Inner Neutrality is essential to Your Inner Advent
Define neutrality for yourself. What does it mean to be neutral? What does it feel like to be neutral? Here are some thoughts toconsider. Neutralʼs etymology is from Latin neuter ʻneither,ʼ from ne- ʻnotʼ + uter ʻeither.ʼ It implies no desire, no agenda, no attitude, no prejudice, no conditions.
Arthur Zajonc, former president of the Mind and Life Institute, professor emeritus of physics at Amherst University and teacher of meditation, lists seven steps in contemplation:
- Calm yourself.
- Clear yourself.
- Quiet yourself.
- Direct your attention.
- Sustain your attention.
- Open up.
- Let things reveal themselves.
These seven admonitions all lead to neutrality. Not a passive neutrality of not caring, this is an active, enlivened, creative neutrality and prepares your soul to form an Imagination of itself – your inner life.
Here are my thoughts on these seven steps:
To calm yourself is to bring your attention to your bodily agitations. Where are your bodily sensations stirred up and swirling around? Sometimes just repeating, slowly and tenderly, the word “calm” out loud can still the agitations. Imagine your heart speaking “calm.” Imagine your stomach speaking, your throat, your nose, your pelvis, and so forth. When you are calm, you can feel Imaginations.
To clear yourself is to release all that you see that keeps you from seeing what is true. Most of what you “see” in your soul are distorting and distracting smudges, shadows and scratches. You donʼt want to look at the reflections of old thoughts, or the mirror images of old desires, fulfilled or not. You need to wipe away fears, doubts, losses, judgments, fantasies and assumptions. You want to see through to whatever is true. Imagine each exhale is a wiping away gesture, a windshield wiper, clearing the glass.
To quiet yourself is to find the still and silent void within. The world is never silent, but deep in your being there is the creative void where nothing has a voice, nothing sounds or resounds. There is nothing to listen to, not even a heartbeat. You have that silence within your soul, search it out just the way you seek the source of a sound in the outer world. You will find it.
When you are calm, clear and quiet, you will then have no trouble directing your attention. Imagine no agitations, no sights, no sounds grabbing at your attention. You are free to focus on what you choose.
Once you have chosen your object for your attention, in this case your inner year, you can direct your attention to it and sustain it for as long as necessary.
Directing and sustaining are functions of your will. With direction, your will moves your attention. Sustaining your will stills your attention. Movement is more about the will in space – the locus of your attention. Stillness is more about the will in time – the duration of your attention. If you have difficulty with either direction or sustaining, you might want to explore your feelings about space and time. Success in managing your attention is a function of practice, patience and perseverance.
Pay attention to what happens that breaks your attention. A subtle or dramatic stirring in your body? A faint or glaring memory picture? A whimper or roar of old emotions? Donʼt fight it. Be neutral.
Neutrality comes before openness. You cannot be open if you have a side or position you are leaning on or toward. The moment you lose the neutral posture, you are closing off something. Your most open posture is your most upright stance. No leaning.
Openness is without boundaries and without shadows. Light emanates from within the object. It doesnʼt shine on it. The Sun does not shine on itself and there is no end to its light. When your soul is open, nothing is dark or cold or threatening. All is worthy of attention.
Finally, because you are neutral, the Imagination behind the object of your attention reveals itself in lasting epiphanies of insight, self-love, and new energies. Moral enthusiasm and spiritual nourishment surges through your soul. Glorious truths appear on your inner horizon. Heavenly hosts begin to sing in your bones. Freedom becomes your focus. Divine inspiration pays attention to you. You open to your potential and your I am appears.
That is the grand and dramatic description. More likely is a quiet ah-ha. A growing sense that something within you is more real, more mature, more manifest. You feel a bit more authority and a bit more authenticity. Doubt and uncertainty fade. You manage life with a little more grace, ease and centeredness. You find yourself living in new and different ways. Your relationships unfold with more beauty, more truth, less emotion, deeper feeling. You enjoy questioning yourself and decide to look at yourself and life from other perspectives. You get the picture!