Ken Mellor

We live in a wonderful time in which many individuals and groups of people are coming together. This brings their cultures, ideologies, orientations, religious beliefs and many other aspects of life together too. In coming together, we are learning much from each other.

Where once divisions and boundaries between people and groups were valued, other qualities -union, mutual respect, cooperation, understanding and sharing - are now valued. We have the spectacle these days of people talking to and mixing with each other, who only a few short years ago would have had nothing to do with each other.

Many Masters are part of the move to greater availability and sharing. In the Network,through which all of us are linked, the list of Masters seen large numbers of us have seen in the last few years is impressive. They include: Mataji, Amaji, Nirmale Devi, Mother Meera,Satyananda, Sri Shinmoy, Chidvilasananda, Sai Baba, Babaji, Swami Krishna, Thakur, Master Charles, Da Free Jon, Rajneesh, Ram Das, Pir Vilyat Inayat Khan and two other Sufi Masters,two American Indian Shamans, several Reiki Masters, Mantak & Maneewan Chia (Taoist Masters), Jack Lim (Qigong Grand Master), the Dalai Lama and Sogyal Rinpoche (Tibetan Buddhist Masters), several Jewish Masters, and various Christian Masters. We are sure that there are others who were not mentioned to us.

Added to this, many people have had exposure to a wide variety of different orientations and schools of thought. Included amongst these are: American Indian drumming, Reiki, Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Burmese Buddhism, Taoist approaches (sexual and celibate),Yogas (Hatha, Iyenga, Raga, Kama, Gnana, Tantric, Kriya, Siddha, Vedic, Bakhti, Kundalini and Nad), Shamanistic practices from America and other places, Australian Aboriginal Spiritual practices, Christian mystical traditions, Cabbalistic traditions, and Sufistic traditions.

What rich possibilities are available to us these days.

In the midst of such richness, several people have asked how they can make the most of what is available to them from such people and their orientations. The following guide-lines are offered for your use until you work out your own from your own experience. They are general, so you will need to fill in the specifics for yourself as you test their helpfulness for yourself.

To promote Awakening as much as we can, we need to cultivate Union - Oneness in and with everything. It is through the realisation of this Oneness that Awakened states become a real experience. Until we realise Oneness, such states remain a mystical dream.

In practical terms, this means that we make ourselves available to what is offered by Masters and those around them. We recognise the value of cultivating respect, openness, cooperation,understanding, love and sharing, and the need to do so, if we are to expand through the experiences we can have through our contacts with them. Anything at variance with these qualities within ourselves or others is an automatic signal of the need for unifying ourselves with what we have noticed. Any perceptions like this, signal the presence of personal issue that we need to resolve, some unfinished business to complete. (The Unifying Meditation is available for doing this. See the Shop in the General Directory.)

To promote Awakening, it is generally best to notice our own strengths and capacities, and to find ways of expanding them. We are best to celebrate our Mastery in what eve we do. When we are with a Master, we practise staying aware of our own Mastery and giving it full expression. This automatically enhances our own and the Master's Masterhood. If we approach a Master by diminishing ourselves, or the Master, this will potentially diminish the possible benefits for all concerned.

Realism is a part of this. To gain maximum benefit, we need to acknowledge our own realisation as accurately as we can, neither over-inflating it, nor underestimating it.

We need to cultivate responsibility. Each of us is ultimately responsible for what we are, what we experience and what we do. When with people, or in contexts in which we are encouraged to learn, this responsibility continues. Whether overtly, covertly, consciously, or unconsciously, to try and hand this responsibility to someone or something else, does not work. Whatever we do,think, feel, or become is our own responsibility.

To take this responsibility, we need to test everything to which we are exposed. We need to test it for ourselves: opinions, facts, suggestions, beliefs, procedures, strategies, techniques -everything. Realisation is just that - realisation. Until we know for ourselves through our own experience, we have not realised something. Taking another's word or example as proof of something, is to avoid taking responsibility; and even then, we will be responsible for having taken whatever it was on trust and responsible for not having tested it ourselves.

It is helpful to understand that the process is mutual. When we visit a Master, everyone benefits,the Master included. It is a two-way process, regardless of the level of Awakening of the Master.

The very presence of a Master is an aid to Awakening. The Master's field, saturated with his or her unique Awakening, stimulates our own fields. Our fields are encouraged to align with the Master's in whatever unique way each of us can manage. A Master's intentional acts, provide additional benefits. With his or her Awakening focussed by intent, our benefit can be magnified greatly. All the same, the parts we play in these engagements are crucial, because the benefits we realise depend greatly on our willingness to participate in the processes.

The Master benefits also. As we come to a Master, he or she witnesses a current aspect of his or her own Being, an aspect that needs attention. What needs attention will be the nature of the Master's perception of us as we approach. Masters are exactly the same in this respect as everyone else. In addition, as we awaken in response to the Master's presence and/or intent, the Master's Awakening expands too. Perhaps with some Masters, we will not understand the nature of our benefit to them, nevertheless, they do benefit. All around them, all who engage with them,physically or in other ways, are part of the unfolding realisation in which they also are engaged, no matter how already Awakened they may be.

Everyone benefits.

Each Master makes a unique contribution to our Awakening. This is important. The uniqueness arises from, amongst other things, the Being of the Master and the particular skill he or she has mastered.

When visiting Masters, it is helpful to acknowledge this uniqueness. To imagine that Masters are the same, or should be, is to miss the point. Each one has his or her own contribution to make,his or her own style, just like everyone else. We can benefit from all who are available.

Whatever the situation, surrender is always necessary when we quest further Awakening. This is true when we are with Masters, too, perhaps particularly so. Yet, the nature of the surrender that is important takes an unexpected form for many people.

The necessary surrender is a process of taking responsibility. It is not a process of trying to give it up to someone else. To surrender in the necessary manner, we need to make ourselves available to whatever we experience. This has little to do with "doing what we are told, no matter what".The surrender involved is to do with an inner orientation, an inner relationship, not an external relationship. Surrender in these terms involves making ourselves available to our own experience,while staying open to other people. Surrender to a Master means that we are open to the Master as we cultivate inner availability.

When "fully surrendered to a Master", we are fully available to any experience we may have while with the Master. No matter what the sensations, feelings, thoughts, impulses, desires, or other types of experiences we may have, we surrender to them, when we make ourselves as open to experiencing them as we can. When with a Master, this orientation enables us to expand in his or her presence. By cultivating this "inner" surrender as we stay open to the Master, his or her Awakening stimulates us beyond our usual level of Awakening and so we expand, too. If we do not stay open to what we experience while we are with the Master, we will not realise the expansion.

We urge you always to remember that we are each responsible for what we do. "What I do is my responsibility, because I chose to do it and I did it. Regardless of who may have told me to do it, regardless of the compelling reasons I may have thought applied when I did what I did, I am responsible for doing it. Even in the name of surrender, whatever I do is still my responsibility." So, let us take this responsibility knowingly with each of our actions.

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