Dialogue from 'As It Is' (US edition) published with permission from the author.
How did your teacher help you?
I have never had a teacher or seen anyone as a master. I knew when I was a kid that life must be the teacher. I prefer the word invitation. This was confirmed when walking across the park.
Surely you needed to understand something from other people's writings.
Oh, yes. My first really deep understanding, which came from reading, was an interpretation of Christ's words in the book The New Man, by Maurice Nicholl. He explained that the word 'repent' did not mean, 'to show sorrow for your sins and vow never to sin again.' The word, in Christ's native local tongue, meant 'to turn 180 degrees and see anew.' This was for me a revelation that went deeper than just intellectual understanding. At an early age, I knew that there was a secret, and I sensed that Christ knew and lived this secret, and that much of what he said referred to it. After walking across the park, other people's writings on this subject were there like a confirmation for me, and I also learned from these people how to communicate in a clearer way.
What else did you learn through your readings about Christ?
At this time, I also came to understand the meaning behind the symbolism of the Christian cross. Life is apparently a horizontal journey through something we call time. It seems to swing between negative and positive experiences, and while we believe we are separate individuals, we try to make our lives as positive as possible. However, as I see now, everyone has exactly the experiences of either polarity that they need, regardless of their efforts to influence that balance. The apparent horizontal journey has only one purpose, and that is to invite us to see another possibility. That other possibility is the realization of verticality. We are the vertical line that intersects the horizontal line. We are the light that lives within the ordinary living experience. And this is what the crucifix signifies.
Yes, the forgiveness of sins. I feel Christ spoke directly to his disciples about these things, but what he said to the people was often hidden in parables. When he told people their sins were forgiven, he was really saying to them that they had never had a past that they could be held responsible for. They had simply been characters lived through by the infinite, never having had any choice or free will.
Do you feel that any attempt to organize any of these concepts immediately devalues them?
The secret that's available, and which you are anyway, can never be devalued. The written word cannot reveal the secret because a secret is a living, vital, timeless treasure. But the mind will protect itself by appearing to support the communication being made. The avoidance of what is most feared is created by turning what is being communicated into a method or system, which can be formulated, packaged, and delivered to groups of people. This has happened through history and is happening today with teachers who wish to control groups of people.
For instance, some teachers give people new names, and of course this still reinforces the sense of individuality linked with a new, but still separate, identity. Groups are formed, and either people live together in ashrams or belong loosely to an organization. As a result of this, there is created a feeling of specialness and exclusion from the rest of the world. This appeals very much to the guru-mind. It is also a very effective way for the secret to remain hidden until it can emerge, when appropriate.
It feels to me that you have something that I don't and I want to get there as quickly as possible.
Firstly, you can't get quickly to where you already are (laughter). But really take this in. Live with it and try to see deeply what it is really saying. The problem is that you think something has to happen. You are waiting for something to happen. It is actually happening continuously, and you simply don't see it. I don't have anything that you don't have. The difference is that I am no longer looking for anything. This is it, and that's the end of it. Give up the search for something to happen and fall in love, fall intimately in love with the gift of presence in 'what is.'
Here, right here, is the seat of all that you will ever long for. It is simple and ordinary and magnificent. You see, you are already home.
- Tony Parsons- , 2000