THE LAW MUST BE FULFILLED IN BOTH DIRECTIONS
In the Way of Divine Communion, the transition is made from self-possession, the contracting life of Narcissus, to the constant, moment to moment condition of submission to Grace, through the constant recollection of the Real, Divine Presence, constant reception-release of the Presence with every breath, and through bodily, whole-being participation in service through right disciplines. The Way of Divine Communion, in its maturity, involves a specific meditation. It is not merely a philosophical point of view. It must be realized in intentional living and in formal meditation. However, its initial stages are not meditative. The first thing the individual must do is be very clear in the twofold argument I have presented, which includes the criticism of the usual life in the form of Narcissus and the consideration of Divine Ignorance, the Principle of Grace, or That which is prior to the contraction which is the separate ego-soul. On the basis of that consideration, in response to that argument, he takes on conditions of life, including the personal disciplines and the orientation of service and study. Then, on the basis of his response to me, having entered into this Company on the basis of the Teaching, the individual will come to enjoy conscious initiation into the Divine Condition and Presence.
If the devotee will use me in the spiritual sense, if he will approach me properly, then, in this Company we enjoy with one another, there is the awakening to the various aspects or moments of this Divine Revelation. Its characteristics are different at each of the stages of practice. In the stage of the Way of Divine Communion, it is the realization of the Divine as Presence. If the devotee approaches me only in worldly terms, argumentative and self-defending, I cannot have this function for him, it does not work. In that case it works only to offend, or else seems to support, his illusions, whereas the true realization of the Divine Presence is immediately effective in the dissolution of the ego principle.
People talk in all kinds of religious ways about the Divine Presence, but it is commonly from an egoic, separative point of view, and so they use childish religious madness to justify the usual life. The approach must fulfill the Law of sacrifice in both directions. In the devotee’s own case, there must be submission to Grace, literally, which is expressed as release of the possessed and worldly point of view, the separative point of view of Narcissus. The natural response on my part is one through which this sense of the Divine Reality is awakened very naturally in the devotee, and very directly, so that his surrender is also true.
The occasions of my meeting with people are for the sake of this Revelation, this Initiation, this Divine Communication. That is why I sit with people in formal Communion. My verbal communication to devotees is served through the publications and seminars of Vision Mound Ceremony. I sit and talk from time to time with individuals, but since my meetings with people are very occasional, they are essentially formal, meditative, silent-in other words, most directly useful in the spiritual way.
So the devotee practices this approach to me regularly and sacramentally in the natural way, in his privacy but also directly, personally with me from time to time. Through that process there is the awakening of the sense of this Divine Presence, which is the Real, his Very Condition. It is communicated in a special sense that initiates the whole process of spiritual practice. Its communication is coincident with the dissolution of self-possession, the relaxation of the separative sense, of anxiety, and the essential refusal of the Divine as his Condition which is what anxiety is all about. Religious people may accept the Divine in some sense, as Other and Parent to the ego, but they still refuse the Divine as their Condition. They have a childish, egoic relationship to the Divine. An individual’s relationship to the Divine is mature only when he realizes the Divine as his Very Condition, so that the sense of independent, self-referring, and self-possessed existence is dissolved along with the Otherness of God. The Divine Presence is properly felt as Other only as long as the ego-illusion survives.
When this initiation or awakening begins to take place, then the meditative aspect of the Way of Divine Communion begins to develop. It has very specific characteristics, which are principally described in the Teaching on the Service of God, the the Breath of God, and the Name of God. These practices are essentially a single process. The Way of Divine Communion is Communion with the Divine, release of the separated, separate, and separative condition into the Divine Condition through participation of the whole being.
That aspect of the meditation which is described as the practice of the Name of God is simply awareness, present recollection, or re-attention in the Divine Presence. The verbal Name “God” may be used mentally at times. It may even be spoken aloud, as it is in chanting and singing. It may also be used audibly or mentally brought forward in private, but in any case it is not a mechanical process. The Name of God is not a “mantra” in the conventional sense. It is not a “thing” in itself. It is simply an instrument for the recollection of the Presence which is awakening in this Way of practice. Without that specific use, the engagement of the Name “God” is essentially futile self-involvement. Rightly employed, it is simply the bringing of the awareness of the being into that Presence. Through the practice of the Breath of God, as well as whole-body Service to God, there is participation bodily, wholly, altogether in that very Presence, as the all-pervading and tangible Reality and Condition of the body-being. The sense of the Divine Presence matures in the formal times of meditation set aside each day. Ultimately, on the basis of formal practice, it progresses from a random to a constant process. It matures as the moment to moment, simple, single, direct, and most intense enjoyment of the individual.
If that foundation is not there, the Way of Relational Enquiry, which follows the Way of Divine Communion, is empty, essentially motivated in the conventional way. It is then engaged only as part of the habit of Narcissus. The Way of Relational Enquiry is very attractive to mentally-oriented individuals, who cannot submit bodily and emotionally, as the life vehicle, who essentially are not convinced of the argument, and cannot presume it bodily. For them the Way of Divine Communion is seen as an obstacle. They do not like to hear about it. They think it is childish and not “really necessary” for them. They think they are very sophisticated, and they want to begin the practices of the Way of Relational Enquiry immediately. The Way of Divine Communion serves as an obstacle to the usual mind, so that it becomes very clear what is truly required, what the process of this devotional Way of Divine Ignorance is all about. It is not a dry philosophical, mental point of view. It absolutely requires devotional sacrifice, or perfect submission of the being. Devotional sacrifice is the foundation of the whole Way of Ignorance. It is the foundation of every stage and continues through all four stages.
Thus, when an individual has matured in the Way of Divine Communion, he or she shows all the signs of someone who is surrendered in God. Not in the usual, dingy, middle-class religious sense, but in the most genuine sense. A devotee’s life should have taken on the qualities of harmony, regularity, natural discipline, intelligence, pleasurableness, and native humor, without irony or giddiness. The heart, the center and epitome of the being, should open naturally. There should be the clear signs of one who is dependent on Grace, not on self-effort, and whose dependence on Grace does not take the form of waiting for God to come out of the sky to heal his tuberculosis and give him a new car. No, it is dependence on the Grace that is Reality. The whole body-being must be adapted to Grace-` as his or her very Condition, presently, completely independent of all the worldly destinies that the mind would like to assume are initiated by an act of some conventionally graceful Deity outside the body, in the heavens. When that natural quality of devotion, of surrender, begins to appear in the individual, and he or she naturally, spontaneously, moment to moment is involved in true devotional meditation, then the consideration of the Way of Relational Enquiry can appear for such a one.
People should know very clearly, then, what the practice of the Way of Divine Communion is. It does have two stages. There is the more practical aspect, the preparatory dimension of practice that includes all of the life-disciplines, the way of service, the preparation for meditative practice, and the maturing of a real approach to me. Then, on the basis of all of that (and that can take some time), when there is natural Awakening into the Divine Presence, prior to self, in my Company, the beginning of the real meditation of this stage awakens. That meditation must be realized formally, privately, during certain regular times every day. During that time the process is very specific. It is simply recollection of the Presence and whole-body participation in That, dependence on It, release to and into It, release of everything of self, of mind, of meanings, of similarities, of memory, of body, of all the kinds of possession, of the image the world itself. Meditation is the releasing of everything into the Presence, which is the Condition of all of it, in time with the breath, the ordinary life cycle of reception and release. That process becomes constant under all conditions through practice.
This meditation is an extension of the Sacrament of Universal Sacrifice. It is essentially the same thing. And the Sacrament of Universal Sacrifice is part of the initial discipline, the practical aspect, the preparation. It is the Way of approaching me in the true sense. It is the Way of constantly remembering what the nature of the true approach is, what the Condition of life is for a devotee, that it is a mutual sacrifice. Participation in that Sacrament becomes realized as real meditation, which is the same as that Sacrament, that Universal Sacrifice which pervades the whole life. This way of Universal Sacrifice is not an effect like the conventional sacraments in churches-a bit of bread and wine to produce some effect, or the awakening of awe relative to some objective, believer’s Deity. It is not a matter of gaining anything through the process. Theprocess itself is true. It is not to be understood in terms of results It is itself the Real Process of participation in the Divine Reality.
So the practical and meditative disciplines of this Way of Divine Communion are very specific. They are not ambiguous. They are founded on the presumption of the Teaching and of the lessons learned through the argument of my play with people. Without that presumption the Way cannot begin. Having begun, it is very specific, very orderly, and very real. It is very much a matter of life-obligation. IL fulfills itself in a natural, ordinary, human maturity. The Way of Relational Enquiry that is built upon it is the natural extension of that process. It is not a matter of drying up, or ending the process of Divine Communion. The Way of Relational Enquiry is an extension of the same devotional sacrifice, the same Universal Sacrifice. It is a way of continuing the dissolution of the adaptation of separation, of Narcissus, of the avoidance of relationship, through re-adaptation to the Real Condition in stages of natural growth. The stages of the Way of Re-cognition and of Radical Intuition follow naturally in the same order.
The Divine is not objective to us, not Other. The Divine is our Condition. That is the Principle through all four stages, and it is the Principle of the Way of Divine Communion. But that Divine which is our Condition is realized as literal Presence,. all-pervading, 9.1 from which we are tending to separate ourselves, and which we are tending to objectify by separating ourselves. We must participate in the Presence through submission of the separative principle, through surrendering of the whole being into that Condition itself, and thereby falling out of the adaptations of separation and the subjective lie.
Never abandon the orientation of Ignorance.
Never abandon the obligation of Service.
Never abandon the attitude of Humor, or Intuitive Freedom from the necessity of any condition, high or low.
Always maintain the Disciplines.
Always be confronted by The Teaching.
Always Contemplate and Breathe the Presence to which you are Awakened by all of this.