the 4 pillars of practice
Silence – The elephant in your room
Silence is your natural state; it is inherent to your being. In the depths of your heart, you are always already in silence. It is always present underneath the clutter of thoughts and emotions. That is why it is accessible at all times – even right now. It is always right within your reach – if only you would open up to it…
The art of meditation is to let that silence reveal itself to you. When you simply allow silence to permeate you, you will feel full – not lacking, not needing, not seeking. Just your own existence, right here, right now, will be perfectly fulfilling. In true meditation you simply notice that the silence of pure awareness is already present in this and every moment – and you see that it has always been so.
You realize that silence is what you most truly are. But because most of us continue to overlook this truth, we need to practice meditation to learn to notice it.
Silence is the elephant in your room!
In true silence you are simply self-aware as a clear space of nothingness without a center. You are fully in the now. The moment has sucked you right into its bosom, without leaving a trace of time. There is nothing but a timeless sense of graceful presence. There is freedom. There is clarity. There is simply only consciousness – nothing more.
So be still and enjoy your own silent presence… That is the bottom line!
Sincerity – A mystery
It rises up from the depths of your innermost authentic self – that tender place, where you already know the truth. It is nothing but your own intuitive wisdom, guiding you along your path…
Your sincerity therefore, carries radical awakening power. It calls you to re-align yourself, again and again, with your own true north.
Its discrete messages are the intuitions of your soul-nature. The quieter you become, the more you can hear these intuitions – for hearing them requires a silent mind.
And if you listen to them with care, you will surely sense their wisdom; and it will guide you into ever-greater wholeness.
Sincerity is your guiding light.
Can anything be more precious?
Discernment – Agent of silent mind
The most powerful antidote against all forms of self-deception, including your shadows, is your living connection to your own discernment.
Intelligent self-inquiry, based on the sharpness of your own discernment will help you gain an accurate understanding of the workings of your mind. It will help you see how your mind operates; how it creates identifications, attachments, separation from others, and how it causes suffering.
Seeing this is vital, because if you don’t understand how your mind operates, you will be swept up in its habitual patterns all the time. But if you are able to see through the patterns of your psyche, they will loosen up their grip on you.
So understanding the workings of your mind with real clarity, is the first step in freeing yourself from them. When the actual mechanism of your conditioning becomes conscious, it will no longer be able to exert its covert power over you.
Then, the noisy restlessness of your mind will quiet down; its anxiety will come to rest, and a quality of open attentive awareness will take its place. You will drop into silence more easily.
So there is an intimate relationship between using your discriminative intelligence, and developing a silent mind. They mutually reinforce one another, and need to be cultivated together. Silence is where true intelligence is born, and true understanding catalyses a silent mind.
Shadow – Reowning and Transforming Emotions
Our shadows powerfully determine the quality of our lives. The degree to which we have them affects how we feel, and shapes the way we relate to others. Shadows are aspects of your own subjective experience that you cannot fully embrace as really yours. As such you have pushed them out of your conscious awareness, as if they were not really yours. There, they continue to live in exile. We think we have gotten rid of them successfully, but in reality they are still very much a part of us, and as such, they can still be stirred up. Whenever these unwanted qualities are triggered, they come out as some form of emotional reactivity. And so, as long as they are not yet fully re-embraced, they will continue to trouble us. Re-owning them requires a deep dive into our psyche – called shadow work. Shadow work is designed to re-embrace these disowned qualities, and re-integrate them back into the self-system. Its result will be that your emotions no longer appear as unconscious reactivity, but will now show up as straightforward, raw expressions – fully owned, fully conscious, and no longer distorted by the workings of your defense mechanisms. If you want to truly transform your negative emotions, the psychological process of re-owning shadows needs to be completed with a spiritual process. The spiritual way of working with emotions is about relaxing this sphere of self-contraction, in which they are embedded. This is done by bringing witnessing presence to your emotions. Because the pure awareness of the witness is non-resistant and wide, it can liberate your emotions from their quality of self-involvement and self-concern. So both psychology and spirituality play their own unique and irreplaceable role in the transformation of emotions. The psychological dimension of shadow work always remains a necessary first step. You cannot bring witnessing presence to that which is still disowned and unconscious in you. So before you can effectively transform your negative emotions, you have to re-own them first.