A Paradox of the Direct Path Resolved by the Dream Metaphor
There is a strange and interesting paradox (to the mind) about the so-called “Direct Path” to “spiritual awakening”:
One sees teachers that talk about (or are examples of) the “direct path” – or so-called Neo-Advaita* teachers – and yet it almost always turns out they were long-term seekers and spiritual aspirants, practitioners for many years of what they call a “progressive” path, before they “saw” something, and realized they never needed to go through all that, really. They were able to kick out the progressive scaffolding – and any other buttress work – that got them there, so to speak: the “there” being no-where but Here.
So was it necessary to do all that seeking and practicing “on the path” or not? Well it seemed to be, for them at least… And to their credit, they want to save you time and tell you that, for example, meditating for 13 years is unnecessary, and painful on the butt. Yet they did it, and some would try and argue it was good preparation. Proponents like Rick Archer endlessly repeat how the preparation of a spiritual practice like meditation (to purify oneself, clear the mind, etc.) makes one more ready to receive grace. Is that really true? Yes and no… now, keep an open mind here… let’s explore.
In addition, each “path” for every character is unique – and some more unique than others – without really being special or superior. Thus one cannot say there is no rule or single way to get there, which is Here.
Indeed, each character in this dream has to awaken from their own dream in their own way.
Why? Because it is 100% subjective. There is nothing absolutely objective. There is only relatively objective, relative to something else that is relatively objective. To see what I mean, see if this helps makes sense of it all in regards to the dream characters:
In the dream analogy, this character that is “me” (apparently) is suddenly seen – and in a more and more ongoing way – as only a character, an action figure so to speak, both real and unreal. In this indescribable “detachment”, a kind of transparency, the totality is seen as real, and all that’s appearing to happen is real as a whole, yet any particular “thing” is known to come and go, is just another form on the screen so to speak: a screen where there is no other – there is not a screen and what appears – they are one (and it is All there is).
These “others” cannot be awakened as characters in the dream any more than a character in a night dream could: even if they acted like they “got it” that they were just dream characters, they would still be merely made from the substance of the dream so to speak, with no independent reality of their own. When you wake up from the night dream, poof, there go all the characters that thought they were awake.
So too here, in this waking dream, there is no separate independent character to awaken by their own separate will or awareness.
A strange fact, isn’t it?
The dream metaphor resolves the paradox of the direct path teacher who prepared themselves. Do you see how?
Ask yourself this about the waking-state-as-dream: who had the dream?
* Neo-Advaita: the term is used in different ways by different speakers, depending on how they see their own Advaita – they make a comparison, a division, to set themselves apart and higher, or relative to different views of what is “traditional” in comparison to what they see as “neo”. For example, those who adhere to a more traditional formulations such as those of Adi Shankara, may view what they call “the satsang movement” as “neo”, and lump in teachers like Francis Lucille and Rupert Spira (a student of Francis’) with that. However, I first heard the term from Francis and Rupert calling characters like Jim Newman and Tony Parsons and the like “Neo”!