At some point on the journey to enlightenment, there is a shift from trying to perfect or “fix” the ego, including the higher spiritual ego, to the advanced path, where attention is only on divinity, only on the Self. Anyone can make this shift, and anyone can become enlightened. There is no set amount of years of arduous practice required or an initiation that is needed. However, there are two foundational skills that make the advanced path possible: getting control of your mind and getting control of your life. Without these two skills, there is too much distraction and disharmony for the advanced path to take root.
Get Control of Your Mind
It is difficult to hear the whisperings of the universe, the Truth of your own soul, if your mind is constantly raging with thoughts and impressions. On the advanced path, intuition, inquiry, and seeing what is true for you are key. It’s important to spend time in silence everyday to have the space and the openness for this type of intuition. The practices of meditation and mindfulness are invaluable on the advanced path, because they help gain control over “monkey mind.” On the advanced path, the practices evolve away from techniques and trying to get somewhere with meditation to a letting go into silence, to Light.
“True meditation is to always exist within the flow of silent and fluid awareness of all that is.”
– Advanced Path book
Get Control of Your Life
In general, we don’t have the luxury of living in a monastery to set up the space for spiritual living, so we have to create a monastery of our own lives in the world. If we are frequently distracted with personal drama, worries, stress, and unending tasks or activities, we do not have the time nor the environment for contemplation and silence.
Getting control of your life includes handling your finances and living within your means, having a clean, safe and nice place to live and work, wisely selecting the people with whom you interact, caring for the temple of your body with whole foods and exercise, spending time on retreat and being in nature, and carefully curating the content you consume from the media and other outlets. This doesn’t mean that challenges won’t arise that need to be addressed; instead, you are capable of managing life’s demands gracefully and with the least amount of drama possible.
When your mind is still and your physical life is running smoothly and impeccably, your spiritual life has the space to grow and take flight. Truly on the advanced path, there is no distinction whatsoever between the physical and spiritual. Everything is in service to the Self.