Sunday, 23 September 2007

A quiet Sunday.....

Last night I was expecting a friend to come over to have a drink and watch a DVD. I then received a text message from her to say that she wouldn't be coming over because she was going up London to the pub with friends. When I read it I was amazed at my own reaction. There was a calmness, no reaction. In a blog entry a couple of days ago I wrote how I had felt very low when a similar thing happened and how I had dealt with it. The fruits of having persevered with the process of separating the event from what I made it mean, my story, paid off. This time there was no story so there was nothing to react to. All that happened is that she is not now coming over here. In the past I would have made that mean all sorts and as a result would have turned an outward aggression and anger against her inwards towards myself. It is so great when you take on the process and see it working. My own reaction was 'oh, now she's no longer coming, OK so how can I have fun and freedom here this evening'. I rummaged through my CD collection and find an old favourite CD and played that for a bit.

My foot was very sore so I went off to bed early. This morning I was woken at 6am and immediately my inner voice said 'meditate'. I got up and knelt down on the stool. It hurt to bend my foot so I kept it straight on the ground. I closed my eyes and immediately the same thoughts about 'which technique to use', is it better to meditate on the candle or a symbol, etc, etc began. Once again the words 'Be still and know' came through and so I decided on those. As I began to meditate I noticed my body becoming heavy on the stool. I was aware of a kind of going deeper but then the mind would get involved and there would be a shift. But it did not seem like the thoughts were as relentless as they have been in the past. I didn't set an alarm for the time and I had no desire to finish the meditation. This is also different to the way it has been in the past. I was quiet and content. This is the only way that I can describe it. When I finally looked at my watch I coudn' t believe that I had been sitting still and not been in any way restless for 45 minutes.

I went back to bed and woke again a little after 8am. My first thought was my intention of creating a day filled with fun and freedom. I put on the radio and there was a Sunday morning service being broadcast. I was struck by something in one of the readings. Jesus was asking his disciples 'who do you think I am'? They said 'some say you are x (I can't remember the exact words), some say you are y' But he pursued this by saying 'you, who do YOU think I am'. This struck me because it says to me the importance of figuring things out for ourselves. There is no progression when we take Truth from others, we have to find it own it, and live it for ourselves. I am all for listening and respecting what others say and I fully accept that the spiritual journey is long (in fact it is the only journey) and there are many, more advanced than me. But the ultimate power and freedom comes when you work things out for yourself. You do this based on your own experiences, insights and intuitions. They are backed up and supported by ancient writings but made your own by experience not by what others say.

The fact that I woke up to hear this was quite strange because after the service was over, the next programme was about the Indian Guru Bagwan Shri Rajneesh or Osho as he renamed himself. I see a synchrony in these two events. The message from Jesus in the reading was not to take on anothers Truth but find your own. Osho was a charismatic Indian man who at the height of his success had over 300,000 devotees in various ashrams all over the world. People flocked to him in search of the holy grail of enlightenment which he said was possible to attain without any suffering. Those who followed him surrendered everything to him. The programme interviewed five of his followers. One of the followers also had a child at one of his ashrams and I found the perspective of the young man of this Guru particuarly interesting.

What emerged from this programme was the risks involved in following a Guru. I firmly believe that enlightenment is found within, not without. As long as you look for something outside of yourself enlightenment will elude consciousness. However, the Guru has a job. Done properly the role of the Guru is to show the devotee his/her own ego and devise trainings and practices to turn the ego from serving the personality to serving the Soul. This as you can imagine is no easy task. The ego will resist every effort to do this. Some devotees may complain that the Guru is being overly harsh, critical but there is always a reason for this. In the beginning stages of the path to do this by oneself is incredibly difficult this is why joining a class is useful.

I remember once when I was on a meditation retreat in Devon in Southern England watching a lady's efforts to get the attention of a Buddhist teacher. He was walking along and she fell into step beside him and began speaking. He ignored her and continued walking. She kept walking and talking but when she realised that he wasn't going to engage with her walked away and came over to the bench where I was sitting. Red faced and angry she said to me 'he just blanked me, how rude is that'. I said something along the lines of 'sometimes this happens'. But she said it more to herself than to me. A little while later I left the bench.

The lesson in this was for the woman to perhaps look at herself. Why was she so angry that he didn't stop and make time to speak to her. It was a lesson to look at her own ego. Instead the ego reacted and took it all so personally'. The job of a Guru is to take on the ego if you like and bring its workings into consciousness so that it can shift its allegiance from the personality to the Soul. It is because of this that I don't dismiss the role of the Guru entirely. But the greatest Guru lies within and it is to that and only to that that surrender should be given.

Devotees must never give up the faculty of reason. If something doesn't feel right then it doesn't matter how much persuasion is given it is not right. Hidden in the deepest feeling is the highest Truth. Never sell out to reason. During the programme this morning the people spoke about being given Sanskrit names. This is a practice I have never understood. Why would you change your name. If anything puffs up the ego, it is this. It is a short step from being given a 'special' name to the thought 'I am special' and that thought sounds the death knell for further expansions of spiritual consciousness. Instead of increasing spiritual consciousness all that arises is ego inflation which is much harder to shake off. It takes a transcended ego to accept a Sanskrit name which say as an example means 'he who has surrendered at the feet of God' not to allow it to inflate the ego. The whole idea of the spiritual journey is to be effective and poweful in the world. Not to take a different name and opt out of it.. But again this is only my musings on the subject.

The overall impression I was left with when the radio programme finished was sadness that a man who had the trust and surrender of so many people could so shamelessly abuse it. There is no doubt that with expansions of spiritual consciousness comes power. But it is also important to be able to be trusted with that power. Osho tapped into a desperation in people to find meaning and purpose in life. I have read some of his work and there is no doubt that he understood the spiritual journey. He once said that he loved to disturb people– 'only by disturbing them could he make them think'. I understand perfectly where he was coming from in this thinking, but he in my opinion, took it to extremes. And in the end as happens with many spiritual Guru's who come from the East to the West he became corrupted by the very thing he claimed to have transcended - materialism.

The programme made me think a lot and I was grateful to the universe that when I was in a similar position with a group many years ago that I listened to my reason which said that something wasn't right and I left. I believe that it is only when you have the courage to break away and go it alone with just one's own inner light that the true journey begins.

I went into the sitting room and my inner voice said 'get a paper'. I resisted because I had overdone it yesterday and my foot was still sore. I spent a couple of minutes resisting but the inner voice wouldn't let up with its usual three words. I opened my flat door and threw the crutches down the stairs, then I manoevred myself down to the bottom. Once I got myself upright I thought 'right fun and freedom now then'. I opened the front door and started to gingerly walk up the road. There was no denying that the foot was sore. I think it had a memory of what I had put it through yesterday and was not going to co-operate.

Then I heard a noise behind me and my neighbours little boy came to the side of me on his scooter. He said 'hello, are you OK'. I said yes and told him about the operation on my foot and explained that I was going to the garage for a paper. He then held out his hand to show me some money and said that he was going to the garage to get a paper for his Dad and he could get one for me as well' I looked at that child like he was my guardian angel (just a phrase, I've never seen a guardian angel) and I was filled with such overwhelming love and gratitude for the little Soul who had just showed up.

I told him how much it would mean if he would get the paper for me and he just beamed. He took the money and I said that I would see him at the front of my house. He looked so pleased with himself when he came back with my paper in its own bag. It was a lovely moment and that young man I feel is special. He has a kindness and a gentleness for only being 10. I thanked him and he went into his own house. I debated about giving him some money but I didn't want him to create a meaning of helping to equal money. When I am independent again I will buy a gift and give it to him. Helping must be for itself not as a means to gain something. If it is seen as a means to an end then it has no power.

I took some moments out before I closed the door to connect with the SOMETHING that made this possible and to give full and heartfelt thanks. Events like this show me that this force that I have grown so familiar with continues to nourish and nurture. Today I feel like the luckiest person alive. Most days I feel like this and I know that this is all because of the access I have to the force within. This is why I speak so much about the importance of going within, not giving away power to anything outside of ourselves. As I write this I am reminded of words in the first Conversations with God books which says 'if you don't go within, you go without'.

It's mid afternoon as I write this and my friend who had said she was coming around last night has just left. I was warm and friendly and it was genuine. There was no story about being abandoned, or of her not wanting to spend time with me so therefore there was nothing to be aggrieved about. I want to link this with something that I learned from the current seminar I am doing with Landmark education. I coudn't attend on Monday because of the operation although I had a battle with myself not to take a mini-cab and go. When a participant misses a seminar session someone from the centre calls to recreate the evening. I was looking forward to receiving my call. One thing struck me from the call which I would like to share. The man was talking about forgiveness. I learned that forgiveness is not me calling someone up and saying ' I forgive you' but saying it from a position of superiority - kind of like because I am so big I am forgiving you. This is not forgiveness. Authentic forgiveness is when we give up the story around whatever or whoever was hurt. If there is no story, or if there is the recognition that the story that has been created is not the truth and it is given up then there is nothing to forgive and this is the real forgiveness.

This kind of forgiveness, based on giving up a story is effortless and powerful and penetrates every cell in the body to promote healing and well-being. It is only my opinion but I feel that many ailments in the body are the result of the unwillingness to forgive......a desperate hanging on to the story.

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