Entering the Forest of Roses

I can either be perturbed by thorns or I can fully appreciate the beauty of the roses. Welcome to the Forest of Roses.

My teacher once told me a story about a meditator reporting to him about the failure of his sitting – how he endured every minute of discomfort throughout the sitting without seeing any light out of it. He recognizes that there is no way he could avoid the discomfort except to be pulled to it again and again. Yet he managed to sit through the session.

To the meditator he sees failure and to my teacher he sees success. To the meditator his target is on the discomfort and to the teacher is grateful is on the awareness. You can only be with the discomfort when you are aware of it but because the target is on the discomfort, expecting a result other than what is already here, the meditator looses the sight of the roses, so to speak. If he were to stay with his awareness in the midst of the discomfort, he will find his entire journey fulfilling. He would have understood that the discomfort is not him.

Life is the same too. Life is a Forest of Roses. Every moment I am been presented the opportunity to be with the Ego or the Holy Spirit – it is all entirely my choice. But even then it is not true, as my choice is determined by moment of unawareness or awareness. Do I have a choice on these? Yes, only and only when I remember to be present. Do I have a choice in remembering? Yes, when I give priority to it. What is my prerequisite to priority? When I have interest in it. And what is my prerequisite to interest. When I have faith to what I felt is right for me to do. And how does faith arise? When I fully understand that this is it!

Every moment is a call to come home, irrelevant whether the experience is painful or joyful, pleasant or unpleasant. Experiences does not bring you home. Neither is the experiencing. The rose or the thorn is not your target – the journey out of the forest is where you are moving to. But while in the midst of the forest, you choose either to be at peace or to be upset by what is. It is not about what is right and what is wrong. Neither is it about what is good and what is bad. Rather it is about what is essential and what is inessential.

If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you will kill you.

Drunk in Illusions

I stood in the world and found them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. They came into the world empty, and they seek to leave the world empty. But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, they will open their eyes.
– Yeshua

In my day to day living, or more precisely, moment to moment relationship, I observed a particular distinct pattern the mind has that I am inclined to – almost predictable. Things that I like, and things that I don’t like. Things that I consistently do to attract attention, and things that I do to avoid discomfort. Things that I dare to pursue and things that I have yet to overcome. Things that I deceive others, and things that I try impressing others. Things that I yearn and things that I abhor. I lived like a predictable magnet, attract and distract from the poles of experiences. So predictable are the experiences that I become master of it, so I thought. Or have the experiences mastered itself so much so that I am simply led by it? Like the simile of the owner and his dog –  who is leading who? Where I am coming from makes a difference.

All these are happening in my mind – like a shadow following me – so familiar and trapped! Many a times I caught clear glimpses of deception, betrayal and conspiracy going on – not on someone “out there”, sad to say (no pun intended) – but over and over again, towards myself. When I am not aware of these stuff, the end result is always about someone “outside” there who caused me all the pain, discomfort and upsets. This is insanity of the highest order – expecting someone to take responsibility of my own madness which I am oblivious to. This reminded me back of the statement made by the same spirit – you are not upset for the reason you think it is.

It is a mystery to recognize that these are the things I have been living with, moment after moment, day after day, year after year, and probably life after life, if it does mean anything. Until I bear witness to all this experiences I am like a drunkard, living a life of mediocre, or can I truly call that life? I lived, led astray by these conditioning, never having the thirst to inquire deeper its meaning.

Who am I? What am I? How did I landed myself in these patterns? Why? These are the probing questions that invoke each and everyone of us towards the discovery to the mystery of oneself. And yet, this journey can be forest of roses, or, thorns.  It can be another journey of drunkardness, if what I seek comes from blind beliefs rather than wise inquiries.

When they shake off their wine, they will open their eyes.

Knowing and Understanding

Have you heard of the statement Truth sets you free? I will rephrase it to two sentences.

Understanding sets you free.
Freedom arises from understanding this Truth.

Understanding is the hidden bridge between Freedom and Truth. Understanding has the effects of liberation, letting go and wisdom. It is from understanding a situation that makes you let go of the grip – it has the effect of freedom. It is also from understanding that you become wiser. Try observing your anger whenever it arise. You can be sure it is because you don’t truly understand what is happening and thus jump into conclusion of attack or defense. Both have anger in it. If you are observant of someone’s anger, you may realized that he or she has not come to realized the true understanding of a situation. There is a quote from Yeshua: You are never upset for the reason you think it is. If you truly see the reason of your anger, which is at the deep abyss of your mind – something that is very ancient and familiar to you – your anger will dissolve right from your sight. Thus the importance of understanding.

Does knowing has that ability? You know you are angry but do you not understand why you are angry. Well, your normal understanding is that someone is making hurtful remarks about you or someone is against you – but that is not understanding, that is a conclusion your egoic mind makes.

Knowing is a conclusion whereas understanding is a result of recognizing the causal relationship that brings about your experience.  We can say that knowing focuses on the experience whereas understanding give attention to the full processes that resulted in the experience. Understanding is on the journey, knowing is on the destination. Scientist give much attention to the process that finally make them come to an understanding of their observation.

In today’s hectic life, where we are fed with the impression of catching up with the Jones, we give ourselves no room for observation. Having said that, it is because of our attention other than the now, which is either in the past or future, that disallow us to observe, and hence the lack of understanding of each other, including with ourselves. We seldom understand ourselves, save in keeping doing and having more and more.

Do you observe that whenever you put knowing at the forefront you tend to react to situations, whereas if understanding is your forefront, foregoing your experiences (it never leaves you anyway), you will respond rather than react. Reaction targets on the effect, whereas respond gives attention to the cause. Seeing the cause you see the effect but not viceversa. Allow me to quote a statement from the Gospel of Thomas:

The followers said to Yeshua, “Tell us how our end will be.” He said, “Have you discovered the beginning, then, so that you are seeking the end? For where the beginning is, the end will be. Fortunate is the one who stands at the beginning: That one will know the end and will not taste death.

Only by understanding the matrix of the mind could I discover the ending of the ego, of existence. That is true freedom.