One of my teachers –Nisargadatta- said wisely and well: “A man who claims to know what is good for others is dangerous.” He later also said in I AM THAT, that “Teachers are like milestones.” Indeed, for many of us spiritual veterans, there can be miles of ‘em! Perhaps, along that road, we were shown, but we did not see, and we continued to look not from our self but mostly through the eyes of assorted teachers and teachings. That’s been my experience anyway. Now, I have an abiding respect and gratitude for all those inspired and inspiring guides who administered the teaching(s) I’ve needed exactly when and where they were (and continue to be)needed. I’ve been pulled, pushed and prodded by dozens of teachers and teachings that describe, prescribe and proscribe that truth I thought I was seeking. All of them gave me – at the time- the truth. Ah, finally, The Truth.
The truth as conceived for and by a spiritual ego looking for something “I” could do; the truth which would accumulate in time for me to become a special Enlightened Being. Looking back, down some of those well and less well traveled roads, paths, trails and scents, I see I felt compelled to travel each and every one; that each milestone along the way was a passing and necessary grace, albeit unwelcome much of the time. Indeed, one of my teachers was a ‘milestone’ that took 22 years to pass!
Along that apparent way I tripped upon an aware teacher who referred to himself sometimes as a “doormat” (with Welcome written all over it) who said something to me that was really, finally, heard: “You are not the body, you are not the mind. You are awareness; rest fully in that.”
Another milestone – one I’d passed before but didn’t see because it wasn’t the one I thought I was looking for at the time – a little Indian man, dropped me into a deeper knowing of our self nature, and then for years a couple of French speaking non-dual scientist teachers helped me see through to another bottom…at that time.
Yet another lesson was taught by a Zen guy who talked about dropping into truth like a smooth river rock, falling deeper and deeper into the watery unseen realm of self. I liked the metaphor and found it very helpful when it was time to move on – usually at points where I was building a beautifully comfortable nest with accumulated bits of threaded quotes and painted images all tied with sacred gold ribbons, aka “higher knowledge.” This period was followed with a few more passionate me-centric diversions which lead to a major collapse of all seeking.
From the ashes, a certain grace appeared that removed personal desires and fears; the need to know, to control, to have and to hold, dissolved into the freedom of not knowing. Simple being. Nothing else.
Fast forward, and that notion of finally getting to the bottom of things like Reality has – well, fallen away! What remains is bottomless. This vast bottomlessness presents itself not so much in big things but in everyday small wonders; sunlight dancing on the drapes is more delightful and engaging than the former flickering TV life I led. What happens now is watched in awareness by no one for no reason. Except to love.
So I find myself saying to folks on appropriate occasions, “don’t get stuck, my friend ” All experience – if it’s authentic – is to be fully seen and felt and released instantly, now. With the complete and immediate digestion of “experiences” of the senses and mind in this moment, in our native awareness, we free up a spaciousness of spirit. A fearless, relaxed, open and warm curiosity bordering on delight moves into life and the living of it becomes what it always is. We find our self fluidly sailing “close to the wind” as sailors say. And however and wherever the wind of life blows, we sit “at the window where the light gets in” as Leonard Cohen put it.
We rest constantly in an empty, intimate, unattached joy in simply watching every thing and every body and every event live – as it happens, from the wholeness of being.
All that happens keeps passing, as it will, and emerging milestones keep presenting themselves in daily moving and musing. Even the minds’ new narrative becomes yet another story to be watched lovingly.
In sum, in the story, there was this falling away that took this apparent “me” by turns from “Yes, yes, this is what I’m looking for!” to “no, no, that wasn’t it!” Now, while the seeking has passed, the stone of Inquiry continues to spiral more freely and to sink more deeply into wonder – a watchful, bottomless being-beyond-knowing…
Love remains when thought
Truth remains when falseness
Peace remains when struggle
Note to myself: Love quietly, and be well.