(… continued from ‘Be independent of results’)
In our daily life, we should make strong efforts and then when success comes, or failure comes, to be able to look up, instead of letting these things become the whole world to us and being elated, bubbling up with success, or crushed, “I’m no good.”
The last one is a direct practice of meditation on the Lord. Generally, people do this with enthusiasm for a time and then it all fades out. You think, “Well, I don’t know.” You see a sort of purpose in the universe sometimes. When things are going well you feel, “Yes, there is a divine purpose isn’t there?” And when things are going badly you think, “Well, something’s gone wrong. Perhaps it isn’t such a divine purpose after all.”
How is the mind to be caught and directed into meditation on God? One of the great methods which is found in all the mystical traditions, is the presentation of a riddle. Christ used this method extensively. In fact the Gospel says he always talked in parables. Some of us think, “Oh well, parables, he did, of course, but they’re pretty obvious aren’t they?” I’ve heard a religious correspondent on the BBC say that the parable of the sower was pretty obvious – “No, it’s not really a riddle”. Parable is the English translation of the Greek translation of the Aramaic which means a riddle. He said, “It’s not really much of a riddle, is it? Some of the seeds falls on stony ground, some of it falls on the roadside, some falls among thistles, some on very shallow ground. It springs up quickly and then it withers away. Some falls on fertile ground. The whole thing’s pretty obvious.”
So I said to him, “But that was the very parable that the disciples went to Christ and said, “Well, what’s the meaning of this?” If we go into these things, there’s something very extraordinary about the story. A sower went forth to sow and there’s a famous painting by Miller. Some fell among thistles, some on stony ground. Well, that’s not how you sow. You don’t chuck the seed among thistles or on the roadside, on the road, or stones. You make a furrow in the earth and put the seed in. What’s the sower doing? There’s a riddle there, but it gets covered over. “Oh, it’s the Bible. The sower went forth…”
Something’s going on – there’s some meaning there. By such means the mind can be focused – then not to let it go until we’ve actually found the meaning. It’s got to be something that completely explains every element in the story. Well, it might be worth looking up the parable of the sower for anyone who’s interested and go into it and try to find out what Christ meant.
Now, in one of the Gospels it says that the disciples went to Jesus and asked for an explanation and he gave one. But it’s thought extremely unlikely that he ever gave explanations, because on other occasions he says to them, “Are you as dull as the rest?” And he’ll say, “If you don’t understand this parable, how will you understand any parable?”
To give an answer, as a matter of fact, is like giving a child the answer to his mathematical problem. It’s no use to him. He can write it in. It’s right – correct – but he can’t solve the next problem because he doesn’t understand the method. He’s got the right answer, but he doesn’t understand it. In the same way to give answers to these riddles, it’s of no use from the point of view of spiritual concentration. The story has to be grasped, preferably memorised, and then gone into for a period of weeks or months and then there’ll be a flash and something quite different will appear, illustrated by that story.
This is one of the methods of meditation. The method of going into the Holy texts as if they were riddles and to find another meaning behind these texts. One tends to think of them as sort of poetic. There is a sun in the soul. There’s a blazing light, there’s a radiance. God is the friend of all beings. Oh, you think, “Well, poets talk like this. You don’t actually mean it.” It’s just dismissed like that, and so it’s no use to us in life at all.
One of the next problems, when we come to undertake serious practice, is to bring the practice from the meditation period into our daily lives. Generally, people can get a sort of exultation in a meditation period and then that’s over and you slam the book, just like one does at school. You study, and maybe you study quite hard and sincerely, and you’ve been doing the maths and whatever it is. Then you slam the book. “Right we’ve done maths…” How is it going to be brought into our ordinary life?
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: Extroverts & Introverts 1
Part 2: The yoga of action
Part 3: Be independent of results