Rupert Spira Podcast: James Stevenson
Rupert Spira begins his conversation with James Stevenson at Evolutionary Festival by saying that as human beings, we think, feel and perceive, and that the different spiritual traditions he has explored tend to emphasise one or another of these: Classical Advaita leans towards the thinking part; Sufism and mystical Christianity focus on feeling, love and devotion; and Tantric Kashmiri Shaivism is inclusive of body and world. A complete spiritual path must address all three equally.
What James calls the ‘path of waking up’ and the ‘path of growing up’ are roughly equivalent to Rupert’s terms: the inward-facing and outward-facing paths. They talk about what is happening to mind and body, the orientation of our thoughts, feelings, relationships and activities as we embark on each of these. The inward-facing path, it seems, is usually a necessary precursor to the outward-facing path.
They go on to discuss happiness. James asks, is it a state that comes and goes? Or is it more fundamental than that? And they speak of the longing and search for happiness in terms of the hero’s journey, having to go out and endure trials and hardships in order to return and find wholeness, peace and stability.
Rupert relates a story from Rumi’s Mathnawi about how the treasure a man is seeking is actually buried under his own house. Similarly, he explains, that most people have a sense of the treasure of happiness lying deep beneath an almost constant sense of dissatisfaction with the way things are, but because this happiness is apparently inaccessible, it compels and initiates a great search.
They conclude by talking about the telos, the concept of having an inherent purpose in life. Rupert says the idea of purpose is valid from the point of the view of the finite, or relative mind, whereas you can’t ascribe purpose to the One! The two perspectives are not mutually exclusive, they just pertain to two different levels of experience. On a relative level it may be worth giving time and energy to ideas about evolution, whilst knowing that what we essentially are does not evolve.
You can listen to this episode on the Rupert Spira Podcast
If you enjoyed this podcast write up, why not check out Rupert's conversation with Simon Mundie ?