To be happy we need to learn how to be with all that life offers in each moment. Otherwise we live in constant contraction and turmoil, wishing that life be other than it is. Living in an attitude of accepting brings deep relaxation and loving compassion towards ourselves and others.
When we truly accept ourselves without reference to how we think we 'should be' the subtle energies which underlie our grosser nature become apparent. At this point of maturity we spontaneously turn from investigating the outward nature of objective reality to inspecting the subjective identity of the one who has been witnessing all of these happenings. The seer, who we have taken to be ourself, turns and inquires as to the very substance of itself. In this moment the seer and the seen collapse into pure seeing where object and subject are understood to be made of the same substance. Now there is only witnessing but no witness; seeing, but no seer. This non-conceptual, non-dual understanding, that the seer and the seen are one, releases our underlying disposition of happiness which is our native ground of Being. The realization dawns that we have, in truth, never been separate from or dependent upon anything or anyone. Happiness is what we are, what we have always been, and what we will always be.
THE NATURAL DISPOSITION
With eyes reawakened in non-dual seeing, we now look back upon the objective world and realize that the substance of everything we see-objects, thoughts and sensory impressions-is made of the same substance that we feel ourself to be. The realization dawns that: "What I am, all else is." And "What all else is, I am." This realization brings with it "the face of satisfied desire," the end of the search and the beginning of living free from fear, insecurity and unhappiness.
Living this perspective brings freedom in action. Nothing is perceived separate from anything else. Where there is no other, there is no fear or loss. Truthfulness becomes the only way of speaking and non-hurtfullness the only way of being.
This non-conceptual understanding may give rise to thoughtful descriptions in the mind's attempt to grasp the nature of the realization which is ungraspable. We realize that the mind tries to name it God, Divine, Consciousness, but the description is never what is described. This orients us to living the understanding rather than intellectualizing it.
It is not difficult to know who we are, but it takes total devotion, patience and constant vigilance. When we are really interested in something we project all of our energy into it. When we are in love all of our attention goes to the beloved. If we wish to be happy, to be fearless, to be loving, isn't it worth our total energy, effort and devotion? This is why I ask the question: "To what are we really devoted?"
The ecstatic fifteenth-century Indian poet Kabir captures the essence of what is required of us to realize the goal of meditation when he exclaims: "When the Guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work. Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity." May we all be slaves to the search for our true Self.
During a retreat we are free from our usual distractions. Outgoing energies are redirected into inward investigations of importance. The disciplines of yoga become yajña fires of purification. Hatha yoga purifies the physical body, pranayama the subtle energy body, and pratyahara and meditation the causal body. Sensations, the breath, thoughts and subtle energies become pointers, which refer us, not outwardly, but back to our homeground as Consciousness-Stillness.