The Gentleness Within
It appears that all spiritual techniques, all teachings, all philosophies and psychologies have at their basic core a simple given: that the practitioner, the reader, the student who imbibes of the teaching or technique may reach some level of stability, of simple happiness or some peace in their lives right now. Isn’t that really what it’s all about: that we can experience basic freedom of spirit and the ability to respond with truth, sincerity and compassion to anything which arises without fear, insecurity or uncertainty in our lifetime?
The purpose of true spirituality, as opposed to “organized religion”, is to allow us to function happily and freely on this earth, right here and right now. In so doing, as happy and genuine human beings, we should then be able to offer our peaceful personas to all those we meet and allow our own found freedom and joy to radiate outwards. In this the world can be renewed and human evolution may reach a newer, higher or more positive level. Maybe we’ll even find that elusive “world peace’ you’ve heard so much about?
The problem is that many techniques, spiritualities and teachings can be perceived to allow the practitioner to escape from his or her active problems in daily life and instead mask life in an unreal expectation or even false reality. Instead of allowing the human person to find freedom, the escaping individual can find a convenient refuge, a floating artificialness in which to leave his or her problems rather than being able to positively face daily problems or interaction with self and others in interpersonal relationships. Instead of true transformative growth, one can find oneself in a self-replicated hell of some kind of “hiding-out-in-God rather than realizing unity with God. This can be summarized by the old adage: there is a fine line between sanctity and sanity or mental illness and mysticism. It is proven that contemplative practices can be dangerous to one’s mental health, especially if undertaken as a means of escape and or in unsupervised form.
There comes a time though, when those who are on a genuine spiritual or transformative path which may include meditation and even some good transpersonal psychotherapy, wish to know if they are ok mentally and have advanced or have gotten more healthy? In other words, can we really tell when “we” have made it, when our journey is over, when we have awakened, found Nirvana, Satori, Enlightenment, Divine Union or realized the Self? Or in common terms are we now spiritually whole or have we just gone over the deep end?
There is a real measurement of this. It is universal. It is really very simple. If you, on this breath, with this heartbeat, can relax your entire mind and body and sense the enduring and ever present gentleness within your own self, your own heart, the peace beyond understanding which is your natural state, your true spirit and which is no thought or feeling in particular, then my dear friend you are home. You have arrived at journey’s end. And the realization is that you are at ease with yourself, others and the world and that no matter what comes your way you are still ok. You always have been here. It is this gentle silent awareness of being itself. This gentleness is unmistakable. Once you “know” it you can never forget it because it is always here in you and around you and its treasure is pure silence of mind. Upon this discovery, this finding of the “pearl of great price”, life changes forever. Now the integration is to simply take this forward and meet life with a sense of living freedom. So again, to see if you have done it, once and for all, look for the gentleness within. Once found, the search is over. Then carry it with you daily, because it really is you. And in this, sanity and sanctity merge into the union of body, mind and spirit called integrity. Now all one can do is live and love freely and successfully. Is there really anything else?
September 15, 2002
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