• January 18, 2019

    I am sitting here in the invocation chamber. I sense that the space is unusually active tonight, concentrated, urgent perhaps in its wish to acknowledge me and get to work.

    I invoke attention into the sensations of sitting. This is not my attention. It is attention that descends into sensation, attention that is from the space that surrounds and confronts me, attending to my sensations, penetrating them, opening them. I am not the center, I am the edge, I am shore gripped by ocean. I am physically here. SAT.

    I invoke the presence of my presence into the present. I am sitting and I know that I am sitting. I am sensed and I know that I am sensed. I fully agree to be here, all that I am is here. CHIT.

    There is attention on sensation. There is the presence of presence in the present. There is another step. I spontaneously feel love of being here now. Love of Being. Complete sufficiency and the bliss of wishing nothing more. ANANDA.

    Energy arises. Joy arises. There are waves that cannot be kept but reoccur. The waves are immaculate, luminous, radiant.

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  • July 10, 2018

    To be present in the present is to be both someone and no one.

    The ‘someone’ part is easier to understand. The state of being present in the present is palpable. One has the feeling of weight, of occupying place and time (but not time passing), the feeling of existing, which is an experience of being.

    The ‘no one’ part is more subtle. When I am present in the present, I am not any of my identities. I am not my past, not my habits, not any of my roles in life, not boundaried. If I remain present, I experience a feeling which I recognize as indefinably but always ‘me’, a ‘me’ that has no overt expression in the ordinary world, one that is absolutely itself but does not derive from any known thing.

    Who am I? I am someone and I am no one.

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  • January 24, 2018

    A group member writes:

    I remember: Early in life I adopted specific postures, gestures and ways of speaking to express and interpret my world. These came about through mimicry and necessity, shaped by my nature and predispositions.  Mostly I am so inside of these habits that I cannot see how I appear from the outside. They are me and I am them. There is no separation.  It is all part of my identity. Different roles that I have taken on have perhaps altered these slightly to suit societal expectations but I would say that my identity was determined at a very young age.

    I watch my new born granddaughter look out from eyes which cannot see as we see, where nothing is familiar, nothing is recognizable except the warmth and compassion that she is held. Yet her being is overwhelmingly present. Watching her over the last several months discover herself, the possibility of movement, the slow and steady occupation of her body, fingers, toes, arms, legs and torso. Her struggle with gravity.  And then taking that body out into the world. Where everything is a wonder. Somewhere in this journey, surprisingly quickly, a personality takes shape. Underlying this personality is the being who first arrived, naked and without the imprint of all of us who claim her as our own.

    Does that being continue to live in us throughout our life? Can we return to our being?

    It seems to me that if I could describe the essence of being it would be all perception and sensation. There would be a newness to everything, a wonder.  Of course we cannot eliminate our experience, but perhaps it could cease to be a blindfold to what is here now.

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  • November 8, 2016

    You have said that remembering yourself as a being, rather than as a personality, is the first step towards real service.

    Yes, real service must come from who you are, not your conditioning, your ideas or the concepts you have picked up from religion or politics.

    Is there a further step?

    Yes. A work group is able to invoke special states and qualities which are in some way needed and may not otherwise be available. You could say it is a larger remembering.

    Qualities such as love and compassion?

    Those are the popular ones. There are others, such as glorification, objective sorrow, loyalty, joy, steadfastness, protectiveness, understanding, truth, retribution. There are also qualities that have no name in English. Each is a manifestation of our origin and a means by which it comes to know itself and its possibilities through us and the world.

    A genuine work group is a repository for the possibilities that exist in human beings and humans are an expression of the possibilities that exist in the universe.

    I use the word repository intentionally, to indicate that these qualities can find a place in us, probably a temporary one, but they do not come from us and they are not developed by us. Just as we have being, the universe has being. From a certain point of view, there is only one being.

    This is not work that can be done by us individually?

    Not in my experience, although individual practice also has value. Each of us is too limited. We need more than one. We need to acknowledge otherness to create a large enough space for higher qualities to descend. Matthew 18:20 says: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The participants cannot be of the same type. There must be a proper place for them to perform their service, a place which has been prepared in advance. Names are also important.

    The prophets were invocants and they used their work circles to call down something that was needed. They unfolded our possibilities as beings. In a small way, their work can be continued. They left instructions on how to repeat what they did. They tell us to call upon higher powers in order to establish a communication. It says in the Koran: “Remember Me and I will remember you.”

    Religions have work ideas embedded in them but these ideas must be separated from the many foolish notions added by meddling humans.

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  • November 1, 2016

    You have said that the fourth way is not just another system of self-development, that it is a way of preparing for real service. What service? And service to what or whom?

    This is an important question but not an easy one to answer. One difficulty is that service cannot be defined as a particular type of action, much as we would like it to be. It would be so much easier if we just had a bunch of rules to follow. Real service is known by its quality.

    The usual idea of service is to ‘help other people’. Some might say they want to serve the work, or their religion, or perhaps their favourite deity. To me, these aims are likely to prove very premature. Do you have the integrity to take them on? Do you have the relationship which is implied? It can’t be just an idea, a concept you have adopted for yourself. To be a servant implies intimacy and an understanding of what is required of you. Good servants are not self-appointed, they are chosen on the basis of merit.

    Service is not a way to compensate for your own emptiness. Service is to offer what you have.

    In my view, the first step taken in real service is that you remember. Remember what? The call is to remember yourself, who you really are, your being and not your personality. Can you learn to be who you were before time began, as the Sufis say?

    Your being is a gift; the Universe has granted to you a measure of its qualities. They have become hidden under a basket. Your experience of life, its impact on you, has disguised your inheritance and it must be found again. The first step in service is to uncover and honour your gifts. You must learn to serve your true nature.

    The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 makes this point. The one who hides the wealth he has been given and does not use it is exiled. The faithful servant is the one who has recognized and used the talents he has been granted. Rumi says that on Resurrection day, you will be asked: “Be plain and clear. I have given you such gifts. What did you do with them?”

    Your service is to be, and to give thanks for who you are. This, to me, is what the universe is asking of you. Having accepted who you are, you have something to give and you have the capacity to serve.

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  • September 3, 2016

    What is prayer?

    Prayer is communication. It is a movement towards communion. It is a celebration of relationship with being.

    Is prayer always about God?

    It is a relationship with something higher and greater than oneself. God means many different things to different people. As the relationship unfolds and evolves, its form and meaning will change. It is a process of discovery, if you allow it. The name does not matter very much.

    Perhaps it begins with an idea or a picture. In time, in my experience, what you pray to becomes who you pray to.

    How do you pray? Is there a method?

    How do you develop a friendship? Does it not require your care and attention? Does it not summon your presence into the present? Prayer asks you to bring all that you can. Are you able to bring your thinking, sensing and feeling to the encounter? Perhaps not at first but with practice and the guidance that comes within the prayer experience, you may be able to bring all that you have. There is no formula. You must begin where you are, as who you are. No pretences. But as a general rule, humility is always a good place to start.

    What about praying for things you need or others need?

    You are developing a relationship. What do you want from it?

    Are you sure that you know what is needed?

    Asking implies humility and a willingness to accept help. Often, friends like to be asked to help. However, praying for things may bring worldly cares into a place where you are able to be without them and experience a different reality. Find out for yourself.

    What is the difference between prayer and contemplation?

    I do not think there’s a practical difference. As it develops, prayer becomes a subtle exchange which in some traditions is referred to as contemplation. The experience is characterized by the feeling of being seen and recognized as your essential being. The Sufis call this mushahada which I like to think of as mutual regarding or mutual observing. At times, the quality of seeing, what is seen and who is seeing may merge and become indistinguishable.

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