Let’s Be Clear
There is no set way to express the process of spiritual development because, as we progress, understanding/experience/realisation all change. As experience refines for an individual, so their experience differs from that of others. Progress means CHANGE. It’s a very personal thing; we are not all changing at the same time, to the same degree, and so it’s not helpful to become too fixated and stubborn about what we have learned at any one time. Such fixation can cause upset when we encounter others whose process is different. To one, a teaching is literal; strict, letter-for-letter. To another it is expedient; convenient to their processing.
There is no right or wrong; it’s just a matter of individual process or capacity. Here we have to be very careful! Thinking, “I have a great capacity”, could mean that our heart isn’t one of gold, but of iron 😀 Then again, thinking, “I’m totally confused and worthless” could signify that we are at the verge of having a heart of gold. Who knows? Knowing is in the honest moment of now.
It actually doesn’t matter what we’re experiencing; it’s all about the ability to be aware, to realise pure awareness. A heart of iron could melt at any time, while a heart of gold could remain as a lump of metal! Whatever negativity is experienced, it can be flipped into wisdom: in the first instant of the neurosis of pride, lies the wisdom of equality, where we understand that we are not unique and we realise that everybody will achieve the same understanding at some time. In the first instant of the neurosis of jealousy, there is the recognition of admiration for a quality to which we aspire: this is all-accomplishing wisdom.
With the right view, there is no escaping wisdom.
Incidentally, in the Hindu philosophy, there are three ‘gunas’ – the three states of mind that also relate to the conventional activities of food, music, company etc. These states of mind are ‘tamasic’, ‘rajasic’ and ‘sattvic’. Tamasic mind is sleepy, while rajas is full of energy and sattva is at peace. They are also known as the three robbers; for the first two, the reason is obvious but the sattvic state is more complex because we can become caught in that peaceful state which sends us back to sleep, back to the tamasic state. It’s all a balancing act; we need to understand ‘not too tight, not too loose’ – not too dull and not too excited.
Everyone has a version of the story (karma), to which we add constantly. When we stop contributing, we reach the end of the story, where there is no more story, no more me, no more contamination … and so, know more knowing!
Meditation is understanding, experiencing and realising. Gradually, it all becomes clear. Understanding what is going on in the mind = shamata.
Experiencing the nature of mind itself, which is empty and aware with the clear light of clarity = vipashyana.
Realising that we are that clear light of clarity = Mahamudra/Dzogchen/Maha Ati/Advaita = not two!
Is that clear?