Robert D. Bessler
The Hidden Doors to Spirituality
Updated: Jun 17, 2019
Some time ago I discovered a secret path. This path wasn’t really being kept secret from anyone by anyone, and yet very few seem to ever discover it’s existence. I embarked on a journey to discover where this path would lead and it led me to a series of hidden doors; the doorways into true spirituality.
This journey began with awareness of body movement. The physical body united with the mind to activate the intelligence of every cell in my body and awaken the brain in the abdomen. Attaining the ability to drop my mind into my body was the first of the “hidden doors.” Consequently, this activated what’s known as the Body-Mind. Dropping the mind into the body is accomplished through physical and mental relaxation, continuous flowing body movements, diaphragmatic breathing, focusing the mind, and developing a very deep sense of awareness for the physical body inside and out. There is science to confirm this and it’s here that the importance of the vagus nerve is realized. What I found was happening here was the shift from the brain in my head to the brain in my abdomen, what the Heartmath Institute refers to as the second brain.
In order to pass through the first door, I had to learn to relax my physical body, releasing all tension in the tissues. Then I had to relax the mind and focus it in order to acquire a deep sense of awareness for my body. With the stress of modern society and the disconnection of mind and body caused by technology, this first door can be extremely challenging to pass through. Another aspect includes shifting one’s autonomic nervous system from chest breathing to abdominal breathing. This can be a bit frightening at times, but when taken through it by an actual master teacher, it’s perfectly safe.
The key is to engage in a physical activity that utilizes relaxed, continuously flowing movement. I recommend Qigong or Taijiquan for this. Based upon my own personal experience, the Chinese Taoist internal arts offer the most refined methods to achieving the awakening of the Body-Mind, but Japanese arts based in Taijutsu can also be beneficial. Likewise, there are mental teachings that enabled me to shift from forced chest breathing to natural diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing from the abdomen, not as merely an occasional exercise, but at all times, is crucial to activating the Body-Mind. This is the first hidden door – The Body-Mind.
After the Body-Mind has been activated, I found the natural progression was then to begin engaging the mind directly. This was done though various forms of observational and meditative practices which resulted in the attainment of a disciplined and focused mind, the overcoming of the ego, and a deep sense of mindfulness. Meditative practices are the only way in which to directly engage one’s mind.
Once I developed real mindfulness, I was able to attain the mental states of Shoshin 初心 (beginner’s mind), Fudoshin 不動心 (immovable mind), and Zanshin 残心 (remaining mind or remaining spirit), and other mental states. They’re commonly thought of as psychological aspects within martial arts, but they’re so much more than that. These are classical Japanese Zen terms but these mind skills are contained within many spiritual systems. I attained them through formal esoteric Buddhist practices. From my own experience, the Buddhist practices are among some of the best in existence for directly engaging the mind, especially the esoteric teachings. Other practices allowed me to attain a clearer perception for what is and how to observe my own mind. It was here that I attained the ability to observe or witness my body and mind, realizing that I was truly neither. Engaging the mind directly and attaining higher states of mind and mindfulness is the second hidden door – The Aware Mind.
The thing was, as awesome as all of these practices are, none of this was the actual spiritual training. This was just the necessary preparation to deliver me to a place where I could begin accessing the spiritual. Many people throw the word “spiritual” around with a mindless, whimsical ease, but without really grasping to what it’s referring. They just don’t understand; most don’t even realize that there’s anything to understand, so their minds make something up in order to satisfy the ego’s insatiable desire to feel that it understands. It rationalizes that there’s safety and comfort in understanding. The correct perception is necessary at this point in order to keep moving forward and not fall victim to the enslavement of one’s own mind.
The next step led me to another hidden door. This was the door of mushin 無心 (no-mind) and it can only be attained through authentic meditation. This is not a meditative practice, but the very essence of meditation itself. It’s no coincidence that this skill is contained within the highest levels of martial arts and spiritual practice alike. This is the state where we go beyond the mind. We actually transcend our mind. There is no thought, no internal noise, no intention, no ego, no identity – only being in each moment. The amazing thing is that after practicing for a while I became fully capable of functioning while in this state of no-mind, through a sense of awareness. This awareness is beyond the mind- it is not mental alertness, it’s consciousness. At first, attaining the ability to silence one’s mind, ceasing all thought, can be quite frightening. But once again, if taken through this phase by a master teacher, it is very safe.
As I continued to practice this I realized too that there were deeper and deeper levels of this non-mental state of being. Even as I write this article, I continue to attain all new deeper states of this extraordinary state of being. No-Mind, I find, is the same as awakening in that they’re both ever unfolding processes, not a finite attainment. Indeed, no-mind is a state of awakening. To pass from the mind into a state beyond the mind is the third hidden door – The Consciousness. To pass through that murky lake of the mind going beyond to the other shore. This is the beginning of true spirituality.
As I continued my practices I discovered yet another door. This door was challenging to find as it only revealed itself once I had passed through the previous door and spent some time within that new space. This was where I encountered what authentic spirituality really was – the Conscious Awareness of the true Self. This is when I saw my own true face, my spirit, my soul, my very essence. This is the fourth hidden door, to pass from a state beyond the mind to that of conscious awareness and harmony with your true Self. This door is located in the heart center, as this is the hidden door inside of which our essence resides. Opening the heart is not as simple and fluffy as most new age gurus would have you believe. The ability to truly open the heart cannot happen until you have overcome the ego and attained no-mind. Opening the heart is not merely about being happy- this is a watered-down view by those who haven’t truly reached this point. It’s superficial and temporary at best. To open the heart is to open the fourth hidden door and it’s then that you attain a sense of knowing for why all the previous practices needed to be accomplished in order for this door to reveal itself.
This state of uniting with our soul while in physical form, listening to it’s guidance, and living from a sense of spirit instead of mind is true spirituality. It’s only after passing through the previous hidden doors that you’re able to access spirituality; nothing that has come before is spiritual. These other practices all serve to help you have the inner strength to open this final door. Make no mistake, it requires great courage.
This is a deeper sense of consciousness, this is pure conscious awareness. This is what we truly are – consciously aware vibration. Once the heart truly opens and you access your spirit, the “mind” 心 of the beginner’s mind, remaining mind, and etc. shifts from meaning mind to meaning heart to meaning soul/essence. Only once the heart has been opened do you attain the heart-mind. The heart-mind is not actually mind, but pure awareness, the conscious awareness of our true Self or essence. It is here that we live from our heart and remain constantly “plugged in” to the Universe, allowing ourself to be guided by the heart. Through the heart-mind we hear the voice of our very essence. This is where true spirituality takes place.
There are many paths one can choose. However, this is literally the path of Body, Mind, and Spirit. This may shed further light upon the contents of my book, Expansion Mastery: The Practical Guide to Living a Fully Engaged Life. In order for the “path” to offer safe transformation through these hidden doors, it must have these basic components in order to access to the hidden doors properly. Are you ready and willing to open the hidden door and peer upon its truths?