by Philip Gould chapter 1 1
Opening to the Truth Phil has just posted the following message in the Philip Gould – Jewels V forum of Way of Mastery under the title of 14 Playtime:
Dear Friends, Doing this lesson for the last 7 days and more has been a great experience. But there’s rather a lot of stuff here. I’m sorry. If it doesn’t turn you on don’t bother with it. The lesson says take time out to celebrate, especially when you’re having a bad day. Sing, laugh, dance and play. Shout out the joyful truth. Call someone who’ll receive your love. ***
Day 1 I’m taking time out to allow these words to sink in: “What must I do to be totally healed and at peace? Nothing at all – it’s mine already and nothing can take it from me.” The body is sitting quiet and relaxed in a chair looking out of the window, over neighbouring houses, to the country side and to the sea and sky beyond. But the soul is soaring, singing, dancing, laughing and playing. It’s yelling, “I’m totally healed and at peace!” Way of the Heart
I call my mother – she died nearly 40 years ago: “Isn’t it wonderful, Dearest. We’re totally healed and at peace. I love you.” I call my father – he died 18 months ago: “Thank you, Dear One, for all the love and gifts you gave me. We’re totally healed and at peace. I love you.” Oh, my God! This is the most fun I’ve ever had! I’m free! This truly is playtime. ***
Day 2 – The lesson tells us to do this *every time we feel persecuted*. Today I have felt persecuted. I’m on the train to London. At the ticket office I found I’d forgotten my Senior Citizen’s Pass entitling me to a third off. I said, “You recognise me, don’t you? I’ve paid for my Senior Pass, but I left it at home by mistake. Could you please use your discretion on my behalf?” “No,” he said. “It’s the rules. We’ve got to stick to the rules.” I could kill him. If it wasn’t for the mean-minded little jobsworth I could be at peace! I’m amazed at how little it takes to disturb me. On the train I meditate on breath for 20 minutes. Gradually I melt. The tension goes. I see the funny side. I see the official’s fear of the consequences for him if he’s discovered to be lax on the rules. I see that I too am often driven by fear. I can’t condemn either of us. I forgive. I ponder on these words: “What must I do to know that mysterious, limitless power and love which is the essence of who I really am ¬ at the deepest level of my experience. I need do nothing at all because it’s mine already and nothing can take it from me. Nothing I do can make it more so, and nothing I do can make it less so.” I feel powerless. I can’t attain this ¬ my most desired goal. I can’t earn it. I can’t make it happen. All I can do is surrender to it. I feel totally humbled. I call the railway official. “Hello, my brother. We both know, deep down, the mysterious power and love that is the essence of who we really are. Thank you for today’s lesson.” This feels good. I can communicate with whoever I like however and whenever I like. Nothing can stop me. I’m totally free. And what I find I like best of all is forgiveness, equality, oneness, gratitude. What wonderful toys to play with! 60
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Now I’m sitting in a café looking down at the milling crowds in Trafalgar Square. “Hello, people. Isn’t it wonderful that the essence of who we all really are is the same mysterious, limitless power and love, and that nothing can take if from us?” ***
Day 3 I ponder the words: “What must I do to remember my true identity and live as though I’m it? I need do nothing, because it’s already mine and nothing can take it from me. I need do nothing but let the penny drop and say yes from the bottom of my heart.” I’ve been feeling very disturbed, so now’s a good time to do this. A friend yesterday said, “Are you sure this course you’re on isn’t just an addiction, and that it wouldn’t be better for you just to get on with life without all this navelgazing?” I angrily tried to dismiss the thought, and, feeling hurt, went into a sulk. But now I accept ownership of the thought: “Perhaps it is an addiction. And perhaps I should give it up.” A voice answers, “Yes, you’re free to make that choice if you want to. But how about your pledge to follow the heart? The heart, not the mind, is the voice of your true identity. So why not trust it?” So I go back to my friend and say, “I’m doing what in my heart I most want to do, and it’s bringing me peace and joy. Thank you for helping me realise this. Thank you for helping me remember my true identity. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to choose to live as though I’m it.” ***
Day 4 20 minutes stilling the mind by meditating on breath. Self-critical thoughts streaming through on the surface. Feelings of tiredness, pressure, resentment. Glimpses of peace and joy in the stillness of the depths. The surface mind in turmoil, but a growing awareness that this surface mind is not me, is unimportant and can be released. Meditating on: “What must we do to really connect with ourselves, each other and everything in our world with nothing but unconditional positive regard? Way of the Heart
What must we do to live just in the moment? Nothing at all. Only the present is real. We need do nothing but let the truth of this sink in and say yes from the bottom of the heart.
Absolutely nothing. It’s ours already. We need do nothing but let the meaning of these words sink in and say yes from the bottom of the heart.” I do say yes from the bottom of the heart. Playtime for today is connecting with some of the people with whom I’ve had complicated relationships, with simple, unconditional positive regard. Just thanking them for being who they are. Today I’ll play with gratitude. ***
Day 5 “What must we do to live just in the moment – not in the past or future? Nothing at all. The past and the future don’t exist. Only the present is real. We need do nothing but let the truth of this sink in and say yes from the bottom of the heart.” But the stream of thoughts pre-occupying the surface of the mind are all about the past and the future – rooted in fear and illusion. How do I release them? By gently focusing on breath. This brings me into the present – a world where there’s no fear or illusion. I’ll play with this today. I’ll go swimming. Whatever circumstances I’m in, when I catch myself mucking about on the surface I’ll dive into the depths and stillness of the larger mind. What’s the purpose of play? Not to strive to achieve something. It’s just letting the heart have pleasure. *** 62
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Day 6 “What must we do to let go the thought that we’re separate entities living and dying in physical bodies in time and space?” We need do nothing but let the penny drop that in the eyes of God we’re one with Him. I’m amazed to suddenly find myself using the word “God” without resistance. In the eyes of God we’re not separate entities living and dying in physical bodies. The thought that we are is just a dream. Sometimes the body seems very real. In the past two days I’ve experienced extreme weariness, dehydration, fainting in a public place, being taken by ambulance to a hospital A&E Department, urinary infection, high temperature, nausea, sleeplessness and feeling pretty unwell. But the truth is I’m not a body. I’m pure consciousness, part of the consciousness that God is. As I write this my spirit again soars. It’s calling, “I’m not a body. I’m free.” I’m calling the world, “Can you hear that, people? In the eyes of God we’re one with Him.” The lesson says do this for at least ten minutes. So I’ll make this call now as a meditation for at least ten minutes. ***
Day 7 “What must we do to be free from fear, lack and guilt? Nothing. It’s ours already. We need do nothing but let the penny drop and say yes from the bottom of the heart.” Do I really already have accessible to me a state of consciousness where there’s no fear, need or guilt, and where instead there’s a quiet, grateful acceptance of everything I experience, accompanied by peace, joy, love and much more? This most definitely is what I want and from my occasional glimpses of it am becoming totally addicted to. But is this powerful state of consciousness really me? I’m not in the habit of seeing myself this way. If it is true then it’s not something I can ever achieve by striving for it. I’ve only to
Way of the Heart
open my eyes to what already is. So if I’m really already fully awake to who I am, awakening’s not a “process”. It’s simpler than that. What you see is what you get. Just see (that is, recognize, acknowledge, allow) what already is. But I see that seeing in this way needs to be played with. It’s like a skill that can be developed with practice. So I see that another purpose of play is practice. I’ll therefore play with these transformative thoughts today. I’ll hold them in mind, both when I’m on my own, with everyone I speak to, and with every experience that comes my way: “This vulnerable, frightened little temporal being called “me” that I’m so in the habit of identifying with is an illusion. It doesn’t exist. I’m really something quite different. So are you. We’re part, or expressions, or creations, of a larger consciousness that we can call the Presence, or God. We’re in complete and eternal union with this, made of the same stuff – pure consciousness, and having the same qualities. So like our source, our real self knows nothing of fear, lack or guilt – only love and gratitude.” Singing, laughing, dancing and playing is just being who we are for the sheer exuberant pleasure of it, and because it’s what the Presence is doing. ***
Following week What I most want is true vision – to see through the eyes of God. My exhilarating journey round the houses in the previous week has led me back, with little resistance remaining, to lesson 14’s opening quotation: “Your salvation rest only in your acceptance that in the eyes of God you are already one with him.” What God sees, is. What He doesn’t, isn’t. And His is quite a different way of seeing from mine. I’ve chosen to see only fragmentation. God sees only oneness. But if I’m one with him, then His eyes are my eyes, and I can choose to see only oneness. So what must I do? Nothing – true vision’s mine already. What I haven’t done is spend enough time practising using it. So I’ll practise seeing Oneness in each of the people and things around me, and make that a regular part of daily play time. Here goes: *** 64
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1st practice I love this object. It’s a very large, round, smooth, chunky, oak coffee table. It looks as though it’s hewn from a solid block of oak. Its smooth polished surface with rounded edges is lovely to touch, and its shape and colour are satisfying to the eye. Its huge top is very good for scattering books, magazines and cups of coffee as we sit around it chatting, or sheet music as we stand around it singing harmony. Its size and shape are an anchor or hub for the other objects in the room. The idea of it was mine. Two years ago I asked a local joiner to make it and gave him the dimensions. But when I look at it am I truly seeing it? Are my eyes truly open? What, really, is it? And what, really, is it for? The questions bring home to me how restricted my vision is. My mind fastens on to a minute fraction of the object’s history. But it didn’t just pop into existence when I first thought of it. There were countless people involved in its manufacture – the people who actually made it in the factory – the people who made the machines they used – and on and on... Nor did it suddenly appear as a heap of smooth blocks of wood. The trees from which it came didn’t pop up one day as mature trees. The species of oak didn’t happen fully evolved from nothing. Its evolution, molecules and atoms have histories stretching to the origin of time, and are intermingled with the story of the particles that make up my own body. Even at this level, I must be intimately related to it. It becomes clearer and clearer that the mental process I’ve thought of as “seeing” is barely seeing at all. Rather, its purpose seems to be to limit sight. But whatever the history, what actually is this object, right now? And what is it for? Just as I’ve tried to restrict its history, so I’ve tried to box in its purpose. I call it a coffee table, and am satisfied that that’s what it really is. Now I’ve given it a label the subject’s closed. I’m not connecting with it open-mindedly any more. When I look at it I see my coffee table, and that’s the end of it. What I’m not seeing is the mystery. It’s clearly much more than just a coffee table. What is it? I really don’t know. It’s an object with which I have an affectionate relationship. It’s another expression of creation, just as I am. What is it in the eyes of God? The answer must be, it’s one with Him, a form or expression of Him, like me. If so, it’s also one with me and I with it. It’s not separate from me. Way of the Heart
As I look at it now I begin to see oneness. And I feel bonded with it. What’s happened? The object hasn’t changed. But I’ve opened my mind a little. I’ve let go of some of the conclusions and judgements with which I habitually limit my sight. I can no longer take this object for granted, thinking I know what it is and what it’s for. I’m gaining a sense of wonder. ***
2nd practice My wife, who has a gift for intimacy and friendship, has several lovely relationships with women. I enjoy her generosity in those relationships and the pleasure they give her. But I’ve hardly ever had a really close, intimate male friend. Deep down I’ve sometimes felt that nothing would be nicer – the brotherhood of total, unconditional, mutual understanding and acceptance, but I’ve felt unable to communicate through the barriers of fear and projection that often seem to keep men at arms’ length from each other. Except for Roy. We’ve had no contact for eight years, but for a few years were like brothers. We first met as members of a small, weekly psychotherapy group in London. After a while we plucked up courage to see each other outside the group, and both found the relationship deeply satisfying and rewarding. Then, shortly after 9/11, we had a row about the British and US governments’ options and response to terrorism. My wife and I moved away from London. Roy and I ceased contact. How do I see him? I’m grateful for the rich and complicated experience of brotherhood he gave me. I often think of him. But do I see the real him? Mainly what we talked about was our inner life, especially our vulnerabilities. We explored together with great benefit the way we projected on to each other. We give each other warm hugs and support. We loved each other. We ended each get-together feeling uplifted. But was I aware who I was relating to? If you ask me to describe Roy, I’ll tell you of his achievements, his experiences, his sorrows and problems and how he dealt with them, his insecurities, the circumstances in which he found happiness, his plans and aspirations, the secret shames he struggled with, the career he was developing, his political views, his taste in music, his taste in women, the way he listened, the way he talked. Is this how I see my friend? A collection of memories, experiences, emotions, 66
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What’s coming to me now is that the eyes of God see past the surface froth direct to the state of the heart. They see the oneness. We’re one with each other and with God. With the eyes of God, to see is to love. To see is to heal. And in healing you I heal myself.
reactions, behaviour and attributes – the froth on the surface? In seeing this, have I really seen him? What do the eyes of God see? I don’t remember ever gazing deep and long into Roy’s eyes and connecting heart to heart at a deeper level. We did a bit, but not really deeply. If I had I could have given him better healing. What’s coming to me now is that the eyes of God see past the surface froth direct to the state of the heart. They see the oneness. We’re one with each other and with God. With the eyes of God, to see is to love. To see is to heal. And in healing you I heal myself. I’m calling Roy: “Dear friend, I’m sending you the healing and the peace that are already yours and mine.” This little play-time exercise in seeing trains me. It trains me to ignore what’s on the surface of people I meet and to see only the heart – and see it with love and gratitude. Yesterday’s exercise trains me to look at all objects around me with open-minded wonder. ***
3rd practice – Am I really seeing my wife? Yesterday we were discussing the course and some of the things I’ve been exploring. When I told her my thoughts of the previous two days she was upset. “Never mind seeing the oneness in a table – and in Roy. I’m here. I’m now. Stop being so withdrawn and self-absorbed. Come into the here and now with me! Way of the Heart
I’ll see both myself and this wonderful, intimate, totally love-oriented companion. Then she’ll feel the warmth and know she’s being seen.
Start seeing me!” I tried to explain very seriously the totally inclusive nature of this way of seeing – that to see oneness in a table and in Roy is to see her this way, too. But my explanation flopped. We were both left feeling hurt. And of course she’s right. She’s reacting to my unloving behaviour. It’s a repeating pattern. Periodically we have a bitter row. After a while I remember my melting love for her, and the sense of oneness, bondedness and gratitude that makes our occasional bickering seem trivial, meaningless and laughable. There’s healing. We’re once again at peace.
Photo by Kate Kavanagh
What happens? Why am I in the habit if withdrawing love and attention? It’s not that love isn’t there deep down. But I forget it. I become preoccupied with my own agenda. I become anxious and irritated about interruptions. I perceive her priorities and plans for the day to be threatening to my own. I begin to see her as my enemy. If it wasn’t for her I could be at peace. The love deep down is covered by hatred and resentment on the surface.
She quietly and patiently puts up with my lack of affection. Then the pain of it erupts and she tells me how difficult I am. And I say, “There you go again, criticising me for not being perfect.” We have another row. Then we calm down and it blows over till the next time. How can I lay this pattern aside? Only by being more vigilant. Only by recognising when I’m mucking about on the surface. Volume 13
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Only by wanting and choosing peace instead of whatever is my chosen goal of the moment. Only by being still and at one with who I really am. Then I’ll see both myself and this wonderful, intimate, totally love-oriented companion. Then she’ll feel the warmth and know she’s being seen. ***
A week later Recurrence of urinary infection. Feeling exhausted and short tempered. Undergoing medical tests. Prostectomy seems likely. One test result shows enlargement of prostate gland might be malignant. Won’t know till biopsy taken in a few weeks’ time. I might have cancer. My wife asked, “How does it make you feel?” “It doesn’t scare me,” I said. “It’s harder for you.” “You accept whatever happens, don’t you?” she observed. “Yes, I do,” I said. “Whatever happens, it’s wonderful, isn’t it?” “Yes, it is,” she said. I don’t expect to have cancer. But I’m glad to be brought face to face with the possibility. It proves to me that I’m beginning to see straight, that fear is being replaced by love, and the past and future by the present. It is wonderful, isn’t it?
Ed Note: This incredible clear and concise diary of one man’s experience working to clear the ego and feel fully into the Journey of his soul and to make the connection to God is simply awe inspiring. We offer this message to our readers in the hope that they too will delve a little more deeply into what is occurring for them on a day by day basis and begin, like Phil to see what is really occurring.
Way of the Heart
Published on May 15, 2009
Published in the Way of the Heart Journal, this message was posted by Philip Gould in the Jewels V forum of Way of Mastery.