Rodney Owen, 4
Interview with Rodney Owen
It is indeed a paradox. But I see it from an odd and perhaps practical point of view. Yes, the Kingdom is among us and all we have to do is recognize it, but how? I mean, we have teeth and hair and skin and appetites. But if we don't grow a garden or hunt animals or work and go to the market, we can't satisfy our appetites and we die. If we don't bath, brush our teeth, wash our hair, we may either lose them or abhor the condition they are in.
Likewise, we are all that we need– we just need to recognize that. But that requires some effort too, even if that effort is simply sitting. The Buddha said that life is suffering mainly because we get attached. Non-attachment is no more a natural state in this world than clean teeth are. We have to brush our Karma as well as our teeth. I agree that our efforts stand in our way. But it is our efforts to grow our gardens and raise our children and love our neighbors that get in our way.
These actions are necessary, but worldly, and people will steal from us, and tax us, and send our children to war, and pollute our environment, and fill our ears with propaganda. These are the things that stain our psyches and our bodies just as tea stains our teeth. Our practices help to wash us clean, to maintain us in body mind and spirit. Our practices are spiritual toothpaste if you will. So instead of our practices getting in the way, they get "us" out of the way of our natural blooming.
That blooming is always there, just waiting to happen much like the lilies out in my garden. They are waiting for the right conditions. I should till and fertilize the soil so that I get the best bloom possible. Likewise we do our spiritual practices to clean away the world so that we can be who we really are. But even with that, if we get attached to our efforts, we do indeed stand on our own way. So, it is still a paradox. But what else can you do?
I like your response. I get what you are saying. There is something that sticks with me on this subject and it has to do with squirrels and how they are compelled to hide nuts for later. What is it in their nature that recognizes this need and does something about it in the moment. Is it written into instinct and natural impulse to care for what needs to be cared for? If this is the case do we need to plan, or will arrive in our awareness without our day-planner? Independent of societal structures do you think human nature needs to be tended to or simply witnessed? In short, is it enough that you can't help but do what you do?
I don't know. I think the human gift of abstract thought is both a blessing and a curse. I think Yogananda would say that we have the ability to arrive in our awareness without our day-planner. But our conditioning stands in the way. So, again, our practices work to clear the way for that possibility. Now, I am thinking as I write this (built-in dual processor) and I think that yes we have that ability. Again, drawing on Yogananda, we have the potential ability with our minds to do most anything. We can make our needs appear simply through the power of mind, and live a life of unbelievable synchronicity if we are properly attuned with the Universe.
Note, I said the potential. Making this an actuality is a matter of a lot of spiritual work, but I understand there have been plenty of people to demonstrate such mental/spiritual power. Of course this is taking this discussion to another level altogether– which is also extremely interesting to me, by the way. I guess at a base level we have the built-in nature that squirrels do, and have forgotten how to use it. At the same time we have the apparent supernatural potential that Yogananda and countless other Yogis talk about. Most of us are stuck somewhere in between.
I am so glad you acknowledged this. I can't tell you how important that is to me. For myself, in deep meditation I don't even feel particularly human. What I mean is I just feel more like life in general or refined, independent of biological specifics. If we follow this along, it makes sense that our identities have us viewing nature in a kind of clump state, where biology ends with my skin, takes a break and then starts up again with another person's skin... it just doesn't really cut the inner mustard.
So circumstances in our life may just be an extension of nature and biology, all abundantly cared for by and through relationship just like the cells in our bodies. Yes, it may well be another discussion. I really appreciate the time you have taken to do this interview, and I want to make sure readers are clear on what additional information they may find on your meditative practice on your site, as well as any other significant links of support. I would also like to know if you recommend any books on this form of meditation you practice.
Thanks again Benjamin. This has been a very enlightening experience. I look forward to reading the post, and the rest of your new blog. Good luck with the rest of the project– Namaste.