Any of you who have attended our retreats will have heard me talk often of a profound healing intelligence at work in the background behind our lives. You will also have heard me suggest that most of our sickness ( unless it is caused by infection) is caused by interference with this innate intelligence.
This week I thought I would talk a little more about it.
So firstly what is this intelligence?
What am I talking about when I’m saying surrender the ego and the personal will to a higher intelligence or a higher principle.?
Your body has in it an intelligence that has the nature of keeping it perfectly in balance so that the information that is contained in your DNA will carry on supporting the functional working of your body until it is defunct and the end of your life is due.
Whether or not you get to that with full health and just drop off your perch at a ripe old age, or whether you suffer varying degrees of degeneration prior to that inevitable degeneration of old age, is basically the result of how interfered with that natural and innate intelligence has become.
I have given you many indications of how your mind is by far the greatest interfering factor in the way this higher intelligence functions. Food and environment are also big contributing factors in the harmonious or dysfunctional behaviour of our body, but it is our mind that disrupts us most.
We can all live unwisely and of course, and if we live extremely recklessly we can destroy our body in other ways through negligence, but few of us realise the myriad ways in which the conscious and unconscious fluctuations of our mind disrupt or support us. If you have any doubt about the destabilising effects of your mind upon your overall wellbeing, just try not sleeping for two days in a row. It is truly alarming how quickly our physiological system starts to break down if we do not get a proper break from the irascible and erratic nature of the mind and the energy it produces.
When you look outside and you look at all the life going on around you and you see the trees and you see nature at work, there isn’t an active intelligence there. There isn’t an active intelligence out there going, “its coming into springtime, I wonder if we should grow some leaves, and what if we made them this colour, today, no I don’t like that anymore, lets change it”. No. It isn’t an active intelligence. It’s a pure response. Its perfect. Its on cue every time and the response to what is going on around it is always perfect. Now that intelligence supports life perfectly and it would support your life perfectly as well if you let it.
But we are as humans blessed and cursed at the same time with this ability to be aware of a sense of ourselves as a discrete entity. And with this awareness comes the erroneous assumption that we are separate from the rest of life. This capacity for self-awareness over time proliferates from the basic sense of just being self-aware to creating an idea of ourselves that becomes ever more elaborate. And around this idea of ourselves we play out what I call our ‘pantomime’ as a way of upholding this idea of ourselves and projecting out to the world at large. Until eventually much of the energy of our life is consumed in our effort put forth, uphold and project the person that we think we are to the world. Gradually we become more and more conditioned by this elaborate pantomime that we are playing. Our actions, our behaviour, our thoughts, our ideas, our views; they all hinge around that idea of who I think I am. And so clinging to these ideas we behave in any way that will continue to help us uphold it.
Meanwhile, in the background, behind all this mass of “I making,” we remain just another ordinary human being the same as the next.
Now I use the word ego, just for simplicity. Driven by this idea of ourself and the ego that forms around it, we live a wilful life, driven by our egoic conditioning in an attempt to get the love, recognition and acknowledgement that we think we want, need, deserve. We strive to win the opinions of ourselves from other people we seek admiration from: To be thought of in the way we want to be thought of.
And so over time the efforts to project ourselves wilfully in the world become more or less out of alignment and coherence with the deeper intelligence behind our lives.
So the way we live this pantomime of ours forms a large part of what I mean by the interference in the natural system and order at work in support of our lives.
And everything that we cling to or react to relates back to our experience of this personal perspective. This idea and sense of self is the basic conditioning factor behind the way we think, feel react and act.
When we are blinkered continuously, by the lens that we look through, we become so wrapped up in our own worldview that might never stop for long enough to pay real attention to what is happening to us and how much we might be in conflict internally.
In our practice of Vipassana meditation, we work to break down these ideas of ourselves and relinquish this dogged attachment to the views that limit and condition us. We open our mind so our lens widens and we start to get a broader and broader perspective. And as we start to reflect wisely on our life and the nature of life itself, gradually our insistence on hanging onto the pantomime maybe diluted or worn away in stages. The result is that over time we come a less and less conditioned being and more an expression of the intelligence of life itself. We free ourselves of the conditioning that keeps us in conflict with life.
If you take a crystal. And you shine sunlight through it onto the wall. What do you get?
You will get a rainbow.
And what will determine whether that is a nice rainbow or not?
The clarity of the crystal, and of course how smooth is the wall.
Now this rainbow is symbolic of our pantomime. It is the projection of ourselves to the world. And blindly we spend our lives trying to polish it so that it looks just right. “That’s how I want it to look.” “That’s how I want the world to see me.”
And so we might polish the wall hoping that the rainbow is going to improve. And we might even realise that if we polish the crystal, which is the filter that the light shines through, that we might refine our pantomime. “Ah look at my rainbow. Now its just how I like it. Now everyone’s going to like me just the way that I want them to.”
But has it got any real relevance? What’s this crystal anyway? It is a distorter of the light and the rainbow is merely a reflection of that distortion.
But what if you were to take the crystal out of the way, then what?
The very source of the rainbow, the real source of the rainbow reveals itself as spontaneously present; as a clear light.
Now that source of the rainbow, the clear light, the essence from which it appears, is the essence of what you are. This crystal is merely what you put in the way. Now there is nothing wrong with having the crystal there. This is an expression of our own personal living experience, and at that level it remains valid. The problem is not the appearance of the crystal or the rainbow, but the dogged and confused way that we identify ourselves with it rather than realising its just a dance of light. Though it may be worth engaging in at some level, we should not get lost in the idea that it is what essentially are. When we get lost in the illusion our pantomime creates, we loose ourselves to in the rainbow and forget our essence. But if you are able to remove the crystal for a moment then you may be able to start to see the clear light that is the source of what you think you are!
Now that clear light is everywhere. Its not just something that is behind you shining through your crystal producing your rainbow, it is behind everything shining through every crystal producing every rainbow. And its effortlessly causing everything in nature to come into being. And it does so without friction or conflict.
Now the power to bring things into being out of this clear basic essence is so overwhelmingly powerful that everywhere something can grow on this planet, it will grow.
Even in the most barren places on the side of a rock you will find some kind of moss growing.
Everywhere you look there is something coming into being, there is life. And the power of that life is inexorable. You can’t cut it off as an act of will. And its the same power that is supporting your life. How much you access that energy as the active support for your life depends upon how much you are in the way interfering with it in your efforts to impose your will upon the world. Now when we are doggedly attached to this personality view, then our life is a willful effort. And it exhausts us quickly. But if you can dilute your attachment to this idea and start to trust the principle of your life itself, then that resistance is removed and you will find that everything starts to reorganise itself for you.
The intelligence is there and the only reason that it’s not working perfectly in support of your life is that you are in the way. Now you don’t know how to metabolise fat in your liver, or how hard your heart should be beating, or how to focus the lens of your eye whether you are looking near or far. But you have the ability to do these things perfectly. This life supporting intelligence far greater than anything you would ever comprehend.
But we just don’t trust it.
So when I ask you to tune into the stillness firstly I am asking you to take the sense of stillness in the room as something to come to resonate with because its calming to feel something that’s calm. But there’s more than just stillness there. If you were able one day to really get your Samadhi and feel the stillness surrounding you in the room you would feel that clear light that’s everywhere. And the power in that clear light is the power that supports all life.
And what is the signature of it? What is the single flavour of it?
Well its love. Its pure love.
That desire to come into being at the square root level is pure love. And everywhere on this planet, around this planet, and in everything in it you will only feel one of two things. There is life as the expression of that love, and life as an expression of not knowing it!
And that life that comes into being and does not recognise or know that love or how to align itself with it, has to find the power of support for itself. This is life as an expression of personal will. If you look out upon the human world you can see how life displays itself as an expression of that personal will.
And then beyond that there is the expression of life as it is effortlessly supported.
Now there is nothing else in nature that falls apart and degenerates in anything like the number of ways that our human life is capable of degenerating. And that is because nothing else in nature is as interfered with as much as our human life.
So reflect upon this when you are tuning into stillness. Because it is something far more than just stillness. The quantum scientists have now recognised the power that is in empty space. They have quantified it. It is now no longer just something that mystics harp n about. Quantum physics has found the energy in empty space, and its not just a little bit of energy. They themselves; the scientists who once were the cynics, have now come to the conclusion that the energy that is in empty space is more than the energy in all matter by 10 to the power of 40 (10^40). What does that actually mean. It means that in one cubic meter of empty space there is enough energy to boil all the oceans on the entire planet. And how much of it do you need to put yourself back together? Hardly even one in and out breath if you could really just tune into it. But the only reason that you cant tune into it completely is because you are in the way.
As soon as you take the crystal out the way there is only the clear light. So don’t get too lost in your rainbow, thinking that that’s the miracle. Your coming into being in the first place is the miracle. Think about it. You know. Just take a look at what you live every day and how utterly unfathomable it is. And ask yourself if you have completely taken it for granted for granted, without stopping to say how on earth did that happen. There is so much intelligence inherent in that space that you are tuning into. And this is the power that can heal you.
There are people who come on our retreats who are really sick and they have got very little left in them, and they need something extraordinary to happen, and they just haven’t got in them to dig for themselves. At times like this their wilful energy that is driven only by the ego is not going to save their life. Of these people, those who get that healing are the people who find that stillness and connect to what’s in it, and allow themselves to get out of the way to let something truly extraordinary to happen. Now we tend to be quite cynical of this kind of thing, what we can’t see of quantify or define in concrete mechanical terms we tend to negate.
“No!- it’s a load of mumbo jumbo.”
We are still talking about something that happened twenty centuries ago when Jesus healed a blind man and its called a miracle. But this kind of healing is going on all the time but we are so blasé these days that we don’t stop to think about how it happens when it does.
So why do I tell you this. Because often you are wrapped up in the madness of everything that’s coming up around us feeling that it is all so terribly important, that we can’t even begin to connect to what might be going on in the background beyond the appearance of things. But the moment that we start to see beyond is the moment that we start feel willing to relinquish that dogged control we seek to maintain, and the moment we start relinquish that dogged control is the moment that we start to open to something more. And the more we relinquish it the more we open to it. And then eventually there comes a point when if you plug yourself in for a second, or for just a few seconds extraordinary things beyond your expectation will happen. And it has happened time and time again.
Now this is not the field of your ordinary work in ordinary meditation. The field of work that you learn when first you come on retreat, is to gradually refine the quality of our lower mind so that the interference it produces is less detrimental to us. This work is the refinement of character and letting go of negative habit patterns. In fact, the producing of positive habit patterns is all actually polishing the rainbow, and certainly it can result in less conflict and friction in the system. But as you polish the rainbow, the diffraction of light becomes less and less, as there is less interference and more of a convergence with the deeper intelligence behind life.
Gradually over time this lower intelligence or our ‘ego’ inclines itself more and more in stages to the pure intelligence which sits in the heart base behind the arising and passing of your conditioned mind. This is the clear state that when your mind goes to sleep at night you drop into so that you are completely refreshed in the morning. I mean there it is right before you: why do we have to sleep? Because we have to stop interfering for long enough to put ourselves back together again after the chaos our mind creates inside us each day. And what do you actually do whilst you are asleep?
Absolutely nothing. And what do you get? Everything you need. How come we don’t get it? You know that it has now been scientifically proven that if you study a few good hours and sleep for 8 you will statistically do better than if you study deep into the night and sleep for only 4-5 hours. In fact you will perform 60 percent better!!! * (*Matthew Walker “ Why we sleep” Penguin 2018.)
We are blessed with this consciousness and the ability to engage with awareness in the life. Why isn’t that enough? Why do we feel the need to add and interfere with it so much with our minds?
I mean in my reckoning life is such a miracle that just to look out through these eyes at the world and hear its sounds even for just one in and out breath, if you had never done it before would make 9 months of being in the womb worthwhile. So why do we have to manipulate it, control it, make it mine, and get into the muddle that we do? Why is it not enough just to be engaged in this extraordinary process? Look at what it takes to satisfy us these days. Look at how unsatisfied we are as humanity. When you do look out there and see what is going on; just to behold it is enough. But we don’t feel it deeply enough for it to BE enough. We don’t enter into it enough. We let it just go on around us. We let this extraordinary life just run its course and say, gosh this life is getting on top of me. Instead of reflecting: “Look at this!”… I mean it is pretty awesome isn’t it? If you actually stop to think about it. And we are right here at the top of it all with the most refined faculties, the most highly evolved state of consciousness, the most extraordinary physical body. And look how easy we find it is to get miserable. Why? Because we cling so much, we want so much, that we are never happy with what we’ve got.
Can you start to see why if you didn’t cling so much and you didn’t want so much it would be so easy to be happy? It wouldn’t be boring, it would be extraordinary, because it is all extraordinary. So STOP every now and again in your life, even in the madness, and tune into what’s there behind the frantic pace of our lower mind.
That stillness is never not there, it is never not there. It was there before you came into the room, it is there now whilst busy reading all of this and thinking about it, it is there whilst you are standing on the platform waiting to go to work. Its just one step behind all that arising and passing, arising and passing, and it’s always perfect, and it’s never tainted. And in it is the pure potential to bring everything perfectly into being. And in it is the pure potential to bring everything that is out of balance back into a state of balance.
Try to get a little closer to it, to touch it in some way and to start to enter into it and let that start to support you. That’s the release of your heart is longing for, not the acquisition of your wildest dreams. What your heart longs for is to be left alone long enough to rest in that stillness and catch its breath. So that you can really be alive in that moment……….It’s there now. In all its simplicity. It is in the gap between the arising and passing, between the coming and going of things, every moment. And every time that your mind is in the way you have lost it. You are only partly alive. When you are completely smothered in your mind you are hardly alive at all.
Every time you are thinking about what you are about to do next or what you’ve just done, you’ve lost it . When you think, you loose your awareness. When you stop thinking you become aware………. Ahh.
And the power of that pure awareness to re-organise you, to revive you, to resuscitate you, to rejuvenate you, is immense. When you stop striving, desiring, needing and simply turn up totally, you are already there. And then everything else that you do is a choice, is a bonus, and it’s a gift. Not something that you are enslaved by. Not something that you have o do, not something that your life would be incomplete without. It’s a gift.
So don’t forget the GAP
The Gap between what’s going on. The SPACE that its all arising from. That’s where your heart rests.
Can you feel it?
When you think you loose your awareness. When you stop thinking and just turn up you become aware.
Ask yourself in that moment of really being in that space. Is there any sense of needing anything else?
Remember…There’s only love. And not knowing it.
Hmm. So try to take a bit of time to find that stillness, the gap, and the peace that lies within it…because that is where the highest healing intelligence of all abides.