I KNOW THAT ALREADY!
When we first met, Sally (going by the monastic name Swami Durgananda at the time) shared a wonderful story with me: her Guru told her to read a particular book and, upon handing her the book, her Guru said, "And don't tell me you know this already." Sally took the book and said, "But I do know this already!" One of my favorite stories! The Guru put Sally's ego in check, as any true Guru does with love for the devotee in his or her Heart. Sally reported that indeed she did have many wonderful new insights upon rereading the book.
I can't recall a time my mind has ever said "I know that already", with regard to a spiritual practices. I know there are hundreds of layers to every teaching and I'm always enthusiastic about peeling away these layers and discovering new, deeper truths and meanings. However, this time, whenever I made the intention to work with the assigned passages, my mind kept shutting me down, "I know that already." So I countered my own thought with, "Bullshit. There are so many layers. Look at it from a new perspective."
Same response: "I know this already. These have been my core practices for over 12 years."
Even just reading the passages put me into the most serene meditation on pure awareness. Isn't that the purpose of a dharana technique after all? There arose another conflict: Work with the thought "I know that already" or simply bask in the sweet expansiveness of pure awareness?
I could have continued to sit with the blissful experience of satchittananda, but it wasn't sitting well with me that my mind was convinced "I know this already". I turned that thought in on itself and contemplated what it means to believe "I know that already" with regard to these teachings.
(Note: If you've been following me on Twitter this month, you'll find several of the teachings on my feed: VASHISTA'S YOGA, On Creation. I didn't know Sally was going to teach these passages in her workshop, but upon reflection, it makes perfect sense, as they are the ones that always resonated most in the beginning of the book, and they are the core teachings of every spiritual teacher/saint/sage I have been studying for the past 26 years.)
I thought of Adi Shankara's beautiful commentary that gold jewelry was at first pure gold, is still pure gold even as a piece of jewelry, and will continue to be pure gold after it is melted down. I then reread the passage by Vashista stating the same metaphor for all that exists. I then said to myself, "I know this already", dropped the question What does it mean to know this already? into my consciousness, and sat in contemplation.
Sometimes when practicing contemplation it can take anywhere from a few seconds to several months for the answers to arise from within. The key is to not force anything, but to sit for awhile, and then get up and go about your life, trusting your intuition to reveal the answer at the appropriate time. (One or two contemplation sessions is enough for the answer to arise; be patient and "don't push the river!")
In today's contemplation, the answer was spontaneous. Here's what bubbled up to the surface from within:
"If you knew this already you wouldn't still be bound (by thoughts), jackass."
Hahaha! I will admit, this is the first time I've ever received an intuitive response where I've been called a jackass, but truly, jackass is the perfect word to describe a mind that insists, "I know that already." My Inner Guru put my ego in check! Reminds me of Baba Muktananda's famous quote regarding ashram etiquette: Leave your ego at the door.
Contemplation is brilliant because you get to the Truth and, like today, you kick your own mind's ass. (It is important as a sadhaka to be friends with your mind and remember that the mind is not the enemy. However, it's also important to put it in its place when necessary!)
In this post I hope to illustrate the importance of questioning your thoughts. Questioning your mind. Yes, I am familiar with the passages we are studying, I have worked with them extensively for over 12 years, discovering them in various forms from a multitude of teachers from many different paths. I also instinctively knew that there were more layers and a fresh perspective that could be found if I dug deep enough (the new perspective is fascinating--I will write about that in a future post). I wouldn't have found that perspective if I hadn't done contemplation.
Sally herself told me that having the thought "I know that already" is one of the greatest hindrances to growth. Indeed!
Not only has today's contemplation opened my eyes to many new ways of working with the spiritual Truths we are working with in Sally's class, but in the end I discovered--
There is a difference between knowing and realizing. Even in the context of experiential knowing.
Much Love to You All.
©2014 DL Bhakti Brophy
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Labels: Bhakti Brophy, Brahman, consciousness, contemplation, I know that already, jaibhakti, Pure Consciousness, sally kempton, satchittananda, Shakti, Shankaracharya, The Self, VASHISTA'S YOGA, Yoga Vashista