Simply Look at Yourself

This week I have been participating in an Online Intensive with John Sherman. John is a teacher of “vichara”, the practice of looking at oneself in order to realize that which is always present. During the first meeting on Monday, John asked us to take a fast from all spiritual practices. He suggested to not pick up any spiritual books, not watch any spiritual videos and not do any practice other than to “just look at yourself”. And he clarifies, “not the Self, just you, just ordinary you”.

As you may know, I have been doing the Microcosmc Orbit as a daily practice since the Winter Solstice. Honestly, I have missed a few days here and there, but in general, I have been committed to this. So when John suggested to drop it for five days, I was a bit unsure of what I would choose to do. Would it be best to follow his suggestion, or to stay committed to my 108 continuous days? Well, I decided to take John up on his suggestion. During this week I have let go of all practice, reading, watching, etc., just to see what would happen. As for my commitment, I decided to set the MCO on automatic so that it was simply flowing on it’s own. (This seemed like a good compromise).

It’s been an interesting week. I had a few moments of emotional turmoil arise, and thanks to Akshara, I was able to come back to reality. I also realized how much time I actually spend reading and watching and writing about presence, and how much I truly enjoy it. It has become part of my daily routine, similar to eating and working. I wasn’t quite sure how to fill the time without it.

I know the purpose of dropping all these things and why John suggested we do this. Often, when we read and practice, we are hoping and trying really hard to get something, to arrive somewhere else, to become someone else. We think enlightenment is about becoming all lit up, all perfect and peaceful, almost otherworldly. Sometimes we think the sky will part and something will come down and envelop us, transforming us into another being. Yes, this often gets people in the spiritual door. Yet, over time, we begin to see that all the states of consciousness, the states of bliss, are just that, states. They, just like thoughts and feelings, come and go. The goal is not to find a state of bliss, it is to find what is present before the bliss, during the bliss and after the bliss; what is normal and ordinary and permanent. Letting go of practice, of the doing, can allow for the being~ simple, effortless Being.

I have enjoyed the process this week. It has been simple and nurturing and natural, deepening occurring by it’s own nature. I have looked at myself, and I see myself. I see what is permanent and it is comforting. It is all I could ever ask for.

In truth, as the week comes to an end, I am looking forward to getting back to the books and videos, and to my daily practice. I enjoy these things! They have been helpful along the way, especially when I am not grasping or trying, just being with them, just allowing the words to sink in deeper and return to the silence. I appreciate John’s point of view, that these things have nothing to do with who we are, yet my being finds them to be comforting. They help me stay focused on That, and because of that I will once again, pick up the book. Talks with Ramana is calling…

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