Thursday, February 28, 2008

Take One Step

My teacher, Wong Loh Sin See, had us all stand-up, take a bow and close our eyes.
After a moment he said, “Now, take one step backwards.”
Silently, we did.
After a bit he said, “Now, take one step backwards.”
And again, we did.
As I stood there eyes closed, simply waiting, wondering what in the world he was doing, I began to notice I didn’t feel so well.
It was hard to hold my head up. I felt weak.
I felt unsettled.

“Now, take one step backwards.”
One more step and from the muffled crying I began to hear around me, I suspected that I wasn’t the only person having difficulty.
This was no simple break in concentration or centeredness as I had first suspected,
this was tapping Misery.

Finally, the Teacher said, “Take one step forward.”
Oh! What relief in that simple step.
Things began to quiet down. My strength began to return.
“Take one step forward.”
How very strange this was! I felt light. Happiness was welling up.
The Teacher had us take one final step, and just as joy began to surface he had us bow and take our seats.

We were all fairly stunned. We looked about surreptitiously checking other faces.
Everyone had had pretty much the same experience.
Discomfort had swept over us and then reversed into happiness.

The Teacher explained that as we go forward in life we grow in consciousness. Happiness spontaneously increases.
If we were to go back to our former lives, our former selves, we would be amazed by the misery we’d find.
Through spiritual cultivation our norms change.
Even if we don’t appreciate the progress that we’ve made, if given a chance to actually travel back in time, we would feel the difference.
The Teacher had just provided us that opportunity.

I tell this story by way of an apology.
I have had it in mind to write about Eckhart Tolle’s concept of the pain-body.
I have had it in mind to use events (STORIES!?) from my own life.
But, I find the mere intention has awakened pain in an almost cellular manner.

The exercise in taking a single step should serve as something of a warning.
The pain-body is a creation from the past that we carry to this day.
And if we travel back in time to probe the pain-body at its roots, I do believe our pain is doubled.

Yet ultimately, the pain-body is about the struggle to embody an awakened consciousness.
So, I feel compelled to try my hand at explaining what I’ve seen.

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