Archive | May, 2016

Deep Prayer

In his book Whispers From Eternity, Paramahansa Yogananda offers the following deep prayer.

“My eyes are enthralled, O Father, with the beauty of earthly flowers, with life’s passing scenes, and with the sailing, silent clouds. Everywhere, all I see hints at Your hidden presence. Open that eye in me which sees only You. With that gaze may I behold You above, beneath, all around, within, and outside me. Teach me in all things to see only You. Open in me that eye which beholds everywhere Your hidden but ever subtly reigning wonder.”

With this prayer, Yogananda is inviting us to open ourselves up to the spirit of our true identity, to ask for what we really want more than anything else. Deep within our very being, going beyond anything we can think of, or self consciously long for, is the revelation of imperturbable peace and love. We will all find different words to try and express this, to express what can only be hinted at with words. For me this prayer is expressing the depth of divine love and compassion. It is an inspiration to ask from the depths of our being to be given what we really need to awaken from the dream of duality, to awaken from the confines of our personal identity, and to open to the boundless silence of our actual being that we share with all beings.

When we’re willing to open ourselves to the entire universe, to be willing to actually die to our sense of being separate, the deepest layers of our resistance to this death will be revealed. Our deepest desires for preserving our sense of personal identity, and fears of losing control will be on display, and we will intuitively know we’re receiving exactly what we’ve asked for. We know, because in the midst of deep pain, revealing itself as the suffering of clinging to personal identity, the support necessary to allow clinging to dissolve is simultaneously revealed. We can begin to absorb and embody the spirit of a line from Rumi’s poem Love Dogs, “The grief you cry out from is itself the connection.” The vast mysterious power behind all creation unconditionally accepts all of our experience while revealing all experience actually is one with it. The loving welcoming and simultaneous dissolving of differentiation is revealed as what we really are.

This is a gradual process for almost all of us, even the greatest awakenings are only meant for the moment we experience them. There is always the sense that there is more to be revealed, and the eye revealing creation’s hidden reigning wonder will open more and more, the more we’re willing to surrender.  Yogananda expresses the deep wisdom of a lifetime of the deepest commitment to receiving and giving God’s love in the movie Awake, which is the story of spreading his teaching in America in the 20th century.

“This earth is nothing but movies to me. Just like the beam of a motion picture; so is everything made of shadows and light. That’s what we are, light and shadows of the Lord, nothing more than that. There’s one purpose, to realize the beam is you.”


We are Nothing Perceivable

The great sage Ramana Maharshi said:

“The mind is a bundle of thoughts. The thoughts arise because there is the thinker. The thinker is the ego. The ego, if sought, will automatically vanish. Reality is simply the loss of the ego. Dissolve the ego by seeking its identity. Because ego is not an entity, it will automatically vanish and reality will shine forth by itself. This is the direct method, whereas all other methods are done only retaining the attachment to the idea of the ego.”

The disciplined practice of searching for the separate self, or ego, is only complicated when we give in to our strong conditioning to attach to our thought energy in the search. We learn we can’t do anything about this strong conditioning, it will endlessly arise along with thought energy again and again, like the never ending waves on the surface of the ocean. If we’re willing to watch the waves of thought energy, the waves of sensations, arise and dissolve by themselves, we can’t help but begin to become aware of the alive presence of the ocean itself, our actual being.

Nisargadatta was asked: “If the ultimate itself has always been what I am, why am I not aware of it?” His reply was “Because you are attached to the idea that the awareness looking out of your eyes right now isn’t the ultimate itself.” What is the actual substance of the idea that our true identity is perceivable, describable, and can be limited and confined? Allowing our thought energy to dissolve is a powerful reminder that our actual being is nothing the can be grasped, that we are not anything that can be captured as an object of thought. So it’s said that enlightenment is the merely the end of error, the error of attaching to thoughts about ourselves as real.

One practice that I’ve found helpful is to imagine awareness as a serene ocean, absorbing the restless mind energy, allowing it to relax. Thoughts then drift of their of their own accord to the stillness within. This practice will allow us to find gaps in the stream of thoughts. What could the actual substance of these gaps in thought energy be other than our real being? What could the actual substance of thought energy be, that it could create something that isn’t timelessly there, free of all ideas of gaps? What is the actual substance of thought that could disturb our timeless, boundless serenity?