Thursday, September 27, 2007

Feeding Beauty or the Beast?

I came across a line of Ramana's where he compared trying to solve the
problem of the mind by using the mind as something which simply 'fattens'
the mind. I loved this thought and it reminded me of an image I have had
recently of 'feeding the dream'.

Attention is very much like food. It is an energy, and where our attention
goes, that is being fed. It is one of the semi-true aspects of the 'Law of
Attraction' that has been making such a hit lately. Where the attention
goes, there is the outcome. That is what is being fed. Astavakra Samhita
also states it very well, "ya matih sa gatih" - wherever the attention
(mind, intention, etc.) there is the goal (outcome, etc.).

So...what are you feeding? This is where the razor's edge comes in. It is a
very fine line (as well as an enormous gorge) between putting the attention
on and feeding the dream, or putting attention on and feeding the
recognition of Reality. Every moment... EVERY MOMENT your attention is on
one or the other - The Beauty or 'The Beast'. There really is no neutral
ground. This is why so many verses, teachings and so forth emphasize that
it is a constant practice - something that must be done at all times. It is
not a 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening kind of
thing. If one is serious about realization is must be consistent and
constant. It is the ending of a way of life. This is often what the
initiation ceremony is about - simply a recognition that now this life is
about waking up!

Ramana said, "Abhyasa (spiritual practice) consists of withdrawal into the
self everytime you are disturbed by thought." So, when are you NOT
disturbed by thought? Every thought is in essence a disturbance. Thus he
would consistently ask people, "To whom is this thought arising?" Whether
you see it as a 'disturbing' thought or not is not the question. Every
thought that you pay attention to is a disturbance. When you give into that
thought, follow that train of thoughts, even if they are so called 'benign'
thoughts, you are feeding the dream, feeding the beast.

There is a great book called, 'The Cloud of Unknowing' written by an
unknown 14th century Englishman. He says (in essence) that one must project
oneself into this cloud of unknowing (God) and push all other thoughts and
desires into the 'cloud of forgetting'. Even though it is a Christian book,
he says that even the thoughts of Jesus' love and sacrifice, and compassion
are hindrances and obstacles and must also be pushed into the cloud of
forgetting. All must be pushed into the cloud of forgetting and one simply
projects themselves (their attention) into the cloud of Unknowing. If we
translate this into our present understanding, it means putting our
attention on simply That, the Presence of Isness, or I Am, which arises as
that which can not be known, is unknowable, but only 'Be-able'.

So, where is your attention? The body will take care of itself, the mind
will take care of itself. Attention is on that razor's edge - feeding the
Beauty or the Beast... Fattening or fasting the mind.

Which will it be?