This is a story Mooji shared during the 2012 Silent Retreat in Tiruvannamalai. Enjoy....
"It was this story that papa[papaji] told me, I say like this, about one girl, and she was just about to get married, no, and she was, the next day, she’s getting married the next day, and she’s been planning everything for this wedding, because it’s a traditional place. And in this place, you don’t get to be with your beloved in any intimate way, until you are married. So, tomorrow is the wedding, no, tomorrow is the wedding day, yes, and so today, she must make the final arrangement. And this girl lives in the forest. She lives in the forest and she’s, now today, final arrangements, she has a few appointments. First I must go to the cake maker. And after the cake maker, I must see the dressmaker. After the dressmaker I must go and see the priest, to go through my vows. And then finally at the end of the day I will see my beloved, and we’ll have a cup of tea together, look forward to tomorrow, and then tomorrow I’ll be, we’ll be in each other’s arms, oh wonderful! And she’s full of the joys of Spring. And she’s walking out in the forest to go to see the cake maker, first appointment on the list. And after a few steps, right in front of her, steps a lion. Face to face, like this. Hungry lion also. And she can feel it’s breath….like this. Then in that instant, you see, the cake maker’s appointment is gone. Then the dressmaker, not there. The priest, not there. Only the beloved, also not there. In this moment, absolutely alone. No time, no future, no intention, no past, no identity. So the master says, “welcome the lion on your path”. Because until then, you are planning a tomorrow you don’t have, a next week that nobody promise and all of this. And our minds are full of the noise of otherness. What will bring you to this instant this moment? When will you spend one moment to be just you? Not carrying some message for tomorrow or something. You see? And it’s the habit that all of us, we have it. And so we are full of noise, claustrophobic with noise. What will strip you back to that place? Beyond time and intention, you see. How far are you from this place now? What’s left to do? What unfinished business is left to do? Before you can simply be your being, be yourself. Because the mind is not going to have a holiday. There is something that is not in the next moment, not in the past moment, also. Don’t look anywhere to find it. Even your very search to find it is already arising in it. We are missing the obvious. Don’t seek help from your mind….."
Our Common Ancestor
Recently I saw an interview on television with Jane Goodall who in 1960 began studying chimpanzees in East Africa. Her mentor, the archaeologist and anthropologist Louis Leakey, was interested in whether chimpanzees and humans exhibit similar kinds of behaviour. If they do, this would support archaeological evidence indicating we share a common ancestor. During the interview Goodall spoke about an occasion when she was walking through the bush with one of the chimpanzees she was studying and getting to know. After a while they stopped and she offered the chimpanzee a piece of fruit. Looking her in the eyes he took the fruit, dropped it, then squeezed her hand - then got up and carried on down the path. Goodall was so astonished she just sat there for a while, taking in what had happened. It seemed obvious that although he had refused the food, he wanted her to know he was grateful. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings. It was just how a human being might have responded.
She then described another scene. Some evenings the chimpanzees would gather by a waterfall. They didn’t go there for any practical reason – they weren’t going there to drink or eat or sleep. It seemed they were simply going to look. As they looked they swayed from foot to foot, as if they were dancing. Jane imagined that for them the water cascading down was a mysterious, awe-inspiring thing for “it was always flowing in, always flowing out, and always there”. In the face of this magical vision, what did they do?
Her picture of the waterfall is a perfect description of the present moment – things are always flowing in to this timeless awareness, always flowing out of it, and always present in it. Though what is in the emptiness is always changing, yet there’s always something in it. How amazing.
What is your (human!) response to the miracle of this moment, the miracle of sounds, colours, sensations and all the rest, flowing into and out of this timeless emptiness?
I love to dance!
For information about Jane Goodall:
Scientists tell us that when time began, fourteen billion years ago, something came from nothing. When you awaken to the ground of all Being, in a deep meditative state, you realize that when something came from nothing, the nothing didn't disappear. That unmanifest, unborn dimension is the ever-present ground out of which everything is still arising in every moment. It is what the Buddha called "the deathless," and what others call "eternity consciousness." When you awaken to this dimension in your own awareness, you will find yourself always already resting in the eternal moment before time began. This is the recognition that liberates: Prior to everything, I already am. The experience of this recognition is not one of becoming liberated. It is of being already liberated. What you realize when you awaken to that ground is that there is a part of each and every one of us that is already free—from everything. That part of yourself, which is the ground of Being, has never been bound, trapped, or limited in any way. That's the part of yourself that I want you to discover. It's not the part of yourself that needs to become free. It is already free, right now.
- Andrew Cohen
Wouldn’t it be just great if life suddenly became a lot easier? What if, instead of working hard to complete a project, it all just flowed together in one easy-moving path towards perfect completion?
Such is the promise of the Eastern philosophy of Wu Wei (“Woo-Way”), which promotes the idea of “doing by not doing.” When nothing is done, it says, nothing is left undone.
When nothing is done... excuse me? When I first encountered this stark contradiction I became seriously worried about my brain cells short-circuiting and melting. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that I was starting to smell smoke coming out of my ears!
Later, at an older and riper age, I began to see the idea behind the apparent contradiction. The alternative translation of “action without effort” instead of “doing by not doing” helped to clarify the original idea. I came to realize that if, instead of trying to make something happen by the usual efforts of planning, willpower and determination, you go within and see the action accomplished, then something very different happens. The action doesn’t mysteriously become accomplished by non-effort, but you experience a state of flow which enables you to move through the task with ease, grace and incredible efficiency.
A leading light in positive psychology today is Hungarian-American professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. (In case you’re wondering, his last name is pronounced, “Cheek-sent-me-high-ee.”) His focus on happiness and creativity led to the concept of flow, which is a state of concentration or complete absorption in an activity. He points out that developing a state of flow leads to higher skill development and the ability to meet higher challenges within a chosen field.
The message of Wu Wei is to develop exactly such a state of flow and to do it by developing deeper states of inner awareness. The easiest way to invoke a state of flow, therefore, is to go within, attune with your inner being and the intended task, then come out into the world of action and carry out your intuitive guidance every step of the way until the task is completed.
In a state of flow, the action is guided from within and the doer virtually vanishes into the deed.
The key to creating the desired state of flow is that, because your inner being is fully attuned with the universe, you can then act in a manner which is perfectly aligned with all other circumstances related to your work. This is how synchronicity happens and coincidences become commonplace in your life. People, ideas and materials all come together at the exact right time and in the right place because flow is an orchestration of the many, not just the one.
You can be the main person conducting the work, but the universe responds to your inner connection and brings to you everything that you need with effortless coincidence.
The message of Wu Wei is that there is a time and a place for everything to come together for effortless achievement. By intending a goal and connecting with your inner being, you start the creation of that perfect time and place by attracting all the resources you need to achieve the goal. Then, by acting exactly when the energy feels right, you express the flow of ideas and energy which pour forth from your inner being.
Achievement becomes effortless, and the realm of being has become manifest in the world of action. You will have achieved success by alignment with the realm of not doing.
Owen Waters is the author of Freedom of the: Four Powerful Steps to Spiritual Freedom. This deeply insightful e-book combines some of today's most proven and time-tested spiritual practices into one powerful and effective package.
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