by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
The path of presence
When you are out taking a quiet, reflective walk in nature, if you pay attention, it is hard to miss the sense of joy, peace, love, and wonder which emanates from all around. It is as if the trees themselves are peace, the clouds are loving or the wind is numinous. If you are more sensitive, and feel energy in your body, you will notice a kind of glow or richness or light inside and out, which cannot only be categorized as an emotion or sensation, although those faculties play a part in the experience.
This is an accidental experience of what the wisdom traditions call qualities of Presence, a more fundamental expression of who we are. If you are a spiritual seeker, it means your love for Presence is felt to such a degree that it becomes the most important dimension of experience to be in contact with and the entire spiritual path is about refining our relationship with this sense of presence in a rigorously disciplined and intentional, as opposed to accidental, manner until our contact with this Presence becomes stabilized and embodied.
Our usual sense of experience during the day is dry and stressful because, say the wisdom teachings, we are out of touch with this more fundamental dimension of Presence of who we are. And it isn't enough to simply have occasional glimpses of it to transform long standing habits of forgetfulness and dissociation. Which is why they offer specific spiritual methodologies to reestablish a lived contact with where our true joy comes from. It is not that we do these practices to feel joyful, but that being in touch with what is more true and fundamental about ourselves, rather than what is socially conditioned, brings joy, wonder, hope and release.
When we acknowledge the tree without the filter and perceive it as it is, we see wonder and a mystery. Perceiving ourselves in a similar unfiltered way, we can finally acknowledge who we really are.
Gutman’s comments on his “path of presence”:
The above essay is another classic example of one of the main “Eastern” mistakes, and certainly one of the main differences between their “path” and the Torah’s teachings.
The most mystical writings in Torah explain that the very purpose of man’s creation is to reveal G-d’s Presence in this world. We are told that we are to try to bask in the radiance of His Presence in this lifetime. When this most cherished revelation happens, the seeker sees that G-d is ever-present, but always hiding. He hides so that we will have free will. For this precious second, He stops hiding, and the seeker fulfils his purpose in being. He sees that, indeed, G-d is real and present. It is, without doubt, the most rewarding and the most treasured experience in life.
Your brother’s essay might seem to be sensitive and enlightened, but it is not. He merely reflects the Eastern spiritual philosophy. He seeks according to their teachings, so he is discovering what they told him that he will find. He is not seeking G-d, so he is not finding the Torah’s goal.
The Eastern seekers seek “self-realization.” The experience is also called “G-d realization.” When they reach their “cherished” experience, their triumphant statement is, “I am god.” They then become gurus(teachers) of that path.
What did your brother find that he adores so? Was he actually seeking G-d’s presence?
In his words: “…wisdom traditions call qualities of Presence, a more fundamental expression of whowe are. Perceiving ourselves--being in touch with what is more true and fundamental about ourselves,--finally acknowledge who we really are.
He is seeking to experience himself, and he finds this vision of the self. The Jewish spiritual goal is to seek to reveal G-d’s presence, and when blessed, He shows us that He is here.