12 Sep On The Edge Of The Forest
There will have to be rigid and iron discipline before we achieve anything great and enduring. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
An authentic spiritual practice is no easy path. Most people simply do not have the stamina or the energy to devote to something that they cannot place a human value upon. For most, life is about how to avoid pain by through camouflaging their heartaches with as many pleasures as is possible.
Buddha equated people to “wanderers” who are looking for one pleasure after another in this world in order to avoid suffering. He often referred to the human confusion in living as being lost in a dense forest. This “Forest” is the mental and emotional obstacles that most people have willfully put into place, which restrict their inner freedom. Hence, they swing from vine to vine (lifetime after lifetime), emotion after emotion, trying to find some way to overcome their self-imposed pain by sacrificing Love for pleasure.
People value ease and comfort as signs of “security” and self-righteousness. They admire and envy others who have lifestyles that seem more gratuitous than their own and many covet a secret desire for endless pleasure.
Allow me to offer to you a teaching of the Buddha from the Dhammapada:
There is pleasure
And there is bliss.
Forgo the first to possess the second.
If you are happy
At the expense of another man’s happiness,
You are forever bound.
You do not what you should.
You do what you should not.
You are reckless, and desire grows.
When a person begins their spiritual path or when one has been on the path for awhile, they must remember that PLEASURE is not BLISS. This is deeply important. ~ Siraj
Pleasure is pleasure…and it belongs to the body and its emotions, which affect our psychology, but are not the quality of our spirit. Pleasure is how our emotions affect the body and mind. We must always remain mindful that as “high” as we can go with our emotions is also as far as we can “fall” to them. It is very important to maintain a “middle ground” with pleasure so we can imbibe the mysteries of the body.
Bliss is what occurs when we are no longer psychologically attached to pleasure as a relief for or a refuge from our emotional pains. Bliss is our authentic nature and is not meant to be used as an antidote for the mischief of our indulgence in human pleasure. Much of our lifetime is expended trying to tame the beast of our human nature, which is only seeking pleasure as happiness. To be “happy” in this world typically comes at the expense of another person’s happiness…not just in the form of vengeance or pride, but also in how what we are doing in our own little worlds can affect other people’s lives, unbeknownst to us.
We are “reckless” with our emotions, and hence desire grows within us creating more and more Karma in our lives. We recklessly believe that violent video games and movies that depict gratifying forms of sex and violence are harmless to our being. After all, it’s “just a game” or “just a movie”…right? We need the extreme in many forms of daily life in order to feel the recklessness of our passions. to ignite us out of our seeming mundane lives.
An authentic spiritual practice is about living in the middle Way, without the need for extremes. This is the great turning point in a person’s life. ~ Siraj
When we are no longer interested in emotional indulgences as the catalyst for being “happy” or enacting reckless immoderations that seem to pleasure the ego through what it refers to as “fun,” we enter the authentic Path. Please understand…I do not mean to live a morose and somber life. Rather, live seeking to find the middle way where we live in direct accord with energies that bring us to a place of great JOY through liberation from Karma. We are not here to enjoy our living; we are here to find JOY as living.
The “master” lives within. To awaken it, all we must do is observe the body, realize its energies and understand that there is a reaction to every action that it takes.
Buddha teaches that the “wakeful” person watches their body and actions and “discriminates,” meaning that the wakeful person recognizes the difference between the body and the “Being.” When we make the “Being” the master of our life, we find a virtue that completely transforms our life.
To advance our inner experience we must, as the Buddha taught, become “discriminatory” about our actions and feel the energy that is behind everything that we do. We must awaken the “witness” within to find ways to pull back from our minds and bodies in order to realize the bigger picture of our inner state that produces every action we engage in.
We become “pure” by no longer being willing to be a patsy to the emotional survival of the body and its merciless ways of rationalizing its “evil” in order to have what it thinks it wants or needs. ~ Siraj
Through unconscionable inner watching/witnessing, we find that we can stop the penetration of unkindness into our daily life and begin our inner journey to Love through mercy and forgiveness. Everything we do has consequences to it. Every act is a reaction to something that we either acknowledge or ignore. Everything we do…MATTERS.
It is here that we achieve consciousness as “wakefulness.” In this “ wakefulness” we find the “Master” of our Being and live in this essence as energy and not as a person per se. From here, we are transformed…becoming aware of true Love and Joy. Hence, no matter what our Karma was before, no matter how ugly and cruel we were in this lifetime or previous lifetimes…we find that our Karma is transformed. We are no longer subject to spiritual ignorance.
Ah, to find delight in meditation and joy in all beings is to become “blameless.” When we achieve a deep sense of wakefulness we become innocent; so innocent that we are lifted from the confines of our Karma to become simple and uncomplicated again, living in a clarity that begins to manifest itself as no-mind.
There is a middle Way that allows us to live in the world, but not of it. ~ Siraj
Both Jesus and the Buddha talked about this in their lifetimes. We are not here to make our life miserable, nor are we here to make our life an orgy of eat, drink, and be “happy” all of the time. Life reveals to us the “self” that we have created either through emotional immaturity or spiritual insight.
Life is not difficult…we are. Life is just living itself through us as the blessing for a deeper way. The “forest” is the human body with its many twists and turns. In this life it is wise to sit at the edge of the forest and abide in the willingness to live in this world with all of its joys and sorrows, while knowing that this, too, shall pass.
Sitting on the edge of our own existence is such a beautiful Way.
First, observe your emotional mechanism and watch how it works - see how it masks what you don't want to acknowledge exists within you
Once you penetrate this part of your body, you find that if you accept it in Love you come out on the other shore and find that what you feared, what you were ashamed of, is simply a portal to Love
From here, fall deeply into the rise of your spiritual intuition - great mercy is realized through compassion and complete devotion to utter kindness
Do not allow the pleasure of emotion to take you away from the bliss of the Beingness that lives within you