An excerpt from John Main OSB, “The Way of Dispossession” in FULLY ALIVE Meditatio Talks Series, 2011, Oct-Dec (London: World Community for Christian Meditation, 2011) p. 11
One of the aspects of meditation we have to come to terms with is to learn to approach it not with seeking to gain something, to possess something. We have to try to approach it much more in terms of total devotion beyond ourselves.
Christians have often approached their spiritual life in terms of reward, possession. The enemy of all spiritual value is desire: seeking reward, seeking to possess. The wisdom that unlocks the spiritual treasure is the spirit of poverty, a spirit of non-possession. Indeed, in meditation, we learn to be dispossessed.
The spiritual path is a path that leads away from self to the other. As you know from your present experience of meditation, we must tread it in faith and with courage. To learn to say the mantra so that we dispossess ourselves of all thought, of all self-consciousness requires devotion. And it leads us to absolute liberty because we have left behind all the secondary values: success, wealth, possession, power, whatever they may be. In meditation, we are not concerned about the fruit of action, but only that we humbly say our mantra. The mantra is for us the way beyond desire into union. We don’t cease to be human; we don’t cease to be ourselves. Indeed, we become ourselves.
After meditation: Kabir: Ecstatic Poems, versions by Robert Bly (Boston: Beacon, 2004), pp. 26-27.
I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road,
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or resting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow-rope either, and no one to pull it,
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!
And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.
Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet,
Think about it carefully!
Don’t go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.
Carla Cooper - firstname.lastname@example.org