My idea of progress is not based on a template either laid out by the Eastern or the Western world. It is simply the measure of peace one experiences in daily living. The message is not about what should or should not be, it is about the simplicity of What-Is, acceptance of which brings peace and harmony to daily living.
The modern world enforces a template-based living where it emphasizes that certain things are necessary, but all of that has more to do with the appearance of success, progress, and well-being rather than the actuality of the situation. The problem with templating is that it’s a one-fits-all prescription which usually doesn’t work for everybody.
Who am I to stop anyone who believes in living off-grid or thinks that the world is flat or the ones who do not conform to cultural ideas? Who am I to judge the introverts or the extroverts? Who am I to condemn people for their choices and preferences? Why do I have to create bitterness within myself for something that I cannot control? Where does the need to “change” the other come from?
Why does what people think and believe become such a threat to my existence? Is the threat actual or conceptual? My only concern is with my peace, which is not an idea of a templated world’s progress. Peace is not my concept. It is my “being.” If I worry about the world or how others perceive me, I divert attention from what’s going on within myself.
Why do I get so triggered, when a group of people say that the world is flat? Why do I get annoyed when people disagree with me? In any case, my own worldview is conceptual and not actual. Has it got something to do with “them” or is there something within myself that irks me?
This is the main question that we mostly avoid. Why? Because it is uncomfortable to face oneself and easy to blame, shame, cancel, and condemn others. The nature of the mind is to flow outwards. A still mind is “no mind,” and that is what the mind is most afraid of.
Templating makes me compare myself with others, which gives rise to envy and resentment. These do nothing to the “other,” but I burden my own nervous system and burn my overused brain circuits. I teach my brain patterns that are hard to reverse. Then comes my struggle to change myself which is again (mostly) based on a borrowed template.
I create my own stories of successes, failures, sufferings, trials, and tribulations. Therefore, my mind incessantly moves between the dead past and an imaginary future, both of which are diversions from this present moment or now.
I feel the need to prove my worth to the world. The world that is my own projection. The world that I can never touch because it is a concept. Jiddu Krishnamurti said that the conflict is the separation between the conceptual and actual (What-Is). The Advaita masters say that the true surrender is the surrender to What-Is.
I’m neither excited about what the future has to offer with all the idea of advancements and progress (which is again a conceptualization), nor do I want to go back into the past to meditate in the caves like a hermit. Only you will decide what is right for you, but for that, you need clear thinking. If you’re caught up in conflicts, and looking for concepts, scriptures, philosophers, idealists, spiritual teachers, and nondualists to end your conflict, you are wasting life.
What I am hinting at is that life does not follow a fixed template. What works in one part of the world may not work in other parts. What works for one may not work for another, but we are quick to give prescriptions and advice. Things change with time. What seems to work now may not be beneficial after a few years. Change is the only constant in phenomenality. Therefore, if you take all of this too seriously, you’ll disrupt your peace, which is your birthright.
All of that “doing,” trying to know what is the best way, is a diversion from the now. The now transcends space, time, and causation. It is beyond concepts. The conditioned peace is conceptual, but the peace of “being,” which is your most natural state is unconditional and unbroken. It is the light of pure consciousness that illumines What-Is. You are that!