Just a few years ago, that heading would’ve been complete nonsense to almost everyone, and it still gets a smile from most people. Yes, there were HAM radio operators who struck up friendships with people they had never met, and for a long time, folks here and there have had pen-pals.
But the Web changes that. This is actually the fourth time in my life I’ve been blessed to say I had the opportunity to meet a good friend for the first time. This time, my good friend was Mark Warner, writer of one of the beautiful, profound, and well-thought spiritual blogs out there, Eternal Awareness. Getting to know Mark face-to-face over good food and beer was a wonderful pleasure.
Beside being blog friends who write on the spiritual journey, one thing that Mark and I have in common, is that we’re both students of spiritual teachers. On the second night he was in the area, Mark came to visit my teacher’s satsang. Sometime, I hope to visit his teacher as well.
Master: You’re getting stronger. Soon I’ll be able to open the door for you while you’re still a block away.
Student: Don’t worry. I’ll take a shower before then.
As my teacher explains it, in spiritual development, you can only see things as they appear at the level you’re at, or at the lower levels you were at. You can’t see higher than you are.
As soon as he told me that, I realized something about one of my most pernicious faults, which is that I have a creeping, recurring, intolerance for the levels I’ve left behind. When I “look down” at that spirituality, I sometimes (though I hate to admit it) “look down” on the people there, especially their leaders who are “there.”
In any sort of climbing endeavor, the best advice is “Don’t look down.” Looking down causes you to lose your balance. You’re suddenly focused not on present Reality, but past experiences through the distorting lenses of memory. Look up. at the highest thing you can see in this bright fog, the next hand- or foothold within your reach.
Don’t look down.