As we are starting, let me rewrite what spirituality stands for in my perspective. When I say spirituality I don’t mean religion. Spirituality is a way of living a conscious life. It is the art of entering into one’s silence by the practice of deep inner listening. When we begin spirituality things go into question, putting us in the edge of discovery in the unknown. Spirituality doesn’t truely begin until we start to relinquish grasping onto the known so tightly (what we know, what we think, all the self definitions and the narrative of the mind). Spirituality needs an inward willingness to enter into the mystery of being. Without this, it is just a bunch of words and ideas.
And when we give our attention and ourselves to the depths of this listening, the quality and the meaning of our lives change dramatically. ‘Every being, myself and life matters’ is one of the core expressions of spirituality. It’s about what we care and value in life. When we give our attention to what we truely value in life then we are on the path to reach our fullest potential.
I had a deep impulse and great motivation on seeking the truth. Therefore in my story while traveling I found myself wandering here and there, visiting wisdom schools, monasteries, ashrams, dergahs, opening myself to the teachings of many different traditions to absorb what I needed to know.
As it is for many people, suffering was the initial cause that stimulated me for a deeper search. As a consequence of an unexpected staggering experience occured in my life suddenly, I was in great pain. So this inevitably drived me into an even more intensive inquiry and quest that would be life changing eventually. My path began with seeing the surface layers of the ego, recognising what this so-called I, the little self is. Then I started purging the burdens of the identity. In this phase the core teachings of Buddha and my teachers on Buddhist tradition helped me greatly to show me how the mind functions. Without knowing the mind and the nature of our perceptions, it is not quite possible to be free from that, it is not so easy to open to that silent space within and go beyond the mind. In this process, I used different meditation forms like focused attention, open monitoring or analytical meditation and started developing concentration which would be helping me significantly in further times.
Then all these experiments went even much deeper after I started investigating through the practice of ‘self inquiry’ and the great teachings of Ramana Maharshi. I also benefited significantly from non-dualistic existence (Advaita Vedanta) perspective. This is nothing other than the teaching of Emptiness in Buddhism. It indicates the path of the realization of non-seperate self. Here I need to mention the great guidance of my dear teacher Adyashanti that helped and is still helping me significantly in my explorations.
Anyone can start directly from the deeper teachings but frankly speaking if I had come across with ‘non-duality’ perspective before my former practices and investigations, I guess I wouldn’t be able to grasp what it is guiding us to. We all have different lines of growth or learning. There may be many paths that enable us to recognize the light, the real Self in and out. In my story, it was as if my spiritual path took me step by step from primary levels to the higher ones in the most beneficial sequence for me to realize. My gratitude is beyond words for this process.
All these were so revolutionary that I stopped seeking, my search was over as I recognised I am home, I am the Self already. Spirituality first feels like a wonderful adventure but at one point on the way, you get the sense that your spiritual interest is no longer straightly speaking from your own. You start to see that your spiritual instinct rises from somewhere deeper than the ego which is not as limited as the ego. Since then I am opening myself deeper and deeper to the experiences not from illusory-self (ego) point of view but from the deeper inner source, the essence.
I highly regard the transmission of enlightened energies through the masters and through sacred places like temples, shrines, rivers, mountains. So in my travels I take my chances to visit and rest by their presence. I am more and more drawn into the concept of Love in Sufi Tradition. Poetry is explicitly mesmerising me as well as the great texts of enlightened masters. Compared to former times I am reading less and practicing more as I know the real knowledge reveals itself only through direct experience.
Apart from momentary practices and inquiries, meditation is my main practice which is enabling me to engage consciousness in the discovery of Being. After extended explorations by the great guidances of my teachers and my soulful commitment, my practice became simplified and refined. When I say meditation I mean the ritualised way of deep inner listening that is the core of the discovery of Being. Having pleasant experiences for ourselves like peace, love or well-being can be the aim for meditation but actually true meditation can offer an immense wisdom that is way more than all these. This investigation I am pointing out is deeper than all the common mindfulness practices which are useful but at the same time just the beginning or the surface of our discoveries. And when they are not grasped truely they can unfortunately reinforce our conditionings mostly on ourselves. Then our meditation doesn’t have a chance to help us break through the self-centered perspective.
Regardless of the differentiated names given to meditation, here I am refering to the fundamental foundation of meditation in which we flip the whole perspective around and look at it from the standpoint of our true nature, not from the meditator. In this way, deeper practice of meditation becomes the art of returning consciousness back to its source. Then we become to be conscious of the touchpoints of our true nature which I believe is the beginning of true meditation.
With each breath, the journey is ongoing. Even it is demanding at times, I am devotedly loving to live in the state of discovery of Being. It is an everlasting, nonlinear learning and awakening process.