“A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness, inner energies wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part.” ~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That.
This quote from Nisargadatta is right in-line with something my friend and teacher, Kenneth Folk, recently posted in a discussion thread at his dharma forum:
“Advanced practice is about learning not to manipulate after spending a lifetime becoming a master manipulator. We all have to unlearn manipulation in order to reach our potential, counter-intuitive as that may seem.”
Spiritual paths run in cycles that are in many ways as natural and predictable as the seasons. There are times for effort, focus, discipline, and some degree of control as we learn to establish new habits of mindfulness in our otherwise chaotic lives. But I think the majority of one’s spiritual path is best traveled by refraining from manipulation. This does not mean that we shouldn’t practice. But it does mean that we can sit and simply pay attention to whatever arises in our experience, trusting that whatever development that occurs is unfolding naturally. The simple practice of attentiveness is our way of participating in the process of awakening. Simply paying attention is what allows these “inner energies” (as Nisargadatta put it) to “wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part.”
The next time you sit to practice meditation, start out with a simple resolution to not manipulate your experience. As Adyashanti teaches, simply “allow everything to be as it is.” You may be pleasantly surprised by how deep your practice may go when mindfulness is your only objective.