The Mind in Time by Bob Fergeson
We've drifted down a line to time
upon a Ray from That which shines.
It shines within in Now, not then,
in Now we live, not 'if only when'.
We've fallen down to mind in time.
We fell to mind that lives in time
bound to things that live and die.
We tie the knots in our true life-line
and lose the path to That which shines.
Ignorance ties these knots in time
that bind us into finite mind.
What sword, what axe could cut this knot
that Gordon tied to bind our lot?
A little here, a little there,
will never undo this wicked snare.
To cut the knot, this tie that binds,
will take a blade from beyond the mind.
Climb up the line back out of time
To leave our self, our proud dead mind,
To leave the things that thinking brings
For the One Clear Note of Presence's Ring.
Take faith and help from those that find
men are more than plugged-up knots in time.
Silence true gives us a clue
To leave the `I', the `me', the `you'.
Take hope, and leave the mind in time,
To listen again to That which shines.
* * * * * * *
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.
TWO MEDITATION EXERCISES:
Superficial "Going Within" -- skirting with loss of self -- and resistance....
(Looking at self-dissatisfaction in a specific instance.)
Focus your attention on that which bothers you the most about yourself. What troubles you more than anything else? (It is that which is wrong about yourself -- that which hinders you from attaining the fullness of life that you crave.)
This is NOT "going within." This is focusing the attention on one's reactions to external experience. This reaction comprises one's internal experience. It's like a "parallel universe" or dream world that is evoked by external experience.
Real "Going Within" -- acceptance of what is....
(Looking at the self directly.)
Focus your attention on what it feels like right at this moment to be you -- to exist as you. You have to do this gently. You cannot strain to focus the attention in this fashion. You need only to just notice your sense of self and then gently notice how does it FEEL to exist as this identity this moment. -- Perhaps you notice a certain positive or negative feeling that accompanies your self-existence.
How strong is the sense of existence as you?
This is a crude attempt to illustrate my point that: Self-dissatisfaction is merely the kindling to light a fire that must ultimately consume you. You must get to a point where the looking inward is automatic, and there is either not much reaction to what you see -- or, if there is strong reaction, there is simultaneously a detachment from and acceptance of the reaction -- just as if it's merely another part of the experience you've had to contend with all along anyway, and it's no longer of much value to you.
Note: For years my meditations were all about me -- my problems, my feelings, becoming free of myself. There was much I didn't like about myself, and I'd lost track of it all and just plain felt bad, inferior to others. It was only after this had burnt itself out -- with some help perhaps from looking at it -- that I began to look at the world outside myself. And when this happened, I began receding from it -- automatically.
From a presentation made at the July 2003 TAT meeting.
BC / Avila Retreat / July 2000
What are you seeking?
How did you get to whatever point in life you find yourself at now?
What is your direction.
What purpose does it serve-is it inward or outward pointed?
THE PATH: SELF-DEFINITION
To find the Truth you must find the True Self.
To find the True Self, you must become One.
To become, you must live your understanding.
To understand, you must see clearly.
To see clearly, you must know that which is seeing.
To know that which is seeing, you must know your own self.
Examine your life daily - in earnestness and with total honesty.
Understand your motivations. (You can lie to or bullshit others, but not God.)
Learn how to think. (Cultivate analysis of self and others.)
Learn how to pray. (Cultivate devotion to a higher power.)
Guide me that I might see clearly.
Bless me that I might understand.
Strengthen me that I might live my understanding.
(Prayer is an attempt to have a self-less thought or to think self-lessly.)
Living in personal identity is sleep.
Living in personal identity keeps God out.
Live your understanding: a conscious and/or self-less act is a powerful thing, it invites
the higher Self into your life - "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"
I think the idea of becoming is misunderstood. Many of us have seen words written such as, "You can't become that which you already are." I used to think such words were a clever device to avoid any effort to change, and therefore, a device to reinforce whatever games the one parroting such words was engaged in.
But it is likewise foolish to think that becoming is an acquisitive or evolutionary process.
The idea of becoming denotes that a change is required. The change required is not positive, but negative or subtractive. Just as you don't learn the answer, likewise you don't pile on insights (psychological holiness?) and accrue capital [for later redemption] through acts of asceticism (good works?).
I think it would be more to the point to say that we need to un-become. If it is a process of becoming, then it is a process whereby the ego-device becomes less sure of itself. And thereby it becomes less self-centered and more sincere in longing for the answer-from where-it-knows-not. But all it knows is that it cannot forget the "need to find out" and it becomes more open to surrendering its will to the Source of the answer. So when the time comes it is possible to "receive" the answer.
A MEDITATION ON IDENTITY
How many here would define the self as the body? (Then you must identify with "the mind" or you are very honest. We underestimate our belief in the body.)
[close eyes here]
My teacher, Richard Rose said, "The task of the seeker of Eternity is to die while living."
Have you contemplated your own death? Can you do so today, now?
What will happen to you when you die? Where will death leave YOU?
From where does your identity spring?
Is your identity dependent upon the body?
What is the relationship of identity with the body?
Do you define the self as the body?
Consider-deeply: Are you the body?
If you are not the body, then are you aware of having a body?
Who is this "you" who is not a body but has a body?
If you are not your body then what are you?
If not, do you think you will have an identity without the body?
You are aware of identity. But what comprises this indentity?
Are you thoughts? Are you memories? Are you experiences?
Are you the mind?
Do you hope or believe that "you-the-mind" will outlast the body?
A long, long time ago, experiences began happening to a body. Memories were recorded. There is a long recorded history to that identity, so known and loved.
The ego is programmed for self-survival. The ego belongs to the body. It is of the body and inherits the self-survival programming of that body. It serves the survival needs of that body. Its automatic pattern of functioning is an echo of the body's pattern of functioning.
The ego has secured itself like an oyster-with layer upon layer of protective insulation-a constructed identity…identity spins identity.
The self-aware ego is a fiction, a lie, a contraption born of the body-made possible by THAT, which animates all forms.
The ego cannot accept this truth because it would be the total contradiction of the ego.
My other teacher, Alfred Pulyan, on knowing the truth said, "There is only one way & that is to quit the egocentric position."
Analysis of this construct is useful but is literally working on the surface. The danger is one of trying to perfect the ego. This sort of activity easily, naturally and automatically becomes outward focused. It is not looking at the looker! It is a device used by ego to maintain ego. Ego1 creates Ego2 to "work on"-this device reinforces and preserves Ego1.
You KNOW that the body dies and is dissipated.
that the mind,
which is at all times one with that body,
likewise is dissipated.
Nothing of you will remain.
That which you now take as `you' is not and never was.
If you can see that right here and now, then you will discover the difference between that which is permanent and that, which is impermanent. You will discover the difference between that which IS and that, which is merely an experience and truly has no substance.
To get to this point you must accept yourself right where you find yourself. You must stop lying to yourself about who you have been, about who you are now and about who you think you will become tomorrow. Then you could stop lying to yourself about what you are. You are not the body and you are not the mind.
These forms are like peep-holes,
through which the Absolute gazes-back into itSelf.
In that process, these forms become animated,
and the thought arises that the form is the self.
In reality that form is nothing more than a vision-
for only the Source itSelf IS.
Bob Cergol, on spiritual desire:
I think (based on my own experience) so much of spiritual desire, and efforts of working at it, in the final analysis are so much pretense and in fact the means we employ to AVOID the work which is in fact our true spiritual path.
For me, I had to tell myself I was giving it up, in order to stop lying to myself about my doing it or following it. I decided to live my life as an ordinary person. In hindsight, that was when my inertia stopped and I actually started to change or make progress.
For me, what ended up mattering is that I still had the desire, but it wasn't blocked by my pretense of doing something. I acknowledged that I wasn't doing anything - and couldn't, because of my newly chosen circumstances, i.e., marriage and family. In reality, I was still on my inner journey and was no longer blocked. It unfolded of itself - because I still WANTED IT to and didn't resist it. I continued to look within but no longer with the thought that I should, no longer with the thought that I would achieve a result. I looked within because I was compelled to and it was easier once I stopped pretending that I was above the fray, and accepted that I was in fact no different than every other human being - maybe less honest, maybe more egotistical.
So does it all come down to, "What do you desire?" I think every person is doing EXACTLY what they, ultimately, want to do. But there is a "reality gap" between facts of their circumstances plus the extent of their inner life and the story they engage in. This gap defines the lie that each is living.... The "story" which is the idea you have about your path, your goal, etc., is, to a large extent, a "carrier" of the egocentric position. Can you give it up and just face the plain, raw facts? Are you living at odds with yourself? Are you living your life honestly, true to yourself? If you are, if you can, then nothing else matters. You don't need to overlay some drama of spiritual seeking to interpret your life.
What is it that you really want?
Vernon Howard: On Self-Observation
from Mystic Path to Cosmic Power
We now come to the single most important technique of the Mystic Path. With its persistent practice, any human being can turn into a new person This essential and dynamic technique is: Self-Observation. Before we see what it is, we must see what it is not. I find many misconceptions here. Self-Observation is definitely not self-centered mental absorption. If that could liberate, millions would be free! No, self-centered reflection is the exact opposite of genuine, self-observation, and its worst enemy. Self-absorption is always characterized by uneasiness; Self-Observation is the method of destroying uneasiness.
Self-Observation is an act of watching everything that goes on, both within yourself, and outside. You do nothing but watch, just as if it were happening to someone else. You do not personalize. You do not react or form an opinion about any thing you observe, whether it is a newspaper headline, or an inner feeling.
You judge nothing as good or bad, pleasurable or painful, favorable or unfavorable. You simply watch, just as if you have no personal connection with whatever you observe. Think of yourself as standing on a riverbank, watching passing ships. Some of the ships are bright with lights and color, others are dark and dreary; but what has either to do with you? You have no connection with either the brightness or dreariness - you are merely watching them come and go.
Self-Observation means passive detachment. You do not try to change the things you see in yourself; you interfere with nothing. Without attitude and without comment, you simply look.
It is a remarkable experience to stand aside and watch a fear, or a depression, or a passion pass through you without personalizing it. It is sheer magic that eventually changes things effortlessly and correctly.
”But I am thinking about myself all the time, anyway. I don't see any difference in what you say and my present self- preoccupation.”
”We must be totally clear on this. Self-Observation is not thinking about yourself. There is a world of difference. Self- preoccupation is like grabbing and wrestling with a tiger. Self-Observation is like quietly watching the tiger walk by.”
Why are we emphasizing this? It is the very key to liberating self-knowledge. It enables us to see ourselves as we really are, not as we imagine ourselves to be. Upon that realistic foundation, we build a new self; and, great news, when we are different, things are different.
P. D. Ouspensky quotes his teacher, George Gurdjieff:
“Self-observation brings man to the realization of the necessity for self-change. And in observing himself a man notices that self-observation itself brings about certain changes in his inner processes, He begins to understand that self-observation is an instrument of self-change, a means of awakening. By observing himself he throws, as it were, a ray of light onto his inner processes which have hitherto worked in complete darkness. And under the influence of this light the processes themselves begin to change.”
Try This Remarkable Experiment
When a prisoner-of-war plans an escape, what does he do? He observes the condition he is in. He becomes acquainted with the fencing, the schedule of the guards, and so on. Upon that intelligent information, he plans a successful escape. That is also our purpose-successful escape from the prison of psychic sleep.
Try it right now. Look up from this book. Shake your head to break your present mental state, and look around. Simply notice where you are. Don't just notice the room; see also that you are in that room. Think, ”Well, I'm here.” When done correctly, it gives you an entirely new sense of yourself. Do you see the difference in your thinking as you now look around the room and the state you were in a moment ago while absorbed in the book?
Notice this: While absorbed in your reading you did not exist to yourself. There was reading, but no conscious awareness that you were reading. But now, upon detachment from your concentrated reading, you are conscious of your own existence in the room. What a tremendous secret you have here!
We want to become self-aware human beings. This happens when we seek in the right place. ”You men, why do you look without for that which is within you?” (Meister Eckhart) Awareness of the inner man is, as all mystics proclaim, the Kingdom of Heaven within. It is the Truth itself. Awareness and happiness are exactly the same thing.
Impartial Self-Observation is the gate to a new sense of self. It breaks through into the dawn.
It is as if a savage from a remote jungle was taken to a merry-go-round at night and set upon one of the horses. He feels himself carried around and around but has no idea of what he is doing, or where he is going. He cringes at the surrounding shadows that seem to threaten him every time around. But as the light dawns, he understands. He sees the shadows as trees that, in reality, were never a threat. He realizes that not only is he now safe, but always was; he has only become aware of his security.
As the technique is practiced, we are bound to be a bit disturbed at what we, see. We find we are not who we thought we were. We notice negativities we were perfectly sure were not within us. But we should not mind the disturbance; we should not turn away. We can take it. The new insight does not make us worse, as we might assume, but better. Why are we healthier than before? Because we have exposed to the light the very negativities that kept us unconscious prisoners. Psychic light, as any psychologist testifies, destroys darkness.
”Dwelling in the light, there is no occasion at all for stumbling, for all things are discovered in the light.” That is the testimony of George Fox, the enlightened founder of the Society of Friends. Nothing is more valuable to the prisoner who wants to escape than honest Self-Observation.
(from Mystic Path to Cosmic Power)