by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Part XV

Because of our desire to apprehend what we do not yet understand,
The meaning of things will be revealed.
By awakening that which has not yet been awakened,
We will draw close to the Unborn
And allow It to become the moving force in our lives.
Do not retain rebellious feelings or lazy tendencies;
Instead, nourish the residual Buddha Nature!
Once one grasps the all-embracing Light,
The house of self can no longer be seen.
By listening to what cannot be heard, we warm the root of our existence.
By looking at what cannot be seen we will bring peace to our fears.
That which makes us wander about in what is uncompassionate and hard to bear
Will naturally change.

Listening to What Cannot be Heard

The still, small voice of our wonderful True Nature does not have to manifest in the form of what we think of as a "voice." It can be "heard" without the medium of sound. So the listening that is an aspect of meditation is an intuitive listening, and when we "hear" that which we are listening for, it is an intuitive hearing.

One summer day many years ago I was lying on my back looking at the sky. It was a clear day and I was in a lovely mountain meadow. It was early afternoon. Suddenly, for a fraction of a second, I saw a star in that blue sky. I tried to find it again, but could not see it. I have never doubted that I really did see a star. And I have since heard that this happens to other people also.

I did not see that star in a blue sky in full sunlight by trying to see it. I did not want to see a star, for I had not the slightest idea that it was even possible to see one in full daylight. I was just relaxed and not looking for anything.

Just as a relaxed person gazing into a blue sky can see a star when all conditions are right for that to happen, so a person who has relaxed into the stillness of meditation can hear the still, small voice of the Eternal when all conditions are right for that to happen. There may be many such conditions that must be right in order to hear the voice of the Eternal, and it is unlikely that we need to be aware of most of them, but two have been identified in the story of my unintentional meadow star-gazing: we must not be wanting and we must not be trying.

But how do we listen without wanting or trying?--If I have asked for help, would I not be wanting the response and trying to hear it?--The answer is that if we have offered up everything, we have offered up wanting, and if we have offered up wanting, we will not strive (try). And if we have given the meditative effort of waiting to the process that was set in motion by asking and offering, the habit-energy within wanting and trying has been gradually re-directed into willingness. And this entire process has opened mind and heart and made them receptive. Now we must trust our innate capacity to hear the voice of the Eternal, and be willing to receive the teaching and to follow the guidance that the Eternal gives.

Offering flows out of asking; waiting flows out of offering; listening flows out, and is an integral part, of waiting. This is one flow, one process, one natural movement of the Heart. It is living from our Buddha Nature.


In this wonderful meditative process, we get out of our imagined position in the driver's seat and allow the Eternal to teach us. The functioning of genuine spiritual intuition is entirely controlled by the Eternal. During the time of asking, offering, waiting and listening our mind and heart turn toward, and open to, the Eternal. Thus we restrain wilfull impulsiveness, and respect, and attune our attention and effort to, the Eternal's timing.

Sometimes the response to a sincere prayer is immediate. For example, in How to Grow a Lotus Blossom Rev. Master describes several instances in which she asks the Eternal for guidance and gets an immediate answer. But often a response comes after a period of some duration. Sometimes a response is not fully apprehended until a long time has passed--perhaps months or even years.

We do not need to doubt ourselves or the Eternal when we seem to get no immediate response. Our job is to get out of the driver's seat and to stay out of it. Every sincere prayer receives a response. But often the timing is not yet right for the response to be given and/or apprehended right away. In every such case, it is worth the effort that we put into patiently waiting with an open heart. When all conditions have fully ripened, the Help of the Eternal will flow to our need.

Penetrating the Teaching

Receiving a teaching is not the same as understanding the teaching that has been received. Sometimes understanding is immediate. Sometimes it comes within a short time. Sometimes it comes only over a long period of time. Learning is a complex process. We can encounter confusion and bewilderment in studying any subject, especially in the beginning. This is as true of the process of learning initiated when we apprehend teaching from the Eternal as it is true of any other form of learning.

One reason why it can take time to penetrate the meaning of a teaching is that teachings apprehended in spiritual intuition can be scrambled as they work their way through layers of karmically-inherited confusion and pain. This is especially true prior to deep spiritual conversion, but it can be true at any time because, as Rev. Master often reminded us, no matter how far we have gone in training, we can always at least potentially be influenced by karma.

If a teaching has been scrambled, or if for any other reason the meaning of a teaching is not yet clear, we need to meditate further. In fact, the need to meditatively de-scramble, or otherwise penetrate the meaning of, a teaching is itself another form of spiritual need which can evoke the same asking, offering, waiting and listening. So we end up with meditative wheels rotating within wheels.

And this complex meditative deliberation can be happening at deep levels within ourselves of which we are not aware most of the time. I cannot too strongly emphasize that the "steps" that I am describing are always present in even a single moment of genuine meditation. As our training deepens, we become more aware of these aspects of meditation, and more skilled and confident in consciously making use of them. And we always return to just sitting with an open heart. The Eternal is the One in charge: we can trust this every step of the way.


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