Spiritual Practices and the Acausal Nature of Awakening
"Everything is the cause of everything." (Nisargadatta)
Spiritual practice and the illusion of achievement (Suzanne Segal)
Exploring the "Given Conditions" of being human
Focusing and clarifying attention
In what I've looked at so far, you make no mention of what went into the
"search" that is now over -- practices, reading, whatever. I assume that
at least some of the literature you quote was part of it. Have you given
any thought to writing about that, or do you think that doing so would
seem to conflict with the acausal nature of the awakening?
You got it! The only sense of causality to which I can refer is
that which Nisargadatta describes in this way:
"A thing is as it is because the universe is as it is.
"Considering the endless list of factors required for
anything to happen, one can only admit that everything
is responsible for everything, however remote."
The profound sense that I had during the epiphany (and since)
is that *everything* within the universe participates in and
supports the moment of Recognition, and that it is actually a
"mistaken" assumption to believe that any one thing has more
causal influence than another.
I also believe that our attachment to specific "spiritual practices"
is based upon this assumption, and that in the end, we will
recognize that there is nothing that does not support
the experience of Awakening.
Suzanne Segal, in Collision with the Infinite has
articulated this very well:
"Behind most spiritual practices is the belief that you
have to get someplace you're not -- a destination called
realization or enlightenment. But realization isn't
someplace else; it's the naturally occurring human state.
It doesn't belong to anybody. It's who we all are."
"...most spiritual practices presume that awakening is
someplace else and must be reached or attained. But we
are always the vastness -- always! It is the naturally
occurring human state. Where would the vastness go?
Where could the infinite hide? What could we possible
need to do to become vastness, when we already are it?
"Many techniques also suggest that something must
be eliminated, stopped or purified in order for us to
become who we really are. But the vastness is
everything at all times. Nothing exists outside it,
and nothing needs to be excluded from it. After all,
we are talking about the infinite here." p. 145-146
"Since I followed no prescribed technique to realize
the absence of the personal self, I cannot now encourage
the practice of them. Strict practices may encourage
the creation of more ideas about what the awakened
state looks like as the mind attempts to figure out
or approximate it. But how can the mind approximate
what it cannot grasp? The vastness is unimaginable.
Although it is always present, the mind cannot
recognize it because the infinite is not perceived
through the mind. The infinite perceives itself."
In my own case, I could not, realistically, look back at my own life
preceding the epiphany and point to any single factor that triggered
or encouraged the awakening. As Suzanne said,
"...the vastness [simply] showed itself
in a mysterious manner." p. 146
So, all I can do is encourage people to:
-- Trust your own impulses with regard to spiritual
practice. Do that to which you feel most drawn,
and do not do anything which holds no heart or
meaning for you.
-- Pay attention to, and inquire into, the nature of
your own immediate experience. Become the Witness,
or Observer, of your own experience, and pay
attention to the "Given Conditions" of being human:
(1) the sense of being at the center of your
own experience as "I am."
(2) the Awareness through which you perceive
everything within and around you.
(3) the immediacy and Infinity of Now.
It is my belief that these 3 basic conditions of being human
are profound pointers to our True Nature. And, we simply
overlook them in our rush to identify ourselves with "outward"
conditions, i.e., a body, memory, personality and the illusion
Simply looking at and remembering these basic, essential
conditions is enough, for they are the vehicle through we
experience, and Recognize, this vast and Infinite Reality.
And, trusting the movement of this Reality in and through
our own experience allows each of us to Recognize It within
the immediacy of every present moment....
Spiritual practice is exactly that:
the practice of focusing and clarifying
the quality of our attention.
The ultimate irony is that
there is nothing to practice.
We already are that which we are seeking.
©1999, Metta Zetty
All Rights Reserved.