“The holy instant is the result of your determination to be holy. It is the answer. The desire and the willingness to let it come precede its coming. You prepare your mind for it only to the extent of recognising that you want it above all else. It is not necessary that you do more. Indeed it is necessary that you realise that you can do no more. It is your realization that you need do so little that enables you to do so much.” A Course In Miracles
This is the nub of the course, the very essence of the course is central to this teaching. The rest of the course expands from here developing from this foundation. The need to do nothing is an essential truth, which will, hopefully, stay with us, and develop within us, for the rest of our life.
Let us go back to the beginning of the course to two of the things we said. First this is a spiritual course, that the purpose of this course is to help us to develop knowledge of our spiritual self. Secondly that Spirit is the teacher of the course. Yet although Spirit is the teacher, I stand up and talk, I prepare the material and I lead the activity. This is a paradox, a contradiction, and the contradiction is true as a spiritual teaching. Paradoxes are an essential part of spiritual teaching. They are necessary because we, the people being taught, do not yet recognise, completely, our spiritual wholeness and therefore we are still locked into our human existence. So we need to see something physical in front of us, something for us to do, some action, some ability to understand. This is our need to see things from our position. Yet the ‘absolute’ truth is that Spirit is the teacher and the only teacher . What the activity is doing is satisfying a human need that we all have. We cannot get to spiritual truth through human lessons, only through the teaching of Spirit. Yet the purpose of the human lessons is to lead us to Spirit.
The whole basis of this course is founded on another paradox, that we do not need to do anything to achieve our spiritual truth, while at the same time doing Chi Kung, meditation, reading and exercises. The absolute truth is that we need do nothing while from our relative human position we still need activity to focus us on our goal. We need to have things which satisfy our human need. We need exercises and activities to give us something to grasp and to help us to develop our human self. So while we say “I need do nothing.” to develop our spiritual self and this is the ‘absolute’ truth, from a relative position we still need to satisfy our human need for something concrete to do.
Paradox is the basis of all spiritual truth. It comes from two essentially different perspectives on the world. We see the world from our own perspective, as an individual, with separate views and ideas developed through our own experience of life. The alternative view is the absolute perspective, seeing the world from the eyes of the universe, without prejudice, without judgement and seeing the total picture.
The absolute perspective sees the world as it really is, not clouded by individuality. In absolute terms we are part of the world and as part of the world we are part of its power, its wisdom and its love. We do not have to seek power, wisdom or love we are these things. Once we recognise who we are, our true nature, then we see our potential. Yet to realise our potential there is nothing we need to do. So when we say we need do nothing that is the absolute view. We are already perfect and there is nothing we need do. Doing nothing is the recognition of the certainty of the outcome.
The relative view is the individual view. From a relative perspective we see our own human faults and failings and feel the need to do something to change. While our spiritual side is perfect and we need do nothing to attain it, at the same time we are stuck in our human side and need to progress. We need human activity to reach a state which will allow us to understand and explain our perfection. This becomes the balance of the course. At the same time as doing exercises and meditation to develop our human side we also recognise the need to do nothing and to be with our spiritual side.
We cannot be in a state of perfection until we have, to some extent, prepared the human side to accept the experience. The two go hand in hand, continuing to work on the human aspects of our being and also gradually spending time in, or near, a state of spiritual perfection.
This spiritual self that we seek, operates in a completely different way to our human perception of ourselves. This spiritual being is part of a whole or unity, it is connected to the universal life force and all the power and wisdom that contains. As we try to remove barriers to our spiritual perfection another truth dawns on us. The more we criticise ourselves, think that there is anything wrong with us, even at a human level the less we are able to accept our perfection.
As we work to clear away our human perception to allow spiritual perception, we are reinforcing our belief in our selves as a separate, individual being. We reinforce our belief in ourselves as a powerful individual able to change and therefore not accepting ourselves as a powerful connected being.
All our effort, all our struggling, does not get us there, yet without the effort we will not succeed either, because one must first know what we desire. Like meditation, the ultimate aim is to do nothing, but we cannot learn to do nothing at first, because at first we must learn something.
This is what it means to do nothing. The world is as it is. We do not have to make an effort to be as we are, but first we need to recognise who we are. The more we try to understand, the more we try to undo, the more we seek our goal, then we fail to just be.
While we use our human self to bring about change we are at the same time reinforcing our separation, our belief that we are separate and not part of the totality. Therefore we need to find a way to change which does not reinforce separation. This involves recognition of our need to change by observing our human side, a devotion to our goal and also to surrender and let Spirit make the change for us.
A constant awareness and openness to change, using the world to identify the area we choose to change and then allowing Spirit to take action on our behalf. We need do nothing to change our human side because it is perfect too. Our human side is providing all the lessons that we need, in order to grow.
Look at the birds above your head, they neither plant nor reap
they neither store nor hoard, yet day by day God gives them food
Look at the flowers beneath your feet,they neither card nor spin
they neither sow nor weave, yet King Solomon shone less brightly than they
Absolute and Relative
From Advanced course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism by Yogi Ramacharaka
Much of the occult truth is written in the form of paradox – showing both sides of the shield. This is in accordance with nature’s plan. All statements of truth are but partial statements – there are two sides to every argument – any bit of truth is but a half truth, hunt diligently enough and you will find the opposite half – everything “is and it isn’t” – any full statement of truth must of necessity be paradoxical. This is because our finite point of view enables us to see but one side of a subject at a time. From the point of view of the infinite, all sides are seen at the same time – al points of a globe being visible to the infinite seer, who is also able to see through the globe as well as around it.
The key to understanding these truths, lies in the ability to distinguish between the “relative” or lower, point of view and the “absolute” or higher one. Remember this well, for it will help you see into many a dark corner – to make easy many a hard saying.
Let us apply the test to these four precepts. We are told to “kill out ambition”. The average man recoils from this statement, and cries out that such a course would render man a spiritless and worthless creature, for ambition seems to be at the bottom of all man’s accomplishments. Then as he throws down the book, he sees in the fourth precept: “ work as those who are ambitious” – and unless he sees with the eyes of the spiritual mind, he becomes more confused than ever. But the two things are possible – yes and absolutely feasible as well as proper……….
True occultism does not teach that a man should sit around doing nothing but meditating, with his gaze fastened upon his umbilicus, as is the custom with some of the ignorant fakirs and devotees, who ape the terms and language of the Yogi teachers, and prostitute their teachings. On the contrary, it teaches that it is man’s duty and glorious privilege to participate in the world’s work, and that he who is able to do something a little better than it has ever been done before is blessed, and a benefactor to the race. It recognises the divine urge to create, which is found in all men and women, and believes in giving it the fullest expression. It teaches that no life is fully rounded out and complete, unless some useful work is part of it. It believes that intelligent work helps toward spiritual unfoldment, and is in fact necessary to it. It des not teach that the beauty of unintelligent drudgery – for there is no beauty in such work – but it teaches that in the humblest task may be found interest to the one who looks for it, and that such a one always finds a better way of doing the thing, and thus adds something to the world’s store of knowledge. It teaches that real ambition – that love of work for work’s sake – rather than that work which is performed for the world’s counterfeit reward. Therefore when the precept says “kill out ambition … work as those who are ambitious”, you will understand it. …….
Read over these words, until you fully grasp their meaning – until you feel them as well as see them.
I Need Do Nothing
From A Course In Miracles 18.VII
Your way will be different, not in purpose but in means. A holy relationship is a means of saving time. One instant spent together is a means of saving time. One instant spent together with your brother restores the universe to both of you. You are prepared. Now you need but to remember you need do nothing. It would be far more profitable now merely to concentrate on this than to consider what you should do. When peace comes at last to those who wrestle with temptation and fight against the giving in to sin; when the light comes at last into the mind given to contemplation; or when the goal is finally achieved by anyone, it always comes with just one happy realisation: “ I need do nothing.”
Here is the ultimate release which everyone will one day find in his own way, at his own time. You do not need this time. Time has been saved for you because you and your brother are together. This is the special means this course is using to save you time. You are not making use of this course if you insist on using the means which have served others well, neglecting what was made for you. Save time for me by only this one preparation, and practice doing nothing else. “I need do nothing” is a statement of allegiance, a truly undivided loyalty. Believe it for just one instant and you will accomplish more than is given to a century of contemplation, or of struggle against temptation.
….. To do nothing is to rest, and make a place within you where the activity of the body ceases to demand attention. Into this place the Holy Spirit comes and there abides. He will remain when you forget, and the body’s activities return to occupy your conscious mind.
Yet there will always be this place of rest to which you can return. And you will be more aware of this quiet centre of the storm than all its raging activities. This quiet centre, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent. From this centre you will be directed how to use the body sinlessly. It is this centre from which the body is absent, that will keep it so in your awareness of it.
Exercises with Others
Our time spent with other people is important. They offer us the opportunity to grow. This month we start to use the time with other people to observe that there is another way to see the situation.
Whenever we are in a situation where we feel uncomfortable, try to think that there is an alternative way to see the situation. While we might feel uncomfortable from a human perspective we also want to recognise that this is a an opportunity to learn and see it from an absolute perspective. When we feel uncomfortable, say to ourselves “In some way this is perfect for me.” If necessary repeat it several times. This exercise allows us to acknowledge an alternative perspective and also allows us to withdraw from the situation.
Every time we judge another, that judgement reflects a judgement of our self. Whatever fault or failing we see in someone we see is really inside us. Yet at the same time others offer us salvation. It is in others that we see our faults reflected and it is in others that we can also choose to see our perfection reflected. If, only for an instant, we are able to see beyond the physical, to see beyond the body and the mind, beyond the emotions, to the truth within another, then in that same instant we recognise the truth within us. This is the Holy Instant, the recognition of the perfection within our self, beyond the physical. In this lies salvation.
When we meet someone, recognise what we are feeling and examine any fears. Look at them as they really are, recognise their fears and their qualities. Feel compassion for them, non-judgement for them and for ourselves. Love is the opposite of fear.
The Pooh Way
From The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
By the time it came to the edge of the forest the stream had grown-up, so that it was almost a river, and being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, “There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” Now we come to what could be called the most characteristic element of Taoism-in-action. In Chinese, it is known as Wu Wei. It is also the most characteristic element of Pooh-in-action. In English, it is not know as much of anything in particular. We believe that its time that someone noticed it and called it something, so we will call it the Pooh way.
Literally Wu Wei means “without doing, causing, or making.” But practically speaking, it means without meddlesome, combative, or egotistical effort. It seems rather significant that the character Wei developed from the symbols for a clawing hand and a monkey since the term Wu Wei means no going against the nature of things; no clever tampering; no monkeying around. The efficiency of Wu Wei is like that of water flowing over and around the rocks in its path- not the mechanical, straight-line approach that usually ends up short circuiting natural laws, but one that evolves from an inner sensitivity to the natural rhythm of things. Lets take an example from the writings of Chuang-Tsu.
At the Gorge of Lu, the great waterfall plunges for thousands of feet, its spray visible for miles. In the churning waters below, no living creature can be seen. One day K’ung Fu Tsu was standing at a distance from the pool’s edge, when he saw an old man being tossed about in the turbulent water. He called to his disciples, and together he ran to rescue the victim. But by the time they reached the water, the old man had climbed out onto the bank and was walking along, singing to himself.
Kung Fu Tsu hurried up to him, “You would have to be a ghost to have survided that” he said, “but you seem to be a man instead. What secret power do you have?”
“Nothing special,” the old man replied. “I began to learn while very young, and grew up practising it Now I am certain of success. I go down with the water and come up with the water, I follow it and forget myself. I survive because I don’t struggle against the water’s superior power. That’s all.”
When we learn to work with our own inner nature, and with the natural laws operating around us, we reach the level of Wu Wei. Then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort. Since the natural world follows that principle, it does not make mistakes. Mistakes are made, or imagined by man, the creature with the overloaded brain who separates himself from the supporting network of natural laws by interfering and trying too hard. Not like Pooh the most effortless bear we’ve ever seen.
“Just how do you do it, Pooh?”
“Do what?” asked Pooh
“Become so effortless.”
“I don’t do much of anything,” he said.
“But all those things of yours get done.”
“They just sort of happen,” he said.
“Wait a minute. That reminds me of something from the Tao Te Ching,” I said, reaching for a book. “Here it is chapter thirty seven. Translated, it reads something like, ‘Tao does not do, but nothing is not done.’”
“That sounds like a riddle,” said Pooh.
“It means that Tao does not force or interfere with things, but lets them work in their own way, to produce results naturally. Then whatever needs to be done is done.”
“I see,” said Pooh.
“In Chinese the principle would be Wei Wu Wei ‘ do without doing.’ From Wei Wu Wei comes Tzu Jan, ‘self So.’ That means that things happen by themselves spontaneously.”
“Oh I see,” said Pooh.
When you work with Wu Wei, you put the round peg in the round hole and the square peg in the square hole. No stress, no struggle. Egotistical desire tries to force the round peg in the square hole and the square peg into the round hole. Cleverness tries to devise craftier ways of making pegs fits where they don’t belong. Knowledge tries to figure out why round pegs fit round holes but not square holes. Wu Wei doesn’t try. It doesn’t think about it. It just does it. At its highest level, Wu Wei is indefinable and practically invisible, because it has become a reflex action. In the words of Chuang-Tsu, the mind of Wu Wei “flows like water, reflects like a mirror and responds like an echo.”
Using Wu Wei you go by circumstances and listen to your own intuition. “This isn’t the best time to do this. I’d better go that way.” Like That. When you do that sort of thing, people may say you have a sixth sense or something. All it really is, though, is being sensitive to circumstances. That’s just natural It’s only strange when you don’t listen.
Exercise – Surrender
This course has two clear parts; Firstly to increase our knowledge of our human self, through self awareness. But there is also another aspect which is the foundation of this course which is that we have a spiritual side, which has been hidden and we also want to make that known to us as well.
The foundation of this course is the relationship between ourselves and the unifying creative force. This relationship is based on a permanent unchanging love. It is unconditional. There is no need to do anything to create or develop this relationship it is always there and always has been. We only need to surrender and accept this love.
Surrender is the process of stepping back into the arms of the Divine. We do not do anything but accept the reality of truth. We do this by merely saying thank you, feeling gratitude for all the blessings in our life, accepting that everything we are faced with in life is an opportunity for us to grow. In whatever circumstances you find yourself in, however it seems to you on the surface, recognise the perfection in your life.
As often as you can, pause and observe the situation you find yourself in, take a deep breath, feel the positivity inside yourself and say “I surrender to the universal will”. Just be at one with God and truth.
Meditation Exercise – Just Sitting
This is an exercise in doing nothing, just sitting and being in the present moment. We prepare and open ourselves in the same way and spend time settling the breath and opening the centre. Then we just sit with whatever is going on at this moment in time.
We do nothing, the mind thinks of nothing, it is just observing. Almost certainly the mind will wander, but once we notice that it has wandered we just bring it back and observe again. Be aware of everything, but do not let the mind get involved. There might be some sound, hear it, accept it and don’t think about what it is or give it any meaning.
This quality of observing will get stronger the more it is practised. It is also a good idea to spend some time doing it with the eyes open, aware of the sights around you, but not getting involved.
Whatever you are feeling is fine. Just sit with it.
In meditation there is a precious time between the depth of meditation and full awareness when we are most open to insight, guidance and wisdom. Try to take time when you come out of meditation to just be in this space. Try not to rush back into complete alertness. Let the meditative state come back with you. Let the experience of the meditation return into your conscious mind. Often in these moments as your conscious mind becomes more active an insight or a flash of understanding becomes clear to you. Usually this knowledge is marked with the quality of simplicity. Often when we gain spiritual knowledge it is far simpler than the intellectual mind thinks it is . At the end of meditation just take your time and let the deepest wisdom come to you.