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3/30/2015

Be Particular

Spirituality does not exist in general, but in particular. It is precision awareness. This wild orange anemone, this sunbeam falling into precisely this raindrop. To love "humanity" is a lie. Never generic, compassion embraces only this homeless mother, this wounded veteran, this fleeting breath...

Consciousness does not awaken as a movement, a party, or a tribe, only as a unique individual. To generalize about human beings is the root of violence.

There are no "white people" or "people of color," no "socialism" or "capitalism," no "Muslim" or "Christian," no "masculine" or "feminine." As soon as I revert to the abstraction, I murder millions.
 
Don't serve "the poor;" serve every person you encounter. Don't free "the oppressed," free the oppresser too. Don't hate the 1% and love the 99. Love is 100% or nothing. And only this particular person can be loved.

Are there no ethical distinctions to make? Of course. There are infinite ethical distinctions. Every now is an ethical distinction.

The radical act is to be present. The revolution is to breathe. Moral courage is to be particular.

Gnostic Gospel of the Garden, Burned by Monks in 617 A.D.

(Mary Magdalene Removing her Jewelry by Alonso del Arco, 17th C)

"Jesus said unto her, Do not touch me; for I am not yet ascended to my Father." ~John 17:21

"Noli me tangere?" O Magdalene, I never said such hollow words.  I said, "Touch me, touch me!"

For as you are incomplete without my breath on your lips, I am incomplete without your caress.
Touch me in the smallest petal of a wild rose. Touch me in the rain-soaked sunbeam. Touch me in the loam and dahlia bulb, the icy water of a mountain stream.

Touch me through the feline curve of midnight and the rippling pelt of the wild stallion, touch me through the fur of deforested land and the blue-flame gaze of the homeless mother, ever searching for her child. Touch me in the pain that is unbearable without the nearness of hands. Touch me in the speechless zero of a dying soldier's mouth.

The Word of the Lord is the radiant throb of silence at the heart of sensation. All scripture is written in your palm. The fingers that work are as holy as the fingers that pray. Therefor touch me in the second kneading of risen dough. Touch me beyond stars and night. Reach into the darkness that was here before God spoke the world: then cling to what yearns back.

My flesh is everywhere now, my inhalation sheathed in your form like a kernel in the wheat. Holy men no longer say, "God is in heaven." The time has come for us to repose more deeply in the chambers of the skin. Let the marrow of your bones be yeast to ferment the death-pale illusion that you were ever not ripe.

There is a Bridal Chamber where sun and moon lie down to conceive a human thistle, fragrant yet clustered with thorns. The sweet scent brings forgetting, the thorns bring remembrance of grief: these are your wings. Let every dust mote on your naked feet, and each atom of your withering form, be a doorway to the wedding.

Invite the living and the dead, the rich and poor, those who believe and those who doubt. This feast is not a secret.

Grace

Grace is an impulse from beyond the structures of our own effort. Only grace can bring deep meditation.

Whether our effort is mental, emotional, or physical - jnana, bhakti, or hatha yoga - the state of deep meditation never results from self-will. Any command we give ourselves to relax the body, concentrate the mind, or produce a feeling of peace, will fail. Why?

Because relaxation, concentration, and peace are effects, not causes.


In the stillness of true meditation is infinite rest, where body, breath, feeling and mind repose in the field of transcendental silence, merging back into a single field of energy. Any effort or instruction we could possibly give ourselves, whether to "concentrate" or to "relax" or to "love," can only disturb that ground-state of silence, never draw us into it. For every self-instruction is an action that disturbs stillness. 

This is the paradox: we want to meditate, but real meditation never comes through self-will.

The paradox is solved by Grace. Grace comes from beyond, from outside the knot of our self-effort. A knot cannot untie itself. Only the impulse of the master's Grace allows meditation to happen, without any effort on the part of the meditator - except the decision to be open, and to sit for a period of time. Twenty minutes of grace-full meditation is worth years of sitting without the grace of the master. This is why so many people who try to teach themselves meditation, as if it were a "technique" to be learned and practiced, like a job, achieve little but a sense of pride in how long they have been meditating. They were never initiated into the grace of the master, which flows through the Guru lineage.

Americans are obsessed with independence, individualism, and do-it-yourself achievements. They assume that receiving the initiation of the master means losing their freedom. In fact, the grace of the master is freedom itself.

Grace is like a feather's touch on the crown of the head, the brow, or the heart. It is the subtlest impulse in creation, yet the most powerful, collapsing every structures of thought, dissolving self-will, allowing our attention to repose in absolute stillness, while fully alert. This is turiya, the fourth state of consciousness as defined by the Mandukya Upanishad: beyond waking, dreaming and deep sleep. The state of turiya is known in Yogic philosophy as samadhi, and in Christian mysticism as the prayer of union

This transcendental silence is not just an absence of thought, but a fullness of bliss, ananda. It is boundless, self-luminous, and joyful. Neither a thought or a feeling, it is consciousness alone, illumined by consciousness alone: yet it is awakened by the impulse of another. A candle cannot light itself. The nearness of a flame, already lit, ignites the waiting wick.

To awaken the radiant stillness of effortless meditation is the role of the spiritual master.  This is why we say, "Jai Gur Dev: all gratitude to the Guru."