I will be presenting an overview of the talk I gave last week in Oslo of what I called The Five Spiritual Keys, the main foundation we have to have in our being to make any real progress on this path. But in the last week I have added a few more items to the list of 5.
So the first key is HONESTY. Now what does honesty mean in the spiritual area. It is not about how much you reveal or confront people on the street, or acquaintances or whatnot. This is about first of all how honest you are with yourself. About what you are feeling, what you are actually experiencing (which is what most spirituality is designed to hide from, people use spirituality to not have to look into what personal or world suffering is) so you have to stay alert to notice what is coming up and be honest to look at it clearly. It also means to be honest with your closest spiritual friends. The only way you can at times see what is going on inside, is to have an honest external mirror to help show you. And if both are being honest more can be seen than any one individual can see.
One thing about the early days of country music, is the great deep honestly in some of the songs. Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and the like, what they have written comes from their own grief and experiences- and then are added with a singer (often the writer) who can bring out the experience via the tone of their voice. If either the singer of the writer have not had the experience being shared, and are not going into the depth of honest about it- the song will just die…it will have no real power. The same goes for early blues music, where the southern blacks could pour out the feelings of their hardships and poverty into a real and powerful sound that all those who came to listen to could relate to.
Ok so how does that relate to current spirituality and honesty? Well I love 50’s and 60’s Rock and Roll. From the Beach Boys to Motown to Doo Wop. Love the sound and the beat, makes you feel good. But when you dig into it, how much honesty is their in the songs? Not that much, or a little bit, spruce up with some nice sounds and endings. To me 50’s and early 60 Rand R is like modern spirituality, the thing that makes you feel good, get away from your troubles, feel all will be ok. And like everything there is a place for that. But to keep up with the honesty side of it, you need that late 60’s and 70’s folk sound, or the Blues of Muddy Waters or the songs of Hank Williams. That is not to say that other forms of music did not evolve into some more honest song writing in time, this is just a general statement making a point.
Without that reminder of the real way things are here, then you can get mentally lost in an illusion that does not match the honestly of this place. Hard times, difficulty and challenge are a big part of the spiritual path if there is going to be progress. To get to deeper and deeper levels of Truth about oneself and reality, means there are going to be some very strong inner and outer gates that will be waiting to trap you. As long as you live in distraction, the challenges will never be seen, dealt with and put past- they will stay indefinitely while you pretend all is well. The view of honestly allows to see what is, and what can change or transform, and how to do it. There is power in honesty, and the more honest you become, the more power can be found.
One of the key points of great honesty is to admit just how little you know. The more you think you know, the more answers you think you already have- the less open you will be, the less you will search. The study of reality is one of these you need to be honest about. To see how strange it is, how dreamlike it is- and if you ignore what you see and experience then you will miss the key elements of the examination of reality. It may be a dream but that dream must be seen through and questioned as to how it is formed, kept, and operates. And this can’t happen when people are staring at their phones for 8 hours a day. I took the train home yesterday. 45 other people were on my car. I counted. 31 of them were staring at their phones while I was counting, 8 had headphones on (that were attached to their phone), 2 were sleeping, 2 were talking with each other while 2 more, just 2- were you know just looking out the window or around at their surroundings- having some sort of awareness. 2 out of 45! How much honestly do you think is going on with all those people.
How much honesty is going on right now with you?