July 19, 2010

Here are readings from this week’s class —
You’ll notice no commentary from me on this post or on July 26th. Sorry about that. If you weren’t at class, you’ll have to fill in the blanks. I hope to get back to more in-depth posting  in August.

He who stands on tiptoe
doesn’t stand firm.
He who rushes around doesn’t go far.
He who tries to shine
dims his own light.
he who defines himself
can’t know who he really is.
He who has power over others
can’t empower himself.
He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.
If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.

[Tao Te Ching, version by Stephen Mitchell]

Brenda Ueland, If You Want To Write

….I am saying that all people have in them this power to write greatly and well, when they express freely and carelessly what is true to THEM. If I did not tell you that, if like most teachers and critics I just said: “Now, this is really good! Study this! and praised it to the skies, then you would try to write like it. And then it would not be any good at all. No, write from yourself…..

And perhaps I can explain here what I think is the difference between the human ego and the Divine ego. By self-confidence and boldness I do not mean conceit (the human ego). Conceit is very different. It is a static state where you rest on some past (or fancied) accomplishment. Then you rest on your oars and say to all (in so many words): “Look at me. I did that!”  But self-confidence never rests, but is always working and striving, and it is new and better. I think that is why boasting is vaguely disagreeable and one always regrets it…

But you never regret your sense of power and understanding inside, i.e. the Divine ego.  And this should always be increasing…. thousands and thousands of people, all people, have the same light in them, have their own creative power in them, if they would only come to see it, respect it and let it out.

Swami Muktananda, Where Are You Going?

There was a great seeker named Bullah Shah. For forty years he studied many religions and philosophies and took initiation from every teacher he came across. Yet he did not make any progress. The only thing he attained was a mind filled with doubts and a head burdened with the knowledge he had received from so many scriptures and teachers. Finally, his head became so heavy with knowledge that he could not hold it straight. One day a friend asked him what was wrong.

“Oh friend,” said Bullah Shah, “how can I describe my condition to you? I am carrying around so much weight and I cannot get rid of it.”

The friend said, “I know someone who can help you,” and he took Bullah Shah to the great Siddha, Inayat Shah.

“O sir,” said the friend, “here is a man who has studied all the philosophies and is carrying an enormous weight of learning in his head. If you could help him to discard some of it, he would  be very grateful to you.”

“All right,” the master said to Bullah Shah. “Leave your bundle of books somewhere else and spend some time with me.” So Bullah Shah stayed and after a few days, Inayat Shah touched him. In that instant all the weight Bullah Shah carried was lifted.

When he returned home, he threw away all his books and began to tell everyone he met that peace and bliss lie within, not in books or temples or mosques. “You cannot find God in scriptures or in holy places,” he would say. “Do not bother with those things. Just turn within and you will find God.”

When the orthodox teachers heard what Bullah Shah was saying, they all turned against him. They called a great assembly and summoned him to come before it.

“Bullah Shah,” they said, “you have been speaking against religion. You have committed a great sin.”

“If I have committed a sin, then surely I should be feeling pain,” said Bullah Shah. “But instead of pain, I am feeling joy, all my agony has left  me. If I have committed a sin, what punishment have you prescribed for me?”

“For your heresy, we are going to brand your body with a red-hot iron bar,” said the priests. “There is no worse sin than heresy.”

“I will accept this punishment, but first let me ask you something. Suppose that a religious teacher told an innocent person that if he followed a certain practice, he might attain something tomorrow, or in one year, or in ten years, and in this way, forty years went by and that poor seeker did not attain anything from the teacher. What punishment would you prescribe for such a teacher?”

“That would be a horrible sin!” they said. “If someone who has nothing to give makes others work for nothing, his body should be branded in twenty places.”

“Do you all agree with that?” asked Bullah Shah.

“Yes, we do,” said the priests.

“All of you deceived me for forty years. You made me study various scriptures and you forced me to practice techniques and rituals, yet I did not receive anything. So all of your bodies should be burned instead of mine.”

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