Saturday, October 29, 2011
Meditation 31 - Divinity is all around you
Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Mt. 24:44)
Sooner or later there arises in every human heart the desire for holiness, spirituality, God, call it what you will.
One hears mystics speak of a divinity all around them that is within our grasp, that would make our lives meaningful and beautiful and rich, if we could only discover it.
People have some sort of a vague idea as to what this thing is. They read books and consult Gurus, in the attempt to find out what it is that they must do to gain this elusive thing called Holiness or Spirituality.
People pick up all sorts of methods, techniques, spiritual exercises, formulas; then after years of fruitless striving, they become discouraged and confused and wonder what went wrong. Mostly they blame themselves.
If they had practiced their techniques more regularly, if they had been more fervent or more generous, they might have made it. But made what? They have no clear idea as to what exactly this holiness that they seek is, but they certainly know that their lives are still in a mess, they still become anxious and insecure and fearful, resentful and unforgiving, grasping and ambitious and manipulative of people. So once again they throw themselves with renewed vigor into effort and labor that they think they need to attain their goal.
They have never stopped to consider this simple fact. Their efforts are going to get them nowhere.
Their efforts will only make things worse, as things become worse when you use fire to put out fire.
Efforts does not lead to growth; effort, whatever the form it may take, whether it be will power or habit or a technique or a spiritual exercise, does not lead to change.
At best it leads to repression and a covering over of the root disease.
Effort may change the behavior but it does not change the person.
Just think what kind of a mentality it betrays when you ask, "What must I do to get holiness?" Isn't it like asking, "How much money must I spend to buy something?" What sacrifice must I make?" What discipline must I undertake? What medication must I practice in order to get it? Think of a man who wants to win the love of a woman and attempts to improve his appearance or build his body or change his behavior and practice techniques to charm her.
You truly win the love of others not by the practice of techniques but by being a certain kind of person. And that is never achieved through effort an techniques. And so it is with Spirituality and Holiness. Not what you do is what brings it to you.
This is not a commodity that one can buy or a prize that one can win. What matters is what you are, what you become.
Holiness is not an achievement, it is a Grace. A Grace called Awareness, a grace called Looking, observing, understanding.
A. If you would only switch on the light of awareness an observe yourself and everything around you throughout the day.
B. If you would see yourself reflected in the mirror of awareness the way you see your face reflected in a looking glass, that is, accurately, clearly, exactly as it is without the slightest distortion or addition.
C. If you observed this reflection without any judgement or condemnation, you would experience all sorts of marvelous changes coming about in you. Only you will not be in control of those changes or be able to plan them in advance, or decide how and when they are to take place.
It is this non-judgmental awareness alone that heals and changes and makes one grow. But in its own way and all its own time.
What specifically are you to be aware of?
1. Your reactions and your relationships. Each time you are in the presence of a person, any person, or with nature or with any particular situation, you have all sorts of reactions, positive and negative.
2. Study those reactions, observe what exactly they are and where they come from, without any sermonizing or guilt or even any desire, much less effort to change them. That is all that on needs for holiness to arise.
But isn't awareness itself an effort?
Not if you have tasted it even once. For then you will understand that awareness is a delight, the delight of a little child moving out in wonder to discover the world. For even when awareness uncovers unpleasant things in you, it always brings liberation and joy. Then you will know that the unaware life is not worth living, it is too full of darkness and pain.
If at first there is a sluggishness in practicing awareness, don't force yourself. That would be an effort again. Just be aware of your sluggishness without any judgement or condemnation. You will then understand that awareness involves as much effort as a lover makes to go to his beloved, or a hungry man makes to eat his food, or a mountaineer to get to the top of his beloved mountain; so much energy expended, so much hardship even, but it isn't effort, it's fun! In other words, awareness is an effortless activity.
Will awareness bring you the holiness you so desire? Yes and no. The fact is you will never know. For true holiness, the type that is not achieved through techniques and efforts and repression, true holiness is completely unself-conscious. You wouldn't have the slightest awareness of its existence in you. Besides you will not care, for even the ambition to be holy will have dropped as you live from moment to moment a life made full and happy and transparent through awareness. It is enough for you to be watchful and awake. For in this state your eyes will see the Savior. Nothing else, but absolutely nothing else. Not security, not love, not belonging, not beauty, not power, not holiness - nothing else will matter any more.