Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Awareness, Grace and Faith

There is an absolute relationship between the body and mind wherein there is a reflection of the one in the other, but each in their own language. A thought has some outlet in the body; a sensation in the body has a reflection in the mind. But understanding that relationship you need to interpret the language between the two.

The quality awareness must be very highly developed. It is the ability to be absolutely still and reflect without any interference whatever it observes. Apart from presence and discrimination, awareness is also highly intelligent in a way the intellect cannot be. While the intellect is active this intelligence remains unknown, unseen and unheard. Perfect awareness indicates a silent intellect. Therefore what it observes is seen very clearly and accurately, so clearly in fact that nature redresses the balance automatically and what we experience as release takes place.

Everything that surfaces and is felt as a point of tension in the body and the mind is nature seeking to find harmony. This might sound strange but give it a chance and these experiences reveal themselves to be symptoms of the search for harmony and balance…if you let them. It needs handling in the right way otherwise a reaction to the tension fulfils our normal expectation of creating further pain and discomfort. Everything that we would like to release was once taken in as an attempt to be useful. They become a problem when they pass their use-by date. But because we are habituated to them as part of who we are, we reinforce them instead. Trust that nature moves toward harmony and that pain is just one of the symptoms of disharmony attempting to right itself.

Then there is grace. This should really come first but there is so little understanding of grace that it is often misconstrued or mistrusted. Grace is our own faith made active; and faith makes grace known to us. Faith begins with the acceptance that my intellect does not have the capacity to contain the universe and all the forces therein; that it is something of which I am a part but which I do not yet know. Grace is the power behind the natural law of universal harmony. Grace is our own faith made active when we accept our part in the scheme of things, according to what it is, not how we expect or would like it to be. Then we experience the harmony too. All this is seen through the practice of awareness.

Awareness is often thought to be passive. In early stages of development it is, because we have to learn the art of not interfering where we shouldn’t. Watch thoughts, watch sensations, practice the art of attention without reaction. When that is highly developed the realisation of the inherent intelligence of awareness, which till now has remained hidden, becomes clear. So then awareness can be placed close to the edge without falling off, in the heat of the fire without getting burnt. Tension may appear to build and build, but when your stance is accurate and your aim is true that will eventually give way, not you!

How can something as nebulous as awareness be so effective? There is a place of calm and stillness from which all accurate observation arises. It is called drashta. Awareness is an extension of that stillness. In this way drashta is both the means, the awareness; and the end, by revealing the true nature when awareness is perfected. Drashta is perfected awareness. Which brings us back to faith.

It takes time, a long time and lots of practice, because we are playing with fire when we get close to our real issues. The smallest slip and we fall or get burnt and often thereby 'prove' our own misinformed beliefs. Faith holds good. We accept our mistakes, try again, and again, try every angle, until a magic moment when we see the space down the middle, undisturbed by opposites and contradictions, and that becomes the point of focus, and the issue at hand dissolves as if by magic. Of course it’s one moment, no celebration, the journey goes on, a long way to go, many moments like this. But this is the way to go, this is how we travel.

You can learn to observe anything but to know you can be connected with a higher force/presence that can guide you is what makes all the difference. So when you observe yourself in your inner world, have faith. And have faith in yourself too. Always have the most positive state of mind that it is possible for you to have. Keep awareness ever alert. Include every experience in your observation. Every slip indicates the way to correct the balance; every mistake is a way to learn what doesn’t work, to be nearer to what does work. Every negative had a positive original intent. Every experience has potential for learning and wisdom. Never give in to despondency, never doubt the capacity to discover your own inner wisdom.

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