Four Ways of Perception

Our journey of life passes through many refuges, some give us happiness and some cause us to suffer. This sacred journey often make us to look for a path that will resolve our suffering and connect us with continuous source of happiness. In my journey, I have come to realize that this seeking unfolds into four ways of perception:

The way of Sages: is the most ancient, and universal  where man is engaged in a dance – the dance of devas (light) and asuras(dark), right and wrong, good and bad, affirming and denying. Sages, tell us that we can find happiness if we align ourselves with light and avoid shadows. It’s the path of virtuous discrimination and sages also tell us that light will never stay at one place and shadow will some day loose it’s darkness. Happiness is something you always seek but never can hold on to. It comes and it goes away. We are filled and then emptied. Things are always in flux and we have to keep dancing and this dance-of-life keeps us going.

The way of Seers: These men were called ‘aranyakas’ or “the forest dwellers”. These seers wrote Upanishads and defined the various paths of Yoga. Their insight tells us that we are experiencing light and darkness outside because it is inside us. It’s our desire from within that makes the outer world go around. There mantra is “I am that, you are that, Self is that and That is that”. Self-realization is there path. “I am  suffering” and “I am happy” because my ‘Self” has identified with the suffering and/or joy. It is matter of orienting the Self within to change the without. To them happiness and suffering are the pointers of our inner-compass that we use to align ourselves within. The true nature of our Self is Luminous-All-knowing-Bliss (satchidananda). As long as we reside in our True-Self, with complete stillness, we experience the endless joy of bliss. Any movement from this state will put us back into the dance-of-life.

They way Siddhas: A Siddha follows the path of Tantra which means “to weave” and “to transform or to transmute”. They tell us that we all are woven into one interconnected endless web of life-force or energy. A Siddha uses energy to transform their limited self to the unlimited-being-of-joy. Their wisdom says that every aspect of universe, light, dark, neutral, inner, outer, happiness, suffering is a doorway or a portal that we can skillfully use to transform our limited “sense of self” to “unlimited One”. Their cosmology is holographic: All are embedded in One and One is present in all. Everything originates from Stillness and is dissolved into it. We make our heart still and the Spring-of-life will flow freely. Here are the beautiful words of Pema Chödrön (which reflects the way of Siddha):
“When we examine this process we learn something very interesting: there is no resolution. The resolution that human beings seek comes from a tremendous misunderstanding. We think we can resolve everything! When we human beings feel powerful energy, we tend to be extremely uncomfortable until things are resolved in some kind of secure and comforting way, either on the side of yes or the side of no. Or the side of right or the side of wrong. Or the side of anything at all that we can hold on to.

But the practice we’re doing gives us nothing to hold on to. Actually, the teachings themselves give us nothing to hold on to. In working with patience and fearlessness, we learn to be patient with the fact that we’re human beings, that everyone who is born and dies from the beginning of time until the end of time is naturally going to want some kind of resolution to this edgy, moody energy. And there isn’t any. The only resolution is temporary and just causes more suffering. We discover that as a matter of fact joy and happiness, peace, harmony and being at home with yourself and your world come from sitting still with the moodiness of the energy until it rises, dwells and passes away. The energy never resolves itself into something solid.

So all the while, we stay in the middle of the energy. The path of touching in on the inherent softness of the genuine heart is to sit still and be patient with that kind of energy. We don’t have to criticize ourselves when we fail, even for a moment, because we’re just completely typical human beings; the only thing that’s unique about us is that we’re brave enough to go into these things more deeply and explore beneath our surface reaction of trying to get solid ground under our feet.”  Excerpted from The Answer to Anger & Aggression is Patience, Pema Chödrön, Shambhala Sun, March 2005.

The way of Sufis: These have been least understood and they have managed to stay under the radar in every age, including present day. There message and importance in the eastern or western cosmology has never changed. Their mode of passing wisdom has also stayed same – master to apprentice. One-on-one. They have been given many names, mystics, sufi, sant, gyanis, gurus, baba, bhakta, sai, pir, faqir, master, etc. they perceive every individual has unique relationship with the One. It is through this unique relationships that One becomes many. “One and many” is nothing but a play of love. Everything is One and the difference is “degree of Love” in the relationship. The self is limited by the love one has realized for the Beloved . Our actions are defined by our “sense of self” we think “I am doing it” and Sufi knows that “Beloved is making us do everything” Suffering and Happiness are perceived different because there is “I” or sense of limited-self. To Sufi they are one and the same as they both come for the Beloved. Here are the two poem of Rumi expressing the Love and Grace of the One.

Two Poems by Jalaluddin Rumi:

When the time comes for the embryo
to receive the spirit of life,
at that time the sun begins to help.
This embryo is brought into movement,
for the sun quickens it with spirit.

From the other stars this embryo
received only an impression,
until the sun shone upon it.
How did it become connected
with the shining sun in the womb?

By ways hidden from our senses:
the way whereby gold is nourished,
the way a common stone becomes a garnet
and the ruby red,
the way fruit is ripened,
and the way courage comes
to one distraught
with fear.
MATHNAWI I, 3775-3782

What Was Said to the Rose

What was said to the rose that made it open
was said to me here in my chest.
What was told the Cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was
whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever
was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them
so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is
being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that’s happening here.
The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,
in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

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