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what counts as "really doing something?"

Feb 24, 2002 04:24 PM
by Eldon B Tucker

At 04:01 PM 2/24/02 -0800, you wrote:
--- Eldon B Tucker <> wrote:
> For some, the reading of the books is part of a
> spiritual
> practice

I am sure you are right, but it should be pointed out
that according to every spiritual teacher I am aware
of, sitting around reading and doing nothing else is
not going to lead to any sort of spiritual progress.
I am not saying they are right, but I am saying that
seems to be a consensus opinion of every spiritual
teacher including Blavatsky herself, who warned
against "manasic" development in isolation. Sort of
like someone trying to become a well rounded body
builder by just doing a little arm wrestling.
It may depend upon what one's definition of "doing something"
is. Some may say, for instance, that spending a year
in a zendo practicing Zen Buddhism is not doing anything.
I'd think that activities that exercise the mind and
inner nature, even if lacking in outward, visible signs
of progress, can be highly significant to the individual.

Spiritual progress comes from an inner transformation
that affects one's inner nature and one's relationship
with the world. How one expresses it outwardly is
completely individual. One person may try to become a
spiritual teacher. Another may devote his or her life to
a certain kind of good works. A third may slip back into
society undetected, like one the person returning to
society as depicted in the ox-herding pictures.

I'd agree that if one were sitting around reading and
doing nothing else, one would be following an incomplete
and probably ineffective path. The same could be said
of someone in a monastery sitting around praying and
doing nothing else, or of someone running around feeding
hungry people and doing nothing else.

Any practice, to be effective, has to engage all parts
of the inner nature, and to start, so to say, a
self-sustaining inner spiritual fire that acts as a
source of creativity, desire to make the world better,
inner direction, and connectedness with all of life.

The approach that one takes to reach this may differ
than that taken by a friend. But the important thing
is that each finds one that works for them. It's also
important to respect those paths that work for others,
even if one does not find much of value for oneself
in those other ways.

-- Eldon

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