“However, at some point, either spontaneously or, in most cases, as a result of reading a book or having a conversation with a friend, some people begin to question whether or not objective experience can ever really be the source of the lasting peace and happiness for which they long. Once this recognition has taken place, it is never possible to invest our desire for lasting pleasure and happiness in objective experience with quite the same conviction again.” -Rupert Spira
Objective experience is everything that is external to oneself. Particularly, Rupert means the experience whereby we believe that the acquisition of something [a physical object, a mental state, an experience] will bring about lasting happiness. If we are caught in the game that happiness is always just around the next bend, then we are caught in what the Buddhist’s call samsara. But you’ve heard this all before. The real question is: what is the recognition he speaks of?
“Slowly, slowly, it dawned on me - why did I keep trying? The answer is very simple and almost all of you know the answer already. The answer is: once the seed has been planted, once you have been born again, you don’t have any choice!”-Ram Dass
What is this seed, and how do you plant it? It goes by different names in different traditions, and words fundamentally miss the mark, but roughly we can say it’s an unconditioned experience of deep contentment and unity.
This is what Rupert and Ram Dass are speaking of. Once you taste this, however it comes about, you’ll have a deep confidence that the external world will not be a lasting source of satisfaction. That doesn’t mean you don’t engage with phenomena, but you won’t engage from a place of existential lack. You’ll know that your treasure house is within.
We’ve all had flashes of stillness, in which thoughts, feelings and phenomena appear to drop away. But these often last for mere moments. The purpose of practice is to lengthen the duration of these flashes until unshakable confidence is attained.
In an effort to help facilitate such a flashes, many Guru’s, particularly in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, give pithy teachings on the nature of mind. Tilopa, a great master in the Kagyu tradition, has some advice. It consists of only six words in Tibetan, and thus named Six Words of Advice.
I urge you to follow each line with the totality of your being, right here and now.
It’s all about letting go, and not trying to make anything happen. Not trying to figure anything out. Resting in the ordinary profundity of your life! The American novelist Edith Wharton inadvertently gives a good summary of these teachings as well.
“If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time”
The subjective quality of this modality of existence is unspeakable - yet Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche gives it a try.
"If you were to gather all the glory, enjoyment, pleasure and happiness of the world and put it all together, it would not approach one tiny fraction of the bliss that you experience upon realizing the nature of mind."
Whatever your practice may be, may it bring you moments of profound contentment. And then - may you share those moments with the world.
It is as it is.