Friday, July 15, 2011

Spirituality 3

Weeping willow, Mullingar, April 2011
Spirituality describes essentially the in-built thrust within the human being to connect with Self, with Others and possibly with a source of that in-built thrust, whatever that may be.  In other words, mine is an agnostic spirituality as distinct to a theistic or atheistic spirituality.  The thrust of my own spirituality is openness to all possibilities and to the denial of none.  This is a nuanced position, and it will become clearer over the next so many posts which I shall dedicate to the above topic.

To start with I would like to talk about spirituality in the form of stories, a special type of story which I shall call wake-up or awareness stories.  I am quite deliberately basing these thoughts on the approach of the great Indian Jesuit, Anthony de Mello, S.J., whom the then Cardinal Ratzinger condemned as being heretical.  No wonder, indeed, because being a true Master of Meditation his approach can be interpreted at all the three levels of spirituality - agnostic, atheist or theist.  Indeed, I remember another late great Jesuit William Johnston saying that all meditators came to his sessions on meditation in Sophia University, Tokyo, atheists, agnostics and believers of every hue.  This, to me is real spirituality, the real thrust to connect, to connect, to connect...  Can more be said, I ask?

Real Meditation is Awareness

Rushing water, Mullingar Park, April, 2011
The approach to meditation that de Mello recommends is that based on awarenessAwareness means being present to yourself now, in this instant, in this moment.  As I type these words on the screen on my P.C. I am conscious of the feel of the keys under the tips of the fingers of both hands, of the gentle click of the keys and of the radio low in the background.  I am also aware that I am attempting to reach out, to connect with my Self and hopefully later with others when these cyphers are uploaded to the Internet.  Awareness is all, awareness that I am breathing nice and slowly now and am content in being here in the now, in being here typing these words.  All is awareness.  All is learning to be in the now.  To be aware.  To live in the Here and Now.  To know that wherever I go, there I am!  Awareness is about knowing that Now is as good as it gets!  Awareness is about letting go the regrets of the past.  It is about letting go of all those fears of the future.  Awareness is about objectively observing all things in the here and now, in the present.  Awareness is about objectivity.  It is about letting go of the ego.  In fact real awareness and true awareness is about death of the ego.  It is about letting go.  It is about ceasing to cling onto things, even on to others. It is about the sheer and complete independence of the objective witness.  Another way of putting all of this is in two words, which were very dear to de Mello's approach in any of his wonderful talks or retreats: "Wake up!"  Oftentimes, when I am driving along or walking the corridors at school I use these two words as my personal mantra: "Wake up!" "Wake up!"  Occasionally I use three or four, viz., "Wake up Tim!" or "Wake up Now, Tim!"  These little mantras help me to connect, to engage the spiritual...

My Approach Here:

My approach over the next several posts is to distill some of the wake-up stories I have heard over the years and those given by de Mello in the books I have named in my previous posts.

The Story of the Dying Rabbi

This is a story I heard recently from a friend.  Once in a small Jewish community a very saintly Rabbi was dying.  His disciples all gathered around his bed. Gathered along the side of the bed were also some of his Rabbinical students of that particular year,  One young man wanted to hear the Rabbi's dying words as the last words of someone are always wise and profound and most especially those of a dying Rabbi.  "Rabbi," he asked, "What are your words of advice to us now?"  Eventually the dying Rabbi croaked "Always question your own motivations!"

Wake Up!  Wake up!  What are my motivations here and now as I sit on this committee?  Are they congruent with my own deep beliefs or are they prejudices?  Wake up! Wake up!  Why am I back-biting here?  Wake up, wake up?  Why am I gossipping here?  Wake up!  Wake up!  Why am I doing this or that action?  Is it out of malice?  Am I a dog in the manger?  Wake up!  Wake up!  Live in the Here and Now!  Be aware!  Why am I expressing a feeling of "sour grapes" here?  Wake up!  Wake up!

1 comment:

Christopher Dos Santos said...

Namaste brother, well stated. Still the ego mind, remain aware in the NOW moment, seek unity consciousness within.

In Lak' ech, beyond the illusion of reality...