MY NON-EXISTENT - ‘SPIRITUAL PRACTICE’
In relation to my previous post ‘HOW HEALING TRAUMA CAN BE PEACEFUL AND FREE’ and the ‘spiritual bypassing’ aspect, I was asked the following:
“I have used ‘I am not my body not even my mind’ as a mantra for practice and meditation. Is that maybe giving voice to a resisting ego or would this assist in self actualisation?”
My ultimate perspective is that giving any definitive answer on anything, ever, is unhelpful, we are all our own guru, but I thought it would be helpful to share my experience and perspective in relation, particularly, to cultural trauma. I could write a book on this (well, I am), but have, for ease, split the post into two to share my perspective on Mantra (Part One) and Meditation (Part two).
My experience is that any kind of spiritual practice is ultimately the presence of ‘the ego' trying to do something to change itself. There’s an energy of trying to get something that is not HERE and NOW and self-realisation is the recognition that we ARE the totality of the here and now. So any practice in this sense is resistance.
It can be super helpful as a concession to the ego to give some kind of container and direction to guide the (appearance of) a process. But just holding also here that True Nature really is not bothered about any of this (even this statement suggest a personified quality which is far from the truth).
We have already arrived.
THE MANTRA – ‘I AM NOT THE BODY-MIND'
The issues I find with this for western culture at least are that:
we are already heavily dissociated from the body and our instincts as human beings and so this can reinforce this. I don’t believe we should encourage not being the body...I believe we need to help us get back to the body, and out of ‘the head’. This is why I focus my work on the intelligence of the heart.
Saying ‘I AM NOT THE BODY' gives a message of rejection and abandonment to the ‘inner child’ (that which already feels separate, rejected, and abandoned)
It is only a partial truth....
The I AM NOT THE BODY is a helpful object in thought for the ‘witness’ to focus on while we take the apparent first stage as recognising ourselves to be the ONE witness. But we eventually need to collapse the witness position back into all that is here in form.
A more accurate mantra might be ‘I am not limited to the body-mind'.
Or one that I thought of today was:
‘I am the unchanging, witnessing myself as all that changes'.
OR ‘my body is everything, all that arises in my experience is my body’.
This supports me to be ‘at one’ and embraces the paradox. The closer my mind gets to paradox, the closer it is getting to truth, and in truth, it collapses.
This also keeps me including and loving my body. Which I do because now I know that it’s super cool, absolute genius, and I’m really grateful for being able to experience it. Also, what I have seen through my experience is that we can self-realise THROUGH the body. It’s what it is designed to do. Bring us home to realising what we are beyond it.
When I feel this I can sense the mind collapsing because ...well, there’s nothing more to say and it surrenders to not being able to fully make sense of it, but it knows that it is loved and included so it doesn’t need to fight.
The mind can begin to have a lot to say about ‘I am not the body’ because this isn’t what it is experiencing.
It can be a different experience, and super ‘enlightening’ if we are sitting with another who is guiding us through the enquiry of ‘I Am Not the Body’ but sitting on our own with this can become counterproductive at best, and torturous at worst.
Mantra is helpful because it gives the mind something to focus on (often with a specific vibration). But what I find more helpful is to focus not only on being the witness but the nature of myself AS the witness.
What are the qualities of this witnessing awareness?
What is this sense of ‘I' that is aware?
What is my nature as the witness of all that arises?
This way we engage the ego into doing its ‘highest' activity, rather than trying to use it to tell itself something that it is never going to find out, and to believe it (which is all the ego is...belief) will mean its demise (I Am not the body).
Do we need to give the ego a new belief...or can we engage it on its highest mission...to find out the quality of its TRUE Nature? Allowing it to be curious rather than telling it or teaching it?...this is not a lesson it will want to learn, because in this lesson, it burns. So, let it explore, lovingly, like a little child in The Garden of Eden.
Exploring the nature of the witness as an activity to focus on requires a softening of focus so the mind can start to naturally relax. It’s still focussing, but not on any ‘thing’ so its relaxing, but still gets to have a problem to solve, which it what it loves to do. The director is still directing, but he at least sits down and puts his feet up, and might just go to sleep!!
THE MEDITATION – PART TWO
My experience is that the body doesn’t just ‘keep’ the score (of the past), but KNOWS the score (of HERE and NOW), where the score of the past arises.
I, personally, don’t meditate as a practice. If I do, it is because I am already sensing the bliss that I Am and I just want to sit in it because well….what else is there to do? Well – lots I suppose – I could get up and go explore/follow reality!!
The most powerful learning on my (apparent) journey around EMBODIMENT of my understanding re: realisation of The Self (which did not occur through meditation) was to listen to my body and to trust it. I realised that I had spent over a year following the initial awakening experience trying to make my body sit down when this nervous system just could not do that. And so every time I sat down to do so I was giving my inner child an extremely harsh message:
“you are not good enough as you are”
“You need to be perfect”
“the way you are feeling right now is not acceptable”
“the way to be perfect is to sit down, do as you’re told, stop feeling, and concentrate”
“you’re not good enough as you are but with a good amount of hard work and following these rules, you will be”
“otherwise, you will be rejected/abandoned”
Ring any bells??
Can you see the cultural trauma pouring out of this?