For a long time, likely many years, to simply bring the attention to the present moment, seeing oneself as one is, working with a relaxed body, a quiet mind and a willing heart. One could call it practicing mindfulness. It is that, yes, but not only that. It is to turn inward, not towards a quiet mind, but rather to turn inward with a quiet mind towards the body itself, resting the attention there, not looking for any sensation, not trying to feel anything, just residing. It is a long practice.

After years this daily work of attention, acting like rain falling on a rock, gradually causes one’s very body to become more permeable. It is an astonishment to realize how dense and impenetrable one has been one’s whole life.  It is a long and gradual process, and when one is identified with the result it only slows down the process, making the road longer still.

Slowly, over time, that which is inside, hidden and hitherto uncared for, begins to emerge. It is the part of oneself that is real. Its coming forth is the result of something, also real, that is from above, which is finally able to enter one’s newly permeable body; entering and calling to that real part of oneself, issuing an invitation to come and join. Then real joy appears, a joy without an object of desire, a joy that simply exists. As there is no object, this joy is not a subject, not conditioned, not limited. It appears, but was never gone. 

This substance that manifests as joy nourishes the body, not metaphorically, but in fact. The cells of the body are fed by this joy,  glowing with a kind of vivification. This joy feeds not only the body, but also the heart. For this joy is love, a love that the heart recognizes as itself. They are identical. The heart realizes that it itself is simply an expression of this joy, this love.

And the mind also participates. This joy, perceived by the mind as wordless consciousness, calls to the mind in its own language. The mind becomes still, finally at rest in the embrace of a consciousness that is unimaginably vast. The mind’s still awareness resides within the larger awareness, and, just as moonlight is simply reflected sunlight, the mind of the seeker and this vast consciousness are the same thing, differing in magnitude, but in reality, differing not at all.

But there is always the clear and present danger to believe that one has reached some goal, when, in fact, one has only discovered the entrance to the path, nothing more. Meanwhile the days of one’s life fall through the hourglass, one after the other. If one gift could be given, may it be the gift of a real sense of urgency, for it is so easy to tarry, confusing the effect for the cause, and it is for the cause that one must seek. It is the journey of one’s life.

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