The Most Important Thing

That might be the most important thing of all. Not the meditations that leave you in a state of gratitude and wonder. Not the repeated understandings, no matter how deep and essential they are. Not the feelings of awe in front of that experience of oneness — the disappearance of yourself, and the appearance of your true, revealed, precious self. “I got it at last” were you thinking… But no. That would have been a bit too easy. None of these might do it in the final end. For these extraordinary revelations will eventually have to die down. For these experiences will have to end of their natural end. For these lack the last little remaining kick. There always seems to be another last ‘top of the mountain’. Another frontier. Another clarification. Another hope. Another deception. Another naïve expectation. And another waving hand and unwanted reminder from your sense of being a separate entity. “Hey, I’m still alive!” And back are you on your meditation cushion for another sprout of failing expectation.

That might be the most important thing of all. Not to leave a way out for yourself to escape and hide in a little corner. To grab yet another last little pleasure. To keep yet another wee sense of pride. To have yet a negligible remaining sense of being ‘me’ and enjoy the show from a distance. For these little remaining indulgences, no matter how small and inconsequential they may appear to be, will give rise once again to a fully grown sense of being a person. And this ‘person’ still has on a leash the dark beast of suffering that seems to come back with ever more strength and power. We might finally be eaten by it and be left here, a panting failure. We might never make it… The beast is barking now. Growling in the background. Waking itself up. Hungering for more and better with sharp scintillating teeth.

That might be the most important thing of all. Simply to give yourself up to just being. To not think you’re going to participate to your own banquet. You cannot be a guest of honour when you are yourself the one to be devoured. You just have to give it all up. Every thing of you. Every remaining bits or crumbs on the table of your apparent self. And it will have to be a pleasant offering. For it will never be forced on you. You are invited to die willingly. Or more precisely, to die understandably. To let go of that pestering little thought of yourself. That old haunting belief. That erroneous identity. Knowing that it’s your only chance. The last little thing left to do. That last remaining kick. The most important thing of all. So do it… That’s how you have a really joyful banquet.

.

You can’t both drink the cup
of the Lord and the cup of demons.
You can’t both partake of the table
of the Lord and of the table of demons
.”
~ 1 Corinthians 10:21 (The Bible)

.

~~~

Text and photo by Alain Joly

~~~

.

Website:
BibleGateway

.
Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

.

An Invitation from Silence

‘The Philosopher. Silence’ – Nicholas Roerich, 1940 – WikiArt

.

Of the unknowable only silence talks.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

.

Silence is always called upon us. Once we have stopped engaging with our endless thoughts, once we have released the rage of our permanent search towards happiness, once the dance of our daily relentless activities has died down, then silence is here always present. Silence is here to re-collect us into itself. It is a never failing embrace, always available, always ready to mother us, always pregnant in and behind every one of our failures or pains, of our battles with ourself and with the world.

In a way, silence could be said to be the mother of a symphony of sounds. Silence is a sound enhancer, and by extension, a revealer of objectivity. But notice that we stop hearing anything when the space of silence is filled with an overcrowding of sounds. Any sound is then only participating in the general cacophony. This is the same with awareness. If our mind — this presence that we are — is filled to the brim with objective experiences, so as to seem to become itself a big object, it then becomes impossible for this mind to find any space within itself to experience objects as objects, and to notice that in which these are appearing. The space of awareness goes unnoticed with the pregnancy of objects, just as silence goes unnoticed with the cover of sounds.

[…]

A text that shows how silence is revealed as our very own being… (READ MORE…)

.

A Loss and a Gain

‘The Voyage of Life: Old Age’ – Thomas Cole, 1842 – WikiArt

Well, at some point in our lives, we may start to make a rapid calculation. It may dawn on us that if we had counted on this body and mind to represent us right through the end of life, well… let’s be blunt on this: that’s certainly not our best investment. Old age will make it clear that, after a certain time, if we wait long enough, everything begins to go wrong with our bodies — and so with our minds. We-our body are losing it. New pains arise. Strength diminishes. Memory capacity fades. And disease is lurking. There are threats accumulating, to say the least. We have to come to terms with this plain fact of existence: we will never go back to where we were. We cannot keep holding on to our body, continue having faith in it. This constant hoping for a better body, or a healthier mind, has to end, and this is now. In a way, it really is something to laugh about — a sort of cosmic joke. How could we have been so naïve? This simple and inescapable fact shows — if we needed that kind of confirmation — that this body and mind is not the place for a healthy sense of being. We need to find a way out of this faulty understanding.

We find health in our innermost being. That is the answer. And the body is not this being. It doesn’t represent it. It is not its temple. The body exists but it is not being. Only being has the right and capacity to be. The body is at best a distant vassal. A tool. It is not the home of our being, but rather, it finds its home in being. It rests there. It can borrow its qualities. It can make Being its beloved teacher, if it is wise and humble enough to espouse Being’s extraordinary traits. Then the body and its companion as mind might feel enlarged. They might find their true essence as infinity and eternity. They might acquire a soft and gentle making — less heaviness. And the body-mind will be lit with a strange transparency. It will slowly give up its hard matter-like making in favour of a more airy essence. It might surrender itself slowly while still being alive. Then the natural flaws of its ending will have very little meaning — not something to be afraid of. For its death has already been achieved in love — its true essence. Then its apparent shortcomings and loss will be found to be the supreme gain of life itself. We enter a new kingdom, where death can never be death. It is simply the extinction of everything that wasn’t truly ours in the first place. It is a gentle clarification, and the revelation of our essence. “You may die, my dear body, you may fail and disappear, with your companion-mind, but I will meet you on the burning ground and see you rise again as ‘I’”. This is the meaning of old age and death. This is the gift of our apparent failures. To be raised and revealed as essence. See… we won’t lose it.

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Thomas Cole (1801-1848)

~~~

.

Website:
Thomas Cole (Wikipedia)

.

Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

.

Evangelium

‘St Matthew and the Angel’ (detail) – Guido Reni, 1635 – Wikimedia

So many of my thoughts, feelings, and even sensations are here solely because they are sustained by, or dependent on, or conditioned by the representation I have of myself. In more bluntly put words, my belief in being a discrete, separate entity creates the bigger part of them. This is because I think that I am solely this me-person that I indulge in these endless thoughts about myself. This is because I think that I am only this separately existing entity that I am caught in the grip of these disturbing feelings around myself. This is because I think that I am undoubtedly this body that my world acquires a dull and solid reflection where I-myself live and am caught in.

But this apparent suffering reality of our life is only as disturbing, dull, or solid as is the reality of our separate self. This is where our life finds its solace: in the defeating of this illusion; in this looking within to discover the reality of our self, and the truth of our being. This is where the promise of spirituality comes in with its many gifts of release. This is where the ‘good news’ of religion finds its full meaning and effectiveness. And it says something like:

[…]

A meditation on the ‘Good News’ advocated by Christianity… (READ MORE…)

.

Unconditional Love

I just happened to fall in love with my life recently. Don’t ask me how and why. I just did. That came surreptitiously after a long line of unfruitful attempts. I had given up the idea. Discarded the thought — too complicated! This happened when I simply stopped wanting, hoping, needing. These are the ways things get done, it seems, in this world. Life is not something that you can mould to your own convenience. You cannot love life if you set up conditions. If you want it to espouse the contours of your likes and dislikes. You might painstakingly get the life you want, but you will reduce love. You will wound it. That won’t be love anymore but bargain, economy. Love can never be found in the market place. Love shows up with its one fundamental, non-bargainable condition: it is unconditional. And I’ll tell you why:

I discovered that life is self. That the one constituent of life is simply being — who I am fundamentally. Not even a small portion of this life of mine stands outside myself. I love my life because my life is my self, and I cannot not love my self. We all love our self. To not love our self is an impossibility. We love our self dearly, because the nature of our self is love itself. Self is made of love. And everything in this world is made out of this very self of love. So we are bound to love this world unconditionally. To love our life unquestionably. To love people boundlessly. People are our brothers and sisters in love. They are made of the very same bright self that we are made of. Therefore the question of not loving life doesn’t even arise. Love is the very home where our life finds everything it could ever need or want. This is how life becomes a fountain of joy: when it is found to be entrenched in love. This fountain of love is sometimes referred as god’s self. Or ultimate being. Or simply happiness — without cause or condition.

.

~~~

Text and photo by Alain Joly

~~~

.

Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

.

Humanity’s Healers

‘Clytie’ – Frederic Leighton, 1890 – WikiArt

.

The moment I realise I am humanity,
that is the greatest action
.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

.

Why has humanity left this whole field of knowing oneself — all the spiritual endeavour, the extraordinary adventure that it is — outside the conventional and widely accepted way of living? It is a difficult thing to understand, since the door to it is so wide open and evident. Of course, religions are there, and have taken an all too consuming place in the past, but yet to no real avail. For an immense majority of people, religious faith didn’t go very deep, and didn’t put much of a light on the everyday suffering of humanity other than being a widespread system of morals and rituals destined to give some rules to society, and to instil fear, consolation or respect. So why has this understanding been confined to only a few, scattered individuals? Why has it not yet become the one accepted and necessary endeavour of our lives?

[…]

An essay exploring the place of humanity in our being… (READ MORE…)

.

The Graceful Way

‘Soaring’ – Andrew Wyeth – WikiArt

.

I would like to live that way.
In the graceful way
Of a wild animal.
Attentive, on the watch,
Present — Always.
Present in an absolute way.
Which means wholly present.
Not in a sneaky way.
But elegantly, naturally.
In a princely way.
This is what presence is about.

And I want to be wholly myself.
To eat when I eat.
To watch when I watch.
To rest when I rest.
To abide in the peace of just being.
What else is there to be done?
To add anything to the experience
Of being is to sully it.
A wild animal is incorruptible.
It cannot even conceive
Of wasting presence.

I would like to be never yearning
To change my experience.
Such idea is unknown
To a wild animal — This is called
Silence; Humility; Vulnerability.
Each has being as its home,
And abides in changelessness.
Being has the supreme advantage
Of being always only itself;
Owned by a strange necessity.
Ah! — To live as king. As eagles do.

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009)

~~~

.

Website:
Andrew Wyeth (Wikipedia)

Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

.