A Spiritual Practice for Atheists and Everyone Else
By Robert Cinque
To all my brothers and sisters everywhere: I wrote this essay in an attempt to identify the signposts of a practice that could be universally applicable to every human being, no matter what their beliefs
Acknowledgement of the centrality of awareness. Every living entity is aware and feels.
Recognition of the Paradox: If conscious awareness is an infinite, non-material presence and not a thing, if your awareness of this sentence is identical to that which is infinite and alive as all things, then consciousness is what exists, fundamentally. It is aware of and prior to objects that float by like clouds, bodies, minds, universes.
Refusal to Withdraw: Full bodied, red blooded participation in the presence of Life or the condition of all conditions, consciousness itself, as a way of holding the Paradox and healing the Core Wound of self doubt and division.
Openness: Like water that takes the shape of its’ container, consciousness assumes the experience of the body and mind. This is completely natural and inevitable. It is also terrifying, confusing, and painful. Therefore, maintaining an intentional emotional openness to whatever it is that is alive as all things, consciousness itself,
is a way of maintaining a coherent and sympathetic attunement to the infinite capacities of consciousness itself. It is a rational, realistic way to live. Confusion, doubt, self obsession, beliefs in worthlessness and unloveability, all forms of self imaging, fall way short of the capacity for awareness itself, which must be our deepest nature, and not just the body and mind we are aware of, and identified with, exclusively. Identifying with the infinite side of your dual nature is grounding and stabilizing. It doesn’t change.
Entering the Domain of Possibility
Intentional use of the imagination to invent new realities: Since emotional openness is a doorway to what is possible, by intentionally staying open and vulnerable and childlike, in heart, mind, and hand, a way of being what you fundamentally are, on the infinite scale of consciousness itself, becomes immediately possible. It’s easier than falling off a log because you already are all that you seek. The search for truth ends and truth becomes you. This is because consciousness is senior to and prior to the objects of its’ perception, the phenomenal world, the body and mind, etc. Consciousness itself is what you are, at an infinite depth. You speak of “my” body and “my” mind. That’s right. You own it, it’s yours and when you say “I” you tap your chest with your thumb, pointing to the heart. You own and identify with a container of consciousness, but you are also the ocean of consciousness itself; in the same way that a wave is not separate from the rest of the ocean. This analogy really captures the essence of the practice for me.
Conducting the living current. Because a mysterious Aliveness exists as me and everything else, it makes perfectly logical sense to let it be whatever it is without molestation by the dreadful cultural and religious psychosis I inherited. Whatever it is that is Alive, is free of its objects in the same way a mirror reflects whatever is placed before it without itself being changed. Everything changes except the awareness of the changes. Your awareness of yourself when you were a child is the same, unchanged awareness you have of yourself as an adult That’s the wicked humor, the punch line in the saga of human existence, the long buried intimacy which actually exists between consciousness and its objects, the infinite entwined like a secret lover, with the finite. It’s a seamless unity, no matter how much we slice it up with the scalpels of scientific and religious presumption. Who said a Paradox was sinful, or wrong?
Logic, rational thought, and sanity Every fraction of existence displays brilliant intelligence, order, and beauty. Whatever it is that is Alive as all things, is truly Great. There is every reason to have enormous confidence in Life and to participate as intimately as possible with it. It’s a love relationship, not torture, not punishment, not meaningless. Beauty is not meaningless. Pry off the labels and slurs and puny contexts you may have inadvertently plastered onto the Primal Face of Reality and stand free, and prior to all of that, in what’s Real. That’s authentic spiritual practice. It has exactly nothing to do with beliefs, mythology, metaphysics, meditation, mysticism, or any space/time model of what is prior to all models. It has everything to do with the complete destruction and transcendence of those models. It takes clear thinking, disciplines of body and mind, and devotion to what is most valuable and precious, without holding back, without reservation, in the same way that you tear your clothes off, or his or hers, in the throes of sexual passion. If you like sexual passion, then authentic spiritual practice is for you because it reveals the Heart and its’ Infinite Passion, of which the sexual is an expression. I call Consciousness the Heart of Infinite Passion because it has consented to appear as all of us, the world, the cosmos, like a willing, surrendered Lover. That Which is Alive as all things is a spectacular, beautiful, passionate Presence, a Condition, a Situation, a Mystery, a Paradox. not a thing, not a separate god, not an object of belief, not a thought.
Existence is undivided Conscious Light, an ocean of Living Energy. You are that ocean. You are that wave. True spiritual practice is based on this realization. It is not a goal, not a premise, not a path. It is the Way of the Heart and everyone has one, no matter what their beliefs.
Therefore, the ultimate requirement for authentic, effective spiritual practice is to become a Realist in the deepest sense, one who is what one is without division, like Life Itself, one who recognizes the inherent indivisibility of the Light that Shines as Consciousness, one who is Aware of and Feels the Mystery of It. When you look at your cat and she looks back, it’s a single consciousness in 2 locations. Think about that. Notice the seamless unity of all Life, nothing exists apart from the whole. It’s literally One Infinite Intelligent Feeling Aliveness. The local space/time bodymindself is a fractal of that One.
Your Capacity for Awareness and Feeling is profound. Existence is Alive as Wonder and Beauty and Imagination and Form. What’s wrong with that? Why withdraw from that? Why imagine myself to be marooned on an island of flesh? Why stuff the infinite into dungeons of mind and heart? Into scientific materialism and religious psychosis? Who am I to criticize or condemn Life? What is my relationship, really, to Life? Am I a participant, or am I a spectator? Am I in, or Am I out? Once that question is asked and answered, the life current will flow into the ravines cut by the answer. The warrior/devotee, takes one way. The emotionally withdrawn, disempowered, divided, fragmented, dislocated, bewildered individual takes another.
The reason individuals are divided is because of an insufficient context and an emotional contraction away from Life. A closed hand produces a fist, a separate “self”. Shoes that are too tight hurt. Take off the shoes of millennia of false presumptions about you. Stop withdrawing and contracting into a fist, Open the hand and face and heart and let the current flow without obstruction.
Put on the wardrobe of deeply emotional heart intimacy with the Life Force. Break out of the prisons of small contexts. Take true stock of yourself, the literal intersection of infinity and mortality, Its humorous, paradoxical, playful, spontaneous, infinite, wild, and free.
Find out if this is true or not.