Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Middle Path

Ron Alexander
I have a wonderful teacher, who also serves as my Unity Minister. Rev. Margaret Hiller appears to have the Buddhist “Middle Path” down pat. A big part of her brilliance is that she will take both sides of an argument in a dialogue (or a sermon), and point out the truth in both of them. Last week in an Eckhart Tolle group about purpose, she took my side of an argument that “we need to embrace or unify with our ego rather than try to negate it.” She also took the side of another group member that in Eckhart’s writing, who maintains that E.T. uses a different meaning of the ego -a “false sense of self”. That group ended in everyone agreeing that is what Jesus meant when he said “Be in the world but not of it.”

Hart writes about the “true middle path.” “In themselves, morality (sila) and concentration (samadhi) are valuable, but their real purpose is to lead to wisdom. It is only in developing wisdom (panna) that we find a true middle path between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-repression (renunciation). By practicing morality, we avoid actions that cause the grossest forms of mental agitation. By concentrating the mind, we further calm it and at the same time shape it into an effective tool with which to undertake the work of self-examination. But it is only by developing wisdom that we can penetrate into the reality within and free ourselves of all ignorance and attachments.” p. 88 of Hart’s The Art of Living -Vipassana Meditation as taught by S. N. Goenka

Obama is also brilliant using the middle path. This is from today's New York Times: "So Obama is taking the middle path, encouraging the states to ..."

This week’s group ended a little differently, when I spoke about ACIM (A Course in Miracles) writings that “Reality is not of this world, we are living in an illusion, and we are not our bodies.” That is true, however the “little r” reality – the reality of our bodies and what is in front of us is also true. This “little r” reality is taught by Byron Katy and by Gotama Buddha. Both are true, and I maintain that we need to be in reality right now before we can experience Reality.

In addition to separating from our “ego”, Eckhart teaches us to “separate” our thinking from our awareness. When I read, I exchanged “merge, embrace or unify” whenever E.T. writes about “separating or negating”. When I did, do just that, while reading in class, Rev. Margaret, said she was “not ready to do that just yet.” Then I got a lecture from another student who told me that “ACIM and Eckhart had to use that kind of language to get us to change our consciousness about the truth of who we really are.” I agree that was true, but that “truth” is not pointed out by either Tolle, ACIM or even Marianne Williamson, though I agree and have learned so much from “99% of their writings.”

One part of Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path is “Right Thought”. “It is not necessary for all thoughts to cease in meditation before one begins Vipassana. Thoughts may still persist, but if awareness is sustained from moment to moment, that is sufficient to start the work.

Thoughts may remain, but the nature of the thought pattern changes. Aversion and craving have been calmed down by awareness of breathing. The mind has become tranquil at least at the conscious level, and has begun to think about Dhamma, about the way to emerge from suffering. The difficulties that arose on initiating awareness of respiration have now passed or at least have been overcome to some extent. One is prepared for the next step, right understanding.” p. 88 of Hart’s The Art of Living -Vipassana Meditation as taught by S. N. Goenka.

Reply by Travis Clay Dupont Jr. 3 hours ago on "Meditation Group Site". "Meditation is a creation of your own mind. Many beginners ( I was one) had the assumption of "trying" to clear thier mind and create it void of thought. This is simply not possible...."
I completely agree with Travis on this and was responding to Eckhart Tolle's assertion that one "needs to seperate thought from awareness." I also think "this is simply not possible." Ergo, the first post: "It is not necessary for all thoughts to cease..."

I maintain that by embracing or unifying our awareness (instead of trying to separate from them) with our thoughts helps with keeping a calm equanimity. At least, Eckhart is not “separating our ‘inner’ purpose from our ‘outer’ one”.

>Dear hearts, it is time for you, as ascending spiritual/human Beings to always endeavor to make the highest choices. Be an observer but not a participant of the multiple dramas that are occurring daily in your world. One of the most damaging habits that you must diligently strive to rectify is judgment of others. You are to make your choices after thoughtful deliberation and then claim the truth that is revealed to you. You must then live that truth to the best of your ability. Most everyone will have some preferences or make some choices that do not agree with your beliefs, and this is as it should be. We have told you that there are many levels of truth and many paths that lead to the same destination. A master does not judge, but quietly lives his/her truth while allowing all others to do the same. This does not mean that you are not to set boundaries or state your preferences when the need arises; however, it does mean that you walk the middle path with Spirit as your guide and love as your overlay. By doing so, you will radiate peace and harmony and you will shine your Light wherever you go. We of the realms of Light are most pleased with your progress. Join us in the World Pyramid of Light and we will convey a special blessing to you from our Father/Mother God. I am with you always.

I am Archangel Michael

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