My theistic starting point: Who is God? God is and underlies everything. God is not above nature but in everything. This natural God leads the rest of nature to growth, the universe the flower and me. The technical term is Panentheism. (Gift from Mary Coelho, Jacob Needleman, there is a whole scientific and spiritual movement here.) I recommend: <gaiavoices.net> for some people chatting on this general subject.
My identity: Who am I? This is not a pedagogical question, not a rational search but a search for the deepest self. I am nothing that I can be aware of so that leaves only the act of awareness for me to be. I am consciousness. Everything that is, is a verb. I am not the world around me, I am not my hand, my eye, my brain. I am the verb, “aware.” In this lies the possibility of detachment for I am not that which suffers. This being awareness is continuous with the being-awareness called God. I am God with a body. God is God without a body. (Gift from the Advaita, before the Buddha.) Who am I? Jean Klein.
Eliminating or reducing the interior obstacles to seeing the present reality: As I become quiet, I am besieged with feelings, memories, daydreams, desires, fears. They are what prevents me from seeing the world as it is now. By simply being aware of them they will disappear. Dogen said, “We study the self to know the self. To know the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be awakened by the ten thousand things.” (Gift from Zen.)
The Empty Mind: When the mind is full, I am blinded. When, after the elimination of interior obstacles the mind is empty I am fully present to life. “In your absence is your presence,” (A Gift from the Advaita.) In the absence of the cluttered self the underlying self, “being aware” emerges. This empty self lives only in the present.
Developing the Mind of Christ: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” (Paul speaking to the Ephesians.) We have the ability to take on the same mind that Jesus took on without further effort. The empty mind is aware of the world as it is and is led as Jesus was to love, and compassion. It is not a supernatural miracle but a natural reaction.
We have been told to love the World. But imperatives are futile. To love the world you must know the world as loveable. I was granted that state for a couple of weeks in my early thirties after a four-day intensive workshop and telling my mother I loved her, maybe for the first time. I entered the present. It was very nice! And then I loved the world. Then life cluttered my mind, again. I was again normal. Sad! I did not know a way back then. Now I do. If I can discard the blinders the world will be loveable. The Navajo say, “Walk in Beauty.” (The baptism of Jesus I think a beginning point of ongoing clarity for him, misunderstood by others.)
stillsittingjohn.com, my website, for more of the same
and other things too