Summary of Episode 4: after the death of a great leader people cling to the raft they have created to save them; unable to defer to their own true Nature because they have become so dependent; repeated rituals make people dull; we are spirit like Jesus, Allah, Buddha; we use so little of our power (10%); Chunda, the blacksmith; buried under intensive spiritual training; attachment can make us separate and arrogant; Buddha bequeathed True Nature as a parting sentiment and all can be enlightened regardless of spiritual training and education – Chunda; illumination – great teachings can illuminate our inherent nature; devotion and dedication confused; the intellectual and emotional block True nature; young animals and children are free because the meddling mind has not yet interfered.
So, how can we grind or polish away all the detritus and conditioning that accumulates covering over our True Nature on a daily basis. If we become monastics or recluses and withdraw from the world, then we can avoid the ups and downs of everyday life, but there is a great danger that we create our own view of reality and cease to experience directly, or become attached to gurus and teachings as mentioned in Episode 4. Having had many opportunities to withdraw in such a way, I am now certain that living in the full torrent of daily life among so-called ordinary people, is the only way to uncover our True Nature.
Daily life is not easy for many people. There are ups and downs, and in modern life, increasing external pressure. External fluctuations combined with our repression of our inner urges and True Nature can create turmoil. We lose control and are thrown around on stormy seas or marooned due to becalming, and we suffer from scorching emotions and obsessive intellectual analysis. All of these conditions which we see as external and over which we eventually conclude that we have no power, are a series of tests of our True Nature.
In the vast invisible world which envelops us but of which most of us are unaware because we are marooned in the visible dimension and our intellects convince us that only what we see actually exists, there are millions of messages for us. They are spiritual eddies and currents, but if we notice them, they will guide us away from our doubts and fears. Reading this, you may already be skeptical. Let me explain.
Humans are basically social creatures. We are surrounded in our daily lives by many people we know to various degrees: loved ones, family, neighbours, community and colleagues, celebrities, and strangers, etc. Those people either irritate us or appeal to us: we are either repelled by them or drawn to them. This is already the invisible world at work. We have no way to explain these two opposing states in a rational provable way. Such whimsical irritations and attractions can greatly unsettle our lives either negatively or positively. They can create the stormy waves or an airless becalming.
Most of us, exactly because we have lost touch with our True Nature, believe we are victims of other people’s behaviour, that we are somehow the target. This is how egocentric we can become without our strong natural core, and as a result, we react to everything impulsively. We are at either war or at peace. We react like chemicals almost unconsciously.
But if we are riled by one particular person, it is certain that they are a wonderful teacher for us because they have found a way to touch some vulnerability deep inside. Modern psychology suggests they are perhaps projecting their own emotions on to us. But what if they are messengers come to teach us how to put an end to reacting blindly, or to detaching from our anger or self-cherishing? (Later the notion of teaching will be dismantled by the way).
The image to the right is obviously significant to this book so it keeps appearing. It represents your True Nature, your inner gem, the diamond sewn into your coat lining that you are completely unaware of. Imagine that it is tarnished by the trials and tribulations of everyday life, by the blows you have suffered, the dishonesty with yourself and others you have become habituated to, and so on. It has perhaps lost its sparkle and shine, is jaded, dissipated.
With a moment’s inhibition, before you react to your torturer who you perceive is determined to make you suffer as much as possible, you can use the abrasion, the friction, being created to grind away some of that accumulated tarnish. If you let go of your pride and your arrogance or indignity that you are being treated in such a way, then you will find a place of humility and acceptance. And this awareness, this sharp awakening from deep slumbering, will move you on, move you up. In other words, you will accept that you are not perfect, even though you thought you were.
It is this self-cherishing, this blindness to ourselves, that we need to change if we want to step into reality. We spend a lot of time over-protecting ourselves which blurs our grasp of reality and living directly. So, by not reacting to this catalyst, we are changed, transformed, and we return little by little the more often it happens, to our original divine state, a state of universal love and compassion.
This process will gradually clean away all the accretions on our inner gem from our conditioning, our inheritance, our karma, to use a Buddhist term, and we will eventually return to our bright shining original state. A state unhindered by the negativity and limitations of the intellectual mind and the scorching heat of consuming and distorting emotions.
Finally, we can listen to the universe and all the beings around us with our totality. We can step into reality and accept what we are. And so we learn to detach from everything and everyone and play out our particular human mission
Episode 6: Next, the detail of true listening and how the intellectual mind is simply a bridge which can take us out into the vast field of awareness, or full consciousness.