Friday, September 28, 2007

To Openly Inhabit Life

In our line of inner work, people often speak of openness. They speak of liberation.

What does liberation mean? Let's ask some serious questions.

Look around you. Is liberation contained within the guardedness of form?

Is it contained within a structure where other people inform you as to whether or not your efforts are ”good” enough?

Is it liberation to live under the guidance of someone else’s right action and authority, or within the right action of your own authority?

Isn't liberation, isn't opening, to come to a point where we own our own life?

To become open, to me, means one thing in an inner sense. This is the effort to reunite the inner centers and allow each flower within us to open and receive the blessings it was designed to mediate.

In an outer sense, to be open is to inhabit life openly. This means, coming as much as possible from within the organic sense of being that arises through inner opening, to immediately meet life in whatever guise it arrives in, with as few preconceptions as possible. To meet it openly: to be willing to engage with it, to accept what it is, to accept the events and the people and live within them fully, unhesitatingly, as honestly as possible. To dwell as much as possible within truth as it presents itself.

The Christians have a word for this: Agape. Openhearted, unreserved love and warmth. Spontaneity of Being. Birth of the moment, from the moment, within the moment.

Too often, I see that we live behind grim fortress walls gaily painted with idealistic slogans. We need to kick those walls down and contact each other in a much more real way.

Too often, I see that people who claim to not judge are always judging, especially in spiritual matters. The whole enterprise is run on fear: fear of ourselves, fear of authority, fear of others being better, deeper, more meaningful than us. We have to throw this whole slop bucket out if we want to get anywhere at all.

I am no different than anyone else in these matters. We are all slaves who wear the same chains and seek to distinguish ourselves from one another by jingling them differently.

You will notice, at the upper right-hand corner of this blog, the statement that was sent to me and has guided my work for a number of years now:

"There is no "I", there is only Truth. The way to the Truth is through the heart."

As some of you know, this statement was sent to me as a result of my initiation by Mary. Little did I know that I would discover, these many years later, that this understanding comes directly from the Tibetan version of the Buddhist heart Sutra.

As related in Trungpa's Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism:

"The Heart Sutra ends with the "great spell" or mantra. It says in the Tibetan version: "therefore the mantra of transcendent knowledge, the mantra of deep insight, the unsurpassed mantra, the unequaled mantra, the mantra which calms all suffering, should be known as truth, for there is no deception...

...When the basic, absolute, ultimate hypocrisy has been unmasked, then one really begins to see the jewel shining in its brightness: the energetic, living quality of openness, the living quality of surrender, the living quality of renunciation. Renunciation in this instance is not just throwing away but, having thrown everything away, we begin to feel the living quality of peace. And this particular peace is not feeble peace, feeble openness, but it has a strong character, and invincible quality, and unshakable quality, because it admits no gaps of hypocrisy. It is complete peace in all directions, so that not even a speck of a dark corner exists for doubt and hypocrisy. Complete openness is complete victory because we do not fear, we do not try to defend ourselves at all. Therefore this is a great mantra." (page 199.)

Take note of his contention that this quality of openness is robust-! I have said it before: there is nothing weak in awakened Being. If what you experience is delicate and easily lost, don't try to hang your hat on it. It's not a peg.

Apparently Mary had a little more than my Christian roots in mind when she touched me. It may seem peculiar that what began as such an intensely and irrevocably Christian experience quickly morphed into a practice which finds firm roots in Tibetan Buddhism. One friend with a particular depth of yogic knowledge has pointed that out to me more than once. I don't think there are any contradictions here, however.

The teaching of Christ is the teaching of coming from the heart to discover the truth,

The teaching of the Buddha is to come from the heart and discover the truth,

The teaching of the Sufis is to come from the heart and discover the truth,

The teaching of our life is to come from the heart to discover the truth.

If we want to do this, we must learn to inhabit our lives, to openly inhabit our lives, to inhabit our lives as unconditionally as possible, without judgment, without fear. This is because our life itself is what will bring us Truth, filling our heart through our heart. It can't do this for as long as we continue to use our rejecting part to manhandle and abuse it.

Of course surrendering our negativity is terribly difficult, even terrifying. We are so filled up with judgments and with fears, if we give them up, we are afraid we will have nothing left. We do not understand that by giving the judgment and the fear up, something so magnificent will become available that it will overwhelm everything we are, and create a new world.

This inner journey that we share together is an effort to seek the heart of Christ within us. It is in there; and not so far away, at that. When He gave us the parable of the Lilies of the field, Jesus was trying to tell us that liberation is a gift God wants to give us as freely and as openly as he wishes for us to inhabit our lives.

I think the problem is that we do not want to accept it.

And so, we ask ourselves, where does Gurdjieff fit into all of this?

The man himself stands alone: his verbal and personal legacy speaks for itself.

But when true leaders die, we are not left with the men, or the women; we are left with organization. And, in an old joke Dr. Welch was fond of telling, organization was the first tool the devil reached for when he saw that Christ was giving the whole game away.

It can sometimes be difficult to see an image of freedom and liberation within the rigidity of form, any form. In form, everyone is very serious, somber: we need to have serious events with serious leaders who tell us serious things to do, and serious rituals to follow. Everyone within a form seems to need to speak the same way, act the same way, nod in approval at the same statements, ...and perhaps even foolishly repeat to each other the essentially nihilistic assessment that "there are no answers."

We are far too careful in our work. If we risk nothing, we will never move very far from where we are.

There is an answer. We can find Truth, if we seek it through the heart.

And that is exactly where we can discover an intense, unending gratitude for this experience called life.

This has been a difficult piece to write. It awakened emotions of real remorse and gratitude. I am not going to try to second-guess it; I will let it stand as it is, because it did come from the heart.

Much love to you all. May your trees bear fruit, may your wells yield water, and may your hearts be open.

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