"This," said the mullah, "is the soup of
the soup of the duck that was brought
to me by your friend."
How can you kiss through a messenger?
* * *
The late Anthony de Mello shared the above story in his The Song of the Bird. His concluding note on the impossibility of kissing through a messenger pertains to his view that many followers of those who experienced Grace are trying to have intimacy indirectly with Grace, not directly. One way of saying this is ~ Using the image of the living or late teacher, founder, roshi, guru, prophet ... as a means to Grace, rather than a means to Grace to no longer depend on such a one as a means to Grace.
* * *
The late Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa, was known to throw water onto disciples. This was done to indicate the nature of enlightenment as direct experience. When water suddenly is thrown against your face, you do not have time to process, to think. This is, so to speak, an in-your-face-experience. This is palpable, direct, undeniable, not the result of a process of seeking, of ideation, simply direct and unmediated. This is intimacy between water and face. No one, even God, no teacher, no anyone, gives you this; this is beyond giving, for nondual, direct. When water hits face, before the mind can process, no gap is found between water and face. If we called this anything, possibly water-face or face-water would point well to this undivided, simple immediacy. Then, after water-face or face-water, the mind begins to process, to make sense of the immediate, intimate happening.
The nature of the i-sense, the ego, is to use memory to define, to explain, direct intimate happening. This is a step away, as the foreground of Grace-happening directly is moved to the background, and reason moves into the foreground. In this, the processing is through memory, the immediate happening past. So, the thought about relates to something already past, the immediacy is now the immediacy of thought itself. So, when a Grace-moment occurs, we think about it, meaning we move to the past through memory to bracket it within the apparent sense of past experience, thereby forfeiting the purity of Grace-happening itself. Presence itself is one with the undiluted knowing of Grace, not the framing of Grace or a Grace-full moment as known through framing such in the understanding of past experience.
In this one moment of Grace-happening, there has never been one like it before, never will be again, not in the sense of sequence, of time. The i-sense, ego, feels threatened by this, when the i-sense is in control of consciousness. Persons are intolerable of undiluted Grace, even when they claim to be wanting it, seeking it, even aching for it. A person cannot experience and know immediate Grace, for Grace is the undoing of the sense of absoluteness in person claiming to be absolutely a person. Grace is totally impersonal, but not unpersonal, then.
* * *
In the moment of intimate directness, as water splashing against face, a gap occurs, like when one sneezes or is suddenly surprised, say by an unexpected loud noise that interrupts the flow of thought and sense-of-self. In such cases, the ego sense, or person, drops from the foreground and is dissolved back into pure, impersonal Presence. So, Krishnamurti above notes wisdom arises in timelessness, intimacy without a sense of past or future, of progression, of intent and purpose.
* * *
In this timeless intimacy, this nothingness as absence of thingness, of pure subjectivity-meaning having no object separate from everything-, what is happening? Life. We are happening. Jean Klein points to this simplicity of presence, when, in I Am, he observes, "What we call the Self is not a soul-like thing, a state, it is the uninterrupted flow of life." This life is the unknown, he observes, "The unknown is the closest to us, too near to be perceived." Life is happening, the unknown is happening, meaning you are happening. Yet, not you as person, as self, as an individual, but you as life is happening. So, see, we are acculturated to develop this relative fiction that we are separate from the unknown, the Mystery, that we have life or have a life. Rather, absolutely, we are the one Mystery, the single life. No one can find a "my life," a "his life," a "her life," an "our life." No one can find a "my soul." Life is. Mystery, the unknown, is being a mystery only due to the inability of the senses ascribed to personhood to fathom it based on the fiction of individuality. Life cannot be divided, so individuality as a divided-from others, from life, from God, or whatever, is illogical, is a relative play of Grace.
* * *
So, we could define spirituality as a practice leading naturally to the dropping of the seeing of ourselves as separate from life itself, indeed to knowing directly, intimately our own beingness as Being itself, as life flowing in absolute timelessness, appearing as this movement we call creation, or nature. Then, we may love Jesus, or Buddha, or Krishna, or our teacher, love whatever has inspired us and been a means to Grace. Yet, dependence-on transforms into being-with. Now, a Christian could say, "I am with Jesus." A Buddhist, "I am with Buddha." Others, "I am with Krishna" or "I am with my teacher," and so forth. Love is purified by the dropping away, the burning away, of dependence. And, finally, this "with" is known directly as an expression of "in," wherein "with" is potential to become as an intimatic happening of a single, simple Grace.
Oneness looks out, admiring, praising silently the playfulness of life appearing in diverse forms. There is only one song, but with many notes. As Buddhists say, "Not one, Not two." For Truth transcends, for prior to, either the thought of "one" or of "two."
* * *
So, we are back to the soup of the soup of the duck. One, through spiritual devotion, naturally evolves toward being drawn beyond using the object of worship as a means of Grace, to Grace Itself, directly, intimately. This does not mean denial of the object of worship, but a transformation from object of to intimacy with, so close devotion is sensed as a singular, shared being-with, even adoring, but not an act of the worshiper worshiping toward the other. In Grace, intimacy leads to the devotion toward being drawn back into pure love, adoration, reverence, this arising as expression wherein simply love is happening, adoration is happening, reverence is happening, and a love and adoration and reverence in which there remains no direction from one to to; togetherness arises as the union of a singular, single Life. As I have written before on prayer, prayer to becomes simply prayer, prayer happening without an object to receive prayer. Prayer arises, then, as an expression of Oneness within and to Itself: this does not speak of what cannot be said, thankfully. Worship ultimately implies an absolutely unspeakable that can be known, however.
* * *
Now, does this mean we no longer worship the prior recipient of our worship? Meaning, we no longer see a Jesus, a God, a Buddha, a Krishna, our teacher ... as separate from us to direct worship toward. My sense of this is it may or may not occur. Union plays as diversity. So, even as we worship a lover, meaning adore and praise, the same play of devotion can occur in a religious sense. Yet, my sense, also, is when this happens, there is a different knowing and quality of the worship, one pervaded by the perfume of Union, a knowing the worship is a play of the one Lover, a dance of a single Life to Life.
* * *
Time is known within timelessness, while before, timelessness seemed an infrequent visitor into time. Now, I am not someone with life worshiping, I am life worshiping. So, see, the dance of diversity has a different quality, as diversity is now happening from a sense of being created by Oneness~in~Oneness, rather than diversity being a creation of Oneness as apart, an object of, Oneness.
See, all happening is life, life is Oneness, and even the sense of separation, of otherness, is life-happening in Life. You cannot not be one with Grace, and even a sense of separation from Life is Life-happening. A sense of separation, then, being an expression of Union, reminds us of Union and awakens the fortunate longing to know again our first estate of blissful Union.
*The vision statement for Lotus of the Heart is Living in Love beyond Beliefs. These presentations, inclusive in nature, are invitations for persons to explore for himself or herself. Brian does not claim to have answers or the Truth for anyone. He provides pointers to Truth, so as to inspire others on his or her own journey of Truth, to compassionate living with Earth and all creatures sharing this planet.
*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 firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, for spiritual guidance via phone, Skype, or in-person, Brian can be contacted via the above email.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.
*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.