Being compassionately aware of being human
‘Again our attention is focused on the need for enlightened awareness. God makes Himself known to us, not through the conscious ego, but as the still small voice of the true self. To hear that voice we must know how to be recollected even amid the activity of the workaday world.’ (Aelred Graham)
Here the word recollected also implies compassion as it is no use being attentive and aware but with an underlying judgement about how we should be to ourselves and to others; instead it is only if we are compassionate within and towards ourselves that we can connect with love and that can take us straight to the will of God. Here of course is the God of love and not the punitive task-master god.
In the west the punitive super-egoic version of god is very present; this god emerges in ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’ and in ‘success’ and ‘failure’ and that can include meditation, worship and in our relationships with others. A Buddhist scripture offers sage advice:
‘Try not to seek after the true, only cease to cherish opinions.’
Here is the achieving and the striving and also the attachment to the sense of self bolstered by an identity and personal pride built on who I am in the sense of what I think and believe.
‘If you wish to see it before your own eyes, have no fixed thoughts either for or against it.
To set up what you like against what you dislike – that is the disease of the mind.’
The craving for something and the aversion against something else preoccupies us to the exclusion of the true self, in other words God’s voice within us. The ‘owning’ of ideas becomes a self-conscious act to do with ‘me’ but if that can be relinquished and we act or observe unselfconsciously then it is ‘I’ and the true self is present. Without self-consciousness we are completely present, no projections and no expectations or desires, no judgement and then the mind is like a mirror: ‘unsmudged by hopes or fears, anticipations or regrets, so that one sees precisely what one looks at and judges only what one sees.’ Emotions will arise but are seen and so become feelings that can authentically direct our response; it is as it is and we are as we are.