Awakening… “The Elephant Path”
Two years ago, I had the good fortune to participate in a wonderful experiential hypnotherapy training seminar on Cape Cod, sponsored by the Harvard University Medical School. The focus of the seminar was the integration of Eastern meditation traditions with self-hypnosis and visualization practices from Western psychotherapy traditions. The Harvard Professor of Psychology who led this seminar has collaborated and traveled extensively with The Dalai Lama. The seminar was very valuable because this topic is on the very cusp of where East meets West.
One very powerful part of the seminar was the exploration of the concept of “negativity” which seems to preoccupy so many people in the West. When The Dalai Lama was asked to explain how Buddhists deal with “negativity”, he went off for a few hours with two other Buddhist monks to consider the question. When he returned, he said that they do not have a word for “negativity” because they do not have this CONCEPT in their tradition. This is profound! The principle they operate on is duality and duality precludes the projections of “negativity” and “positivity”. Basically, there is no need for “positive” and “negative”. They become an arbitrary and unnecessary burden on one’s psyche.
The general theme of my whole counselling and hypnotherapy practice is, “What you project is what you get.” One’s Self and one’s thoughts are two distinguishable entities or energy fields. We can choose whether we let ourselves be defined by our thoughts. We can also choose to monitor our thoughts and pick and choose which ones work for us and which ones do not. We can also choose to move into a supra-conscious state wherein we can modulate our Self and our thoughts. In my view, Descartes was only partially correct in maintaining that we are a “thinking animal”. He didn’t go far enough. We also have a capacity that other animals do not have, which is self-consciousness and the mutation called “instinctual choice”. Other animals do not have conscious choice; they have only simple instinct. When we open up our capacity to choose to move into the supra-conscious state, we experience the sweet nectar of life. Meditation is a wonderful way to access this state. However, the challenge then becomes one of developing the “staying power” to maintain this blissful state. Awakening is the state of STAYING FULLY AWARE that you are fully conscious “all the time”. Ken Wilber challenges all of us with this incredible question, “Since we are fully conscious all the time, why do we seemingly “lose” our awareness of this?”
The Buddhists have many powerful and valuable sacred principles, such as, non-attachment, beginner’s mind and the razor’s edge. The Indo-Tibetan Buddhist principle that I learned in this seminar and that seemingly answers Ken Wilber’s question is called “The Elephant Path”. This is the path that eventually leads to staying in the fully awakening state virtually “all the time”. “Staying” is the operative word because it is literally impossible for a “part animal” to “stay” in this state. Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha, would probably say to Ken Wilber, and all others: “Catch yourself as soon as possible when you fall out of awareness, and choose to go back into Awakening.” The Elephant Path moves slowly onward, like an elephant, and there are nasty, vicious monkeys at every turn on the way to the next highest state. I believe that we can muster the courage to face all of our fears and obstacles.
I truly wish and hope that you experience this wonderful state of Awakening before you leave this life! Namaste…………