Photo of J'aime ona Pangaia

Talk Doesn’t Cook The Rice

by J'aime ona Pangaia
Copyright 2014

Talking about psycho-spiritual matters and actively engaging in psycho-spiritual practice come from two different kinds of inner voices. One is intellectual, the other, practical. Each in their own way and time can be helpful.
How do you cook rice? Here’s one method. Put one cup of rinsed rice in two cups of water, turn on the heat, slow boil until the water level is just below the top of the rice, turn the heat off, cover and let the remaining water be absorbed over the next 10 -15 minutes. Serve.
Now you have information, instructions. But do you have cooked rice? No. Talking doesn’t cook the rice. Understanding how rice is cooked, doesn't cook the rice. We have to actually do the activity of cooking the rice. Only then do we have the direct experience of cooked rice.
How do we develop the capacity for an aware ego process? There are many ideas that can describe both the territory (selves, consciousness, energy, ego, compassionate awareness) and methods. But does that talk lead to self awareness, ’self’ acceptance or the energetic dis-identification from selves? No. We still have only ideas - talk, not the experience of an aware ego process. The aware ego process is a direct experience; it isn’t an idea, it isn’t a new and improved self. Words and ideas point. They can also misdirect, if they are not based on actual experience. To use another metaphor, no matter how technical or poetic you are at describing a rose - it’s color, it’s form, its scent, its beauty, you only have fancy or beautifully impressive words. You still don’t have a rose.
If we stay within the bounds of talk, we may feel knowledgeable and for some, knowledge of ideas is a way to feel important (“Look at how smart or wise I am!”), or safe (“Confusion is scary or painful.”) However, we have limited knowledge at best, since our ‘knowledge’ is based on a limited understanding of information and ideas, not on experience. We delude ourselves to believe that information leads to direct experience. We delude ourselves if we think that talking about our ideas of consciousness process IS consciousness process.
Talk or thinking ideas can point in a direction. It can create a kind of ‘map’ that can inspire us to enter into the experience. And having a map of the territory can be quite helpful for orienting ourselves to practice. However, the map is not the actual territory, it’s a concept. Concepts can certainly help, but not if we talk about the map and believe that talking/ thinking about the map is the transformative, alchemical ‘cooking.’ Practical experience, in the case of Voice Dialogue, getting facilitated, engaging in dream process, feeling into and separating from bonding patterns, confirms, improves and/or expands any knowledge or thoughts that we hold. Practical experience will also correct ideas that were misunderstood. The one who ‘understands’ information before direct experience is different from the one who understands information after direct experience. Same words, different understanding. Initially, ideas help give us a provisional understanding of experience and experience gives us a clearer understanding of the ideas. In the end, clear understanding of ideas is not the goal, ‘cooked rice,’ transformative experience is the goal.
This holds true for spiritual paths in general and other forms of practice. Talk, our thoughts, are no substitute for cooking the rice (our direct process). Telling ourselves to love and accept ourselves is just words, not the process. Telling ourselves or each other not to judge is just words that sound good or spiritual, but words and ideas are not the experience. Engaging in the actual energetic experience of separating from selves is what ‘cooks the rice (our process).’ Describing meditation doesn’t give the experience of meditation. Describing prayer, even the words of a prayer, isn’t the same as the energetic feeling / action of prayer.
By themselves, talking and thinking about the aware ego process, bonding patterns, etc, does not activate the aware ego process, nor do they transform soul. Cultivate the words you speak from what emerges of your direct experience. Listen to the words of those who actively engage in the experience they speak of. Cook your rice, otherwise, you eat words.