Overcoming pain of body and mind

This is a manifestation of divine intelligence

Then the pain of the body and the mind. “I have been terribly disappointed. I have been betrayed. I have been let down. I have been marvellously successful and enormously lucky.” These are the movements of the mind. He becomes a little bit independent from them. He can feel a little bit of sympathy, but it is not an identification and, as a result, he is free to walk away.  This is a manifestation of divine intelligence, of the divine consciousness.  He becomes independent. He is not absolutely tied up. Though he is sympathetic to and feels with the body and the mind and with his surroundings, but he’s not absolutely caught.

You could say, “Well, what is the advantage of this?”  Well, one of the advantages is this, if I stand on this little platform here, it is quite easy for me to do a somersault on it, jump about on it. But if it were 100 feet in the air, I wouldn’t like to do a somersault on the platform, or stand on the chair on one leg. I don’t mind here (at ground level). If I fall off, no harm done.  But if it is high up in the air, that would be different. On the ground, he knows he can step off, so he doesn’t need to step off. He can walk along a plank blindfold easily if it is on the ground. Just get the direction, shut your eyes and walk along it. Easy. If you know you can step off, you don’t have to. If that plank is raised, “Oh, no. I will get down on all fours and crawl across it if I am blindfolded.” Why? Because you know you can’t step off.

Well, in the same way – and this illustration is given in yoga – to go into meditation, and to go deep enough to have that little experience of something separate from body and mind – immortality.  A little glimpse of that, then it makes him much more free to act in the body and the mind. If the body and the mind is all I have, then I am very restricted.  If you played poker with somebody who is much richer than you are, you always lose because he is constantly making bets that you daren’t match. If he loses, he doesn’t mind. He is rich. If you lose, you lose everything. You daren’t risk it.  In the same way, if we are totally identified with body and mind, we are very restricted in our actions.

But there is something beyond even that – inspiration in our ordinary reactions.  We can say, “Well, what sort of inspiration is that going to be?” We know about Pasteur. What are the inspirations for ordinary people?   This is one example that is given. They have a Japanese tea ceremony.  The tea is made and there are two or three guests sitting here, and the tea is made in the cup and it is passed along to the first guest. It is drunk and then it is passed back. Then the tea master will wash it and wipe it carefully and make another, pass it along, and then it goes to the next man and finally to the last guest.  Every movement is stylised, very precise, very accurate, and the good master – or an amateur, who is an expert – makes these actions perfectly. The poise can’t fail – to break that calm in any way is a great failing.

Suppose I am a very good amateur… well, expert, and supposing I am the middle guest. The man is making the tea at the far end and the guests can all see and watch the master making the tea with these very precise and perfect movements. He makes it and passes it along. The first guest is a very old man and his nose dribbles and as he takes the cup from the master.  As he is going to pass it, his nose dribbles in it and then he passes it on to me.  Now, I get this cup and I have got to pass it to the guest. I know that guest has seen it. He doesn’t want to drink tea with nose dribbling in it, does he? But if I pass it back, it would be a terrible disgrace for the old boy and also, I shall be breaking the ceremony which would be a disgrace for me.

So, what do I do? Do I pass it on and say, “Drink it up,” or do I pass it back and say, “Can we have another cup of tea, and perhaps I had better take it directly this time!” and the poor old man would be terribly humiliated?  We don’t have the tea ceremony in this country, but there are cases like this. Well, I will leave that one with you just for a little bit. There is something beyond inspiration.

Now, in the cosmic vision, it was ananda – bliss and light. Now, where is that in oneself? Where is that?  ‘I am imprisoned.’ Where is the bliss and light? ‘It is alright when I am at home in my comfortable flat. I know where the next meal is coming from. I have got security – I didn’t invest too heavily in the stock market, so I am alright.’ Or, ‘I have lost the money. Perhaps I am going to be thrown out of the flat, but in any case, I am in prison.’ People in imprisonment immediately try to put out new associations of home because they are dependent on the outer things.

Now, there are interrogators who don’t use torture, but they can get results.   One of them whom I knew well, he was a very nice chap.  He did have to get some information and it was essential to get it.  He told me that there are two kinds of prisoners. One who has internal resources – if he knows a lot of poetry by heart, if he is religious, he has got inner resources. “But”, he said, “Most people haven’t. They haven’t got strong convictions like that, and they are dependent on outer things. So, you keep changing his cell.  Normally, a prisoner is put in a cell, and when he has been there for three or four days, that cell is beginning to become home. He knows what he can see from the little slit of a window. He goes up there to have a look. He knows things. He knows which is the draughty place. He knows where to shift the bunk across a little bit there.” He said, “You keep changing it. You change every day. Sometimes you change at night.  The cell is always different – sometimes it is a little cell, then it is a big one. It is a cold one, then a hot one. It is one where you can see quite a lot going on. It is one where there is a blank wall. You keep on changing. He can’t get any associations. Nothing to depend on.” He said, “The ordinary person with no inner resources – after that, he has got to make some sort of connection and talk to someone. He has got to – and that someone is me.”

© Trevor Leggett

Titles in this series are

Part 1: Progressive Meditation. The Riddle

Part 2: Practise meditation every morning

Part 3: Purify and organise the mind body

Part 4: A system of training the mind

Part 5: Overcoming pain of body and mind

Part 6: Independence of outer things




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