Altarless Bandits – I had this title sitting in my “Ideas” Notebook for over a year. I loved it. I wanted it. But I didn’t know how to use it because I knew I would piss people off.
I would piss off everyone who defined themselves by the objects they used and the rituals they played.
I would offend everyone who forgot that they were here to go beyond.
So I knew I had to explain what it meant (and still risk pissing people off) because it doesn’t mean you’re faithless.
In fact, it’s more, far more that you are so bound in your faith you need nothing to prove it any longer – not to yourself or to others.
This is a term that allows people who ran towards the light,
towards a spiritual practice,
to put all their STUFF away
(you know – those malas you only wear on you wrist, those endless buddha statues you don’t really use, those magic stones, those prayer flags, those those those THINGS that you hope will
MAKE YOU DIFFERENT,
BECOME MORE SPIRITUAL,
and to simply be. a human being.
with all your realness, your faith, your love and your flaws.
You become altarless
when you realize you don’t really need at altar anymore. At one point it may even have become binding. Where you found freedom once, it now seems trite. Your altar has become your world, your life, your dirty feet, wherever you find a spot to sit and get quiet. You need nothing. Or something small, to remind you that what you are is so so LARGE. A leaf may now have as much magic as a picture of Jesus. This takes practice. Ironically.
You become a bandit
because you become rare. There are so few people willing to toss their toys away, to grow up, and to be willing to be thrown ANYWHERE, and to blend. To blend in so completely, that you would become utterly undistinguishable from others. You would become so ordinary and so benevolent in your ordinariness, that you would then become a teacher in your own right.
You would teach by your presence.
this is about your spirituality.
It’s about your spirituality no longer being spiritual and special or separate. Because it isn’t.
It is all simply what you are.
Calling yourself spiritual should be likened to calling yourself physical:
You are physical whether you like it or not.
You are spiritual whether you like it or not too.
The energy you are made of won’t dissipate if you forget about it. Your leg won’t fall off either. For the same reason: for now, you are here, and the laws of this place dictate that you are both.
There is nowhere to hide when you’re an Altarless Bandit. You can’t hide behind a statue, behind Amma or behind your fancy meditation pillow.
You are naked. Real. And completely vulnerable.
As it is.
And then we begin.