Saturday, July 10, 2010

Don't mistake "Success" in "Practice" for Awareness.

I think one of the pitfalls of 'practices" is that the "practices" become ends in themselves, or worse still, substitutes for the end result.

This applies to all practices that are external or internal, silent or active. Ultimately, practices are useless for ''finding" "Truth". But one would be foolish to avoid "practices" in the early stages. Most "practices" are designed to "calm" the mind. Some are designed to stimulate the mind; point it in a useful direction. But none is an end in itself.

As a Christian Monk, I meditated, and engaged in contemplative prayer for many years. This was not time wasted or spent in delusion, at least not for the most part! Time spent at the Eucharist, likewise was very useful. Contemplating these mysteries quiets the mind and opens the "heart". But they do not lead to "ultimate" truth.

Nisargadatta's "I AM" is a supreme "practice". But it leads only to "consciousness". Now I don't mean to discount consciousness. It is a wonderful state. But we seek the "Pearl of Great Price"; union with God.

All of this "practice" is beneficial because it quiets the mind, or opens the mind to "useful" pointers. But there is an additional pitfall in "practice", and that is this very thing; this "quieting" of the mind. The mind needs to be "quiet", empty of everything, particularly you. When we reach this state of quietness, where we see that we are the "observer". Then, and only then, can we find our way to being "observing". But we must not mistake this "quietness" of "practice", for Awareness, which is dynamic.

I'm a simple guy, so I use simple analogies. One of my favorites is the observing of the "verb" rather than the "noun".

This has been dismissed as simplistic. Words are words it is said. This is true, and we all understand the inadequacy of words. But words are part of the functioning of the One, so we need not discount them, or else resort to silence. By using this "simplistic" analogy, I attempt to point out the difference in being a static noun, or an active verb. We are not a "thing". We are "life" itself; ever changeless and dynamically changing.

I did not mean to go into that again, but I wanted to point out that "observing" is what is "happening", rather then there being an "observer", or an "observed". It is not just semantics. Meditate on it.

In the Christian Church, "practices" from the Eucharist to contemplative prayer, are designed to quite the mind and eventually eliminate the "you". This is done, so that the mind and body will be open to the "grace" of God. There is no "controlling" this "grace", we can only be "open" to it by quieting the body and mind. In the East, I believe, "practices" are used in a similar way, be it meditation or some form of yoga. All of these "practices" result in a quiet mind, and an "awareness" of "consciousness". But at some point the mind, with all of it's "consciousness" (noun), must move to the place of "consciousness"(verb) without the "I AM".

This is how we get stuck; we mistake the "quite", the "nothingness", the "emptiness" we find in our "practice" to be the ultimate, the Absolute. We love this quiet. We love to imagine this quite, this freedom from "mind", is the Awakening.

We rest in the "I AM", unconcerned that there is still an "I". The "idea" of an "I" is a noun, a thing. We long for Awareness, not as a "noun" to hold on to, but as a verb, to BE.

Dwelling in quietness or "consciousness", no matter how wonderful, is only for practice. If we imagine a "quietness", a "stillness", or a "emptiness", the mind is happy to oblige with one from our imagination, or from the memory of our "practice". But the "awakening" is not something we can get our mind around. It is not a thing. No "I", No "Self", but the ever flowing Love.

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