The mystics have been saying it for ages:
“Existence is One. All division is in the mind.”
So the MIND gives us the ILLUSION that we are separate!
And if we are exploring this with the mind, we are certain to find objection to the idea that we are NOT separate!
It is those rare moments – gifts from existence – when the curtain parts and reveals for a fraction of a second the truth of the ONE, that can give us the support needed to keep the inquiry going!
That fleeting awareness can only be invited, and meditation is the key.
Q: I feel that we are really coming into very exciting times.
Just wondered what you thought?
I think teachers are just saying dead words, now. I feel no aliveness in what’s going on now. We are really ready for something new in consciousness to appear.
Subhan: I agree with you that these are exciting times! And, yes, I also feel that there is a corner that can be turned.
But now comes the real “work!” It is individual and it starts with meditation. Each of us has to move deeply into our interiority and explore what is inside. That is the only place where consciousness appears. The mind wants to go outside and change things. But until each of us moves beyond the mind, into the silence and stillness within, we will be reacting from the same mind that has created so much havoc already and the results will remain the same.
The chaos that we experience outside is only a reflection of the chaos in the mind! So, as many, many people move more into their chaotic minds, that will only ramp up the disturbances on the planet. This scenario, however, is an opportunity for each of us to realize that we have had enough of what we don’t want, and it will lead us within to the only place where intelligence lives.
The difficulty as I see it is that most people are unwilling to meditate, to cathart all the stuffed up emotions, and to celebrate the amazing gift of life! And, all three of these are essential for the shift to happen. But that doesn’t stop US from choosing to do these. And that is the ONLY place where real change happens. Inside each of us, one at a time!
Real “teachers” (I call them mystics) are saying words that can point us inward. They are like the Sherpa that guides people on Mount Everest. Sherpas can’t climb the mountain for us, but they CAN point the way because they have experienced the climb. Real mystics can do the same for us as we climb the inner mountain.
So if the teachers you have been listening to seem to have dead words, there are two possibilities:
Either they are not real mystics, and then their words are fabrications, not truths.
Or, if they are real and the mind is making their words dead!
In either case, meditation will support us in finding the way!
I just read a quote from the Chinese mystic, Sosan, who said, “The great way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.”
When I first read this, I really laughed! No preferences. Hmmm. Certainly not me! But I also realized that being with Osho and meditation have given me an understanding and a remembrance that I can sometimes go to, which is to watch the expectations…and watch the feelings of disappointment and frustration. Then I don’t get so caught in them.
Yes, they are still there, but more at a distance and not so powerful. And then I can even laugh at them…like when I hear the statement, “Want to make God laugh? Just tell him you have a plan…!”
I’ve also found it easier to deal with unfulfilled expectations when I see myself as a wave in the ocean. In a way, that would be like the wave getting upset with the ocean for not doing what it wanted it to do. When I get that, it looks so absurd! Yet, isn’t that what we are doing when we get upset with the way things are happening for us?
The tea baggers have actually done us all a favor by calling some things into question! The problem is that they are still functioning from an old mindset that doesn’t allow for real, effective change. And they are easily swayed to support absurd ideas that actually harm themselves! But there is no doubt that the atmosphere is ripe for change. And if intelligent people begin to question given values and institutions, we might be on track for real change.
The first step could be the most difficult. It requires each of us to inquire into our beliefs and understandings about our life to see and understand what truly enriches our lives…and what doesn’t. And this inquiry can only be effective if it is grounded in our deeper, richer, essential nature. And that comes from moving inwards with meditation.
This personal inquiry can then create an intelligent dialog with others that could lead to changes not only in our individual lives, but in the lives of those in our community as well. But, it is important to emphasize that the changes must START with each individual.
So, even if you and I are the only ones choosing this inquiry, the gains in personal understanding will be of immense value to us, and it will not be lost on others. In fact this is the ONLY way others may begin their journey – by seeing what is possible for them through what others are doing and being. That is the way every spiritual teacher has begun the journey and has then shared it with others.
Q. Why can’t we follow the adage “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” It seems that most of us are doing just the opposite!
Subhan: This is a complicated matter, but not an impossible one! This answer can be the seed for inquiry and deeper understanding about ourselves.
Let’s start with this perspective: Intelligence says to treat the other well, and the other will do the same with us. Yet, we often treat others with disdain, anger and judgment. Why is this so and how can we change it?
The part of us that is angry and judgmental of others unconsciously takes over in situations where we feel hurt, attacked or judged by the other person. And that reaction is certainly putting out a message that gets what we think are unintended reactions. We want the other to stop doing something that we experience as hurting us. We want them to treat us well. However, the message we give is that the other is doing something wrong, which almost always produces a defensive, pained and negative reaction from them. As a result, we are unconsciously inviting them to be negative with us!
Our anger and judgments are the perfect material for inquiry so that we can understand the source of them. My own personal inquiry led me to this understanding: our negative actions have little to do with the present situation or with the other person. Rather, they are remnants of earlier (childhood?) suppression and frustrations, and the way we were taught to judge and beat up ourselves. As a result, we have become walking judges of the world with suppressed anger just waiting to erupt.
Here’s one of the keys: If we want to have an authentic acceptance of the other person, then we must have an authentic acceptance of ourselves! In our inquiry, we have to see, understand and penetrate the ways in which we judge and reject ourselves. And we have to learn how to release the suppressed anger without spilling it on others. (Remember I said this was a bit complicated. Anger/emotional release work is vital to create change in our relationships. I’ll discuss this more in later answers.) How can we give real acceptance to others when we don’t give that to ourselves?! The magic of understanding is that the intelligence that surfaces from it does make a difference in what we do. That is how more conscious actions arise. And this possibility of understanding is best supported by a meditation practice. The Indian mystic Osho suggests doing an hour of meditation a day. Without it we get stuck in the mind’s machinations and the anxiety, fear, worry and anger it produces will continue to control our actions.
So, if we act unconsciously, we will usually get negative, unconscious reactions from others. If, however, we really understand that we are the source of the anger and judgment – not the other person – then we can learn to have compassion for what we went through – and learned – as children, and find ways to release pent-up emotions safely. We can then act more consciously from a deeper space within. The result: there is every possibility that the response will be a welcoming one.
The bottom line is how deeply we understand and have compassion for ourselves, and how much awareness we bring to a situation. The more understanding and compassion we have, the more the adage – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – will be fulfilled!
I have heard scientists say that only about .0001% of what is out “there” gets into the experience of the mind! Imagine that!!
And to make things even more limited, the mind is always INTERPRETING what we experience, so existence is filtered a SECOND TIME and we rarely experience even the full .0001% that is there behind the interpretation!
Here’s one understanding that points this out: “The thing that upsets people is not what happens, but what they think it means.” Epictetus.
So, perhaps even with this limited information, we can begin to understand that staying in the mind – IDENTIFYING with this limiting device – will surely create havoc in our lives and on the planet (as if that isn’t already apparent!).
There has never been a better understanding and a better time to wake us up to the necessity of meditation, where that identification is broken, and where an expansive consciousness becomes available.
No wonder mystics like Osho have said that meditation is the “first and last freedom!”
Knowing that death is not an “if”, but only a “when” that I cannot predict, I invite as much awareness into my life as possible with meditation, so that when death comes, I will have the possibility of being aware as it comes.
Here is a beautiful video about a woman’s preparation for her impending death.
It is an inspiration to me…
I have heard again and again the mind saying in various ways, “Same old same old.” This is the formula for boredom and fatigue. The mind can easily make everything known; so when I am identified with the mind, I take life for “granted” and feel disconnected.
One way I’ve discovered to wake up to life is: first, to just become aware of this boredom mindset. Meditation helps by giving me space to dis-identify from the mind’s chatter. Then I am able to remember a simple process – that wherever I am, whatever I am doing, to look for miracles along the way!
Suddenly the expansive feeling of gratitude often appears, like a gift from existence…as I find more miracles than I can count! Give it a try…
A friend asked the question, “how does one maintain compassion and patience with those that are not being compassionate and patient with them?”
Here’s my answer:
As a kid, I developed three strategies to cope with those difficult situations: fight, flight, or freeze. So when I find myself in similar situations now, the knee-jerk reaction is to move into one of those three. The only way I know of getting out of this reaction is through meditation. It gives me the tools of watchfulness and awareness…and the understanding that connecting with myself brings me back to what got triggered inside ME; and eventually to a clearer, more compassionate space – for myself and for the other person. The key here is meditation…
I read something cute today. It said, “Bloom where you are planted.” Cute – but not anywhere near the whole story!
It would be wonderful if we understood that blooming is an internal thing that doesn’t need a fertile soil, that it is independent of WHERE we are…because blooming is our internal nature!
However, that truth is almost impossible to access when where we are is a difficult, or even toxic, place to be.
So the first step is to realize that: where you are isn’t supportive. And it certainly isn’t supportive of LEARNING that YOU, not where you are, is the key!!
For that, you need people who understand this (the “Sangha”), plus meditation (to connect with the essential you that knows this), and the mystics (who have gone through all this and who can help point the way).
Once that understanding becomes experiential, you connect with blooming. And THEN, you can learn to bloom ANYWHERE!!