Category Archives: Spiritual path

No Mountains, No Rivers

mountains

Most of you must have heard about the old Zen saying about the rivers and the mountains, for those of you who haven’t here is a condensed version of it:

At the first level on the path, he saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers. On the second level of the path, he saw that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers. And at a third level, he saw once again mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers.

That Zen metaphor describes the three important stages experienced by consciousness as it passes through the gate of VISION, COMPASSION and REBIRTH.

At the first level on the path, he saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers
The first stage describes the state of mind-consciousness. Objects are labeled, they have a story attached to them and seem clearly separated and independent from each others. This is the current state of consciousness of the majority of human beings.

On the second level of the path, he saw that mountains are not mountains and rivers are not rivers.
As the world and our ego start to appear for what they really are, mind constructs, the “contour” of all inner and outer objects starts to blur and the unity of all starts to become our experience. That stage is often considered as awakening. Many individuals are currently going through that process.

At that stage, I would like to add a little note of caution based on my conscious experience of stage 2.

Consciousness can easily be fooled into thinking that stage 2 is the destination. The first contact of the “substance” with Presence can be fascinating. All objects and forms seem to “float” within a pure Presence, Awareness.

The mold of Neo-Advaita, in particular, seems to freeze many seekers into stage 2 through a dynamic of neverending compulsive self-enquiry. They deconstructed their reality and through a form of  new spiritualized ego they tend to compulsively reject all forms and objects that present themselves to their new found awareness. It is just another form of inverted duality and an exclusive expression of consciousness. Exclusive because the all inclusive heart is still not included.

And at a third level, he saw once again mountains were mountains and rivers were rivers.
The world of forms and objects has dissolved, the self has acknowledged its essential nature as pure Presence, the time of rebirth has come.

Strong from its “self-awareness” in the substance, Presence embraces the world of forms once again and it is now an embrace of love with the substance. Mountains are mountains again. Body, emotions, and thoughts are “impregnated” by Presence, the “little things of life” re-emerge in a newborn awareness. The VISION is now connected to THE HEART, humanity is embraced in its beauty, limitations, imperfections and fragility. Presence knows itself as the source of all, pure knowing, pure experiencing and the known, the experienced is not separated from it, it is essentially Love meeting Love.

Calwen

Into Presence

Searching for TruthI started my spiritual quest when I was a teenager. I remember devouring mountains of books on religions and spiritualities, I was very enthusiastic about it all. I could intuitively feel that there was more to life than what I had been told or shown. I had to find what it was.

I quickly realized that most sincere spiritual approaches were pointing to the same direction, the words were different but I could feel that there could only be one thing behind the multiple appearances, and I would find what it was.

Nature has always been the source of my inspirations, the subject of my meditations and contemplations. The sky, the trees, the rain, everything was a symbol pointing to a living reality, Nature was a gateway.  I eventually came to realize that there was nothing like “me and Nature” but there was just Nature, there was just Nature contemplating itself, it was my first glimpse into Oneness.

One day, as I was watching myself meditating, it suddenly became very clear that there was no need to make any effort to find reality. That reality was directly accessible to me through the realization that there was only What IS and it was just about surrendering to that obvious IS-ness, The Presence of What IS

Another major way point was reached when I realized that it wasn’t me who was experiencing the world, it was Presence experiencing it all, my mind, my body and the world.

That awakening was nevertheless a temporary illusion, a consciousness switch from the form to the formless, from being something to being nothing/everything. A necessary awakening from the ego had happened but it was just a temporary station, there was more to it.

The path to realization goes through the complete integration of the form with the formless, of the born with the unborn, of your human impermanence with What IS, with Presence… and it is an embrace of Love.

This blog offers insights into a spiritual experience, there is no final destination and we all are eternal students, I have nothing to teach, I am only projecting my experience. It might resonate with you, it might not, I am just singing my song in the universal choir 🙂

Calwen