As I was meditating last night, preparing for a flight back to Malaysia, I had another interesting insight that I believe is crucial to the next level of spiritual and inner development. I am sharing it here although I suspect that my convoluted language will do little to make it much clearer to anyone else but myself, and I doubt that even I know what I'm talking about, so if I sound even more vague than usual, many apologies.
The nature of enlightenment and the state of emptiness is certainly one that is attainable by the Buddhist path. You can see this stated in many sources, but lately I have come to favour the Three Words Hitting the Essence by, if, unless I'm much mistaken, Dza Patrul himself. If anyone is interested in the content of that particular text then I highly recommend reading the Dalai Lama's interpretation of it in the book Dzogchen. Although I usually prefer the words of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in this case I found the explanation remarkably exciting.
Keeping in mind the usual rules about not exposing the teachings of Dzogchen and Mahamudra to the uninitiated, I still feel that I would be out of order to offer my country boy explanation of the three "words", which are really three principles about the ultimate nature of emptiness and how to engage in it. The Dalai Lama talks about the View, Meditation and Action. The three words are about the view, which I believe is where all the action (no pun intended) is anyway. Meditation is about mixing the realisation of the pure nature of awareness with compassion. Action is about moving that whole process into physical expression. The realms of the bodhisattvas, in other words.
Back to the view. My version of it:
1. Get past all your thoughts and perceive the pure space of emptiness.
2. Make a commitment to sitting in that state of pure awareness no matter what.
3. As thoughts arise, meet them with your conscious awareness seated firmly in the awareness of 1. and 2. and they will dissolve naturally.
That's all I want to say about enlightenment today. I'm far more interested in making a slightly different point.
Once you actually have the connection with emptiness, the question arises as to how to maintain a relationship with the realisation. In this sense, I have come to suspect that the Dao De Jing, the bible of the Taoists, is more convenient. Whilst I am highly convinced that the Buddhist approach is a valid and useable path to enlightenment, once you have that realisation, engaging it in the unhindered manner which the Taoists encourage is much more interesting.
It has to do with grace in managing the energies. The enlightenment experience allows you the perspective of emptiness, a glance at the canvass upon which thought, perception and manifestation arise. Even if you have attained the view, thoughts still will arise. It remains for you to engage with them in grace, to dance with the energies as smoothly as you can and to remove any remaining fear or resistance to them. In this sense, I have often propounded in the past the use of the Feeling Exercise by Arnold Patent, particularly in the exploration of fear. However, once you have attained a certain facility, I am now beginning to be re-sold on Lester Levenson's approach of letting it go. Releasing is a powerful method of manifestation, and indeed it was the one that started me on my many adventures through the realms of advanced metaphysics. I find myself returning now with an awareness that sometimes, I thought I was releasing when in fact I was not. There was a deeper root. That root can be found by following the fear. However, once one knows how to follow the fear and is no longer threatened by it, one can directly perceive the cause of that fear and release on it directly. This is the essence of dancing with the feminine principle.
I believe that even though the higher level realisation has to do with that of emptiness, one ultimately has to return to engaging the energies. Even if one knows the mother, one has to engage the sons, is my response to the Dao De Jing's exhortation to stick with the mother. Why? Because we reside in the manifestative realm. It is no surprise that Lester and Byron Katie both sail through life and seemingly have miracles fall on their lap. It is a matter of releasing and then riding the energies with grace.
That is another point that was brought to my attention recently, and this may well be of interest to the "advanced" practitioners of "The Secret". If you put out energies at a very disembodied level, the energies struggle to manifest. In order to truly bring the energies into the physical realm, you have to actually ground them, and come more into your body, where you wish the manifestation to appear. Otherwise, it will tend to remain a floating thing in the spiritual realms. Interesting little point. I had not thought of it previously, but it agrees with my experiences of the past 15 years. Indeed, it agrees with all of my life experience.
The other point, which I did know about, but had tended to forget, was that in manifesting one had to access the feeling of the reality already complete. This would eventually mature into a knowing. But let us backtrack and observe that process. It first starts with an intention, as all things manifestative do, but then it engages the automatic aspect of the feminine principle. It is up to the manifester to notice the bumps and insecurities (fear is again a good signal to sniff after) and to resolve them. Also bring those energies into the physical realm. Release on them. Add the energies of faith and trust. Also add softness and warmth to it, or it will tend to become cold and impersonal. Be willing to be vulnerable. Finally, add humility, modesty and surrender. Compassion is always a useful one for taking bits of self out of the mix.
Then, enjoyment and relaxation. These last two are incredibly useful indicators of what is going on. If you are not enjoying yourself, there is a part of you that still takes this as a project, and you can be sure that there is fear associated with letting go and trusting the process in that. If you are not relaxed, then you are not relying enough on the feminine principle. In the lingo of an earlier era in my life, you are not programming into the subconscious, but instead relying on the conscious mind.