I’ve never received a flood flash before. It’s a sort of warning message sent to ones phone. The heavens opened, and the rain fell. The storm was loud and hungry. It’s been a few days now, and the rain still falls, gently, allowing the earth to soak and retrieve her lushness.
The majestic mountains are temporarily hidden by the thick fog, one would almost think that they where not there, but they are, as real and present as the mystery.
To come here is like coming home. I am received. Not only, very lovingly by the Valley and Krotona, but by my Self, i am received by solitude, long yearning to be visited. I am always surprised that it takes such time, to settle into complete presence, and say hello properly. The emotional rollercoaster slows down, and the pause between the thoughts gets longer and longer, quite is instant, when we give it time.
Being in solitude sharpens ones senses, and ones sensitivity towards the sensual. All emotions cry out at the same time, then, when they all get sorted out in the foreground of silence, some find their right place, others dissolve and create spaciousness, where there before was clutter. When we retreat from ordinary everyday life, we are shown the way to those doors we’ve not dared to seek out.
I am blessed to do so in the loving embrace of the Ojai Valley in a Californian flow and the wisdom of my teacher professor Ravi Ravindra. It is truly a gift to study and explore the inner realm and spiritual mysteries on this sacred ground.
It is said, ”As long as i remain the way i am, i will not come to Truth”. So i venture onto the path of leaving myself behind and letting go of all that, which i think i know. This is by itself an almost impossible practice, and maybe this is the only practice – for what remains is only Love, Beauty and Order.
Here’s a recap – formulated to the best of my ability – of the first week with Ravi, on Science and the sacred. Please bare with me, that which is difficult to understand, don’t overanalyze. Just stay in question. These teachings are not to be understood, but to be experienced.
There are multiple levels of reality. Everything there is to know is not known and cannot be known, but experienced by the searcher who allows herself to perceive the mystery.
Science and the sacred – Two different and simultaneous aspects of life focusing on different levels of reality. Science is descriptive in it’s nature. It attempts to describe, predict and control events – and – it is practiced in time and space. Spiritual search, the Sacred is experiential, and timeless, in contrast to experimental study. The sacred is that which fills the heart with meaning. Spiritual mysteries cannot, in principle, be solved. However, being in inquiry and staying with the mystery, the mystery might dissolve. Scientific mystery, when such happens, has a potential of being solved.
Look beyond the apparent, for a touch of deeper knowledge.
Knowledge in the sciences: the project of physics – queen of the sciences – is to study matter in motion. What is observed is completely independent of the observer in the name of objectivity. Evolution is regarded as a movement from dead matter towards more and more intelligent forms. When speaking of levels in modern science, what is meant are levels of complexity. The quality of being of the scientist has no importance for the science being conducted.
This has not always been the case, early science before the 16th century, placed the importance on the cause of events, in modern science this has shifted to importance placed on the effect.
Knowledge as seen in the Sacred: The aim is self-knowledge, transformative, knowing and becoming are the same. If knowledge does not change the quality of being in the searcher, it is not real knowledge. Emphasis is on the quality of being of the searcher – the quality of being determines what and how we see. Participation is crucial in the spiritual quest, that is to do the work, the practices required. The highest being is already present and moves downwards animating and pervading all lifeforms, even the densest of forms, such as a stone. Energy and consciousness are in everything at all times. There are Levels of awareness and consciousness. Our spiritual practice is nonlinear, it is spiraling in nature. Our aim is to merge with the source of all Being – Ground Being. Breath is the connecting link between all levels of reality. God, or Sprit, or Supreme Consciousness, breathed Breath into us. The mere fact that i am alive, means i am being breathed by the sprit.
This simple transition of awareness of, i breathing myself to i am being breathed places us in the mystery. This is why breath is so emphasized in the practice of yoga.
A ”simple” way to explain these two quests for ”truth” is with the words of St Paul: Eyes of the flesh see the things of the flesh, eyes of the spirit see the things of the spirit.
That which is seen, will change in its quality and relationship to whom is seeing.
All great spiritual teachers are scientific at heart. Being objective means placing oneself with all ones conditionings and so on out of the way, so perception of what is may be clear.
Keep in mind, many of the major scientists where deeply religious and in awe to all of creation.
The irony is, that many scientific breakthroughs come through insights and not scientific observation. What are these insights, where do they come from? In Einstein’s word, Ultimately creativity is a matter of chance, however, chance seems to favor the prepared. Effort is required by us, but then there must be some assistance from higher forces.
This view is generally not an accepted explanation in the scientific community, or even in our everyday lives. Instead we make excuses and blame each other for events – our convictions and beliefs make up for how we view and act in the world.
Tradition is only fruitful if it leads the practitioner beyond the tradition, otherwise the tradition becomes a confinement and obstacle to spiritual growth.
How can i be completely out of the way, so that i can make myself available and receptive to deeper levels of reality?
In both cases, we seek objectivity, but differently. Freedom from the self in Spiritual search is a cleansing of the instruments of perception and quieting of the mind. Freedom from the self in scientific study has nothing to do with the quality of being of the scientist.
Unless i am transformed, i will not come to truth. We must see ourselves clearly, and objectively. Only through self-observation can we gain self-knowledge. Rumi says: If you have yet not seen the devil, go look yourself in the mirror. – This is not to say that we are all-through evil, bad human beings, but the fact is that we often see ourselves from one side. in this body resides all the demons and all the gods said the Buddha. As we practice to see more clearly, we will become more aware, of everything, of ALL parts of ourselves. Not all things that come into our awareness will be grand and beautiful. Our work through self-observation and self-knowledge is to give all parts of us their proper place.
In whatever endeavor, there is effort, but we are not in control of much more then our efforts. Wholehearted participation is required, in action, thought, words, within and without.
”Disease will not be cured by saying medicine medicine medicine”. – Shankara.
These are two quotes that also give us some idea of the focus of Science versus the Sacred:
Max Planck: If it cannot be measured, it cannot be real.
Shankara: If it can be measured, it cannot possibly be real.
Interestingly, the etymological meaning of the word measure comes from the sanskrit word maya which means illusion.
An open mind is necessary to touch on any new knowledge. Deep knowledge of the self ultimately reveals to us knowledge of the whole human condition. Our fear of being wrong or to change our ways keep us from connecting to the whole. A change is required. Transformation happens as we see more clearly. Assisting the spiritual searcher is cultivating a quite mind, a centered self and nonjudgmental observation of the self and her relationship to the whole.
Practices that help us in observation, is meditation, but also an observant eye on our daily actions in everyday life. Attention on our relationships, and how we feel in different situations. What comes up on the inside? How do we relate to, or honor that?
However above our heads the Spiritual may seem, we have to bring it down into our body and to our daily lives, that is where the practice begins.
If you’ve come this far in the text, thank you!
Do your practice and all, (really ALL) is coming. Be prepared.
Love and peace to all.