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Francis Bennett - Meditation

Hi, this is Francis Bennett on conscious.tv. I'd like to share with you a little meditation — a guided meditation — that I've come up with for the practice of surrender. 'Surrender,' I think, is often looked upon as a kind of mood that we are called to work ourselves up into; that right now we're not feeling surrendered or accepting and we want to kind of work ourselves into a mood of surrender or acceptance. But my sense of surrender is that it's much simpler than that; that it's basically about learning to access a place in our heart, a place of awareness, of presence, that's already fully surrendered to what is, here and now. And I think that this meditation on surrender is simply a way of going deep into our hearts and trying to find that place within, that is simply present, that doesn't grab on to what we find pleasant, doesn't push away what we find unpleasant, but is simply present to what is, here and now. And I often talk about the three levels of surrender. The first level of surrender that I speak of is Allowance; allowing what is. And the word 'allowing' almost kind of denotes a sense of tolerating, of just being OK with it — maybe not preferring what is, but kind of tolerating it, just putting up with it almost. A lot of times on court shows you hear a judge say to a lawyer who's following a line of questioning that's maybe a little dubious, or maybe looked upon as not the normal way you would question a witness. And the judge will say, 'I'll allow it.' So, in other words, they're kind of saying, 'I'll tolerate it, I'll permit it, but I'd prefer it was other than it is.' So that's one level of surrender. And, again, it's not a matter of even working ourselves up into an attitude or a mood of allowing. It's recognising that there's a consciousness, there's an awareness, there's a presence, that's already within us, that's already present here-and-now, and that fully allows what comes, and fully allows what goes. So Allowance would be the first level. And it's a lot like when you dive into a pond. If you dive into a pond, there's a shallow level of the pond, there's a kind of more intermediate level where you dive, swim deeper and you find a deeper place, and then if you swim deep enough you can go clear to the bottom and be on the bottom of the pond, which is maybe a very different experience than being up in the shallow area. It's more quiet, it's still, it's a place of peace, it's a place of silence even. So the shallow level of the pond of our heart, where we dive in to find that place of surrender, is Allowance. If we dive a little deeper, we find another place, which I call often 'Embracing what is.' So allowing what is, is the more shallow place of surrender, embracing what is — and the word 'embracing' denotes kind of enveloping it, really accepting it, really kind of going with it, you could say, Embracing. We can even see the difference between allowing somebody to be present, and embracing them. That kind of denotes the deeper depth of embracing what is. And then the deepest level of surrender I talk about is Loving what is. And there's a beautiful passage in a book called the Revelations of Divine Love by Julian of Norwich, who was a fourteenth century hermit woman who lived in Norwich, England. And she had a series of visions that she wrote down in a journal, and spent the rest of her religious hermit life reflecting on these various visions. In one vision, Jesus appears to her holding a little nut in his hand, which looks to her like a hazelnut. And Jesus is looking at this hazelnut very lovingly, and she's puzzled. And she thinks, What is that? Why is he looking at it that way? So she says, 'Lord, I notice this little object in your hand and you seem to be looking at it so lovingly. What is that object and why do you look at it so lovingly?' And Jesus says to Julian, 'this little object that looks to you like a hazelnut, is all that is, and I look at it lovingly, I love it, because it is.' And that's the deepest level of surrender. And again it's not a matter of working ourselves up into it, it's a matter of simply acknowledging that place in our heart that actually loves what is, simply because it is. And that doesn't mean that we're not open to changing what is; it just means there's a ground of acceptance, of embracing, of love. And that any action that we do to try to change something, flows from that ground of loving what is.

So I'd like to do the meditation based on that little teaching of Allowing, Embracing, and Loving what is, as consecutively deeper levels of surrender.

I want you to hold your hands open on your knees, with palms up. One thing I learned in being a monk is that when we do physical motions, they can sometimes access a place in our hearts. Not that we work ourselves up into an emotion, but that the physical movement of surrender, of open palms, of this openness, of allowing, embracing, and loving; that it can sometimes put us in contact with that place deep in our hearts that already is there, that already is in that consciousness.

So just close your eyes and put the palms up, on your knees, and think of a person, a situation, or an experience that you find difficult to accept, that you find some resistance to. And picture that object, that person, that situation; picture it in your mind's eye; picture it in your heart, and just feel the energy of opening your palms to that. Feel the energy of openness, of unconditional openness that's already in your heart, that allows that. And speak to that when you feel ready.
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Let the phrase come to your lips, 'I allow this.' And then rest in that phrase while you're picturing this person, this object, this situation. I allow this.
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I allow this.
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Between the phrases of saying, 'I allow this,' just silently picture this in your mind and feel the energy of allowance in your heart. Feel that place in your heart that allows this person, this object, this situation to exist in your life.
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I allow this.
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And now dive a little deeper into your heart of surrender, go deeper into the heart, and find a deeper openness yet toward this person, this situation, this experience. And as you repeat this next phrase, try to allow it to access that sense in your heart that embraces what is, as you say the phrase, 'I embrace this.'
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I embrace this.
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And again, in between saying these phrases or hearing me say these phrases, rest in that consciousness of embracing what is: this person, this situation, this experience that you find some resistance to on the level of personality. You're diving deeper into your heart and finding that place that embraces this.
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I embrace this.
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As you say to this person, this situation, this experience, 'I embrace this.'
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Just rest in that sense of embracing that dwells within you, that is this sense of presence; it's fully and unconditionally open and embracing of whatever is. I embrace this.
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And now, dive a little deeper still, dive down to the depths of surrender, dive down into the depths of the surrendered heart, and see if you can find the place that loves what is, simply because it is. In all these phrases you don't have to feel the emotion of it. Simply say the phrase and see what it evokes in your heart. See if it gives you access to that place in your heart that loves what is simply because it is. Again, not in a passive, resigned way — it doesn't mean you don't do anything about pain or suffering you see in the world — but whatever you do flows from this ground of surrender, of deep surrender.
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And repeat the phrase, 'I love this,' to that person, that situation, that experience that you're holding in your mind's eye. I love this.
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See if this bodily position of surrender and repeating silently or softly the phrase, 'I love this,' accesses that deep place of surrender that already dwells in your heart. I love this.
[Pause]
I love this.
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I love this.
[Pause]

I would suggest maybe taking this practice into your life and the next time you're faced with a person, a situation, an experience that you're feeling a lot of resistance to on the level of personality, that you try to go deeply within your heart and find those places of allowing, of embracing, of loving what is. And see if that changes the way you navigate your life. It's just a help. It's just a pointer that points you back to your heart, and hopefully will help you access the heart so you can go through life... with heart, with an open heart. And just see what that does to your life, see how it can transform your own experience of life, and even the experience of those around you.

So I thank you for your attentiveness and I wish you well on your journey. Thank you.

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