In your two practice periods today, again concentrate in meditation upon feeling the presence of your Spiritual Teachers. This is not something you have to try to do. It simply means relaxing, breathing and allowing your mind to open. The quality of your relationship with your Teachers is essential to give you strength and encouragement, for you may justly doubt your own skills, but you have good cause to fully trust the skills of your Teachers who have passed this way before on their way to Knowledge. They know the way, which they are seeking now to share with you.
Practice 36: Two 15-minute practice periods.
Here you will find pointers for getting started if this is your first encounter with this practice: Taking the Steps to Knowledge.
I want to feel the presence of my teachers and perhaps I feel it, but I also doubt sometimes that I have my own Spiritual Teachers looking out for me personally, supporting and guiding me. I do not think that God is personal in this way, so why should there be a personal relationship between me and my teachers. Who are these teachers and why are they interested in me? Is this not just wishful thinking? Or perhaps, again, I am missing some essential point here.
July 23, 2018 Round Three: Yes, I am looking for greater things and to satisfy this need I must penetrate the surface of my mind, open it to receive my Spiritual Teachers and their guidance, for they have been this way before. I continue to open my mind as I did the last time and feel the expansion that occurs. Now I am able to feel the presence of my Teachers rather than try to visualize them. They are amorphous and have no shape or form. They surround me with support and love.
First 15-min practice. I couldn’t find a quiet place. I did not go out to the greenhouse but decided to stay inside. I could hear the quiet noise of the TV through the wall and the neighbors quiet talking and laughing. Why are they not asleep at 4 in the morning? How will Michael and Lera manage sleeping in the front room when they come in August? I hope they are not as sensitive to noise as I am. I know Michael isn’t. But what about Lera? I was distracted from my practice and went into the bathroom. It was quiet there, but not the best place to be association-wise. I was able to sink below the surface mind into the expansive space where my Teachers abide. Practice from 4.18-4.33.
I am going to have to get over my reticence about Volodya’s presence and go boldly out to the greenhouse.
I didn’t do the second practice. I forgot. It was a quiet day with rain in the air. I rested a lot and then did a little in the garden. Did not find any Colorado beetle grubs on the potatoes. Sasha was making raspberry jam and then we had tea and cake early in celebration of his 62nd birthday. We felt rushed because Volodya said he would be coming in to take a shower, so we wanted to finish and be gone from the kitchen when that happened.
I had a thought about Volodya in the context of Step 36. If I see him as penetrating the mystery of his life and responding to a deeper yearning (his desire to live here in his old stomping ground) so as not to cause himself unnecessary grief and conflict, this makes the situation I am in easier to deal with. If I see Volodya as saying to himself - it doesn’t matter what other people value, it is important what I value - I can justify his behaviour. But on second thought, that seems egotistical and selfish. However, I think the Step means something else. It means people with values that are different from mostpeople’s shouldn’t beat themselves over the head about it but follow their “different” values and put a brave smile on their face.
I feel the presence of my Spiritual Teachers with me on a regular basis. So I get the feeling I don’t have to set aside 15 minutes specifically to feel this.