Friday, April 6, 2012

Spirit and me.


The notion that our spiritual lives are separate from our biological lives is a bit strange. Even if you don’t believe there is a spiritual world, I’ve never met anyone who argued that they didn’t have a spirit and the means of experiencing anything, spiritual or otherwise, is based in biology. On the other hand you may accept that there is a spiritual reality but think that we are separated somehow from that spiritual dimension. In order for that dimension to enter our world there must be a link, which we experience with our biology since that is our means of experience. I personally know there is no such separation. Instead I am persuaded of what the Dharma (and Christianity) teaches that our wholeness is the undividable conjunction of spirit and matter: that the “we” of me can only exist as that partnership. If this is not so, then what part of me is compelling movement? An object can’t move. A stone just sits there and doesn’t move. We however do and without a spiritual consciousness we would be no better than a stone.

The point of contact, regardless of how spirit is understood, is biological. However and whatever we experience is through a biological pathway impacting our bodies (an amazing organism involving a multitude of biochemicals, hormones, neurotransmitters, and electricity). When we experience fear our biochemical makeup is altered in one direction. When we experience joy, it’s altered in another direction. Anger, another and so on. The altering of our biochemical makeup affects even enlightenment, and all of these biochemical changes affect our thinking and responses to life.

The ingestion of drugs likewise alters our biochemistry and our sense of reality. What seems real given one biochemical arrangement is completely altered when drugs are introduced. What seems normal in a non-drug induced state is completely changed when drugs are used. And this is also true when enlightenment is experienced. What looks divided and alienated in our normal every-day way, before enlightenment, is seen as unified and compassionate after enlightenment. Our world and our self understanding is subsequently turned upside down.

I don’t advise doing drugs because they can be addictive and ruin your life. But I do advise the worldview and the self-understanding that arises with both certain drugs and enlightenment. One can destroy your life. The other can save your life. Besides the latter is free of charge and former can bankrupt you. One can set you free and the other can send you to jail. People die all of the time from a drug overdose and nobody has ever died due to enlightenment.
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