What if efforts toward preparing for awakening keep getting hijacked by an overbearing ego-mind with the only outcome being discouragement?
Then you eventually get fed up and quit. You may feel it’s a losing proposition, that it’s not for you or that it’s an imaginary venture.
So then that’s it.
Then better luck next time from a better starting point of understanding and sincerity. On the other hand, you may re-set now and go deeper, continuing no matter what with a stronger determination; better luck this time around.
And what sparks that kind of determination?
Often bottom of the barrel kinds of experience, a kind of fatigue with mind’s ploys to sustain itself, a kind of disgust with one’s self-absorption and finally a true yearning for wholeheartedness.
Are you aware of the Beloved’s presence, of Self’s radiance?
I’m mostly aware of my absence from that.
OK, an absence from presence; then how can any connection or contact be made?
First, let me say I think any focus is significant, be it on impersonal Self or the Beloved’s name or image. And this applies no matter how halfhearted or mechanical an effort, although you likely get what you pay for. For even if we employ our imagination for this, such an action isn’t imaginary.
Then what would you call wholehearted?
If not 100%, then at least 51% of our attention. If an open heart is truly involved, it’s always 100%, though that can’t take place when ego-mind is fully in charge.
And when it is?
Then spiritual practice becomes a joke. Then higher influences are invoked to reinforce or enhance who we think we are, a spirit guide or Santa Claus figure at our beck and call, or so imagined.
But isn’t ego-mind usually in control? Is that what you mean by aware of your absence?
Well, that’s true enough, but, ego-mind’s barriers notwithstanding, that’s not reason enough to give up or reject the possibility of real inner contact.
What do you mean exactly by inner contact?
Whether our intention and inspiration is 1% or 100%, with persistence a new center of awareness receptive to higher influences can be created.
And what do you mean by higher influences?
Goes back to your first question----the radiance of Self, the presence of the Beloved. If this dispels what’s false, if it contains the fire that melts the virtual structure of what we think we are and embodies the knowledge that erodes our desperate attachment to the ego-mind, then a deeper condition of truth is revealed.
In our last talk you suggested there may be a usefulness to suffering, that it could be utilized to lessen our dreaming-while-awake state. But what does that mean, what kind of use would that be?
Well, it could mean having an understanding that this is even possible, a deeper intuitive knowing that the key is maintaining a sense of gratitude for whatever happens, no matter what. Then there would be cooperation, not resistance.
Yes, no matter what. And this could happen even without understanding, or at least an articulated one, that this entire life can be consciously lived as a labor of love. For there's a different dynamic when suffering, really all experience, is combined with remembrance and gratitude.
And what is that dynamic?
Repetition of suffering is replaced by elimination...a loss of who we think we are.
OK, so less resistance equals less suffering.
Right, but not for the sake of less suffering but rather for rooting out the fabrications that mesmerize us into thinking we're awake when we're actually in a sleep state. In other words, this kind of acceptance would be a way of clearing the decks for the inbuilt awakening process always ready to be activated in us all. And this could trigger an increased inner urgency or desperation that in itself could be a more poignant and intense internal form of suffering, but one gladly borne, even welcomed, as our inner conflicts and illusory nature are laid bare.
Desperation for what?
For being more fully what we feel we truly are while going through enough wash and rinse cycles to clear out the interference, the experience of separation of self from Self.