The Heretic’s New Year

A different way of looking at it

Do you sit easily with what you’ve learnt from growing up? That is, moulded by convention and conditioning.  If not, watch out, you’ll soon be seen for the heretic you are.  Here’s how it is in heresy land.

Heretics don’t make New Year’s resolutions

– they would feel  ridiculous

Heretics enjoy their own being.  They love, they laugh, they don’t criticise themselves or others, whom they only wish well. They would feel too ridiculous taking up any position of struggling against themselves, or berating themselves.  When something arises that entails doing, they notice, and do it. They may notice an achievement. If they don’t do it, they notice the opportunity that slid by. If they do it but don’t achieve, they notice the failure.  None of it pulls them out of their gladness of being.  None of it makes them unmotivated to engage in the world.  None of it pulls them into the compulsions of conditioning and group pressure.

Heretics find no inner or outer

We often hear about the God within, or are encouraged to respect the God within one’s neighbour, or we are exhorted to nurture the spirit within.  Heretics don’t know what that could mean, as they find there is no inner self, no spirit living inside a body that is outside of it. Their experience is not so.  They find that what is outside is also what is inside, and they don’t, can’t, exist outside that goodness and gladness.  Their spiritual self manifests  as their body, mind, personality, and as what there is.  It doesn’t have an inner territory, because there isn’t an outer territory. It is free, moment by moment.

So heretics don’t undertake to get closer to their spiritual self, or store up inner energy.   They don’t see a difference between before January and after January. They just experience what is so.

Heretics don’t live in comparisons

When minds are still formed by unquestioning convention, they assume that there is some ideal state that they have to reach, and they compare themselves to it. Oh dear! The tears and the tragedy.  Then, one fine day, suddenly they find themselves in the heretical state of completion and  contentment.  They notice what their minds had been doing, how they created the “me” that compared itself with an ideal it could never meet, how it compared itself with others, and how it compared others with an ideal they could  never meet, either. And so they give up comparing. They find that the “me” is a bundle of tensions and strategies, even in the best of times. Personalities and minds are just as they are, capable of greatness and meanness, and somehow the whole spectrum is enjoyable.  Heretics see the games and struggles that minds make while they are still normal.  They wish them well, and hope they find their own heresy soon.

Your objection?  “But you….”

Ah, but heretics get fat like the rest of us.  Shouldn’t they make a resolution to slim down?

There is eating, and there is noticing the way the mind craves things for the palate.  Perhaps they remember that eating is primarily for survival.  That seems enough. Why worry about it?

But they are making the decision to be a certain way.  That’s what we all do.

Yes, we are all the same fundamentally. Maybe not the same as the way you think, though.

I’ve heard you say that when you look within, you find peace and love.  Yet you say that the “heretical” truth is that there is no within and without.

Yep, that’s right. Inside and outside are all the one stuff.  Yet language is messy. The mind uses language to create conceptual differences and then treats them as though they exist outside the mind. If I were to say “I am peace and love,” you would be offended and tell me I am a heretic. The nearest other words are,  I feel peaceful and loving.

Well, this is new.  I’ve known you for a long time, and I sure saw lots of struggle, criticism and judgment.

Haha…yep, that’s true too.  I just got lucky, I guess.

One day I “sort of heard” Baba Nityananda, the founder of our lineage, “sort of talk” to me.  He said, “I will never criticise you.”  That felt like such a relief, and I began to see that, actually,  I had been nurtured through my life, whereas I had  imagined myself alone in the world.  When I saw that, I was shocked to find how much I criticised others.  So I began to give it up.  Then some other things happened… and I realised one day that personality is a bundle of tensions and strategies, not a “self” at all.  Moment by moment being, not “being someone”. “Me” is a function of a mind, not a state of being.

Heretics get to their heresy in different ways.  I used to be a good person struggling to be better.  During the struggle, I think I got worse, not better. At least I saw the downside of the “good person” fiasco. Others might be born heretics.  Others might have to go to the desert for a period.

But anyway, this is about the New Year, not about spiritual journeys.

What else for the heretical New Year?

Here’s a suggestion – let’s have it on the solstice,  21st December, the real beginning of the new year of seasons and natural rhythms, that fits the planet. And the natural cycle provides lots of new beginnings.

And here’s another: not a resolution, no trying to be better,  just a firmness.  When some dislike or reaction begins to form in the mind, wrap ease around it. In that easefulness, you are certain to find love, too.

So – let’s wish us all a Happy New Year, and the joy of being, now and always.


 And  perhaps consider coming to the Retreat ?

Still-mind Meditation Retreat, February 2021

The hall

Still-mind meditation retreat … not just for ancient forest dwellers….

Ancient forest dwellers are not the only ones who got this. Life follows the same pattern generation after generation, getting caught up in conceptual idea of self and reality, until suddenly one sees that self and being cannot be just a series of reactions to thoughts and ideas. There is a steady state of being which is always satisfied, no matter what rolls through the mind.

Explore further what this state is, in your own life. Still-mind meditation is the foundation of a more realistic life than chasing one idea of yourself after another and another and another…

Starts Friday 12th Feb at 5.oo pm (or when you are able to arrive) Room entry after 3.00 pm
Ends Sunday 14th February at 3,00 pm

Details here



About Mataji

I have been practising still-mind meditation since 1982, teaching still-mind meditation since 1989, and training teachers since 1999. The greatest life change for me has been a steady easefulness with its ups and downs, and an ability to love the difficult folks as well as the easy ones. The more profound changes aren't so easy to put into words.
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