Balancing Out Traditional Approaches - Amsterdam retreat, January 2016 excerpt.
Questioner (Q): Hi Bentinho, leuk dat je er bent.
Bentinho (B): Thank you.
Q: Welkom in Nederland.
B: This weird thing that he is producing, it is Dutch.
Q: Yeah, haha. So, my spiritual path until now has followed the Buddhist path.
Q: And I am very interested in your spiritual path as well, your teachings. So, as far as I understand your teachings, according to the high energy ‘follow your bliss’ and the low energy, like, ‘the lack energy’.
Q: In my case, when I am following my bliss, I also can get very confused. It is like being up in a tree like that (points to plant behind Bentinho) and my bliss can be like…
B: (Turns around and looks upward) I think you would have a hard time… staying up there.
Q: Yeah. No, no, no, it is like all those leaves can be my bliss, I want to follow this, I want to follow that.
Q: And then the Buddhist path can teach me to go down in the tree (referring to the trunk) and feel equanimity and feel balance, and that is what I like about that path. But also, I like your teachings.
B: Well, I also teach that equanimity and centeredness. I am not sure how familiar you are with my work, but I teach two paths, self-realization, which is more along those lines, and self-actualization.
Q: Alright. So, yeah, the question is uhm… No, no. I think you get my confusion, so please elaborate on this, yeah. How can I connect those, yeah.
B: Yeah. Okay. Well, first of all, what do you want?
Q: Well, I am here now, I am not sitting on my meditation pillow, because I want to create.
B: Thank you very much. That is actually very humble of you to say and acknowledge. We are all meant to create and I sometimes have said in the past—a bit of a radical statement, but I do believe it is true—that the reason a lot of spiritual gurus from the past die of cancer is because they have suppressed their innate sense of wanting to express themselves, wanting to create, right? So, if wisdom takes over too much and there is no passion and love infused with that wisdom, and if it becomes too yogic, the body starts to decay, because we are here to create in most cases.
Now, for some people it actually is relevant to take that path, but I’d say for a lot of people, most people, it is not; because the natural impulse and the natural order of this density we are born into is that you come here to express and create yourself and learn from that creation as you go. This is not the density of sitting, necessarily, and just doing that, just becoming internalized. There are exceptions, but for most people, this seems to be true—we came here to create. To move, to learn, to express and to navigate.
Most of us have that natural impulse, but what happens when we take the Buddhist path, is that it becomes mind over nature, it becomes way too intellectual; it becomes too dogmatic, it becomes too contrived. So, there are a few ways I can approach this; bear with me...
It is the human being’s vanity, in most cases, that causes it to take on a spiritual path at the expense of all else; to take on a spiritual path along the lines of Buddhism to the point where that becomes the only focus—and it is no longer about, "Hey, who am I? What do I want to do in this life? What do I want to express? What do I want to create? How do I want to play around?" Instead, it becomes all about, “Stop playing around—realize the root of Being...” Which is fine. It is a good practice, and I do teach it, but it has to be balanced with allowing this individuated expression of the One to open up, to open up, to open up... to express itself and become a free being, like a child learning to express itself fully and precisely.
A child doesn’t sit still, trying to realize the Ground of Mind, and then start a little lineage, where there are students and there are more realized beings and even more realized beings... They are just playing. Children are playing. And so, it is human vanity in a sense; it is mental masturbation to want to master ourselves in the way of traditional spirituality, at the exclusion of all other paths—usually. It is often a mind thing or a control thing. Most people who practice this are actually afraid of the plethora of experiences they could have been having because they have been hurt, because they have lack beliefs. And because of these lack beliefs, they believe life inherently hurts... or so they think.
It is not life that hurts; it is that when they see a lot of things, or when they see something, they have negative definitions about it, or they believe in lack. When the lack belief is triggered by an appearance, they feel out of alignment with the vibration of the universe. And so they feel hurt. And what does the mind say, controlling as it is? "Well, fuck this. I am going to sit still, forget about all my natural desires, and realize the Root of Being."
In many cases this is a genuine, initially inspired direction, but then the mind takes it on and makes it a study; makes it a life-long practice. It starts going on about different levels of realizations, where you need many, many lives to realize something. All of this stagnant, mental nonsense comes in and then you eventually die of cancer in some cases—because you are stagnating your natural life force; you are denying expression to the very reason you incarnated. You've taken your spirituality against your natural stream. You are not moving freely as you were born to move around.
This density is about creating and being playful and experiencing and learning lessons. Again, we always want to realize the Absolute. Those types of people and students—and I was one of them; I am still one of them in a sense—always want to realize the Absolute. Like, "Yeah, all this is nonsense. I want to be beyond this nonsense, I want to be the highest..." right? And there is some truth to that intention, but there is also a lot of room for mental vanity and distortion with that intention.
We have to understand that we will not reach the Absolute while we are here, because that is not the purpose (in most cases) of this incarnation. We have to see it in a much broader perspective. Our Higher Selves are already in a state of realization and oneness—way more so than we will ever be able to experience while we are within our physical bubble-focus here. Sure, it is good to rest your bubble for a second, to pop it a little bit, to expand it a little bit, and realize a little bit more of that which you have already realized on that higher level; to become more aware of that union and absoluteness. That's all great—and necessary to some extent.
And yet, we also have to appreciate the larger perspective of this incarnation, because the journey of the soul takes billions of years, as we would count it. The typical human perspective, knowing what it knows, sees people living for 80 years and calls that "a long time." And then it says, "Well okay, I want to be completely and fully enlightened." They don’t realize that no one actually becomes "fully enlightened" because full enlightenment is the 7th/8th Density total merger with All That There Is. And even that is only a transition stage into something even more enlightened and advanced. Those much, much higher densities are usually not the purpose of our exploration here.
So, a lot of these people go against the natural stream and intelligence of the evolution of their spirit, which brought them here for a different purpose. They read these books about the Buddha or whoever else, and they try to imitate these beings for whom it was relevant to be a certain way, and whose teachings have been dogmatized and misinterpreted over the years. You would be surprised if you saw the Buddha here—how playful he would be, I am sure!
All of these images and ideas of spirituality are mental vanity. They are man-made spirituality, not spirit-inspired spirituality. There is a big difference between man-made spirituality and spirit-inspired spirituality. If you follow man-made spirituality, you will become very, very wisdom-oriented. You will become very, very mental and dry and often unknowingly self-condemning about the whole process. You will become vain, spiritually vain, and repressed.
When you try to achieve something with too many concepts in mind, you are no longer paying attention to the aliveness that is the Oneness that is here, right now, already. That Oneness is showing up in you in the most exciting possible ways, and you don’t realize it! You are at the cutting edge of an exploration that helps not only your individual soul to journey onwards, but also a whole collection of other beings—and beyond this, other beings who take their cue from the example of your life.
You are, in fact, directly expanding upon and advancing the One Infinite Creator's knowledge and experience of itself. You are writing an epic story here that many many many many many beings are tuning into. Each of you is, in a sense, a "TV channel" for other beings, but you don’t realize it. They are learning from everything you do and experience—because you are the brave one who is going through this experience and they are sort of tapping into it, like, "Oh, that would be interesting!"
It's like when you go to a movie and you are taken through this intense storyline of a prisoner in a war camp (or whatever)—you are not physically experiencing that whole thing, you just take a two-hour snapshot of what it would be like. In this way, you can learn certain lessons without having to go through the whole thing, because that in itself is not relevant for you. Similarly, your life is a movie for many non-physical beings, and for many physical beings on planet Earth.
Everything you do leaves a legacy. Everything you do here is important and is serving the whole. If we can, as spiritual seekers, regain the humility to find appreciation of the spontaneity of the spiritual journey, then we can appreciate where we are at and realize that we don’t have to get anywhere. We can just chill out, have a good time—have an amazing time. We can be really aware of what is going on and learn as much as we can, while being aware that everything is coming from the One Infinite Creator.
Sure, infuse your joyful life with the self-realization aspect of true Awareness, because it does ground you; it does give you equanimity. If all you know is, "Oh, I am following my joy..." but you still have a lot of lack beliefs, and you still don’t really know that you are not a person, but that you are Consciousness—then you are setting yourself up for the sense of success-failure-success-failure-success-failure-pain-achievement, and all of that nonsense. So, get to know the eternal essence of Being, but don't turn it into a philosophy to preach. Be it and live it naturally in the world. Express yourself and follow your dreams and intuition. Don't tame your free Spirit with a mind full of spirituality.
Traditional realizations are definitely important practices, and that is why I teach them. But, I try to teach in a way so that it blends in with an expressive, passionate life—effortlessly. I try to teach it in a way in which it doesn’t create obstacles to the freedom of individual expression, and it doesn’t create mental masturbation. It allows people to move into their lives freely and appreciate that, even though they are One and they are Consciousness, the One is not waiting for them to realize the One. The One wants them to express the One.
We are here to express the Unity that is already timelessly realized. Non-duality does not need you, okay? The One Infinite non-dual state of Consciousness does not need you to take your body into a cave to sit and realize it. That is mental vanity; that is spiritual vanity.
There is a whole hierarchy of levels of Consciousness, each of which has a higher level of intelligence than the previous level. Ultimately, it is all coming from the highest level down into this. There is autonomy at every level; different levels of autonomy at every level. Your Higher Self and just below that, your Higher Mind, is tailored specifically to your life. It guides you through intuition and excitement. Pay attention to it, learn to listen between the lines.
You are receiving your inspiration from that which knows infinitely more than you will ever know, from this point of view. If you go and sit and try to know everything the Higher Self knows, and try to realize the One, that is fine—you can do that. But you are often (not always) bypassing the natural process of listening to your heart and following the highest authority which is guiding you.
The humble, natural, Adam and Eve way to go about this is to follow your resonance. Because, no matter what you think is the most important thing to practice or to realize spiritually, it is never going to be a better assessment than the path that makes you come alive. That which makes you feel like you are coming alive is coming from a place of Consciousness that you have no ability to fully grasp with the brain. So, it doesn’t matter if you think, or someone taught you, that you should be still and realize the absolute. This is just fucking Indian tradition—get over it. It is a lifestyle, it is nothing. It is meaningless; it is absolutely meaningless.
What is much, much higher than anything you read in the books by Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi and the Buddha and all of that nonsense (which is great stuff—again, I teach it too and there is value in it) is to listen to what makes you come alive. Because that comes from a place tailored specifically to the purpose you were created for in this life. And if you don’t pay attention to that, and if you override it with mental spirituality, you will die of cancer or something else, because you are not being useful anymore.
If you become so stubborn and so practiced and so spiritually mindful, all that really means is that you are more suppressed than the average Joe. You are more masterful in your suppression of spirit (but you call it "enlightenment") than the average Joe. And so, you will decay, because you have reached a certain level of stubbornness and you can no longer be saved, you can no longer be humbled, you can no longer listen to the natural impulse.
What makes your heart tick? Where do you want to go? What does your imagination tell you? How are you inspired to move about? If you suppress this and you become really, really masterful at that mindfulness-suppression game, and you start teaching it to other people, you are teaching cancer to other people, basically. At that point, you reach such a level of insistence and stubbornness in your spiritual concepts (but again, you call it "enlightenment") that Spirit can no longer truly communicate to you—because you now think you know better.
True spirituality is to not "know better," but rather to follow your heart, follow your heart, follow your heart, be humbled—over and over and over and over again. This will empty you out. This will truly empty you out, and simultaneously disperse you across the galaxy as Everything. It will make you so passionate and engaged with every little aspect of your life, that you will now truly fulfill the purpose that Spirit brought you here to fulfill.
Now you are in alignment! You are physically focussed here, but you are backed up with so much Spirit in your Consciousness that you are free and you are moving and you are healthy and you are feeling good. And you will die when you really want to die. You will not die out of stubbornness; you will not die because you have become a useless piece of tool that sits in a cave because it is unable to be humbled and listen to natural impulses. Again, Consciousness doesn’t waste energy, so if it notices you are past a certain point of no longer being able to listen, it will let your body decay really fast.
When the individual bubble becomes so consumed with what it reads, with what it thinks Spirit thinks, with what it thinks spirituality is all about, it stops listening.
We cannot comprehend mystery of infinite existence. You have to understand—you cannot comprehend this. You cannot comprehend this; you just can’t.
You can’t go wrong. Just follow what resonates, follow what excites you. You will stumble and you will be challenged, but if you follow what excites you, you cannot be wrong, you cannot go wrong—no matter what you do. Just continue to devote yourself to that. Continue to be open to experience, continue to listen and care about your life. Truly care. Be willing to be humbled over and over and over again; that is the only way to truly start to understand a little bit—just a little bit—of the mystery that is the Infinity that is showing up. You will never reach the end result, because it is an infinite expression of the Infinite.
I don’t know if that answered your question but…
B: The tree is still there.
Q: Definitely, yeah. Very good answer.
B: If anything, I don’t feel I have to give you a specific answer or toolkit. I feel that all I want you to know is to follow that new intuitive impulse that you have been receiving—that intuitive voice from within that guided you to an event like this, that is moving away a little bit from the more traditional spectrum of spirituality you are used to. I would say, wholeheartedly follow that impulse with everything you have, and let nobody tell you differently.
Q: Great. Thanks a lot, man.
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