Mary told John: “You need to become compassionate.”
John looked up the word compassionate in the dictionary.
It said: “Feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others.” John wasn’t quite sure what compassionate meant through that definition for he always thought that he felt concerned for others, so he looked for another definition: “A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”
John understood the meaning of compassion better through the second definition. Then, he decided that from now on, he will “practice” that compassion.
Mary had a severe cold. John could see that Mary was suffering. John “practiced” feeling sympathy for Mary. He also followed up with a “desire to alleviate” her cold. “Can I hand you some tissue?” He asked.
Mary saw “improvement” in John. She said “Thank you for asking.”
That created the necessary rapport for John to practice that “compassion.”
He thought he was being compassionate now… He was “improving.” 🙂
Reality is that John wasn’t compassionate even after “practicing” for many months. For instance, he wasn’t able to feel empathy for suffering animals. That wasn’t part of his “practice” of “compassion.”
John was merely conditioned to practice his improved “good manners” in front of people.
This little example, shows how our “spirituality of practice” have been shaping individuals into fake ones.
There are things which need “practice” to become more proficient at, but values are not part of that.
So what do we DO to become “better”?
Nothing at all. The thing is not to BECOME something which we don’t even know what IS, what is the extent of it.
“Love your neighbor as yourself” sounds good to “practice,” but apparently that doesn’t work in a war… or even as close as the “office world.”
The thing is to OBSERVE to BE AWARE of what IS… what we ARE.
WHAT IS, is not necessarily the way we ACT: I can pet the neighbor’s dog and look “loving and concerned,” while inside me a thought could be saying: “Nasty mutt.”
If we are AWARE of that inner conflict, that is where “betterment” starts…. But we have been trained to suppress that thought with a “loving” one: “ You are such a precious dog.”
That is the greatest lie.
We have been trained to add words as “objective to achieve,” as in: “I need to be more caring with animals and people.” This mitigates our sense of guilt, whenever we see that our attempt to BECOME some moral value, does not work.
All we need is a little AWARENESS of the NOW.
Forget the nice words: Love, compassion, gentleness, peace, etc. and the opposite words as well. Those words don’t help at all. Those are only words.
Awareness of what we feel. Awareness of our own relaxed presence or lack of. Awareness of the stream of thoughts and words. That is all.
One day, we may even question ourselves after our observation: Is that ME?
That is a sign that betterment is on the way, without “practice.”
In Spirituality, there is a space, which could be perceived when our minds are totally tranquil, at ease. It is a space of awareness, just like seen the ocean without any waves… in that experience we could perceive the “formless.”
The “formless” is a subtle perception of serenity, calmness. That is a closer as I could get with words.
As we feed ourselves with this, there is the experience of nurturing the being. This is spiritual nutrition.
That “formless” experience will have an impact in a person. The “formless” will impact our “form,” that is the way we behave in the world.
For example, when we observe the behavior of someone smiling and moving with grace and elegance in life. That is surely a “form,” that we observe. That harmonious behavior doesn’t come by learning “etiquette,” in some school. That is not what we are referring to, here.
The impact of the formless in our form means a complete change in attitude.
A person who has learned, “cultivated” a behavior perceived as “elegant” will not show that behavior at all times. It is usually part of a created personality which will show the real self only when there is a problem, when dealing with difficult people, etc. At the end, the “monkey is a monkey even though dressed with a nice suit.”
Harmony in movement, grace, elegant behavior, serenity; what we know of as “having class,” is not something learned. It comes “naturally” out of that “formless” experience repeated over a long period of time.
Nature is truly a source of this change. When we look at the sky at night and just feel mesmerized, fascinated by the beauty of it, when we appreciate the wind coming and cooling us off and when we hear the music orchestrated by nocturnal animals around us, in all of that experience; the little “I” and his “big” problems disappear. The giant waves of the mind calm down through the admiration of beauty.
This is to nurture the soul.
That nurturing space produces serenity, peace, well being. That is the formless. That is what changes human beings in a subtle, inconspicuous way.
Harmony comes from the source of harmony, when there is recognition of it. Nothing better than Nature for that.
As the “formless” make up a “form” through the behavior of a human being, we could see how our current “form” our current way of dealing with people and our own selves, is in close relationship with our experience of the “formless.”
A person who does not have the experience of the “formless,” will merely “copy” what that person observes. As it is the environment, so it will be the behavior.
Spirituality, on the other hand; will show us that the subtle, the “formless,” that “serenity,” is the building block of a harmonious “form,” that is a gentle behavior.
Our “form” is how we relate with the world.
Therefore, in spirituality the formless will give us our form and our form will be the means to relate with others… the world.
“The clairvoyant may see forms which are elsewhere, but he cannot see the formless. The telepathic may communicate directly with the mind of another, but he cannot communicate with one who has achieved no-mind. The telekinetic may move an object without touching it, but he cannot move the intangible. Such abilities have meaning only in the realm of duality. Therefore, they are meaningless. Within the Great Oneness, though there is no such thing as clairvoyance, telepathy, or telekinesis, all things are seen, all things understood, all things forever in their proper places.”
Hua Hu Ching – CH 20 – By Lao Tzu.
The path is clear for those who are traveling it. To go from the physical into the subtle.
Many are experienced with the subtle world as far as having “experiences” in it; but the path of knowing is to be it, to become. We may have a glimpse of something but to be is the goal.
In spirituality to know means to be.
In the “normal” world of big egos who are trained to “fight” to survive and to control others as a master does to a servant; any sort of subtleness is equated with weakness.
In the Spiritual world, your level of gentleness will show your degree of spiritual advancement.
To be gentle as water; means to be able to adapt to different settings, different containers, different personalities. Not having a shape of itself, but always transforming. The character of gentleness is an open door to life and the experiences that it may bring.
That openness comes through a reformation of the self.
For example, diet is a very important factor in that reformation process. In fact, our diet will change continuously; it will be more refined to reflect the changes in the self.
From eating meat, to being a vegetarian; there is a difference. Also from eating pungent and spicy food items into natural, raw items; is a change.
From drinking sodas to water is another change.
Our diets will reflect that inner transformation. The manifestation is equal to the source.
Similarly, our sleeping patterns. Early mornings will be cherished. It is the natural way.
One of the most important items to be in tune with subtle energies, is to be in harmony with Nature.
Through Nature, we can remember our true Nature.
The sounds of Nature and to feel its diverse lights and energies are healing and nourishing to enhance our sensibility to natural beauty.
“Technological progress,” has closed our hearts.
Nature will bring feelings to a closed heart. It will make it alive again.
It is in the perception of that beauty from Nature, how we will be in tune with the inside; and find out that our inner side reflects what we see outside.
Inside and outside become in tune, in balance as our sensibility changes.
As we experience the path of spirituality with greater depth, there will come a time where any sort of separation will be unthinkable. There cannot be a “you vs. me;” nor a “my religion is better than…” for as we see things in a broader perspective, with greater openness; the world will be that family and spirituality will be the only religion.
That is how communion could be possible, for going back to unity means to find those things which we have in common, rather than trying to find differences when there is none. We are human beings.
The spiritual path is a way to offer our hands in cooperation to the world; not as a teacher or a student, not as a helper or savior; but just as someone who truly cares.