To free the mind from all conditioning, you must see the totality of it without thought. This is not a conundrum; experiment with it and you will see. Do you ever see anything without thought? Have you ever listened, looked, without bringing in this whole process of reaction? You will say that it is impossible to see without thought; you will say no mind can be unconditioned. When you say that, you have already blocked yourself by thought, for the fact is you do not know. –Krishnamurti
The Sufis talk about the awakening journey as a journey in three stages: the journey from God, the journey to God, and the journey in God.
In the journey from God, you believe what you are is a bunch of beliefs. You are your accomplishments and your labels and your fears and your conditioning. You believe in changing your circumstances and in improving the image of you. You want a fat bank account and a thin body and approval and validation. You believe in struggle and effort. You believe this is what it means to be human.
Geneen Roth writes about this in “Women Food and God” and she says that the eating version of this is that you spend your life dieting, controlling, and exercising in and exhausting up-and-down cycle which ends in disappointment each time. And each time it works, and then doesn’t work, you go for more of the same.
In the spiritual version of this, you believe in an unforgiving and judgmental God. You may even have escaped the conceptual constraints of traditional religion, and then you believe in unforgiving and judgmental concepts. You search for spirituality and new-age stuff which fits into your version of fear and desire.
The lesson here is the insight that you are not your thoughts.
The next journey is the Journey to God. You have had the insight that you are not your thoughts and you take on practices.
In the food version, you stop all the crazy dieting. You understand that your over-eating or under-eating is not about discipline but rather about a deeper understanding of yourself. You understand that understanding is not figuring out, but looking at it in a whole, peaceful, allowing sort of way.
In the spiritual version, you create beliefs and beautiful concepts such as compassion and acceptance and forgiveness and karma and maya. You say the universe is benevolent. You believe, but you don’t know for sure. Your compassion does not include everyone, it does not reach out to perpetrators and requires validation and approval. You may have found yourself the ultimate spiritual guide, or the ultimate spiritual tradition. Your high monks and true spirituality trumps all the others.
The Journey in God, in all the versions, is the end of seeking. It is the end of lurching towards something different. Life is not a test. You don’t have to live by beliefs or morals or commandments or concepts of karma.
You are not a mistake. You are already whole. You only discover this when you allow, with love and patience.