Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WHO ARE YOU BEYOND THE FORM, SHAPE, COLOUR AND TEXTURE OF RELATIVE LIFE? PART 1– GUEST WRITER: LOUISE STERLING

Imagine a pen creating a scribble on a piece of blank paper. At first, there is just the paper. Then the pen appears and creates the first mark. From this first mark, the scribble grows – it becomes more elaborate with all its curves and spirals and intricate shapes. Eventually, the pen runs out of ink and the scribble comes to an end. Can You see that the paper is the unchanging and stable background? The paper IS. It IS before the scribble begins; it IS while the scribble is created; it IS when the scribble is complete. Eventually, even the ink will fade away. Can You see that the scribble is temporary, impermanent – it appears for a time and then comes to an end? The paper remains unseen -- the permanent, stable ground on which the scribble temporarily appears.

Your life is the scribble on the paper; the ink in the pen is the consciousness “I Am”. From the first mark on the paper You imagine that You are born. The particular shapes and colours and scrawls of the scribble are the picture of this particular human life. When the ink is out, the “I Am” is no more, and the life is over. Society calls this death. Six billion people walk this planet. This means there are six billion “unique” and “different” scribbles on blank paper: billions of scribbles completed; billions of scribbles being created; billions of scribbles still to be created. What is the background --the blank paper-- on which all these scribbles appear?

Before “you” in this limited temporary form appeared on the scene – the blank paper was already present. After “your” body is eaten by worms or “your” ashes are strewn to the wind, the blank paper will remain. What is this paper? The question must shake you and consume you. Only then will the attention be withdrawn from the scribble – this inconsequential life. Can You hear what the Teachings are telling you? If You want to know Yourself, the shapes and textures and colours of the scribble are irrelevant. Do not concern Yourself with whether the line goes up or down; with whether the line is curved or jagged; with whether the shapes created are beautiful or ugly. As a seeker, you may have noticed that the Advaitan teacher is not interested in discussing the scribble that is your limited and temporary human life. The teacher urges you to look beyond – to see the paper on which the scribble is formed.

Ask yourself – how many times have you approached the teacher and said: “Look at this perfect and significant spiral “I” have drawn? Notice the unusual colour, the beautiful shape. The teacher will not reply – or not in the way “you” expect. This showing off of “beautiful” spiritual concepts or experiences is no different from the body builder flexing physical muscles and asking you to admire them. The teacher guides you to freedom – do not expect him to admire your spiritual physique. Do not expect him to solidify and entrench a spiritual concept. Spiritual concepts are the glue that create the spiritual persona. The spiritual persona is a filter that blocks the light of Understanding. The spiritual persona is the Unreal – part of the scribble. The teacher will point to your identification with the concepts that give the persona its illusory “identity” – and point you to the freedom that is beyond.

Nothing needs to be done, but to witness the scribble as it is created without attachment. Let the line go up or down; do not be concerned – simply observe. Eventually, this unattached observation will reveal the paper on which the scribble forms. Once the paper is perceived, You will lose interest in the scribble. You will ask Yourself – what is this paper? Where does it come from?

Can You see that once you are stablized as the paper and not the scribble, you are not affected by the ups and downs, the joys and sufferings of the relative life? You are able to see that the relative life is always in motion, always changing, always coloured by the movement of desire or fear. Although there may be moments of relative peacefulness or happiness, these are always momentary experiences. It is part of their design to dissolve into their opposite – chaos and sadness. If You want to be free from suffering, give up the exhaustion of the mind-identified life. Let go of the transitory moments of happiness and you are free of the sadnesses that are the other side of the coin. Find the freedom of the blank paper on which it all appears.

Maharaj advises this: “Go within. Your normal inclination is to come out through the senses and see the world. Now reverse: ‘I am not the body, I am not the mind, I am not the senses.’ Then you are stabilized in consciousness. After that, all further things happen automatically. Know that in this world nothing is permanent; search out what you were before this temporary state came and what you are after it goes. During that temporary state everything appeared to be correct; the plot was totally believable, but the story is completely fictitious.”

Can You see what is temporary and transitory? Can You see that your personal human life story is just a fictional tale? Can You turn away from your attraction to and aversion from these temporary scribblings you call "life" and return to the Source?

Please enter the silence of contemplation.

(For extending teaching on the Advaitan Understanding – that guide You from the temporary fluctuating relative stance to abidance as Your Real Nature, see the links on the right hand side of this blog.)

Comments / clarifications may be sent to louise.advaita@gmail.com – a temporary email address available for the duration of these guest postings.