Going Inward

by stewart

“Be still, and know that I am God. . .”

Psalm 46:10


Meditation is an exercise that is considered by many as essential to the spiritual journey. Similarly ‘being still and going inward’ is also central to spiritual development. Both skills are natural, develop over time, and are important to help identify the different levels of consciousness operating.

While both skills are natural, often, the spiritual traveler has trouble getting started and needs guidance. Also there are levels of ability with both practices and, for most people, preparation with a teacher is necessary to reach their goal.

The following 2 pieces discuss factors involved in unlocking the potential of meditation, and being still/going inward.

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Being Still

Q: How to shut off the ramblings of the everyday mind and hear the whispering of the heart?

A: Several weeks ago, independent of each other, 2 people mentioned they wished they could learn how to go inward; they were having a difficult time of it. Since much of the spiritual journey involves going inward- listening to inner perceptions- they wondered how this inner learning/awareness might be facilitated. They wanted to be instructed/shown how to do this.

For well over 3 weeks, I have been thinking about their request. During this period several thoughts occurred to me.

  • Part of Everyone’s Education. At first I was surprised by this request since both of these people had spent much time traveling on spiritual paths and tried many different exercises. For both, I have supplied exercises and books with different instruction. Still they were having a difficult time. I wondered why this wasn’t part of everyone’s basic education. Weren’t they taught in school, how to sit still, and turn-off the noise in their head and use their own basic capacity to create?

  • Going Inward Part of Being Human. I remember Idris Shah talking about prayer. I am paraphrasing here, but basically he said, people can be given certain prayers to say, but cannot be taught how to pray. Prayer is basic communication between the seeker and that which is Most High. It is a natural expression of the seeker’s need in relation to the Source.

  • Going Inward Can’t be Taught. In my view, going inward is much the same. People can be given spiritual exercises, told to go on long walks in the quite forest, meditate for hours and be told to simply sit quietly and listen to their thoughts. These are all devices to begin to the listen to the different streams of consciousness which arise in our head, heart and soul. And the quietest voice, hidden beneath all the others, is that of spiritual intuition- it is very much like a whisper. It comes forward when the rest of the consciousness is relatively still; and the listener must bravely go inward, pushing the other voices aside- often using a focus word- and wait until this inner knowing comes forward.

  • Natural Ability. Also it seems to me some people may be better at this than others. What might come more easily to some might be a long, long slow tedious labor to others.

  • Expectation Blocks The Door. One of the major road blocks in this inner journey is expectation. ‘Look I have been following this exercise, doing everything right, when is this thing going to happen?’ Usually it doesn’t happen under this circumstance. The consciousness must be in a neutral position where you are merely observing what is taking place and pushing aside thoughts which are not the goal, while another part of the consciousness is focused on the goal – using a device like a focus word. The seeker must be able to hold both sets of consciousness in their mind at the same time and await the emergence of this third stream.

  • Diversity of Experience. To further complicate matters, there is any number of inner spiritual experiences and they manifest under different conditions. However, all of these generally occur when the everyday consciousness is in a neutral position and the seeker is listening to their own inner awareness.

  • Everyone is Different. Seekers have many different spiritual capacities which they bring with them; these can be enhanced through training and spiritual work. They cannot be learned.

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Wisdom: Why It Cannot be Given Away?

The Exemplar exists to show the traveler what is possible.

If you are lucky enough to find a wise man or woman don’t be surprised if they don’t dispense wisdom like a coca-cola machine. Wisdom is not the type of thing that can be offered to another person like an afternoon cup of coffee; it is a personal capacity that is developed over time, enriched by life experience and bestowed through spiritual Grace.

Also wisdom is individual and specific to time, place and people. So one traveler’s wisdom or set of instructions and insights might mean nothing or seem like gibberish to another.

Even if a wise one wants to offer you some wisdom, often they are not able. The circumstances have not come together for this to occur.

Usually in the beginning of the journey spiritual travelers are incapable of listening or perceiving because they have not learned, through their own life experience, the capacity to hear or connect with this type of subtle, energy instruction. In our day, we term this readiness to learn; in other times it was called capacity to listen to your heart or soul.

So you ask, why seek out a wise one, if for the most part they are not able to share their wisdom? Because what they can give you is preparation which is necessary for you to develop your own Truth and Knowing. If you are lucky enough to spend time with a wise one, you can learn everything from the smallest of their movements, attitude toward another and the loving energy they emanate.

This capacity to perceive subtle spiritual energy is termed attunement: the wise first show you how to find and listen to your own your inner current; this is done by projecting Grace (Baraka) upon the traveler’s heart and then sharing this Grace among travelers of the wise one’s learning circle. During this energy exchange and spiritual preparation, individual exercises, prayers, readings and life assignments may also be given to help the traveler learn.

What you can receive from books written by the wise are exercises, preparations and words that inspire. These books may even lift you up and make your heart sing, but this wisdom is not your own song of knowing.

Above all, the wise are an example, a road sign to help you travel, develop along the Path and find your own way Home.

Wisdom is not fine words or advisory statements; wisdom is personal understanding and action which is in accord with the Divine Plan.


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