Words contain the essence of thoughts as a result of a realisation of truth. Therefore, it is important to be aware that our own reality is but an interpretation of truth.
Just as the shadow is not the object and the angle of the light influences our interpretation so does our own bias influence our interpretation and view of truth.
Sitting in contemplation
Incense smoke rising
My eyes closed
Thoughts of things that matter
That had no meaning
Come to mind – clarity
The hawk drifting
In circles in front
The past gone
The present now
The hawk and I are one
Through its eyes I see
The wings feel as part
When the mind is troubled the breeze is broken
When the I is calm the wind is smooth
When the me is as one the smoke drifts in a steady line
Keeping my guide with me brings me to now
Today I wish for all of us to make friends with our own set of aggregates.
In a visualisation of yourself, wish to you that you are well, that you are happy, that you are free from suffering and that you live at ease. Then give yourself a hug.
Being nice to yourself is a step in the right direction towards all that is good.
As we progress on our spiritual practice we have quite a few a’ha moments. These include the many and varied realisations about: our practice, our friends, our job, the nature of existence and the futility of our existential angst.
After we experience one of these moments of realisations it is common to have that self talk and self congratulation of “I have realised …”. However,,,,, the true realisations are those that are able to be experienced without the filter of perception as we see the true nature of the phenomenon that we are contemplating.
For this reason a true realisation is the furthest thing from “I” or “me” as you can get because you have managed to eliminate all of “you” in the understanding of that phenomenon. Therefore, it is not a matter of “I have realised …” or “now I understand” as that has immediately welcomed the ego dog into the process.
The true realisation is a matter of “so THAT is the nature of that phenomenon!!”. To speak of that understanding is to bring the perception and filter of language. To speak of that realisation in specifics is to bring the ego back and to drive away the realisation.
To hear, to know, to realise.
As the day dawns and the external light brightens the day
Our mind drawn to actions planned and paid
Leaving our spirit to lay in submission to ego
Growing weary as the sun traces its path across the sky
The ego falters and fades as the light
The spirit glows and beams as it pleads
To give the chance to occupy and grow
Take advantage of the weary ego
To practice and perfect the way of compassion
With the basis of wisdom of an intelligent mind
Free from the basis of self and the deception of I
To soar and occupy the realms of all that is, was and will be.
All traditions show that prayer brings you closer to the concept of God. The minimisation of the ego in order to allow the soul to soar. There is also amazing benefit in the practice of being mindful as we go through our day. Mindful of our thoughts, words and our actions.
When we learn a new activity we are mindful of our thoughts and actions until it becomes second nature. Actions such as driving a car, learning a new language, or even as a baby learning to walk. In the same way the key to removing our ego from controlling our day to day actions is to be mindful of what we think, say and do until it becomes second nature.
Start with setting aside small periods during the day such as during a meeting, or before interactions with specific people. If you know someone is going to particularly confrontational make a point of using this as an opportunity to be mindful, even develop a sense of compassion before the meeting.
From these small practice sessions will come longer periods of being absently mindful just like when you master that golf swing or have your first conversation in another language without having to resort to mental or physical dictionary.
The norms of my society and culture emphasise that we must focus on the we and the I to know our place in the world. The view of us and our view of our opinion on religion, food, books, education, etc and by doing so being able to see that the we is different to the other and that the other is either: interesting and worthy of study, wrong and worthy of educating, or deviant and in need of changing.
However, it is only by looking outside of ourself and to see us with respect to the world and our very small place within it that we can truly see our place as an ant on an elephant. In this way our ego reduces the we and other to a collective “WE” and in that we way truly see our place in the world and not just our very very small concept of our world.
Day to day we wake and ponder
Moving through the cloud of reality
With the clarity of a fast moving train
Rushing towards the next thing
To move and process and create
Our aggregates harnessed and supressed
We forget to see the context
Existing outside of our self
Forging a living removed from all
Wake up, wake up
The dreamer tells the soul
Wake up, the wanderer looks around.
The procession towards gaining a pure understanding of the reality of existence while minimising the influence of ego and perception is a task that takes dedication and motivation on behalf of the seeker. Most seekers start out by realising that, to borrow a line from a fibre advertisement, there is a “better kind of normal”. This can be due to a large number of individual reasons which prompts the seeker to initiate the search.
The search can be the self inspection/introspection in order to “find oneself” or to shop around the well known, and not so well known, spiritual and religious traditions. This often brings people back to the teachings of their culture and/or parents or to experiment with more non-traditional teachings. At this stage the seekers are prime targets for cults and destructive teachings that isolate the seeker from the community for the betterment of the cult or its leaders.
But how do you know when a cult is a cult? Most belief systems have three elements: The Example/Teacher, The Method/Teaching, and The Community.
The Example/Teacher. Is the person that delivered the teaching and showed the efficacy of the teaching as a living example of the effectiveness of the teaching. There are specific qualities that make for a good teacher – certainly how they live their life is an example. Their life should not be at odds with their teachings. They should not be claiming a higher status than that of a teacher or coach for the seeker. This includes those that claim that they are incarnations of Jesus, Living Buddha’s, the next coming, etc.
The Method/Teaching. The method/teaching that is espoused should be logical and provide more than just “have faith” by providing a daily practice that provides a base of behaviour that is conducive to spiritual development that is based on service to others, reduction of ego and the stripping of learned behaviours and criticism. It should not be based on indulgence or damage to self or others. The teaching is more important than the teacher and the teaching and the behaviour of the teacher will provide the proof of the teaching.
The Community. The Community is the community of seekers that support the journey. The identification of the community can be difficult in that there is a community of seekers, of teachers, of practitioners and of people outside of the community. All of them need to work together and be accepting of all and the teaching should provide guidance for those that are outside or critical of the community of seekers. The key to this guidance is that ultimately we are all connected in some way and therefore to be discriminatory of others is to foster discrimination of self.
The journey of reduction of the Ego Hound to allow the Spirit Dog to thrive is not easy and very threatening to some who value their own perception of “self” in that the journey results in the destruction of what they perceive and value.
Which dog will you feed today?