Monday, February 28, 2011

It Has Already Been Welcomed

Whatever shows up in your life, or in the world, for that matter, has already been welcomed.  How do you know?

Because it's here.

That presence of Awareness,which all teachers and sages have pointed to as our true nature, welcomes every appearance.  How else could anything show up?  Every appearance has been invited to the party.

Something (though not a tangible "thing") has chosen or decided that whatever is here is supposed to be here now.  I admit that words like "chosen" or "decided" are somewhat misleading when talking about Awareness or Consciousness, but I think you get the idea I am trying to convey.

Students of nonduality are always taught to welcome or allow whatever phenomena appear.  That includes thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, and experiences.  We are told to allow everything.  Welcome everything.  Resist nothing.

At the early stages of self-inquiry, it's difficult to "apply" this advice.  The mind has a natural tendency to judge phenomena and to want things to be different than they are.  Thus, when we have a headache, we don't want to welcome the headache.  We want to be free of pain.  We reject what is.

It seems like we have to make an effort to welcome whatever appears.  It's almost like the mind is learning new rules -- to welcome all appearances instead of judging them and trying to change them.  But the mind is still active at this stage. 

I've found that as the self-inquiry matures, a deeper understanding sinks in.  Namely, that whatever appears has already been welcomed.  Awareness, Presence, Spaciousness, Spirit or whatever you want to call it, is a completely welcoming, open space.  Whatever appears in the space has been invited to be there.  It is a welcome guest from the outset.

No effort needs to be made.  The mind doesn't have to strain to accept any appearance.  Keep the mind out of it. The fact that something shows up means it has already received an invitation from the Divine. 

It's easy to see this when we're talking about a smiling baby, a beautiful sunset, or a hot cup of your favorite coffee or tea.  Not so easy to see or accept when the appearance takes the form of murder, pain and cruelty.  The mind doesn't want to welcome the latter.

Yet the invitations have been given in all instances.  Everything has already been welcomed.  Bypass the mind and see this.  Feel this.

If you are still fighting what appears, that's ok.  It only means the mind is still trying to change phenomena as they appear.  That resistance has already been welcomed!  It's another guest at the party. Welcome whatever you see, think, or feel.

The time will come when you begin to welcome everything and see that whatever your mind has to say about the current appearance is utterly meaningless.

We come to see that there is no need to resist or fight what has already been welcomed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Satsang Know-It-All

If you've attended a few satsangs, you're probably familiar with The Satsang Know-It-All.  This person is an attendee at the meeting.  Typically he or she sits at the front of the room.

While it's possible for The Satsang Know-It-All to be a woman, I've noticed that in almost every instance The Satsang Know-It-All is a man.  I'm not quite sure why.  For convenience, I'll refer to The Satsang Know-It-All as "he" throughout this message.

The Satsang Know-It-All wants each person at the meeting -- including the teacher -- to be impressed with the depth of his knowledge and insight.  To accomplish this objective, The Satsang Know-It-All will raise his hand early in the meeting and you're likely to hear from him several times throughout the satsang.  He loves to talk and to be the center of attention.

His questions and comments are never short and to the point.  Instead, he launches into a long, detailed speech to demonstrate the scope of his knowledge and wisdom.

While most people at satsang raise their hand to ask a particular question, The Satsang Know-It-All doesn't usually have a burning question.  Instead, he wants to offer comments and tell stories about his experiences and in-depth knowledge of nonduality teachers, books and ancient spiritual texts.

The Satsang Know-It-All always quotes the sages and likes to make sure you know that he has been in the presence of many masters.  You'll hear him say something like:

"As Ramana Maharshi said..."
"As Adyashanti said in a retreat I recently attended..."
"While I was having breakfast with Douglas Harding in his house, he told me......"
"While I sat at the feet of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj in India forty years ago,..."

As The Satsang Know-It-All nears the end of his speech, he will often say to the teacher, "What is your opinion of that sage's statement?" (referring to the sage he just quoted)

The Satsang Know-It-All also likes to ask the unanswerable "WHY" questions, such as "Why does God play this game of hide and seek?"  Whatever answers are offered by the teacher will be of absolutely no use to The Satsang Know-It-All in terms of self-realization.  Then again The Satsang Know-It-All doesn't seem all that interested in self-realization.  He's having too much fun talking about realization and spiritual matters -- and drawing comparisons between teachings and teachers.

Ironically, from the non-dual perspective, The Satsang Know-It-All is none other than YOU...and ME.  The "person" I am judging and making fun of is none other than myself.  Yet we're allowed to play a little and have fun at the relative level of existence.

By the way, as much as I poke fun at The Satsang Know-It-All, I sometimes find myself approaching him during the meeting breaks.  You know what I've found?  The Satsang Know-It-All is actually a very interesting, kind, and generous person.

The Satsang Know-It-All is an integral part of the satsang.  Being in his presence will offer opportunities for your own self-inquiry.  The annoyance you may feel at the antics of The Satsang Know-It-All can teach you.  Allow the annoyance to be there.  It will quickly melt.

Notice your judgment of The Satsang Know-It-All.  You may ask yourself, "Who or what in me is judging this person?  Is there really a judger, or is the judger simply a thought?"

You'll also recognize that you have the same traits that The Satsang Know-It-All exhibits, although to a lesser degree.  After all, do you ever talk on and on about something to demonstrate your knowledge on a particular topic?  Granted, there are few who can match the ego of The Satsang Know-It-All, but he is a mirror for traits that all of us demonstrate now and then.

There are infinite levels of insight you can gain from your encounters with The Satsang Know-It-All.  Be open to the possibilities.

By all means, find the humor in The Satsang Know-It-All.  He's part of the show at satsang, and often a very entertaining part!