Teaching July 2010: Some ramblings around Essence and Age.
Do please look at the responses to the June entry, they deserve it.
There is a perennial wisdom that pervades all cultures. It manifests time after time after time in different forms according to time, place and space. The form may be Dance, Speech, Painting, Poetry, Film, Sculpture, Songs; whatever is indigenous, no one of them can be better than the other, it is quite simply, the truth taking form.
The Teaching speaks, when it is true; it is not the teacher who speaks; she or he is the vehicle of manifestation, not the manifestation. The Teaching not the Teacher, is one of the leading articles in the Empty Chair website.
There is the wisdom of surrender, non-attachment and impermanence. Surrender of the tyranny of the habituations I call me. Non-attachment to the past and the future. ( It is difficult to be attached to the present because it is never stationary.). The impermanence of all objects, they are, ultimately, constructs and I am one of them. .
The form that I work with is the body; I try to encourage the recovery of the body from its banishment by Descartes to the ignominy of exclusion. The extraordinary thing is that two of the greatest teachers that we have had, Jesus and the Buddha, were both embodied. The Buddha said that enlightenment is in the body and Jesus demonstrated it. I do not teach religion, though, I have an aversion to the dogma which has become attached to it.
Suffering stems from ignorance; the resolution lies in expansion of awareness. Not awareness of data, I would suggest, though data is essential at certain levels, but awareness of what we really are under the undigested life experience that we identify with. It needs composting, incorporating and letting go.
There is nothing new about the search for the truth of Being. It is the mainstay of all heroic journeying through all our histories. It has always been a journey inward, however represented; There is actually, no place to go to; only a state of being called awake. It is sensory as are all the disciplines I listed at the beginning.
I want to justify age a little: I believe that there can be a sensory magic; a great energy can be released; in the coming together of a small group of people who have lived some life, have a little compost to share, coming together for exchange, conversation, sharing. It is difficult for younger people sometimes, to follow the path of the warrior, they want to encumber themselves with armour. The true warrior is possibly the one who takes her armour off. I am leading up to the formation of a (loose) Council of Elders and hope to have something more to say about this quite soon.
I remember meeting my first Spiritual teacher, Irina Tweedie, she was a Sufi, Russian by birth, and was lecturing on Hinduism, to a largely English audience. I wrote to her, out of the blue, after the talk as I knew she was talking to me (though, of course, she wasn’t, she was just being.). It turned out she had a very small group in one small room in a rather shabby part of London. I sat with her twice a week for two hours a time, for two years, in silence. The group grew. By the time she died she sat with 1500 students very regularly. Teachers do not talk to students, the teaching does; they do help by nourishing themselves, perhaps in the way I have touched on (i.e. by getting together) and by making appropriate conditions available to others.
My vision and my version of my work is something like this;
We all dis-empower ourselves by hanging on to a sense of who we are, which is actually not who we really are, but a series of life experiences that we carry forward and react from,, We are not fully present, we speak, act and even think from what I call our undigested (so, not let go of) life experiences.
Someone once told me, made me feel, I was not good enough. This becomes entrenched as a habit so I never feel good enough.
It just is not true, it is a habit!!!!
There are no habits if we are fully in the present, there is only now. What is presence, how do we find it, where is it? The body is present, it always has been. It is the one thing that we can guarantee will be with us as long as we remain alive. I have no desire to get rid of the intellect. It is a superb tool which, arguably, is developing all the time. It is though, a tool, not who we are. We need to recover somewhat the sensations and feelings of the body in order to live more fully, to love more fully and to become more fully, human. We are not just computers.
Finally, for the purpose of this article, the brain is held to be the centre of intellect; the heart is the centre of wisdom. It is a fact that in the embryo, the heart starts life on top of the brain and then the body folds to protect the heart. I like that image.
Let us get in touch.
I want to put this in from Carme Renalias in Barcelona, Spain.. Thanks for the writings, I never have much to say because it just goes in and expands and words leave my mind. All I know is that I am working for many hours giving sessions and it is like a little miracle happening in every session, Intelligence appears!
And sometimes I am just a bit sorry I don’t dare to surrender always, all the time, but the experience is there and is the experience that keeps showing me the path, the path to surrender. I am amazed at life when stillness is there, and my heart explodes and tears seem to come to my eyes, with no emotions joined to them, they are just like an expression of love/life/stillness together. and then more surrender and not getting hooked to that, just noticing.
And this poem from Jo Fّeat:
We are shifting mirrors of identity
Aphrodite’s playthings; a synthesis of contradictions
Hands and arms link like a golden umbilical cord spiraling into the cathedral of my Heart
You play strange notes on my trembling spine as if re-discovering a long lost cherished piano; a glorious symphony in Silence
Tumbling child energy awakens forgotten cells and secret corridors of
Held within your chaliced hands,
I pulsate to the red ocean surging under and through me
Sea-stained tears bleed out of this seething molten lava
The sweet scent of Recognition brings serenity and simplicity
I dive into the sea of Grace
Beyond all Tides
And bask in the mystery of Reflection
The astonishing colour of Water
The healing Alchemy of Presence
Finally, on a light note, this should be sung, to the appropriate Gilbert and Sullivan music, at regular intervals, in the presence of all Teachers:
When a guru’s not engaged in meditation
A-reciting of his mantra for the week,
His capacity for infantile inflation
Is enough to drive disciples up the creek.
He will take the girls aside for tantric yoga
While celibacy is ordered for the chaps;
If he starts behaving like an angry ogre
He will claim its just to make your pride collapse
Oh, with all this yogic practice to be done,
A disciple’s lot is not a happy one.
John Wren Lewis. (with permission from the estate)