Reading by Liz Helgesen (Download file)
Vigilance is often misunderstood. Usually what passes for vigilance is careful monitoring by the superego. I'm sure you're very aware of this kind of monitoring-- "Oh I shouldn't have said it that way. I shouldn't have done it that way. I shouldn't have thought that. I should have surrendered." This monitoring is not vigilance. It is an imitation of vigilance. Vigilance comes from the word vigil, meaning to keep vigil. Keeping vigil is a form of worship. Vigilance is sacred, quiet, peaceful vigil at the flame of truth. (...)
It is a mistaken understanding that implies vigilance to be a burden. The real burden is the denial of your beingness as awareness itself. The idea that vigilance is a burden comes from the concept of spiritual practice. You are admonished to practice. You have to keep your practice. I don't know what the word practice is translated from, but it is a bad translation, because in English practice means some kind of preparation for a real event. You practice for the football game. You practice for your recital. You cannot practice for life. Life is right now. So I don't use the word practice in terms of vigilance. I am talking about being vigilance. Be that now. You are that already. Recognize yourself as that, and be vigilant to your true nature. Then see. Without looking for anything, see. [...]
"Wait and see" doesn't necessarily mean you sit on your couch and never move. It also doesn't necessarily mean that you get off your couch and move. It is much deeper than that. An active life can be lived as vigilance, and an inactive life can be lived as vigilance. there will be many insights. There will be many revelations and deepening experiences. In the midst of it all, be vigilant to what has not moved, what has always been home, what has always been radiant and unpolluted. There will be even deeper insights. Enjoy them as they come, wave them goodbye as they pass, and be vigilant to what has not moved, what has not been lost by the experience of loss, and what has not been augmented by the experience of gain.
Be vigilance. The deepest joy of the human experience is to be vigilant. It is not a task. It is bliss itself. A bliss that is awake and vigilant to what never moves, to what is always present. Be that. Then you will see this entity called your lifetime unfold exquisitely, as a flower unfolds. As it begins to die, it will die exquisitely, as a flower dies. You don't need to dip it in wax so that it will stay forever at a certain stage.
Excerpted from Freedom and Resolve: The Living Edge of Surrender.
Gangaji is an American born spiritual teacher and author.
SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does being vigilance mean to you? Can you share a personal story of a time you were being vigilance? What helps you be vigilant about what has not moved?