A rather personal account of the path
Apr 19, 1998 08:03 PM
by Bjorn Roxendal
I think I was born a Buddhist (although my parents had almost no visible
spiritual inclinations during those days). The teachings of the Buddha have
always seemed so natural, true and practical to me. I early got into the habit
of observing the inner processes of my mind, gradually reducing the attachments
to the thoughts and feelings that constantly arose (and this process still goes
on). I found myself to be different from most people around me in that
"consciousness" to me was very real. In a sense I was becoming more and more
"conscious of consciousness" which was not the path most of my friends and
acquaintances were on. During those early years I had nobody to teach me and I
did not even recognize my "condition" as in any way spiritual. From time to time
I was swept into states of delusion, "carried away" by the tendency of my mind
to create "inner realities" that seemed very real indeed at the time, while they
lacked a foundation in absolute reality.
A breakthrough came when I read a book by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the TM Guru)
about Consciousness and the Science of Being. It gave me a philosophical frame
work that neatly organized my experiences and defined the goal: "Become one with
God/Cosmic Consciousness". While reading that book I also had a very real
experience of how everything is "swimming" in the same "sea" of the same "stuff"
- everything is a manifestation/activity of that "Cosmic Consciousness".
Later I have come to see Maharishi as a "false teacher", perhaps able to guide
his students to "higher states of consciousness", but not to integration with
ultimate truth. This realization came to me while attending a meditation/yoga
intensive retreat led by his instructors. I began to almost physically perceive
the force field we were all a part of, as we practiced the techniques and had
lectures on the "path" from a practical and philosophical standpoint. What I
"saw" was how the meditation teachers were like robots and transformers,
receiving and conveying the "spheres of consciousness" as they emanated from the
source, the Guru. So, in a way they did a good job, but what I also saw was that
the whole "universe" as defined by this level of consciousness, was an imaginary
creation of a limited nature. I was able to go beyond it and see "around it". It
was all illusion, and not even illusion in the highest sense.
Shortly thereafter I left the TM movement and continued experimenting with other
teachings and Gurus. One lesson to be learned here may be that though the
teacher be "false" some students may benefit. I certainly did by having a
realization of cosmic consciousness. Likewise I understand that Thoa and others
who study Krishnamurti may derive considerable benefit therefrom, although, IMO,
the teacher is "false" (not representing the vibration of truth). Today I would
not recommend anyone to become a student of Maharishi's (or K), since I see that
there is great risk in doing so. Once you accept somebody as a bona fide
spiritual teacher you may end up going where he has gone, almost by definition.
If he/she has gone to the wrong place, you may eventually join him/her at that
place. We are assimilating the teacher's realization, not only learning from
After some experiences with eastern "gurus" I entered into a phase when I was
reading and accumulating a lot of esoteric information. Everything seemed "new"
to me, yet it also seemed like I was reawakening knowledge that was already
within me. It was quite stimulating and gave me many "highs", sometimes
sustained for days or more.
Gradually the accumulation of spiritual knowledge seemed less and less
satisfying, though. The basic questions remained: "Where am I going and how do I
get there." This is where I come back to Gautama. He asked himself: "What is the
problem?" or, rather, was painfully confronted with such symptoms of the problem
as sickness, aging and death. He realized that there was something very basic
in our existence that was "wrong" and asked himself "what is the cause". His
genius expressed itself in his ability to zero in on the essentials, in making
the priorities clear. He didn't get into a lot of metaphysical speculation or
formulating of cosmologies and the like. He was the great therapist of
humanity's suffering souls who found the cause of the problem and prescribed the
cure for it. The cause of all suffering, he said, was desire, or attachments.
rooting out of all desire would cure the problem. He then devised a method that
almost everyone can understand that will lead to the goal. By not falling for
the temptation of getting into myriad details of the heaven world, and thousands
of other pieces of information he deprived his followers of distractions and
excuses for not doing the work that will lead them to liberation. This all has a
tremendous appeal to me.
When studying theosophy and other metaphysical literature it easy to get caught
up in the fascination of knowing and understanding more and more - endlessly.
Time that could be spent on *getting there* is instead spent on collecting more
and more information. Admittedly, the gathering of esoteric knowledge has value,
but beyond a point it tends to become an end in itself rather than a tool for
the soul to evolve.
This brings me to where I see the value and the mission of Besant, Leadbeater
and others. HPB provided almost encyclopedical information in her Isis Unveiled
and the SD. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with that, on the
contrary, she did the job she was asked to do, which was to provide a great
service to civilization, as well as individual seekers, by compiling and
publishing this information. But I believe that Besant and Leadbeater, among
others, had a slightly different mission - to present theosophical information
not primarily for the purpose of providing practical guidelines for the
spiritual seeker. They were, of course, all imperfect (HPB included), and some
of what was presented does not fit the criteria of quality and meaningfulness,
but, on the whole, I think Besant and CWL did there job, also. Their mission was
not that of HPB's and should not be judged on the basis of being identical with
To me, as well as for many others, the theosophical teachings as presented by
Besant and CWL are more practically useful than those of HPB, although I
realize that B and CWL never would have been able to do their part unless HPB
first had done hers.
And, I would like to take this a step further. What the Ballards, Innocente and
the Prophets have done, is not so much to build on what was given through HPB,
but to carry on a work of a more practical nature. The masters seldom rest. They
sent forth world teachers such as Jesus and Buddha - teachers that initiated
spiritual impulses that in many important aspects seem contradictory, but in a
deeper sense are in total harmony. As I have said before, I think Theosophy as
given through HPB only is one release in an ongoing series of spiritual
releases, designed to meet the evolving needs of the an evolving mankind.
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