Contemplative Thinking

Quite often I encounter individuals who consider my thinking and insights to be of a quality of cerebral over-indulgence. In this assumption they seem not able to distinguish the difference between contemplative thought and conventional conditioned thinking. They see limited advantage in questioning convention and tradition and choose not to challenge or question there situation. It’s an easy choice these days as we are provided with an endless range of high-gloss entertainment to satiate us. The world we inhabit exists for many of us like a theatrical puppet play.

If we chose not to investigate our vision of what we have come to know of ourselves and life to be we remain guided as we have been for so long, by what we perceive to be stable bodies that have in fact fostered confusion and blocked realization of the infinite possibility and creative potential of existence beyond that conditioned thinking. Our acceptance and acquiescence contributes to layers of delusion that prevent us from entering the rabbit hole where nothing is as it has been defined or as fixed, permanent or as normal as we have until now perceived it to be.
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Beyond Conditioning

We humans seem to be conditioned in our upbringing to experience life from a place of boundaries and fixed concepts and to find definition and meaning in that way, however, in so doing we might be fostering a dulling of a more expansive experience of existence. We seem to need those boundaries in our development unfortunately at the cost of openness.

It’s no easy task to open, beyond that place of conditioned experience. In our search for openness we ironically often find ourselves in groups and with others that promise spiritual awakening through attachment to more of the same boundaries and fixed concepts.

It is my sense that in the perpetuation of this dilemma, human experience has in general become closed off from something more authentic of being. If we are to reconnect it is important to realize the limitations of human thinking, language, rigid conceptual conditioning and culturally imposed boundaries and how they have become impediments to a more direct and sensuous experience of life. It can be so very liberating to step beyond our conditioning and as well the limitation of religious dogma and attachment to cannon and expounding of creed to explore more directly our humanity in this existence.

Aversion, fear and/or a sense of vulnerability are encountered when we venture out beyond our conditioning. It has been a life long learning experience for me to to come to be with and enter into this unknown and undefined place of being. I am grateful for the insight that has brought me to a place of being enabled to be with myself and life in a more authentic and direct way.

Direct Experience

What matters for me in my references to spirituality is “direct experience” rather than what is “believed in”. It,s not a matter of expounding a theory or citing an item of a creed nor about an object being experienced by a subject, but a more general state of activity of consciousness. It is about opening to existence as it is, going beyond our concepts and boundaries to a place of direct experience.

I am more interested in enhancing a state of genuine inquiry, regarding life. Inquiry seems to be both a way to enhance that state of direct experience and a product of it. Questions about life are contemplated and answered by plunging both questioner and answerer into an immediate experiential reality.

In terms of religious revelation or life experience I am more interested in what people have realized and how they have come to that, as opposed to having an interest in doctrine and theory. A quality of intimate sharing and expression of this experience is deeply valued. What arises from this state of consciousness can contribute to deeper realization and connectivity for me. There is something of the unfolding of authentic being and interconnection that is ongoing and evolving that I am drawn to.

The Mysterious Light of Life

I have seen enough to realize where my judgement and aversion are coming from. In my fear of non being I grasp onto a limited perception. How. I desire to be more open to the cosmos and not so trapped in self. – Gord

Kathleen Raines wrote, of the poet Edwin Muir! That he had discovered that mysterious light of life of which the visible world is woven; the ultimate alchemical mystery whose realisation brings to those who achieve it a supreme joy, and the all but lost sense of ‘the holy’.

Commenting on the “philosopher” Edwin Muir wrote that he is a man who thinks in and out of season. He wrote in the same essay; and he knew with a sureness given to few poets how to entrust himself to the wisdom that has nothing to do with dialectic but everything to do with life. In one of his last poems, he wrote of the poet’s task.

The Poet

What I shall never know I must make known.

Where traveller never went Is my domain.

Dear disembodiment Through which is shown The shapes that come and go

And turn again.

Edwin Muir

Where to Go in Life

In my contemplation the pain and suffering in life has become ever more clear to me. I am very sad about it, but the truth is that I just don’t have strong opinions and/or beliefs about what will fix it. As a social worker and development worker I became disillusioned, not seeing the significance of my intended actions. I did not see that my actions or anyone else’s made a significant difference accept at those times that one was able to bring love, compassion and clear seeing to those moments and relations.

I struggle these days with the many opinionated and self assured voices that I encounter and often feel that I am passive and misdirected in their perception. Although I am in agreement with the observation that there is immense suffering and injustice in the world, a strong emotional reaction insisting upon the fault and responsibility for the acts of injustice and how to intervene is unsettling for me. It seems to be incomplete; their perceptions missing something fundamental in understanding of a more complicated situation.

These days I look more within and attend to what I discover there, encountering a deep sense of pain that seems to be ignited when encountering these reactions from others. I look more to be with that, listening to what I discover there in that void, being asked to explain something that is ineffable where my words are just never enough.

RADICAL OPTIMISM Practical Spirituality in an Uncertain World BEATRICE BRUTEAU

What Beatrice Bruteau writes about is how I perceive myself to be. I find that Buddhism does not value this quality of expression in the same way that she espouses. I have a sense that as humans it is what we have evolved to be in our authentic being. The ability to express our experience is inseparable from that. So I see the value in sharing and expression as part of a creative unfolding. I think Toni Packer, a past mentor for me who was a spiritual leader at the Springwater Centre valued this as well.

From Beatrice Bruteau’s book “Radical Optimism”, she writes,
“When we can feel ourselves securely to be this free, undefined being which is the creative act of God and simultaneously our own act of being ourselves, then we can also express ourselves freely and creatively as finite beings. Metaphysical reflection leads to insight, which leads to artistic manifestation. Any artist, filled with the formless realization of great truth and beauty, gives expression to this realization in some particular form of sound or shape or color or action. We experience ourselves as actively speaking our word, itself an overtone of the Eternal Word. The word arises out of silence, the Void of the Absolute, transcendent of any particular form, but as spoken it takes a form, takes a body, becomes incarnate in a particular place and time and circumstance. And we consciously put our whole selves into this word which we speak by our lives. Thus we realize ourselves as both the formless one, undefined—and in this sense infinite—and one expressed in form, thus finite.”

A Folly Once Indulged

You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Cracks and crevices appear on the surface of the sculpted, mask-creation that has become an extremely familiar adornment over the years. I am tentative in opening to what might be emerging from within that is facilitating this outer change; never the less, I no longer have the energy or initiative to indulge in surface activities that seem to have maintained the appearance of the mask over the years. There is something of me that now realizes that this attention only really served to insulate me from a more whole and sensitive being and expression of that.

An illuminating expansion of my conscious experience alongside an intensity of newly felt sensations seems to emerge as a result of letting go of old habitual ways. It can be somewhat exhilarating and at times overwhelming in its intensity. It seems all to be a part of what a more direct experience of living brings forth and invites of what has been ignored of being. This in turn, contributes to the increased cessation of the surface obsession and the suffering that has been the consequence of it.

I find myself laughing and crying at times in shame and regret as repressed memories surface revealing the anxiety, drama and folly I have entertained in looking to the influence of the outside world and how inability to cope with it has contributed to ongoing hiding. Until more recent times I couldn’t seem to bare the deeper truth of life and being; of my authentic self. It all requires adjustment. I know that I can not be completely separate from the deluded life I led.

I am now more ready to look for truth, and realize that the truth I desire to realize does not come to us from outside. There is something more authentic of what I am, already within. The secret of divine life is discovered there and needs only to be accepted and nurtured. There is an awareness of the union of infinite with the finite discovered in that and a much more intimate encounter with existence drawing nearer.