for the lover with the Beloved aloneness is not a problem aloneness is an invitation
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To go to the bed of the Dark One [Krishna]. Body and mind, Mira wears only the color of God.
*Robert Bly. Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems.
Yesterday, for a first time in a year, I returned to the coastline where I often went previously, after arriving in Maine about sixteen months ago. Before I arrived, driving along the winding road, I felt tears inside, not in eyes. Upon arriving, beginning the long walk up the shore, hearing roaring of waves, feeling wind on face, the tears found a way out. Some other persons were nearby, I turned head downward, welcoming the tears. Not needing to examine why the tears, I knew often tears are both of sadness and joy. Tears can be prayers, each tear, alone with the Alone.
On the way back along the shore, I stopped, I closed the eyes for twenty minutes, entering the solitude of the heart. Breathing peacefully, hearing the roar of the tide, feeling coldness on face. At times, a subtle smile. Alone, not alone, with the Alone. Quietness, a subtle smile, can be prayer, a being clothed with the color of God.
* * *
The Way is secrecy and silence. Within us is a deep well of contentment, a vast, all-embracing silence into which we relax and through which all good appears to us. Seek the atmosphere of Godís presence and rest; seek the consciousness of His presence. "In quietness and in confidence shall be our strength" [Isaiah 30.15, AV]. He leadeth us beside the still waters and into green pastures [see Psalm 23.2, AV] that we may rest from strife, from struggle, and from effort, and behold the glory of God risen round about us. ... In this understanding, we have entered that sanctuary where the noises of the world never reach, and where the troubles of the world never penetrate. Where is this? It is in the very depths of our own consciousness, in the very depths of our own Soul, when we have refrained from strife, from struggle, and from taking thought.
*Joel S. Goldsmith. Practicing the Presence.
You see, out of this aloneness comes a virtue that is virile and which brings an extraordinary sense of purity and gentleness. ... What matters is to have this feeling of being completely alone, uncontaminated, for it is only such a mind that can know or be aware of that which is beyond the word, beyond the name, beyond all the projections of imagination.
*Jiddu Krishnamurti. The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti.
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Over a year-and-a-half ago, I left a job and entered a season of waiting, living in a cabin beside the Santa Fe River, in High Springs, Florida. Not waiting in a sense of desperation, anxious as to when I would sense an inner summons, or readiness, to seek employment or move, or both, or simply to write self-employed~I am still in this season, and possibly this is the way I am to live now. I am doing much work, and much of it is inner, some outer. Persons have asked me, "What have you been doing?" I cannot tell them. I tried. I have decided to stop trying. The society I live in knows little of the inner life beyond the psychological, of waiting, of silence, of the Reality of the Intangible, of the delicate workings of Grace, and sees worth attached to action, results, employment, money, a house, a relationship, noise, busyness, loudness, .... I have few, if any, markers of this success; yet, I cannot recall a time in my life of being more fulfilled and at-peace, more sense of inner communion with the Divine, or, in the words of Mirabai, being clothed with the color of God. Wonderful happenings happen, subtle, when we allow space, and this does not require a set season apart. Or you may be summoned to enter such a sanctuary time apart, and such a time daily is important for receptivity to intangible manifestations of Spirit. Either way, the well of contentment Goldsmith speaks of is always here, wherever you are now and now and now.
So, Thomas Merton, in Thoughts in Solitude, on the inward experience of the lover of the Beloved...
Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.
* * *
One message I saw inwardly, when leaving the job, was not to do anything out of desperation during this season. Also, during a month silence, taken over six months later, I saw guidance as to this: "Let the road meet you." And I envisioned a spontaneous sight of a highway literally lifting itself up and moving toward me.
I have realized, from past experience, desperation can block receptivity to inward Guidance, as well as the joy of communion within with Life. Desperation, an obtrusive energy expressing fear, blocks listening inwardly, the flowing of Grace. Yet, this desperation needs to be welcomed and listened to, so it can be transformed into energy of waiting patiently. So, here, I am not saying to reject such desperation, but welcome it, hold it, and let it be. If we do this, a transformation of the energy occurs. So, desperation can be seen as a gift, an invitation to relax and welcome contentment and communion in Grace.
* * *
This relates to an idea I was taught in my early religious upbringing. We referred to praying through something. This meant that prayer is a means to move through to the other side, so we keep praying. Now, for me, this is prayer as silent waiting more than saying prayers, though spoken prayer arises for me out of silence, usually spoken inwardly, not audibly. I am still learning to trust that being with the Silence, open, receptive, Life is working for my good in ways I cannot fathom and wish not to disrupt through trying to push toward some imagined result. I do not need to push, simply allow Life to meet me, and often in this posture inner guidance will arise or simply contentment without any sense of guidance whatever. Here, I can listen.
* * *
Still, let us not misunderstand listening, for here is not meant trying to hear something, effortfulness to receive guidance, nothing like that. Joel Goldsmith speaks of this, "The Way is secrecy and silence. Within us is a deep well of contentment, a vast, all-embracing silence into which we relax and through which all good appears to us." He refers to this "atmosphere of God's presence and rest." Maraibai says here she meets her Lover, Krishna, and wears only her Beloved, being divested of herself, only Grace. Yet, we can use nonreligious imagery to refer to the same fertile spaciousness, if we choose. The key is this inwardness, this sanctuary, is a space for relaxing effort even to listen, to be anyone, to get anything. Then, from this atmosphere of relaxed receptivity, we can see what arises. Yet, we cannot control the timing or content of what arises. We cannot manage receptivity. The moment we begin to try to listen, listening stops. This is like a door opening on its own, and if we grab the handle and try to open it, the door is held in place by our trying to move it from its place. See, to use another metaphor for receptivity, we often see when we are not looking. Yet, to say we are not trying does not mean we are not acting, rather, any action is simply to posture ourselves to receive. So, this is not purely passive, we are intimately involved in the surrendering of our whole being to Being.
* * *
So, you can invite receptivity, now, by simply stopping, breathing in and out naturally. Sounds arise and leave. Feelings come and go. Sensations arise and fall away. When a thought shows up, let it move on, disappearing back into nothingness. Thoughts arise, but do not engage in thinking. Often, when doing this, one feels being fitted into a calm spaciousness, a quiet flowing, and, at times, everything drops. Yet, even if you do not feel this well of contentment arise, that is okay. Sometimes it does, sometimes not, likely for everyone doing this. So, this is simple, not esoteric, not difficult. This is an organic process of awakening more deeply, to now, without attachment to anything ~ this inward intimacy is not a thing to aspire for, get, try to keep. One need not call this meditation, contemplation, religious, spiritual, ... anything at all. If calling this something helps, good, do so. Wherever you are, this always is.
* * *
"What matters," observes Krishnamurti, "is to have this feeling of being completely alone, uncontaminated, for it is only such a mind that can know or be aware of that which is beyond the word, beyond the name, beyond all the projections of imagination."
* * *
I refer you to what I call the first listening. This listening is not any guidance. This listening is simply the being-with the silence, the secrecy, the intimacy. This, too, is listening, and receiving guidance arises from this first listening. When in the Quiet, we may go long periods of time with no clear guidance, yet we relax into and listen to the Quiet. This Quiet is the most beautiful ever heard, the content before all contents. This is intimacy with ourselves, with Life.
* * *
Joan Tollifson, in Bare-Bones Meditation, shares of a session with her late spiritual teacher, Toni Packer: "Do you have the essence? Tony asks. If you have the essence, the future will emerge. ... You have to stay open. See what happens."
This is the secrecy and silence Goldsmith refers to. No one can enter this sanctuary, this inwardness, for you. And no one can be there with you; you alone were born from here, you alone live from here, you alone will die into here again. We each have this intimate inwardness. We can live among others, worship with them, meditate with them, do any number of things with them, yet this aloneness is a withinness given only to us each, so intimate to our particularity no one can enter it with us, even if he or she were in silence and secrecy beside us. Solitude can meet solitude, but no one can enter your solitude, no one can wait in your place there, no one can receive for you there, no one can love for you there.
* * *
We are too prone to go to other persons for guidance. Nothing wrong with that. Often this can be helpful. Yet, also, we need to learn to trust more the secrecy and silence within, how to stay there and not run away into advice. As advice can help, advice can muddy the waters, while silence and secrecy facilitates settling of the mud. If seeking spiritual guidance from someone, better someone who inspires your own openness to listen, not someone with answers to give you. You need to live your questions, live them into the answers, and, then, live the answers. When we can wait alone, sitting in the well of contentment, we grow to be more trusting and patient, we learn to be and listen for ourselves. We grow to be more comfortable with nothing apparently happening~while knowing the apparently nothing happening means something is happening~our looking at the door, refusing to try to open it, and even playful and cheerful with the not-knowing. We may even find it oddly humorous seeing persons walking all around and being so certain they are actually walking in the right direction. We can be playful with having no direction, just here. We can ask ourselves, when wanting to escape into something else, someone else, somewhere else: "What's wrong with right here, now, alone with the Alone?" Indeed, those most prepared for this aloneness, they are most prepared to be with others.
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