Wise Practices: Reaching the Goal of Goalessness
In psycho-spiritual practice, if we accrue we add to our inner baggage. But we find it so difficult to engage in practices that reduce us and lessen us because we think that it diminishes us. After all the mind is not merely restless; it is restlessness itself. The Taoist sage Chuang Tzu offers advice at the outset of practice: "Can you rest where there is rest? Do you know when to stop? Can you mind your own business... without desiring reports on how others are progressing?... You want the first elements? The infant has them. Free from care, unaware of self, he acts without reflection, stays where he is put, does not know why, does not figure things out, just goes along with them, is part of the current... This enables you to unlearn so that you can be led..."
Unlearn so that you can be led? We would rebel in our individuality which wants to accrue and acquire talents and abilities and inner riches to further our self-aggrandizement. We desire more and more, increasing amounts -- more courses, more teachings, more gurus, larger numbers, more money, more pleasure, even more pain, certainly more experience. The word more resounds down the annals of time and its object is desire. Could it be that more will detract from some inner riches and itself diminish us interiorly? Caroline Myss: "Since healing is nonnegotiable, acquisitioners find healing a more formidable challenge than people who have a sense of active power."
We are living in a time when we can choose from a vast array of techniques and teachings for raising consciousness and transforming ourselves. In this century, for the first time, time and space have been bridged through global communications and modern technology so that we can refer to almost any teaching or method that was ever recorded and even, in some cases, through surviving oral tradition.
Throughout the ages, all around the globe, however diverse the basic philosophy appears, wise teachers have offered methods. Today many of them are being revived, not only through access to ancient texts, but also intuitively and creatively re-discovered by contemporary teachers.
It is necessary to practice. It is not enough to have knowledge, or even insight, into our predicament. If we want to change, we must do something. Since the sheer numbers and variety of techniques is so baffling, we must look inwards to our knowledge of ourselves to seek the guidance to choose methods which are right for us. Having chosen, we must throw ourselves fully into the practice. Some practices will last a lifetime, some will be a help for now. If we trust in our wisdom then we will know.
We live in the era of holism. Previously the methods were divided, you entered by one door. The monk had a different practice to the layperson, the fakir a different practice to the monk, the yogi a different practice to the fakir and so on. Today our practices embrace mind, body and spirit: the intellectual and rational, sensational and emotional and divine and cosmic energies are being brought together within us, as part of our evolutionary process.
You are your own therapist. All healing is self-healing. You are a balanced organism in harmony with yourself and the whole of Existence. You have natural and spontaneous healing abilities which were lost in your early conditioning and now simply need to be allowed.
You are not responsible for anyone else's work on themselves. Do not look for knowledge outside yourself, but cultivate insight and understanding inside yourself.
There are two basic stages to wise practices in inner work: awakening yourself and integrating what you have learnt.
Awakening begins with curiosity. Learn to maintain your interest and attention, be open to finding out new things about yourself, question, look and persevere in the task of inner discovery, and be prepared to be thorough and loving in your inner work. Use your courage and take risks, become honest about what is going on with you, including sharing when you want to hide from your truth. Take the energy of fear and, rather than overcome it, transform and use it and be responsible for your own energy
Suspend judgment, because awareness takes place solely in non-judgment; endeavor just to be with 'what is' without evaluating yourself or it, and this will lead to inner clarity
Trust your inner wisdom and your process. The most valuable tool you have is the knowledge that you tend naturally towards. Inner health and balance, extreme emotions, reactions and responses, are all inner pathways to your centre.
Stay open in all your energy centers - pelvis, belly, heart, mind and spirit. This reveals the way to real experience so that your lessons become clear to you
Value your imagination; rekindle your innocence and all the natural ways of creativity and healing which you left behind in childhood. Find the way back to yourself in the ways which feel most natural to you - dancing, painting, poetry, music and rhythm, singing, play.
Be light and cultivate humor, because learning to laugh at yourself is an essential tool which distances, familiarizes and re-enchants you with yourself and the world.
Follow your own process and never let anyone override your true sense of yourself. You are your own expert. In your true and deepest wisdom you know what is best for you always. Always listen to your inner guide and find the courage to follow your inner guidance.
Integrating begins with taking time to let new knowledge settle inside you. It must grow into insight and understanding and become a part of you or it will be of no lasting use. Follow up the work you do on yourself and strive to make your insights grow into deep understanding.
Keep a journal to organize your self-awareness in recognition of your process work and to encourage yourself and 'hold' important material.
Let what you are learning dream inside you through meditation, sleeping, daydreaming, drawing with no thought, physical movement and spend some time in silence each day. Bring negativity into consciousness and shine light on the cynic, saboteur, doubter, to diminish despair.
Finally, start in small ways - don't cause yourself to fail by setting too BIG a challenge.