Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Satsang Food

The teacher was sharing with a satsang group, doing his best to convey the Awareness that is prior to all concepts, all thought. The apparent students were listening intently, even though the meeting room was at ground level, on a noisy street.

Several of the students were complaining, "I don't get it." Suddenly, the door opened and a street person walked in. He was haggard, thin, in filthy clothes. When he adjusted to the light, he looked around the room and said, "I am hungry. I need food. "

The apparent teacher, reached for the pad by his chair, picked up a pencil and wrote, "Food," on the slip of paper. He handed it to the street person.

The hungry man looked at the note. Then he looked at the teacher, first quizzically, then angrily. "Is this a joke? I don't want this? I can't eat words? I want real food!" The man threw the paper on the floor, and stood there glaring at the teacher.

The teacher stared back, not saying a word. Suddenly, one of the students began to laugh, "Oh my God! There is seeing this!" Then several other students began to laugh. Some saying, "Oh, it's so obvious. Oh, so simple. There is seeing."

The tattered beggar started to laugh as well. One student took out his wallet, and gave the beggar all the bills it contained. "You don't know how much you have given me tonight. Thank you so much."

Then several other students opened their wallets or purse, and gave the beggar the money they had, saying "God bless you! You have no idea what you have just revealed!"

The beggar left, blissfully happy, wondering what had just happened.

The teacher and students sat in silent awareness for a long time before they went home.


Ron Marson said...

This story reminds me of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky teachings regarding three kinds of food, or three requirements for remaining in physical bodies in phenomenal space-time. To stay alive we need (1) digestible food, (2) air, and (3) perceptual impressions. (I don't recall how water fits into this scheme, but include it in the first category as physical ingestion.)

Anyway, the teaching says that we would die in a matter of weeks or months without (1), in a matter of minutes without (2), and instantly without (3).

So what is (3) if not life sustaining Awareness prior to all concept and thought? Awareness seems to enter this mind (with space-time organizational processing), first as raw perceptual impression, then coheres into a unified perceptual field, then splits into apparently separate objects that can be named, and finally into mental representations of objects, like "food" written on a piece of paper.

What gives my life juice is attending to this food of Awareness, remaining at my mental "front door" watching Awareness pour in as raw perceptual impression. And the astonishing thing is, THIS is not raw at all, nor does it pour in. What pushes into the mind and gets interpreted as raw novelty, change and movement is prior to "creation" an "unchanged field of potential" as you say in an earlier post. Other pointer words typed into cyberspace or written on paper might be: light, pristine clarity, here-now, silence, stillness, and, yes, food. This exquisite, subtle, indestructible food that sustains everything, that NEVER goes away, but can be unattended, so very easily overlooked, veiled in layers of life-drama.

"I" is also this haggard, thin, hungry street person standing in filthy clothes, God in disguise, whenever I think I've got THIS all figured out.

Maury said...

It's impressive how well you listen to what is written. I believe I may use some of these words differently. You say "Awareness seems to enter this mind..."

The experience perceived in this body-mind is different. Awareness is what I am. Awareness uses the mind to perceive form. Without the foundation of Awareness, the mind would be dead.

When objects enter Awareness as perception, interpreted by the mind, then things become conscious. The mind may or may not think about them, may or may not take action.

You say, "Watching Awareness pour in...." Again it is the reverse here. Awareness allows consciousness to pour in. I am blank until form arises from sensations, perceptions, thoughts, etc.

Awareness is prior to everything embodied. All body-minds are in Awareness, and all consequent thought comes after.

That field is what we are. Awareness does appear to become aware of itself via a body-mind. But the body mind does not grasp Awareness, rather Awareness sees itself as the basis for the body-mind. And then Awareness knows that any consciousness of any form whatsoever in the universe rests on it being there first. So Awareness becomes conscious of itself. This is realization.

Hard stuff to write about, isn't it?

Ron Marson said...

Yes. This is very hard stuff to write about. And I love your precision and clarity. What comes to mind for me metaphorically, as I read your words is this:

Awareness is this infinitely deep, calm, timeless pool of impersonal "I-is". Personal "I-am" consciousness remains as blank, silent, still potential until "it" bubbles forth into space-time as phenomenally separate objects on the surface of Awareness. From their tiny vantage points of separation, conscious points of view identify with bubble-ness; see other bubbles as larger or smaller; try (in vain), to conceptualize this Pool that sustains everything; remain discontent to be the Pool which we everlastingly are. For how long does this go on? Until each bubble pops! This can happen either during this apparent lifetime, or at the end of this apparent lifetime. (For me it seems to happen over and over and over like a boiling pot!)

Keeping his metaphor in mind makes me wonder: (1) You write: "Awareness is what I am." Would it be more precise to say: "Consciousness is what I am? (2) You say: "objects enter Awareness as perception..." Would it be more precise to say: "Awareness displays consciousness as perception...?"