COMPASSIONATE NEW YEAR!
Our sense of self, of being individuals carved out from the fabric of life, is only an illusion experienced as unsatisfactory. This illusion is built upon a composite, impermanent and in constant flux, of body-mind operational constituents, totally interconnected with everything else in the universe, operating according to the general principle of cause and effect (Skt. karma).
The correct practice of a proper spiritual path will cause the progressive fading away of this sense of independent self and its selfish desires, and, to the degree that this is accomplished, a corresponding degree of authentic awareness will be uncovered, and suffering mitigated. Eventually, the complete purge of this illusion will reveal our unconditional nature which is pure, permanent, and completely satisfactory.
There seems to be a teleological purpose or goal in life: the realization of an insuperable awakening or illumination, and, although it is important to know about this goal and have the aspiration to achieve it, the practitioner should not hold consciously this goal-oriented mind while doing her practices. Hidden in this go-getter mind is the very same sense of independent self that needs to be ‘seen for what it is’. On the other hand, to practice with confidence in the method is fundamental to making progress adequately. Although, from a conventional point of view, the achievement of this final awakening will happen in a future time, from an ultimate point of view, this too is relative, since one of the ‘characteristics’ of that non-referential awareness is its atemporality.
Given that we are caught up in the illusion of the ordinary mind, we still need to use a language to report about issues that are beyond its scope, not constrained to logic and linear syntax, and even more, not constrained to space-time and matter-energy.
Following a spiritual path is therefore not at all about escaping from life, but actually quite the opposite; we could say it is ‘escaping into life’; it is about having a radical new experience of life, full and ‘transparent’. A mind moving with the unfolding universe does not really move because there is not any reference from which to perceive movement. The epistemological consequence of such awareness is tremendous: in such mind there is no opportunity for a self identity to congeal into an entity. This fresh awareness is the fully complete experience of the present in moment after moment.
But to awaken to this dynamic mode of awareness, which is not other than the most natural one, ‘unfortunately’, we must develop power of attention and focus, and this is what I consider a primary element to be fostered by the practice of meditation. Other purposes, such as stress management, physical fitness, development of psychic powers, etc., are totally secondary. This does not mean that these side effects will not happen or that they are intrinsically negative; what it means is that they will simply come as natural byproducts of a grander spiritual purpose.
The practical consequence of the above discussion is that, in each single moment, awakening is present, and one can be aware of this while a sense of self is still present, though this self is now completely innocuous.
Thus, in becoming one with every-thing and -nothing, at the core, the distinction of us being independent from others vanishes, whose natural consequence is the welling of unlimited empathy and compassion, and explains why most genuine spiritual paths include in one way or another love in its most refined form.
Acting compassionately brings forth awakening, which is no other than the merging of the unlimited wisdom of pure and always-present awareness with its practical manifestation as unconditional compassion.