In the last piece we discussed that the highest and most enriching path to spirituality is through the mind. This stands to reason. Because like happiness, spiritual bliss also is a state of mind. So it is no wonder if mind holds the key to spiritual experience.
Let us try to understand this. The greatest of ancient scholars classified love in to three types. Agape- which is love that is independent of your liking or disliking. This is unconditional love e.g. the love that Jesus speaks of when he says, “Love your enemies”. This type of love is not a constant- even in the lives of masters like Jesus. Remember, Jesus, a true man of love, chased out the money changers from the temple with a whip. Why is this unconditional love not constant? Because even around the enlightened- who can live this kind of love- people change. As Neale Donald Walsch has said, “Thus in order to have yourself as a man of peace, you may have to give up the idea of yourself as a man who never goes to war. History has called upon men for such decisions. Life may more than once call upon you to prove who you are by demonstrating an aspect of who you are not.” So agape is a love that is a bit surreal and fickle.
The other type of love is Eros, which means the love for another human being. This love is also not permanent. As those whom you adore also change sometimes.
The third type of love is Filos. It is the love for learning. This is the most enduring type of love. It lasts as long as your senses are alive. This route also takes you to the highest spiritual peaks. This route goes through the mind- through philosophy.
And yes there is route to spiritual bliss other than the philosophic as well. But usually the path to this realm passes through the philosophic. Buddha has pointed toward it when a man asked him, “Is there God?” Buddha was quiet. The man then asked him, “Is there soul?” Buddha still did not reply. Lastly the man asked, “Is there pain and sorrow?” This time Buddha answered, “Yes there is pain and sorrow and there is a way to get rid of pain and sorrow. If you wish to know, I can tell you the way.”
Why did Buddha not reply the first two questions? Because he knew that by the time he would finish telling the questioner about God and Soul both he and the questioner would be dead. But if the man were taken out of pain and sorrow, he would come to a state of spiritual bliss (ananda) and then no longer would he bother to seek answers to questions like, is there God and is there Soul. So how can man be taken out of his pain and sorrow and in to spiritual bliss? Wisdom is the remedy. In one sense Wisdom means balance- to begin with balance in behavior. Behavior which lastingly protects your interest without making the other guy suffer.
So in my view there are two practical paths to the spiritual crests. One goes clearly through the mind and that is the path of learning. The other is the path of balanced action. You can’t travel on this path also without the help of the mind as it requires great prudence. And prudence is a knack of the mind.
So both the paths need the mind.