The mantra "Thou shalt not commit a spiritual practice" is often heard, often repeated, but is it valid?
There is a concept that any 'practice' at all is of no value to anybody, but is that just a 'practice' as well?
The 'practice' of 'No Practice' - "If I don't noticeably practice I will get there."
Nisargadatta Maharaj is occasionally attributed as being the originator of the "no practice" fad. Is that what he actually said when you look at all that he said?
Just looking at the Nisargadatta quote on this page answers that.
The concept that all 'practices' are "OUT" is based on the assumption that all 'practices' are done by the Ego and for the Ego.
The implication here is that all 'practices' are done by the Ego inside the Dream of 'me'. "There is nothing that YOU can do" - the 'you' being the ego.
The apparent 'practice' occurs wholly inside the Mind - where all is concepts and labels. The actual world exists as an actuality which can be directly experienced but the 'mental version' of that, in which the so-called practice takes place, is not reality.
A so-called 'practice' that is carried out fully in the mind - in the 'mental version' of reality - is an exercise in mental abstractions. Inside the Mind means in the realm of time, as the mind depends on the past and the future - which is the basis for all its desires and fears.
Ego-based Practice is a practice wherein -
This is a 'practice' that is mind monitored, mind instigated, mind scheduled, mind enforced, self flagellating, self praising, mind evaluated.
It is a 'practice' that is solely for the benefit of 'me' and by the 'me'.
But does all Practice have to be like that ?
Is it possible there is a so-called practice that arises in the immediacy of the present moment ?
A practice like that cannot be self serving as 'self-serving-ness' needs time.
Nisargadatta said "Liberation is from the person - not of the person"
Another Kind of Practice....
When you completely follow the aliveness of the body's breath - the in's and the out's - and also notice THAT which is aware of the breathing - in other words notice both subject and object. The mind stops.
Thinking stops - for a second, half a second or many seconds. This is SEEing in the immediacy of the present moment . It is without thought and out of psychological time.
The question "Do you exist?" when looked at deeply in the immediacy of the present moment stops the mind and what occurs is a SEEing of your actual existence and aliveness, free of concepts and abstractions.
The question "Are you aware?" when looked at deeply in the immediacy of the present moment is Consciousness being aware of itself. It is the Subject being aware of itself, without an object. Thinking stops.
All of the above are SEEing. Without thought. Without time. Awareness itself.
There is only SEEing.
'Without time' means no agenda, no master plan, no calculated result, no planned personal gain, no expected personal achievement or enhancement, no hoped for advantage over others, no possible strategic gain, no relief from unwanted conditions. None of those - or any others.
'Without time' means no thought whatsoever as psychological time is based on past and future. Without thought there is nothing that references the past or projects into the future. There is only this moment.
Sailor Bob Adamson's "What's wrong with the present moment unless you think about it?" stops thought and points to the immediacy of the present moment.
With the SEEing there is a disidentification with mind - a disidentification with any conceptual sense of self.
Not being identified with mind - thoughts stop. This is Awareness / Consciousness / Aliveness / Intelligence - Energy.
Staying with the Feeling is often recommended by spiritual teachers. In its best form it is only ever a SEEing in the immediacy of the present moment without concepts or abstractions. See the Staying with Feeling page on this site.
Surrendering is also often recommended - this is looked at in detail on the Surrendering page on this site. Actual Surrendering is also a SEEing and with that, a disidentification with mind and the illusory sense of self. Thinking stops.
When there are 'me'- based thoughts it is recommended to Inquire into whether this 'me' actually exists. This is only ever a SEEing in the immediacy of the present moment. This is dealt with in detail on this site in the Spiritual Practice web pages - starting with the Spiritual Practice Page itself.
When you feel the Aliveness of the Body - it's vitality and energy in the immediacy of the present moment, without comments, judgments, abstractions etc. The mind stops. It is a SEEing - the Aliveness is always there - but now it is being SEEN.
All the above examples refer only to a SEEing by Awareness in the immediacy of the present moment with no future goal in sight and no entity claiming ownership of the SEEing.
Is it really a 'Practice' when Awareness is doing what it does best - being Aware - and nothing else? Just being Aware.
Awareness of both the subject (self) and the object.
Not really a Practice at all.
Interestingly, Zen Master Dogen held that Practice and Arising are One - and he was talking about practice in the immediacy of the present moment only.
(Best) Spiritual Practice
'Best Spiritual Practice' is in the Immediacy of the present moment and is only ever a SEEing.
There are many times every day when there is a SEEing in the immediacy of the present moment. It occurs spontaneously and naturally. At the point of SEEing there are Moments of No Thought.
(It is recommended that you also read the Moments of No Thought web page on this site)
Mostly these are not recognised, as the focus is on the object being observed.
It is not noticed that there is a momentary cessation of thought.
It is not noticed that there is an Awareness that is Aware of the Object and of itself.
Noticing these - noticing what is occurring - is Liberating.
Check and see what is happening with your Practices.
It is recommended that you also read The Nature of Practice on this web site.
Fully SEEing that the conceptual sense of self has no substance other than content of thought is Liberation.
This is SEEing that the most fundamental identification with form is a fiction, a falsity.
The identification with the 'me' is the cause of suffering and so - if the 'me' is seen through - the suffering falls away of itself.
That is the ultimate disidentification.
It is the End of Seeking.
Written by Mike Graham, 12 May 2008