To those spiritual aspirants who couldn’t simply realize their true nature by dint of purely being in his silent presence, Sri Ramana Maharshi would say, “You are the supreme consciousness.” And if this too proved ineffectual, as it often did, he moved down one more level to meet seekers where they were. And in many cases, at this point he offered them two options: either inquire into who you really are (atma vichara) or surrender everything to God (bhakti yoga).
Surrender, if it is to be worth its salt, must be total. There is no such thing as half-surrender or quarter-surrender. In surrender, I realize my helplessness (in a metaphysical sense) and understand, in my heart, that everything belongs to God. You might say that this moment is the true beginning of prayer.
All contemplative prayer is about putting everything on the line. To do so is an act of boundless trust. It seems to me anyway that we must put our trust in something–we cannot do otherwise. Living as an ancient skeptic is actually impossible.
Understand that if you’re anxious, fearful, or nervous, you’ll never dissolve any of these, in any final sense, through knowledge or even through quelling doubts. Any knowledge acquired will soon meet its edge, and any doubt answered will be followed by a fresh doubt. Knowledge acquisition is endless and, as it pertains to the “problem of suffering,” futile while all skeptical doubt is corrosive, eating away at one from the inside.
The only answer is trust. The felt sense of trust, which is what I’ll focus on here, is softening. That is, to trust is to soften. Not in the sense of being gooey or goopy or ooze-like. Softening means loosening up, handing the keys over. Mind you, what I mean to convey here is stronger than “letting down one’s guard,” the latter being no more than a precondition for the felt sense, or experience, of trusting. Trusting is–to coin a verb–peacing.
In the fullness of trust, I am peace. Not: I am at peace. But: what I am is essentially peace. Meditation, by virtue of unraveling distrust, leaves the dust here, here where it has always been. Once I stop trying to kick it up through distrust, doubts, reservations, desires, and fears, the dust is found to be ever settled. Pristinely itself.
Trusting, feeling like softening and peacing, is homing. And when all that slowly stops or unwinds, then there is just home. No verb. Just a period.
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