By Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
We hear a great deal today about the right to dissent, as well as the many ways in which that democratic right is endangered. Most believe that a spiritual journey is about blind obedience rather than dissent. They believe it means following a prescribed path rather than creating one’s own.
It’s time to demystify our understanding of both spirituality and dissent. The first thing to remember is that the entire spiritual process is rooted in dissent. It implies dissent with every existent dogma, creed, ritual, philosophy and ideology. There’s nothing status quoist about genuine spirituality. As a young American woman poet said so memorably, “just is, isn’t always justice.” Seekers aren’t content with the way things seem to be; they want to know how things are. Spirituality is always about seeking, not merely following. That’s why no parliament, school or university will ever see the diversity and multiplicity of questions as a spiritual domain does.
Being a seeker just means you haven’t drawn any conclusions about life. It means you’re courageous enough to admit that you’re lost. Religions may offer diktats and commandments about life, but spirituality has nothing to do with these. Believers often have confidence, but they invariably lack clarity. Confidence without clarity is a dangerous thing. The greatest wars on this planet have been the consequence of such confidence. Seekers, on the other hand, grow in clarity, but they never grow in certainty.
Yet another vital difference is between doubt and suspicion. Doubt is natural. It simply means ‘I do not know’. Admitting that you don’t know can be the beginning of a great possibility. Suspicion, however, is a sickness. The need to disbelieve is as much of a disease as the need to believe.
Once you’re invested in any position, a fight with another position is inevitable. You only postpone it with moderate talk. Seekers aren’t interested in imposing their opinion or creed on anyone else. They close their eyes to meditate, not because they’re denying the world, but because they’re seeking their own inner clarity.
Don’t look up to anything; don’t look down on anything. This is one possible way of erasing all hierarchy from one’s gaze, as one navigates the world. Dissent isn’t about hatred and animosity. Some of what masquerades as dissent today isn’t criticism; it’s simply abuse. True seekers will not despise or loathe those who espouse other paths or points of view. They don’t blindly obey inherited wisdom, but don’t dismiss it either. They simply test everything in the laboratory of their own experience.
The foremost step for genuine dissent is independence from external opinion. For who you are isn’t a psychological acquisition but an existential reality. So, dissent isn’t about seeking external authority, but about choosing to be anchored in an irrefutable inner truth. Spirituality is a journey that takes the seeker from religion to responsibility. In the spiritual domain, authority isn’t the truth. Truth is the only authority.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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