This is the twentieth of the series of reflections arising from a month in silence and solitude; the musings invite the reader to explore the Truth for himself or herself. May the writer's reflections be windows to look in, or out, onto the vista of our one Beloved, our deepest, truest Self. Peace! Brian K
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Let Our Lives Be
Timeless Gratitude and Mighty Joy
Let Our Heart Be
Great Peace and Holy Spirit
Our Name Be
*Mooji. The Mala of God.
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The most vivid, memorable moment of the month in solitude alone ~ which now returns to mind often still ~ would surprise many, due to its unadorned simplicity, bare naturalness. And spirituality we could term bare naturalness or unadorned simplicity in the details of our lives. There always awaits us this quiet stream, moving among the complexities and confusions of life. Meditation is a means to nurture living in oneness with that peaceful flow, returning to the calm current when we see we are losing connection with it. Be assured, while I write these writings, I write as one very familiar with the tendency to move away from the calm. I often have to return. Now, however, I return more quickly, often immediately after moving away, when in the past I might have been away for much longer. I, like you, am a work in process, and the work is joyful, if we let it be. So, take the path seriously, but with humor. Okay? And I will return later to this vivid experience referred to.
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The egoic-mind often sees through wrong view, this leads to wrong effort. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche wrote of effort dictated by spiritual materialism. Here, we see spiritual process as means to get something for ourselves, our egoic self. Usually, this means something tantalizing, impressive, always validating to egoic sense, whereby it feels special, achieved in some way. "Look, I had a vision." "Hey, I got enlightened!" "See, now I am ready to be a Teacher, can't you see too?" So, the egoic sense looks in the mirror, itself, even when projecting outward to others. If egoic sense cannot get the accolades outside, it will set up its own self-admiration museum. Egoic sense will enjoy collecting spiritual trophies to admire by itself. Then, the pursuit is on, always, to the next self-validating experience. Then, meditation is not healing, but adding to the suffering of self outside meditation, for egoic sense is running from and running to all the time. This is insanity, yet we are socialized to live this way, are shown it daily as normal. In the Christian Bible, is penned, "The wisdom (sophia) of the world is foolishness with God." And, "The wisdom (sophia) of God is foolishness to the world."
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This reminds of a story I have told before. The Head of Department where I taught religion, Doug, met with the Head of the Department of Psychology, Jean. I overhead them speaking in the Chapel, before worship started. I stood nearby. They did not try to hide the conversation. This was about a mutual acquaintance, a professor, up for tenure. Doug shared about this, Jean replied, asking, "Does he think he must get it?" "Yes." "Then," came the reply, "I hope he doesn't until he does not feel like he has to have it."
I, sometimes, see myself pushing for a particular experience in meditation, like I need it so much, and for myself. When recognized, relief arises in relaxing that greedy, aggressive, delusional push. Samadhi arises, the stability of mind, heart, presence. That Presence is fullness and, so, never needs to push. Presence, or samadhi, is like never being hungry, able to enjoy whatever dish arises, for the neediness to have a particular dish is not present, the neediness to have any dish is not present. Like walking into an ice cream store, being handed a dip of ice cream, while there are 60 flavors to choose from. And just enjoying one flavor, no felt-need for another flavor. Then, deep experience, deep knowing arises from-being fully with that flavor given, received; that one flavor embodies all flavors, arises from one Presence.
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So, over time I have oft written of this as receptive Presence. We can engage and practice this in meditation. Simply assume your meditation posture, relax, be attentive, however you choose to do that ~ a mantra, following breath, an outside object like a candle flame ...~ or be aware of only-awareness itself. 'See' what arises, let it engage you. The object is not that object; the object of meditation is awareness itself. Observe awareness aware-ing the object, knowing itself being aware of the object. Everything becomes a revelation, while awareness is aware. You are open to sense what arises out of the fecund Nothingness, you see it return to Nothingness, to potentiality. You will mature to see that all of it is alive, manifesting the same Aliveness. Through this simplicity, you will be less and less attached to wanting particular experiences, and you will be learning the enjoyment of the bare nudity of Life Itself. You will be like a lover with a lover, glad to enjoy what your lover looks and feels like with clothes on or clothes off. Life naked, sharing itself as the unseen qualities, or Life clothed, manifesting phenomena to be received by the senses, all a revelation, all the same Life. Then, by enjoying Life clothed, Life will naturally unclothe Itself. This dance will go on and on, and you will remain aware as Awareness Itself, which is Life Itself. You and Life are no longer known as separate, but One in different modes of manifestation.
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Now, to the beginning of our sharing today. That vivid, memorable moment. I was washing dishes. I recall her coming to the back door, speaking to me. I walked to the back door. She, pointing into the backyard, spoke of a good place to put a clothes line for hanging clothes. Possibly, for the dryer was on, drying some of my clothes. I affirmed, saying, "I like hanging clothes out, my clothes last longer." ~ My mind returned to how my mom would hang clothes out when I was a small boy, and the good smell of the sunshine soaked into the cloth. ~ She agreed. I returned to washing dishes.
On the surface, nothing remarkable there. That is the point today. Nothing obviously remarkable, yet beautiful, for that whole scenario was like the Moment, not a moment. There was a flow. Mind was active. Yet, bare Presence was present. Even the sense of the water moving over hands and hands over dishes, as holy as any time I broke and blessed the bread, the Host, to serve my congregation the spiritual presence of Christ. In looking back on such moments, more meaning can arise, as often they are pregnant with meaning and experience one does not see in that moment. The Greeks called such momentless moments by karios, a moment-out-of-time, of fullness and opportunity, in contrast to linear time, chronos. Still, such influxes from the Unseen arise due to our being prepared to receive them, to 'see' it. Facing what blocks the flow of this Grace, this Love, we meditate to see and allow to be resolved in the Quietness, so we are more an open conduit in daily life, even when sleeping.
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So, growing into receptivity means the causes and conditions are being set in the field of mind-heart, often our being unaware of this subtle ripening, for the fruition to occur in uprisings of Love, of Kindness, of Patience, of Courage, ... Most of these will not be experiences egoic sense had earlier clamored for, rather these will be less impressive, humbling to the egoic sense, having more depth and transformative power, as well as lingering wisdom for mindful curiosity, prayer, and possible action later. Such moments, not grounded in a sense of time, will last a lifetime and more.
We need to pay close attention to these momentless moments, for in them is transcendent wisdom, and we do not want to waste the opportunity to grow in insight. So, return to such experiences, and be curious, exploratory. If you trust in 'God,' you can pray a prayer, like "My Lord, what are you saying to me through this?" Then, wait quietly, see what happens. If nothing happens, okay, something may arise later, or other like experiences that confirm the wisdom, then you see. Ripeness is key, we see when prepared to see. So, again, no need to push, you are shown. Make of yourself a place to receive, you will receive. This is the wisdom of Grace.
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*All material, unless another source is cited, is authored by the presenter of Lotus of Heart, Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Use of the material is permitted; Brian only requests that credit be given and to be notified at email@example.com .
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.
*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.