Walking a Path With Heart -Elevating Your Spiritual Practice

Embracing A Path With Heart Can Short-Circuit Ego


by Author — Midjourney

“Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question…Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use.” don Juan speaking to Carlos Castaneda

My previous article discussed how embarking on the Direct Path can accelerate your spiritual path. One challenge of the Direct Path is that it can become too mental. The mental is often the ego’s playground, which thrives on separation instead of unity. If you want to take your spiritual practice to the next level, you’re in the right place. Continue reading to discover how to powerfully deepen your spiritual journey and experience greater peace, fulfillment, and purpose.

What Is The Direct Path and How Is It Different From The Indirect Path

Understanding the Indirect and Direct Paths

The Indirect Path is a journey of self-discovery and transformation that can help us unlock the full potential of our being. By engaging in practices like healing modalities, yoga, and meditation, we can cleanse and uplift our vibrational frequency, paving the way for a more fulfilling and joyful life experience. This foundational work is crucial, as it helps us to address emotional wounds and conditioning and overcome the karmic influences that often obscure our perception of our Divine Nature.

Embracing the Direct Path: A Holistic Approach to Spiritual Evolution

For those who have been journeying along a spiritual path, there comes a pivotal moment when it’s essential to transition from the Indirect Path to the Direct Path. This shift can significantly elevate your spiritual growth, moving you from merely seeking the truth to embodying it.

You cannot fully realize the ultimate goal of achieving God-consciousness through the Indirect Path alone. Therefore, we embrace the Direct Path, which focuses on acknowledging and continuously aligning with our Divine Nature, our I AM. This approach skips the incremental steps of the Indirect Path and offers a more immediate entry into the spiritual truths at the core of our being.

The Three Essentials of God Consciousness on the Direct Path

  1. Know Thyself: This fundamental precept urges us to understand not only our everyday personality but also our ultimate identity — the I AM. This requires constant self-awareness, not just of your everyday personality but also of your Divine Self — I AM.
  2. Love and Accept Thyself: Establishing a loving relationship with your Divine Nature is essential. This involves recognizing and welcoming the love from your I AM, allowing it to heal and balance your physical, emotional, and mental states.
  3. Become Thyself (God Consciousness): Transition your identity from the personality self to your eternal Self. This shift allows you to tap into the creative power of God Consciousness, fully realizing your role and essence as a fractal of the divine.

Know Thyself

As the first essential part of a Direct Path states above, you must ‘Know Thyself.’ In the Indirect Path, we use practices like self-observation, meditation, and shadow work to understand both our conscious and subconscious selves. We explore our belief systems and self-image and work to heal and transform the personality self.

On the Direct Path, we strive to know not only our personality self but our true nature as the Divine, our I AM. This work is called Self-remembrance or Self-abidance.

On the Direct Path, we move from the duality of observing the Self (observer observing Self) to resting in oneness, our Divine Nature.

A Common Pitfall of the Direct Path

A common trap of jumping onto the Direct Path too soon is making it a mental exercise. It is too easy for the mind to think you are abiding in Self without actually doing it. Self-remembering, Self-presence, or abiding in the I AM doesn’t require thought. It is the awareness that comes as a felt-sense of your existence (I AM), of your Divine love.

The humble cigarette merchant Nisargadatta Maharaj, who became Self-realized in three short years by abiding in I AM, describes Self-abidance as a thought-feeling:

“Just keep in mind the feeling ‘I am,’ merge in it till your mind and feeling become one. By repeated attempts, you will stumble on the right balance of attention and affection, and your mind will be firmly established in the thought-feeling ‘I am.’” Nisargadatta Maharaj.

The Mental Body Is a Perfect Playground for the Ego

The mental body operates by breaking down complex concepts into smaller, more manageable pieces. This allows for better comprehension, as the brain can more easily handle separate pieces.

However, reality isn’t separate pieces. The visible color spectrum, for example, consists of a range of colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Our perception of colors is limited by our language and what we’ve learned. In reality, there are countless colors. Each color corresponds to a frequency of light, and there are infinite possible frequencies in the color spectrum. The human brain cannot process all frequencies simultaneously, so we categorize them into groups such as blue. However, there are infinite shades of blue.

The ego is the part of us that pretends to be our true Self by making us believe that we are separate from one another. When we view the world through the eyes of the ego, we cannot see its wholeness and fail to realize that we are all one. The ego convinces us that we are distinct individuals, separate from others and the world around us. However, spirituality shows us the underlying unity and interconnectedness of all things. It aims to help us transcend the ego’s limiting beliefs and reconnect with the truth of our essential oneness.

The mental body tends to operate through separation and division, making it a perfect playground for the ego. If one practices the Direct Path solely with one’s mind instead of engaging one’s whole Self, it becomes too easy for the spiritual ego to take root.

The Solution Lies In a Path with Heart

The second fundamental aspect of the Direct Path (mentioned above) is to Love and Accept Oneself.

“The secret of jnana (self-knowledge) is Bhakti (love). Unselfish love — motiveless, incessant, intransigent love — is the key that unlocks the heart’s gate once and for all.” Ramana Maharishi

Unlike the mental body, which operates by separation, the heart operates through oneness. It is associated with the experience of oneness. When your awareness expands beyond the boundaries of the individual Self, it can lead to a profound sense of connection and unity with all of existence. This experience is often described as “heart-opening” and is considered one of the most sublime states a human can achieve.

“Love says, ‘I am everything.’ Wisdom says, ‘I am nothing.’ Between the two, my life flows.” Nisargadatta Maharaj

Nisargadatta’s paradoxical statement above points to the two sides of love — the experience of merging into the oneness of all existence and the simultaneous recognition of the absence of a separate self.

To Love and Accept Oneself means you love your true nature, your Divinity. And you accept it in your life. This acceptance is a form of surrender. Surrender your small personality self to your unlimited Divine Self.

In India, the Path of the Heart is Bhakti, also known as the path of devotion. In this path, you devote your separate ego self to loving and surrendering to your Divine Self. This puts the ego in its proper place. We need parts of the ego to get along in the earth-life system, but it was never meant to be the dominant force in our lives.

The Practice of Bhakti

Bhakti integrates with spiritual practices by serving as a deep and continuous expression of devotion and love towards the Divine, your I AM. It complements other Indirect practices such as meditation, breath work, and Kriya Yoga, which help purify the mind and body, removing blockages that hinder spiritual experiences.

Bhakti is about harnessing a profound love for your Divine Self-I AM-God, transforming everyday experiences into opportunities for spiritual growth. Consistently applying principles of love and gratitude turns them into a way of life instead of just practices. Through consistent devotion, like heating water on a stove, you can gradually increase your spiritual temperature until experiences of divine love and bliss become spontaneous and frequent. This heightened awareness can manifest even in simple moments like looking at a tree or interacting with others.

In essence, Bhakti, the Path with Heart, is about falling in love with the Divine so deeply that it becomes the core motivator in your life. The Path of Heart, when embraced fully, naturally leads to the highest states of spiritual unity.

The Path with Heart supports and amplifies other spiritual practices, turning each moment into a step towards Divine communion. By integrating Bhakti into your Spiritual practice, your entire life becomes a canvas for spiritual expression, characterized by an expanding heart and a profound connection to all of creation. This ultimately leads to states of joy and oneness that transcend ordinary experiences.

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Carl Gerber (aka Kristopher Raphael)
New Earth Consciousness

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