Living the Presence 11-16 July 1999 Salt Spring Island, BC

We need to go beyond the pain and pleasure of life’s reactions.

Go beyond trying to control our life circumstances so that we can get life to be just right, moving beyond being driven by likes and dislikes.

Whatever I am doing, I can be present. I can be alive in it; I have this choice.

Rumi offers us a users’ manual to Jesus’ teaching.

The wisdom tradition operates in the area of “objective” knowledge. There is no arguing with it. It is passed on by oral teachings from master to student.

It requires a strong will to seek the truth of one’s being regardless of how tough the teaching gets.

We cannot understand it just with the head.

The break through comes in developing three centres:

the mind

the body (moving centre)

the heart-connection

Connection with the Divine is the real purpose of spiritual practice, not wellness, joy, happiness, or peacefulness.

We do not have to constantly re-arrange the circumstances of our lives to make things right. Beyond all this to find the inner connection is freedom.

We can’t get the true self; we can only receive it.

We can’t say “This is the real me; this is the false me”. It is all the same person.

People will hang on to their egoic perceptions until they have something to replace them with. This is what inner work does.

Waking up is different from conflict resolution. Waking up means seeing things differently.

We are mostly asleep, driven by conditioned responses.

States that are dependent upon circumstances come and go; only presence remains.

Our job is not to fix things, but just to see.

It is in this “waking up” that the change happens. Moving from sleep to awake offers the opportunity to return to God.

What if the real goal in life is not finding steady wakefulness but simply being in the process of moving from sleep to wakefulness.

Wakefulness might not be full of energy.

The lower self cannot comprehend the Divine Self.

We try to take the mystical and translate it into well-rounded doctrines; we try to make the mystical flat.

Centering Prayer is a type of boot camp in getting used to the roundedness of life. See things we can’t name or look at but still know.

Is there another way we can draw life’s energy without needing things to go our way? Can we get to the place where we are not dependent on our circumstances?

The well-spring about which Jesus talks is accessed by surrender. Surrender is not about knuckling under; it is about moving to the higher being. The soul in surrender waits for the daily manna; it doesn’t feel it has to create it.

The spiritual life is not about feeling good.

We begin to realize that depression and low points are all a part of the spiritual life. We can remain present to it in the NOW, willing to accept the circumstances of diminishment.

Stay in the NOW – one moment you can’t stand it, the next you can.

This is counter-intuitive and counter-instinctual. We move away from the peace that comes from the flesh, towards manna that comes from heaven.

No conscious work is ever wasted; it all goes into the grace bank.

Self-judgment never works. Disarm self-judgment. We may not be able to stop it from coming, but we can let it go when we see it. The seeing is given. We don`t have to do anything about it.

We find our awakening by doing the small tasks. It is not about thinking but about acquiring the taste of our essential being.

When it “doesn’t matter”, do the better work any way.