Thank you for being here for Week Six of BEYOND SELF 2012 — an informal spiritual retreat here in SunnyRoomStudio. We are covering some interesting terrain via various Zen teachings, the focus of my summer reading. And many of you are participating by keeping a retreat journal. Since comments are closed until the end of our journey in December, this is a great opportunity to look within, recording your insights and ideas along the way. So, once again, welcome — it’s great to have you here!
And, remember, this is not about picking the “right words” for your spirituality. Spiritual masters tend to come to the same realizations; they seem to point to the same ideas, albeit in different terms. Once you allow enough “space” into your thinking, you will see the similarities, as opposed to the differences.
- Let awareness be your guide, as opposed to the mind’s desire to be right.
WEEK SIX: Beyond Self 2012
Week One: Extend Your Gaze
Week Two: Always Evaluating
Week Three: Being Brevity
Week Four: Entanglement
Week Five: Beyond Attachment
The colors of autumn astound me each year, as though seeing them for the first time. Do they ever catch you off-guard with their beauty? But who is actually looking at the swirl of reds and golds? Since we are all here as a temporary expression of the universe, I’ll ask you again. Who is looking at the deep yellows, the burnt oranges, the rusty pinks of autumn?
In a book I mentioned previously in this retreat, Everything is the Way: Ordinary Mind Zen, there is even a chapter called: Who? And the author, Elihu Smith, writes: “The ideas and habits of a fixed, separate self blind us.”
Have you experienced this, the blinding force of the ego? Most of us have. And when we are in that mode, what are we identified with?
Yet, we know that all forms are impermanent, fleeting. We are all forms. And birth and death are the bookends for each form. Still, “life” is eternal.
- How can this be?
Have you encountered your eternal nature yet? Have you experienced your timelessness?
In Understanding Our Mind, another wonderful book I read last summer by Thich Nhat Hanh, he writes: “If you touch a flower deeply, you touch the whole cosmos.”
- How can this be, you ask?
“When we look into a flower, we can see that it contains the whole cosmos–sunshine, clouds, time, space, and even our consciousness.”
- So again: Who is looking at the flower?
Have you gotten to the point where you can actually witness your own looking, as opposed to being locked in your mind, still believing yourself to be a totally separate self? Separate from the universal consciousness that IS the world as we know it.
Shine like the whole universe is yours. ~RUMI
What does Rumi mean here?
Eckhart Tolle also provides illumination on this.
As I have heard him explain, our spiritual awakening is all about leaving behind the illusion of a separate identity. Of course, he adds that the “ego” loves to focus on “other.” But he also provides hope, explaining that, as a world, we are finally outgrowing the ego.
- Have you experienced yourself as part of the collective consciousness of humanity yet? Have you suffered enough because of your attachment to form, to ego? Are you ready to look beyond self for the deeper reality that you already are? Do you know that you are so much more than just your mind and your mortal reference to self?
Enlightenment means rising above thought, not falling back
to a level below thought, the level of an animal or a plant. In the enlightened state, you still use your thinking mind when needed,
but in a much more focused and effective way than before.
~ Eckhart Tolle
Thanks for being here!
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