Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Course Note #137: A Contract for Awakening

A contract for awakening -- are you ready to sign? 

        In the book The Teachings of the Inner Ramana, there is a chapter entitled, “A contract for awakening”.*  I had no desire to read that chapter, and I even had the thought that I was not ready to go there, and was not going to read the chapter until I was.  Well, as I entered into a year of “letting go” on December 2, 2011, I was also prompted on that date to print the contract for awakening, and to read it, and to sign it.  I knew this was true guidance, because “Sheryl” would not have even considered doing something like that! Ha!
            As I read it, I knew that I was ready to go to the next step.  Before I get into that though, I was prompted first to turn to a previous chapter in the book, “Looking at the False ‘I’ Thought”, where it says:

            “It’s time to go beyond everything you’ve learned.  Everything you’ve learned has been helpful.  It’s been helpful toward willingness to take this next step.  But without the step that we are taking together now, all that you’ve learned serves no real purpose toward awakening.”

            This section goes on to say that all the stories in the mind are about me, myself and I!  It’s amazing that we’ve missed this for so long!  It’s somewhat of a rude awakening, but a liberating one as well.

            Here, I’d like to comment on the word and idea of “awakening”.  I don’t resonate to the idea of someday becoming awakened or enlightened.  It seems to me that ego can grab a hold of this idea and make it carrot-on-a-stick, that is, another goal to be sought, but not found.
            Whenever I recognize that I am listening to ego, in that moment, I am awake.  As I consistently make the choice to stop listening to ego’s chatter, I begin to wake up to the truth that ego is not what I am.  Such moments of awareness begin to string together like a strand of graduated pearls, one building on the next, until I awaken to the truth that I am indeed as Love created me, unlimited and free. 

            In the audio I share a lot more from the “contract”, but here I will share highlights from it: 

Inner Teacher: What do you think I am teaching you?

StudentI understand that you want me to lay the individual thinking mind aside.
            I’ve written about how I’ve been in “a period of relinquishment” for the past 5 years, and now in this year of increased letting go, I fully understand just what it is I am being asked to relinquish.  This is what that section in A Course in Miracles is pointing to, laying aside the identification with the “thinking mind”, that is, the voice of the self that we are not.  In the Course, the word “ego” is synonymous with “thinking mind”.  You could say that the thinking mind is the voice of ego, which is simply the belief in separation.

Inner Teacher:  I want you to see that it is nothing.  And the Heart is everything.

            It’s not that we are going to stop thinking, thoughts are always coming into the mind, however, we can make a choice to stop listening to the voice that speaks of nothing that is true.  Heart is synonymous with true Self, Holy Spirit, Ramana… 

In this section of the contract, more is said about clarity on the Source of the thoughts.  In the audio I share a couple practices that are helpful to do this.  One of them is the practice of journaling when your mind is spinning out-of-control.  In that way, we put the words outside of ourselves, and can then observe them.  In the observer mode, we can question whether the thoughts come from ego or the Heart.  A few years ago I began to call the incessant chattering of the thinking mind, the toxic Chatty Cathy, and in doing so, it was even easier to be the observer instead of the “thinker”.

Until we start doing this deeper work, we believe our thoughts, and we think they are who we are.  We are mesmerized by the thoughts in the mind, and I can now see that in these last five years, my inner teacher has been leading me to see, and I mean really see, that this voice is indeed the cause of all suffering and enslavement.  Seeing this is a great impetus to give greater willingness to let it go.

Inner Teacher:  Your identification with the mind is the obstacle to knowing the beauty of your true Self.  It is this identity that makes you blind.  When you judge Me and when you judge life by the mind’s standards, you throw a blanket over the truth, and you choose not to see.

Here I am reminded of a favorite teaching in the Course that says:  It is your task to seek and find within yourself the obstacles to the awareness of the Love that You are. 
Over the years I have come to see many obstacles to this awareness: the false beliefs in guilt, attack, unworthiness, to name a few, but ultimately I have come to see that the obstacle is the belief in separation; the belief that we could be separated from our Source.  This false belief is kept in place with the thinking mind.  The obstacle is identification with that which is false.

Inner Teacher: It is important that you accept responsibility for your own path.  I will lead you most deliberately now, but you must choose to follow just as deliberately.  Do you agree to follow Me and to do as I ask?

Me:  Yes!  I feel this with full commitment. 

Inner Teacher:  This may seem to be putting your self aside, but it is not, because the self that you call ‘you’ is but an illusion of the mind.  Therefore you put nothing aside.  The one who chooses to listen to Me and follow Me is the awakening of your true Self, so do not doubt your willingness to listen and follow Me.  That is you.  And by listening to that desire, you listen to your Self.

            Some people have a problem with the idea of surrender, and it makes sense, because we may wonder just what it is we are surrendering to.  As we do this work we come to see that Holy Spirit, the Inner Teacher, is the true Self. 

Would your true Self lead you away from your joy or to your joy?  See, with our attachments to our thoughts and this world, we cannot surrender to joy.  What “I” really want can only be known as I am willing to let go of what “Sheryl” is attached to wanting.  We are really being asked to follow that which is our truth.  We will not be led to harm, but to joy…and this we must trust.

Inner Teacher:  Outside voices may seem to challenge your desire to follow Me.  Those outside voices will shout loudest in your own head. 

            Well of course we’ve heard those “outside voices”, those that come from family and friends who question where we’re headed.  In the past few years as I have moved beyond the Course to the teachings in NTI and Ramana and the practices of mantra and surrender, I’ve certainly heard those “outside voices”. 
Fortunately, before I even found spiritual communities on the internet, through the Course, I had established and cultivated a relationship with the Inner Teacher, and so consequently, I have learned to trust inner guidance, and that has deepened over the years.
How do we know if something is guidance?  Well for me anyway, I see that Holy Spirit is totally consistent in what I am guided to, and often, it’s not something that “Sheryl” would have had interest in.  I trust this guidance because now I see the fruits of that labor.
Someone said something recently about mixing spiritual paths, and I understand that.  Let’s say that you get into A Course in Miracles and after awhile you feel that your life is still a mess, and Course students are still angry, and just not good examples.  Then you move into Buddhism, but after awhile you find that you are still unhappy, and these Buddhist people are just in denial.  See what I mean?  We can jump from one spiritual path to another because the one we’re on now isn’t working for us, and it’s not working for those “other” people either! 
When a spiritual path is not working for you, either you are not practicing what it says to practice, or, it may not be the one for you.  Beware of getting locked into attachment to one path as being the only one.  Holy Spirit is within and knows the best way to guide each one of us to our truth.

Using my own example, I have been filled deeply through all the years with ACIM.  I have been filled deeply in my study of NTI.  And I am being filled deeply now from the Inner Ramana.  I see that the same Holy Spirit is teaching me consistently.  It’s not different paths, but the same path.  It’s the path of learning to remember who I am.  I am Love.  You are Love.  We are free now.  So learn to trust where the Inner Teacher leads you. 
And then of course, we are all familiar with those voices that shout loudest in our own head!  Ha!  Holy Spirit is saying, don’t listen to that stuff.
Inner Teacher:  Do not question My teachings.  Do not ask why.  Do not ask for explanations of how it works.  Just trust your Heart and follow Me in devotion and love and desire to know your Self.

            That’s what I’ve seen grow in me more than ever, the desire to know thy Self.  Whatever you are being guided to, what are the fruits of your labor?  For me, it doesn’t matter what those outside voices say, because I am increasingly guided from within.  I am letting go of being mesmerized by the world.

Student:  Alright, what would you have me practice today?

Inner Teacher:  Practice all that I teach.  Practice the mantra, and surrender, and the questioning of the “I” thought, and do it all through devotion.  But most importantly, know your own inner devotion to these practices.  Know your desire to practice them.  Know your love and gratitude that such practices (gifts) have been given.  And know that love, that devotion, that desire is you, and listen to your Self.

            To practice through devotion is to practice from a place of “I want to”, rather than from, “I should” or “I have to.”   After many months of practicing the mantra: I am that I am.  I am as God, I have come to see this practice for the gift that it truly is.  Increasingly, it silences the mind, and reminds me of the meaninglessness of all the stories in the mind.  Learning to practice the mantra throughout the day, is without a doubt, the greatest gift that I have ever been given.
            As of yet, I have not practiced surrender and self-inquiry to a great extent, but I can see that coming around when I am ready.  When I am ready, I will be led there, and I trust that. 
            Let each one of us become increasingly willing to listen to the Voice of our Worth, the Voice that guides us truly to the knowledge of the true Self.

I want only God now.
I want nothing else.
I ask you, Universe, to help me.

I am not afraid to ask.
I understand you are benevolent-love.

I ask benevolent-love
to help me awaken
to only love,
and I trust you.

                                                                                 (A Thought of Awakening 7/20/11)


The audio teaching was recorded on 12/4/11 and is 58 min. long


    MP3 File


* This contract can be found in its entirety at: http://www.reginadawnakers.com
under monthly archives dated March 12, 2009.  It is also found in the book, The Teachings of the Inner Ramana

Monday, January 09, 2012

Course Note #136: I've won the Lottery!

This morning, after writing checks to pay the business bills, I fell into focusing on thoughts of lack and limitation, which is funny because I’ve just had one of the busiest months ever.  My husband happened to be here with me, and I walked into his office and commented on how I wished I’d win the lottery.  In order for that to happen, I’d have to start buying tickets! Ha!

I was feeling sort of dispirited, and then the mail arrived with a card from a friend. I opened it to read this:

“It’s amazing that we have to ‘let go’ to receive.  I mean the Course is telling us that we have indeed won the lottery.  I think we spend the entire process of ‘realizing’ this as our primary task.  Why do we have such a hard time cashing in the ticket?  I’m beginning to feel very safe all of the time now.  Finally!”   

As I read my friend’s divine message, I felt such gratitude for the connection that we all share.  Yes, to receive, I need only let go of an identity with the false self – you know the one – it chatters away about how you’ll never have enough, will never be enough, blah, blah, blah.

As I write this, Natalie Merchant's “Carnival” is playing, how appropriate: 

I’ve walked these streets
A virtual stage
It seemed to me
Make up on their faces
Actors took their
Places next to me.

Have I been blind
Have I been lost
Inside myself and
My own mind
By what my eyes have seen?

Have I been wrong
Have I been wise
To shut my eyes
And play along
By what my eyes have seen?

We do walk this world, mesmerized and hypnotized by what our eyes see.  It does take vigilance to turn away from the carnival, and rest once again in the silence beyond it.

I have a few quotes taped above my desk, and you know how it is with that sort of thing, after awhile they become like the wallpaper, there, but not really seen.  Moments before receiving the guidance to write this blog, I saw this quote from my friend Regina, one that I had snipped out of one of our email exchanges a couple years ago: 

“It is truly my belief and feeling that I will always be provided for perfectly if I give no thought to money and only give thought to knowing my guidance and following that, so that is my purpose.”

This really spoke to me this morning because as I move into a year of increased silence, as in, letting my “busy doing” be guided from the silence within, I no longer wish to be mesmerized by what form appears to show me. I now want to be mesmerized and hypnotized by the truth of Who I Am ~ Love.

My purpose is to know thy Self as Love created it,
 unlimited and Free.

My purpose is to be only Love,
 to know only Love
and to extend only Love.

My purpose is to know my guidance
and follow that. 

As I listen within the silence,
 I remember who I am.

With willingness to keep true purpose in the forefront, we are then guided to the realization that, Yes!  I have indeed, won the lottery!

~Thank you Jim for the reminder~

"There is no need to run outside
for better seeing,
nor to peer from a window.
Rather abide at the center of your being."

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Course Note #135: Moving into a Year of Silence...

 Hi Friends,
              Over the last six months I have been using the tools of mantra and surrender, as they are taught in The Teachings of the Inner Ramana, to quiet the active thinking mind.  In Course Note #132 I wrote about moving into a year of letting go of that which no longer serves me.  A deep inner shift is occurring, one that is leading to greater ease in practicing the tools that usher in silence.

A couple weeks ago I received a gift from a friend, a biography on Ramana Maharshi entitled, Timeless in Time.  That evening I sat down and read the introduction, and as I came upon this sentence, “I can feel strongly his boundless grace at work…” suddenly, I was embraced by the sweetest silence I had ever known.  I rested there for what seemed to be about ten minutes or so and then I felt it lift.  I later realized that in those moments, I had rested in Ramana’s Presence – the silence of the Self.
Regina Dawn Akers visited India in December, and on her flight home she received guidance to lead a year of silence in 2012.  As soon as I heard her talk about this, I too, heard the inner call.  Many of our friends have as well.  And as you read this, you may hear the call too.
Many have wondered what “a year of silence” is to look like.  Can I talk?  How can I remain silent for a year?!  Well surely, it will be different for each one of us.  As you begin to rest in the silence, you will be guided.  Regina spoke of being “actively silent”, and as I heard her say that, a teaching from A Course in Miracles on “I need do nothing" came to mind.

“This quiet center, in which you do nothing, will remain with you, giving you rest in the midst of every busy doing on which you are sent.”

I immediately felt the guidance that in this year of silence, I am to rest in the silence more frequently and to let my “busy doing” extend from there.  I find that the mantra practice is a doorway into stillness and silence that I have not heretofore experienced; and that it can be used for this purpose while teaching, listening, talking, driving – basically, anytime and anywhere.

I can readily experience the difference between the “doing” that extends from silence, versus that of being so busy doing things in the world that I have no time to rest in silence.

I am sure that it is not a coincidence that on 12/2/11 I entered into a year of letting go and relinquishment, and have also heard the call to rest more deeply in the silence of the true Self as I journey through the year.  
            As I enter this year of relinquishment and increased silence, I am prompted to a "Single Quiet Thought" that combines the two.  How Cool Is That?


Slow down between the thoughts.
Let go of definitions.
Let go of conclusions.
Let go of reliance on words.

Do not feel that silence is empty.
Silence is not empty.
Silence is the birthplace of all ideas.

Let go of the old.
Make room for the new.
Let go of your way of seeing and expecting.
Make room for Mine.

~From our Holy Spirit

Here is a link to a 30-minute recording of Regina talking about her guidance regarding the year of silence.  http://www.drivehq.com/file/df.aspx/publish/RAkers/RDAPublicFolder/IR122811.mp3

A couple months ago I felt strong guidance to buy a book for Regina entitled, The Seven Steps to Awakening, and it turned out to be right-on guidance because Regina feels that it will be a great guide for us all in this year of silence.  She began teaching on this book January 2.  Here's a link to the first 60-minute teaching: http://www.drivehq.com/file/df.aspx/publish/RAkers/RDAPublicFolder/1-2-12SevenSteps.mp3

 The Picture on this blog is of a recent painting done by Mooji, entitled: Yogini. It is another perfect symbol as we move into a year of silence in 2012.

Mooji tells the following story of a great Yogini (a female Yogi).

          "A great Yogini was deep in meditation. Suddenly, beautiful and melodious sounds could be heard, appearing as if from nowhere and everywhere simultaneously. It was like nothing she has ever heard. She felt: this music is truly wonderful but it cannot be what I am for I am here to hear it. The music faded away. Next appeared the most exquisite colours, like no painter could paint; nor could any flower display it for it was not of this earthly realm. 

          "She thought, 'this is, indeed, astonishingly beautiful. However, it cannot be who I am nor can it be real for it cannot appear if I were not here to perceive it.' This phenomenon, too, she ignored. Shortly afterwards, it also vanished in the presence of her deep and unmoving silence. Shortly after this, there appeared several beings shaped as if from pure light, floating through space and smiling lovingly at her in a welcoming manner. 

          "She felt profoundly touched and filled with loving emotions but inwardly, she somehow, kept her composure. "How profound," she felt, "but this also cannot be what Is the unchanging reality, for, were I not here, who would see them?" As soon as this insight occurred, the figures vanished. Her mind entered her heart and could no more produce any effects. A deep silence prevailed as her mind merged inside her indivisible, unconquerable and essential being."

The print can be ordered here: