The truly 1st-person, game-free spiritual life
So far as this 1st person is concerned, then, there is something wildly wrong about the very notion of spiritual training. It isn’t merely that this training doesn’t make for Enlightenment: it makes off in the opposite direction! A more effective antidote could hardly be imagined. SEG [The Spiritual Exercise Game] takes a direct path from its goal—from the Enlightenment it purports to be seeking—into outer darkness.
What is the truly 1st-person, game-free spiritual life?
Instead of training, enjoyment. Instead of working for the future, realization of what is present to perfection, with no other end in view. Instead of indoctrination, the inexhaustible adventure of Self-discovery. Instead of psychological improvement or spiritual development, total evacuation now, the surrender of all ambitions and claims. This way, there is no question of any future payoff: one isn’t interested in anything that isn’t given from moment to moment. This, the freely given present, is sufficient. Concerned only with this, one finds the days, months, years slipping by almost unnoticed, and every day is a good day. Such is the inside story.
Of course the outsider is entitled to exclaim: “Look how he practises, unremittingly dedicated, till his whole life becomes one spiritual exercise.”
This outside, 3rd-person story is all right in its place, so long as the one here doesn’t take it seriously, and doesn’t imagine that any training is going on here in fact. Here, for the 1st person, deliberate training is a series of manoeuvres against Enlightenment. The only genuine and effective training is no-training, the only real spiritual discipline is freedom from anything of the sort. In other words, it is game-free.
From The Face Game by Douglas Harding, page 347.