I think this does not matter at all. What matters profoundly is that a human being discover directly, clearly, the enormous depth and weight of psychological conditioning that shapes and controls every move of the mind and body, keeping it divided and in conflict with itself, with other people, and with the natural environment. Not just to discover this conditioning, to become aware of it from moment to moment - as it functions automatically, habitually, mechanically - but to wonder whether it can slow down and come to a stop in silent understanding.
Such questioning and quiet attending is not directed toward the attainment of any experience - be it a blissful meditative state, the experience of silence, freedom, harmony, power, or seeing “the ways of nature, the energies of the stars, the earth, plants, the animals, and the spirits.”
It has nothing to do with seeking experiences, but with directly discovering and unveiling the seeker, the meditator, the wanter, the doer, the experiencer, the keeper, the transmitter - having profound insight into the infinite disguises of the idea and sense of a separate self.
The emergence and blossoming of understanding, love, and intelligence has nothing to do with posture or tradition, no matter how ancient or impressive - it has nothing to do with time. It happens on its own when a human being questions, wonders, inquires, listens, and looks silently without getting stuck in fear, pleasure, and pain.
When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open. The mystery, the essence of all life, is not separate from the silent openness of simple listening.
Looking and listening are not two separate processes. None of the senses are really separate. When there is no naming, no knowing, and no reacting from memory-image, the senses operate as a whole. When remembered knowledge, past experience, wanting, and fearing don’t interfere, there is no sense of division as we talk with each other. There’s one questioning, one listening, one looking....personality develops as a result of history, our past experiences. At any moment of looking directly, with all the senses operating together freely, listening and feeling with an open mind body and heart, personality doesn’t matter, conditioning doesn’t matter...”
How to apply this....
Pause, soften, connect to the breath, looking and listening with curiosity as well as kindness for ourselves and others. Using our yoga practice as a gateway to access this space and spaciousness, where we create a safe environment within ourselves to be able to look and listen.
And what happens when fear arises?
“This is what this work is about: facing directly the fear that arises when everything about oneself is called into question.”
Extracts taken from: Toni Packer, the work of this moment