The path is spiral, not cyclic

divine intervention's picture

Average: 4.9 (7 votes)

Sometimes it seems to you that you are moving in circles in your spiritual path: I have already read this book, already done this meditation, already sat in satsang with this teacher, already underwent this experience.

You then say: Why do it again?

You then worry: Am I fooling myself by moving in circles and so practically not moving?

Well, maybe you are fooling yourself and maybe you are not moving, at least not in the pace you were believing you were moving. Be frank with yourself and always check it out. The best policy is not to set any future targets and so eliminate the very meaning of moving and pace (but how many of us truly live by this?).

But always remember that in any case you are not moving in circles, actually you cannot even if you wanted. Something has changed fundamentally since the last time you read the book or met the guru: you have changed. You are different and so your relationship with the book, with the guru, with a certain meditation is different. You are different and so the experience is different. It is the same in one dimension but different in another - like returning to the same spot in spiral staircase but one floor above (or one floor below).

You can clearly notice that when for example reading again a spiritual book after many years. Is it the same book? we wonder in puzzlement.

You are not aware of the fact that you are not the same because your mind makes sure you will not notice that, it does so in order to preserve an illusion of a same "I". But actually you constantly change mentally and spiritually. The whole being and consciousness change without the center being aware of that. This change is a change of consciousness that can be sensed, not just the fundamental change of any form ("You can never step in the same river twice").

Omkaradatta's picture

Isn't it maybe...

> You then worry: Am I fooling myself by moving in circles
> and so practically not moving?

Isn't it maybe a good thing to notice? After all, isn't enlightenment about being in the Here and Now, not going anywhere, letting go of all 'movement' and coming to rest as Presence?

Consider the possibility that there's nowhere to go, and that awakening is about letting go of all urge to progress (both spiritual and worldly). Only the mind 'progresses', we add more memories to a growing collection.

Omkaradatta | Fri, 02/06/2009 - 21:31
Phroggy's picture


Yup, that's right, especially for those who's clarity comes about almost entirely from mental understanding and experience. It's necessary to revisit old notions and let them go for more expanded ones, but ultimately all concepts are connected to each other and refer to each other, and so the entire belief system has to allign with any new clarity, and then we come full circle (spiral) and do it again.

It's true that it's not always apparent this is happening, but it's not because the mind is trying to hide it. Rather, the mind can only know anything when it sees it move. That is, the incremental movement around the spiral can't be noticed until perhaps one notices what you have noticed; that you revisit an old idea, but the old idea has changed somehow.

Phroggy | Fri, 02/06/2009 - 23:22
Omkaradatta's picture

Also (if it's OK...)

"The best policy is not to set any future targets and so eliminate the very meaning of moving and pace (but how many of us truly live by this?)."

I wanted to add also (if it's OK) that it doesn't matter how many of us do this, it matters only whether WE do it. Other people are a primary barrier to Self-realization because we want to be liked, we want to be accepted, we want to conform. Can we really afford to let this stand in the way of our own peace and happiness? From here, this is possibly the most crucial question that can be asked.

Omkaradatta | Sat, 02/07/2009 - 02:47
divine intervention's picture


Others are not barriers, it is our personal attitude towards them that can make them a barrier or an aid. And this requires most of us to work on ourselves as part of our path. Distancing from others is the same as attaching ourselves too much to them. Balance is the answer as in most things. And joy.

The others for most of us serve as a crucial assistance and a great joy on the path that without it all this path has no worth.

I personally prefer the others, to be with the others, to love and share more than any spiritual dry goal set.

divine intervention | Thu, 03/05/2009 - 07:34
angel76's picture


Many make use of spirituality and especially non dualism for justifying their ego wish to distance from others which are viewed as competitors and so to avoid competition. This is a distorted ignorant interpretation of advaita and spirituality.

There are times in which isolation is needed but in general there is no replacement to the company, love and assistance of the others. Without the sangha it is almost impossible to advance spiritualy.

Yes, sometimes there are rotten apples in the sack but this does not make us fear apples and stop eating, is it?

angel76 | Tue, 04/14/2009 - 18:59
nathan's picture

no goals

Beautiful. I learned not to set any future spiritual goals except of the goal to enjoy the path and its supernatural presents. I don't care about what people call enlightenment, I care about enjoying right now the what is or at least not suffer the pain it may bring by not rejecting it.

And the path is cyclic because we are never the same despite what we feel about ourselves as part of our tacit effort to preserve a one consistent image of our "I".

nathan | Sun, 06/14/2009 - 13:47
Quantum's picture

Strange paradoxes

The first post is true (for me anyway). I can attest to it in my own experiences, for example the spiral staircase analogy and reading the same book again, etc.

On the other hand, the second post is true too, about not going anywhere, just being Present in the Here and Now. Just "present moment awareness".

Strange that the second post seems to contradict the first, yet both are true. Two conflicting views, yet both correct.

This is not logical.

Makes me wonder about the sounds of one hand clapping.

Quantum | Fri, 09/18/2009 - 04:50
Toltec Logic's picture

a time for action and stillness

Change is what happens on the way to being something else,
being does not happen but already is. Observing change is a form of spiritual practice, while being happens without forced effort.

Restoration of the celestial
within the temporal is the return
of basic nature to natural innocence

Toltec Logic | Sun, 02/07/2010 - 19:56
Elijah_NatureBoy's picture

It's Both, Ciclic and Spiral!

Look at the moon in it's orbit around earth, it rotates on its own axis, is found in the northern and southern skies only months apart and yet goes in an obit around the sun with earth. There's the answer, we are in both, a spiral, a cycle and also zig-zaging back an forth.

As the moon orbits around the earth it zig-zags back an forth creating a spiral to its orbit, in its orbiting the earth it also creates a spiral around the sun. So it is with life's path, when we focus on our short orbit it looks repetitious because we keep going back and forth over the same territory as we go around our center piece. If our main focus is on the orbit of our center piece we only now and them look at the the smaller orbit and it doesn't appear so repetitious.
Have you questioned your beliefs? Reason the different concepts until all pros and cons are integrated into the 64,800 degrees of your vision.
--Elijah "The NatureBoy"--

Elijah_NatureBoy | Sun, 08/15/2010 - 18:09