from the Introduction of the book "The Fire of the Heart"
" The Fire of the Heart is a distillation of all that I have learned about the Awakening Process up to this point in time. And, as inspired as I am by the task of sharing what I have learned, I have to begin by saying that all my explanations will inevitably fall short, because only an infinite explanation could possibly capture the mystery of Awakening. You will not find that infinite explanation in this book but if my words succeed in igniting a spark of the Infinite within you, and if that spark finds fertile ground to take root in your Heart, then my intent in writing this book will have been more than fulfilled. If you are new to meditation and the idea of Spiritual Awakening it is my hope that this book will inspire you to set sail upon the wide sunlit seas of the Great Way. And if you are well on your Way, it is my hope that The Fire of the Heart will further enrich and deepen your journey. I decided to call this book The Fire of the Heart because when I contemplate that mysterious, captivating Presence that has always been the consistent thread guiding me further and deeper, I envisage it as a Sacred Fire of purifying Heat and liberating Light. As I am sure you will appreciate as you read, The Fire of the Heart is a perfect metaphor for the purifying alchemy of the Awakening Process that I am going to share with you."
- Peter Bampton
If you resonate with the longing for True Happiness, Peace, Freedom and Fulfillment and also with the sense of positive disillusionment with the conditioned cycles of seeking that I have described, then you are ripe and ready to ignite and step into the Fire of the Heart. By Heart with a capital H, I mean the Spiritual Heart not the physical heart. That Heart is synonymous with signifiers for our True Nature such as "Consciousness", "Spirit" or "God", which I will use liberally throughout this book. So what do I mean by the Fire of the Heart? The Fire of the Heart is a longing that burns. Unlike any other desire it is a longing that is not focused on or satisfied by the material objects, relationships and activities that the world has to offer. There is something mysterious about it, something indefinable, something infinitely captivating and magnetic. It is not so much a longing for something in particular, but is rather a longing for Liberation from all that binds and limits us. In essence, it is a longing to discover, realize and release Who We Really Are.
The condition of ignorance of our True Nature is commonly referred to as the false self or "ego" in spiritual teachings. The term "ego" in a spiritual context refers to the separate, personal "I" that identifies itself solely with the individuated body-mind and its historical story. It is important to understand that the term "ego" when used in a spiritual context is different from the definition that is often utilized in Western psychology, which usually refers to the self-organizing, integrating or unifying principle in the psyche. That "functional ego" or individuated self-sense is a very necessary adaption of the whole being that needs to be in good working order for us to act and navigate in the world. In fact if this "self-organizing principle" is not yet stable in an individual then they tend to exhibit forms of extreme neurosis and erratic behavior, which makes entering onto an authentic spiritual path inadvisable and even dangerous.
Letting Everything Be As It Is
Once you feel established in a fundamental sense of ease and contentment through practicing the Breath of Life, I encourage you to gently let go of focusing on your object – the movement and sensation of the breath in this case – and allow your awareness to open and expand into meditation without an object. To do this you simply let go of focusing on anything at all, which means we relinquish the act of giving attention to anything in particular.
The Power That Knows The Way
Making it Real obviously implies that we will change in profound ways, but how does this process of Transformation occur? One of the most common questions that I get asked when I am teaching is, "How am I going to change if I just let everything be as it is?" People worry that if they allow themselves to let go at the deepest levels of their being then they are going to become completely passive and they will therefore not be motivated to change themselves or make any significant contribution to the betterment of the world. I always respond by saying something like, "Don't worry you will not become an enlightened vegetable! Only when you are willing to let everything be as it is are you truly available for real change."
Resting in simple, clear, ever-present Consciousness, letting go of all differentiating and interpretative activity of mind, we directly perceive that all the forms that are appearing are vibratory modifications of that Consciousness that we are already are, including all the apparently solid things that we presume to be objective to us. The French mystic and visionary, Teilhard de Chardin, captured this Revelation beautifully when he wrote, "Matter is Spirit moving slowly enough to be seen."
As we merge into the deepening intuition and understanding of "not one, not two", we begin to profoundly see and feel that the world is not merely physical in nature, but is in fact psychophysical. Matter still appears to be solid and tangible, a shifting kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and textures, continues to assail us, but now we no longer experience our individuality as a separate, skin-encapsulated island of perception and knowledge standing over and against the appearance of the world. We no longer fundamentally feel ourselves to be a distinct and dissociated experiencer having a procession of experiences. Rather we experience ourselves to be an open-ended dynamic organ of Consciousness, in a creative dance with the cosmos, and as we dance with the cosmos, the cosmos dances with us. Thus, it becomes obvious that the flow of the life of our individual body-mind is not determined by some otherworldly celestial influence or deity, and nor it is determined by vague notions of fate and fortune. Rather we intuitively recognize that we draw into experience the events and relationships that are consistent with our inner nature, and that they are, therefore, the events and relationships that we need to learn and to grow.