• February 20, 2017

    Every spiritual path has its traps. The fourth way is often plagued by too much thinking. I see what takes place in some so-called fourth way schools and it is oppressively intellectual. Each path has a kind of culture. Yoga schools are generally very polite and politically correct. Buddhist schools tend to have a lot of introspective self analysis. Sufi schools specialize in emotional, ‘heart-felt’ gestures. Too often, the people on these paths are just choosing one conditioning over another, but not randomly; they choose the culture where they feel most comfortable.

    Is there an anti-dote for this tendency?

    Simple existing? I am sitting. Can I simply sit? This position has certain exact sensations, a precise location, a relationship to objects, space, function (I am sitting in order to have a conversation with you). Can I enter into this experience and simply inhabit it? I may find that doing so is remarkably satisfying in itself. Nothing more is needed. It doesn’t need to lead anywhere.

    The wind on my face is a sensation. Can I stay with it but not embellish it or try to make it something else? Mostly, the answer is no. Either the experience is momentary and immediately lost or it is massaged in the search for meaning or accomplishment. Can I just agree to exist, not as a spiritual practice but just as it is?

    I am asked what it is like to be present. The essence of it is the sense of existing. Nothing is embellished. Nothing needs to happen until it does. It’s the simplicity of the state that is most elusive and, at the same time, most beautiful.

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  • March 10, 2015

    You often talk about work on self. I do not understand this emphasis. I can see the point to meditating and doing spiritual practices.

    Real work on self is always in the context of our ordinary life. Observing (but not addressing) states such as self-pity, guilt and procrastination is the first stage of the work. Embrace your life as it is…it is the perfect means for your transformation. Repose and meditation are not work on self but rather artificial constructs which create the potential for insights to assist your work on self.

    You still think you can manage the process. Not yet. You think you can change yourself and therefore change your circumstances. Not yet. First you must see impartially what is actually going on in you and its relationship to what is happening outside you.

    I struggle with understanding how inner work and the outer world interact. Aspects of my personal life have challenges, such as relationship issues. Your writings seem to focus on the inner and I do not want to ask you seemingly trivial questions.

    We know our inner world through our interactions with others. Your ordinary life is the theatre of your spiritual work…its provocations, your reactions…not repose or meditation. Difficulties are not to be avoided. Working with ordinary life is the fast path…enlightenment through meditation is the work of many lifetimes, as Buddha said. You are in a dualistic state so the inside/outside issue is important to you. Later this will be different. Your interpretation of my instructions as focussing on the inner is partial and exposes your biases. I have only exposed you to a very small fraction of my work including very few of the main points.

    I am now constantly challenging my previous understanding of sufi teachings. I suspect I took an intellectual approach and thought I knew and understood things, but did not understand through experience. In reality, I now feel that I know and understand very little.

    Your life is your path. No one here gets individual practices; the time for that work form has past.  The demands are the same for everyone. The process of awakening can make good use of a group. Everyone is required to use his own discrimination and suffer his own errors and difficulties. Groups expose sleep patterns. Work with others in a real work space facilitates observation, presence and active discrimination which lead to higher states such as laughing at one’s own idiocies.

    Work groups under certain circumstances can form an invocational circle for the Work. That is my aim. The efforts I make with the members of the work group are not for their benefit and I am not accountable to them. There is no time for such indulgence.

    Some schools focus on the perfecting of their students. We do not. It takes too long if it is possible at all. Here the aim is to make candidates for the Work—people who are potentially useful. The obligations of the Work will manifest the abilities required to perform them. This is possible in one lifetime.

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