There is a story that goes like this:
Once upon a time, a student went to a great sage to ask about the meaning of life and how to attain the direct experience of the Highest.
He asked his question, but the sage gave no answer. He just sat there.
Again, the student asked about how to find and fulfill the Purpose of life. Again, the sage just sat there.
The student tried different words, and appealed with great emotion. The sage just sat there, as before.
Finally, the student became frustrated, and blurted out, in an angry tone, "Why don't you answer me!"
The sage smiled, and said, "I have been answering you, but you were not listening. The answer you are looking for is to be found only in Silence."
To sit in stillness and silence for even a few minutes each day is a very useful thing to do.
May you find that silence which leads to Silence.
Is the Path of Self-Realization
Simple or Complex?
Two contradictory messages: There are two seemingly contradictory messages about the inner journey that spiritual aspirants hear from the books and teachers:
Message #1: "This is very complex." There are many theories, words, and concepts to learn; this will take a very, very long time. There are many practices with body, breath, and mind, not to mention the challenge of dealing with this hectic external world and all of those other people. It might take many more lifetimes to make any real progress.
Message #2: "This is really pretty simple." You can do it in a moment. Truth (or whatever you want to call it) is your true nature, and therefore easy to find. All you have to do is be still, go within, and you will find that eternal bliss, which is at the center of your being. It takes no time at all; just sit down, let go, and surrender to the inner light, love, or divinity.
Three choice of attitudes: Faced with this confusion, each of us has a choice of how to approach our spiritual life and travel the inner journey, with the choices being something like this:
Choice #1: "It's easy, and I don't need to do anything at all."
Not only is it easy, I don't need to put any effort into this at all. My enlightenment is up to God or guru, and there's nothing I need to do about it. He or She will give me the realization of higher Truth or Self in Her or His own time. The only thing I need to do, if anything, is to sit quietly, whether this is called meditation, contemplation, or prayer. Beyond that, I should just learn to live in this world without asking any deep questions or seeking anything more than comes on its own--it's not up to me.
Choice #2: "It's hard, and I can't do it."
The material is inherently difficult to understand, and almost impossible to do. Those teachers, intellectuals, and gurus who say it is hard must be right. After all, they have large organizations, many publications, many programs, and many followers. I will follow them, and just believe what they say. I'm not really able or worthy to have direct experience myself, but I will praise these teachers. I will spend my time studying and practicing with the fantasy of Self-realization at some future time that may never come. It doesn't matter anyway because, as some people say, it's all about the journey, and there really is no destination.
Choice #3: "It's easy, but my mind needs clearing."
No, I will not accept that this is difficult. All of the great ones of all of the traditions have declared with one voice that this Truth, this Self, is here and now, at hand. That is what I want--period! God and guru may be there to help and guide, but I need to do my part. Yes, I will learn my way through the apparent complexity, and I will do the practices. But I will not buy into the false belief that it is truly hard or complex. It only appears that the instructions are complex because of the clouding of this mind. Nor will I just sit around and do nothing, complaining about my current state, while hopelessly hoping that help will come. I will clear this clouded mind by learning and doing the practices, so that the inner Light may come shining through.
A Very Important Question:
Hint: Choice #3 is the best choice! ;)