I’ve been told that if I can be still, I can know, I can experience things as self-evident in a way which inspires consistent action. But how can I be still when the thought that I have to change the kitty litter is right there in front of my mind’s face?
Step 15 of Steps to Knowledge is cultivating a new mental skill/habit/attitude, that of examining/listening to the content of one’s mind. The step seems to anticipate that many of the thoughts that are encountered in this practice are little bits and pieces of the “shadow,” little bits and pieces of the animal soul. I say that because the practice instructions say almost the same thing in two consecutive sentences.
“This will require that you listen without judgment of yourself, even if the content of your thoughts is disturbing. Even if the content of your thoughts is disagreeable, you must listen without judgment to allow your mind to open.”
The practice is to observe without judgment, which may be a little…tricky. Judgment has a certain survival value, so we tend to get a little attached to it. Inner listening, being aware of the content of our minds, is the other side of the stillness coin.
At this point, I’m recalling a passage in the book of Proverbs that doesn’t get preached on all that often…
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds;
for riches do not endure forever,
and a crown is not secure for all generations.
When the hay is removed and new growth appears
and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
the lambs will provide you with clothing,
and the goats with the price of a field.
You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family
and to nourish your female servants. (Proverbs 27:23-27, New International Version)
If you develop the ability to give careful attention to the condition of your mind, it will serve you well in the future.
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