In response to my Razors Edge blog, someone asked how you can recognize who is a real master and who is not. The one word answer is ‘discernment.’ You must cultivate discernment. Of course that leads to the question, “How do you cultivate discernment?”
That cultivation is a process. It can be compared to learning to play a musical instrument. It takes time, patience, humility, and a willingness to look beyond what you currently understand. You cannot just read a book about how to play the piano and then be able to play the piano. In the case of music, everyone knows that. In the case of spirituality, people generally do not know that. They think they can read a book and then ‘get’ spirituality. I call that the I Get-it Syndrome. The world is full of people practicing the I Get-it Syndrome of spirituality. It is a good beginning all too often mistaken for the goal.
It would be fair to say that all of my lectures, blogs, classes, etc. are all for the cultivation of discernment. Adi Sankara called the entire path of spiritual evolution the path of discernment. You see, discernment is not just done with the intellect. Absolutely not (pun intended). Discernment is done with the mind, the heart, and most importantly with the soul… the depth of the soul.
So what is the soul? Well, you know about the Absolute, i.e. the Transcendent… pure consciousness… that which lies beyond relativity. It is pure No-Thing-Ness. Cannot be grasped. It is pure consciousness … the Unified Field… that which birthed the entire creation… pure Is-ness… God. You can not touch it, but you can feel it radiating out through you. Just as you can feel the Sun, but you cannot touch it. The soul, then, is the glow of God welling up through and permeating your physiology. It is your life force. It is the source of all intelligence, wisdom, harmony, and love that flows through and feeds you and all that is. As you evolve, your perception of it becomes clearer. The clouds, veils, and cobwebs of life clear away.
Everyone feels his soul. Even an earthworm has some primitive sense of self, of the soul. But the nervous system of an earthworm is not developed nearly enough to perceive the full grandeur of the Absolute, even though the earthworm is (like everything else) the Absolute. In other words everything is God, but your degree of evolution is the degree to which you perceive and embody the full value of that.
Discernment is done with all levels of your being. As you evolve all those levels integrate with one another, and most importantly, with the Absolute. Discernment with the body is sometimes called a ‘gut feeling.’ However, if you are riddled with bias, then your gut feelings are not clear. They are not in clear harmony with the absolute… with God. They are confused.
The spiritual path is the path of clarification of your relationship with your True Nature, with God, with the Absolute. See?
If you evaluate from the perspective of your biases, you go astray. You need to look deeper. You need to ponder. By ponder I mean strive to find truth within. This means looking beyond mental, emotional, and psychological bias. It is a sort of double bind. You must use what discerning ability you have to cultivate more discernment. You must ‘pull yourself up with your own bootstraps’. That is no simplistic task, which is why so few are willing to do it. They would prefer to listen to someone pat them on the head and tell them what a great spiritual being they are. As a result, spirituality is often reduced down to an ‘opiate of the masses.’ The New Age is most certainly no exception.
Spiritual evolution is indeed the Razors Edge. That is why a true master is so important. The student keeps slipping to one side or the other. The master holds the beacon light that illuminates the way.