‘Be a master of your own panic…when Christ was speaking he said trust in God, trust also in me because I have overcome the world’ – Mooji quoting Jesus.
‘The perfect way knows no difficulties except that it refuses all preference’According Hubert Benoit in his approach to the teachings of Zen
Recently I listened to a deeply personal story told by a very ‘enlightened’ Christian Minister whose account described the feelings of grief and complete surreal bewilderment at the loss of her beloved first born son to kidney disease. Sometimes it feels to me that the spiritually minded (including myself) appear to chase realization as a means of feeling more complete, and to reduce the feelings of fear and panic that often arise as a consequence of the challenges we meet in life or simply through an inner disquiet. How empty this appears to me now, nothing I have ever experienced is comparable to ‘real suffering’. I live a life of relative privilege compared to many, and thanks to God, I have never had my own Child taken from me. In the space I am in with this I am asking myself what ‘inner peace’ really means without ‘faith’ and does the Atheist approach work in the face of real loss, panic and anxiety in situations where mere ‘self mastery’ does nothing to bring understanding to situations which literally appears as an act of God/ fate. If one believes oneself to have complete mastery how then can one completely surrender to the given moment and all its emotions? Hubert Benoit the French Psychiatrist said in the Psychology of transformation: “The perfect way knows no difficulties except that it refuses all preference.” In my thinking, in order to really become ‘the way’ one must have faith in ‘the way’….and on that basis I can’t personally escape from the feeling that ‘the way’ is God (or a ‘God’ substitute). I have previously tried to intellectually avoid ‘God’ via science, fate, self mastery through meditation but I cannot….’Be still and know that I am God’ Psalm 46.10 is what comes into my own mind these days…in other words accept a mastery beyond my own and accept what is given…and what a sense of peace this has brought me. Feelings of ‘Its not fair’ and ‘why me’ along with notions of awkwardness and embarrassment are often the first to spring to mind in the moments, and I just let them as we all should as part of our contract with whatever gave us the ‘humanity’ we were born with.
If I were sat as a disciple at Mooji’s feet I would ask 2 questions, I also ask the same 2 questions of Hubert Benoit the French Psychiatrist, who’s intellectual approach to enlightenment I hold in very high regard. Unlike Mooji who originally came to his own awakening via Christian Mysticism, Benoit is (I believe) an Atheist, stating in his book The Supreme Doctorine “The Gospels interest me because I find within these evidence of a profound doctorine…. Discussion concerning the personage of Jesus leaves me indifferent…”
- How would you suggest transcending physical threat. By this I mean beyond unjustness and personal attack, I refer to a threat to ones life.
- How do you trancend loss. By loss I mean loss I mean how would the enlightened one transcend the loss of a child for example.
Mooji appears to be a good one to ask. According to his biography Mooji lost his eldest son to pneumonia after his enlightenment, it is said that the bliss of his earlier awakening gave way to a profound emptiness and inner silence, the video above describes Mooji’s thoughts on fear and loss. My own reason for posing this question is because very recently I was attacked at knife point in Brazil, which I appreciate is nothing compared to losing a child. My first thought was ‘Help me God’ which in it self tells me something. As it happens It was fortunate that I did ‘scream’ as it attracted the attention of a nearby coconut seller on his bike, who’s selfless actions, where he willingly risked his own safety for mine, may have prevented something much more serious from occurring. This aside, would Mooji, Buddha or even the Dalai Lama have screamed I wonder….? Mooji would probably ask who screamed, the ‘I’ or the ‘Self’? (definitely the ‘I’) However strange things also happened. I was detached from ‘the scream’, 30 minutes later I was calmly dealing with practicalities, police etc, and I was able to continue with the work I was in Brazil to do once all of this was complete….but with caution rather than fear. For the first time in the face of something really serious the event was ‘observed’ by the ‘self’, it simply happened, I didn’t like it, it frightened me in the moment and I reacted to it to ‘preserve’ my bodily life….but that was it….and for this and everything else I am thankful. I am also thankful that if I had chosen to I could have left Rio, which is more than could be said for my 20 year old attacker and his unwilling, terrified and crying 12 year old accomplice who the police held at gunpoint on the sidewalk because he was too young to handcuff…He was a greater victim than I.
According to Mooji in the video above: Let thoughts come, let the mind panic and allow resistance to arise…don’t try and stop it, just watch it….Don’t worry about the thoughts that come such as ‘this is really overtaking me now…’just look at the thoughts, and watch thoughts such as ‘I wish I could stop this’, just let the thoughts happen. Recognize the voice that says ‘this is impossible’ as this is wood for the fire but without stopping it. Don’t look for rescue from the suffering as this puts you in the position of being a victim with the desire to change the situation, to wish it to stop. The way to deal with loss, grief or fear is to just let the feelings come…..You simply need to be aware of yourself without trying to change the picture. Just be present and let the feeling take over….Identify the fear and what you are frightened of losing, for example are you frightened of losing your life, your security etc.….Identify what threatens you, let it go through you. Don’t let the mind energise these feelings, be the master…the mind is only the servant.
Dr. Hubert Benoits thoughts on loss
True acceptance is simultaneous acceptance of my emotion and the obstacle of the world; it is my presence arbitrating the conflict without intervening in it. My presence is indifferent to the result; it is a distinct presence which, by accepting each adversary with the nature proper to it….Let us take an example. I am deprived of the presence of someone I love and I suffer. If I am asleep inwardly, my attention remains attached to this particular circumstance and my imagination continually weaves its painful embellishments. A single object is in the scope of my awareness—this absent being—and I have nothing to support my affirmation of myself. I search in vain for this support, I am swallowed up, I am afraid, I despair. If, however, I awaken innerly, then my attention is set free from this particular circumstance. It does not lose sight of it, but sees it as if at a distance, in a completely different perspective. Embracing the instantaneous totality of my life, of my situation in the world, my attention perceives not only the contents of my situation, but what contains it, which is what I am in the world in this moment and what I am as a result of my present suffering. Thus my suffering ceases to be merely a lack, an absence. Leaving the lower level of negativity, it becomes integrated in a space where bipolarity no longer reigns, where everything is affirmed. When I see it thus, I affirm myself by it. Inasmuch as it is the present material of my life, it is a legitimate and effective support for me.
These are extracts from the following website: http://www.gurdjieffclub.ru/?id=963
More on Benoit on this blog: http://pure-consciousness.com/2012/11/08/hubert-benoit-zen-and-the-psychology-of-transformation/
Both Benoit and Mooji in essence appear to be saying the same thing: As much as we need to ‘accept’ the situation itself we also need to ‘accept’ the feelings that arise within it, while being the observer (self) to the observed (I) I liken it to a Good Parent (self), Child (‘I’) relationship. The Parent gently watches the Childs tantrum, observes it as it runs its natural course before trying to bring reason and calm to all the emotion.