Thursday, December 29, 2011

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, December 30, 2011

The degree of freedom from unwanted thoughts
and the degree of concentration on a single thought
are the measures to gauge spiritual progress.

Ramana Maharshi

I love the way Easterners think. But. Like a lot of all “spiritual” thinking (and, of course, Scriptural thinking) it tends to exaggerate in order to make its point. Which is a problem. Because it tends to modern ears to sound ….. well, exaggerated and nonsensical. Anyway, once you understand this, you can then begin to explore the depths of meaning.

So: I would say. All this elegant principle says is, Try To Concentrate. Don’t think that you will ever arrive at a state when you will be able to do this consistently. And let me tell you, I can relate. I am constantly doing a hundred things at the same time ….. or trying. When I’m sitting at my computer, I am jumping back and forth with a lot of things I’m responding to. When I’m writing a sermon, I have learned that my mind is going to be on a million things ….. and that my sermon is NOT going to be written until that stops. So, I’ve learned to “go with the flow” and not “worry” ….. and then the moment to write arrives and the sermon gets written. It is fail-proof. I just have to be present and available to the moment.

There will always be “unwanted thoughts”. It’s impossible not to have them. But I agree that one indication of “spiritual progress” is being able to hold onto one thought for a bit ….. and then to pull that into one’s vision for who you want to be.

We all have the power to exclude “unwanted thoughts” for a bit ….. and in that moment of freedom, to take a leap forward and advance on the road to Being You.


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