Jesus: How to pray

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Alternative translation

“Whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees from the hidden place will reward you.”

(International Standard Version)

Here is the context of the quote:

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets so that they might be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their recompense.
But you when you pray, enter into your inner room, and having shut your door, pray to your Father, the One in secret. And your Father, the One seeing in secret, will reward you.
And when you pray, do not babble on like pagans, for they think that by their many words they will be heard.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Matthew 6:5-8

Absolute vs Relative Truth

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One way of talking about spirituality is that it is that which is concerned with the ultimate truth or absolute truth. The concept is that absolute truth is universal, never changes and can be directly perceived/experienced at all times and places. It cannot be learnt or accumulated as it is always already present and known. I use various capitalised words synonymously to describe it, eg. God, Truth, Love, Wholeness, Love, the Universe. The teaching is that its perception does not require special equipment (such as a microscope or telescope) and it does not depend even on the body, mind or senses. It cannot be described and defies and transcends all concepts. Absolute truth cannot even be divided into the absolute and relative, the division being merely a conceptual one.

It cannot be learnt or accumulated as it is always already present and known.

In contrast to this, worldly knowledge can be called relative knowledge or relative truth. This includes scientific knowledge, knowledge of skills such as a sports game or knowing facts such as how tall Mount Everest is. This knowledge is relative because it does not stand alone and is only true in relation to something else. For example the height of Mount Everest depends on various factors such as defining the point from which height is measured and the unit of measurement. The height will also change over time as the mountain topography changes. In fact one of the cardinal features of relative knowledge is that it changes over time depending on specifics relating to time and place. Relative knowledge can also be accumulated and developed over time. Lastly it requires the body-mind-senses to reveal/discover it.

So to summarise we have two concepts, the relative and the absolute. The relative is concerned with those things which change. We can lump all things that change together and call it the world. This world includes the world outside us, as well as our inner world of thoughts, feelings, emotions and psychic perceptions. The absolute is that which, in theory at least, remains the same no matter what. You could call this Spirit. It is always and already known by everyone whether they know it or not.

So to summarise we have two concepts, the relative and the absolute. The relative is concerned with those things which change…The absolute is that which, in theory at least, remains the same no matter what…It is always and already known by everyone whether they know it or not.

Strictly speaking, this division into relative and absolute itself is arbitrary, but because we take ourself to be a doer, this division is provisionally made so our mistake can be corrected. Once corrected, concepts of relative and absolute disappear (we see they are also false concepts), and all that remains is this, the unnameable. But until that point, the concepts are useful teaching aids pointing one in the right direction like the proverbial finger that points at the moon: don’t worship the finger otherwise you will miss the moon in all its heavenly glory. The flip side is that once you have seen the moon, you don’t need the finger any more. Teachings are always conceptual and are to be thrown away eventually.

Strictly speaking, this division in relative and absolute itself is arbitrary, but because we take ourself to be a doer, this division is provisionally made so our mistake can be corrected.

This means, according to my definitions above, talking about and working with emotions, feelings and thought processes is still in the domain of the relative world and so is not spiritual. I would even go as far as to say as that someone who is only interested in these things remains a materialist caught in the clutches of the ego. In this teaching we place our attention beyond the body, senses and mind (including any psychic powers and mystical experiences) and discover what appears to transcend and permeate everything.

Teachings are always conceptual and are to be thrown away eventually.

Now, before I get accused of being a nihilist let me make it clear that I am not saying that we shouldn’t do worldly things. Politics, medicine, health, social work, psychotherapy, psychic work, art, music, etc, all have their place and worth. But there is something more. I sometimes call this Spirit, but you can use any word that resonates with you. Or you can use no word at all.

Through discovering that which already (apparently) transcends the world (which is the same as discovering your ‘true nature’, that which you already are) you can ‘realise’ your Natural State. It’s just noticing something that is already here, but that noticing is powerfully transformative and enables us to realise that we are already, and have always been, free.

Once [the root mistake has been] corrected, concepts of relative and absolute disappear (we see they are also false), and all that remains is this, the unnameable.

J. Krishnamurti: The beauty of listening

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‘The beauty of listening lies in being highly sensitive to everything about you: to the ugliness, to the dirt, to the squalor, to the poverty about you, and also to the dirt, to the disorder, to the poverty of one’s own being.
When you are aware of both, then there is no effort, that is, when there is an awareness which is without choice, then there is no effort.’
Jiddu Krishnamurti, The Collected Works, Vol. XV, page 61 ‘Choiceless Awareness’

Tom’s Comments:
Not trying to avoid the bad and ugly, not striving to reach the good and beautiful, the ego is no longer at play. We come into contact with things as they are, reality, the living truth. We are no longer afraid of what is, we are no longer trying to escape ourselves.

Then we can see that which already is, and always has been. How can this be put into words? Try it and see for yourself, then you too will be beyond the need for these pathetic words.

THE LIGHT THAT SHINES WITHIN

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There is a light. A light that shines within. You can call it the light of consciousness. It is the light by which we can see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. When we close our eyes and imagine something, it is also illumined by this inner light. When we imagine only darkness but are still thinking, this ‘light’ is that which ‘illumines’ our thoughts as well as the darkness. We know both light and dark because of it. It also illumines our dreams as well as our waking life.

Have you ever noticed this light, this inner light? Have you ever noticed how, peculiarly, it never changes? It is the one constant: your thoughts and opinions have no doubt changed over time; your body has grown and altered over years past; your emotions most probably fluctuate throughout the day. But the light by which you are conscious/aware of these remains the same.

Imagine yourself as a young child. Do you remember what it was like to be you back then? Try to picture a specific memory in your mind. Do you, like me, have a sense that you were basically the same person then as you are now? If so, what is it now that is the same as then? As I said, your thoughts,body and feelings have all changed over time, but something remains the same, unchanged. What is that unchanged essence? This is the inner presence-light that cannot be put into words but is always there.

That light can also be felt as a presence. Actually, it cannot be felt as anything, rather through it feeling occurs and presence is felt. For though it perceives, it cannot be perceived. For though it illumines, it cannot be illuminated/seen (just like how electricity which illumines a light bulb cannot be seen). But it is undeniably present (Please note that putting this into words makes something that is as simple as our own being seem overly complex. If you stick to your own direct experience, you will see how simple it all is).

From the point of view of your own direct experience of living, this illuminating-presence is the essence of what you are. No matter what happens to you, it is unscathed, unchanged, unharmed, unmodified.

‘Blades do not pierce it, fire does not burn it, waters do not wet it, and the wind does not parch it’
Bhagavad Gita 2.23

If you believe your thoughts and take yourself to be a limited body-mind entity, this aware-presence can be felt as something external looking down at you – it can be felt as God’s ever-present gaze lovingly embracing you.

‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
Acts 17:28

If however you remain silent, as thoughts subside this sense of identification can fall away and you can see that this presence is actually the essence of what you already are. We can see that our true-nature is awareness-consciousness-spirit.

‘The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me.’
Meister Eckhart

Know that spirit or light within cannot be described or pinned down. It is everywhere, as light is everywhere, but it is no particular thing. Any object you can see/feel/perceive is not that spirit-light. It cannot be experienced, as it is that which allows experience to occur – it transcends experience. And while it is no particular thing and no particular experience, without it no things would be experienced. In this sense all things are dependent on it.

‘They can’t say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ You see, the kingdom of God is within you.’
Luke 17:21

This is the divine essence that resides in each and every one of us. See, if you believe in God but do not have a feel for this inner spirit-light, then your god is simply a projection of your mind/thought. If however you feel this inner light, then what need have you for belief? Divine spirit is already here lighting up and animating your life. Instead learn to trust it, have faith in it – it is not a projection, but a sense of eternal unchanging presence that is always there patiently waiting, patiently supporting you. Pay attention to it throughout the day, allow it to seep into your being, engulf you and wash you clean.

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths.’
Proverbs 3:5-6

Lean on Spirit, the innermost essence of you, and see what happens. Allow God to reveal herself to you. Like falling asleep, this is not something you can do, but something you have to allow to happen.

‘Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.’
Bhagavad Gita 18.66

Ultimately God is beyond all concepts and labels, even concepts of consciousness or inner light. All concepts of the ultimate dissolve in that Unnameable Reality.

 

Something is watching you

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While the mind chatters endlessly
and the body does its thing,
have you ever noticed,
a Presence watching over you?

You’ve been
trying to do this, trying to do that,
and all the time,
feel it: Something watches over you.

Consumed by thoughts,
dramas and life,
Something stands still
– can you sense it, silently watching you?

Wherever you go,
whatever you do,
incessantly following you,
observing all, watching you.

You have gone around your life,
doing this, doing that,
and all the while,
a presence is here, everywhere, watching you.