Walking the path requires a willingness to be disturbed

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Ascended Master Gautama Buddha through Kim Michaels, January 7, 2023. This dictation was given during the 2023 New Year’s webinar – Being a spiritual person in a chaotic world.

I AM the Ascended Master Gautama Buddha. Padmasambhava and I have taken up counsel to see what we might give you, who are our direct students, to help you in this specific time. We have also looked at what we might give that could help other spiritually open-minded people and what could help the planet in general. Naturally, by so many of you connecting via the internet, giving your decrees and invocations in unison, you are also tremendously helping the planet. 

Now, what can be said about life on earth that has any meaning for the greatest number of people? Well, what could be said is that life is difficult, life is a challenge, or as I said 2500 years ago, life is suffering, the First Noble Truth. This is probably something that most people on earth would agree upon. If you step back and ask another question: “What is life on earth, what could it be compared to?,” then here is one possible way to look at it. 

How it feels to come into embodiment

You will know that in the old days they had these big diving suits, a heavy waterproof suit that you put on, a big metal helmet that had only very small openings that you could see out of. I know that most of you of course have never worn such a suit, but still, you can probably imagine that putting on such a suit feels quite restraining. It is heavy, it is bulky, it is stiff, it is difficult to move in it. Then, of course, you are tied to the surface with a rope and with a hose through which is pumped air into the helmet. Imagine what happens when you go under the water in such a suit. You already feel restricted by the suit, but once you are under the water there is pressure on your body from the water pressing against the suit. The deeper you go the more pressure. At the same time on the surface, you can at least see quite far through the small openings in the helmet, but once you are in the water, depending on the clarity of the water, you cannot see very far. Now consider that in order to go under the water you have to wear weights. It can be boots that are weighted down, you can have weights in your belts, in order to even go to the bottom of the water. Well, this is what it is like for a spiritual being, a non-material being, call it the soul or whatever you want to call it, to come into physical embodiment.

Not only are you wearing one diving suit, you are wearing four. When as a being you descend into embodiment, you first descend into what we have called the identity body where your identity is centered. Now, this identity that you have in your present lifetime may be very much affected by the environment into which you were born, the culture, the way the people there look at themselves, even what we have called the collective consciousness. You were brought up to identify yourself a certain way.

Then, the next body, the next diving suit, you put on is the mental body, where you have the way you look at life, the way you look at the ‘how’ of life, whereas the identity body might be more the ‘what.’ The mental body is what can you do, what you cannot do, how do you need to do things and many subtle ways that you look at life and define what kind of a person you are, what your options are, what your choices are. 

This is the mental body where you can argue for particular viewpoints, you can argue against particular viewpoints. You can see that the mental bodies of different people can come up with very different conclusions. They might even look at the same ideas, the same evidence. One concludes that there is no God, there is nothing beyond the material universe. Another concludes that there must be something beyond the material universe and of course, a myriad of other questions that people can disagree on. This is very much something that takes place in the mental body, but of course it starts in the identity body because some people are brought up and have accepted the identity as religious people, others as non-religious people or a variety of other identities that people take on.

Then, of course the third body you take on is the emotional body where your feelings are centered. Again, depending on where you grew up, you have been brought up to take on certain patterns that determine how people in your culture react to certain situations. Some people are very passive, they have a tendency to submit to authority, are not wanting to make decisions, not feeling they have any right to demand anything. Others are more aggressive, feel they have a right to demand or even impose their will upon others. Others feel they have a right to become angry, some even feel they have an obligation to subdue their feelings and not become angry or show any other feelings. Again, a myriad of responses. 

Then, of course, finally there is the physical body which is the most restraining of the four because it is the densest. What you can say is that for a non-material being to come into these four bodies is enormously restraining. This is just the four bodies you took on in this lifetime in order to be in embodiment. Of course, Buddhism and many spiritual philosophies from around the world recognize reincarnation. It is not just what you have taken on in this lifetime from the culture in which you grew up. You carry something with you from previous lifetimes where you also have taken on a certain identity, certain mental patterns, certain emotional patterns and here you could say that at least the physical body is new every time but still there can be patterns from the past that determine how your physical body is, how it functions, even what diseases it is prone to. 

You see here that when you step back and look at life you can see that once you are inside these four bodies, these four diving suits and once you have gone under the water that is the collective consciousness, the energy field of earth, you cannot help but feel restrained. It is simply impossible. It is impossible to be in embodiment on earth without feeling this enormous pressure. 

What really causes suffering

This is a deeper meaning of the First Noble Truth that life is suffering. Life on a planet like earth with the density of matter, the density of the collective consciousness, the many conflicts that are happening constantly between people is suffering. You cannot escape it because this is the environment you are in. What can you then do? Well, you can of course do many things and we have given many  teachings but let us here focus on the Second Noble Truth. Suffering springs from what has often been translated as wrong desire. However, the deeper meaning, the higher understanding, is that it is not ‘wrong’ in opposition to ‘right.’

It is a specific type of desire that causes suffering and there are of course, various levels of understanding that can be given. What I am saying here is not an attempt to invalidate the way most Buddhists have for the past 2500 years interpreted the Buddha’s teachings. It is not an attempt to say that they are wrong in their interpretation. But what you do see, not only in Buddhism but in most religions and even in some non-religious philosophies on the planet is that people have this tendency to define something that is right in opposition to something that is wrong.

This is of course, the essence of the dualistic consciousness. There are two opposite polarities but they are not just opposites as for example, black and white. There is a value judgment associated with them and this means that people see one polarity being right and the other polarity being wrong. This means that many Buddhists throughout the ages have looked at desires this way and they have attempted to come up with a definition that says these desires are the wrong desires that the Buddha talked about and these other desires are the right desires that the Buddha talked about. But this is a superficial level of understanding at best. 

One could also say it is not what the Buddha meant at all. It is not what I was talking about 2500 years ago because I gave the teachings in the Dhammapada about the ‘pairs.’ When you talk about right and wrong, you have created a pair and this traps you in this dualistic state of consciousness. In fact, it is this dualistic state of consciousness that is the cause of suffering. Now, I said that you cannot descend into embodiment on a planet like earth without feeling this pressure but this is because the collective consciousness on earth is so very strongly affected by duality, by the pairs, by the dualistic polarities, by the value judgment: good and evil, right and wrong and so forth. 

Now, many people of course in the world will not be able to grasp this. They will not be able to grasp duality. This is where as spiritual teachers we are always facing a certain limitation. We might say, to go back to the analogy of the person wearing a diving suit, that people on earth are wearing this heavy diving suit, they are weighted down by all kinds of things so they are at the bottom of the water. What is weighing them down? Well, their physical bodies, their emotional patterns, their mental beliefs, their mental holy cows and even their sense of identity. These contents of the emotional, mental and identity bodies are the weights on your diving suit that are holding you down to the bottom of the ocean.

The challenge for spiritual teachers

Here we have people on earth, they are in this very constraining suit of these four bodies weighted down at the bottom of the ocean. Depending on the clarity of the water where they live, they can only see so far. Yet here we are as spiritual teachers we, have freed ourselves from the weights, we have freed ourselves from the diving suit, we have risen above the surface of the water, we are up in the clear sunshine where we can see very, very far and here we are trying to communicate with people who are down at the bottom of the ocean, wearing this heavy suit and not being able to see more than three meters beyond their own nose. 

When you step back, and you can mentally step back from the diving suit, you can see the problem. We as spiritual teachers are experiencing a completely different reality than what most people are experiencing being at the bottom of the ocean. We are trying to tell people that there is an alternative to what they are going through. There is a different perspective, a different way to look at life and we are trying to tell them, first of all, that it is desirable to gain this greater perspective. We are even trying to tell them that although they cannot gain the complete perspective that we have when we are not in embodiment, they can at least attain somewhat of a wider perspective while they are in embodiment. 

But how many people can even lock in to this? How many people can even grasp that there is a different way to look at life than the one they have been brought up to look at life in this embodiment and what they have taken on in many past lifetimes? How many people can grasp this? 

What has happened, for example, with the philosophy of Buddhism and many other spiritual and religious teachings is of course, that here is a philosophy that is given from a higher perspective, a wider perspective than what most people have on earth. But people have not been able to step up and attain that perspective, which of course is not what you expect as a spiritual teacher. As a spiritual teacher you expect that people can follow a gradual path from their current level of awareness, their current perspective so they can gradually step-by-step expand their awareness, broaden their perspective and come at least closer to what you have as a spiritual teacher. Yet what inevitably happens, and it happens to all religions and spiritual philosophies, is that there are some people who are attracted to the philosophy and so they must (and they can do nothing else) approach it with their current level of consciousness. This means that they will inevitably project certain things upon the spiritual teaching. We can also say that as they take in the spiritual teaching from the outside, in order to reach their conscious minds, the spiritual teaching must be filtered through their emotional, mental and identity bodies, even their physical bodies and brains.

You could say that you are wearing these four diving suits and in the very center of these suits is you, the essence of who you are as a self-aware being. But you cannot see the world directly as it is, you can only see it through the four diving suits, the four bodies that form a filter. So, here is an impulse coming to you from the outside as a spiritual teaching, and in order to reach you as a conscious being who can think, make decisions, it must be filtered through these four bodies, these four levels of the mind. 

How can a spiritual teaching work?

Depending on what is in your four bodies before the teaching even reaches you, it has been filtered and colored. The question is: “How can a spiritual teaching work?” Well, it can work only if the you, that you are, understands the central dynamic of a spiritual teaching. What is the purpose of giving a spiritual teaching? The purpose is to show you that there is a way beyond your own mind, that you can go beyond your current perspective, your current level of consciousness, and that the teaching is meant as a tool for you to achieve this journey, this process of going beyond your present perception of the world, your present perception filter, your current way of looking at life.

If a person does not grasp this, what will happen? Well, the person will take the spiritual teaching and will now superimpose upon the teaching what it has in its three higher bodies. It will superimpose certain emotional patterns, certain mental patterns and a certain sense of identity. One typical outcome of this is that there are many people in the world who have a desire to feel superior to others. They will often then take a spiritual teaching and they will use whatever the teaching gives to construct this overlay upon the spiritual teaching that makes it seem like those who are followers of that teaching, those who are living up to this outer set of demands, following these rules, practicing these practices, that they are superior to those who are not in that teaching. 

You see virtually every religion on earth where the people feel that they are superior to those who are not in their religion. Many, many Buddhists feel this way. Of course, many Christians, Hindus, Muslims, what have you, feel the same way. And this is just one example among many of how people, when they do not grasp the central dynamic of a spiritual teaching, will superimpose the contents of their own emotional, mental and identity minds at the subconscious level upon the spiritual teaching. They are in essence pulling the teaching into their diving suit. 

I said that when you are in one of these diving suits you do have a hose that pumps air into the helmet but you also have a rope that ties you to the surface. What is a spiritual teaching? Well, it is the rope. The question is what are you going to do with that rope? You can see that many, many people around the world are not even aware that there is a rope. They are simply wandering around at the bottom of the ocean with their very limited perspective and they are looking for something. But many people who have found a spiritual teaching have realized: “Oh, here is a rope I can hold on to.” But now the question is: Do they understand the purpose of the rope? Do they say: “Oh, there must be something at the other end of the rope and if I pull myself up alongside the rope, I will get to that something at the other end?”

 And this of course is the purpose of the rope. You can pull yourself up, but those who do not understand the central dynamic of a spiritual teaching, they will do something else. They will pull the rope towards them until they have pulled all of the rope down to their level and wrapped it around themselves so that they often now, after entering a religious or spiritual teaching, they are even more restricted than in their original diving suit because now they have wound this rope that was meant to free them more tightly around themselves so they can barely move because now they have all these ideas of how a Buddhist or a Muslim or a Christian is supposed to behave or not behave, feel or not feel, think or not think, identify themselves or not identify themselves. 

The desire to escape the pressure

This is the situation on earth and this now brings us back to right desire. Wrong desire causes suffering therefore, people who have pulled the rope down to themselves reason that if they just identify what the right desires are and cultivate them, they must escape suffering. But this is not going to work. Many, many people, not only Buddhists, but from other spiritual and religious teachings, have proven that it will not work, but explaining why it will not work is impossible for people who have not understood that the purpose of a spiritual teaching is to help them see something that they cannot see right now, to help them see something that is beyond their present state of mind. 

What is the difference between an unenlightened person and an enlightened person? It is only one thing, the state of mind. In order to move towards enlightenment, (and the Eightfold Path is defined as a process of moving towards enlightenment) you have to start at your present level. You cannot jump from here to there in one giant leap, at least most people cannot. The Eightfold Path was given as a systematic gradual step-by-step process whereby people can approach enlightenment. There are many things to be said about this, which I will return to. But the basics of the Eightfold Path is there is a process that leads you from here to somewhere else.

What is that somewhere else? Well, it is, as I have said, where you have freed yourself from the limiting perspective you have right now and attained a broader perspective, a different state of mind. In other words, you can from one perspective say that the difference between an unenlightened person and an enlightened person is their level of awareness. And you can define then a gradual path that leads from your present level awareness towards higher and higher levels of awareness until you reach some state where you are free from the most common human limitations. 

We could in one sense define that the desires are what causes your suffering, but what kind of desires? And this requires us to take a deeper look. Most people, because they are wearing this diving suit, feel restricted. They feel they are up against a set of limitations for what they can do or what they cannot do. They often feel forced to do many things because of circumstances. 

At the most basic level you have to feed your physical body. And unless you were Prince Siddhartha who grew up in a palace where everything was given to him that he needed, you most often have to work in order to feed your physical body, so right there many people feel forced by this. But there are many other things that make people feel forced. Many pressures on the emotional body. Many patterns in the mental mind where people feel forced to deal with certain ideas. And of course, the sense of identity where you are under pressure to identify yourself as part of this group or that group. And maybe even that you are part of this group which means you are against this other group and you have to fight them and struggle against them. We can say that many people feel they are under pressure. And what do they desire to do? What are the desires they have? Well, they desire to remove the pressure or at least to find a relief from the pressure. You have many, many desires that are related to the pressure that people feel in their present situation, whatever it may be, depending on where you have grown up.

You have a set of desires, you want to escape certain limitations, you want to have a relief from certain pressures. The question is: “Can such desires be fulfilled?” And the answer is of course: yes and no. There are many people who have achieved some lowering of the pressure of existence. Many people for example, in certain parts of the world, have an education, they have a job that gives them a stable and steady income where they do not have to worry about the necessities of life. That is all taken care of. But does that mean they are free from pressure? They are free from some pressure but certainly many people have other pressures that are weighing upon them. 

You see in general that you can achieve some freedom from certain pressures of life but it is very, very difficult to achieve freedom from all pressures of life. And why is that? Well, it is because you are seeking freedom from the pressures but where are the pressures located? Where are the pressures experienced? Now you may say: “I am in this diving suit under the water and the weight of the water is putting pressure on me, so, by the mere fact that I am in embodiment on a dense planet like earth with the density of the collective consciousness there is an external pressure upon me.” And this is true, there is. 

The central understanding of a spiritual teaching

The central understanding of a spiritual teaching is that there is a difference between the external pressure and your internal experience of it. Again, many people throughout the ages have failed to grasp this. They have studied a spiritual teaching that contained these ideas in whatever form they were given, given the particular time and culture in which they were given. But they have failed to grasp that there is a difference between the external pressure and your internal experience of it. What does this mean? 

Well, you are feeling the pressure from the world. Now, you find a spiritual teaching and here is again one of these dilemmas for us as spiritual teachers. We are above the pressure. We do not feel the pressure. We experience how much more free and joyful we are because we are not feeling this pressure. We realize what pressure you are under. But we also see that many people are so burdened by the pressure that they cannot think very far ahead. We have to give them some kind of motivation that motivates them to even study this spiritual teaching we are giving, and to engage in this process of following the teaching, applying the teaching. 

What motivates people that are under this enormous pressure? Well, they want to be free of the pressure. The spiritual teaching must make some implicit promise that you can be free of the pressure. Of course, this promise is true—and at the same time, it is untrue. Because, if you look at the spiritual teaching and as I said, pull the rope down to your level and tie it around yourself, then the promise is not true because the spiritual teaching will not free you from the pressure. Why? Because the pressure that you experience is not the external pressure. 

What did I say earlier? Any impulse that comes to you goes through your emotional, mental and identity body before it reaches the you, the conscious being inside the four suits. So does the pressure. There is a pressure from the outside world, from the collective consciousness. There is no denying it. I am in no way trying to say that there is no pressure on you. But your experience of the pressure takes place inside your mind, and it is a matter of what emotional patterns do you have, what thoughts do you have, what beliefs and what is your sense of identity. This is what creates your experience of the pressure. The pressure is there. But it is how you experience the pressure that affects you. 

How to use a spiritual teaching

Again, here you are. You are in embodiment on a very difficult planet. You find a spiritual teaching. How can you make use of the teaching? Let us say your goal is, you want relief from some of the pressure you are feeling. And now you are saying: “Here is the teaching that makes this promise that I can find peace of mind or enlightenment or nirvana.” But how can this happen? Is it likely that by you finding a particular spiritual teaching and deciding to study and follow that teaching, that you can remove the external pressure upon you? Well, of course it is not. Because, that external pressure is partly created by the density of matter but also by the density of the collective consciousness, which involves all other human beings on the planet. 

How is you finding and following a spiritual teaching going to change this external condition? How will you, sitting somewhere in a Buddhist monastery with your legs crossed and giving chants or studying sutras, going to change the density of matter and the collective consciousness? This has never been a promise made by a spiritual teaching that came from beings who have freed themselves from the pressure, from the diving suits. Those who have attained freedom would never make such a promise. What is the only remaining option? It is, that following a spiritual teaching will not remove the pressure, it will change the way you experience the pressure. There is nothing else that a spiritual teaching can do. It can only change your inner experience. It cannot change the external situation.

This is, of course, a statement with some qualifications because everything is an expression of these interdependent originations, which I will talk more about later. Therefore, by you changing your consciousness, you will also change your external situation. But for now, we need to realize that no matter how much you change your consciousness, you will not change the basic fundamentals of the density of matter and the density of the collective consciousness. This overall pressure you cannot expect to change. But what you can expect is that by following a spiritual teaching, you can change the way this affects you, how you experience life on earth. And this is the core of any spiritual teaching. This is the reality of any spiritual teaching. The primary goal of any spiritual teaching is to help you identify the weights that are weighing down your diving suits at your emotional, mental and identity level, help you look at these, bring them into conscious awareness and say: “Do I want to keep dragging this around with me?”  And if you say no, you let it go.

The impossible desire

 What is constructive desire and non-constructive desire? Well, the desire that is based on your present level of awareness and your desire to escape the pressure that you are feeling, is a non-constructive desire because it keeps you tied to your present level of awareness. It works against your growth towards higher levels of awareness. How can it be otherwise? As long as that weight is in your diving suit, in the belt of your diving suit, it will weigh you down, because gravity will pull on it. The gravitational force of the collective consciousness will pull on it. It can be no other way, it is simply basic physics, basic natural law. Only, it is a physics that is beyond the material level but incorporates all of the levels of the material world, the emotional, mental and identity. 

Like attracts like, there is a gravitational pull, and it will pull on anything that you have in your emotional, mental and identity minds. It can be no other way. What is it that most people, when they first find a spiritual teaching, desire to do? They desire to escape the pressure by using their present contents of the emotional, mental and identity bodies. In other words, what have I said? Your experience of the pressure is determined by the contents of your three bodies, the three levels of your mind. It is because of those contents that you are experiencing the pressure the way you currently experience it. 

Now, you find a spiritual teaching that makes a promise that you can escape the pressure. And you are thinking that by just studying the outer teaching and performing the outer practices, I can escape the pressure, without doing anything about the contents of my emotional, mental and identity bodies. In other words, you can escape the experience without doing anything about the very conditions that are producing your experience. 

It cannot be done. It never could be done. There is no shortcut that you can ever come up with that will make this possible. It is an impossible desire. Therefore, from a certain perspective, we could say it is a wrong desire. It is certainly what I meant with the teaching I gave 2,500 years ago. You have to refine your desires, so that you do not desire some kind of shortcut to escape suffering, to escape the pressure, without looking at yourself and your own mind. Seeing the conditions that are creating your experience of the pressure—this is the only realistic way to look at a spiritual teaching. 

The need for continuity

Now, what prevents people from grasping this or what is meant in the Second Noble Truth about desires? Well, it is what is in the Third Noble Truth, their attachments. People have a need that is not generally recognized by society, even by the modern psychological profession. We can call it a need for security, a need for safety, but it would be more constructive to call it a need for continuity. 

This need springs from your reaction to the pressure, the external pressure. If you look at this from a certain perspective, you could say that all human beings have the potential for what is often called a mental breakdown. More and more people, even in the modern world where they do not have the physical challenges of maintaining an existence, are experiencing these mental breakdowns. Things become too much, too overwhelming and they cannot deal with life. They cannot function as it is considered normal in their society. What is behind this? Well, what is behind it is the very simple fact that you live on a planet where the pressure that you are exposed to in your physical body, your emotional body, your mental body, your identity body, is so big that nobody can deal with it. 

You cannot mentally, psychologically, survive the pressure you are under on this planet if you have not found a way to protect yourself from the pressure. In other words, the pressure itself is too great for people to bear. Now, why do many people then manage to live some kind of normal existence? Because, you also have the ability to shut out some of the pressure. This is what I mean when I talk about you have certain things in your emotional, mental and identity bodies that act as a filter between you and the world around you. You have these filters so you can shut down, you can suppress certain feelings, you can suppress certain thoughts, you can suppress a certain pressure on your identity and therefore, you are not overwhelmed, you can function. 

What we can say is that the vast majority of people have built this sense of equilibrium that allows them to function normally. But they are constantly under pressure and therefore, there is always the risk that something can happen that breaks the equilibrium, people become overwhelmed, and it is just too much for them. This mechanism of the need to maintain this equilibrium, is then what causes people to be attached. There are certain emotional patterns that you are attached to because even though you do not realize this consciously, you sense that they protect you against these overwhelming feelings. Same way with mental patterns. There are, for example, many religious people who are very attached to certain patterns that prevent them from having doubts about their religion. This is what causes attachment. 

Now this was a teaching that could not be given 2500 years ago because the collective consciousness was much lower. And very few people, hardly any people, would have been able to grasp it. Because of the advances in the modern world in many fields, not just psychology but also psychology, it is now possible to give a deeper teaching. Basically, we can say that most people have, in order to survive psychologically on this planet, built certain defenses that protect them against being overwhelmed. But these defenses also prevent you from going beyond your present level of awareness. We can say that the diving suit keeps you dry and the weights keep you upright. But it also keeps you inside the diving suit and at the bottom of the ocean, so here is another of these dichotomies, dilemmas, enigmas, about the spiritual path. In order to change your present experience of life, you have to look at some of these very things that are both protecting you and restricting you and this is precisely what the Eightfold Path is designed to help people do. Of course, the Eightfold Path is not the only way to do this. There are many other ways that are valid ways for describing the process, but my attempt here has been to break down this process as much as at all possible, make it as universal as possible. 

Understanding what the Eightfold Path is designed to do

Let us give a summary. Suffering is caused by the pressure you are exposed to. The pressure leads to desires to escape the pressure, to have a relief from the pressure. They are desires that cannot free you from the pressure because if you have a desire to escape the pressure without looking at what causes the pressure, which is your internal conditions, then those desires cannot free you. Engaging in the true process of the spiritual path, whether you call it the Eightfold Path or something else, requires you to look at some of these mechanisms that from a certain perspective protects you against being overwhelmed by the pressure, but from another perspective keeps you in the pressure indefinitely. You are protected in the diving suit, but you will never escape the diving suit unless you look at what it is that keeps you weighted down.

This is what the Eightfold Path is truly designed to do. It is not an external measure that changes the external conditions so that you now do not have the conditions that cause you to feel the pressure or the suffering. The Eightfold Path is not designed to be some magical process that changes your external conditions. It is designed to be a gradual, systematic process for changing your internal conditions so that you change your experience of the external conditions. 

This is the essence, not only of Buddhism, but of every other constructive spiritual philosophy. Those who grasp this will make progress on the Eightfold Path, or whatever you name the path. Those who do not grasp this will actually use the spiritual teaching to tie themselves more firmly to their present level of awareness. They will reinforce their perception filter and they might go around feeling they are very special compared to those who are not in their teaching, feeling they are very advanced because they have attained this high degree of understanding, intellectual understanding, of the teaching. They have also done all of these practices for so many years that they come to feel they must have attained some progress. 

Now, we need to ask a question. Is it possible to find a valid spiritual teaching, to study it and to diligently practice whatever it prescribes without making progress? The answer is, of course, yes. And let us first look at the three bodies. In your emotional body you have certain patterns of emotions that cause you to react certain ways in certain situations. This is the weight you have in your emotional body. You have various weights that are various reactionary patterns. What is the way to be free and to rise on the path towards higher levels of awareness? It is to look at these weights, examine them, examine why you react this way, what is behind this reaction, what is the belief behind it, and then consciously dismiss it. That way you take one weight out of your belt and let it drop to the bottom of the ocean. You are lighter, it is therefore easier for you and you actually come up a step on the gradual path.

We can say also that you are under the water in your diving suits but you come upon a ladder. You grasp on to the ladder, and when you throw out one weight, you can take one step up the ladder. But until you have thrown out that weight, you can hold on to the ladder all you want but you cannot take that next step. This is the true way to make progress—to look at yourself, look at your emotional patterns and dismiss some of them. But what have I said earlier? People are under so much pressure that they cannot psychologically function. They have learned to set up a mechanism that suppresses certain emotions. Many, many people, not only in Buddhism but in other spiritual and religious traditions, have used the spiritual teaching to reinforce this mechanism of suppressing certain emotions. 

You will see, in almost every spiritual movement, there are certain people who have been in that movement for a long time, who have diligently practiced whatever practice it has and who walk around with a certain aura of calmness. They walk slowly, they have certain movements, they talk a certain way. It seems like their emotions are always under control, are always calm. But in many cases, they have simply used the teaching to reinforce or build new mechanisms for suppressing their emotions and this does not lead to progress. You can say: “But these people are experiencing life differently than from before they found the teaching, so have they not made progress in changing their inner experience? You just said that the central aspect of life on earth is your inner experience, your life experience. And these people have clearly changed it.”

Well, yes, but what I am saying here is that there are two ways to change your life experience. You can suppress or you can dissolve. You can suppress your feelings and you can attain some sense of inner peace and calmness but it will be fragile, it can easily be disturbed. This is one reason why you see that in many religious and spiritual traditions, certain people insulate and isolate themselves from the world, for example by living in monasteries or living in certain communities or whatever you have. They can maintain their fragile sense of inner peace because in their outer environment they are rarely disturbed, it is rarely challenged. This is not what leads you to take the next steps up the ladder and it is something that can easily be disturbed when external conditions change. 

Many, many people, not only spiritual people but many people, have experienced, and in the last several years starting with the pandemic, now the war in Ukraine, then the economy, their sense of equilibrium has been disturbed. It is understandable. I am simply pointing out that if your sense of equilibrium can be disturbed by external conditions, it is because there is something you have not resolved and this comes from the mechanism I described. You have something that suppresses, which you have not resolved because you are attached to keeping that sense of equilibrium. 

You must be willing to be disturbed

What does this mean? It means very simply, in order to really grasp what the spiritual path is about, in order to really lock in to that path, you have to be willing to be disturbed. Now, I am not saying that you have to be willing to experience a mental breakdown or be overwhelmed, because the Eightfold Path and any other spiritual path, is designed to be gradual. It takes you gradually up the ladder without you being overwhelmed. But you have to be willing to be disturbed a little bit and this is where many, many people have not grasped the importance of this. 

Many people, if you look at your lives and look at your path, you can see that when you first found the spiritual teaching, you had a desire to have this inner peace. It is not an illegitimate desire, but it has caused many people to use the spiritual teaching to create certain parameters around their minds, where they think that they can achieve inner peace by suppressing their feelings instead of looking at them and dissolving them, dissolving their pattern. 

Why do you react with anger in certain situations? Anger is a feeling. It is a kind of energy but as I have explained, your emotional body is the lowest level of your mind. Above it is the mental, above it is the identity. Energy flows into your mind from your higher self. It enters first in the identity, then the mental, then the emotional. Your emotions do not just appear out of nowhere in the emotional body. They are the result of certain thought patterns you have in your mental body and even a sense of identity you have in the identity body. This is what gives you your current sense of equilibrium. 

Again, I am not finding fault with this. You can do nothing else on a planet like earth. You have to have a certain sense of identity. You have to have certain mental and emotional patterns in order to deal with your outer situation. But in order to make progress on the path towards enlightenment, or whatever you call a higher state of consciousness, you have to be willing to examine these patterns and you have to say: “Why do I respond with anger?” Well, it is because you had a certain expectation of what should or should not happen in your outer situation. That expectation was not met. But it is not really the fact that the expectation was not met that causes the anger. It is because, when the expectation was not met, your equilibrium was disturbed. Your equilibrium covered over a deeper sense of feeling powerless and when your sense of being powerless is stirred up, you feel anger. Anger is the default reaction against feeling powerless. Some people, in their anger, now take actions they normally would not have taken and in some cases, it helps them change the outer situation. In some cases, it only makes it worse. But in all cases, it reinforces the pattern. 

The real way out of this is to trace the feeling of being powerless and the expectations of what should and should not happen up through your emotional body, your mental body and to your identity body. What are the patterns you have that make you feel powerless, that make you feel that certain things should and should not happen? This is the path. The Eightfold Path is that you gradually, systematically, examine the patterns in your mind, bring them into conscious awareness. You take a look at them and say: “I see that this pattern protected me from being overwhelmed but why am I at risk of being overwhelmed? It is because there is a deeper pattern of how I relate to the world that I live in. I have a choice to make. I can continue to suppress and hope that this continues to work, but then I will not climb up the ladder. I will not actually walk the Eightfold Path, no matter how much I study the teachings or practice the practices.The alternative is, that I can actually realize what the Eightfold Path is about, and systematically examine my patterns, my reactions to the world.” 

I talked about those who have been in a spiritual teaching for a long time and I said that some have learned to suppress their feelings, so they always appear calm and collected and at peace, or in control. But there are also many people who have used the mental mind, the intellect, to study the teaching. And they have, now at the mental level, reinforced the patterns that allow them to maintain a sense of equilibrium at the mental level. This is something you do not see only in spiritual or religious teachings. You do in fact see many, many examples of people who have used the mental mind to create this sense of equilibrium. And what is it based on? It is based on the sense that they understand intellectually, analytically, rationally, how the world works and they think they have grasped certain patterns, certain natural laws, certain God-defined principles. And because they understand this, they think they can control the world, or at least their external situation. 

The outcome of this is that you have so many people who have created a mental idea of how the world is supposed to work and they are seeking to project this with the mental mind upon the universe. And they think they can reduce the functionings of the universe to these few simple rules and therefore, they feel they have the world in control. What they have done is, they have used the spiritual teaching, or it could be a political ideology such as communism, or even scientific materialism, to create this mental image of how the world works. But what did I say was the purpose of a spiritual teaching? It was to free you from your present state of awareness. That means freeing yourself from the patterns you have in your mental body. And again, those patterns protect you from, for example, being overwhelmed by doubts.

Many religious people have created these patterns that say: “Oh, this I do not have to think about. I do not have to think about anything that questions my spiritual and religious teaching. It is unnecessary because they are wrong, they cannot be right, so therefore, I can dismiss them without thinking about them.” This is what allows them to maintain that sense of equilibrium. But the problem is of course that the world is rather chaotic. People have many different beliefs and belief systems and religions and ideologies. There will always be something in the world that threatens your beliefs. 

How to transcend your current level of consciousness

Many people have also built this sense that as long as I study this spiritual teaching and perform the practices prescribed, I am guaranteed to reach the goal in the end. Many Buddhists to this day, and throughout the ages, have believed that: “If I study only the Buddha’s teachings, focus only on the Buddha’s teachings and I diligently practice the practices described by my version of Buddhism, I am guaranteed to reach enlightenment or nirvana. Because the Buddha was a true spiritual teacher and he made the promise that if I walk the Eightfold Path, I will reach enlightenment. And since the Buddha is a true spiritual teacher, that promise must be a true promise.” 

What did I explain earlier? We have to make a promise that appeals to people at their current level of consciousness. But you cannot take that promise, interpret it through your current level of consciousness, come up with a certain idea of how you are supposed to walk the Eightfold Path and then when you walk it, based on your current level of consciousness, this will guarantee that you transcend your current level of consciousness. It cannot be done. 

You cannot transcend your current level of consciousness by remaining at your current level of consciousness. How would this be possible? No matter how elaborate mental constructions you come up with, they will not help you transcend the perception filter you have in your mental body. You must be willing to be disturbed, to have doubt about at least one aspect of the current way you look at life. You must be willing to ask some difficult questions and to consider what is behind your current mental pattern. 

If you will not do this, you can again suppress all doubt and make yourself feel convinced that you are right but you are not climbing up to the next step on the ladder. You just stand where you are. You clutch your beliefs. And you become, perhaps during a lifetime, more and more convinced that you are right because there are other people around you who have the same mental patterns and you reinforce each other that you are the ones who have grasped the Buddha’s teaching. But you see what I have explained here. You are currently at a limited level of awareness. The Buddha is beyond limitations, has a level of awareness that is beyond any of the limitations that people have on earth. You will not reach the Buddha’s level unless you systematically, gradually, transcend your current limitations. It cannot be done. There is no way to do it. 

Where does this lead us? You are a spiritual person. You have studied a spiritual teaching for a long time. You have practiced the practices prescribed diligently for a long time. Have you not made progress? Well, most people have because they have been willing to look at something, examine it, let go of it. Some people have not because, as I said, they have used the spiritual teaching to reinforce their patterns. Many have reinforced their sense of identity that they are special compared to those who are not in that spiritual teaching, who cannot understand it the way they understand it, or who have not been as diligent in the practice. They reinforce the identity that they are special but this of course keeps them trapped in the diving suit. They may have changed their life experience in the sense that they feel more and more special, but they are not climbing up the ladder. 

What a spiritual movement cannot do for you

Most of you have made progress. But you can make more progress by becoming more conscious of what I have explained here—the real process of transcending your level of consciousness and that there is always this need to be disturbed. As I said earlier, many of you will recognize that when you first found a spiritual teaching, you thought: “Ah, now I have found what I was longing for. Now I have come home. This is where I really belong, in this teaching, in this community with like-minded people and when I stay here everything will be good. I will have that sense of inner peace that means I can cope with being on this planet.” 

Now many of you have experienced that you had great enthusiasm when you found your first spiritual teaching and movement. But then something happened that disturbed you, disappointed you. You suddenly saw that this was not what you thought it was. Some people have given up on the spiritual path because of it, others have found a way to go on. But have you fully grasped that there is no spiritual teaching or movement that will automatically give you what you desire? 

Many people have found one spiritual movement, been disappointed, but then they have found another one and they have reasoned: “This is it.” Or rather they have reasoned: “This must be it because I cannot bear to be disappointed again, therefore I will suppress anything that questions my second spiritual movement or my third, whatever it may be.” But the only way to make true progress is to use an outer teaching and an outer movement to question your sense of equilibrium. Now you may say: “But when I found my first spiritual teaching, I had a desire to find inner peace from the pressure of this world. Is this a wrong desire?” Well, yes and no. In a sense you could say that it is a valid desire, because ultimately when you attain enlightenment or nirvana, you will be free from the pressures of this world. But how is that freedom going to be achieved? Some will say: “Well, it will only be achieved after this world. When I am no longer in embodiment, then I can find true peace.” 

But you see, all teachings that talk about karma and reincarnation, whether they are Buddhist or Hindu or the more modern teachings that talk about the ascension process, they are all implying that if you have not reached a certain level, you cannot free yourself from the wheel of rebirth, you will come back into another embodiment. Ultimately, you could say it is not a matter of when your current physical body dies that you will attain peace. You will only attain this peace from the pressures of this world when you can graduate from the wheel of rebirth, or reach your ascension and you no longer have to come back into embodiment. 

This is, of course, what we teach today. But this was not a realistic teaching to give for the broad population 2500 years ago. Therefore, the focus back then was on giving people the Eightfold Path that would help them change their experience while they were in embodiment. And this is, of course, the perspective that is relevant today as well. What we seek to teach you is how to change your life experience so you can attain inner peace while you are still in a physical body and therefore exposed to the external pressure. This is partly because if you can attain this, you will hold a tremendous balance for the entire planet. You will help pull up on the collective consciousness when you attain a higher level of awareness while you are still in a physical body. For many of you this is what is in your Life plan—to attain this higher sense of peace while you are in a physical body. 

Suppression or resolution

Now, you can see throughout history that many, many people have isolated themselves from the world, living in these monastic communities, where their outer environment is very controlled. They are protected against some of the violent actions that are happening in the world and so they are in a very controlled environment where their sense of equilibrium is not disturbed. Many people have spent an entire lifetime in such an environment without actually making progress. They have not stepped up the ladder. They have only used the outer environment and the teaching to reinforce their sense of equilibrium that is based on suppression. This of course, is not what we are calling you to do today. 

We are calling you to find a way to walk the path so that you attain true peace, a peace that is not based on suppression, but on resolution. You do this while you are still in a physical body so that you can pull up on the collective consciousness and also become an open door whereby you can receive ideas and impulses from a level of higher awareness that you then can express in this world. If you can make this fundamental shift, your entire approach to life can change very quickly. You gain now an entirely different view of what life is about. 

Do you see the fundamental difference I have described here? There is one approach. You are seeking relief from the pressures of being in this world. You are seeking some kind of inner peace however you define it. But the way you seek to attain it is to use a spiritual teaching and practice to suppress your emotions, to suppress certain thoughts, to suppress a certain sense of identity so that you build up this false sense of having control of your emotions, being intellectually superior, and therefore, being fundamentally superior to those who are not in your teaching.

The other approach is to seek resolution. What is the difference in how you look at the world? Well, when you are seeking to suppress something, you are looking at the world as a potential threat. Anything that happens that disturbs your equilibrium is a threat to your sense of equilibrium and therefore it needs to be suppressed. You need to find a way to dismiss it as quickly as possible so you can get back to your sense of equilibrium. You have built patterns in your emotional, mental and identity bodies for doing just that— suppressing anything that disturbs your equilibrium. 

When you take the other approach, you are willing to be disturbed. And you can actually shift into saying: “My true goal is to resolve all of these patterns in my emotional, mental and identity bodies that are keeping me tied to the earth, that are keeping me in the diving suit, that prevent me from climbing up the rope, walking up the ladder, being more and more free. I want to walk the true path of the Buddha, the true Eightfold Path, not the outer path but the inner Eightfold Path.” 

What does this mean for you? It means that when something happens outside of yourself that disturbs your sense of equilibrium, this is not a threat. It is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to say: “Why do I feel disturbed by this? What is the emotion I am feeling? What is behind the emotion? Let me, instead of denying the emotion and trying to suppress it, let me go into it. What is it I am really feeling here? What is it that is behind this? What is the thought process that I can identify? What are my beliefs about this? What kind of a worldview have I built that allows me to feel I am in equilibrium but it also holds me at a certain level? I cannot actually grasp the spiritual teachings that I am studying because of my mental patterns. They always have to fit into these mental patterns instead of disturbing them. And then when I go beyond this, what is my sense of identity relating to earth?” 

For example, you might encounter a negative reaction from other people to something you are doing. You might at first feel anger about this. When you go into the feeling, you see that first of all you feel powerless to change other people’s reaction to you, the way they look at you. But you also feel that you should be able to change their reactions because you want to be at peace with everybody. You do not want people to be angry with you and you cannot see any other way, at least your emotional body cannot see any other way, than to change their reaction so that you do not have the feeling that you have disturbed other people. Then you may go up into the mental realm and see: But why do you have these beliefs? Do you have perhaps a sense that you understand free will, you respect the free will of others, and you feel that you should be able to live on this planet without ever disturbing anybody, without having them become angry at you, without having them accuse you of doing something wrong. You are always looking for a way to make peace with people, to come up with some argument that makes them see why they should not be angry with you, why you are really a good person and so forth. 

Then you can go up to the identity level and realize that perhaps you have a sense that you are not really allowed to be here on earth, you are not really allowed to express yourself, at least not if this disturbs or provokes other people. You feel that you should be able to live here without disturbing anybody. You are always looking for a way to withdraw yourself from situations where you do disturb other people, so that you can still feel that you can be here without constantly being confronted by people who say you have no right to be here. There can be many other patterns but this is just an example that applies to many spiritual people. 

What you can then do is start looking at these patterns and gradually, over time (and it may take a long time) work on them, come to see them, gradually resolve them, until you realize that you do have a right to be on earth. You do have a right to strive for a higher level of consciousness, a higher level of awareness. You do have a right to express this, even if it disturbs other people. You can even come to realize that it will inevitably disturb other people because this is what happens to anybody who raises their awareness beyond what is considered normal in any society. You will disturb their sense of normality, their sense of equilibrium. 

Most people have created this sense of equilibrium that they have a right to be the way they are and when something from the outside disturbs that sense of equilibrium, they become angry and aggressive. They have defined a sense of normal that this is all you can be as a human being. This is the way you need to be. When this is disturbed, they become angry and what are you doing when you are walking the spiritual path? You are gradually raising your awareness beyond what is normal in your society. Will it disturb people? Well, how could it not? 

Being willing to disturb people

Now, it is not recorded in the Buddhist teachings or myths of just how much resistance, opposition, anger that I encountered as the Buddha when I started teaching. It is more recorded in the Christian scriptures of how much opposition Jesus encountered when he started teaching. But all spiritual teachers have encountered this to some degree. Some have managed to withdraw, as I eventually did in the Sangha. Because that is one valid way to teach, that you withdraw from the world, you let people come to you who are open to your teaching. 

The other valid way, as exemplified by Jesus, is to go out there in the world and disturb people. What did Jesus do? If you look at Jesus’ entire three-year mission, what did he do? He disturbed people’s sense of what was normal. He said: “There is more to being a human being than what you are experiencing right now.” And what was the reaction? Total rejection. The people would rather have a murderer set free than to have the person who disturbed them set free. Because the murderer they could deal with. That was normal. Some people kill others. But coming to say that you can be more than a human being, that is outrageous. We will not be disturbed so we will kill the one who disturbs us. 

You see most spiritual people are reluctant to disturb others. But what is it that will bring the golden age of Saint Germain, the age of higher awareness into manifestation? It is that some people must demonstrate that there is more to life than what the population considers normal and you must do this by being out there in whatever capacity. It does not mean that you have to do what Jesus or the Buddha did. It does not mean that you have to be killed or persecuted, but you will disturb people and you need to find a way to be at peace with this in order to fulfill your Divine plan. Now this is not necessarily where you start out on the path. You can have a long period of time where you resolve these patterns so that you are not disturbed when other people react to you. 

I know very well that this has been a long discourse. But I wanted to set a foundation so that I can give you some deeper teachings about the Eightfold Path and how you can then move towards this real sense of inner peace that is not based on suppression and denial but based on resolution and a more enlightened view. 

With this, I thank you for your attention so that I could project this through your minds and chakras into the collective consciousness, where it might reach many people who will never hear of this messenger, this teaching, who will never hear of the Ascended Master Gautama Buddha or never accept it, but it will still have an effect on their consciousness. They will suddenly come to see something they had not seen before and therefore they will be able to use whatever spiritual teaching they have at a higher level. 

You see again, our goal is to raise people’s awareness. It is not our goal to bring everybody into one particular spiritual teaching. But it is our goal that all people who are open to a valid spiritual teaching will reach higher and higher levels of grasping that teaching. You are, in a sense, the catalysts for reinforcing that movement, which of course has been going on for a very long time, even before I gave the teachings as the Buddha 2500 years ago. It is an ongoing process that has been there from the creation of this unascended sphere, even previous spheres. It is the out-breath and the in-breath of God. Being part of this in-breath, being conscious that you are part of the in-breath, can be very helpful in attaining that sense of peace that even though you are living in a world that has many disturbing manifestations, you are here to be part of that ongoing timeless process of raising everything gradually towards higher and higher levels. What could possibly disturb you, other than an unresolved pattern, a separate self that you have not let die, an attachment to that separate self or to that pattern?

 By coming to see this, by working on it until you have separated yourself from it and you suddenly see it from the outside, you see how it limits you and you can let it go—that is how you attain gradually greater and greater peace. There is no magical formula. You cannot suddenly snap your fingers and attain inner peace. But you can go through this transformation and how quickly you go through it is only a matter of your willingness to look at what disturbs your peace. With this, I hope I have both disturbed your peace, your sense of equilibrium, but given you a deeper sense of peace. I shall certainly return to give you deeper teachings, and to disturb you even more, as you are willing. 

Be sealed now in the joy of the Buddha that I Am.


Copyright © 2023 Kim Michaels