What's really going on? or the work of the moment
We are not normally aware of the extent to which all of us live deeply enmeshed in a vast network of conditional thoughts, images, assumptions, prejudices, beliefs, and so on, all accompanied by complex physical sensations and reactions that affect the total organism. We continuously perceive and create ourselves, each other, and our 'world' according to these conditioned images and beliefs, and we automatically defend our perceptions of the truth about how things really are.
What is truth?
We read, listen, think… but written words can be read quickly, analytically, to satisfy the roving intellect with its unceasing hunger for more…information, acquisition, knowledge, power…. Open reading/ listening is another mode completely.
Another approach is to read (listen, think) meditatively, using a chapter, a paragraph, or maybe just a single sentence to wonder and examine what is being said, questioning and listening inwardly into who is questioning, and probing inwardly into what the words may actually be pointing to.
Can there be a pause in this vast stream of conditioned thinking and reacting, a quiet inward looking and listening without knowing, that may disengage the momentum of the past, while shedding light on it?
Not answering yes or no, can we find out directly?
This involves direct discovery of undivided wholeness, the immediacy of pure being in which there is no sense of separation or limitation. Such immediacy is seeing without knowing, listening and wondering without answers or formulae.
What is said is not presented with the 'closure of authority', but rather something to be considered, questioned, wondered about, taken further.
The work is also about exposing and clarifying everything that gets in the way of such simple, open being - namely our habitual, conditioned thinking, centred around the imagines "me", and made up of images about ourselves, the others and the world - all of it a picture, an abstraction, habitually mistaken for reality or truth. This obscuration and mistaking of concept for reality is at the root of our human suffering, our ward, our greed, our violence, our addictions. We cling tenaciously to who we think we are: man or woman, black or white, gay or straight, left or right winger, pro-life or pro-choice, intellectual or non-intellectual. We attend with certain identities that are we very important to us. Yet, what really matters is something else. Something very simple, very immediate, always here.
Question the tradition-bound aspects of your beliefs, thinking and practice, the hierarchy, the authoritarian teacher-student relationships, the ceremonies, the dogmas - all of which get in the way of simple, effortless presence. Direct your attention to what is - right now, this moment, right here, working not from memory, tradition or the past, but rather from the immediacy that cannot be captured by word or image. Only in seeing and dropping unequivocally everything that divides us can there be freedom.
The possibility to waking up to the truth has global ramifications, because our interpersonal scuffles are microcosms of the larger conflicts that divide and ravage the world.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.