“God is not what you think.” – – unknown
About twenty-something years ago I took one of my AA Big Books and crossed out the words “drink” or “drinking” and wrote “think” or “thinking” above it through it’s entire contents. I had no idea the wisdom of what I was doing, and I’ll even say quite easily right now that it sure wasn’t the idea of my egoic self to perform that task. It’s only this many years later than I’m even beginning to understand the implications of what I had done. A Course In Miracles states that “the only problem is a sense of separation from God.” Ok. So, how do I fix that? Several other modalities suggest that the rift isn’t healed by anything that we “do.” Ok, now I’m thoroughly confused. Or am I?
It would appear that tying in ACIM with other spiritual modes, I’ve finally been able to come to the conclusion that the “separation” is thought, or the racing mind. I remember in The Sermon On The Mount how it’s author Emmet Fox wrote “the race-mind is the devil.” I know many who have read that book ten times over and have never ever heard that quoted. Eckhart Tolle’s equivalent is referencing an “opaque” field that blocks us from our true selves. Another reference point that is a couple of thousand years older is the biblical allegory of being told not to eat of the tree of the fruit of “good and evil,” aka the world of opposites. So, Mr. Descartes, if I think I really am not. If I think I’m indulging in an egoic “created” world complete with problems of my own design. It literally blocks out the sunlight of the spirit (thank you, Big Book) The I AM is my reality, underneath all of my positive/negative polaritied (is “polaritied” a word? Oh, well . . . it is now) thought processes, then said processes are the “separation” that prevents me from my true reality. A calm, peaceful source of joy and other-worldly creativity. Available whenever I’m willing to stop, take a breath, and bring at least some of my attention back into my body, which causes my inner self to start partying in delight over the attention. It’s been only a few weeks since I’ve been practicing putting my attention into feeling my inner body as much as possible and my world is already looking pretty different. I’m still a bundle of nerves and fears, but some of them seem to be loosening their grip on me. It all started with having a difficult moment, and taking a deep breath, and moving my attention to my physical body, at which time I unwittingly opened a portal to something deeper . . .
Some years ago while I was still a smoker, I remember going out to the local smoking hole and encountering a lady named Michelle. We both talked about our days, and she advised me of the enormous stress that she was under. I half-jokingly suggested that she didn’t have to think if she didn’t want to. “I’m well aware that I don’t have to think,” she said, and gave me a run down of reasons why she can’t just plain stop thinking. Agreed. I don’t know of many who run around all day with blank minds. What I’ve found recently though is that if I’m rooted with at least some attention inside, my thoughts appear to be at least some of the time coming from a different source. I had some really nice appreciation expressed to me by a couple of customers yesterday, including one who cited “your confidence, your knowledge of your product, and your knack for making me laugh.” I haven’t heard that type of thing for ages. I took care to take a deep breath and sometimes “visualize” the inner self of the person calling and it really made for a rather blissful day at work during a time we’ve all been referring to as “insane” or “nuts.” Go figure. So really, there’s nothing really deeply profound about being “enlightened” or “in the now.” Quite simply, it’s being aware of the inner self and feeding it with a little attention. Moment to moment, I make a choice of whether or not I want to operate out of that beautiful still space, or get wrapped up in my insane ego. As my friend David might say, “it depends on which dog you feed.” They can co-exist, in fact there’s no way to deny that I have an ego. That just adds to the lunacy. What I’m suggesting is that I’ve chosen to look at the world from a different vantage point for much of my days for the last few weeks, and while I do that I come upon this strange companion: joy. It’s been awhile. All day long I decide whether to operate from memory or inspiration, fear or love, past/future or present. I do believe this is what Step 11 of the 12 Steps is suggesting. For years whenever I would hear someone talk about “meditative reading” or a “meditative walk,” my dogmatic superiority would tell me how ridiculous they were, how meditation can be done only one way, and it’s done “formally” by sitting for twenty minutes, using a chosen mudra, yadda, yadda, yadda. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. I’m by no stretch saying that I’m problem free (in fact I’m home sick from work today and going through my usual guilt about my shoddy work-attendance) but I can say that the worry, anxiety, and other extraneous goodies around any of my life-situations is less than is has been for a long time. I’m truly having a joyful practice at whatever situation I find myself in (for the most-part) and have sort of a “Pacman” outlook at the resulting transmutation of my ego whenever I keep my attention inside. As though the positive/negative is being gobbled up inside, with all of my crappy thoughts actually acting as sort of “job security” for being alive. “Becoming the watcher” of my thoughts is nowhere near as complicated as I make it, being “enlightened” is actually fun, and it’s a kick knowing that these things are part of my natural state. It’s only when I stray from inside that my world goes nuts. And even if it does, it’s all passing. If I think, I actually am an ego, or at least have identified myself with it. If I stay at least partially inside, I am. Sorry for the slight modification, Rene.