When people come to my classes or see me privately, we usually use situations or people in their lives to show how to apply the practice in the world. Though this is truly an internal practice, it has to be used and applied to inform all of our life. So after a class people leave the laboratory and hopefully implement what they have learned. Of course, this is hard work, and it does not come easily or quickly.
In the Hagakure, a book of observations by a samurai turned monk, there is an apt passage on translating the internal into the external: “There are two kinds of disposition, inward and outward, and a person who is lacking in one or the other is worthless. It is, for example, like the blade of a sword, which one should sharpen well and then put in its scabbard, periodically taking it out and knitting one’s eyebrows as in an attack, wiping off the blade, and then placing it in its scabbard again. If a person has his sword out all the time, he is habitually swinging a naked blade; people will not approach him and he will have no allies. If a sword is always sheathed, it will become rusty, the blade will dull, and people will think as much of its owner” (translation by William Scott Wilson).
After people leave class, I am still in the laboratory, and since I do not go out much people may wonder where I apply the practice. I actually practice myself, and classes are one way I apply my practice. This is a very important point; when I meet with people I am applying practice. All my day is practice—in quiet and in action. In the last few years, I have been expanding my field of action. My website and its offerings are much more extensive. Writing Walking Home with Baba also stretched my practice.
Another way in which I have always applied my work is in supporting my sons and their endeavors. Ian began integrating his work into I.R. Consilium (irconsilium.com) about two years ago. Aaron created Linguisticator (linguisticator.com) and then ELT-Tiger (elt-tiger.com). Any project that will promote peace, stability, security and prosperity in the world interests me, and Ian and Aaron have both created businesses that support that work. With I.R. Consilium I am stretching my action by working with people who do not pursue spiritual practice. I contribute to the work of I.R. Consilium by applying the skills I have gained through my practice. I know that if I am not practicing, there will be no results of any worth.
The message for each of us is this: we are not the doer. So no matter how small or great our action, if we are caught in our small-self vibrations, then we are “the doer” and all we put forth ultimately reflects that. Our read on how to act is based on our vibrations. If we still those vibrations and surrender, our actions take on an ease and clarity they usually lack. This does not mean that if I am in my Heart I will now write the perfect paper or win the gold medal in downhill skiing. It means that I know I am not my vehicles, and I can now use those vehicles to their highest level of competency. When I was a dancer, my fellow dancers and I practiced hard and constantly so that our vehicles could do whatever was asked of them. Then we were to surrender and just be as we danced. That was the only way to dance. If we let go before we gained technical mastery, then we would enjoy the dancing but we wouldn’t be very good.
Practice is an internal way of life. How the internal state is to manifest has to be discerned from the deepest place we reside at every moment. By acting in this way we move deeper within while our actions reflect that depth. In order to work, I have to spend time alone. If I do not get that time, my outer work has no basis and therefore lacks in every way. Our interior directs our life in both good and bad ways. If we are not conscious, our work is not conscious.
The deeper we go, the clearer our path will be. Listening within will guide us and show us the opportunities that are there for us. We cannot go deeper than our deepest vibration at any given moment. But when we succeed in stilling that “deepest” vibration, we will find another underneath—until we have stilled all vibrations and rest constantly in the Heart.
The point is to free ourselves from anything that keeps us from the Real. Remember, ignorance is taking what is not Real to be Real; what is not Self to be Self; what is not eternal to be eternal. Once we are ignorant, we then lose our subject in that mistaken object, i.e. our vibrations, our shrunken self. We are then attracted to or repulsed by certain things because of who we think or “know” ourselves to be. Finally, we cling for dear life to this ignorance because we believe it to be our selves. We have to let go over and over again. Over and over again, we have to say with absolute conviction, “I would rather have nothing than this” until our vibrations are still and God shines through as the Doer of all.
We need the laboratory, no question; but if we do not then go out and apply the practice, we are missing the Truth that arises from all our work. God is everywhere. To return Home we have to be no longer attached to the act we perform. Face Reality: God is the actor, the act, the director, and the producer.
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