To Be With and Observe
To my way of thinking, we may be out of time to “do” something about our unfinished business. We may have no time left for Zen retreats, enlightenment intensives, or human-development trainings.
We may have no time left to read and digest Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti, and Sri Ramana Maharshi.
We may have no time left to figure out how to be with a galactic or a spiritual hierarch.
What we need now is one foundational practice, one way to be with whatever comes our way, a way that is easily remembered and that will meet all unpredictable circumstances we predictably face.
I don’t know what you see when you look at that question. I know what I see.
The one foundational practice that I can see that sums up the teachings of a major bloc of psychologists, spiritual teachers, and galactics is:
*** Be with the truth of the moment and observe what arises. ***
“Be with”: Abide as an open awareness of, remain neutral to. Be with what?
“The truth”: That which is so, accurate, actually existing. Of what?
“Of the moment”: Of now, this actual instant, inside and outside oneself. And do what?
“And observe”: See, notice, raise to conscious awareness without acting upon. What?
“What arises”: What enters one’s field of consciousness as a result of being with the truth of the moment, whatever that is.
Then begin again.
This one practice is appropriate to being with one’s self in a quiet moment, to being with embodied terrestrials in social situations, and to being with spirits and galactics in unfamiliar exchanges.
To be with the truth of the moment and observe what arises is to be fully present but with no harmful intent and to notice what occurs. If unfinished business arises from within, we be with that and observe what arises as a result of it.
If a challenge to our conventions or attitudes arises from without, we be with that and see what emerges in us. We are either being with or noticing.
What does this produce for us?
Doing this practice is doing what the processing of unfinished business requires anyhow. We are well positioned in the proper attitude to maximally move through our past residue and future fears.
It is the manner in which we can take in the greatest amount of novelty in a situation that we can predict is rapidly going to become entirely novel.
Being with and observing is a Divine position. It invites Grace and it’s Grace which is going to move us now and not our own motive power.
Someone will quickly say, “No, we must accomplish things by our own effort. We cannot just sit back and be passive.”
Being with and noticing what arises is not passivity. It is spiritual activity of the highest order. It is one of several meanings contained in Sri Krishna’s phrase, “the action that is in inaction.” (1)
It is what Chuang Tzu was driving at when he said: “You have only to rest in inaction and things will transform themselves.” (2)
In my view, enlightenment is by Grace alone: It remains the gift of God. In the last analysis, at the end of practice or the end of times, it is God alone who brings us safely Home.
As Ramana Mahasrhi noted:
“Your efforts can extend only thus far. Then the Beyond will take care of itself. You are helpless there. No effort can reach it.” (3)
Bernadette Roberts says the same:
“At a certain point, when we have done all we can [to bring about an abiding union with the divine], the divine steps in and takes over.” (4)
Yes, I am aware that these words were spoken to students with much time on their hands, so to speak, who had reached the end of their best efforts.
But they apply equally, with appropriate changes, to people who have reached the end of a cycle and must soon navigate Ascension.
The practice best suited to the end of disicplines and the end of times, in my opinion, is to be with the truth of the moment and observe what arises.
Being with and observing causes the dropping of leftover grievances and the dissolving of future fears. It purifies the mind and brings it to stillness. Once we’ve stilled and purified the mind, we’ve done all we can. The rest is up to God.
So that is my take on a basic foundational practice, adopted because we are running out of time to do retreats and read books.
I don’t think there is any more time for processing. There’s only time now to be with and observe.
- Sri Krishna in Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, trans., Bhagavad-Gita. The Song of God. New York and Scarborough: New American Library, 1972; c1944, 52.
- Chuang Tzu in Burton Watson, trans. The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu. New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1968, 122.
- Sri Ramana Maharshi, Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Question 197. Downloaded from http://www.ramana-maharshi.org/books.htm, 31 August 2005.
- Bernadette Roberts, “The Path to No-Self” in Stephan Bodian, ed. Timeless Visions, Healing Voices. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1991.