Nature's Place

The Real Discipline

Even though I am not in such a relationship at present I’ll leave this page open as the substance of it is in my experience.

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… you come to it eventually, in time, through experience and negation – or knowing what doesn’t work for you – it’s inevitable you find this out when you need it. It’s the most difficult thing you can ever do, but in fact it’s all you ever really do whether you know it or not, and there’s no way to make it happen any faster than it does. Everything in its time. No pictures please …

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There’s the Idea Behind – this whole site and what it’s about. Then there’s the way to make the Idea real, or realise it – Meditate. And the Idea is simple, realise sense or sensation and not mind as thought and emotion. But it’s not the truth. The real discipline the others are just preparation for is something else.

Love is that something else. Yes, love is a discipline. It’s not an attachment, a sentimental consideration, a nice feeling or an acceptable compromise. In fact love is the highest discipline, there is none higher I know of. Love is truth, and truth is arrived at through ignorance then sensation – used to ‘step out’ of the ignorance of mental emotional identity.

I will endeavour to explain. Because if it can be understood it can be realised. Then you have to give up understanding, as a need. And if something can be realised once it can be realised forever. It’s a mechanical universe after all, and everything is in order. I will outline some of that order that a few may recognise.

But bear in mind, this is not meant as a treatise on the subject, it is too involved for this one page, more an outline of the way.

And there is no other ‘way’. You see it or you don’t. If you don’t there’s plenty of other stuff around to keep you entertained.

Along the way.

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I started out just like anybody else. As a body having to learn what bodies need and can and can’t do. And like any other body I knew the need for love, to love and be loved – was probably the most pervasive of my earliest known and subsequent conditions – though I may not have used those words then – because of my experience. Experience reveals the man, or whatever there is to be revealed, but only what it is time for. And everything has a time, you can’t escape that truth.

All through my life I loved this or I loved that, always some thing to love and in search of love, to love and to be loved. That’s great for a while, the wild ride of experience, until you realise the form of love always dies one way or another and becomes no more than a habit to be given up, eventually, through the pain of dying (to) attachment usually.

Every ‘form’ of love eventually turns to pain, the pain of the death of the attachment or habit the love had turned into. That’s the pain of truth, the way of understanding, then separating in order to move on to the next thing that isn’t love or truth, but merely a form of it, in order to come to the end of the need to experience what is not love. That’s the way it is; you need to know (enough) what is not love to give it up. This is the way of ignorance and it can’t be avoided, if you don’t have the experience, of what is not the truth, you can’t realise what is the truth.

That’s the way it is, anything only ends when you’ve had enough of it. And that’s not up to you. Everything is in order and the order is always towards pain to death. And there is the paradox that will always defy the understanding of any who are not ready to see. Death is just the end of pain but pain can end before you die.

Am I making any sense? It’s got to make some sense or some non-sense, a sense that this is right and true, if nothing else. It’s got to make sense or what’s the point.

It makes sense to me and that’s what really matters, to me, first.

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Then there was school, a place to discipline the mind and break the spirit. Well, the mental discipline of mind I found easy. I could sit staring out the window for ages and some sneaky teacher would snap out; Berkery! What was I just saying? – you know the thing … And I was able to recall in an instant everything I needed to and the teachers rising violence would be frustrated. Believers are like that, a very violent lot when it comes to non-believers, because they get a sense of their own emotional death that they aren’t ready for, when faced with non belief. But the spirit was never broken, just something else.

I saw no real value in what is referred to as education in this world beyond basic math, English, reading and writing; what was necessary for getting on in and with the world, and I wasn’t afraid to say so. And there are consequences to every action. So there was another discipline, each rising in the order of the discipline of self, self discipline, in time. It takes discipline to keep going in the face of despair.

But it wasn’t the accepted kind, I had to break all the rules to see what ruled me and break the ruling of it by opposition, conflict or pain, and separation or indifference. This went on for many years, to the point of self breaking, except I always found self would recover quick enough and I would do it again, and again … this breaking of my self.

It was all in the endeavour to find the end to my self, because my self was a very unhappy thing, confused and distorted beyond recognition of the norm, by my experience in our times, and fuelled by the great escapes of our times – alcohol and drugs. In short, my self was a pain, both ways! – all ways?

So, from the perspective of the ‘world’ around me, the people really, I was in a mess or they thought I was. I wasn’t really; I was just more conscious of the mess the mind is in these times than most are able or willing to see, because it’s not their time for it. But it’s easy at times to confuse what others think with what ‘I’ think.

I wasn’t in a mess, my mind was a mess and I was experiencing it, the utter congestion and confusion of my inner space or psyche. And as with any other form of pain I was going through the necessary process of opposition, conflict or pain and separation or indifference – whatever was necessary. I still am to some degree.

And perhaps a degree to come that I haven’t undergone yet? Of course, that’s the course of things, so far.

It will end when I die, maybe. And when would that be? :)

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Anyway, throughout the years I learned all sorts of things that were considered or held to be ‘a’ or ‘the’ way to self mastery, or self discipline, or peace of mind. I needed peace of mind and it could only come through self mastery and that could only happen through self discipline. So I never stopped, in spite of my necessary experience, I disciplined the body until I could do no more – that wasn’t the way. I learned different Eastern techniques that everyone hailed in those times as the solution to the ills of the West. And none of them were the way. Except it was the way, for then, to find what didn’t work.

Eventually I realised meditation was what I needed, but what a smörgåsbord of tidbits there were on the plate of possibility in those days, the 60’s to 80’s. I spent years figuring it all out, trying this and that, often finding it was just a way of some bugger roping me into their religion or organisation – I knew instinctively I wouldn’t find what I needed in any organisation, religions are nothing more than a harbour for untamed violence – and eventually came to something that ‘smelled’ of the ‘real’ thing. Just a book, and in it just a few pages of nourishment, but enough to lead me on. Just another stepping stone, another straw to help keep me afloat.

So on I went, still disciplining my self as I saw fit, as necessary and even essential, in ways that no one else could know or understand, under untellable constraints – because it wouldn’t make any sense without the experience. Always growing in understanding though, and knowing what doesn’t work, that being the way – to know and understand what does and doesn’t work towards peace of mind – self mastery – self discipline, while gaining the necessary experience of this world of men so as to be fully functional and leave nothing undone. And it seemed it would never end, which was just another something of the mind not to give in to, also the way.

Then one day, during a period of relative calm, around the end of a cycle of experience, I walked into a well known bookshop in Camden Town and put out my hand, moving it along a row of books, as if to attract one book as a steel pin to a magnet and there was one that I had to have. The simplicity of it is what attracted me, apart from the content that is reflected in that simplicity and not unknown in the psyche.

It was a narrow book, about a centimetre thick, 7” long and not too wide – I was never a reader of long or thick books except for other practical reasons I won’t go into here. It was white covered and the title was unpretentious, if I remember right, Meditation – A Foundation Course by Barry Long. At least that’s what the revised edition is called now, with a different cover. And no, I am not selling BL, you just cannot find a better book on meditation, unless you can simplify it yourself.

I got it home and read it from cover to cover and I couldn’t find anything out of place. My finely tuned sense of BS was not even tweaked once and I proceeded to read, absorb and practise what was in it – my way, of course, always my way. And when I was done with that Barry Long came into my life by another means; one of my dope smoking friends had an illegal (what’s that) copy of one of his tapes, The Way to Enlightenment or something like that – this must have been the mid 80’s I think.

I was in his pad in London and a number of us were lying on the floor listening to the tape and at the end when I opened my eyes I was the only one still listening, everyone else had gone elsewhere in the house, a squat. This was an extraordinary experience for me. I found someone who sounded like he knew what he was talking about, who knew everything I knew I needed to know, and with such authority, and I had to get to the bottom of it, like I did with everything else I had to do. I had to find out what this fellow, Barry Long, was selling. So I did the most extraordinary thing, for me, I booked a place at one of his multi day seminars and actually went along.

In spite of some of my experiences there, and the fact I felt like a fish out of water – know what that feels like? Can’t breathe! Or a Gecko skinned by the sliding window of words of truth? Truth? What’s that? Poor Gecko, but never mind, it was a necessary skinning, also the way. The experience of what is not the truth, in order to know what is left, is a long and painful road, and I was still very much on it.

I couldn’t fault the man, which was the most extraordinary thing, no matter how I tried – in my way – he made beautiful sense to my most discriminating ear – the left one.

Don’t laugh. :)

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I won’t go into a blow by blow account but one day at one of BL’s seminars I realised I must love woman. I was lying on the bed in a room in one of England’s Universities, Leeds I think, and as if a curtain parted in my mind I saw without doubt or distraction ‘I Must Love Woman’, simple as that. Not just any kind of loving of woman but the way Barry taught, the Tantric (Uhh! Eastern words) way, the way of self discipline. The way of giving instead of getting. The way of realising self mastery in loving a physical woman. The most difficult self discipline I had come to yet. The way of the discipline of love, a terrifying prospect to the self. Did you think love was something else? And I might change my perspective on that, perspective is fundamental to what grows from it.

The next (or so) significant event was a series of seminars that went around Europe, which I attended. My brain was fried by now with the intensifying practise of self negation I was engaged in, I felt insane (more than ever before, or could that be) and knew that everybody could see it but it didn’t matter, I had to go, and go on. Then, one night in a hostel by the water in Stockholm, I realised nothing, supposedly the highest truth, and the insanity ended, or perspective changed, for that time.

Because the way had changed, from the way of ignorance or experience to the way of stillness of mind through the realisation of the pure sensation, to the way of being, being nothing.

But I’ll tell you what, it is no big deal as it is made out to be in so-called Eastern spiritual teachings, it is only the beginning – this realisation of no-thing.

I am not going to describe the experience, I don’t care if anyone believes me or not. And it wouldn’t help.

As with anything else written on this site you either see it or you don’t. The site is a whole.

You always come to yours, it’s built in to the system of being, so don’t stress.

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No-thing, whatever that is, may be the highest truth but it is only the beginning of the realisation of love. The way a seed is the beginning of a tree that grows and branches and flowers and seeds and feeds and houses all along the way. That’s the difference between truth and love. And you know it if you can hear the ‘Steel in my words’ – Clint wasn’t it? :)

Do you get it? Living is a discipline, whether you like it or not, know it or not. It starts at birth and ends with death, and love is behind it all. The love of man and woman, for without that nothing else would be. So it is love that has to be gotten right here, nothing else. Or, get love right and everything else falls into place. Or get rid of what is not love and what have you left?

That is where my walkabout has taken me. Through the labyrinth of the cunningly distorted emotional mind to the practise of right meditation – not all meditation actually works for good – to the simple and pure sensation of the body. And for 35yrs or so it was all done alone …

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… until, when the time was right, I met a woman of love. We spent the next three years living this discipline and, as much as could be for then, love was realised, or more love was realised … Then there was another woman who lived this love with me the best we could, then another lived it with me the best she could, the best we could.

And living got a little easier. Now … we’ll see …

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There are no laurels, certificates or diplomas, applause or accolades, trophies or record books. Nobody can understand or even cares to; they are too involved in their selves, or just getting through. And I was never given much to the social so …

It’s just love of something at first, then love without the something because nothing lasts – both ways – the birthing, the living and the dying, it’s all love, and it’s all ignorance. And when all that’s done love still is, or is still.

Real love, the discipline, is ‘nothing’ to start with. And it, the nothing – to start with, is first realised alone, literally through the pure sensation of the body. And then made more real in the making of love between man and woman, the pure sensation of it.

That’s the order of things. You spend a lifetime realising it and then you die. Ha,ha!

You’ve gotta have a sense of humour. :)

Mark Berkery
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***  Barry Long is dead but you can still get his stuff from his .org site of the same name.

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