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Contemporary knowledge about God, Evolution, and the meaning of human life.
Methodology of spiritual development.

Maria Shtil

How God Can Be Cognized/Maria Shtil

Maria Shtil

The Search for Freedom

I was always wondering: what exists out there — on the other side of the usual material world.

… There is a short, but very interesting duration of time at sunset when the Sun is about to disappear behind the horizon, leaving the last rays of light on the Earth’s surface. These rays are so powerful, that, it seems, everything would then dissolve in the gold of sunset, melt in it… Every time, when I was watching this scene, I was waiting for the door to another world — the world of Limitless Freedom — to be opened in this golden glow — and I would be able to slip into it…

But the Sun was disappearing behind the horizon, the world was returning to its former density, and my dreams were remaining dreams… The door to other worlds was not opening, because I searched for it not in the right place: I searched for it outside, but it opens… inside each of us.

I had always believed in a Higher Power, the Supreme Mind. I was realizing that there are no coincidences and was trying to see the logical chain of cause and effect — both, in personal life and in the fate of others. But I could not name this Great Leading our destinies Power — as God, because at that time I associated the word God only with Orthodoxy, which I did not accept. I was feeling that Orthodoxy did not open the door to Freedom, but, on the contrary, limited it. Orthodoxy pictures God as a terrible and severe judge, Who watches over the execution of some absurd, inexplicable and useless rules. I could not accept such an “Orthodox God”.

But, as it turns out, God does not care how we call Him. Because He has — thousands of names! He uses thousands of languages and thousands of opportunities to pave the path for Himself to the heart of any human. God is not — a terrible Judge! He is — the Loving and Wise Teacher.

And He then as if offered to me the following solution: “You cannot pronounce the word God? No problem! Here is a book where I am called by the names Power, Spirit, Eagle… Choose any of them!…”

It was Carlos Castaneda’s book “The Teachings of Don Juan” [26].

And, of course, when this book first had come into my hands — I perceived it as “a gift of fate”. It was a book I had waited for all my life: a book about Freedom — the same one which I dreamed about, in what I believed…

For several years, during my reading and rereadings of all the books of Carlos Castaneda, I was radiating with happiness, understanding that I had finally found the meaning of my life: “I want to dedicate it to the attainment of that Freedom, which was achieved by Don Juan and the spiritual warriors of His party!”

Common sense as if said that it is — impossible. After all, I am not going to Mexico! And even if I went there — I would never find those people!

But, despite the arguments from the mind, I had formed a steadfast intention: to join the party of Nagual…

I was assuming that the path of discipleship, which Castaneda was following, — is the only possible one and expected that I would have to master it in the same way; in all its details and in the same sequence…

However, I was frightened by the fact that all, without exception, spiritual warriors have to take part in battle against “the ally” at some point of their discipleship, — a fight, the result of which a warrior could either win or die from fear... I was feeling spooked due to such thoughts because I perceived almost literally everything that was written…

But I was not going to retreat! And, despite the fact that I did not know how to fight, I “summoned up courage” and said to myself: “Okay, if I cannot avoid this — I will meet with that ally and beat it!”

Now it is amusing to me to recall this, but at that moment… everything was so serious!

Castaneda, in describing his mystical experience, said that Don Juan once said to him to catch two lizards, and then the eyes of one and the mouth of another one ought to be sewed up (the rest of the details of this nightmare I do not remember). It was the only test from which I refused in discipleship from what I expected in my future: “To die of fear by myself — it is fair enough, but to cause suffering to lizards — no way!”

And, of course, every night, I was trying unsuccessfully to find my own hands in “a dream”, make “recapitulation” of former life, stop “the internal dialogue” while I was walking the streets like a sleepwalker…

It is not difficult to guess that this was not giving any positive results.

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