BOOK OF WISDOM
I remember the first time I encountered the Book Of Wisdom. Having considered myself to be a deeply spiritual and well rounded person I wasn’t prepared for the impact Osho would have on my line of thinking, at all. Here this man was taking concepts I knew and turning them upside down and challenging what I thought of Tibetan wisdom being.
See, I had always believed single-pointed concentration meant focusing the mind to one point. Bringing myself to the sensation of my breath as it passed over my nostrils had been my preferred method for nearly 17 years. Naturally, I would allow thoughts to arise and pass without reaction and just observe the state of my mind. Having had learned a great deal about myself I was woefully ignorant to there being any flaw in this practice. I had never considered my need for absolute silence and no distractions to be a hindrance to my spiritual development. After all, like a typical Christian, I’d always considered prayer to be the act of talking to God and meditation to be the act of listening. Certainly I NEEDED the silence to hear God speak. Right?
Osho went on to state that “awareness excludes nothing.” I had been mistaking concentration for awareness. Certainly, my sitting in quiet reflection would lead to compassion. Never mind how annoyed I’d get at the sound of anything “interrupting” my concentration. “How dare my neighbor warm his truck up right now. Doesn’t he know I sit in Gods presence every morning.” How many of you know how many times it says to love one another in the New Testament? Twelve. Twelve times. Jesus says it Himself at least three times. Yet here I am getting up in arms because my neighbor wants to have a warm truck to drive in on his way to provide for his family.
The whole reason I started to meditate was so I could become more compassionate and helpful to the people around me. Here I was getting kicked in the nuts by Osho teaching that the result of awareness was compassion. That “compassion is relating with others, sharing with others.” That by doing as the Buddha instructed and “lighting the candle of awareness in your heart your whole being will radiate compassion.” -Compassion being the proof of our spiritual awareness. Yet, here I was fuming with anger any time any thing interrupted the silence my mind needed to concentrate. “Unless compassion happens, remember, you must be deceiving yourself; you must be doing something other than being aware.”
Western psychology would consider this discourse to be the difference between acknowledging issues and accepting them. Knowing something is beyond your control and acknowledging it is not the same as accepting it’s beyond your control and moving on. One cannot be angry and aware of his anger at the same time. Awareness kills our anger. To put it another way, darkness cannot live in the light.
Osho challenged me to redefine my concept of single-pointed concentration. I had always viewed it as the way we awaken to our true nature through focusing on the breath until a state of calm arises. As a result, I’ve always feared noisy places and remained reliant on peaceful scenery to quiet my mind. Then in walks in this funny little misfit and I, like many others before me, fell in love with Osho. He challenged every preconceived notion I had of what awareness was and even what an object of concentration looked like. Is it not just as helpful to disappear into the noise as it is to slip into peaceful stillness? Are both states not merely the result of the individual dissolving into the life around him?
On the surface, my dilemma was solved. Now I can meditate on the sidewalk in Time Square if I wanted to… but what of all my other ideals I was clinging to? How many new walls had I built up around myself in the name of liberation? I had a pretty little facade of a man walking in the right direction, but I had no inside track on compassion. Gods work wasn’t being completed within. I wasn’t putting away the old man. Sure I was selling it and all my prayer and meditation seemed legit but I wasn’t awakening to a deeper truth. I was deluding myself. Obviously, “the truth is never according to you. You have to be according to the truth.”
Ouch. Had I been restricted in my mentality of taking what I thought was useful and disregarding the rest? Was I going through the motions of asking God for guidance while ignoring the responses? Absolutely. To categorize “truths” based on previous assumptions is to disregard any new knowledge completely. While it’s convenient to ignore bits of information that challenge our ideals we can hardly consider ourselves seekers of the absolute truth in doing so. If awareness is meant to cultivate compassion then I’d been asleep on the truth.
See, to walk a spiritual path requires complete trust in God and the decision to not shy away from what He teaches us. Jesus taught us to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. That. Is compassion in action.
Does that mean we’ll always get it right? Absolutely not. So what do we do when things challenge our ideals? Well. Biblically speaking- “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials for you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let that perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (NAB- James 1:2-4) Allow your spiritual practice to transform you so you may be complete in Gods grace and share it with others. Then, and only then, will consider your neighbors as you consider yourself. Peace be with you.