January 17, 2006

Living Inward

Meredith: Aki, my friend, often you have told me to watch for little synchronicities, which always feel exciting and magical to me. Well, here is today's synchronicity. This quote came from Nipun's weekly meditation, and I was delighted at the way this teaching folds right into the dialogue we have been sharing. I share it with you:

Living Inward

To be and to be fully is Nature's aim in us; but to be fully is to be wholly conscious of one's being. This movement of going inward and living inward is a difficult task to lay upon the normal consciousness of the human being; yet there is no other way of self-finding.

To those into whose composition there has entered the power of a more inner living, the movement of going within and living within brings not a darkness or dull emptiness but an enlargement, a rush of new experience, a greater vision, a larger capacity, an extended life infinitely more real and various than the first pettiness of the life constructed for itself by our normal physical humanity, a joy of being which is larger and richer than any delight in existence than the outer vital man or the surface mental man can gain by their dynamic vital force and activity or subtlety and expansion of the mental existence. A silence, an entry into a wide or even immense or infinite emptiness is part of the inner spiritual experience; of this silence and void the physical mind has a certain fear, the small superficially active thinking or vital mind a shrinking from it or dislike -- for it confuses the silence with mental and vital incapacity and the void with cessation or non-existence: but this silence is the silence of the spirit which is the condition of a greater knowledge, power and bliss, and this emptiness is the emptying of the cup of our natural being, a liberation from its turbid contents so that it may be filled.

In fact, this inward turning and movement is not an imprisonment in personal self, it is the first step towards a true universality; it brings to us the truth of our external as well as the truth of our internal existence. For this inner living one can extend itself and embrace the universal life, it can contact, penetrate, englobe the life of all with a much greater reality and dynamic force than is in our surface consciousness at all possible.

Our outmost universalisation on the surface is a poor and limping endeavor -- it is a construction, make-believe and not the real thing: for in our surface consciousness we are bound to separation of consciousness from others and wear the fetters of the ego. There our very selflessness becomes more often than not a subtle form of selfishness or turns into a larger affirmation of our ego; content with our pose of altruism, we do not see that it is a veil for the imposition of our individual self, our ideas, our mental and vital personality, our need for ego-enlargement upon the others whom we take up into our expanded orbit.
So far as we really succeed in living for others, it is done by an inner spiritual force of love and sympathy; but the power and field of effectuality of this force in us are small, the psychic movement that prompts us is incomplete, its action often ignorant because there is contact of mind and heart but our being does not embrace the being of others as ourselves.

--Sri Aurobindo

***

Meredith: Some inward silence today. This silence found some tenderness. When Sri writes that our outmost universalization on the surface is a poor and limping endeavor, I know what he is referring to. A limping endeavor. Often though I see the make believe quality of the play of our lives, I so often feel separate, oddly uncomfortable in my own skin. Outmost universalization is difficult to hold.

Slowly I go inward, deep into the silence, quiet enough to penetrate the emptiness. This emptiness can be overwhelming, but as Sri so beautifully articulates, "this emptiness is the emptying of the cup of our natural being, a liberation from its turbid contents so that it may be filled." How haltingly I enter this region, even though there is such cleansing here. Internal and external existence is something like a paradox to be reconciled. Being filled requires this emptiness from us. It requires a graceful allowing. Allowing brings into the open a force of love – a warm and permeating energy filling the emptiness. This love is what truly merges us, allowing us to embrace the being of others as ourselves. This is to be, and to be fully.


Akilesh: When the subtleties and pervasiveness of self-identification come home to us, we begin seeing how what we thought was altruism and pure good will and kindness is actually "a subtle form of selfishness" and something which is an "affirmation of our ego." This is disillusioning and often brings sadness and humility. When we see how our doing of good deeds is something we take subtle pride in, it begins to dawn on us that they exist on top of ego-fixation, and reflect a "pose of altruism." It begins to dawn on us that all our so called righteousness is actually self-righteousness and "a veil for the imposition of our individual self, our ideas, our... personality, our need for ego-enlargement." This is sobering, disillusioning and enlightening. This is what it means to be de-hypnotized, to overcome the veil of our conditioning.

Forget about holding "outmost universalization." I can hardly pronounce these words. Instead look right now upon a naked tree outside your window, and there find your teacher. You are a beautiful openness that is awake, just like that tree. Is that tree difficult to hold in your empty awareness? It holds you in its empty awareness. In purity, emptiness and ease, in innocence and love, you hold each other.

You think you are penetrating the emptiness haltingly, but actually the emptiness is penetrating you, to the degree you are allowing it to. You are not actually going anywhere, rather you are opening, and your receptivity is inviting your true nature to come back home, to come back into the light, to re-emerge from the background where it had been patiently abiding, allowing the ego, the thinking and doing, the "turbid contents" of the mind to occupy center stage in your "normal" consciousness.

As you observe in your own experience, it is about allowing. As you allow, you make space for spirit to fill you, and you realize this is most cleansing and healing, and leads to tremendous warmth and wisdom as the light fills you, fills your Being, takes up its natural place. This light and warmth is who you are.

Please, I invite you, your friend Aki invites you, if at this moment you wish to be filled with Wholeness, with God, with Light, please let the following words of the mystic penetrate you to the core:

Being filled requires this emptiness from us. It requires a graceful allowing. Allowing brings into the open a force of love – a warm and permeating energy filling the emptiness. This love is what truly merges us, allowing us to embrace the being of others as ourselves. This is to be, and to be fully.

Being is not miserly. Any allowing, even ungraceful allowing, gives Being an opening to pour into us. Isn't that beautiful? Beauty does not come from something you have, but from what you allow.

5 comments:

isaiah said...

"So far as we really succeed in living for others, it is done by an inner spiritual force of love and sympathy; but the power and field of effectuality of this force in us are small, the psychic movement that prompts us is incomplete, its action often ignorant because there is contact of mind and heart but our being does not embrace the being of others as ourselves."

Yes.

"As you observe in your own experience, it is about allowing. As you allow, you make space for spirit to fill you, and you realize this is most cleansing and healing, and leads to tremendous warmth and wisdom as the light fills you, fills your Being, takes up its natural place. This light and warmth is who you are."

How strange we allowed so many senseless 'things' into our lives, into our being, and yet we feel we cannot allow ourselves to open to that which we truly are. Either from fear, from doubt- most often from apathy- we miss the adventure of moving inward to where the greatest adventure is waiting to be experienced.

This is why it is so important to be kind to each person you meet, for "they too are fighting a battle." And as we come to learn from allowing the emptiness to be filled with the light of our true being- your battle is my battle, your awakening is my awakening...your being is my being.

Namaste

SB said...

Being filled requires this emptiness from us. It requires a graceful allowing.

This is so beautiful.

krista- the silent k said...

I love the idea of the tree holding me in its empty awareness.

The two words "empty awareness" are kind of oxymoronic to me... but the more I think about it, the less they seem so.

Meredith said...

Isaiah, sb, and Krista,

Thank you for your kind comments. I was sharing with Aki yesterday that this lesson penetrated me deeply. I was left with just wanting to hold each thing in this empty awareness, without expectation, without value or judgment. And I want to sense being held with this same beautiful openness. What could be more loving?
We can take this lesson and be generous with it. We can hold one another and each manifestation with this same graceful allowing. Just as Isaiah says, "...your awakening is my awakening...your being is my being."

Krista - you might enjoy this post on The Maple's Murmuring:

http://gracefulpresence.blogspot.com/2005/10/maples-murmuring_112930232544019056.html

Akilesh said...

Isaiah, it is strange. We continuously attend to, pay attention to so many senseless, small and petty things. Our moment to moment fidelity tends to be to these things, whether material or psychological. We allow them to occupy center stage in our daily living, giving them our loving attention, our devotion. In this way our energy is dissipated, placed upon the impermanent and inessential, and “we miss the adventure of moving inward.” We miss the process of inquiring into the question, “Who am I?” The result of our misplaced attention, our misplaced devotion is suffering. And with this suffering we inexorably ripen.