Updated: Jun 23, 2022
I have learned something valuable from the Spiritual Coffee Shop (https://www.gardenoffriends.com/ ) group. For awhile, I have expressed the belief that I’ve used thoughts mostly to build walls, separate myself from others. There is some truth to that, but I know that thoughts are neither good nor bad. I said they don’t solve psychological problems. Again, that’s partially true. But sometimes, in speaking, I might “overplay my hand,” or exaggerate.
It helps me to listen to the responses, hear what I’m missing. What Walter Ceccini and Priyam Saini said is also true: When you are quiet and open, often in meditation, a solution will appear to you. It comes from a place beyond thought, but it often manifests through thought. So thought can indeed help us solve even internal problems if those thoughts emerge from the right "place."
Krishnamurti said that we’re most ourselves when we’re totally lost in what we’re doing. But I asked Rupert about that, and he said, “It depends.” I’m paraphrasing, but my understanding of his answer was that it depends on whether we’re connected to our source, the True Self, when we act. So returning to the source, or as Holger always reminds us, just being that source, will fix our thinking: our thinking will rise out of that source, the true self. Obviously, first, we have to discover that source, that True Self.
I had read Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta off and on for about 50 years, but there was always a gap. Their reality seemed so distant from mine. Though they talked about the “I,” I could never find that first foothold to realizing it. Awareness was too veiled or clouded (whatever metaphor you want to use to describe the separation) until I found Rupert. It helped that he comes from a Western culture, knows the resistances and barriers we have. He can carefully help us find our balance, take us to the threshold. I do believe that, sometimes, you need help from someone more advanced.
Sometimes, when I try to speak about the true Self and my connection to it, my language skills collapse. We must use metaphors as a concession to the separate self, which only experiences the physical world. The true self is beyond language, and really, language is almost entirely metaphor: words refer to things in the physical world. If we use the words God, or soul, or awareness, the word is still a representation for the actual “being” or the experience.
Just as language is metaphorical, in a way, our physical selves are representations. They are expressions of the true Self. That Self finds a different expression, a different manifestation, in each of us. In some, it expresses more clearly, more completely; in others, it’s more veiled, harder to detect. Some appear to be completely cut off from it.
I’ve found that language and thoughts can be illuminating. I also know they can be deceptive and lead us away from the True Self. Even in a Zoom meeting, we can detect authenticity, sincerity, and true awareness. We usually know what the individual represents, what’s beneath the surface. Of course, the physical plane can be deceptive; we can be fooled. But for the most part, I feel I’ve gotten to know the people on the Zoom calls, and I consider many of them my friends.
Many on the calls are in the field of psychology. Some are in grad school. Some have expressed frustration that the non-dual perspective isn’t accepted in academia. I experienced that in grad school in English: You couldn’t talk about “spirituality” as it applied to poetry. I think it’s because the Humanities have a materialist perspective just like the sciences. Part of this comes from a Marxist (or old leftwing) bias (“religion is the opiate of the masses”), and part of it is that the industrial and tech revolutions forced the Humanities to compete with the sciences for credibility and money. But even if you can’t overcome the myopic academic paradigm, I’m hoping your True Self will be evident in your practice. Your patients will see it shining through and respond to it.