Awakening is a process that is continuously unfolding in all forms and in all aspects of what is, i.e. ‘the manifest’, if I may put it that way. We often look at this process in personal terms and use phrases to describe it such as ‘my spiritual path’ or ‘my practice’. But in reality this, and indeed ‘us’ are simply aspects of the movement of All; this process, part of a universal symphony of continuous unfolding.
It’s easy for us to fall into the belief that we can externalise this process of awakening. We may become aware of others who seem to have wisdom or knowledge about this path. And we’re so used to relying on the mind to succeed, we’re so caught up in the paradigm of the veneration of thought that we believe we can ask a worthy guru and somehow they’ll be able to impart the truth, share their wisdom and give us the information we need to really see for ourselves.
But that’s not really how it works. Many of those we class as Teachers, are, you may note, somewhat unwilling or reluctant at times to speak or share too much. They sense a natural aversion to this and you can see it in their manner. Why? Because really to awaken, if I may use this clumsy term, we really have to look for ourselves. Look and see how it is right now in this moment. There is no other way.
Any teacher or guide or guru who really sees will offer pointers to support us to see for ourselves, rather than long diatribes or outpourings of knowledge. There is no esoteric or hidden wisdom we need to be in possession of, despite the temptation we may feel to follow such distractions.
Now, that’s not to say a teacher or guide isn’t a useful support at times, when we’ve worked with some aspect or issue and we genuinely feel stuck. At such times they can often shine a helpful light on the thought, belief or preconception we’re clinging to that’s holding us back. But beyond that, there’s really nothing to teach. What is is simply what is. Truth is here right now. This.
So we need to look at the arising of impatience. Our culture is increasingly able to access information in faster ways through a range of media. When something arises that we feel we need a new perspective on to help us to see clearly, rather than being willing to sit with it, live with for days, weeks perhaps even years, we want to know now.
We can develop an attitude towards the obstacles on our path, that somehow they’re problems to be solved. But actually everything around us has been brought to us as a result of our own actions and choices, or is received in the way we relate to it by our own mind state or conditioning. These and these alone are our most valuable teachers.
Within every moment that arises, where there is resistance, where we want it to be other than this, where we attach, deny, react unconsciously, then we have an opportunity to look; to keep looking until we really see, see the movements, the thought patterns, the habits. See the identification with these as being ‘mine’ or belonging to a ‘me’.
What good does seeing do? Well, when we have some desire or aversion or reaction, no matter how much we want not to have it; no matter how we might cling to being ‘spiritual’, to deny it, it’s still there isn’t it? It still arises? But actually when we take the time to look we start to notice why it is this way.
Sometimes it’s the case that it just is this way and there’s nothing we need to do about it. So there is an ease to be found from this. At other times when we look, it’s seen that there is some unresolved story, an early thought, a half conscious memory with a strong feeling arising that triggers a response. We’ve become so used to it we don’t notice it but even these things can be seen with practice. And once we’ve seen them by bringing them into full consciousness there is a natural resolution that happens and with this a letting go.
And really these are the main components of the ‘path’ – looking, and letting go. So despite what you may have thought, heard or read, we might like to have an external teacher or guide, but we don’t always need one. All that is needed is patience, a little courage and a moderate amount of persistence. The rest will unfold naturally.
What good does seeing do?”
This is a very fine question!
Without “seeing” the “hot burning coals in our hands” are rather not noticed and hence the most natural reflex of letting go does not happen. 🙂