After one arrives at the summit, after going through the total transformation of being...there is yet one more step to the completion of that journey: the return to the valley below, to the everyday world. Who it is that returns is not who began the climb in the first place. The being that comes back is quietness itself, is compassion and wisdom, is the truth of the ages. Whatever humble or elevated position that being holds within the community, he or she becomes a light for others on the way a statement of the freedom that comes from having touched the top of the mountain.
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There is message to the community that a non-governmental process is underway to bring about social change, it's a public one, and people like Margaret Thatcher, George Bush, and Mikhail Gorbachev are throwing their weight behind it. In a world where there's a lot of cynicism and despair, this has a candle-lighting effect.
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One cultivates spaciousness or awareness which allows you to acknowledge the emotions and see them as part of the human condition. Emotions are like subtle thought forms and they all arise in response to something outside yourself. They are all reactions. You cultivate a quietness in yourself that watches these emotions rising and falling and passing away.
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Finally you come to a point where you almost know it all. You are very wise. You are very pure... except for the fact that you may well have gotten caught in the last trap... the desire to know it all and still be you, "the knower." This is an impossibility. For all of the finite knowledge does not add up to the infinite. In order to take the final step, the knower must go. That is, you can only BE it all, but you can't know it all. The goal is non-dualistic - as long as there is a "knower" and "known" you are in dualism.
I think the question is, how do we live with change? Change in our friends, change in our lovers? Change in me and change in my body, from the stroke. Things have changed this plane of consciousness. We've tried to keep things the same. It causes suffering. This suffering is another step in your spiritual life, in your spiritual journey.
All that you seek is already within you. In Hinduism it is called the Atman, in Buddhism the pure Buddha-Mind. Christ said, 'the kingdom of heaven is within you.' Quakers call it the 'still small voice within.' This is the space of full awareness that is in harmony with all the universe, and thus is wisdom itself.
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It is possible that in the 21st Century the Earth will not be inhabited by humans. One of the great mystics of India, a very simple man up in the mountains, somebody once asked him about the future. He said there will come a time when you'll walk five miles and you may see a light and you'll be so happy to know another being exists.
You've been somebody long enough. You spent the first half of your life becoming somebody. Now you can work on becoming nobody, which is really somebody. For when you become nobody there is no tension, no pretense, no one trying to be anyone or anything. The natural state of the mind shines through unobstructed - and the natural state of the mind is pure love.
Souls love. That's what souls do. Egos don't, but souls do. Become a soul, look around, and you'll be amazed-all the beings around you are souls. Be one, see one. When many people have this heart connection, then we will know that we are all one, we human beings all over the planet. We will be one. One love. And don't leave out the animals, and trees, and clouds, and galaxies-it's all one. It's one energy.
It is only when you begin to understand that if you and I are truly in love, if I go to the place in me that is love and you to the place in you that is love we are 'together' in Love. We start to understand that what love means is that we are sharing a common state together. That state exists in you and it exists in me.
When you are in the presence of unconditional love, that is the optimum environment for your heart to open, because you feel safe, because you realize nobody wants anything from you. The minute that heart opens, you are once again letting in the flow. And that flow is where you experience God.
The greatest thing you can do for another being is to provide the unconditional love that comes from making contact with that place in them that is beyond conditions, which is just pure consciousness, pure essence. That is, once we acknowledge each other as existing, just being here, just being, then each of us is free to change optimally. If I can just love you because here we are, then you are free to grow as you need to grow.
The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: it's in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I'm caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.
After meditating for some years, I began to see the patterns of my own behavior. As you quiet your mind, you begin to see the nature of your own resistance more clearly, struggles, inner dialogues, the way in which you procrastinate and develop passive resistance against life. As you cultivate the witness, things change. You don't have to change them. Things just change.
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You experience that you are cut off by being in your mind, and there is a quality that is starving in an individual that is locked in their mind. So when you move to another plane of consciousness which is no longer controlled by your intellect, which is really the sub-system and you move into the meta-system, what you feel at that moment is... you are the universe, you feel merged with it, you feel thick with the moment, and that richness is so fulfilling.
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The pain of the world will sear and break our hearts because we can no longer keep them closed. We've seen too much now. To some degree or other, we have surrendered into service and are willing to pay the price of compassion. But with it comes the joy of a single, caring act. With it comes the honor of participating in a generous process in which one rises each day and does what one can. With it comes the simple, singular grace of being an instrument of Love, in whatever form, to whatever end.
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Along with faith comes the requirement for dogged persistence. At first meditation may bring you mild highs or some relief from suffering. But there may come a time - just as there does in the development of any skill - when there will be a plateau. You may be bored, discouraged, or even negative and cynical. This is when you will need not only faith, but persistence.
Compassion is the basis of all truthful relationship: it means being present with love-for ourselves and for all life, including animals, fish, birds, and trees. Compassion is bringing our deepest truth into our actions, no matter how much the world seems to resist, because that is ultimately what we have to give this world and one another.
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The heart surrenders everything to the moment. The mind judges and holds back. In most of our human relationships, we spend much of our time reassuring one another that our costumes of identity are on straight. When we see the Beloved in each person, it's like walking through a garden, watching flowers bloom all around us.
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So many times each day we support each other informally without ever becoming 'helper' or 'helped.' Perhaps we're finding an article of clothing for a partner, cutting bread for one of the children, collecting the mail for the person at the next desk, holding the coat for someone at a restaurant.