Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Remaining Awake

So, it’s not a lack of experience, an “awakened” experience you could say, that seems to be the difficulty. There are… OK- I’ll say it, “I have plenty of experiences.” But they are just beads on a string; moments strung on a thread of feeling very unenlightened that seem to hang around my neck the way you might hang a placard on the school dunce.

I am not alone in this I think. Or to quote Ram Das, “If you think you’re so enlightened go spend a week with your parents.” It’s a funny joke until I realize many/most of us are now reaching that age where “parents” has become the single “parent.” And Chris is sitting by her mother's bedside this very moment.

We are no longer thirty some-things, still hip to our college trip.
There are thousands of us out there now who have meditated for decades, and where has it got us?

Times up! The World is teetering. It's now or never or next life time.

So, what’s the problem here? Perhaps it’s what Adyashanti calls embodying enlightenment. Get the experience out of the head perceived by the intellect, and start to live it from the heart and belly. Getting out of the head means letting go of ego that little prodder of the mind into business.

It’s here that Eckhart Tolle’s teaching can be of great help. For where we get thrown off is by emotional pain "resentment, hatred, self-pity, guilt, anger, depression, jealousy and so on, even the slightest irritation." The pain is "always some form of non-acceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is." This resistance takes the form of judgmental thoughts and is accompanied by emotional pain.

What is Tolle's solution to this self-inflicted pain? "Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have… Always say 'yes' to the present moment.” Or an excellent corollary, “Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it." When you accept the present moment as it is, resistance to or denial of it becomes impossible. That is, you have to feel. You begin to burn up what Tolle calls the pain body. You begin to embrace your own shadow. You leave your head and start to live from heart and belly.

Actually, given that awakening often starts in the head with witnessing, or Silence, or what Tolle calls Presence, incredibly facilitates implementing the practice of staying in the present and experiencing what’s really going on in the body (heart and belly). I emphasize here too the word “Really.” Implementing this practice day to day requires dedication to the Truth- wanting to know what’s really going on inside, even if it hurts. And in this way Tolle’s teaching meshes perfectly with Adyashanti’s.