We have grown up with a barrage of perceived limitations, wrongdoing, faultfinding and diminishment, such that we would find it difficult to imagine a life free of such things. Quite apart from what we might hear, for example, in church or synagogue, totally permeating all of society is a pervasive flavor of original sin, of being flawed, of being thrown out of the garden. This same mind set might be extended to include karma and reincarnation and other beliefs that diminish us. We have been trained up in and grown so accustomed to these powerful forces of internalized oppression that there seems to be no other way of being.
We can easily recognize externalized oppression in countries with dictatorships, tyranny, political repression, extreme class, ethnic or gender bias and overt discrimination in its many forms, and we can not only recognize these things but also acknowledge the total revulsion we have for them. However, within ourselves, these profound levels of internalized oppression are just assumed, sustained and perpetuated from one generation to the next. “Wrong, wrong, wrong; bad, bad, bad; insufficient, insufficient, insufficient.” Ironically, even in cases where the opposite seems to be manifested--“I am the greatest; look at me”---there is nevertheless still a basic sense of wrong-ness present.
Well, what to do? My experience has been that there is nothing to be accomplished by trying to talk ourselves out of this. We can do all the positive affirmations we want, but at some point that is going to break down. We could undertake massive self-improvement projects, but as long as the basic, underlying configuration of negativity is in place, the methods that are applied will always be arising from the same flawed context which they are meant to defeat.
Ah, but there is a way out! Or, better said, there is actually no way out and no way in, because we have never been apart from that which is totally untouched by any of this---the pure, pristine, primordial open intelligence that pervades all things. We are resting in that intelligence at all times and have never left it; we have only been distracted by things that caught our attention over and over again. So, instead of constantly focusing our attention on the flaw, we simply let things be as they are. Without grasping, without improving, we simply let things be as they are for short moments many times. Without seeking or wanting anything, we rest and relax into the pervasive open intelligence that becomes increasingly evident once we choose to put our attention there.
This is such an incredibly simple practice and is sure to bring the result. It is a time-tested method that actually works; the benefits are not theoretical but actual and provable. This simple practice of relying on open intelligence for short moments many times is the first of four sustaining foundational mainstays. The second mainstay is to be supported by a person who has more experience in this practice and who knows all about the things we will be going through along the way---so, a teacher or trainer who helps bring us along. The third is a sustaining training with media that elucidate and reaffirm and clarify at every step. Whether the message comes through texts, audios, videos or direct trainings, it is an unvarying beacon towards truth. The fourth mainstay is a worldwide community—a community that no one need join and from which no one can be excluded.
So, now we come full circle back to the original theme: exaltation! Through a simple practice and the support of all these mainstays, a crack begins to appear in the bastion of wrong-ness that has so dominated our lives. We just relax, and then we relax again, and by doing so we are pulled out of the mud and our eyes are opened to possibilities never before imagined. We see the exaltation in ourselves and in all of life that is unearned and unaccomplished---the exaltation that is the natural luminosity of open intelligence.
Our vantage shifts almost without our noticing how or when; where once we saw flaws in ourselves and others, we see exaltation. Life has a spark and a power that it seemed to have lacked before. We are not embarrassed by the idea that we are indeed exalted beings whose birthright is one of joy, courage, wisdom and ease of being. We never meet a stranger, and what we see in ourselves we see in others. We discern that no matter what possible criticism can be leveled because of claiming these things to be true, we know our own experience and we are undaunted.
Exaltation, exaltation, exaltation.