It is important to begin to understand what we are at the core in order to have a proper perspective, and in order to be able to move down a path of actual change. More often than not, we begin by gaining an understanding of what we are not before our core nature becomes apparent. When I say "what we are not", I am speaking in the context of the core.
Let's examine this more closely. We may look down and discover that we have a body. As you consider this last phrase, you can begin already to see a key that unlocks a pathway to understanding our true nature. You will notice that I did not say "We are the body". I said that "we have a body". I am going to draw it closer so that perhaps it becomes more clear. I have a body. If I "have" a body, then the owner and the possession must be two distinct things at their core. This may seem like splitting hairs, but remember, we are only looking at one aspect of existence (i.e. the core). We will later examine the totality the connects all things. For now, we are trying to arrive at our deepest nature. So...I speak of my body as though it were a possession in the same way (though more deeply and intimately) as I would say "my toothbrush" or "my car". We speak of the body this way all of the time without thinking about it. We say "my stomach hurts" or "the doctor did surgery on 'my' brain". But we do not often consider the implications.
This eastern view expresses this in a different way and says "we are not the body". Often for us westerners, this is a difficult pill to swallow since it is through the body that we experience life. What life would their be without the body. I must be the body or there would be no perception to begin with, for it is with the body that I perceive. Besides this fact, we have the whole issue of the Resurrection to deal with. (I will address the Resurrection in another post - remind me if I forget.) But, we cannot escape the obvious fact that whomever the I is that perceives, must at its core be deeper than the body itself.
I wonder if the thought from the above might help us to find some common ground between the eastern and western views. There is a definite sense in which our bodies belong to us - not in the worldly legal sense, but in the sense that they pertain to us as individuals. And the individual is an actual entity, the denial of this fact seems to be at the core of all sin. We see the recognition of this in the laws which are enacted in every country throughout history, which laws defend a person's right to the sanctity of their own person. For example, I cannot walk up and assault or destroy another person's body without incurring the wrath of just laws.
Yet to spite the sanctity and respect with which we rightly respect our own and another's body, we are still brought back to the fact that the body is "ours" and that is what makes it sacred.
So...at the core...I am not the body, though it does pertain to "me". What am I then at the core if I am not the body?
I am going to leave it there for this blog post. Next time, I will go another layer deeper. :-)
When on the trackless path, you are not working by that which is seen. Instead, you are relying upon the unseen. It is the thing which you know is there but that you cannot see. When you walk this path, do not expect the thing to come to fruition from your fist attempt. We know that our faith is tried in every instance. Therefore, it would be a mistake to presume immediate success. The knowledge of the truth will come in waves, so that you discover that with the first wave you try and learn something and the wave subsides and it appears that you have failed. The second wave comes and it appears that you are making some progress and you say inwardly, "Thank goodness! This time I have it figured it out and it is going to all work out." Again, it comes to naught. And again and perhaps again. God only knows how many apparent failures are in store for you before your mountain moves. But know assuredly, if you have seen it in your heart's eye, it will come to pass, whether it takes two or twenty attempts.
This is not positive thinking, for you will not attain to all those things for which your eye may have lusted. This type of mountain moving is only for those whose heart is aligned with the will of the almighty. If you would like a good example of how it works, read over the story of Moses again. Remember that it took 10 attempts before Pharaoh would let the people go and even after that, he chased them to the Red Sea and it appeared that all was lost before the sea parted. I understand that in one of the Rabbinical texts, it states that when Moses raised his rod over the sea, Aaron began to walk into the sea. From what I remember, the sea began to part when Aaron was up to his neck and about to be swallowed up. I don't know if the account is completely accurate, but if nothing else, it is a faith promoting rumor. :-) In any case, the story itself illustrates how this works. Moses is not the only story. Look at any truly paradigm shifting event throughout history and you will see the same thing.
So remember, when you have tried and apparently failed, all is not lost. This is part of the way it works. It is part of the trackless path itself. You never see the manifestation until after the trial of your faith. If we can take anything else away from the story of Moses, we can see that when all is lost, it is time to take heart and know that deliverance is nigh. Apparent failure is part of the way faith works.
Honest grief, when met with acceptance, is organically connected with the deeper love.
Honest grief is the pang of sorrow before it has been interpreted. It is pure suffering and by itself, can act as a purifying agent to the soul and body. The only way to be truly free from suffering is to experience it fully without interpretation. Therefore, it also requires a willingness to suffer at the hands of another without retaliation, resentment or explanation, - it is a willingness to leave aside blame altogether. This pure grief is more piercing than misery but leaves the person feeling purified and cleansed. The dull ache of misery, on the other hand can last to all eternity and slowly erodes the soul and body.
As I considered writing this first blog post, I found myself struggling. I sat here in front of the computer for some time trying to decide what I should write and found myself at a loss. Then, a few minutes ago, I decided upon a particular topic and began writing, but something seemed wrong. It was as though everything I wrote was a lie. I could not understand it and so I took out a pen and paper and tried to evaluate what it was that was stopping me.
The first thing that I realized was that I was putting on airs. I even remembered myself sitting a little taller in my chair as if I were going to say something very important, you know the way a person does when they want to impress you or sell you something. That was a disgusting realization. I do intend to sell you a book one day, but it will be the book itself that you will buy and not me. Any book that is not more than its author is not worth reading. As far as this blog goes, I write here because I know that I cannot make further progress without beginning to share what I see. “A poet is not a poet unto himself.” Yet this entity, which tries to impress, still lingers about me and crops up here and there in the most disconcerting ways.
Second, I had to ask myself again why I was doing this and what it was that I wanted to accomplish. Here I discovered the same contradiction. On the one hand, there is a fruit that has been growing on this tree (that’s me – the tree) and which now is so heavy that I must pluck it or it will bring the tree down. In other words, there is a message that I must share. But there is another entity, and he is by far the louder voice, that sees this website as a means to an end. Now of course, I experience both voices as me, but I am becoming more and more convinced that this second voice is an alien entity that means me and you no good.
My third realization was that this “means to an end” mentality was completely faithless. I have chosen at the age of forty to become a writer. I have no prior experience or training or degrees to back me up and I actually believe that I will make a living doing it. The idea that I can “make this happen” is ludicrous. And yet, this other entity is a schemer. He believes that we can make it happen by being smart enough or good enough or by working hard enough. He insists that we must survive by our wits. I have called him “me” for most of my life but I don’t believe that anymore. He tells me now that I need to figure out something more to write and that I haven’t really said anything. Maybe so. In any case, I think I will call it a blog post and come at it afresh tomorrow – or whenever I get to it. God bless you all.