Until you are enlightened, there are no rules in Spirituality. Any rule that you hear may or may not be true for you. That’s because “rules” are only applicable to the ego. True Spirituality is free of the ego, and thus free of rules. In true Spirituality, we are entirely and 100% adaptable to all situations at all times. Our perspective is rooted in the truth and nothing else. And in the truth, spoken words and rules are nothing but meaningless banter. Do you think an enlightened person sits around writing down a bunch of lists and rules for all of their followers to have? Really ask yourself this question. What do you think the answer is?
Rules are a possession, not a truth. Possessions are to be discarded in the search for truth.
So when you hear a rule like “don’t eat meat”, “don’t steal”, or “treat your neighbor like yourself” listen to it in your heart. Is it true for you? If the answer is yes, or no, follow it and do that from now on. Also remember, the answer can change over time, even drastically. That’s because this rule is based in your ego, and the ego is also based in time. Pay attention to your “truths” that are constantly changing. Only those who can see entirely through the ego will know the final, true answer to their questions. The truth does have a say, it has it’s rules, and it’s rules are true at all times. These rules are not a belief, but a truth. However it’s not something that can be known by the mind. The truth just is.
Suffering can be defined as the chronic belief that we lack something. Most spiritual teachings, therefore, aim to change this belief by giving various means of finding your “true nature”. When one discovers their true nature, they realize they have never lacked anything at all. They come to understand that desire for a dream career, a fast car, wealth, power, and a passionate relationship were all illusions because they are perfect and whole already.
In popular non-duality teachings, the most common instructions for finding the “true self” is through the practice of self-inquiry and asking yourself the famous question: “Who am I?” Some practitioners are ready for this teaching, but many are not. The ego is extremely cunning and puts up massive resistance. Self-inquiry is often a game played between the ego and the ego, and you’d never even know it.
So how do we convince the ego that it’s OK to let go? That it’s OK to remain in the state of awareness? Is it by repeatedly pounding ourselves with the same questions? Sometimes. But this method often feels forced, and like you are trying to convince yourself of something you don’t believe. When a bad situation or emotion happens to you, you might indignantly tell yourself: “It’s ok for this emotion to happen, because I’m just pure awareness!” But the problem is you don’t believe it.
Perhaps there is a different, and often faster path which will result in the same end, the understanding that we are not lacking anything at all.
What would happen if you totally embraced duality? If you totally and fully embraced your dreams and aspirations?
Here is the practice: The next time you want something, anything at all, try going for it. See what it’s like to buy something you really want. See what it’s like to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Experience the emotions it brings you. Are you happy? Which emotions are you feeling? What does happiness and excitement feel like? Look inside yourself. Is the thing you obtained fulfilling you? There is no correct answer here, simply listen to yourself.
Then begin watch over time what happens to your fulfillment and happiness. Check in with your feelings about it again and again and again. The learning may happen quickly or slowly, so do not judge. Has the glow began to fade at all? Is the object or person still as desirable as before? Do you still feel fulfilled? Has the sense of needing something else snuck in somehow?
When the answers to these questions start to reveal themselves, the truth will be available to be seen, and the ego might see it too.
The entire universe operates on the principle of cause and effect (aka Karma). Of course if you put your hand on a hot stove, you will burn it, but most of the time your actions may seem to have no consequences at all. It is important to understand that Karma is not necessarily something that happens to you, or is even about you. This is a trap created by the ego. The common ego-based idea of karma is that if you steal something then a bad thing will happen to you later. But not so fast, it’s far deeper and more subtle than that.
Every single action, no matter how simple, has consequences. We can use an easy example to see how an extremely minute action can drastically effect an outcome. Pretend you were about to drive to work, but spent an extra 5 seconds fiddling with your cell phone before you left your driveway. Five minutes later you are in an accident. Most accidents take place in just a split second. Had you not taken those extra 5 seconds to fiddle with your phone, would you have still been in the accident? So every single thing you do, no matter how simple, like brushing your teeth, calling your mom, or eating your breakfast has consequences that often can not ever be known or seen. Try to come up with your own examples and you will find that there are quite literally infinite possible examples.
So where does this leave us? Karma can simply be seen as action, and the results of action. When you realize this, you realize that every time you take an action, you have a choice. You can either perform a beneficial action, or an un-beneficial action, and your choice will effect the universe.