Our self-image governs our experience of the world. Because of this, we never see the world of form for what it is, but only as it has been crafted, shaped, filtered, and distorted by our self image.
It would be accurate to say this: We don’t see the world as it is. We only see the world as we are.
How then might one approach the threshold, the gateway, the door to enlightenment?
When you stop thinking grand thoughts about yourself,
You will never again be jealous.
When you stop striving for material gain,
You will never again feel poor.
When you stop putting on a show,
You will never again be confused about who you are.
Spiritual growth begins
When you empty your mind,
Stop relying on your willpower,
And use your most natural self
As a foundation.
Stop your mind.
And stop your actions.
Then the natural order of thingsWes Burgess, Be Enlightened, Translation of the Tao Te Ching, Verse 3
Self-conception, jealousy, striving for material gain, putting on a show, relying on willpower, thinking, being clever, forcing and acting … all this arises from that self-image. This self-image is who we think we are. This self-image is a sense of otherness, that is the veil between the formless and form. The veil that introduces duality.
This is the separate-I that separates the continuum of No-otherness and the dance between the formless and the form.
What feeds this self-image?
This is what the Verse 3 of the Tao Te Ching points out.
When you stop feeding this self-image, the separate-I withers. The veil parts. The doorway to enlightenment opens. Flow is experienced. Separateness falls. No-otherness remains.
And how might one stop feeding this self-image?
The more we are in silence, attention gets withdrawn more from thinking, talking, acting, striving, forcing — the very elements that feed the self-image. As attention rests in silence, only Pure Awareness remains. The more we reside in that silence, self-image will wither.
When you are interacting with the world, notice all the swirling activity driven by the self-image. When you notice the arising of something from the self-image, remember the precepts of the founder of the traditional system of Reiki, Mikao Usui: No anger. No worry. Gratitude. Integrity. Compassion. These precepts point to the surrender of that self-image. Let it go. What remains is the Flow.
Return to your heart.
Anywhere, anytime, for any reason, for no reason … Take a deep breath, turn your attention to your heart center and take a dive within. Let go of the grasping and return to the silence, and the Flow. Do this just for fun, as often as you can.
Rinse and repeat 🙂
* Gateless Gate Zen art by Peter Cutler – https://zenbrushgallery.com/
* Check out the book, “What is Enlightenment? A Simple Guide.“ It clarifies what Enlightenment is, and what it is not. It also addresses preparatory practices vs direct paths to Enlightenment.
* Available now, “Awaken: An Experiential Exploration of Enlightenment” – this book guides you on the direct path of Self-Inquiry, to the experiential realization of Reality, your true nature.