Finding our way

“I am content; that is a blessing greater than riches; and he to whom that is given need ask no more.”Henry Fielding

Often, it seems as if we never stop running.

But what are we running towards or away from?

In this pursuit mode, it’s no wonder we’re all so damn tired.

But what if we could find inner peace — bliss-consciousness if you will?

Have you thought what it would feel like?

The truth is you don’t need to go anywhere to find it. (Come on, don’t tell me you didn’t know that already?) You just need to be fully present in this moment.

Don’t misunderstand me. This isn’t about disappearing into a trance, taking drugs or zoning out. No, it means to be completely at peace with the moment, even if, and particularly if, you’re awash with thoughts.

You see, in case you hadn’t noticed, everything you experience is generated by thought. In those terms, you can see why some of the long-since-dead ‘mind’ experts would have us believe that the path to success (or liberation) is to alter our thinking, mostly to dispense with negative thinking and imposes positive thoughts only. But of course thoughts aren’t that easily seduced. They are what they are. Sometimes they appear helpful to our situation, but mostly they inflame a fairly shallow and profoundly false view of the world. Some spiritual types call this egoic fantasy but it’s enough for now if you can let go of the need to control your thoughts or get into a state where you believe you are your thoughts in everything you do and see. (I like the question that Byron Katie posits in The Work: “Is it true?”. If you’re not sure about any thought, particularly the misaligned, ask this question over and over.)

The next obvious question might be, where’s the formula? And that’s a fair point. It seems everyone these days wants us to buy their IP-protected methodology. I wish I could say there was one but there isn’t.

At the risk of over, over-simplifying something that is profoundly difficult to reason with, as I see it, it’s simply a case of accepting that you as you plus a misunderstanding equals your current To Do List, stress, worry and anxiousness (about practically everything), but you without said misunderstanding equals a bushel of beautiful, natural states, e.g. alive, happiness, freedom, and contentment. (Thank you Jamie Smart for making that clear to me — he’s a great guy.)

You might wonder why a hard-headed ex-lawyer would be sharing this material? It’s a good question. But, without going into the whole back story, it found me by a combination of insight and the need to wake up from my narcissistic torpor. That’s not entirely true; I was aided and abetted by The Heart Sutra, which to this day continues to vex me.

Have I found it hard to come to terms with the simple but oh-so-bloody hard fact that I’m not my thoughts? You bet. In fact, there are many times I seem to get lost in my own thinking about non-thinking or a situation at home which if I had greater insight would allow me to see it for what it is, not an illusion — clothes strewn on the floor is still clothes strewn on the floor — but the way I superimpose that on myself and forget that how I react to it is a product of my inner thinking, not the outer circumstances.

Where next for you and me?

You?

Easy. Ask yourself what you want from life? If it’s more stuff to heal your aching soul, then my material isn’t for you. But if you’re looking to find out who you really are and how you cope with a world that’s doing it’s best (daily) to deform your soul, then, at the risk of sounding highly pretentious, I hope my material will be of help.

Me?

Self-inquiry. I’m not done. I’ll never be done. I’ll continue to question who I am, I’ll listen to my inner wisdom and get closer to true Self in creative expression.

Let me leave you with perhaps my favour quote from my favourite book, New Seeds of Contemplation by the late Thomas Merton:

“Everyone of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self…We are not very good at recognizing illusions, least of all the ones we cherish about ourselves. (34) Contemplation is not and cannot be a function of this external self. There is an irreducible opposition between the deep transcendent self that awakens only in contemplation, and the superficial, external self which we commonly identify with the first person singular.(7) Our reality, our true self, is hidden in what appears to us to be nothingness….We can rise above this unreality and recover our hidden reality….(281) God Himself begins to live in me not only as my Creator but as my other and true self. (41)”