Ripening Fruit

From: A Gradual Awakening

By Stephen Levine

As we begin to awaken, we see within us something opening
like a flower. We notice that something is displacing our image
of how things are. We discover we’re not so bent on always
knowing who we are. It’s the experience that seems to matter
most, the being, that we find of value. It seems as we let go of
possessing experience and just let experience unfold, the flower
opens more and more, the heart opens more and more. And we
somehow feel that everything will be all right that things are
working out just as they are supposed to. It’s painful sometimes,
it’s ecstatic sometimes; but somehow it’s always perfect. As we
penetrate deeper and deeper, it is evident that it is the clarity
of the seeing that nurtures our opening, while the object observed
matters little.

We can’t imagine how we ever could have missed seeing the perfection
in the first place, or how we could ever lose it again. How could we
ever again be blind to the simple, easy, natural, perfect way things are?
Experience is simply experience itself. And if looking into that flower
we see a moment of greed or selfishness or fear, we see it within the
context of that perfection, within that clarity, and it’s like another petal
in the flower. We see that it’s all natural. Our selfishness doesn’t make
us feel separate. We see how naturally we’re selfish, but there’s no
self-condemnation. We see it as just how it is. Perfect. No need to be
separate because of it. Full of self-forgiveness, full of letting go, full of
understanding. It is there, but it’s not us. It’s just more stuff. There’s
room in us for all of it.

So at last we are becoming who we always wanted to be, free of much
of the guarded self-imagery and neediness that caused so much discomfort
in the past. But we see that even this “wonderful me” must be let go of.
The being we have become is still separate, though healthier. There’s still
that subtle “someone” experiencing it all and wanting to keep it opening.
There’s someone who hasn’t altogether merged, hasn’t disappeared; still
someone looking at the perfection of things. It’s then we realize that the
flower must die for the fruit to be born.

We recognize that the flower exists on just a subtler level of mind, and
that perfection, too, is a concept of how things are and can become a
subtle separation which allows for “someone” to watch the perfection
of it all. We see that we must let the flower be so it may fall away and
leave the fruit.

There is no description possible of the fruit because no matter how we try
to describe it, we’re still describing the flower. The fruit doesn’t exist in
mind, in language. Mind gives form to the flower, but clinging to form and
mind must be relinquished for the fruit to be revealed, for our original face
to come forth.

This fruit, fully ripened in beings like Christ and Buddha, has no seeds,
nothing to be reborn, no desires to create karma, no thirst for satisfaction.
This fruit does not perish, but remains as an offering for all who come after.

More from Stephen Levine

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Jesus

Cat Stevens

They used to call him Jesus
Oh long time ago
They’re still calling him Jesus
Don’t you know
They crossed the wood and hanged him
Oh long time ago
They still misunderstand him
Those who don’t know
And in the evening his love will lead the blind
In every secret corner there in your mind

They called him Gautama Buddha
Oh long time ago
He turned the world to order
Don’t you know
He used to sit knowing
Oh long time ago
Where you and me were going
And in the evening his love will lead the blind

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