February 19, 2005

The Spiritual Friend

The spiritual friend is familiar with the energy of authentic presence and uses it to help others remember who they are at the foundation of their being. The spiritual friend reminds you constantly that who you are is more than just an ego; that you are divinity itself; that you've only forgotten and lost your way. They point out the way home; they point you toward the God within. They also point out what keeps you from this realization; they show you where you're preoccupied with want and fear. Again and again the spiritual friend points within, while the whole world seems to be focused outward.

In meditation, in a meditative presence, you're more likely to look within and discover your original nature. To realize this face is to transcend death itself. The old Taoists said with this seeing you joined the immortals. Chuang--tzu said, "All that has form, sound, color, may be classed under the head thing... But a man can attain to formlessness and vanquish death. And with that which is in possession of the eternal, how can mere things compare?" You are no longer confined in the house of self identity; the drop disappears as the ocean pours into you. Your heartbeat becomes the heartbeat of the universe. You enter the spaciousness of unconditioned freedom.

As you deepen into meditative awareness, the grip of ego loosens. You open up and clear out, and realize what is happening in the process of enlightenment, how all of existence lightens up, wakes up. With this awakening, as has been said so often in so many different ways, you don't achieve anything, you don't get anything that wasn't there in the first place. Enlightenment doesn't come from outside. The light emerges from within you. With this discovery you realize what it means to be a lamp unto yourself. You no longer seek external validation for your experience. It is self-evident, local and imminent. The Koran says God is nearer to a man than his jugular vein is. You are free and with this primordial freedom you see through all pseudo religious thought. No one can control you now, no religious institution can use you for its own ends, in the service of its institutional agenda. You realize you have never been separated from the source to begin with. And with this realization comes great joy. And this joy brings a need to share, to give, to unburden yourself; and so you let your song, the blissful fragrance of your flowering, float to others.

You only thought you were separate, but with this realization you see the interconnectedness of all things. There is one breath in all of existence, and that breath is breathing you and the furthest star. The same pulse runs through all, the same fragrance of empty blissful being is common to everything. In The Secret of the Golden Flower it is said, "In this kind of seeing, one only sees that no shape is there... If a man wants to make certain of his body he cannot get at it." Hsueh--feng said, "The whole great earth is nothing but you." Where are the boundaries to your body? Do they end at your skin? You could lose your arms and legs and still be alive, but if you were to lose the atmosphere that surrounds the earth, your body would not last more than a few minutes. If you were to lose the sun, your body would not last long. So our body may be larger than we think. In fact it may be as large as the universe. The Gandavyuha Sutra says, "Bodhisattvas are able to expand their bodies to the ends of the universe."

The spiritual friend is one who reminds you of your original face. The work/play of this friend is exquisitely joyful because it is an ongoing celebration of awakening. Can you imagine a more blissful endeavor than being present to the process of awakening? Can you imagine a more joyful process than being present to the rebirth of consciousness; being present to someone who has been under the illusion that they were an utterly separate entity, an island unto themselves, and then realizing who they really are; being present to the seed losing itself as seed, the caterpillar undergoing its transformation through chrysalis to wings? Just to be present to such a blessing -- being coming to meet itself -- is enough.

Post by Akilesh


chalip said...

This was beautiful. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

the energy of authentic presence is not attached to any outcomes it is energy,pure,open loving energy. True friendship is free of the mind and ego, yes my friend, you always point out what keeps your friend from this realization with love and kindness;gently unfolding the truth that freedom is higher than love.