Just for a moment be quiet & still. See if thoughts or feelings are arising. Or both. What happens to them? What did you feel, see, witness, or realize? Are they cast-iron separate or do they meld?
Today I came across this from the advaita teacher Rupert Spira on his website;
From the point of view of a subject, experience is a collection of objects; from the point of view of a mind, it is all mind – thinking, sensing and perceiving; from the point of view of Awareness, there is only Awareness.
It is nicely put – & made me think seriously about reducing my own ‘object collecting’. But I also recall that most of the outstanding spiritual teachers who today tell us to get away from words, concepts and thinking seem to do so in an average of 20 to 30 books – plus millions of spoken words!
Rupert’s statement also reminded me of a distinction I feel is important – & distinctions can be real! Since the Enlightenment, we seem increasingly to have what I call the ‘organ’ model of our psycho-spiritual interior – our inner landscape as some would say. We have ‘a mind’ and we have ‘a heart" ( i.e. centre of feeling, sensibility, compassion etc) just as we have ‘a liver’ & ‘a pair of kidneys’.
But my own experience of my interiority doesn’t match with the separate organs view – does yours?
Most often feelings transmogrify into thoughts and thoughts transmogrify into feelings in endless re-formations – like a lava lamp, but often at high-speed. The monkey-mind chatters, feelings ebb & flow.
That’s because both are of the same One spirit – of which the human spirit is one level.
‘For the Spirit of the Lord fills the whole universe and holds all things together…’ – Wisdom 1:7
A feeling is energy set aside for the purpose of telling us how we relate to some phenomenon, person or thing. Mind is energy set aside for the purpose of managing the relationships with phenomena, persons or things. The two are complementary, not in opposition. If we are in a state of blissful Oneness, all the time, we are in danger of bumping into the furniture or walking under a bus. I do feel that in their eagerness spiritual teachers over-emphasize the Wholeness, at the expense of the absolutely essential parts or dualities – in this world at least,.
We sense, or know, that ultimately all is One, but an ultimate truth does not invalidate lesser truths – it merely trumps them, and then only if you insist on trumping! And we do too much trumping!
Again I find myself turning to this statement by the great Zen Master Dogen;
“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self,
to study the self is to forget the self, and
to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.”
To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the Self and the ten thousand things, the One and the many.
After enlightenment the Ten Thousand Things each become joyously evidence of the Whole, of which they are all emanations – they dance in the Oneness. But still after bliss comes the laundry and realization comes after experience, expression after inspiration, re- formation after dissolution.
Now I have to admit a belief. It is essential that each soul learns to extinguish itself as does the drop entering the Ocean – but it is ‘God’, not us, who in this world continuously re-drop-ifies us! It’s normal. It’s how it should be. We need duality as well as Oneness. Both are part of God’s teaching process. Each complements the other – we necessarily have two wings AND as individual souls we continue in the next world to exist in our separate selves, although our form and powers will be different in succeeding worlds of God, different that is to what they are here. See Professor Bill Huitt HERE
Returning to the dynamics of our interiority – perhaps it would be even more accurate to say that heart and mind arise and fall and transmogrify within the ‘space’ we call interiority. More crudely they dance separately but, like two fingers wiggled, they are part of the same hand.
At best thoughts are the melody, that should play over the bass notes or chords or drone of our connection to the Whole or God. Thoughts, words, concepts are not just human fantasies. They are the very fabric of existence – because they are the descendents and echoes of the Word of God.
“Knowledge is a function of being.’ Huxley p1 The PP. In the state of Oneness, at-one-ment – 1) our being develops/integrates/heals & through it 2) our potential for deep knowledge (Irfan in Arabic?) develops. But it is 3) through words, concepts & above all dialogue (plus actions – especially as service) that we realize that potential. 1) ‘Experiencing Oneness deepens being 2) increased Being increases potentialities 3) realize that wisdom via inner and outer dialogue’ That’s the divine pedagogical model!
Thought, words and concepts are not signs of weakness providing they are each – like two wings – in a complementary, synergistic, relationship with each other that deepens real/true mystical knowledge.
Mind & heart insofar as they are separate are equal partners who should embrace joyously with each other, each growing through the presence of the other, each serving the excellence of the other.
Thich Nhat Hanh refers to Andre Gide, “He said that God is available 24 hours a day. God is happiness. God is peace. Why do we not enjoy God? Because we are not free. Our mind is not there. We have no capacity of touching God or of enjoying Him or Her. The practice of mindfulness helps us to free ourselves to enjoy what is there.” Going Home; Jesus and Buddha as Brothers p2
What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is the energy of being aware and awake to the present moment. It is the continuous practice of touching life deeply in every moment of daily life. To be mindful is to be truly alive, present & at one with those around you and with what you are doing.
“Mindfulness allows us to spend more time in eternity! ” (RP)
PURPOSE: greater awakening;detachment;service PRACTICE: smile;breath;go mindfully