Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > a flowering of the futle spiritual search


where no echo returns

May 25, 2020

Reminders of the Sacred

*Brian Wilcox. 'Reminders of the Sacred'

the 'i'
under the delusion of itself
and its spiritual quest
seeks to attain
something for itself
the 'I'
does not grasp
so receives
and all
Grace of Itself
unfolds like a flower
and what remains -

* * *

In 1957, a group of monks was relocating a monastery elsewhere in Thailand. When moving a giant clay Buddha, a monk noticed a large crack in the clay. Looking closer, he saw a golden light shining from the crack. The monk chipped away at the clay exterior with a hammer and chisel. He, soon, saw the statue was all solid gold.

Historians theorize Thai monks, long before, had covered the golden Buddha to protect it during a Burmese attack. The Burmese killed all the monks, but they did not disturb this apparent clay Buddha.

appearance is not
the Real; the appearance
veils the Real
as a truth is an appearance of
Truth but not
the Truth and
Nature is the footprints
of Grace and
life a shadow
of Life

* * *

Without going out the door, know the world
Without peering out the window, see the Heavenly Tao
The further one goes
The less one knows
Therefore the sage
Knows without going
Names without seeing
Achieves without striving

*Derek Lin. Tao Te Ching.

* * *

The Sage observed one among the group especially intense in her spiritual practices.

The Sage said, "You're quite zealous in the Way, aren't you?"
"Yes," replied the devotee, "I'm determined to find my True Self in this lifetime."
Said the Sage, "I commend your enthusiasm, but I wonder, 'Could it be what you're trying to find is trying to find you? That what you think you're running to, you're running from?'"
The devotee thought for a moment, then replied, "I've not thought of it in that way."
The Sage said, "Well, I'd recommend you lighten up some, relax more. In the Way, how you do is as important as what you do, and that you don't do is as important as that you do."

* * *

The fervent pursuit of an idealized spiritual state, a form of greed, of clinging, pushes away what is apparent and present for something not yet and not real. What one tries to get is already given, yet the 'i' refuses grace. The "i" feels a need to get to some destiny, so new identity, to validate itself as spiritual, holy, important, superior, a spiritual guide, a healer, a channel for unseen spirits, a voyager of unseen realms, a master of miracles, ... while denying it is getting it for itself.

* * *

There is no idealized spiritual state; when one is enlightened, she knows enlightenment is not. All we pursue spiritually are mirages, bubbles floating in the air. Once you get a hold of the mirage, the bubble, what do you have? That gotten has no substance. The Way unfolds, there is nothing to attain.

* * *

In spirituality, as in life, the aphorism is true: Haste makes waste. We move forward, with balance, to discover what is present. We must do something, but in accord with the Way. The Way is patient and nonaggressive.

We realize what we think we are moving toward is present, hidden in the obviousness of this moment. We are found in our not finding.

Hence, this humorous Buddhist story.

A princess was very vain. She fancied adoring herself in her mirror. Her whole idea of herself was the form she adored in her mirror. One day, she could not find the mirror. She ran about wailing, "Where is my head?! I can't find my head! I've lost my head! Has anyone seen my head?!" Finally, she was able to feel her head from inside her head. The princess realized what she sought was what was crying out for itself. She experienced being the head, not just looking at the head.

* * *

Spiritual realization is when one no longer looks for the Self or tries to be the Self: one realizes she or he is the one Self.

In Hinduism, the sages have said, from ages past,
Tat Tvam Asi, I AM That

In Buddhism,
we learn, we each are
the Buddha

In Christianity,
we learn of the imago dei -
we each are created in
the image of

The Quakers speak of
That of God in

Beatrice Bruteau - Christian contemplative - in
What We Can Learn from the East:

"That which is sought is no different from that which is seeking. The heart that yearns for God is the very heart in which God dwells. St. Augustine's God says to him, "You would not seek me unless you had already found me." ... But by the time we realize this, it is no longer clear who is speaking, ... God is only Subject, I AM. To be united to God means to realize oneself as I AM, to find God's subjectivity in one's own subjectivity, to realize that the spirit that one isthe very breath of God in oneself, as oneself."

So many ways to say
what cannot be said:
You cannot find
what you are.
You cannot become
other than what you are.
You can realize
what you are.
In realizing
what you are,
you realize what
we are.
Then, where does
what we are
come from?
Asking into that Abyss,
no echo returns.

* * *

(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2020


Lotus of the Heart > Path of Spirit > a flowering of the futle spiritual search

©Brian Wilcox 2020