:50 »

Good call Still.

At first I was thinking to myself "No way, I don't do that," but then I thought again, and you're right.

Sometimes I have seen myself as "better" than others because of my spiritual knowledge, but I notice this to be a bigger issue in my practical life. Mostly concerning things like politics and general philosophy these days. While I don't believe in anything in particular or hold to any specific philosophy, I have been classified an an anarchist, which is probably true in some regards. As such, I find myself almost looking down on people who still believe in political and religious systems. And in some regards, rightfully so. I really do see myself and humanity as being "above all this", but that doesn't always play out practically.

I often find myself sifting through facebook, talking to my wife, her mom or sister, or just watching the "news" and thinking, "What's wrong with these people? Why don't they see how stupid they're being?"

While on an idealistic level I feel that I am right, we are all in this together and we're letting other people manipulate us (which, from my time studying psychology, religion, marketing, etc., I know to be true at some level), on a purely practical level I know it's not that easy.

I'm sure there is a profound lesson I could share from these realizations, but i'm not going to do that.

Good post. Thought provoking. Thank you.
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Xanth
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2016, 17:18:44 »

Once you get to the top of the mountain and look around... you notice you're REALLY just standing in big open field... with everyone else.  LoL

What's that saying?
Before enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment: Chop wood, carry water.

The fun part is watching people when this realization makes it into their core.  KNOWING it is one thing... UNDERSTANDING it is another thing altogether.  Smiley
« Last Edit: January 15, 2016, 17:20:22 by Xanth » Logged

no_leaf_clover
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2016, 10:07:56 »

Great topic Stillwater and I think this is unfortunately something that is somewhat ingrained into western culture.  Most westerners probably have this to some degree.  I've had to see it in myself and try to keep it in check as well, because as you point out it is not really a beneficial way to approach spiritual pursuits.  Capitalism itself seems to be driven by a similar desire to get the leg up on everybody else until you make it to the proverbial "top," so society is as we know it wouldn't even function without this sort of competitive thinking.
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2016, 10:07:56 »



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