Saturday, October 2, 2010

Follow Your Bliss

 I say follow your bliss and don't be afraid and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.  
- Joseph Campbell
One point of the wisdom teachings, and of meditation, is to discover the source of bliss. This sounds curious or eccentric to anyone who hasn't had the experience of it.  But when I started to sit, I was surprised to discover that right from the outset, even though I was never conscious of anything during meditation other than the effort of staying put, that afterwards feelings of bliss would spontaneously arise. In the books I was reading, one was encouraged never to pursue these feelings or get attached to them, which is probably good advice. But they nevertheless continued to occur.

Now an experienced meditator, as noted, does not get too attached to this, and also there are many ways in which the mind will continue to throw up obstacles even when these episodes of ananda have begun to occur. But over time it becomes a part of your everyday experience.  Hence the saying 'follow your bliss'. Through meditation, you learn 'where' in experience the source of this feeling is. This is one of the meanings of 'the gateless gate' or 'the gate of nothing'. Our normal consciousness, our normal attention, is always focused on something, on achieving some outcome, doing and getting. Meditative awareness is simple awareness of what is. After a while, you learn where this bliss arises from. But even then, it is still not something that the thinking mind, the 'I', can really get hold of.

Accordingly I have noticed that  things happen when I persist with meditation, even though I don't really notice anything occurring, on the conscious level. I will be sitting there, mostly concentrating on staying put, but things are happening. But 'the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing'. This is why it is impossible to explain this type of understanding - you don't even really understand it yourself in an articulate or conscious kind of way. But on the other hand, you understand it very well on an instinctive and intuitive level.

Where this is heading is to a most wonderful love affair. Most love affairs are intoxicating but transient. Here there is the opportunity to find a love that does not die. One has to seduce wisdom, by becoming attractive to her. One must know what she likes, by spending the time to understand her wishes. When one awakens to the spirit of the mysterious love of wisdom, to Sophia, one will find a love that never dies.

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