In spiritual practice, which is our life, there are no breaks and no mistakes. We human beings are always doing spiritual practice, whether we know it or not. You may think that you have lost the thread of your practice, that you were going along quite well and then life got busy and complicated and you lost track of what you were doing. You may feel bad about this, and that feeling feeds on itself, and it becomes harder and harder to get back on track.
But this is just what you think; it’s not what’s going on. Once you begin practice, you always keep going, because everything is practice, even the days or the weeks or entire lifetimes when you forgot to meditate. Even then you’re still practicing, because it’s impossible to be lost. You are constantly being found, whether you know it or not. No matter what is going on –no matter how distracted you think you are, no matter how much you feel like a terribly lazy individual who has completely lost track of her good intentions and is now hopelessly astray– even then you have the responsibility and the ability to take all negativity, bad circumstance, and difficulty and turn it into the path.
There are two ways to approach anything on the spiritual path; if you want to heal yourself, there’s two different approaches; path that feels like hell; path that leads to heaven. If you want to wake in your consciousness, if you want to… Anything in the spiritual journey you can think of; even manifest your desires. Whatever you wanna do. There’s two paths. And the path that feels like hell… is when you approach anything spiritually from the perspective of a student. And the path that leads to heaven, is when you approach anything in the spiritual path as a master.
The confusion is thinking “the student becomes the master”.
No student becomes a master.
Students are fundamentally those who are consumed in endless questions, who always have something they need to know.
And while a student is defined as someone who always has something they need to know; a master is one who always has things to bless.
So wouldn’t it be outrageously simple and revolutionary, instead of maintaining your position as a student in the presence of a master, if you just learned how to be like the master, you see. Because if you know how to be like a master, your mastery is revealed. If you stay put as a student, there’s more things to learn and keep straight. And the more attached one gets to a master, the more they stay lost in the identity of student. And the student never becomes the master.
Just like, there might be a seed in the beginning, but the seed doesn’t become a fully blossomed flower, because in order for the flower to emerge, the seed must explode.
So you must lose track of your inner student, in order for the master to be known.
And God bless the intention of any heart-centered being who’s trying to be a really good student. But to the perspective of a master, a student is what the master –in the most loving way, when they can work so masterfully…– a student is what the master is trying to extinguish out of you.
A master is trying to huff and puff and, with the light of the Lord, exterminate “student” out of your heart.
A master devours the student within you, so that only mastery remains.
A master doesn’t have a problem with ego. A master doesn’t have a problem with your ego; a master doesn’t even really have any sense of ego, within themselves or you. Do you know why? Because the master –it’s simple– the master isn’t even trying to look at things through the eyes of what is or isn’t an ego. That’s old school. A master is trying to extinguish the student out of your field. Has nothing to do with ego; has to do with waking you up out of being a student.
And there is this weird quandary, because in the beginning, being a student gets you into the game. And you want to be a good student –to do all good work, to listen, to make sure you don’t miss anything– but in being the best student you can be, you are withholding your mastery from coming forward.
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A master would typically sit in front of a group or an audience, with everything to bless, the students would have everything to learn, and they’d think, “I’m gonna learn everything this master knows”, instead of maybe the more obvious thing which is, instead of trying to know what a master knows, why not just learn to do what a master does! Wouldn’t that make more sense? Because if a master doesn’t have anything to figure out, and everything to bless, and a student doesn’t spend time blessing anything because they’ve too many things to figure out, that’s why students live in hell, and masters sit in heaven.
But today is the day when you join your mastery in heaven. By learning what masters do. Because we are… Another way of talking about this –if mastery is not a word that resonates with you; for some reason it resonates with me on a very deep level– we are all angels! And Earth is an angel academy, and this is a school where we are a graduating class of angels, where after this lifetime many of us will go to work as spirit guides for the new wave of future souls that incarnate. So this is like Spirit Guide College… [Audience laughs] Right? Spirit Guide College! And in Spirit Guide College and the Angel Academy, you’re learning to become the master, the angel that you are. By learning what angels do.
So it’s kinda like there are victims in the Angel Academy, who are there to be rescued by angels, until they’ve been rescued enough times that they realize they’re an angel. And then when a victim starts doing what angels do, they become the angel they always are. So a victim is an angel that doesn’t know themselves, and an angel is a fully transformed victim! Just like a master is one whose inner student has been eradicated.
And so what I’m gonna share with you today –you’ll probably see touches upon the fundamentals of why the “Loving What Arises” teaching that I offer, the “I Love Yous”, why it’s so powerful; and I’m just gonna teach it to you today in a different context– and I wanna teach it through the sensibility and idea of blessing.
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That’s the path of mastery. A master awakens the master in others.
Excerpts transcribed by Leon Hieros
Dualism knows by comparison, opposition, and differentiation. It uses descriptive words like good/evil, pretty/ugly, smart/stupid, not realizing there may be a hundred degrees between the two ends of each spectrum. We do need the dualistic mind to function in practical life; to do our work as a teacher, a nurse, a scientist, or an engineer. It’s helpful and fully necessary as far as it goes, but it just doesn’t go far enough. Dualistic thinking works well for the sake of simplification and conversation, but not for the sake of truth or the immense subtlety of actual personal experience. The dualistic mind cannot process things like infinity, mystery, God, grace, suffering, sexuality, death, or love; this is exactly why most people stumble over these very issues. The dualistic mind pulls everything down into some kind of tit-for-tat system of false choices and too-simple contraries, which is largely what “fast food religion” teaches, usually without even knowing it. Without the contemplative and converted mind –an honest and humble perception– much religion is frankly dangerous. Most of us settle for quick and easy answers instead of any deep perception, which we leave to poets, philosophers, and prophets. Yet depth and breadth of perception should be the primary arena for all authentic religion. How else could we possibly search for God?
~ Fr. Richard Rohr; Leon’s mixing of two consecutive paragraphs found [here].
A true warrior is always armed with three things: the radiant sword of pacification; the mirror of bravery, wisdom, and friendship; and the precious jewel of enlightenment.
The real Art of Peace is not to sacrifice a single one of your warriors to defeat an enemy. Vanquish your foes by always keeping yourself in a safe and unassailable position; then no one will suffer any losses. The Way of a Warrior, the Art of Politics, is to stop trouble before it starts. It consists in defeating your adversaries spiritually, by making them realize the folly of their actions. The Way of a Warrior is to establish harmony.
Always try to be in communion with heaven and earth; then the world will appear in its true light. Self-conceit will vanish, and you can blend with any attack.
The totally awakened warrior can freely utilize all elements contained in heaven and earth. The true warrior learns how to correctly perceive the activity of the universe and how to transform martial techniques into vehicles of purity, goodness, and beauty. A warrior’s mind and body must be permeated with enlightened wisdom and deep calm.
Cast off limiting thoughts and return to true emptiness. Stand in the midst of the Great Void. This is the secret of the Way of a Warrior.
Budo is not a means of felling the opponent by force or by lethal weapons. Neither is it intended to lead the world to destruction by arms and other illegitimate means. True Budo calls for bringing the inner energy of the universe in order, protecting the peace of the world, as well as preserving everything in nature in its right form.
Life itself is always a trial. In training, you must test and polish yourself in order to face the great challenges of life. Transcend the realm of life and death, and then you will be able to make your way calmly and safely through any crisis that confronts you.
When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way.
If your opponent strikes with fire, counter with water, becoming completely fluid and free-flowing. Water, by its nature, never collides with or breaks against anything. On the contrary, it swallows up any attack harmlessly.
Do not stare into the eyes of your opponent: he may mesmerize you. Do not fix your gaze on his sword: he may intimidate you. Do not focus on your opponent at all: he may absorb your energy. The essence of training is to bring your opponent completely into your sphere. Then you can stand where you like.
Even when called out by a single foe, remain on guard, for you are always surrounded by a host of enemies.
Opponents confront us continually, but actually there is no opponent there. Enter deeply into an attack and neutralize it as you draw that misdirected force into your own sphere.
Even the most powerful human being has a limited sphere of strength. Draw him outside of that sphere and into your own, and his strength will dissipate.
Your spirit is the true shield.
- … can be summed up like this: True victory is self-victory; let that day arrive quickly! “True victory” means unflinching courage; “self-victory” symbolizes unflagging effort; and “let that day arrive quickly” represents the glorious moment of triumph in the here and now.
- … is controlling aggression without inflicting injury. To injure an opponent is to injure yourself.
- … is the art of never attacking. An attack is proof that one is out of control. Never run away from any kind of challenge, but do not try to suppress or control an opponent unnaturally. Let attackers come any way they like and then blend with them. Never chase after opponents. Redirect each attack and get firmly behind it.
- … is not about contests at all. A true warrior is invincible because he or she contests with nothing. Defeat means to defeat the mind of contention that we harbor within.
- … is the principle of non-resistance. Because it is non-resistant, it is victorious from the beginning. Those with evil intentions or contentious thoughts are instantly vanquished.
– Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido,
quotations selected by Leon Hieros