Friday, March 24, 2006

Becoming Convinced

The realization is dawning on me that hosting the "Together in Spirit" radio show is as much about the all pervasive guru teaching me as it is about presenting the wisdom of my amazing guests to the listening audience. Each week I seem to come away with something that changes the way I approach my practice or that gives me new insight into what I am already doing.

The recent sequence of shows has been especially instructive. One week I spoke with James Twyman and came away with renewed clarity that it is only the switch from ego-perception to divine-perception that can ever free us from our habitual creation of a world that seems filled with suffering. Trying to train the ego to create an experience of heaven on earth is like trying to train a tree to fly.

The next week I had two Enneagram experts come on and they affirmed that the ego creates what they call stories, and that I also think of as filters, to interpret the world it sees and that it is these filters that distort our understanding of reality and cause us to live some distance from our true selves. (Different people have different habitual filters, which the enneagram describes classified into 9 personality types.) Once again, it is the ego causing us to experience samsara instead of nirvana, not any quality in our external situation, and its key role is distorting perception so that we perceive and interpret according to its beliefs instead of having a direct experience of reality and getting to learn from that.

Now, as I prepare for the appearance of Byron Katie on the show this coming Tuesday, this understanding gathers still more power over my perception. Each time I have a guest coming on I spend a considerable amount of time familiarizing myself with their work. I have been reading both of Katie's books and have listened to recordings of her workshops, as well as trying the process called "The Work" on myself. I not only had some valuable and freeing realizations as a result of this, I also have experienced a shift in my perception.

I could go back through experiences with guests from previous weeks also. I have learned from each of them. I highlight these last three simply because it is now that I feel the full momentum of this process shifting my actual state of daily perception. I have long been exposed to the ideas I relate above, but for the last couple of days I have truly felt an identity of "true self" as myself, while witnessing the filter of ego as it functions without any aggression towards it, but also without being taken in by its stories.

I also have lived within this experiential reality before, but this is the first time it feels integrated within the development of a deeper state of understanding. All other times it seemed more like a gift of grace -- one that suddenly descended upon me without any rhyme or reason and that left, whether after a day, a week or a month, with just as much mystery.

Doing this show, which I first embarked upon as a way of gifting others, has become a huge blessing in my life. Of course, that should be expected. What we give to others is what we gift to ourselves. Just nice to have it confirmed once again -- and nice to share it as a reminder to you as well.

I just hope the show's sponsor is equally pleased with how things are going. The current season ends on May 9 with my interview of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the head of the Shambhala buddhist lineage and publisher of the Shambhala Sun magazine. Not sure where it will all be heading by that time.

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