Excerpts from The Listening Attention:
“The Place of No Concern” : In the winter of 2000, something happened to me that answered my questions as to who I am and my relationship to life and death, the questions that had somehow haunted me, consciously or not, for most of my adult life. Soon after this event, I wrote in my notes, “I was taken beyond myself into the place of no concern.” The years of wandering, of alternating between pleasure and misery, came to an end, along with the searching and longing it generated. Paradoxically, I saw that in all that time I had never really moved. Rather, I simply woke up. (p.8)
True adventure is not in outward grandiose imaginings, whether in waking sleep or whatever, but rather in a steady inward movement, an uncovering of all that is hidden and false in ourselves. It is the greatest expedition we can make, for it leads to real peace and true awakening. This precipitous moment of turning our attention around and looking within is worth more than any bardo of lucid fantasies, for it can lead to real Self-knowledge, to Who we really are. As G.I. Gurdjieff said, “Life is real only then, when I am.” (p. 46)
If God is eternal, and we are as him, then he was there before the mind, too. We left God by going into, and becoming identified with, the body/mind and its ever-changing flux. To find God, or our Source, we must therefore go back, not further out into the wilderness of the mind, the matrix of images. These images are secondary to the mind that creates and projects them, so how can we give them greater meaning than the mind, and even to our observing of them? What is required is a reversal, a retreat, a going within. This will naturally lead us to look in an inner direction, away from images drawn from the memory, and even the image-creating mind itself. (p. 47)
When the still-point is finally reached, even if only for a moment, it is unmistakable. If we have allowed ourselves to hone our intuition and clear our thinking, we will find that this silent place within is not just a concept, but very real. The movement necessary to turn our attention back away from the outer and inner movies of the mind and senses is found to be also something real, and not a thought or concept at all. We find too, that we forget, and are carried back into the mind at every instant.
If we come back to the center, time and time again, during and despite every trial, we find we are becoming less of the world and more of the silence. In any situation in life, no matter how difficult or how often we forget, if we eventually return to the still-point as our anchor, we find we are becoming one with it. (pp. 54-55)
The Kingdom of Heaven is truly within, and we will not find it by taking our pleasure and meaning from without, from the world and its ceaseless change and pain.” (p. 69)
from the September TAT Forum, thanks to the Editors.