Teaching February 2011: Levels
This subject is becoming more and more important as far as I am concerned. It is crucial in all communication and relationships that the right level is touched.
The theme of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus is the implication that if we don’t speak the same language from the same place, we miss each other. We are not in touch.
To come from that place in oneself that may be described as Spiritual, it is necessary to surrender somewhat the demands and dictates of the Intellect. Perhaps we have to absorb the fact that although Intellect may be one of the myriad forms taken by Spirit; Spirit is not subject to the Intellect; by that I mean that trying harder, greater effort, is not the route to revelation of Spirit. The route is surrender of constructs; the greatest and the most complex of which, is the personal ego. The ego is a construct and, it could be said, has no inherent existence other than that we ascribe to it.
I use the word Spirit, always in a sense that is communal, causal, a unity, not separate from all the forms it takes. I am not referring to something that is mine and differentiated. I acknowledge a personal Soul but am, in my perceived individuality, a form taken by the universal Spirit. By inference, I shall, when the time comes, and the ego and the body have served their purpose, lose my sense of separateness.
It seems to me that the subject “what is Spirit?” is massively complicated, yet it is necessary to wrestle with it a little or we shall continue to be judgemental, concerning the relative value of ourselves and our affects..
I believe and regret, that I appear to cause confusion in some circles as a certain number of people interpret what I say in class and in writings, as suggesting that some sorts of work are in themselves better than others and that what I facilitate/ teach, is somehow better than what some others teach.
In fact, I have no such notion and people who have worked with me know and totally accept that. The experience that they have is of adding another dimension, on the one hand or a letting go of restricting preconceptions, on the other hand, to whatever it is that they do rather than finding an alternative to what they do. And/and, rather than either/or.
This enhanced level of awareness emerges in the actions and perceptions of people performing quite mechanical tasks as well as people who have a more esoteric world-view.
This piece has so far, of necessity, I suppose, been a left brain conceptual explanation of the subject matter. Let me try to paint a few simple pictures. Perhaps inkblots!…
I either take a piece of marble and I hammer and chisel it into the form of the Buddha, or I sink deeply into a meditative contemplation with the marble and just let the Spirit of the Buddha express itself. The need to chisel is not a retreat from Spirit but rather the action itself, is an expression of Spirit. There is of course an assumption in this example that I know how to be a sculptor, that I have learned my trade and that there is a skill available in me that facilitates the expression of that form and can read the marble. This is not likely to be an intellectual study but rather, a deep knowing. This was apparently, Michelangelo’s state when contemplating his David.
We can however, extend from this sublime example and say that the Spirit may be equally present in such mundane actions as doing the weekly shop, washing up and cleaning the loo.
All actions, thought and speech can come from a mindful level and be done in full awareness or they can be mechanical. I suggest that the difference always shows! In this context I am equating Spirit with mindfulness. There is a little pot of words, Mindfulness, Spirit, Presence, that inter-relate with each other and sometimes, we need all three to fully paint the picture.
The important thing is to get across the notion that whilst Spirit interpenetrates and is causal to, everything, everything does not express Spirit.
Levels need to be congruent for there to be communication. That wisdom is seated in the heart, is the embodied articulation of poets. That the heart is very clever in the way that is keeps firing and sending blood circulating round the body, is a parallel but not spiritual statement. Both statements are valuable and co-exist. One is not better than the other objectively. If you are a mystic or a doctor the one may be better than the other subjectively-that is all.
Have you ever had a very profound experience? Perhaps, an almost overwhelming experience that all things are in place and just how they should be? A eureka moment, you could call it. And did you then try to share that moment by describing your feelings to someone else? And did you then, almost immediately, wish you hadn’t? That is because you are talking at one level and being received at another. Just that; it happens often.
One of the great tasks of the approach to enlightenment could be to take the judgement out of awareness. This or that is. That’s it, it is not better or worse, objectively, it is. Whether it is better or worse, to me, depends on my undigested life experience.
Can any judgement be absolute? Can any judgement be objective? I doubt it. Because this is so, we do I believe need to be immensely open and aware when we approach the subject of Spirituality, that any and all our strongly held view are mirrorings of our story rather than statements of TRUTH. Truth is there, ; of course it is; where would it go; but it reveals impeccably when the Truth speaks rather than when we attempt to speak the truth.
Perhaps another way of putting this would be that when w are sufficiently still and not busy conceptualising, something very close to the truth will make itself known, perhaps through speech, The truth and the means of expressing the truth are one.
We keep coming back to the notion that it is the Teaching not the Teacher, that counts. The corollary that has to be voiced is that we are talking about the truth at a particular level. All levels are valid at the level from which they are formed. It is not true to say that a truth at one level is valid at another level. Failing to recognise that has led to so much opinionated bigotry and violence.