#2058 - Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Nondual Highlights Issue #2058 Wednesday, February 16, 2004
All dharma Agrees at One Point
The point at which they agree is to let go of holding on to yourself. That's the way of becoming at home in the world. Ego is not sin. Ego is not something you get rid of. Ego is something you come to know - that you befriend by not acting out or repressing all the feelings that you feel. Ego is like a room of your own, a room with a view, with the temperature and the smells and the music that you like. You want it your way. You'd like to have a little peace: you'd lie to have a little happiness, you know, just "gimme a break!"
But the more you think that way, the more you try to get life to come out so that it will always suit you, the more your fear of other people and what's outside your room grows. Rather than becoming more relaxed, you start pulling down the shades and locking the door. You become touchier, more fearful, more irritable than ever. The more you just try to get it your way, the less you feel at home.
To begin to develop compassion for yourself and others, you have to unlock the door. You don't open it yet, because you have to work with your fear that somebody you don't like might come in. Then as you begin to relax and befriend those feelings, you begin to open it. Sure enough, in come the music and the smells that you don't like. Sure enough, someone puts a foot in and tells you you should have a different religion or vote for someone you don't like or give money that you don't want to give. Now you begin to relate with those feelings. You develop some compassion, connecting with the soft spot.
It help to realize that the Nelson Mandelas and Mother Teresas of the world also know how it feels to be in a small room with the windows and the doors closed. They also know anger and jealousy and loneliness. They're people who made friends with themselves and therefore made friends with the world. They're people who developed the bravery to be able to relate to the shaky, tender, fearful feelings in their own hearts and therefore are no longer afraid of those feelings when they are triggered by the outside world.
When you begin to practice in this way, you're so honest about what you're feeling that it begins to create a feeling of understanding other people as well... We become part of a people who have cultivated their bravery throughout history, people who, against enormous odds, have stayed open to great difficulties and painful situations and transformed them into the path of awakening. We WILL fall flat on our faces again and again, we WILL continue to feel inadequate, and we can use these experiences to wake up, just as they did. The lojong teachings give us the means to connect with the power of our lineage, the lineage of gentle warriorship.
- Pema Chodron
We can analyse ourselves, find out our personal shortcomings and weaknesses, and try to overcome them one by one. It is a very tedious and long process, and the result rather poor. Can we expect our enemy, the ghost...."I", to commit suicide to please us?
There is only one way to overcome the ghost...to watch it. Do not fight, do not resist. Only try to watch it, quietly but ceaselessly. In other words, develop an unconcerned witness-consciousness towards men, things and happenings without, but particularly towards yourself within. It means to carry on the calmness of the mind gained in your meditation to cover your whole day. You will distinctly feel it as an undercurrent of peace and detachment.
Of course, as soon as you succeed, the ghost-"I" will immediately try to hide itself in this witness-consciousness at the feeling "I am the witness". This again is only a thought. But to be the witness without any I-consciousness is the pure mind at the threshold of Reality.
While following the transformation of your personal "I" into the impersonal "witnessing", you cut at the root of all your "personal" shortcomings, vices and weaknesses, your passions and evil habits, because the root of all this unpleasant "you" is just the personal "I". Try to imagine yourself in the mood of the "unconcerned witness" described above, and you will see that in that state it is impossible to think or act in a negative way, because in that mood you are, though only momentarily, beyond the personal "I". Your sadhana is to keep yourself permanently in the state of "detached witnessing" of all and everything, including the personal "I" - when and wherever it should try to raise its head.
In the silent Light of being witnessed it cannot survive. Such "witnessing" will soon grow into pure Awareness, aware only of itself.
In the words of Ramana Maharshi: "The Truth is that the Self is constant and unintermittent Awareness." (Talks, 454).
And in another context: "The essence of mind is only Awareness or Consciousness. When the ego, however, dominates it it functions as the reasoning, thinking or sensing faculty. The cosmic mind being not limited by the ego, has nothing separate from itself and therefore is only aware. This is what the Bible means by "I am that I AM"." (Talks, 188).
- excerpt from Hunting the 'I' by Lucy Cornelssen, posted to MillionPaths
I live in a world of realities, while yours is of imaginings. Your world is personal, private, unshareable, intimately your own. Nobody can enter it, see as you see, hear as you hear, feel your emotions and think your thoughts. In your world you are truly alone, enclosed in your ever-changing dream, which you take for life. My world is an open world, common to all, accessible to all. In my world there is community, insight, love, real quality; the individual is the total, the totality - in the individual. All are one and One is all.
- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj from I Am That
The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way, but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is a state of connectedness with something immeasurable and indestructible, something that, almost paradoxically, is essentially you and yet is much greater than you. It is finding your true nature beyond name and form.
The inability to feel this connectedness gives rise to the illusion of separation, from yourself and from the world around you. You then perceive yourself, consciously or unconsciously, as an isolated fragment. Fear arises, and conflicts within and without become the norm.
The greatest obstacle to experiencing the reality of your connectedness is identification with your mind, which causes thought to become compulsive. Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don't realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being. It also creates a false mind-made self that casts a shadow of fear and suffering.
Identification with your mind creates an opaque screen of concepts, labels, images, words, judgments, and definitions that blocks all true relationship. It comes between you and yourself, between you and your fellow man and woman, between you and nature, between you and God. It is this screen of thought that creates the illusion of separateness, the illusion that there is you and a totally separate "other." You then forget the essential fact that, underneath the level of physical appearances and separate forms, you are one with all that is.
- excerpt from Practicing the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle,
Love for God alone can annihilate the falsity of the limited ego, the basis of life ephemeral. It alone can make one realize the Reality of one's Unlimited Ego, the basis of Eternal Existence. The divine Ego, as the basis of Eternal Existence, continually expresses itself; but shrouded in the veil of ignorance, man misconstrues his Indivisible Ego and experiences and expresses it as the limited, separate ego.
Pay heed when I say with my Divine Authority that the Oneness of Reality is so uncompromisingly unlimited and all-pervading that not only "We are One," but even this collective term of "We" has no place in the Infinite Indivisible Oneness.
Awaken from your ignorance and try at least to understand that, in the uncompromisingly Indivisible Oneness, not only is the Avatar God, but also the ant and the sparrow, just as one and all of you are nothing but God. The only apparent difference is in the states of consciousness. The Avatar knows that that which is a sparrow is not a sparrow, whereas the sparrow does not realize this and, being ignorant of its ignorance, identifies itself as a sparrow.
Live not in ignorance. Do not waste your precious life-span in differentiating and judging your fellowmen, but learn to long for the love of God. Even in the midst of your worldly activities, live only to find and realize your true identity with your Beloved God.
- Meher Baba