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You have reviewed many important principles about the spiritual practice in this advanced lesson of TTOA. I will focus and expand on a few and you may consider that the others I am not commenting on are in whole quite acceptable as stated.
Firstly, about the statement:
“I have also realized how important reflecting on the teachings are even if I have heard it a thousand times by replaying lesson 10 over and over for the past 7 months (listening, reflecting and meditating on the teachings).”
The reflection on the teachings is perhaps the most important foundational mental discipline that can be done in the temple teaching. Therefore, it is a great achievement to be able to re-review without feeling bored or egoistic delusion that one has “got it” before really having gone to its depths. This process may necessitate long-term practice depending on the level of aryu and spiritual evolution [some heads are harder/thicker than others 🙂 ]. Reflecting is a kin to chant in that it is a review and re-review of wisdom teachings that the mind needs to be able to accept. Each of the reviews allows 1 more aryu to be formed and also each review of the teaching allows thought about the teaching to be honed. When the through has been highly refined and purified and when the energetic impetus formed from the gathering of multiple reviews, has accumulated sufficient energy to move from “impelation” to “compelation” – then it is possible to move beyond thoughts and into a realm where the mind resides in the truth, the objective of the wisdom teaching itself, that is beyond thoughts. This is the result of directing thought in one direction, with saa, understanding, and with sekhem (life force). At this stage the mind is not needed and the destination of the mind’s thoughts goes automatically, intuitionally, to the source of the matter (subject/topic/issue/heart) of the teaching that is the objective of the mysteries. As stated, the stages are LISTENING, REFLECTING and MEDITATING. The last phase of reflecting leads to the intuitional experience and this is the meditation stage.
ABOUT THE STATEMENT:
“So, if you take a break you will be appeasing the ego and its egoistic feelings and desires based on ignorance, hence reinforcing negative ariyu. To stop and do this is part time spirituality and if I want to be successful I have to be cognizant of the world and its degradations and not accept any moment of being pulled back into it which at times can be very subtle.”
Born of immaturity and ignorance, two of the most common problems in modern spiritual practice are salad bar spirituality and part-time spirituality. Salad bar spirituality is picking and choosing different teachings and rituals according to the personal preferences and desires. Part-time spirituality is the fluctuating application of the personality to the tasks set out as effective spiritual practice for promoting spiritual evolution. The teaching issues certain prescriptions for obtaining positive spiritual evolution. It is like the analogy of vitamin C wherein a little may prevent scurvy but will not prevent a cold. To prevent colds a certain threshold must be surpassed; if not the effort will be wasted in terms of achieving the higher goal. So, just as there is an effective therapeutic dosage of vitamin C, so too there are effective dosages of spiritual practice, be it related to time spent in meditation, reflection, exercising, etc. Then there is the issue of quality of practice in which the former topic, the issue of “salad bar” picking and choosing things that sooth and encourage ego delusion (allowing one to delude oneself that one is doing true and effective spiritual practice), weaken as well as dilute effective spiritual practice, which serves to diminish the quality of the spiritual practice. These deficiencies will lead to stagnant spiritual practice and or eventual failure in the current lifetime. To overcome these, the teaching prescribes khnumnt nefer, maat ary and Uashu leading to shemsu udja to purify the personality and vanquish the lower desires that promote ego-preservation strategies that act like pitfalls on the spiritual path.