I woke up this morning remembering a sleeping thought that it would be useful to write something down. So I’m listening to that thought.
I’m aware that Tibetan Buddhist sutras talk about supra-natural skills which are attained after certain levels of practice. I’m also aware that Buddha spoke about attaining supra-natural abilities. But beyond this, I don’t know how much what I have experienced connects with what already exists in some sutras or other writings, and I don’t know how much of it is written about even within my own tradition.
But that’s very Soto Zen. In Soto Zen we always come back to sitting. Just sitting. Everything else is secondary. Practice comes first. Study of sutras… well you can if you want.
So I write this down fully aware that it’s probably inadequate, probably repeats things available in other texts, and is probably also a little misguided in the sense that I am new to all this and so perhaps have misunderstood what it is that I have experienced; or not understood enough.
The main thing I want to hold onto, as well, is that none of these abilities can be owned or shaped by the ego mind. They are simply facts of reality which become a part of lived experience. And they aren’t really separate abilities either. They are all part of one ability, and that one ability is simply the very first thing we all discover when we wake up; that the life energy animating us is the same ground of all Being which animates all beings and which is the origin of all manifested reality.
1. Sharing Energy
Since I no longer pray with words about anything, or pray for others, this is what I have replaced praying for others with. It is simply coming into the peak experience, into Oneness with the ground source of Being, and then letting that energy release itself out to the person I am thinking of.
The first thing that happens, which is remarkable, is that even more energy comes back to me than I have sent out. This is remarkable to the illuded mind; how can I gain more than I have freely given! But it is not remarkable to One mind, to the Source. Indeed, it seems to be the way that the Universe is hard wired. There are lots of scriptures about freely giving so that you may receive, and this universal hard wiring is what they are on about. To gain more energy for yourself, you have to give away all of what you have! It’s wonderful!
2. Sharing Energy Transpersonally
This is the transpersonal moment when there is only one shared ‘I’ between you and the Other you are with and the ‘I’ that ‘IS’. You do not so much see yourself as them looking back at you as sense your own life energy flowing into them, and theirs into you, and ‘sense’ them as you and you as them. Hard to describe with words.
3. Sharing One Mind
This is when your energy goes out to the Other, who can be any distance from you (but not that I’m aware of any time from you), and when the return flow of energy comes back from them to you it carries with it information about something they are thinking at that precise moment in time. We like to think of this as ‘telepathy’, which we interpret classically as being able to read the mind of the Other. But Sharing One Mind does not work that way. One Mind does not mean to know every thought as a running narrative of what the Other is thinking. There is simply a brief Return Flow of information between you, and this information provides you with compassion for them because at that moment your mind and their mind are one.
Wanting to be telepathic comes from the ego mind. It is the part of our mind which allows for such thoughts as wanting to map out the thoughts of the Other’s mind. It may not have the intention of control, but controlling the Other is what it can lead to. ‘Sharing One Mind’ can never work this way, and can never be owned. Perhaps this is why telepathy constantly illudes us; always feeling like it is possible and yet never being possible. Because it isn’t possible the way we want it to be. It is only possible the way of Sharing One Mind.
4 Able to Understand what Other Beings with no Perceived Language are Telling You
St Francis, it is said, conversed with the birds. As a Being at One with all beings, the only thing standing in the way of being able to understand what it is that other beings are talking about, is the expectation that it is not possible to understand what it is that they are talking about.
Without this expectation it is sometimes possible to eavesdrop on the conversation of the birds, on the wisdom of rocks, the message of the community of Trees, and so on. But if someone out there can switch this on and off like a tap I’d be glad to know how! Some of these ‘abilities’ come and go as they will. My Zen nun tells me that they cannot be owned like a computer can be owned or like the ability to run a mile can be owned.
5 Astral Projection
This isn’t really astral projection. Or rather, I don’t know what those who teach about ‘astral projection’ really teach about because I have never been on their courses. I can only share what I have sensed myself, and it’s really another version of the other abilities above. In the spiritual sense there is no time and space. The One is outside of space and time. So it makes sense that sharing an ‘I’ with the ‘One’ is also an experience which is outside of space and time. It is only when that experience meshes with the manifested reality of you in this body in this space in this time that space and time have become involved.
By this token there is nothing separating your ‘I’ from the ‘I’ of another being on another planet billions or trillions of light years (time) away. It is really only Sharing One Mind but instead the person in question is not down the street, they are some way down the cosmos.
I don’t know what this is useful for, but again it is possible to Share Energy (1), and compassion (3), which is nice.
There’s probably a lot more….
I’d like to close with repeating something I said at the beginning. These are not really separate abilities. They are all aspects of one thing; awakening or awareness of the self being One with All That Is. Within this higher state of consciousness, within this enlightenment, are all sorts of feelings and experiences that are beyond words – literally beyond form. So to start to write them down, categorise them and so on, you already start to split something out from what IS and create a dualism, then another dualism and so on. Until you have everything neatly categorised but nothing is what you intended to write when you started out.
Except that we live in the manifest world. We live as individual selves, and we have brains which like to categorise, name, and know. So maybe the categorising of spiritual abilities might be useful in future? Like polishing so many diamonds….