Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Contemplative Mind

I am probably the least qualified to contemplate the contemplative: I plash about in the shallows with a grudging acknowledgement that I need to get a lot more serious about it  to make a real difference to my life. So I say, but I look back at that sentence and begin to laugh, because the striving to do better, get more, reach a goal - even that of becoming a saint - really isn't what it's all about. No, not at all. Nevertheless, I made an important point, I don't know a lot. So you won't find any great wisdom here, just chatter. 

I am thinking about non-dual thinking. A gem of the contemplative, and a key to unlocking imaginary prisons as well as taking down some serious barriers. I have been exposed to this teaching for about five years, coming in at the time I needed it most.( Long story, never mind. )

I once held very firmly to some ideas. I was staunchly left-wing. I was a particular brand of Evangelical Christian, I had strict views on how to do this, and accomplish that. I made a habit of making other people's causes my own. I jumped onto bandwagons (providing they were heading in the 'right' direction.)  I was, all-unknowing, schooled by my upbringing, to react in a certain way to certain stimuli. I knew who the bad guys were. My thinking mind was set to automatic , and my responses were of the knee-jerk variety. 

I am no longer a staunch Evangelical Christian. So quoting St Paul here is going to seem a little counter-intuitive, but I tell you, if you sift St Paul, and don't take everything he says as gospel, there's some thunderingly good stuff in there. "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind." He writes, which is to say, find a practice that you are comfortable with ( and there are myriad to choose from) that stops you thinking the same old crap just because it's what you do. Wonderful. Then there's my signature verse, Paul's letter to the Galatians. Chapter 5 verse I: It is for freedom that Christ has set you free, so do not therefore subject yourselves once more to a yoke of slavery." 

Now leaving Christ out of it for a moment, no offence meant, but here is a great invitation to realise you CAN be free from thought patterns and behaviours that keep you miserable, and you  can also return to them if you don't stand guard over your heart and mind. 

For YEARS - and here's a prime example of pre-programmed-thinking - I didn't get the irony of evangelisation that promises 'freedom from sin and death ' and then immediately loaded the new convert down with a list of do's and don'ts longer than your arm. Some freedom.

I am letting my fingers tap away without me again. Non-dual thinking: no knee-jerks. Do you think in black and white? Well here's the thing, your brain isn't called 'grey matter' for nothing. Contemplatives don't judge or pre-judge. Everything is as it is.  the key question is never,"Is this position/person/point of view right?" Rather, "How much of this is right?" Hold the judgement. 

I haven't  put that well. Way back when Adam and Eve were living up in the garden, they were told not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."Right?  Well, no, they weren't. They were strongly advised not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There's a difference. The wisdom hidden in this myth, is: stay away from the battle-lines. Don't take sides. Don't judge. Stay whole, stay balanced.

I watched a guy on You-tube today rant for ten minutes on the illegitemacy of Obama's Presidency because of the persistent myth that he has a forged birth certificate. Rant rant rant ... This person's obsession, which was beyond hatred, fuelled by  his conviction of his 'rightness' had quite obviously poisoned  his life. I left him a message:

"Your behaviour is irrational. Stop trying to be right, start trying to be happy."

There! That's it. 


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