What not to do

Thinking about all those supposed issues that turned out to be non-issues in spiritual practice, such as eating meat or whatever, there certainly are things I encountered that turned out to be harmful, in the sense that they inhibit spiritual advancement or even produce spiritual degradation. So, let’s make a list of those, with a special accent on the problems people might actually struggle with today.

Overload. Whether it’s overload of sensory inputs, information, contacts with other people, overload of any kind will keep your mind in a state of chaos and superficiality, and you can’t get anything done in such a state. I recently saw ads/reviews for a digital version of a typewriter, essentially a keyboard with a rudimentary computer and e-ink screen that isn’t connected to the Internet, because obviously some people have a problem trying to write something on a computer that is connected to the Internet and provides an endless source of temptation to alt-tab into the web browser or chat or something that will distract you from what you need to do. Apparently, the problem is significant enough for some that they find it easier to just get another, inherently disconnected device, than to control the impulse to superficially surf the chaos, watching hundreds stupid video clips in a row and wasting yet another day. I kind of understand that, since human bodies are not designed for this; the closest you will normally get to this experience is a chaotic market where everybody is constantly pestering you with stuff and you’re not even sure you’re interested, but stuff is shiny.

Another thing that causes overload are video games, and not just any video games, but specifically those that require very fast movement and reaction time, below the threshold of thinking, the kind that motivates people to buy fast-refresh monitors and graphics cards because 60 FPS isn’t enough; the first-person shooters, mostly. My first encounter with this stuff was Duke Nukem 3d, in the 1990s, and playing that would have my mind look like a hive of angry bees, basically incoherent chaos, for hours. On the contrary, games that have a slow pace, like Diablo, Warcraft, Elite, or Witcher 3 as a modern equivalent, produce no such adverse effects. Basically, human brain doesn’t lend itself to overclocking, and the adverse effects of overloading it with information or forcing it to work on maximum speed are severe.

Superficial interpersonal connections. In times before the Internet and the social networks, our elders used to warn us against wasting time sitting in some bar hanging out with people, talking mostly about nothing in particular, because you end up wasting your life that way. Unfortunately, with the social media this became the default mode of behaviour, and I mean wasting your life away on stupid bullshit and nothing in particular. This is one of those “games” where the only winning move is not to play.

I think there’s something about human brain that makes “socialising” both attractive and superficial, and the bigger the group, the worse the problem. Basically, when you’re alone, you are capable for your greatest spiritual depths. When you’re with another person, you’re limited to the weakest link of the two; basically, the best case scenario is that you are the weakest link, because then you can learn and be pulled beyond your limits by the other person. If the other person is the limiting factor, you can either waste time by functioning below your potential because the other person isn’t interesting in exceeding their limitations, or you focus and amplify your thoughts by explaining them to the other person in attempts to improve their understanding, or you give up and leave. However, as the group increases, the likelihood of the group dynamics being defined by everybody’s fears and fake personality, posturing, trying to maintain a likeable facade, and keeping everything superficial and “safe”, increases with some kind of a logarithmic curve where everything beyond a certain number that can be counted on fingers of one hand is a chaotic, superficial mess that is of no use to anyone; an even better description is a graph of 1/x function, where x is the number of people involved. Basically, at that point you’re not even a person, you’re a group member. Also, groups make people into not-really-themselves, and they act in ways that are more of a reflection of group dynamics, than their own personality, which can create all kinds of stupid nonsense. So, it is my experience that keeping an “open connection” with other people is completely incompatible with the kind of “inward-sight” that is essential for being aware of the transcendental, and, specifically, maintaining your personal connection to God. Being in the presence of God and keeping live horizontal links to humans and worldly things just doesn’t mix well, because it’s either one or the other. The circumstances where a connection to God and connection to another person can actually coexist are the very rare and extreme cases of either spiritual initiation or true tantric sex. Basically, if you are trying to establish a transcendental connection to God, avoid being distracted by people, because that’s what they are – distractions. It’s like having a radio connection that can maintain only one contact at the time, God competes for the position of that one active contact, and the channel is constantly flooded by superficial “handshake” connections, the stupid “hi, how are you doing?” things. Obviously, it’s an excellent way of remaining on a superficial level of spiritual experience forever. As I said already, the only winning move is not to play the game, or at least constrain it very deliberately.

Entitlement. If people think they have rights, they start whining and complaining and acting like victims of some injustice or another. This is spiritually extremely harmful. The only way to achieve results is to understand that you’re fucked, it’s nobody’s duty to help you but your own, that making yourself feel worse by whining merely creates another problem for you to solve later, that “social signalling” is worthless because it doesn’t work on God, and instead of complaining about God abandoning you or some other stupid nonsense, just make the spiritual move that will get you in the presence of God. Your mammalian emotional signalling is not transcendental, it has no redeeming quality, your whining and regressing into a cub crying for mommy is not attractive to God. It’s just disturbance that stands in the way of achieving transcendence. If you’re a complete beginner, some angel might take pity on you and try to show you the way despite your animalistic emotions, but if you then start thinking that your emotions actually caused the darshan, and try to repeat them in order to repeat the supposed result, you’re in a world of hurt. Which brings me to the next thing:

Your emotions are not “justified”. They are not even “yours”. They just are, and for the most part they “are” slavery, bondage and delusion. Emotion is just energy of a certain frequency moving through a certain part of your energy system, and resonating with some animal bullshit or another that is inherited from either primordial goo or jumping on tree branches. If you stop feeding it you get to see just how transitory and unimportant it all is. Feeding your emotions, or allowing them to persist because you think they are justified, or being in habit of being angry, cynical or whatever, is merely a result of poor training and upbringing. Emotions need to be completely flexible and you need to allow them to start, possibly act on them, and have them end, without introducing artificial persistence.

Trying to impress others. That’s one of those bad ideas that everybody has and they never seem to go away, and they are universally harmful. No, you don’t exist only because others perceive you. No, if you trick others into having a good opinion of you, you won’t actually be worth more. No, if others have a poor opinion of you, that doesn’t really diminish who you actually are. So basically, others don’t matter. What matters is what your connection to God actually is, what virtues you actually possess, what flaws you actually removed, and what your spiritual body actually is, and if you talk about it to others, that’s one of the most effective ways of losing it.