About 6 weeks or so before each Enlightenment Intensive is scheduled to begin I send out what I call the Pre-Enlightenment Intensive Teachings.
The purpose of these teachings are to invite your ATTENTION onto the area of self enquiry and meditation and your INTENTION upon the focus and purpose of the Enlightenment Intensive. That focus and purpose is to directly experience who you are....the state of enlightenment.
Although many of us are busy with our respective lives and its obligations and commitments to family, friends and work, every now and then we are awakened by an 'Aha!' moment. It may manifest as a joyful recognition that life is good. It may manifest as a heartfelt sense of gratitude for the people in our life or for the sense of well being we are feeling. Enlightenment and it's spiritual cousins of gratitude, fulfilment, joy, happiness, pleasure and more are abundantly plentiful in this life that we share together on planet earth.
I've found that meditation, self reflection, silence, speaking the truth and honest communication are strong medicines that awaken the spirit and enliven our wisdom-heart.
“Tell me who you are” is the meditative phrase heard over and over again echoing through an Enlightenment Intensive. Essentially it’s a modern rephrasing of the ancient Greek counsel ‘Know Thy Self’ that was inscribed on the entrance wall at the Delphic Temple of Apollo. The phrase was meant to remind and inspire pilgrims who entered the temple in search of understanding and wisdom that the only real knowledge is for one to understand oneself. Later, Socrates, one of the founders of Western Philosophy taught that one must Know Thyself to be wise. He emphasised that the unexamined life is not worth living. In the 20th Century Ramana Maharshi, the non-duality ‘who am I’ guru said that if you ‘Know Thy Self,’ you know everything.
The same wise counsel on the value of self inspection is repeated in age after after and tradition after tradition. ‘Know Thy Self’ is the aphorism at the core of the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, Western psychiatry’s Jungian psychoanalysis and the Eastern philosophy of non-dual reality.
‘Who am I’ and ‘Know Thy Self’ are brother and sister. Both are born from the same courageous and heroic tradition of self enquiring into the nature of oneself, life and others. Both requires you to ‘go to the edges’ where what you know meets the world of what you don’t know. Or more accurately what you know meets the world of what you didn’t know you knew.
My good friend Joseph Rubano offers his poetic advice in his enlightenment inspired poem:
Go To The Edges
“There is a Self you can find by going inside.
But don't go only there.
Go to the edges, stretch it thin like the skin of a drum.
Give up making only dull thuds
Give yourself up to singing.
Go to the edges
thin like the strings of a lute where whatever you know
begins to vibrate
begins to dissolve into laughter,
crazy and bizarre, mindless laughter
begins to dissolve into fears and tears at the edges
There is a wild witch waiting to be released
waiting to twist the crooked finger of your being into shape.
There is a lover who yearns to burn to the edge
where the sweet juices rise
and eyes blossom into light.
To the edges
where the unknown world of the other
waits to greet you and welcome you home.
Don't worry if there is no tea and cookies.
Don't worry if there is tea and cookies.
Go to the edges
where a dessert you never imagined is longing for your tongue.”
SELF ENQUIRY EXERCISE:
This first exercise for this first teaching is to do any activity of your choice with self reflection or mindfulness. The term ‘mindfulness’ comes to us from the Buddhist traditions and is a term increasingly used today to describe a self reflective process where you are actively observing yourself and your thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad. You are the observer or witness. It’s often described as living in the moment.
A good place to start this exercise is right here and right now. Notice yourself. Notice yourself reading these words and the meaning they have for you. Notice how your body is feeling. Do you feel relaxed? Do you feel the skin on your clothes? Mindfulness or Knowing Thy Self is as simple as observing and witnessing what your are conscious of at any given moment.
This is the first exercise. At various times of the day and for however long you choose bring your attention to this Knowing Thy Self moment. You can think of it as a ‘pause’ in your working activity, something like a healthy alternative to the coffee or cigarette break. In Australia we’d call it having a ‘cuppa’ or ‘smoko’ break. And this sort of break can be done right at your desk or what ever work activity you are engaged in. It’s a shift in conscious awareness of the present moment. As we say here in Australia, “give it a go.”
Write me your thoughts, feelings and experiences about this little Know Thy Self exercise. You can send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on FaceBook (Yoah Rishi).
Blessings and Love