The Approach [ssba]
By Miranda Macpherson
Seek for nothing
Be as you are
Rest in God
I offer an integrated approach to spiritual realization born out of my own unfolding, extensive study of the scriptures, teachings and practices of the world’s great wisdom traditions, and over twenty years experience internationally in spiritual education and counseling.
Saint Francis of Assisi said, “The one you are looking for is the one who is looking”. This articulates the non-dual view that the depth of your being isGod, love, joy, beauty, strength, intelligence and creativity itself. Your potential to express and live this is literally boundless. Yet we often live our lives like thirsty fish swimming in the ocean, asking, “Where is the water?”
Over the years an approach has emerged for those sincerely wanting to live from spiritual depth outside the confines of any single religion. It draws on both ancient lineages and contemporary wisdom to liberate patterns of suffering, encourage deeper access to essential presence and support the blossoming of your authentic being.
This empowers you to live a rich and real life
The methodology is a mandala:
Diving into our direct experience with our whole being, body, heart and mind. Includes specific inquiry exercises practiced in pairs, contemplative inquiry and a ‘dissolving the core knot of suffering’ process.
Mantra, chanting and prayer strengthens our deep heart’s love, birthing dedication, while awakening joy and opening the subtle body.
Specific practices concentrate, calm and stabilize awareness. Supports ego dissolving, receptivity and abiding in and as God.
Sensing and including the body, relationship and all the ordinary activities of life as intrinsic to the path of awakening, supports the practical living our realization in the world.
At the core is the transmission into deep silence I received in the cave that was home to Sri Ramana Maharshi on Mount Arunachala in southern India.
We can’t do spiritual transformation.
When we relax the interference, it finds us.
I call this the practice of ego relaxation. It guides you how to surrender. You might have tried to annihilate your ego with its sense of insecurity, fear, guilt, lack, weakness, in attempts to transcend the seeming problem of ‘me’. This only deepens our suffering and increases frustration. To be, do, get, become, seek for, and relinquish nothing is not only a transmission of the deep silence but a very practical path that invites us to simply be here, be now, rest undefended with what is.
Spiritual truth always contains a paradox: While at the deepest level we are already That, if we genuinely want to engage a spiritual life and not just have spiritual experiences, a practice is helpful. No one else’s realisation can do the inner work for us. Ramana said, “There is a state beyond both effort and effortlessness. Until it is realised, gentle effort is necessary.”
Opening in and through your Direct Experience
Since the ultimate foundation of everything is the same pure ground of being, if we turn within and open, soften and allow our direct experience, grace unfolds us. Whether the content is beautiful or challenging, it can become a gateway into the unshakable depths of presence. Why? The basement of everything is God. I emphasize the practice of meeting our direct experience, but without doing anything to change or fix it. This is a powerfully direct, surprising and yet subtle practice for transforming ego obstacles and genuinely landing deeper in awareness.
Embracing Rather than Transcending our Humanity
I do not teach you how to jump over your challenges and aggressively reject the more difficult aspects of your personality, but support you opening through them. Since the veils to deeper reality are primarily conditioned habits of mind, we must by definition include psychological as well as spiritual insight. I caution against the level confusion common in some non-dual approaches that can easily short circuit the importance of being fully human. We are both divine and human. Not one or the other, but both.
We embrace everything — be that the challenges of relationship and family life, work in the world, ageing, grieving and health issues, to the most subtle yearnings of our heart. It can all be fuel for deepening into the love and wisdom of our true nature, making us more capable of responding intelligently to life.
Surrender Cannot be Forced But it Can be Supported
Surrender is not a one shot deal. It is asked at every turn. While all great mystical teachings agree on the importance of surrender, it is not a thing to be done, but a compassionate relaxation of the learned tendencies of mind. In the same way that your body knows how to heal and repair itself — so your soul is homeostatic. It contains the inherent intelligence to know its own nature. Awakening is a natural process of unfolding. You might sincerely want to open into deeper dimensions of consciousness, but moving beyond just one pattern of identity can feel terrifying at first. This is why we need supportive conditions.
The Pillars of Awakening: The Virtues that Mature our Soul
We begin the journey together by expanding your inner container of support through cultivating the qualities that appear across all the great spiritual traditions. We need more than just sincere intention. We need the virtues that expand our capacity:
- The courage that comes from deep TRUST
- The fierce devotion that arises when we LOVE the TRUTH
- The open-mindedness and joyful expansion of CURIOSITY
- The compassion, kindness and true protection that comes from NON-ATTACK
- The undefended receptivity of HUMILITY
- The dedication and commitment of WILLINGNESS
- The melting of our hidden agendas that comes from PATIENCE]
Cultivating these virtues supports a balanced awakening that helps us avoid the pitfall of becoming ungrounded in our practical functioning as we let ego structures dissolve. For each virtue, there are a body of inquiry questions that help you work through the obstacles, and also practices to help us regain access. Then we have a robust and rounded inner container in which to dive deeper.
Be Still and Know I AM
Quieting the surface agitation of body, heart and mind is the basis for any deepening. Then we can be ushered into the deeper knowing. This is not the same as information. In mystical Christianity it is the ‘nous’, the knowing of the deep heart. It contains remembrance of what we are, of that within us is ever present and forever pristine. This is both transcendence and the heart of our deepest humanity. It connects us with the real in everything and everyone. It brings us to the perennial spiritual questions.
‘What truly is?
‘Who am I?”
Not trying to answer these questions with our ordinary mind ushers us in to the mystery where the point is silence. We have no basis for a real life, or even real action in the world unless we know what and who we truly are. Yet we cannot know with our intellect. No conceptual answer will quite satisfy. In receptive humility, the undivided vision of reality shines eternally. We can discover ourselves intrinsically unified with all that is. This is the one core resolution to the seemingly endless problems of our life that all stem from our sense of separation. It addresses our most important concerns at the root. We find ourselves already at home. We are at peace.
But that’s not all. It does not end with simply a big spiritual orgasm. There is no end to this knowing, this abiding because you are boundless.
Whatever You Leave Empty: Grace Can Fill
This line from A Course in Miracles speaks to the depth of our being that is a mysterious dance of emptiness and grace. In our innermost sanctuary we discover a never-ending fountain of essential qualities; boundless love, joy, compassion, deep insight, strength, power, beauty, creativity, intelligence and more. It also comes with a knowing, a presence of wisdom that we can hear and feel as a guiding force. Kabbalists call this the “inner teacher”. It has always been with us, and will always be with us — all the days of our life. My approach helps you to listen and discriminate.
Contrary to popular misconception, a genuine spiritual practice is hugely practical for the living of our lives. It births in us a spiritual elegance that shows us precisely in each moment, how to respond to life and respond to the needs of our time.
What is the Real Value of Spiritual Awakening in our World?
The seemingly insurmountable problems that we face in our world come ultimately from being caught in a sense of separation. This is the cause of the greed, hatred, domination, manipulation, deception and denial that plays itself out both at the inter-personal level and on the world stage.
An authentic spiritual path takes us beyond our ordinary sense of separation and helps us deal with the challenges of being human – inherently perfect at the core and yet also works in progress. We come home to ourselves. We remember we are inherently connected to everyone and everything. This liberates us from the self-centeredness that is the cause of so much suffering. We become kinder, more forgiving, more generous, fleshed out human beings. The more each one of us is committed to living with awareness, our lives become a blessing and of benefit to our world.
To read more, visit Miranda’s ARTICLES