In ‘The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss,’ Michael Langford writes:
“54. What is the goal of [spiritual] practice? It is to bring the ego and its suffering and illusions to a final end so that only the true Self whose nature is Infinite-Eternal-Awareness-Love-Bliss remains.
“55. What is most important is already described in #54 above. …”
From there, Michael goes on to attempt to describe awakening using other symbols that might help us understand what awakening is, and I will share some of what he writes in the comments section below, but I feel we should pause and look at what he has written in #54 above first.
Today’s workbook lesson says, “Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world.” NTI Hebrews 7 says, “Can you imagine letting go completely that which you seem to value? Can you imagine closing your eyes and letting it fade completely away? If you can imagine letting it go, feeling peace and no loss in the imagining, you are preparing to wake up from dreams.”
NTI Galatians calls the world a false god. It says the world is an effective false god because it allows us to feel joined, but it teaches separation. In other words, there are things here that we can value like nature, relationships, hobbies, etc. However, none of those things are eternal and everything in the world will eventually be replaced with suffering. As Adyashanti says, two things are certain in this world: tragedy and death.
In the movie, “The Peaceful Warrior,” Dan Millman walks away from the teachings of truth because he values his life as a star gymnast who has sex with one beautiful woman after another. But then it is all taken away in a motorcycle accident where his leg is shattered. This is how he learns there is nothing worth valuing in this world, and he returns to his teacher and spiritual practice.
I recently witnessed a similar story with someone I know. He had interest in spirituality and deep mastery with part of its teachings, but when I spoke to him of disappearing into the absolute, he said the absolute wants us to enjoy the world. I knew that was a projection of his own desire to enjoy the world, and I understood his desire. He seemed to have the world in the palm of his hand. But recently, things did not appear to go so well for him. He became very frustrated with the world. Now he is focused on the direct path, awareness-watching-awareness meditation.
As recorded in the Bible at Matthew 5, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” NTI’s interpretation of that is, “Blessed are those who have tired of this world, for they will be comforted.”
One way to let go of our value in the world and increase our desire for awakening is to let tragedy strike so that we are disillusioned by the world. However, today’s workbook lesson offers a gentler solution:
“Pause and be still a little while, and see how far you rise above the world, when you release your mind from chains and let it seek the level where it finds itself at home.”
I told you that spiritual practice itself motivates me to spiritual practice. That is the gentler method that is recommended by the Course. Practice awareness-watching-awareness anyway, even if you do not think you are ready to let go of the world, and the practice itself will prepare you for awakening.
Let’s review #54 from “The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss.”
“What is the goal of [spiritual] practice? It is to bring the ego and its suffering and illusions to a final end so that only the true Self whose nature is Infinite-Eternal-Awareness-Love-Bliss remains.”
From ‘The Most Direct Means to Eternal Bliss’ by Michael Langford:
55. What is most important is already described in #54 above. An attempt will be made to describe the final goal further; however, such descriptions are not what is most important. The fact that when the imposter self ends, all suffering ends for all eternity and that the True Self has never had any suffering in all eternity and is always absolutely perfect love-bliss is what is most important. …
58. Describing the final Reality as Infinite-Eternal-Awareness-Love-Bliss is the closest one can come in words without straying too far from the human frame of reference.
59. In the final Reality, which is the only Reality, there are no worlds, no places, no dimensions, no universe, no realms, no forms, no time, no things, no beings and almost nothing that any word in the dictionary points towards.
60. In the final Reality, which is the only Reality, there are no humans, no animals, no planets, no stars and no earth.
61. The final Reality is infinite awareness aware of infinite awareness. In the final Reality, which is the only Reality, is infinite awareness aware of itself and itself is infinite awareness. …
66. When the ego comes to its final end, what remains is Infinite-Eternal-Awareness-Love-Bliss and nothing ever reappears. The planets, the stars, and almost everything that the words in the dictionary point towards never reappear. They were all part of the dream. Upon awakening, the dream disappears.
Comment from Regina: Based on this description, we can see why attachment to the world would keep us from awakening. That’s why it is important to see, as Adyashanti said, that only two things are certain in the world: tragedy and death. Everything here can and will be taken away. Will we wait for tragedy to propel our true interest in awakening, or will we take the gentle path by practicing awareness-watching-awareness now?