The Word

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Words flow effortlessly through our mind, creating a series of resonances when understood and discords when not comprehended.

We have evolved as a species, and through several cultural inventions to be particularly sensitive to the sung, spoken and written word.

And man’s spiritual traditions have generated some of the most prolific writings, with the hindu vedas, buddhist pali cannon, christian scriptures and their commentaries constituting enough material to fill a small library.

What can be forgotten in this deluge of information is the simplicity of many spiritual insights, and the fact that words are only sounds. In this context, they are intended to guide us, to remind us and to resonant with the truth already within us.

Words are not ends in themselves, and spiritual understanding and awakenings are not the result of passing an exam, and are not ‘learned’ or mentally ‘worked-out’ phenomena.

Whilst at the beginning of a spiritual teaching there is normally a requirement for a lot of instruction, as time passes, the words become fewer and fewer. And, in time, the teacher becomes a commentator guiding the student in the right direction. Further down the line, even the guide role becomes redundant, and the best a teacher can hope to be is a mirror for the students own inner truth.

If you’re lucky, you will run into a teacher who is all three of these roles for you all of the time: Instructor, guide and mirror. And all that changes in your encounters with them are the mix and balance between these three roles.

© David R. Durham

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