7. Effort or non-effort on the spiritual path
an article by Gregorian Bivolaru
There is also another, quite delicate contradiction in the Tantric way of thinking. It flows from the fact that, on one hand, it is said in the Maharthamanjari treatise “Pursue to remain perfectly aware the way you are and don’t make anymore efforts because the goal is already attained” or in Nrimha Uttara Upanishad: “Realize that indeed there is no disappearance nor formation. There is no one to chain, no one to act, no one to need liberation and no one to be liberated”. On the other hand it’s necessary these phrases not to be taken literally, because, the way they are stated, they would but invite to a spiritual benumb and to a childish situationism making any attempt for spiritual realization became futile and meaningless. We are going now to clarify which is the just attitude of the spiritual searcher who has to, according to Patanjali, “practice the effort in non-effort and the non-effort in effort”.
Not always having the good-luck – or bad-luck, depending how we see it – to be suddenly projected into the reality of the “natural state” with the power of an cataclysm and even against our will (this is sometimes producing, in very exceptional cases), we see ourselves constrained to use some mean crutches.
We have to admit from the very beginning that reality is not changing, only if we consider it evolving according to the concepts we use to tackle it. All that is changing is our functionality in the frame of the RESONANCE processes relating to it. Those we call “the enlightened alive” can state, without the smallest imposture, that nothing has happened to them. They function perfectly, in a ULTIMATE reality which has neither beginning nor end. But I can assure you that for the organized society they bring a lot of troubles, they are sort of destructive examples.
For the incredibly lots of people who exclusively function in duality, in social institutions and who follow well defined moral codes, for those who are in a chronological time, having a history and a three dimensional space, the passage to illuminated conscience represents an astounding experience. For the wise man instead who is firmly anchored in this state of consciousness, which he is plenary living from the very beginning, no experience exists at all.
And still in this situation nothing decisive happened. We even could compare this with a birth: the new born, and later on the grown up, can never speak about the experience of his birth. But even this analogy is very pale because there cannot exist an adequate comparison between birth in the conditioned life and birth in the Total Consciousness. To speak about experience, past, future you must be on this side of the river and not on the opposite one.
“What exists” doesn’t really have a past and a future, excepting few furrows, some “appearances” which come in the movement of this implicate order. The unity cannot be modified. The breach becomes sensible only in those cases of ignorance and infirmity, when a being has limited perception. If there is an illusion indeed, this is the precise point where it can be distinguished and not on the reality of physical phenomena. The illusion, a real phantasm, is not the world but the deformed manner we interpret it as being independent or illusory, real or unreal, according to the vision of some thinking school or another. This is a kind of farce our mental is playing to us.
For an ordinary human being, drowned in agitation and in his various preoccupations, the functioning of an “enlightened alive” cannot remain but an enigma and a paradox. Otherwise, most of the time he doesn’t even realize that there is any difference, because the enlightened one doesn’t have any apparent particularity. Thus, it makes no sense to talk about him because it is impossible to claim that we could ever understand him as long as we indulge ourselves in our ordinary condition. It would be a nonsense and a deception.
That’s especially why the statements of wise men sometimes seem so disconcerting to us and some other times so very common, that at a first glance we can take them as truisms or incitations to laziness, indifference, vegetative life or simply groundless provocations. In such situations we can take those who utter these statements for some jokers, or some dolts, or some mentally disturbed persons or some humbugs; which is amusing them as well… And this will go on until the moment evidence will impose itself and the authentic answer at all our questions and efforts will be revealed as being the very suppression of any question. When the mind doesn’t pose anymore questions this is the very answer. This is the proof we already went on the other shore and then, suddenly, we understand there is no any other shore!
But our chance to reach this shore is almost null because the very wish or will to reach there becomes the main obstacle; our ego and our attachments are moving toward the supreme goal, toward “spiritual” aims and we don’t even guess that often we’ll stick in the mud for good and all. We continue to “do” but this time in the sublime. Then what to do in order not do? We should do nothing. But we know, non-action doesn’t mean nothing! Which thus will be the just attitude to make from non-action a reality of the awakening and not torpor? What should we do to avoid taking egotistic attitudes of our own will? And how to successfully forget about ourselves without falling asleep?
How then can exist the smallest attempt, at least an appearance to do some exercise if the wish to reach somewhere is absent? Without wish, without effort and will, without the hope for some result, without doing, the notion of scope seems to be itself an inconsequence, an abstraction, not to say an absurdity. Still, the absurd is having a hidden power!
The non-action belongs to the world order, to the cosmic harmony (MACROCOSMIC), to DHARMA. The action belongs to the worldly logic.
Please read now about Will and spontaneity in Tantra Yoga…