The usual concept of 'spiritual growth' presupposes a forward movement – from where you are to a more desirable state or goal called enlightenment, God or whatever.
The age in the book will turn your ideas of the spiritual life upside down. He insists that on the spiritual path there is nothing to practice, only something to understand. Indeed, he maintains that there is no such thing as a spiritual path. If a spiritual way has to organise itself into a system or requires practices for its fulfilment, it is no longer the way of freedom.
The way of the Divine is a pathless one. If you listen to the sage, we go beyond the mind, beyond mindfulness, beyond dogma and rituals, beyond all the means and path that are offered to us nut are not our own, and walk a path that no one else has waked.
So this whole spiritual life and practice is all an immense cosmic joke on us when we realise that, after all our travelling, we come back home to ourselves and find within what we searched without. It is then that we wake up to the tragic comedy of all our efforts and the irony of all our practices, prayers and penances.
Dr. Francis Valloor is an author and international speaker. His life long quest brought him in contact with many wonderful spiritual teachers, friends and several masters and sages such as Anthony de Mello. It was he who set him on the path of Awareness. After de Mello's death, Francis worked as the director of Sadhana Institute in Lonavla, India for fourteen years before spending two years as a visiting scholar at the University of Natre Dame. Curr3ently he lives in Dublin, Ireland where he works as a Clinical Psychologist in private practice and conducts Awareness workshops and retreats. He is the author of A Dewdrop in the Ocean – Wisdom Stories for Turbulent Times (2009) and The Ocean in the Dewdrop – Awakening the Sage Within (2010).
The spiritual life of often compared to a journey. Many people believe that there are goals to attain and some paths to walk in order to get there. Perhaps that is how things are but people take these things are but people take these things a bit too seriously and sometimes even literally.
Perhaps that is not how things are. There is no such thing as the 'spiritual' life. There is only life. What if there are no goals, and there are no paths? All this talk of spiritual, journey, and paths are all human attempts at transposing the literal over the metaphorical. After all, if we are to communicate, we need language and accepts its limitations about an aspect of life about which we attempt to communicate. We have to use those words and metaphors until we realise there is no path, no journey and no goal. There is This and Now.
On this journey, imagine walking with turtles. Consider the possibilities and limitations. Think of what it could do to the turtles and the walker. That should be a mindfulness challenge at its best. It will certainly make mindfulness come out is shell and meet life.
The stories in this book have been made possible because of a large number of people and over a long period of time. Contact with them has helped in the creation or re-presentation of these stories. I was privileged to meet and interact with a large number of them in different countries. They have been the sources of living wisdom as have also been the many men and women of other places, times and tradition who have been the bearers of humanity's treasure of wisdom. That is why these stories carry the wisdom of those like Ramana Maharshi, J Krishnamurti, Ramesh Balsekar, Kabir, Meister Eckart, Anthony de Mello, Joseph Campbell and many others. Gratitude is owed to all of them for what I have gained through my understanding of them.
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