You can not come to enlightenment by following the path.
In the airplane, above the clouds, there was the expanse of blue and the shining brilliance of the sun. Mind became quiet, concepts settled into their ownmostness – the always of unborn wisdom. Mind and space mingled, and the body relished the sensations of silence in union with wonder. It is in such natural spontaneous meditation that mind is refreshed and made unstained by the past. This can not be bought or sold, created or controlled.
The Sufis say, “You can not come to enlightenment by following the path, but only those who follow the path come to enlightenment.” There is great truth in this. Truth that speaks to the imagined contradiction of the contrived nature of the path and the unconditioned freedom of reality. When the body is injured and crippled it is physical therapy that can restore its natural functioning. The exercises that restore are intentional, contrived, and yet it is their action that restores naturalness and functionality. The exercises do not create the natural, they remove and repair the obstacle.
The body which is fat and lazy cannot enjoy the naturalness of walking in the high mountains. Unaturalness accustoms body and mind to unnaturalness. When this becomes habit fixed in body, feeling, and thought, then the repair of this unnaturalness itself feels unnatural, difficult, contrived.
Looking out the airplane window, there was not a single trace of disturbance in thought. In that stillness and silence, heart and body became peace, like a vast heavy mountain or the deep ocean. There was direct knowing of the sublime beyond all contradictions such as birth, death, mine, yours. A knowing that was without separation. As peace grew beyond all limit, the eyes closed and brain and body bathed in the eternity of silence. Opening the eyes again after some unknown amount of time, the hostess was standing with a drink. The sight of her caused the heart to surge with tender-hearted affection born from stillness. Even the tiniest fraction of eye meeting eye communicated this.
There are very few things that need thought. Thought restrained to its natural and appropriate functioning is a tremendous benefit. When it runs rampant across the territory of our lives attempting to compensate for suffering with strategies, then it is the very origin of suffering. In the truth of a silent still mind, feeling has only a few flavors and all of them are subtle variations of Love. From that deep rest, eyes open and body encounters world as the impulse of silent love.