Yea I tell thee truly, the paths are seven through the Infinite Garden
and each must be traversed by the body, the heart and the mind as one,
Lest though stumble and fall into the abyss of emptiness.
For as a bird cannot fly with one wing, so doth the bird of wisdom
need two wings of power and love to soar above the abyss
to the Tree of Life.
For the body alone is an abandoned house seen from afar;
what was thought beautiful is but ruin and desolation when drawing near…
And the heart alone is a sun with no earth to shine upon,
a light in the void, a ball of warmth drowned in the sea of blackness…
And the mind alone is a holy scroll which has worn thin over the years,
and must be buried. The truth and beauty of its words have not changed,
but the eyes can no longer read the faded letters….
…Know this peace with thy mind,
Desire this peace with thy heart,
Fulfill this peace with thy body.
From the Essene Book of Jesus – The Sevenfold Peace
Translated by Edmund Szekley
Polish the Heart
To polish the heart is twofold. First it is letting go of everything that gets in the way of a truly open heart. Everything that we think we are, every emotion, every prejudice, every perception of others limits us. The ego is the opposite of the open heart, the ego closes our heart.
It is a brave thing to open your heart, because it makes us feel vulnerable. Even the physical movements that we use in chi kung , spreading our arms out wide are movements that make us feel vulnerable. We are completely open, but we also feel open to the cruelty of this world. To really open the heart we have to know ourselves so well, we have to feel completely at ease with ourselves.
To polish the heart is to use the tools of this course to know ourselves, to deal with all those things that limit us, to deal with anything that causes us discomfort or unease. If we don’t we feel that we are open to those things, pressing our buttons and we do not fully open the heart. We continue to be aware of those things that make us uncomfortable and we continue to work with them until we can bring love. The world is perfect, it offers us a perfect learning environment, it is a perfect reflection. What we see and feel about the world is a reflection of that which is hidden. The world is not pressing our buttons, but merely reflecting what is inside. The world offers us perfect lessons.
The second side to polishing the heart is letting the heart be the expression of the divine. With love it is easier to give than to receive. For us to accept love unconditionally is a lot harder than for us to receive unconditionally, so we satrt with the easy parts of polishing the heart and move onto the harder parts. We are learning to bring love into every circumstance and to deepen that experience of love. We continue to practice bringing unconditional love to others.
The easiest part of this is to feel love for others. It is an innate desire for us to give love. It is something that we all need to do. To give love in the meaning of this course is to do it unconditionally, not to be loved back, nor to be thanked. It is not only for those who support us but freely and openly to everyone. We continue to practice to bring love into every action and we note any tendency or desire to limit it to certain people or circumstances. We practice unconditional love.
To express gratitude is also relatively easy. We feel gratitude for this world, for whatever you believe in and for the people in our lives. We need to experience gratitude for the lessons that life offers us whether that is through illnesses or discomfort. We continue to learn to express gratitude. Our gratitude expresses our understanding of this world and the spiritual world and the way in which they interact. Full gratitude comes with knowledge and is the expression of true appreciation.
One of the hardest skills of the heart is to accept that we are loved. This is the unconditional love that the universe demonstrates for us. It is the love of heaven and earth. It is the love of God in form and non-form. We are loved unconditionally. It is the acceptance of this love that we practice. This is forgiveness, to accept this love we must let go of any sense of guilt at anything that we have ever done in our life and realise that they in no way changes the love for us. We also work on letting go of any sense of need in order to feel worthy of that love. It is the sense that there is some thing still to be done before we can be loved. We have to let go of the belief that there is something to learn, something to find, some key that will allow us to be loved completely. Nothing we have ever done has diminished that love, by even the smallest degree and there is nothing we have to do to earn that love. As we learn this we find the true meaning of peace.
Finally, and certainly for me, the hardest quality of the heart to acquire is to accept love from this world. This is the quality of seeing the truth in others. We know other people so well because we know ourselves. We know how we have seen others and therefore how others see us. We constantly judge ourselves through the eyes of others. Wee know their darkness, we know their pain, their ego and their suffering. We know how they see through human eyes. Yet every human being is also a pure vessel, a vehicle for light. To see this light in others is to see them as they really are. Wee practice seeing the light in others with the heart, not with the mind, or our prejudice but with an open heart. If we can touch the light in others we can open to accept love. This quality of the heart is like being open to receive. This is when we might feel vulnerable, we feel open to the judgement of others yet we seek thioer light.
Creating the Gap
Spiritual being is found inside, it is nowhere else. A quest for spiritual realisation does not finish, we continue to grow in light. It is the growth and change that we embrace.
There is a space between stimulus and response when we create. If we can find that space and fill it with what we choose, we create the reality we desire. Active willingness is continuing to desire to fill that space, actively participating in change, willing for change to take place. We enter the gap in thought and fill it.
Self realisation is not about thinking and playing at being enlightened, it is about being enlightened, letting it fill every aspect of life until it becomes our life. This is a fulfilling and rewarding process of change. We recognise and use our tools:
– Self awareness, of the body, the mind and emotions. Aware of our responses and aware when those responses do not represent what we choose. In recognition, acknowledge our willingness to change and then give it up.
– We deal with difficult situations. Experience them fully in order to transform them. Feel them and transform them with the emotions of love.
– Life does not stop, it goes on, we continue to grow and transform while we continue to live. Difficult situations will continue to present themselves, illness, emotions, relationships. It is how we respond that matters not that they are there.
– We get in touch with our spiritual being. We work on our spiritual connection, practice being, develop intuition. We support the world and allow ourselves to be supported. We continue our growth in order to help all humanity, but it is necessary to participate in the world. When we are inspired, act on it.
– Finally acknowledge and be who we are, our true self. Recognise the true nature of the world and of our being. Every day find gratitude for living, in its beauty and joy of the world and all those who share it with us. Experience love, joy, peace and compassion and share it through living it. Being what we are and gratitude for the world we live in, are the rocket fuel for our growth. It is the means to go beyond, to allow Spirit to enter that space, that gap between stimulus and response.
We have a choice, between our own power and the power of the world. The power of the world needs surrender, trust and gratitude. Universal power is the secret that is always present, it is the wisdom that knows what we need. To use the power, find the gap, recognise when we are not being our true self, experience it and acknowledge it, then fill the gap with love. In doing so, by using love, we respond with what we are, we choose our true nature.
Trust that all that is needed is done, fill the heart with gratitude. Do it whenever we recognise that we are not being our true self. When we cannot control it, when we find we cannot return to love, use our prayer or mantra. Call upon Spirit to help.
This is the essence of this course. We need do nothing because everything is done for us. We do not need to try because the power of the universe is there for us. Our only purpose is to devote ourselves with active willingness to the denial of guilt in all its forms. Guilt is any belief that we are anything other than perfect as God made us. Any sense of lack in ourselves, in others, or in the world at large, denies truth. Guilt is any form of separation. Yet we do not need to undo, just be active in recognition of where we are and willing to let it go, willing to change to who we are.
We are not this physical being. Yet this physical being is the only tool we have. The physical body, the emotions, the mind and our spiritual connection are the tools we have at our disposal. Be kind, gentle and nurturing to these tools, embrace them and use them but also look after them. Like any skill, practice. Chi Kung and mediation are practices to keep the tool in working order. Continue to work with other people. They are our tool.
There is one question just beyond our grasp. If we could reach it we could start to understand. There is something we cannot quite reach, something which will make everything clear, but we cannot touch it.
The answer seems beyond us, as if the mind cannot quite wrestle with the enormity, but the key to the unravelling is something simple. It feels that there is something obvious that we are missing, the mind reaches for it but all it finds is the mist of unknowing.
Stop a moment, just for a second, rest and stop searching to understand. The key is not to unravel the complexity and find, but to accept the complexity and uncertainty. If we can stop ourselves from grasping for the answer, it starts to clear. The cloud is always there. There is a veil between us and reality. The mind can never comprehend, not because of complexity or scale but because it is the mind. The only key is to stop searching and accept. Uncertainty is the way. Not knowing is where we should be. Any certainty is invalid, anything we think is true is not.
“All rational beings, angels and men, possess two faculties, the power of knowing and the power of loving. To the first, to the intellect, God who made them is forever unknowable, but to the second, to love, he is completely knowable, and that by every separate individual.” The Cloud of Unknowing.
Now rest in love of all things, this is where truth is. Love is the key. Love is real and tangible. All the skills bring us to the awareness of love’s presence. It is in all things and no thing, it is in form and non-form. We reach out into the world and into the void with love. We feel the love of God. We express love for the world. We feel compassion for mankind and gratitude for everything. With love the search to understand ceases. There is no need to comprehend when we can experience truth directly. It is as though everything has been brought together into the experience of God through love.
This is the end of the journey. The searching stops and the answer is always love. Love is not just a state of bliss, but of oneness. Love is a response and reaction to all the colours. There is love in pain and love in joy. There is love in all the shades of life. The pain of the world doesn’t disappear but we react with love. The uncertainty is always there but the reaction is the same.
Exercise – Maintaining the Tool
If your essential nature is love, then what is your physical being? It is a tool for experiencing the physical world and a tool for expressing your true nature. Like any tool it requires practice and maintenance. There are four aspects to this: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. If our life purpose is self realisation and the tool to help us to experience that is our physical body, then development and maintenance of the tool is essential. Depending on circumstances, life is a series of experiences and expressions. Every circumstance is life is an opportunity to express your nature. Therefore we develop our physical tool by choosing how best to maintain it.
Physical – maintenance of the physical body e.g.
– healthy eating
– aerobic exercise
– Tai chi
– Chi Kung
Mental – development of awareness, focus and concentration. Increased knowledge. E.g.
– Tai Chi
– Chi Kung
– mental exercise
Emotional – working with others as a learning tool, for non- judgement, seeing perfection, attachment, compassion, love etc.
– in relationships
– in families
– at work
– in social situations
– in meditation
Spiritual – developing your spiritual connection e.g.
– Tai Chi
– Chi Kung
– Being in nature
– spiritual reading
In addition extend your expression of your true nature into all activities e.g.
– blessing food and drink
– being at one with nature
– extending to plants and animals
– extending to others
– expressing through activity
– service to others