June 20, 2013

The Recipe for Spiritual Growth in 485 Words.

The awakened state is not possessed or attained.

It cannot be copyrighted. There is a Promethean quality to the whole enterprise of trying to own wakefulness. It belongs to the collective sphere of being, and any attempt to personally identify with this innate wisdom is self-deception. In short, the possession of enlightenment is ego-mania.

What we really have is a way of life and a way of being that is open and receptive to the spirit of enlightenment. In this way, wakefulness takes possession of us.

The spiritual path is not a matter of “becoming” enlightened. The process of becoming always leads to intellectualization, which is lifeless. Spiritual practice is not about becoming a more perfect or a better person. We are letting go—letting go of all our ego-trips. We are letting go of any and all attempts to take possession of anything. These possessions are fig leaves that we use to cover our nakedness. We are innately nude or vulnerable, and the paranoid mind sees this as our greatest liability. But this vulnerability is in fact the source of all our wealth.

When we give up the process of becoming, we are made available to this emptiness. Then we can appreciate the beauty of this emptiness. With the heart, we watch as that basic quality of wakefulness fills the empty space. This emptiness is the wealth, the great potential of mankind. It is our capacity to be a temple, a house of God.

Hard work does not produce goodness. It is not a product. The basic quality of goodness that characterizes all of creation is un-created. The wind of inspiration spontaneously sweeps through the formless void and darkness deep in the solitary depths of our being. Consciously, we shouldn’t be overly concerned ourselves with whether our behavior meets some perfectionistic standard. Our behavior will be disciplined by the movement of inspiration within, if we expose ourselves to the graduated stages of it’s influence, allowing it to emerge out of our honesty and vulnerability. So, the contemplative is concerned with whether or not their way of life brings them face to face with their own emptiness.

It is out of this darkness that life is born. It is never a matter of whether you are good enough or not. It is a matter of whether you are willing to open up and embody that basic quality of goodness. If we hope to inherit the riches of the human condition, we must first embrace our own poverty or emptiness. This is a matter of faith. Formlessness is alive, and faith is un-mediated experiential knowledge. This is somatic knowledge. Faith is found in the body. So, naturally meditation or contemplative prayer is a matter of moving into the body. In contemplative prayer and meditation practice we are cultivating faith by consenting to the sweeping winds of the body.


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Ed: B. Bemel

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