Thursday, June 02, 2005

A little something about Masters...

We’ve all heard about, quote/unquote- ‘masters’. Obviously there are many categories of them. There are masters of the arts, headmasters, masters of musical instruments, masters at arms and many, many... insert joke here.

It could be that mastery of anything confers some portion of spiritual mastery as well; whether it is dark or light. Discipline is as necessary for practitioners of evil as it is for the good. It may well be that actual mastery goes beyond such consideration as good and evil. They may be two pillars between which one passes on their way into the unknown; which would also be the land of the undiscovered self. Until one realizes that the self encompasses and contains everything they are not consciously participating on the road to mastery.

Until we are masters ourselves, our idea of what composes mastery will be incomplete. No doubt many believe that masters are beyond the effects of the world and that they come and go in all circumstances as they may wish; up to a point no doubt that is true. But it is certainly true that most masters stay off the main stage and are some by-roads away from the main thoroughfare. When I asked a master, prominent in my life, why he wasn’t in the city where he could do some good (callow youth that I was), he said, “I don’t like being pushed around.”

Lao Tzu rode out through the Great Wall of China. Basically he couldn’t take it any more. Lucky for us, an adept was the gatekeeper and he prevailed on Lao Tzu to write down his philosophy before he disappeared into the trackless wastes. So we do have The Way of Life. And thousands and thousands more read The Sun and The National Enquirer every day and would give you the finger if you tried to get them to read The Way of Life instead. This was more or less the reason Lao Tzu left, even though they didn’t have these particular tabloids at the time.

Masters stay off of the usual highways; they suffered enough during the times when they traveled them in their own ignorance. You get a fair amount of philosophers and spiritualists who wind up in Switzerland in their latter years. I haven’t quite figured that out. Switzerland does look like a postcard and it is mind-numbingly serene; I am in and out of there often. I find the Swiss difficult across the board. The one quality all real masters possess is tolerance; but I’m not making that claim. I’m not criticizing The Swiss either. It is just that the torpor, the amount of Tamas Guna there, the money fixation, the sense of wall to wall insularity drives me away. I couldn’t imagine living there. I can’t imagine living in Aspen either. I must be missing something. It could be that because there is a lot of money there that it is a safe place for the people who know how to get to it. Coincidentally Paul Brunton lived there and I’ve a lot more appreciation for him than I do for Rudolph Steiner, Krishnamurti or others who have safe-havened there.

On the whole, Switzerland is one of the most boring places on Earth. It just is and it is unfriendly to boot. There, I’ve said it. Obviously I’m not a master. It isn’t that a master might not agree with me; he just wouldn’t say it.

I mentioned Israel’s relationship with the South African apartheid government in my last essay. This is an unfortunate piece of business. Should I have kept my mouth shut? Will this hurt me when I have to interact with someone who will brook no criticisms of Israel- no matter what? Should I keep my mouth shut about this but not about other injustices where the people affected are less likely to hinder or censure me? Should I be selective in my causes, picking the ones that harm me the least? After all, didn’t Jesus say, “What is truth?” at a most critical point in his career?

Will my saying anything ever change anything? As a point of fact I have no animosity toward Israel. I comment on many countries and leaders and situations here and at my other blog and in different locations depending on what is under consideration. Nearly everyone is going to come up at some point at some time. I haven’t said anything about the former Burma, but I will. The thing is that I have a thing about injustice. I don’t like it. Now, a master knows that everything balances out. He knows that it is all Karma outworking. He knows that a black man today might have been a white man yesterday, or a yellow man, or a woman- a Muslim might now be a Jew and vice versa; that a whore might well have been a queen, a beggar an oil lord, an ugly woman a former movie star; Valentino might be your neighbor’s dog, the bones of Caesar might have gone into the construction of your coffee table. It’s hard to know, but it all works out.

Still, in this movie that is life, there are all those roles to play. A master is still bound by his commitments as The Hanged Man shows. Some masters have passed through this world and were unknown to all in that capacity- but they left a legacy none the less. We have a habit of defining things according to appearance. So a master quite often wears a dhoti or saffron robes. We think of a figure in robes. That’s Hollywood and the only masters in Hollywood are masters of illusion.

This is going to encompass two essays as did the last. One could hardly go on about mastery in one simple essay. Do you sense me smiling sometimes as I write? I hope so.

I want to say a few things about spiritual mastery. I think they are important. Most people don’t actually know what composes a master and as a result are often led astray by people who are not spiritual masters but masters of illusion. Even well meaning souls can be masters of illusion. Real masters dispel illusion and that is often not comfortable. All of us curse the one who is putting us through the process of liberation. Count on it.

Here are some qualities that all real masters possess; tolerance, self control and unshakeable balance. That is enough for now. But the one thing that all real masters possess; the thing that makes them a master and without which they cannot be a master is a particular piece of knowledge that exists viscerally. It could be said to exist in a cellular way. It could be said to exist in the blood. It is the knowledge that there is only ONE master. The same master is in every master. There is only one. All masters recognize all other masters no matter what disguise they might wear. There is a state of union that exists.

In other words, you don’t some day ‘become’ a master. Well, this is difficult given the medium of words. It is all about recognition and contact. Someone comes to reside in you and you have developed the ability NOT to chase that being away. This is the difference between you and a master. You chase God away when he comes in. A master does not. God is disposed to remain. It is God whose presence you experience in the presence of a master. Where the appearance of difference manifests is in the personality of the being through which the light of god is shining. The light is always the same. The message is adjusted to the particular souls whose karma it is to engage this particular fountain.

If you would be a master you have only to accomplish this one thing; the capacity to allow God to remain. It is a little like getting into a canoe and sitting down and it is a little like red ants crawling all over your body. There come tests of this balance. It does appear that it is intentionally designed to throw you off and so appear adversarial. Actually it is in order to increase the depth of your capacity to allow. This is another reason that tolerance is such a critical item. It may be the most important one... after compassion. Surrender must of course, precede them all.

Often life pummels us into a state of submission. At a certain point it is possible to avoid much of this. It’s all good. It’s all for your good. Your best interests are uppermost in God’s heart- regardless of what may be present in yours.

More tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Wow. The last two paragraphs, you're doing that Beethoven thing again.

z a

Anonymous said...

Actually I meant the last 3 sentences. Honestly, that's what I meant.

z a

Anonymous said...

les visible,

I´ve never fancied Switzerland myself either.
Brunton was a wanderer for most of his life, of no fixed abode,,in his later years however he needed a place of his own.Brunton said that that the air where he lived(Switzerland) was purer and clean which was conducive to higher states.

On the subject of God.There are two paths.The Long and the Short path.

The Long says you are the ego and need to improve yourself,ethics,discipline,meditation etc,

The Short Path say there is no work to be done,you are THAT,,or you are Overself,,you cannot find what you already are.
Most people balance the paths.On the long path you will never attain enlightenment.On the Short path however you can (with Grace)

One of the most direct Short path teachings I know of is by a guy called John Wheeler who has a site called the Natural State.Worth a look at.

No one can teach you how to realize your own true being, that is, no one except yourself, for the realization has to be yours. The revelation leading to it will have to be yours, too, and the understanding which will lead up to the revelation comes from your own effort. This is why I often say that it is an exaggeration on the part of the Indians to say that salvation is impossible without a master. He may help us to correct our thinking, encourage and inspire us, but the work has to be done by ourselves. No master can give the full realization to another person--impossible.

Paul Brunton.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it has been said before but the best part of your work is in what you draw an outline around but never say. That is the case here.

Of course we all find the same thing, comprehended in our own unique way within. It always brings me back to what Ramana Maharshi said about The Self.


Anonymous said...

"Your best interests are uppermost in God’s heart- regardless of what may be present in yours."

Now that is truly quotable.


Anonymous said...

These things are like Lay's potato chips. (I can NEVER read 'em just once)

My continued thanks to you Les.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This was a beautiful work of writing and thinking. I am looking forward to the followup.




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