Why not pause before reading on by clicking on the Pause button.
As part of class a couple of weeks ago we were looking at a prayer written by an early Greek Stoic, Cleanthes, which embodied much Stoic thinking. As a result of this it arose that a good thing to do for homework would be to write a prayer of our own. Although this was greeted with some enthusiasm from some, it was evident that for others it wasn’t considered to be such a great idea. You could feel the thought arising: ‘This isn’t my sort of thing.’ That being said when it came to it there were some lovely prayers submitted. As they came in I circulated them to the others in the class.
This was the last one received:
Ineffable is your nature
yet by you the night is sweet,
by you the darkness cleanses my soul
and by you, as I look, the moon
is moving without movement
miraculously above the rooftops
in the next street
I could say more, for by you
how quiet the wind hush swirling mists of sound
alive and transparent breezes that chuckle in the shadows
refresh the murky corners of my mind
no not by themselves but by some Ineffable no name
I call you
When I told the person who sent it in how much I appreciated his prayer, he said: ‘Well, I wasn’t going to bother but when I saw what the others had sent in I thought I’d better.’
Thank goodness he did. As the reflection below suggests there is much to be said for transcending imagined limitations.
All the best, William
Self assessment is always a useful thing, self criticism never. One of the most destructive things that you can do is to spend your time feeling negative about yourself. Taking a quiet look at what works and what doesn't work is not this at all. When the energy is flowing assess why. Don't do this in any self congratulatory sort of way. Just consider what it is about the conduct of heart and mind that has removed the obstacles. Open yourself to what is there to be known, both outwardly and inwardly. One of the things that might well be known, if only by its absence, is the block. Here's a rather telling observation. It's by a computer engineer:
I've had the most terrible four days. There was a most disastrous computer failure. We went through everything searching for the fault. We worked way into the night. I say it was terrible, but actually that's wrong. It should have terrible, but every time I felt the usual set of emotions come crowding in I remembered what we've been practising and simply let them go. I remembered: 'Not this, not this.' I wasn't all this anger and frustration. Remembering that brought me back to myself and allowed me to see the situation clearly and intelligently. It even gave me a sense of the whole task. When that was remembered then the time didn't matter, the whole thing simply had to unfold, but unfold under observation. This is something worth remembering.
It's worth remembering because without some degree of self assessment, nothing is remembered, and the next wave of claims and involvement roll in and you're lost in the usual set of identifications that create the block to intelligence and creativity. The thing about this matrix is that it has a name written right through it: ME It’s ME that gets angry and frustrated. It's ME that is unable to see when new possibilities start to enter, and because they cannot be seen, these possibilities slip away as quietly as they came. There is no chance of building on your insights when ME prevails. When there is even a little relief from ME, things begin to change.
Here's another observation. Whilst reading it it's useful to consider what happened before the habitual reaction would have normally slotted into place.
Increasingly I find that I am being asked to speak publicly. I've always refused, saying that I couldn't do it. I am not a natural speaker. It would be a disaster etcetera. Then last week I was asked again. I paused before answering. On the instant I accepted the engagement and knew what I had to do.
I contacted an actor friend of mine and asked her to train me. We made a date, but when the day arrived I found myself thinking up every excuse not to go: 'Haven't got the time. Won't enjoy it. She's too busy. It's beyond me…'
I paused and knew I had to go!
It turned out to be great and has changed my whole outlook. I feel far more confident and actually look forward to being asked again.
In that moment of pause, there arises recognition, not recognition of all those adopted impediments which we mistakenly believe has something to do with ME, but a recognition of what is there essentially. This is the practice of Self Remembering. When that is returned to all kinds of possibilities open up to us. We access out strengths and by using them become confident about their validity and more confident in our selves, our real selves. This is how to strengthen strength.
When everything seems to be working well,
when the power is there to accomplish what is being asked of you,
consider the factors that are at play.
Then strengthen your strength
by constantly returning to the source of strength.