By Doug Marman
(This article is an excerpt from The Silent Questions, pages 129-131. It describes an inner experience I had many years ago.)
Bare outlines of a wooded scene filtered into view. My attention locked on and I found myself projecting into a most beautiful world. Trees of bright green, with leaves that flashed in the sun, lined a rushing river. The river filled me with energy and lightheartedness. It flowed with water of blue-green, the lightest hue, like none I had ever seen before. I wondered where it came from.
Then, looking up, I saw the white majestic walls of cliffs and mountains soaring high into the clouds. The rock face fell straight and smooth at least 1,000 feet. I instantly thought of the Hindu-Kush Mountains in Northern Tibet.
By Doug Marman
Hundreds of years ago, people worked from dawn to dusk raising crops, milking cows, and taking care of their children. They were often exhausted, at day’s end, from the sheer physical work.
Today, we suffer from a different kind of stress. More and more we complain about our minds driving us like task masters. We can’t stop the racing of our thoughts. We worry about the chaos in our lives, as if the only way we can survive is by plotting the right path through an obstacle course. The mind isn’t easy to control. A night of peaceful sleep can be like trying to tame wild horses.
The easiest path to mental relaxation is not passivity, as many people think. We don’t need to turn off our thoughts. Instead, we need to work for Life, rather than looking for ways to make Life work for us.
New Translation and Commentary by Doug Marman
Down through time, mystics, seers, and spiritual travelers have journeyed into higher states of consciousness. They returned transformed and inspired. Each described their experiences differently. Some say they saw the Cosmic Tree of Life. Others tell about merging into a pool of truth, or visiting a golden temple of wisdom. These are not myths, but poetic ways of describing the awareness that bathed, illuminated, and enlightened them.
“Sukhmani” means “bringer of peace to the heart.” Guru Arjan wrote this book over 400 years ago, after someone struggling with life begged him to share how he found peacefulness. Arjan’s answer is one of the deepest and most insightful testaments ever recorded.
However, this book tells another story, as well: That spiritual teachings are often lost through dogmatic thinking and the practice of rituals – even when the author warned of this danger…