The only barrier to awakening, to salvation, is “you”. If you are here, reading this sermon, then you are ‘seeking’. In fact, we are all constantly seeking, along different paths, perhaps calling the thing sought by different names. The only constant in seeking is the ‘you’, the idea of the seeker and the idea of what is sought.
What is it that makes us think we can recognize salvation when we find it? What is that initial, instant moment out of which comes the desire to know God? Did we choose that moment and what came out of it? Why do we assume that we are able to choose the right path and then know when we get the right result?
If we look closely, we actually don’t have any idea where our apparent choices come from, nor why we seem to have chosen them. The only thing that is apparent is that “I” am seeking- what, why, how etc are a black hole. Although we impose a sense of order and control so that we feel some predictability and empowerment to how we live our lives, this turns out to be not a source of comfort, but a source of suffering when we inevitably realize we are deceiving ourselves.
What arrogance we have, even as we profess to want to surrender to Christ, to God, to Truth, that we should presume to have such abilities. It is this arrogance that obscures God with a veil we have carefully crafted out of our own vision.
What is this veil made of? It is made of innumerable creations of our individual minds. It is expectation, intellect, knowledge, assumption, separation, and so many other things. These are the different fabrics we use to weave our veil and the needle is our mind. We weave our world with the faculties of our mind and then go looking for God in our own creation. If you just stop weaving, God is right there.
It is hard for our intellect to trust, to have faith, that something it cannot grasp will lead us. Who will make decisions in my life if I don’t? How will things be ‘ok’ if I don’t control things, guide them, make things happen? This is just a trick of the mind. It may make you feel better sometimes, and worse at other times, to believe that you are choosing, controlling, acting as an individual, but you are not, have not, and could never control things.
Truth is what it has always been with or without our veil. The sun shines behind the clouds, or without them. All is God whether you dissect the world with your mind or not.
At this point, we might be very frustrated. We might feel totally lost and looking for some way, some guidance, some tools to use to get out of this bind we find ourselves in where we are neither in control, nor seemingly able to give up control we think we have, nor able to recognize God, or Jesus, or Truth which is supposed to be guiding everything. It is a kind of paralyzed restlessness that overcomes us when we get a glimpse of the seeming predicament we are in. This is the doorway to salvation, realization, the pulling of the string of the veil that loosens the entire thing.
That frustrated, lost, totally different and empty kind of seeking as compared to our original seeking, leads to a silencing of this illusion of ability to seek and find on our own. We, quite spontaneously, become still and quiet and open. We are still tempted to go back to our attempts to find a path, a tool to use to get wisdom, to work our way out of this seeming trap, but more and more we are struck with this stillness, this quietness.
When this happens, it will happen with or without our apparent consent. The ‘you’ who was projecting both the problem, and the solution, recedes back from whence it came.
While people may entertain the idea of surrender to God, accepting Christ as our Saviour, realizing Truth, “you” can never do these things. The more you try, the harder you seek, the stronger “you” will be and the further from God you’ll be. You cannot seek, cannot find, and have no true knowledge of how you came to be a seeker in the first place. In giving up the illusion of seeking and finding, it will find you.
The difficulty of all this is the simplicity, the lack of involvement of “you”. If we are reading this but there is nothing to do, then what is the point? Why are we here? If that shocks your mind into a moment of stillness, maybe you’ve just had a glimpse of freedom. If there’s no problem, then what’s the problem? If Christ has redeemed me, what do I do? That is the end of suffering. Resistance to that stillness is a symptom you are not yet ready to let go.
There is a great temptation to apply understanding and intellect to all this- that is a trap. Even I, as the writer, am constantly drawn into the words, the meanings, the ideas. But all this, to use a Buddhist analogy, should be viewed as a raft to get across a river. They are useful to get to the other side, but only for that. When you get to the other shore, you must abandon the raft for it was not the truth itself. Don’t stop at mere understanding, go further.