Training Notes

Higher Ground

Whenever we begin to evaluate, deciding that we should or should not do this or that, then we have already associated our practice or our knowledge with categories, one pitted against the other, and that is spiritual materialism, the false spirituality of our spiritual advisor. Whenever we have a dualistic notion such as, “I am doing this because I want to achieve a particular state of consciousness, a particular state of being,” then automatically we separate ourselves from the reality of what we are. …when we formulate a second judgement, “I should be doing this and should avoid doing that” then we have achieved a level of complication which takes us a long way from the basic simplicity of what we are. The simplicity of meditation means just experiencing the ape instinct of ego. If anything more than this is laid onto our psychology, then it becomes a very heavy, thick mask, a suit of armor.
It is important to see that the main point of any spiritual practice is to step out of the bureaucracy of ego. This means stepping out of ego’s constant desire for a higher, more spiritual, more transcendental version of knowledge, religion, virtue, judgement, comfort or whatever it is that the particular ego is seeking.
Chogyam Trungpa

Mary Cutrera Tree image

“Beside the river was a grove of tall naked cotton woods- trees of great antiquity and enormous size- so large that they seemed to belong to a bygone age. They grew far apart, and their strange twisted shapes must have come about from the ceaseless winds that bent them to the east and scoured them with sand, and from the fact that they lived with very little water,- the river was nearly dry here for most of the year. The trees rose off of the ground at a slant, and forty or fifty feet above the earth all these white, dry trunks changed their direction, grew back over ther base line, Some split into great forks which arched down almost to the ground; some did notipped downward fork at all, but the main trunk d in a strong curve, as if drawn by a bowstring: and some terminated in a thick coruscation of growth, like a crooked palm tree. They were all living trees and yet they seemed to be of old, dead, dry wood, and had very scant foliage. High up in the forks, or at the end of a preposterous length of twisted bough, would burst a faint bouquet of delicate green leaves- out of all keeping with the lengths of seasoned white trunk and branches. The grove looked like a winter wood of giant trees, with clusters of mistletow growing among the bare boughs.”
Death Comes For the Archbishop by Willa Cather 1927