Thursday, 8 October 2009

Give me a fish ...and I eat for a day.....teach me to fish..and I eat for a lifetime

The title of this blog entry is the dilemma I find myself in at present. Plans for the healing and holistic therapy centre here in Brighton are progressing at a rapid rate. Unbelievably all of the material I had prepared when I thought I was giving my presentation on spiritual awakening and the course to experience the three stages to spiritual awakening can now be used for evenings at this centre. I have started reading and listening to the words of the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hahn and his emphasis on mindfulness. This appeals to me because it is relatively easy to sit down to meditate (I say relatively because in truth it is the hardest thing in the world for the mind to be quiet to meditate) but the danger is that when the period of meditation is over the mind goes back to its monkey nature flitting here and there, this way and that. Mindfulness is a stronger discipline for the mind. Mindfulness demands the mind and consciousness to be ever present. When washing one's teeth the focus and attention is on washing one's teeth, when drinking tea, the focus and attention is on on drinking tea. The mind is not somewhere else with thoughts about something else, it is right here in the NOW in the Present. This takes more effort and concentration than to sit down and meditate but it results in a deep and abiding peace and calm. The NOW is the portal to spiritual awakening.

Thich Nhat Hahn has identified 'wrong views' to be at the root of why human beings suffer. This is like giving a fish to someone. What I want to do is to teach people to fish in terms of people realising how these wrong views come about and it's not that the views are wrong it is that these views are taken to be the truth about the way that life is. The wrong view is that there is any single view of life, there is no life, there is only life as it occurs to human being and that way is different for all of us. But we take on a view and defend it to the death. For years I have pondered on one sentence from the Buddha which I have often quoted in this blog. It is 'hold fast to nothing'. This sentence has been like my own personal koan which I have used like a dog uses a bone, tossing it this way and that, looking deep into what could the Buddha have meant by this statement. Reading the statement from Thich Nhat Hahn (known affectionately by his students as Thay) I saw once again the truth in the statement. Instead of 'nothing' it can also read it as 'no thing'. To hold fast to a view of life as being the truth about the way life is, is to hold fast to something and that is a view. Spiritual Awakening is not possible while views to 'some thing' are held. I see this with such clarity now. It was always there, kind of bubbling away under the surface but now I see clearly. And yet, this seeing of mine is also a view which I must also let go of.

I am so excited about the potential of this centre. I am getting the space to really develop the three stages of spiritual awakening which I have intuited. The skill for me is to take the fish which is made available in the great spiritual literature and for me to work back so that I can teach people how to fish so that they can experience the energy of spiritual awakening for themselves. My greatest challenge is to moderate my right brain consciousness so that I connect with people and with what matters and is of concern to them. I know that the first of the stages to spiritual enlightenement - Know Thyself - is the longest and most challenging to human being. So many do not progress through this first stage. It is the stage that I also know the best. It is the stage of agony and ecstasy, despair and elation, confusion and clarity. It is the stage where the vehicle is purified for the next stage. Much like wood buring. It is the smoke from the impurities from the wood which has to be removed before we see the brilliant red of the burning wood.

Years ago when I first heard of the Buddhist concept of the Bodhissatva I was gripped with an intense desire to be such a person. To be able to understand the causes of suffering and show people how to be rid of suffering. Slowly and gradually I am beginning to see how this dream is being realised. It's not being realised with great drums and cymbals but is a slow, gradual process. I see it in how I am able to work back from the views contained in the works of great Buddhist writers and see how all of it is nothing more than the development of human being. Knowing how human being develops or more specifically studying intensely the subject of ontology which I have spent the last four years doing has enabled me to do this. Such study and thinking is available to everybody...not just me......

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