"Rose" By Sandy Jones
Excerpt from "A Guide To Awareness and Tranquillity" BY William Samuel
All we have to do is open our eyes to see people everywhere allowing themselves to be upset by every untoward event that comes along. Truly, it is amazing how little it takes to upset humanity at large. The wrong tone of voice, the wrong look, the slightest twitch in the corner of the mouth, even the word that isn't spoken at all when we think something should be said, is enough to set off a quarrel. We read an "I don't like" into ten times ten thousand sights and sounds. The event that vexes, of course, is the event that is disliked and not wanted; so, when it happens (or appears to) people quickly become irritated, frustrated, and angered.
Reader, it does not have to be this way for you; and it will NOT be, just as quickly as you come to comprehend what is said here. I tell you, this very instant it is within our capability to stand unmoved and unaffected by appearances, like a rock of stability in the face of circumstances we would have allowed to tear us apart before! It is our effortless capability—no, more than that—it is our divine heritage to stand and see beauty, gentleness and perfection everywhere, without end, even in the world's fiery furnaces and lion's dens where it may seem to others the universe is tumbling around their feet.
The mark of a "successful" philosophy and way of life is just this ability! We may eat education's meager crumbs of comfort until we starve to death, but there is meat on the table, spread out before us, already served and waiting! When we sit down (get down) to Reality ITSELF, Peace is tangibly present—Peace, not a promise of it; not a transitory, drug-induced, medicine-abetted, ecstatic, orgiastic, fast-talking sample of it; not crumbs from the table, but the pure Peace spoken of by the Saints and Sages; the Christ's guarantee to those who come." This Peace is the Sabbath, the Shekinah, the Mantle. This is the Rest. "Come . . . and when you have found, then you will rest!" said (says) the One.
When we begin to experience the permanent Peace beyond comprehension, it is a sure sign that Reality is our Foundation and we are beginning to know what it is about. It is our intention during the following pages (as in our talks) to persist in this matter of Tranquility until it becomes plain to the reader as his own experience. Let me begin by telling you an enlightening, door-opening experience of the Korean War.
I was commanding a rifle company in the mountains, in close contact with the enemy. Late one afternoon, a machine gun began to fire directly over my command post bunker where I, and several others, lived. Every few minutes it fired another burst of bullets a few scant feet over our heads. Those who have heard such sounds are likely to remember the sharp cracks, their resounding echoes from the mist-enshrouded peaks, accentuated by the crisp mountain air. It is a sound and a feeling quite unlike any other.
The bullets weren't doing a bit of actual harm, sailing overhead as they were and falling into an empty green-brown valley below; but the shooting of that single gun went on interminably, day after day, night after night, burst after burst, in exactly the same place, over the command post. We paid little attention for a day or so, but as might be expected, it fast became a source of annoyance, especially after several attempts to silence the gun had failed.
By the end of the week it had become sport to gamble a dollar or two on the exact time and number of rounds (bullets) in the next burst, but, despite the diversionary tactics to make light of it, our annoyance was growing into monumental proportions. Soon we could tell when the enemy gunners changed, having learned the rhythm of their shooting; and when a firefight developed, I could easily distinguish that one gun cracking away, no matter where I happened to be along the line. It stood out above all the rest. Those of us who lived in the bunker, over which that gun fired without ceasing, gave way (to say the very least) to unrestrained irritability and frustration.
During this time, my affairs as a commander did not prosper. I spent every available minute attempting to eliminate the source of that disturbing sound, but the Chinese had dug the gun into the rocks of the mountain in such a way that it seemed no power on earth could dislodge and silence it. My anger and frustration went from blue to black.
One morning after a particularly anguishing night that had seen every attempt to rest shattered, I decided the machine gun would have to go or I would surely come apart at the seams. I called for the artillery liaison officer attached to my command; from him, I summarily demanded and received the fires of an entire battalion of artillery poured onto the offending gun emplacement. Oh, it was an awesome, thunderous event! As tons of shells crashed into the mountaintop, I gleefully imagined my nemesis hanging on for dear life, choking amidst the dust and debris of my revenge.
The thunder of our exploding salvos was followed by a tingling silence—a beautiful, golden silence that lasted for about ten seconds; then, another strident, excruciating and particularly long, nose-thumbing burst of bullets cracked over our heads from that damnable gun! It was still in action and my spirit was crushed! Surely, I thought, the gunner on that hilltop must be a nine-lived cat, laughing, no doubt, and, though his bullets touched no one, they were more effective than if they had.
There was no question about it; agony, despair, frustration and pure misery had taken me over completely and grown out of all proportion. I remember trying and failing to write a letter to my family that morning. Then, in quiet agony, my world came to an end and I gave up—simply gave up. In utter dejection, thinking I could not bear the grind in my stomach another instant, I surrendered within, not caring what happened. I was helpless. I wanted an end to the death and destruction and the end to my agony, but more than anything, I wanted inner peace; or, if not that, at least the "sleep that knits the ravell'd sleeve of care."
This is when it happened, Reader; this is when the illuminative "lesson" came, when I had given up, completely, utterly, in hopelessness and helplessness. In an instant, the Light came with healing on its wings! As is always the case, it seems, help appears when the intellect surrenders, when the intellect gives up the ghost, when our concern for the Real is greater than our love for the old man. While no words were involved in this "Light," and though it seemed to arrive as an instantaneous "block of knowing" already finished, I can now only try to put it into the words which, in effect, it communicated.
It was as if an inner and outer Presence absorbed me suddenly and violently to force my attention. It seemed to ask, "What is bothering you so much?"
"The bullets from that ungodly gun," I answered.
"But, those bullets didn't hit you or anyone else," the Voice within spoke. "Thousands of them have passed overhead, and not a one has touched you. The are falling harmlessly into the valley below."
"It's the sound!" I almost shouted. "The incessant sound is cutting through me like a knife!"
"Listen to me carefully," said the Light. "A sound is just a sound. What is the difference between the sound of thunder and the soft sound of rain? What is the difference between the sound of the gun and the sound of music? Aren't all of them simply sounds within the Consciousness you are?"
"One is good and one is bad!" I answered vehemently.
"The sound that has you at your wit's end is a bad sound?" the Light asked me.
"Yes! My God, yes!"
"Has the sound a power of its own?"
For an instant I seemed supra-conscious of sounds of every tone and intensity. Then the Light asked again, "Has the sound a power of its own to make you call it good or bad? Tell me, has the sound the ability to make you detest it?—or love it?"
"No," I nearly whispered.
"Has someone twisted your arm and forced you to call that particular sound bad?"
"Then tell me," the Voice asked, "if the sound has no power of its own and nothing external has forced you to make a judgment, who determines that what you hear within yourself—within consciousness—is good or bad to you, tranquilizing or upsetting to you? Who is the sole judge who has decided the sound of the gun is bad?"
"I am," I answered.
"Yes, but Awareness is your Identity; the Awareness-you-are simply 'hears' the sound, and Awareness is not a judge! Judgments are made by judges, and judges suffer from their likes and dislikes, from their 'good' and their 'bad.' That is the one who suffers, at his own hands from his own foolishness, but Awareness does not suffer. Dear Bill, you are Awareness voluntarily playing the role of judge, reaping all he has sown."
After a time—I don't know how long—I admitted that this was so. "Why, this is true," I said. "Yes, this is a fact! Who says the sound has power to make me call it good or bad? Who says so if it is not me alone? A sound is only a sound! Who is causing me to feel so miserable if it isn't me myself?"
Suddenly I knew! I alone make the decisions I like or dislike; I alone am the master of such notions of the sights and the sounds. The bond making me so miserable was my own judgment that powerless sounds were bad and I didn't like them!
Here was a pearl of great price, revealed such that I heard, I saw, I knew! The Heart had spoken! For an instant I had entered my own Holy of Holies wherein "nothing maketh a lie"; I had entered the Secret Place, the Shekinah! The truth I discovered there was enough to solve the immediate problem and infinitely more beside. Vividly, I remember feeling as though a physical water of warm comfort poured over my head, washing away every vestige of tension. I remember the smiles of release, the laughter of peace. I recall telling myself that the pesky sound was certainly serving to show all of us how well we could hear.
From that day, nothing about the war—sight, sound or feeling—bothered me again. No one was more amazed than I at the unshakable equanimity I carried with me up and down those mountains. Here, in an instant, the Heart taught me a lesson in tranquility that has stood me in good stead countless times since.
Has it? Who says so if it isn't "you" yourself acting as a judge of the images within yourself? Even according to the allegory, there was no grief in the garden until the forbidden fruit yielding "good" and "evil" judgment had been eaten. Reader, your Identity is Beholding-Awareness itself, not the judge of it who says this is good and that is bad. That is the one to "let go."
The declaration that anything is "good" is dualism creating self-judgment; the declaration that anything is "bad" is needless Self-condemnation.