Thursday, September 15, 2011

Drop That

Canvas F by Seeking Tao
Canvas F, a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.
Do not mistake understanding for realization, and do not mistake realization for liberation.
Tibetan Saying

I mentioned yesterday that "I am suspicious" - that what I experience may be what Maharishi called Cosmic consciousness and God consciousness. I wanted to just leave a note on how that suspicion arose. I also want to emphasize, this is just a suspicion. Something to consider, a possibility to inquire into. So, here’s how the suspicion arose.

My friend, whom I call my little spiritual irritant because just about anything she says seems to have this way of irritating me, sent me a quote. We have been at this for two years now, and I am finally looking at these little irritations as marvelous invitations to explore where some misconception has velcroed onto spaciousness.

So, my friend sent me this quote. She actually thought I’d like it:
I am pleased enough with the surfaces - in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child's hand in your own, the flavor of an apple… the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind - what else is there?
What else do we need?

Edward Albee

Well, I really took issue with the phrase, What else is there?
What else is there? … there’s the infinity of pure being!
The absolute never changing seemed to get ignored with this concentration on the surfaces of the ever changing, and I found that really irritating.
So, I offered back quotes of Andrew Wyeth:
Most people come to my work through the realism and then discover the abstractness.
A sea shell lying on the sand is frozen in time, eternal.

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.

She smiled at the thought of irritating me and explained:
I find those details to BE the essence of the abstract, at every moment, in each precious sensation or experience or whatever.

I didn’t find that explanation helpful to my irritation. But, I read it over several times, slowly, trying to get what she was saying…
details are the essence of the abstract…
the essence of the abstract… is the details

Bam, it hit me. That is a statement from the point of view of Unity, Oneness.
The understanding immediately brought back a saying we’d previously argued over:
The world is illusion.
Brahman alone is real.
The world is Brahman.

My friend speaks from the perspective of that last line: The world is Brahman.
And I am sitting there trying to get her to agree that Brahman alone is real.
I was arguing from the perspective of duality – of Cosmic consciousness and God consciousness.
My next thought was, “Wow! Why do that? Drop that!”
Shortly after that, I realized I was taking my position because that is what I know. It's no theory.
I stagger through this world of illusion day after day, taxing my body, trying to ignore this “radical duality” between Brahman and the world.

Then there was a quiet "hummmm". And the suspicion arose. Is that’s what’s going on here?
This might be what's called Cosmic consciousness and God consciousness.
That was rather surprising.
And, upon this suspicion another thought rose.
Perhaps, I should consider Unity. To that point I'd no idea what Unity might feel like on an experiential level.  What if I looked...
It’s almost as if by simply allowing “perhaps the time is ripe,” actually permitted experience to shift.
Now, as I re-read this, I can only think, "Thick as a brick!"  How'd I miss this?  And so simple! Drop one belief and everything shifts on its own...

So, this Sunday I leave for a week’s retreat with Adyashanti. Last year I asked him about being stuck in the witness and he told me I’d have to discover for myself how to “witness from your heart.” I had NO IDEA what that meant. He said it was something like that Catholic image of ripping open the flaming heart of Jesus. I knew the image, but it was no help.

However, from the moment of the thought, “Drop that!” something shifted. First, the witnessing became quite intense. An abstract infinity seemed intent upon pouring down into my head. It obviously needed to work its way throughout my body. And that wasn’t happening. I ended up missing a fair amount of work and sleeping 12 hours a day as my body tried to adjust. The strain seemed to throw me into vertigous migraines.

Something also seemed to happen with my heart. I began to see deeply into the simplest moments: a freshman wandering the halls looking at science posters, an old woman walking up the street … noticing could reduce me to tears by the beauty that was revealed. I began to notice how things are one, as direct experience.

Last weekend, I went to a workshop with my Taoist Teacher. My silent request was for the energy imbalances of my physical body be soothed. Energy work is a Taoist forte and they didn’t let me down. In essence, my heart was ripped open in a meditation. I discovered that sacred flaming heart… words do not suffice, and the classic image is right on. With that opening the infinity stuck around my head descended into heart and from there belly.  There's physical comfort now.

So, that’s the note. I’m not sure that any of this matters. But, oddly, just as I was convinced there’s no point in this blog, several people wrote and said “thank you.” So, oh well. Here’s a note. And maybe this is the best way to end for now:
Anyone who has “seen the nature” is unlikely to claim to be an enlightened person, even when a master has confirmed the experience; he or she simply knows what a glimpse of enlightenment entails. Indeed, anyone claiming to be enlightened is probably acting erroneously from an inflated ego, which a teacher has been unable to contain. Simple humility alone will normally prevent any such claim.
Sheng-yen, Illuminating Silence: the practice of Chinese Zen

I know times change. But, this rings true to me. I like it very much.

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