*William O'Brien Fine Art. "Denali - Meditation". Flickr
Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been abundantly graceful with you.
At the end of the spiritual road there is nothing left to do. One simply rests in the natural ground of our existence, which can be called “pure consciousness.” All spiritual practices are just beautiful distractions if we are not finding this place in ourselves. It is not the subject of the intellectual mind. It is the most enlightened dimension of our being. It is not owned by any religious denomination. If any sect or tradition claims that they have ownership over it, it means that they know nothing about it. The very word “pure consciousness” is only an indicator for this nameless, vast, boundless light within each of us that is who we truly are.
*Anam Thubten. The Magic of Awareness.
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One of my favorite scriptures from the Gospels in the Christian Scripture is the invitation of Jesus for persons to find rest through his presence. In a society in which religion and culture made life more difficult and led from the restfulness that we naturally need, he offered, and offers, respite as a natural, organic way of being in this world.
Come to me, all you toiling and heavily loaded, and I will give you rest. Receive my yoke upon you and learn of (or "from") me, for I am gentle and humble of spirit, and you will find rest for yourselves.
Another Christian Scripture, in Hebrews, speaks of the Jewish day Sabbath, the weekly day of rest, and translates it into a more spiritual meaning for the early Christian community, both Jews and Gentiles, internalizing the restfulness.
Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. ... For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” ...
So then, a sabbath (lit., ceasing, rest) rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, ... (NRSV)
We could read Jesus inviting to rest as ending with Jesus. Yet, for those who live in communion with Grace, in Silence, that one seeks to become the Christ for others. This is possible for Christ is always becoming, and through those willing to allow him to be born timelessly in time, from Silence. Other faiths will speak of this differently, such as Buddhism teaching that each is Buddha.
So, the one drinking from the Well of Silence drinks not just for himself or herself. This one enters the Silence, learning to live in the intimacy within and arising from Silence, to be an invitation for persons to find rest in his or her presence. So, communion heart-with-heart is the offering and creation of rest. The sacralized being, having marinated in Spirit, does not have to do anything to invite others to this sabbath rest, for this invitation becomes a spontaneous outflow from his or her intimacy with Life. As with Jesus, and other spiritualized embodiments of Life, one cannot give this rest, only offer it. Still, the offering is not of the self, this is Silence offering Itself unpremeditatively, so inviting to a natural, ceaseless rest.
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To embody this rest, one must discover it within himself or herself, as the gift of Silence. The Hebrews writer shows the way: one must cease from his or her own works. This meaning not that one does not work, rather one ceases from the works of self, works one claims as my work. Then, working and works occur as the fruition of Grace. Again, one becomes a spontaneous invitation for persons to find rest in abdicating all claims to doing good. No work remains, then, for one to say, "I did that...". Rather, one would more well say, "That was done through me" or "That was done by That within me."
My first opportunity to speak religiously in a public meeting as visiting speaker, I was age fifteen. I could not speak publicly well, but sensed a call to. I stood up with the meeting house filled that night, and began speaking. I had only bare notes to guide some, but they mainly proved useless. It was as though something or someone poured words from my mouth for the next forty minutes. Prior to that night, I had spoken only twice in a worship meeting, and that in my home meeting house. Each time I spoke only about five minutes and had nothing more to say, the words were a struggle, there was no flow. So, this night, when the message poured from me, I could not have said, "I spoke that message," rather, "That message was given through me." So, that was not my work, my work was moved aside for a Work to be given that I could never have given those people.
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Tibetan Buddhist teacher Anam Thubten writes, in The Magic of Awareness, "Deeply resting is the point where we are no longer looking for anything else." This is parallel the Quaker way of Silence, wherein one waits silently in Silence. David Johnson, in The Quaker Prayer Life, quotes George Fox from To All Who Would Know the Way to the KINGDOME, 1654, of this prayerful, silent waiting, "[T]he first step of peace is to stand still in the light." These, and other wisdom teachers, remind us that rest is a gift arising from the Silence, so our efforts at this inner rest keep us from allowing the spaciousness for the gift to be given and, so, received as a grace, not worked for as a gotten.
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This is why a simple means of entering Silence daily is important. The simpler the better. Be cautious of getting entangled in complex, esoteric, or varied meditation practices. Be aware when you are doing your meditation, rather than what you are doing being the means for you to stop your doing and rest quietly in the spaciousness of receptivity. Spiritual meditation is merely the means to clear an openness to receive. Even meditating to cultivate compassion becomes a hindrance. Compassion is a gift. By abiding in Silence, compassion arises from the Source of compassion. One may better leave off the word "meditation," since meditation practices often entail techniques, rather than the simple act of waiting quietly and alertly with Grace. The most important aspect of meditation, if we wish to use that word, then, is simple wakefulness, remaining open and aware, present to Life. Technique may assist in disposing one to the posture of receptive wakefulness, and that would fulfill the need of the technique, so one could lay it aside and simply remain open in the Quiet.
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An Aspiration Prayer
may all beings feel loved and freely loving
may their suffering be transformed into bliss
and grace given to alleviate the suffering of others
that all may live in the fullness of love, joy, and peace.
Amen ~ We say joyfully It is so!
*William O'Brien Fine Art. "Untitled # 10". Flickr
The Sacred in Me bows to the Sacred in You
*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2019