‘He sees, who sees the Lord’. It has to be an actual vision. You know the system of meditation, to sit still, in a roughly balanced position, and then as the thoughts come up to let them go. One teacher said: ‘Don’t shake hands with the thoughts when they come up. Not wanted.’ ‘Oh she said to me the other…’ Not wanted. ‘I could have got a good one…’ No. ‘There might be a chance…’ Not that. Don’t shake hands with them. ‘There might be a chance to pull off something good if I…’ and then you start shaking hands with them and making a scenario and then the meditation is interrupted.
Some Zen people sit – it’s worth doing to have the experience – to get up early before the dawn, find a hill where you can see the sun rise and collect a cloth full of pebbles and sit there. Then before the dawn, before the sun has just come up, allow the thoughts to come up. And as the thoughts come up, one by one, throw them away. Throw the thought with a pebble. Take a pebble in your hand, ‘There might be a chance of…’ Throw it away. ‘Supposing this…’ Throw it. ‘Oh I don’t know what I’d do if…’ Throw it. ‘That might be a good…’ Throw it. Then gradually the thoughts will become less and less. Well, this is worth experimenting. And then it can practised at home, to sit, to shut or half shut the eyes, and as the thoughts come up, mentally throw them down the hill. Then, as the sun comes up, the teacher says the sun will come up inside and there will be a vision. ‘I see’.
These things are established in calm and purity. Just like any scientific principle. If you want to establish the principle of gravity it’s no use going out and looking at the leaves in the autumn gale. Gravity is at work there, but you can’t see it clearly. So you have to go into the laboratory, or best of all go on the moon. You saw the man, perhaps, do it. He dropped a bit of paper and he dropped a bit of lead and they they fell the same, in the perfect vacuum. The principle is established in these very pure, calm and quiet conditions. Then it can be recognised. Then we can recognise that the wind is taking the leaves up and as the gust of winds stop, the leaves begin to come down – gravity. We can recognise gravity then. But if we begin by trying to see it, we won’t see it. It has to be first seen in a very calm and pure state of the mind. Then it can be seen, just glimpsed. And once it’s seen there, it can be seen in the external world.
Now, the teacher says: ‘You become aware of the currents, the inner currents of life. There is a divine inner current of life.’ By practising meditation, we can become aware of it and our actions will begin to conform to the inner currents of life. If you look at a map, say of the Pacific Ocean, you think, ‘Well, I want to get from Japan down to Australia’. You know about the great circle and you draw the curve and think, ‘Oh, that’ll be the easiest route’. It seems simple enough. But there is an immense current called ‘The Black Tide’ – the Japanese call it Kuroshio – which can go as fast as ten feet in a second. From there to here in a second, whoosh. That’s not shown on the map.
When we plan the journey, we don’t know about that. If we get there and try and make that journey against that tide we won’t have any success. But if we become aware of the inner currents, from someone who knows, or by going there and looking ourselves, then we should be able to go round it. In the same way, in a meditation, it lays a foundation for actions which will be in accord with the inner current. Otherwise our actions, although well-planned and well-reasoned, they seem to be very good, they’re not effective. They’re very often not effective. And if they are effective, it’s not the effect we expected. But if they’re in accordance with the inner current then, although the actions may seem very weak and feeble, the current will take them forward and they will become effective.
maitri = friendliness, pleasantness, lovingness
karuna = compassion, mercy mudita = gladness, goodwill
upekshanam = acceptance, equanimity, indifference, disregard, neutrality
sukha = happy, comfortable, joyous punya = virtuous, meritorious, benevolent
bhavanatah = by cultivating habits, by constant reflection, developing attitude, cultivating,
impressing on oneself
prasadanam = purified, clear, serene, pleasant, pacified, undisturbed, peaceful, calm.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 3: Truths can be found
Part 4: Purify your own mind
Part 5: He sees, who sees the Lord