Right now, the Supreme Way is writing this first issue of Pathways of the Tao; without fail, it shall write every future issue. And, right now, the Supreme Way, on your computer screen or phone, is reading this very sentence. In fact, the same Supreme Way is looking through these eyes and those eyes, hearing these sounds and those, thinking these thoughts and those thoughts, experiencing, indeed, everything that is currently being experienced everywhere and everywhen and all at once.
There is only AWARENESS [or Tao or Supreme Way].
Awareness, while being entirely open, transcendent, formless, changeless, timeless, spaceless, and world-less, is also THIS which is right now looking, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting, thinking, intuiting. Awareness has also manifested ItSelf as all these sensible/perceptible objects—namely, the various sights, sounds, textures, smells, tastes, thoughts, memories, emotions, psychic impulses and other momentary arising-vanishing formations or phenomena. (Timothy Conway, “Our Real Nature,” my italics)
Therefore, the Supreme Way is, always, writing a love letter or an epic or a tragedy or a tragicomedy or a “divine comedy” (Conway again) to Itself. Therefore, let us say:
All pathways to the Tao are also, and only, the Tao.
All pathways to the Tao come from and return to the Tao.
All pathways to the Tao are underwritten by the Tao.
All pathways to the Tao carry nothing but the timeless scent of the Tao.
Come join me on March 6, 13 , and 20 for dialogical meditations. You can register for free here.
The first meditation (March 6): the world
The second meditation (March 13): the body
The third meditation (March 20): the mind
Stephen Wolinsky suggests that the essence of yoga is the realization of the following:
—I am not the doer.
—I am not the body.
—I am not the mind.
If what brings you here is the thoroughgoing critique of Total Work, then now, or soon, you might begin to see what, over all these years, such a critique intends to make possible—to wit, an investigation of the ultimate nature of reality.
One Pathway Borrowed From Advaita Vedanta
In Nisargadatta’s magisterial I Am That (1973), we learn about a particular pathway common to Advaita Vedanta—namely, shravana-manana-nididhyasana. I’ve added in two further steps based on Nisargadatta’s teaching (Point 3) and on Conway’s rider (Point 5):
Listen to the Dharma with one’s whole heart or entire being (shravana or sravana). Without judgment, agenda, or desire, one must purely listen, letting the teaching sink in very deep indeed. Let it be said that the Dharma “soaks” one completely. Let it also be said that seeds, by this means, have been planted, though one never knows which.
Next, one must earnestly remember (smarana). This is not mere calling to mind. It is a process of holding with one. What is the teaching? How does it continue to come up, to reveal itself throughout the day? In Buddhism, one of the three poisons is ignorance, the supreme ignorance being ignorance of the Unborn. To remember is an act of love, of special fondness, of unspeakable centrality. To remember is to hold close, to make dear.
Next comes pondering/contemplating/reflecting (manana). One must really, how to say?, massage the Dharma, asking about this and that, wondering about how this fits together with that. Roll the stone over and turn it around. Turn discourse—conceptual understanding—to one’s advantage.
All of the above sets the stage for true meditation (nididhyāsana). Listening lets seeds be planted. Remember allows them to remain alive. Contemplating allows them to begin growing. Yet only meditation allows them to sprout and then to fruit. As it’s said in India, the mango mustn’t be picked while it’s still green; let it be quite ripe so that it is sweet and juicy. Meditation is this ripening process, and sudden awakening is just that: sudden, timeless, spaceless waking up to one’s original nature, to the Supreme Way as That Which Is.
In his long essay on Nisargadatta, Timothy Conway underscores the last point, which involves getting truly established in this New Understanding. Personal consciousness must be an open, transparent, luminous vessel for the Supreme Way. Often, even if the Supreme Way “needs no cultivation” (as a Chan poem once put it), syncopation requires cultivation and refinement.
An Encyclopedic Site
Timothy Conway’s website, Enlightened Spirituality, is quite a gem. To get your feet wet, might I recommend two brief pieces?
With gasshou (palms pressed),