• Andrea

Spirituality: Where To Start

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

In this post I would like to suggest you some extra interesting resources that might help you to integrate what I will be covering in my blog and guide you along this journey.


Picture Credit; Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Before I start I would like to point that the quotation marks present in this text have a reason to be. It will become more clear going deeper in our contemplation.

Spirituality is a pretty unstable ground to walk on and it can be easily misunderstood. I have noticed there is a lot of confusion about what enlightenment really is. Many false expectations are given through books and websites resulting in a total frustration for people honestly committed in finding what is true about their nature. For reasons that will be clear once we keep going in our investigation, enlightenment cannot be hold as an experience, it is not something you can obtain as any other object and it does not represent any physical state. It is simply a recognition of what it is true about yourself. Though you do not need necessarily to study and get a diploma to “become” enlightened, for most of people is a tricky subject to handle because it goes beyond the intellectual knowledge that we are used to deal with. Enlightenment is not a subject to study, it is not any sort of knowledge, it goes beyond mind and this is the difficult part in “attaining” it. You could “become” enlightened now if you could toss out all the assumptions you have about yourself and the world. For me was a slow process, made out of many ah-ah moments that helped me to rooted "myself" in this new perspective.


The reason why I feel I can help you is that I really invested a lot in it and I simply love doing this work. I read as much as I could on the topic, listened hours of videos, attended meditation retreats, contemplated for years about the nature of myself and the reality I am living in and I am keeping doing it with incredible passion. I do not claim I have discovered everything there is to discover (it is an endless process and it is up to you how deep you want to go), but I have definitely reached levels of consciousness that many people are not aware of and I feel confident in sharing what I have realized so far. I believe that my own struggles and dedication make me experienced enough to guide you along this path. I am also aware of the possible obstacles, objections and traps that can be encountered in this journey and I can help you not to fall into the temptation to give up.


So, where can you start in doing this work?


What I like about Consciousness work is that it is accessible to everyone. There are no rules or commandments to follow, there are no contraindications, there is no need for particular prerequisites before starting, it does not matter which profession are you currently doing, it does not matter if you are religious or not, it does not matter which tradition you follow. You do not need to be rich to afford it, you do not need to sign to any membership to access to a privilege place to do the work. Theoretically you do not need a teacher and you do not need to acquire any specific knowledge. Basically, you need only yourself.


This sounds really great but some clarification might help you to have a better idea how you could get better results and what this work truly entails. I think the first important factor is your motivation and commitment in doing this work. This work is going to be hard, sometimes boring, you will need to suffer and be open to challenge your dearest personal beliefs, you need to be diligent and disciplined because your own mind and the culture you live in will be reluctant to let you do this work. There is not a precise number of hours you need to commit to do this work but as anything else, every single minute is well invested. Personally, this journey turned out to be the most exciting thing I could have ever possibly bumped into and the initial feeling of boredom and discomfort has left space for excitement, astonishment and joy.


As I said previously, theoretically you do not need any external sources to discover the true nature of yourself. You are already who you are and you should not be looking outside yourself. However, due to our education and culture we have forgotten who we are and some pointers can be extremely useful. Nowadays the resources available are unlimited and already on the web there are many websites and blogs talking about spirituality and awakening. Over the last 5 years, I have literally wolfed down anything I could find either on paper or online and I would like to give you my personal preferences in case you want to integrate what I will be covering in my blog. I suggest you to have a general overview on all of them and decide to follow someone that can talk to you, someone that gets to the point without getting lost in mystical explanations of what reality is (even though is inevitable at some point). Each of us has a different ability to grasp things and I believe that being exposed to different sources will facilitate your comprehension about this tricky subject. However I would like to specify that the idea of this blog is to slowly guide you step by step along this journey trying to facilitate a bit the work for you.


I personally would like to give credit to Peter Ralston, Ken Wilber, Leo Gura and Rupert Spira that have been guiding me along this path even thought I never met them. Without them I could have never reached these levels of consciousness about reality and I feel I own them a lot. Rupert Spira is a ceramist and also a non-dual teacher. I simply love his teaching for its clarity and I think this could be a good starting point for both new-babies and advanced spiritual seekers. He has many videos on YouTube where he talks about enlightenment and non-duality in a extremely simple and effective way without getting lost in abstract and complicated explanations. Peter Ralston has been always interested in Consciousness work and he has applied his discoveries and insights about the nature of reality in the field of martial arts where he won the World Championship full-contact martial art tournament. I warmly invite you to check out his trilogy: “The Book of Not Knowing”, “Pursuing Consciousness” and “The Genius of Being”. They might seem unapproachable for their size and amount of content but they are totally worth to read. Ken Wilber is an outstanding and complex personality of our century regarding many aspect of our culture. He uses an integral approach to look at reality in a comprehensive and unique way. His books might appear to be quite heavy to read for the amount of content and the kind of language that is used but you will find precious information to open up your mind to new possibility to look at reality. Any of his books are highly recommended but I would start with "No Boundary" (also available online in PDF). Finally, Leo Gura website has an incredible variety of videos that cover topics ranging from self-improvement to spirituality. His way of talking is direct and provocative, clear and easy to follow if you do your work. In case you are new to this work I would suggest to start form old videos because the newest one touches advance topics you might not understand or misinterpret it. Here a link to an interesting video you might want to check out (link). He has also an interesting list of books ranging many topics you can have access by paying a moderate amount of money.


Though some reading and study is necessary to realize what enlightenment is about, integration is the most fundamental aspect of this work. Intellectual understanding has no value in this matter and only once you will be able to embrace and live your life in line with this truth your life perspectives will radically change. During the path, there will be many insights and realizations that will set the ground to become more open and conscious in grasping what is absolutely true. Once you have a good intellectual understanding on the matter, practice is the key component to achieve results. It is like going to the gym: knowing how to use the machine and the name of the muscles will not help you to build up strength and mass. Practice will make the difference between obtaining some tangible results or retaining it as intellectual understanding that is antithetical to this work.


The teachings and claims that are taught in spirituality are radical and not easy to be accepted: one thing is to hear and being entertained by the idea that you were never born, that you will never die, that you have no personal history, that you are not a human being, that there is no self, that there is no difference between you and a table, that we are all one. Another thing is to feel deep in your "essence" that all these bold claims are true and that all the rest has been pure fantasy. This is why probably it took me quite a while before deciding to share these concepts with other people, I needed time to embrace this truth. I needed time to digest all these insights, to ground in this new perspective, to feel comfortable in facing possible reactions of other people in hearing these things, to be sure to make this step and accept with no reservation anything it comes out of it and to be sure that I was just not loosing my mind. And even though is sounds like I have, I invite you to bear with me because all those things (and much more) are literal and not metaphors.


Thanks for reading and see you next week!

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About Me

Throughout my entire life I had a persistent and sometimes unconformable feeling that there was something more about life, something that we lost and forgot by constantly being distracted and busy in running after things. Naturally curious and stubborn, I am motivated in delving into the world and the reality I am living in with an enthusiastic, positive and open mind set.

 

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You can contact me for any question at:

andrea.maffiole@gmail.com

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