Sunday, March 20, 2011

Render unto Caesar

They came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are sincere. You don't favor any individual, because you pay no attention to external appearance. Rather, you teach the way of God truthfully. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them or should we not?"

Seeing through their hypocrisy, Jesus replied to them, "Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it."

So they brought one. Then he asked them, "Whose face and name are on this?" They said to him, "Caesar's."

So Jesus said to them, "Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were utterly amazed at him.

As we hover on the border between the First and Second Tiers, the ego/mind has many questions. And as Wilber noted drily in his amazing essay “The Great Search,” first published in The Eye of Spirit, that while “[t]he separate-self is, at bottom, simply a sensation of seeking,” part of the very structure of evolution involves the inescapability of undertaking the Great Search regardless of our mental conviction of its ultimate futility. “You and I are already convinced that there are things we need to do in order to realize Spirit. We feel that there are places that Spirit is not (namely, in me), and we are going to correct this state of affairs.”

And so we take on the journey to enlightenment. We read the sacred texts, we study the injunctions of the avatars, we sit on our cushions and meditate, we open our hearts to the Divine. We do the work. Wilber continues:
William Blake said that “a fool who persists in his folly will become wise.” So nondual meditation simply speeds up the folly. If you really think you lack Spirit, then try this folly: try to become Spirit, try to discover Spirit, try to contact Spirit, try to reach Spirit, meditate and meditate and meditate in order to get Spirit!
But of course, you see, you cannot really do this. You cannot reach Spirit any more than you can reach your feet. You always already are Spirit, you are not going to reach it in any sort of temporal thrashing around. But if this is not obvious, then try it. Nondual meditation is a serious effort to do the impossible, until you become utterly exhausted of the Great Search, sit down completely worn out, and notice your feet.
So perhaps the work is nothing more or less than an extended Zen lesson: indulging the Orange ego/mind’s endless demand for definitive and absolute information until even the mind has to throw in the towel and let go.