Tag Archives: movement

Going Within – by Bob Cergol

Richard Rose writes in his booklet on meditation:
“The ultimate aim of meditation is to go within. Going within means to find Reality by finding the Real part of ourselves. It does not mean merely playing around inside the head with random observations which we have discussed as being important to understanding the natural mechanism of man’s mind.”
“When we begin to meditate in the attempt to go within we should simply observe our self. We cannot really do it simply. It is a very profound task or attempt.”
He also writes in that booklet of the levels of meditation, of which “Going Within” is the 4th level. The instruction given is: “Employ whatever necessary.”

 

What does it mean to “go within”?
It’s not a place, and you don’t really “go” anywhere. It refers to the direction of one’s attention.

 

What is it that you do to “go within”?
Life is basically an experience. Experience is a continuous stream. We can categorize our experience as “inner” and “outer.” Inner experience refers to the totality of our individual reaction to outer experience — and on another level to inner experience itself in a spiraling, even “tail-chasing” process so the line between inner and outer is blurred — and ultimately may prove to be a false distinction, i.e. all experience is external….
Going within means a shift in the object of seeing or listening, of one’s attention from the perceptions and events swirling around us to the seeing or listening to our reactions to life’s experiences.

 

What determines those reactions?
We engage ceaselessly in evaluating whether our sense of self is affirmed or diminished. The former is pleasure. The latter is pain.

 

Which reaction is dominant for you? What is its source?
What fills your attention most of the time?
I believe that fear of death develops in concert with the development of identity, for the simple reason that intellectually we know that the body is mortal and therefore cannot be the vehicle that will ensure survival of that identity. The escape mechanism is to disassociate from the body, place oneself anterior to it and take possession of it, as it were. But since there is no hard proof, there is this core knowledge of the lie, and our lives become an incessant, doomed-to-fail effort at proving the independent existence of that identity by attempting to magnify it through experience.

 

What is the motivation for shifting your attention away from external experience to look at inner experience? Or said another way, what motivates you to examine what is occupying your attention?
The primary motivation is whenever experience diminishes the sense of self. It is not really motivation since the shift is a reaction. If looking at the internal experience of reaction is painful, the automatic reaction is to shift the attention away either by engaging in rationalizing analysis or by engaging in alternative mental or physical activity.

 

What result do you expect from “going within” as you conceive it?

 

Consciousness versus Awareness: definitions
The dictionary defines the words “consciousness” and “awareness” as synonyms, and each word is used in the definition for the other. The definition for both words depends on there being an object to which consciousness or awareness applies. This implies that there must be a subject who possesses the attribute of consciousness. One is either conscious of something or not. In this sense the words are verbs and denote action by an individual being — even if that action is itself either automatic — or an unconscious action!
Students of the esoteric have this concept that “God” or the “Source” is pure “awareness.” They conceive this awareness to be a possession or attribute of God’s, just as they perceive it to be an attribute or possession of their own self — or one that can be acquired. Realization is conceived as adding god-like awareness or consciousness to this same personal self. This all stems from an egocentric point of reference that places their ego anterior to everything else. Seekers of enlightenment have this idea that they will become god-like, or one with god, or attain this god-like awareness, and so there is the presumption of personal immortality and eternal ego consciousness.

 

Let’s see how this would apply to God, Supreme Being or Transcendental Awareness:
What is the object of this consciousness or awareness? What is God aware of?
If God’s awareness is without object then, how is God alive according to our concept of being? Does God know that he’s alive?
Does the knowledge of “being alive” require an identity? Would you be alive without your identity? — Without your body? Without your mind? Without — YOU!?
If God is all-knowing, what does he think about?
If God is beyond all thought, what occupies his attention?
If God is the object of his own attention, how long is God’s attention span?
If God is beyond time and exists eternally, then how could God not be eternally bored with himself?
If you believe in your own immortality, or even the possibility, what will the object of your attention be for eternity?
Can you imagine yourself, your identity with all its history, as the object of your consciousness for eternity — with no ability to alter that history? Is that realization? — Or the definition of Hell?

 

*
I distinguish between the two words consciousness and awareness.
For me, consciousness is personal and temporary; awareness is impersonal and timeless. Consciousness is the experience of individuality, and awareness is that which powers it. The “experience of individuality” is motion on a background of immobility — a whisper that cannot alter or penetrate the silence. Consciousness is a point. Consciousness is the point at which the un-manifested intersects the manifested. Awareness is boundless.
Awareness is consciousness without an object, unless you wish to say that awareness is its own object.
How then does an individual become aware of that which is anterior to that individual? The question seems a contradiction — indeed a Koan!
The short answer is by “abandoning the ego-centric position” — another paradox. The verb abandon implies action by the ego, which action itself would reinforce the supremacy of the ego’s position. Therefore it is said that the ego is taken from you or dropped. When one “gives up” or “expires” it is not a voluntary action but a spontaneous acceptance or natural consequence….
The process is negative or subtractive. The end result is not created by the process.
  *
– Bob Cergol
*

The Wild Within

Photographer and writer Paul Rezendes has an unusual take on realization, formed from his experience outdoors as a wildlife tracker. The preface from his book, The Wild Within, gives a brilliant example of his realization, and a perfect description of the listening attention as well:

This book is an inner and outer journey into one’s self and into the wild. The journey through these pages brings us into intimate contact with the lives of wild animals and begs us to look more deeply in order to come into intimate contact with ourselves and the “wild within.” The “wild within” is not a place in space and time; it is an awareness that is unconditioned, or is uncultivated, untouched by the human hand or mind.
These pages open the door to who we are by taking us first into the forest where, through tracking and sometimes direct contact with the animals, we are able to experience and appreciate the lives of wild beings. It gives us the opportunity to see that these lives are none other than our own lives, and that no being is separate from another; that mountain, river, forest, stone, coyote, and humans are the same movement.

Paul Rezendes
Paul Rezendes

I have taken and opened the doors and windows to my own life, so that the reader can look in and see his or her own life in mine. This story is not just about me and the wild animals that I have tracked. It is meant to be a mirror to your own life. For instance, when I share with you my persona as a gang leader, I am hoping that you look at your persona, whether it be an identification as lawyer, doctor, artist, or academic. Most of us have an idea about who we are … it doesn’t matter what that idea is. It has the same basic effect of dividing us within and out there in the forest, as well as socially. Being the president of a motorcycle gang may not be much different than being the president of a nation when it comes to feelings of pride, fear, and power.
This book opens the door to nature, where we come face to face with love, fear, life and death. It takes you into the woodlands, and as you wander through the trees, you may suddenly and unexpectedly find yourself looking inwardly at something you never expected to see – something fresh, alive, and new about yourself that you never knew was there. That is my hope in writing this book, that you wake up to a whole new world, one that is not fragmented, but whole, open, and without fear. Ultimately, that is what The Wild Within is about. It is about what some cultures call waking up, enlightenment, self-understanding, wholeness, or realization.
What I mean by realization is living, being energy that is aware or awake to what is, or to what is arriving in the moment. An awareness that is at rest and has no intention for anything to be other than what it is. Although it is at rest and has no intention, it can have a dramatic action on the movement of thought in a person’s life. This action takes place out of time, and without a doer. It is an action that does not come from a center, nor is it linear. In other words, it is not a reaction. When a person is realized, this awareness is the unresisted perspective in a person’s life, a perspective without a center, and without fear or pride.
Before realization, a person’s perspective is coming from the center of where we believe our self to exist, or at least, that is where we “think” we exist, feel, and think from. This center, this self, this doer that we perceive ourselves to be, is what keeps us divided from nature out there in the world and our true nature within. This results in a sense of being at odds with nature, within ourselves and with others. The center, or the who we think we are, also creates divisions within our own species. I’m talking here about religious, political, sociological and ideological divisions. These divisions can easily develop into hate crimes, wars, etc. Living from this center causes conflict between what is, and what should be – who we think we are, and who we think we should be.
Self-understanding opens the door to the possibility of living without a center, fear, and the need to control nature and others. This book is about that door opening for one human being. It may be about that door opening for you as well.

– Paul Rezendes

for Paul’s books and to see his excellent photos, go to http://www.paulrezendes.com/

 

A Story of Love

TAT 2013 June Gathering

Friday through Sunday, June 14 – 16

A Story of Love
A Story of Love

To see myself in everybody and everybody

in myself most certainly is love.

—Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

 

What are we devoted to? Where does longing pull us? What is love and what is Love? What prevents opening? What prevents sinking deeper within?

 

A Story of Love: TAT’s 2013 June Gathering provides an opportunity for those interested in remembering our primary problem and finding love on the spiritual path.

 

A Story of Love

The registration deadline for the June Gathering is Friday, June 7th.

http://tatfoundation.org/june/tat_june_gathering_2013.htm

The Inner Country

“The path to Truth begins with the self. We cannot properly isolate, identify, or analyze the self, because it is the subject about which we know the least.” – Richard Rose

            The conscious attention, or ego, sits on the doorstep between two worlds: that of the outer country of our senses commonly called reality, and the world of the mind, our inner realm, the undiscovered country. While much can be said of the outer world of the senses, little is known by most of us of our inner country, a world of automatic responses and unquestioned beliefs, hidden in darkness, projected onto our hapless neighbors.

Even those of us on the spiritual path, professed seekers of truth, rarely enough venture into the unknown country behind our eyelids. We tend to avoid this inner space, side stepping it in favor of imagination. We create a conceptual idea of ourselves in our head, one which fits our needs and fears, and then believe in it. The true state of our mind and emotions is avoided and exiled, an active but unconscious shadow in the darkness within.

Ski Trail
Ski Trail

This refusal to look at our inner state is not only because we are cowards, ignorant, and/or blind. It is necessary. The mind could not go on about its business in day-to-day affairs in the hustle of modern life if it questioned itself. Things could come to a halt.

One of the ways we avoid the inner realm is through what I call the game of ‘stay away’. We refuse to look at anything about ourselves that doesn’t fit the script. An extreme example of this is found today in neo-advaita types, while a generation or two ago it was seen in the radical side of Hare Krishna’s, and even earlier with ‘Jesus freaks’. The game is played by having a tight 5-10 minute circle of unbreakable logic which is repeated over and over, both to oneself as well as others. This is a very effective form of self-hypnosis which enables it’s practitioner to stay away from all consciousness of any inner emotional turmoil.

Another trick is that of placing the ego in an intangible form so that it cannot be attacked. These folks have no practical ego to speak of, meaning they have no real skills, no career, no interest which is actually carried out in the world. But to function the ego has to have an object, so if they are unwilling or incapable of identifying with a practical aspect of life, they find a concept, an archetype, or an image with which to identify. These images are invisible and intangible, so there is no risk of failure or success associated with believing in them. The trap is almost fool proof and extremely hard to break free of. Examples are seen often in New Age archetypes, such as the ‘goddess’, the ‘warrior’, the ‘sage’, etc. Even political and religious concepts can be effective shields against our personal truth, such as being politically correct or morally self-righteous. The common thread is an inability to handle tension or resistance. There can be no failure or questioning of an inner goddess, it can’t be seen or corroborated, so the person has an excuse not to face themselves, no matter what.

The trick of transference is seen in those who avoid their inner country by projecting it onto others. They have nothing to work on in themselves (being perfect, the ego’s main characteristic) so they spend their time helping others less fortunate (the rest of us). In this manner, they never have to see themselves as they are, for all imperfection surely lies in others, out there. They feel they are fortunate to be able to spend their time in helping, while their victims, their unlucky friends and acquaintances, must bear the burden of the ‘helpers’ unresolved inner conflicts.

ski for light
ski for light

An example of this was driven home to me when I worked at a ski resort. A group of blind cross country skiers came for a week, from the wonderful organization Ski for Light. There were over a hundred of the blind skiers, along with their guides and coaches. I assumed that the skiers, being blind, would be in need of much help, and their guides must be selfless saints to volunteer for such an undertaking. I had it exactly backwards. The skiers were the ones with the greater being, and needed no help traveling freely about their inner country. The guides on the other hand, while sighted in the outer world, were, perhaps unknowingly, being taught humility, faith, patience and wisdom by their unsighted charges.

I’ll never forget this surprising contrast: the guide bragging at dinner how she had been blessed not to have to work so she could give her time to ‘helping’ the less fortunate. The resort staff soon became fully aware of who was helping who. Her blind student was easy to wait on, not at all demanding, while the guide required constant attention, everything had to be prepared to her individual specifications, running us ragged for no real reason other than her inability to act in any way other than self-centered. The blind skier (the true guide) spent the week in infinite patience, a shining example of courage and wisdom, expecting nothing in return.

While these examples may illustrate our ignorance of our own psychology, it also serves to show how our values are reversed by life and its demands. The inner country, the basis for our character, is undiscovered and lacking in meaning, while our outer life of body and ego is given first priority and the highest value. The soul, with its connection to our inner self, is discarded in favor of saving face and ego. Only when the inner atmosphere is clear and quiet can we hear the true message from our Self. A long and hard journey within to clear the air and underbrush may be arduous, but in the long run, worth any price.

 

Inner Movement in Meditation

Movement

” I’d come to realize that if a man is ever going to grasp anything it won’t be by learning. His being has to change. You are what you do, not what you know. A man never learns, he becomes. To become, you must find ways and means to change your entire state-of-mind. This in turn will lead to a change of being.” – Richard Rose

Take meditation into the world of action, rather than just imagination. It will then lead to a change of being, rather than just new patterns of isolated thoughts. For meditation to help us, to bring about a change in being, we need more than just thought. We need to put our lives on the line. We need energy as well as concept, transmutation as much as conviction.

Does this scare you? It should. Do you still feel a longing? Good, you’re not just in your head.

If a fear of death, and a longing/remembrance for something better are within you, you’re heading in the right direction. If not, for you think you’ve solved the problem and are at Heaven’s doorstep, you’ve become too clever. Are you heading farther into the head and the imagination, playing it safe, sleeping in the superior position of your dream?

Osprey - Fish Hawk
Osprey – Fish Hawk

On the other hand, are you wallowing in your fear and self-pity?  The inferior position of the dreaming ego isn’t the right direction either, is it?

Sensitivity and cleverness can become enablers to our self-love, just as much as laziness and self-complacency. This can happen when we ignore our guts, not realizing that transmutation, and the resultant change in being, depends on generating and saving energy. Meditation shouldn’t happen just in the imagination. We transmute energy through exercise, from doing what we say, not being afraid to sweat and be uncomfortable, from facing our faults and mistakes: going against ourselves. Action as well as thought. This can’t happen if we remain soft and secure, yet collapse like a house of cards when push comes to shove. If every time things get rough, we copout to distraction and escape instead of standing tall and clear, we’ll never generate and save enough energy for real change.

Transmutation through meditation also needs a vector, a direction. It needs applied wisdom, a will, to direct the saved energy. Saving and directing our generated energy can transmute our cleverness into insight, our sensitivity into self-awareness, our self-indulgence into strength. This is the result of a change in the direction of our love, from love of self to a new found love for our higher potential. A faith in things unseen but felt, insight and intuition: allowed, carefully reasoned, and acted upon.

– Bob Fergeson