20 Spiritual Tools You Can Use On Your Path, by Ricky Cobb III
1. Humor as healing energy/remedy. “One thing you must be able to do in the midst of any experience is laugh. And experience should show you that it isn’t real, that it’s a movie. Life doesn’t take you seriously, so why take it seriously.” – Richard Rose
2. Forgetting yourself. Absorption in activity or concern for others.
3. Remembering yourself. Usually after a period of forgetting yourself. “I am” (Gurdjieffian) exercises, Harding experiments, Feeling into the body, etc. Move out of thinking and look or feel what is actually happening in and around you. Stop the imagination/daydreaming.
4. Put questions to the test. At the start, questions of finders can be helpful. Later, use your own questions. How can I test this out or find out if it is true or not? Test your ideas and beliefs. Compare and contrast the ideas and see if they match reality. Experiment and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there or ask someone else’s perspective on something you always thought was true and hadn’t thought of to question.
5. Question everything. What you can’t see is what is too close to you to be seen by you. Therefore, what has been unquestioned is what is taken for granted or what you are unaware of or cannot yet see. What is seeing? What does the questioning? Distance can be gained by questioning what isn’t real. Reality withstands questioning.
6. Make it your own. Franklin Merrell-Wolff mentioned he made a modification of his own and that was a key. Give your personal twist to your practices, put yourself into whatever you do. Enjoy it, love it even. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in some way.
7. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up. This path requires a small amount of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results). It might not be the 20th time but the 21st time you hear/see/do something that it takes effect or becomes clear within you. Sticktoitiveness.
8. Make a commitment to the Truth. The Essential part of you is already committed. Bring action to your commitment or make it real in some way.
9. Can’t choose between two seemingly equal choices? Pick one and go with it. Even if you fail you will have succeeded at eliminating a wrong choice.
10. Perception and perspective. As you see it so it is. See it good, it is good. See it bad it is bad. It is bad, because you see it bad. It is good because you see it good. Discover the connection between ideas of things and things ‘themselves.’ There are limits to this, of course, but you must discover where they are and how far they go.
11. The mind is like the body. It can be full or stuffed from over indulgence. Too many ideas can be like fat and cause sluggishness. Slow down rest in silence and quiet. Let the mind burn away what it has learned or is chewing on. Meditation, physical work or exercise where the mind is free to wander are good to allow this processing to occur.
12. Same goes for the body. Lack of exercise will cause sluggishness in the body as well as the mind. Exercising the body will allow the mind to be free. They are interconnected and a healthier body will lead to a healthier mind. By intentionally introducing stress to the body in a controlled manner with exercise, you will take life’s uncontrolled stresses better by being used to the body’s stress response. In fact, it may even make you more efficient and better able to respond to whatever is thrown at you. Willingly undergoing adversity is taking responsibility for life, good and bad. And you’ll feel better.
13. Acceptance. Relax in the present moment putting aside judgments, worries, and thoughts. Acknowledge the reality of what is, as it is what’s not false (like the worries). If you cannot accept something do what you can to change it if it is within your power to do so. If it isn’t within your power develop the power or pray to a higher power. Trust in your prayers or own ability or the specific combination of the two. “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” -St. Augustine
14. Should isn’t always what is. What you think should happen and what actually does happen aren’t the same. Learn what your expectations are so you can drop them.
15. How? The answer to how is yes. From the title of a book I haven’t read. The title is enough. How? By any means be necessary. If it’s important you’ll find a way or means to make it happen.
16. Why….? Any why question can be answered that there is no why, only what is. This means that an answer to why wouldn’t be sufficient to change your being; it would only temporally satisfy your intellect. Go beyond thought or kill your mind by seeing between thoughts. What is there?
17. Intuit. Feel before you think. But don’t forget to think too! The combination is common sense or practical right mindedness.
18. Triangulate. Richard Rose’s Jacob’s Ladder and Herbert Benoit’s Conciliatory Principle. Study opposites and see where you are in relation. The point isn’t to find the middle spot between opposites and stay there but to back up the swinging arm of the pendulum to the still fulcrum point.
19. Don’t confuse levels. A Course In Miracles talks about confusion of levels. This would be like taking some spiritual advice literally without understanding it might refer to the absolute level rather than the relative level. An example of that might be the saying “nothing needs to be done” and so you interpret that to mean you don’t have to do anything. Doing still needs to occur but the problem is with the identification here. If you’re still a body and stop doing things that body will be in for a lot of trouble. Another example might be taking practical specific advice for you and confusing it as some abstract nebulous thing that must occur on a ‘spiritual’ level rather than on a relative ‘normal’ level. Use common sense about what your next step is.
20. Group-work. Work with others to be a mirror and allow them to be one for you. While there is no specific recipe or instructions one can follow to become enlightened (or find what you really are) and every path is individual and unique, specific to each person, you can still work together with your fellow seekers to compare notes, discuss ideas, provide support or warnings and give inspiration or suggestions to one another. It may save you time or trouble on your path.
Ricky Cobb III