Sunday, 27 December 2009
It doesn't matter what you read, it is the reading that is this. Thoughts are much maligned in the search for enlightenment. Yet thoughts are this too; they cannot take you down the wrong path; there is no wrong path. It doesn't matter at all what is happening, how it is interpreted (or not) and what feelings come up about it all. Life is here, always. It doesn't matter what form it is taking, or appears to take. Life is life. Whatever arises is the same thing, in a different guise. Whatever arises is equally valid. And the mind will have a heyday interpreting, judging, comparing, and ferreting out relative truth and worth at every apparent new happening. But that interpretation, judgment, comparison and relativity are simply what is arising. The thoughts and feelings seem to come and go. They might be anything. They are of no importance, and they can seem fun and stimulating, or miserable and destructive. Whatever they may be, they are not what you are.
Trying too hard and desperate frustration may be the best labels for some thoughts and feelings that arise. Relaxing can come up too. Realising that the thing that wants death of the ego is the ego itself, and the ego has lots of problems with this, can rise to compassion, which can seem to ease the whole process (that isn't really happening at all). There is no prize that awaits; nothing can await; everything, infinity, eternity, and boundlessness are already the case. And if boundlessness is not obvious, then exploring the microcosm of life might reveal it, at last, to be a microcosm. Perhaps when "you" are least expecting it.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
There are a lot of pointers out there for those who seek enlightenment.
Some of them are along the lines of "there is nothing you can do to awaken. Anything that is done, is done by the ego, and the ego can't awaken; awakening is the death of the ego. So no matter how much you meditate or self-inquire, those actions of meditation or self-inquiry will only reinforce the ego's existence and importance. So do nothing. Or maybe go to a satsang or have a one-to-one talk with a teacher that resonates with you, where the present energy might make the obvious more obvious."
Others go something like: "You are the awareness that everything arises in. You Are That. Start with that; accept it fully. Investigate that fact of I Am. I Am is the only fact that cannot be deconstructed or denied. There is only I Am. I Am is not limited in any way. It is the present awareness that is infinite and boundless, the light that makes what arises possible. Try to deconstruct I Am and you will see that you are THAT."
Fans of the first pointers probably hope that the hopelessness of the message might cause the seeker to give up, and thus stop identifying with being a seeker, which makes awakening more of a possibility.
Fans of the second pointers are more direct, and encourage the seeker to deconstruct everything except the very basic fact of existence, thus freeing the mind of the many distractions and tangents it is liable to go on, all of which are decried as spiritual bullshit, although, if you're not a seeker, are often interesting blueprints of how the ego can conduct itself in the story in time that seems to unfold.
Both point to the same thing. There is always a danger of revering the pointer, or the one who points; it's the old "finger pointing at the moon" analogy, where the finger (or the owner of the finger) is worshipped, until the moon itself is seen, and sometimes the finger (or its owner) is so scintillating that the moon is never looked at.
All of these pointers are called pointers because they can never be what they are pointing to. All pointers are concepts. What is pointed to is present awareness, something that is possessed of "everyone" all the "time", even if that "time" is taken up with a lot of pondering and living in your head. No matter what seems to be going on, present awareness is always the case, whether we are poking it with a mind-stick or not.
If no pointers seem to work, and seeking has become an addiction, and starts to interfere with relationships and life, and truly is making the unfolding story a "worse" one, there is perhaps a practical suggestion that has nothing to do with non-duality or present awareness or enlightenment or whatever we call it during the holiday season.
Your mind can perhaps just accept enlightenment, or however you want to put it and describe it, on a conceptual level, which is after all the mind’s only level. It can say, “OK. I am the awareness that everything arises in. All this really solid-seeming appearance, I understand that it’s illusory, just so much energy, just so many electrical mind-interpretations, from a mind in a brain that is comprised of atoms that contain nothing. I fully understand that this is all meaningless, and that it’s just nothing, wanting to be something; life wanting to be. I completely accept that this is my true nature, that what I truly am is not knowable, and the day-to-day life I seem to lead is not lead by me, nor does it exist in time, and that feeling of being me is actually a big ME, common to everything and everyone, with different apparent content. All that stuff I’ve read and discussed, I know this to be true, true in an absolute sense, even if I can’t get around the need to understand what is ineffable.”
And then, just move on. Live your life with all your apparent tools. Stop identifying with being a seeker, because you know there’s no such thing…you are awareness, and you accept that. In the story of time that the mind will always facilitate for you, the “ah ha” thing, which you know is probably not anything different from what you already experience, will likely come…and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter, because you’re living your life in the best way you can, free from any notions that it will all be “better” “after” enlightenment because your poor, belaboured mind now accepts that everything you need – all of eternity and infinity – is already always the case.
This seems to work for a lot of frustrated seekers. And more importantly, you may find that the miracle of your family, the excitement and risk of engaging with the world, the world challenges you read about and discuss with your friends, the living you make, and you own sweet quirks, strengths and foibles will become beautifully intense and satisfying as you are more present for your life. You are already the passion that makes life possible. Perhaps you will be freer to BE that passion, rather than just noting it and poking it with your mind-stick.
These are more meaningless concepts, but fun and hopefully useful, if usefulness is the goal...and I'm not sure it is. But compassion arises, and these words are written, in the spirit of taking risks and engaging with the world in its "online community" guise.
Much love from one nonexistent ego to many apparent others!
Sunday, 13 December 2009
The most uncomfortable, tragic event can unfold into wisdom. The most futile, unprofitable enterprise is a journey of revelation. Some games may be more enjoyed than others, but each game is the expression of perfection, the reflection of that which longs to see itself, which is that longing and nothing more. The frustrated longing of the seeker is the sweetest, most apropos feeling, the clearest reflection of life's yearning to be. How strange and paradoxical that we cannot see what we are, when what we are is all we are.
We are not steeped in enlightenment; there is no enlightenment; there is only this, full stop, here now. Whichever teacher you are drawn to, listen. Whatever method you apply, delight in it. Whatever it seems you are doing, you are awareness, and everything you see, think, hear, touch, smell, feel and do, is arising in what you are, no matter what that is, no matter how to the point or not. You cannot run away from what you are. And if, by some accident, the illusion of reality is seen through, all those ups and downs and tragedies and joys can be savoured without the defenses of the ego in the way; but if all you seem to be is a bundle of defenses, savour them as well, for they are no less a perfect expression of being than anything else.
Thursday, 10 December 2009
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
So why do so many feel it as such a horrible thing? Probably because the reflection of the infinite - what we know as day to day life - has taken on the identity of Totality, and as each day to day story of a life comes to an end, we can't take the thought of not existing in what we believe is the only way. Fear of death, in other words. The small self loves to exist - it doesn't want to not exist. It's very understandable.
The possible "good" thing is - the reflection is no less "one" than the indefinable essence, awareness, that it reflects. Splitting it into two - awareness and reflection - is a head's up that the mind is involved, splitting away (as is its job). Take any concept with a massive grain of salt, no matter how brilliant, or simple, or direct, or seemingly "The Truth". When we just get on with it, be it, do it, think whatever we think without picking it to bits - and actually there's nothing wrong with picking it to bits - life is more smoothly lived, with less apparent suffering. And suffering itself is part of the appearance as well. Whatever it is that seems to be happening, it happening just as it must. If the small self can somehow let go of needing to be in charge of it, it can be much more efficient...but it doesn't need to be "more efficient". It only needs to be exactly as it is, or as it seems.
So many people want to train themselves to see what's right in front of their noses, and, in fact, is their nose, and the seeing of it. They are tortured by their thoughts. Well...remember that what we're calling "themselves" is probably the ego, suffering from a rather grandiose case of mistaken identity. There can certainly arise a story of the ego doing its best to train itself to see thoughts as objects, and the objects are not what you are etc., but maybe it's an easier story to just ignore those pesky thoughts. "My" thoughts can do what they like - doesn't bother me a bit. They're not "my" thoughts. They're just thoughts. Awareness is, no matter what. One way of calming down the hyper mind (that is the tool of duality) is to think of your thoughts as oneness (awareness), "thought-ing". Again, whatever thoughts come up, or seem to, are what thoughts must come up. Nothing "wrong" with any of them.
People seem to make a big deal of the story of the "awakening moment" - it's something solid the ego can hold on to and wait for, deflecting its death for "another time". Well, just remember that "what happened for me" is just another nothingness, made apparently "real", and exists only as memory NOW. It's always now o'clock. My fevered (and tolerated) brain tends to put a story to it along the lines of "I realised what I had been looking for all this time was my life, just exactly as it is." There seemed to be a "shift" but not much of one. The thing that seemed to die was the need for whatever was happening to be anything else than exactly what it was. And what it was, and is, is just life toddling along as it always has, unresisted. Very, very, very, very simple! The mind will complicate it; the mind can try explain the mystery of life in any of a billion billion ways. I don't think awareness gives a flying fart whether awakening happens or not. It's just more dust in the wind, a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing, but a hell of a lot of fun, and to be relished.
A good friend of mine (Mike over at http://thepeacefulself.com) says that the ego is comprised entirely of fear. That definitely strikes a chord. Perhaps this is a maxim: Anything you don't want, don't fight it. Go with it. Feel the fear. Actually, you don't have to do a thing...you just don't know it "yet"! And there is no yet. Awareness isn't hanging around, getting more aware while your thoughts fool around with trying to figure all this out. You are infinite, eternal, whole, complete and perfect NOW. There is only now. Full stop. And whatever it is you're looking for, it's not what you imagine it to be...boxing it in will keep it ever elusive...and paradoxically, boxing it in and trying to figure it all out is just perfect too. You're doing it. You've done it. You're here, even if "here" is doubts and pain and suffering and financial instability and bereavement. This. Is. It.
Monday, 30 November 2009
To Counterfeit Dying, When A Man There By Liveth, Is To Be No Counterfeit, But The True And Perfect Image of Life Indeed.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
There are objections to the pointer "suffering is oneness, too." There are volumes devoted to relieving suffering. There are skills taught and techniques suggested, all for the purpose of delivering the sufferer from that resistance. Resistance itself is said to be undesirable. Resistance, and the inevitable suffering it creates, are the fearful ego's reaction to what threatens it, its existence, and its identity as the most important thing in the world. The point of all this teaching of Advaita and nonduality is, supposedly, to release us from the bondage of self, of ego. Yet the bondage of ego is indisputably part of it all, this Life. Duality needs opposites, subject and object, for oneness to apprehend itself. The end of the search is the realisation that all is oneness, that we are pure awareness, nothing more or less, and the fragile ego construct is seen as the small and unimportant thing it is, unburdened by the mistaken identity of All. The appearance is not what you are, it is often stated. The mirror of manifest reality is not what it reflects. What you are is mind-boggling, untranslatable, boundless Life. The appearance can be seen as the illusory thing it is, despite its tenacious solidity. And, can be seen that there was only a veil hiding this thing from itself; that reality has been itself all along.
Saturday, 21 November 2009
I can't know what to seek if I don't know what it is I'm seeking in the first place.
Whatever form the mind projects onto seeking, making it an object or objective, what always is sought is home; what is sought is whatever is missing. Whatever is missing is often given a convenient name, like "happiness" or "security" or "truth". But what is sought is always this: to be an integral part of creation, rather than a lonely, separate, fearful, boxed-in, limited prisoner of ourselves.
If I'm sad, I seek happiness. It's easy to take the thing that needs to be changed, figure out its opposite, and then do what you have to do to get it. But I'm not sad anymore; I just want more. There is something more and I can't get away from it. To tell you the truth, I can't define what it is that makes me want more. If I can't define that then I have no idea what to look for.
That inchoate (unspecific) longing is simply the desire to belong, to come home, to no longer be a separate person.
What is enlightenment?
The realisation that everything is awareness, made manifest for the mere joy of it. There is only awareness, oneness, one unified whole; the appearance and ego are just here so that awareness can apprehend itself.
What do I really want?
To feel that there is nothing missing.
I seek enlightenment, yet I really don't have any idea what that is. What I am really looking for the thing most important to me more than anything else, is inner peace. For some reason I got the idea that enlightenment is a sense of deep and abiding peace. But does it really matter if I am "enlightened" As long as I have the peace I want that's all that matters, right?
"Enlightenment" doesn't guarantee "inner peace" because turmoil is a part of Everything too. However if the ego isn't taken seriously by itself anymore, many of the reasons for turmoil are moot, because the ego-structure doesn't have to bear its remarkable case of mistaken identity anymore; it doesn't have that huge burden of being All.
And it doesn't matter if you are enlightened. In fact, what you probably know as you - the ego structure - can't be enlightened. Enlightenment is seeing through the ego. And nothing matters; there is no meaning; the appearance, reality manifest, is play. Simply play. Meaningless play, where every apparent manifestation is a miraculous feat of existence.
Now that I know what I most desire, I'm still wondering what I am actually looking for. What is the opposite of this vague "wanting more"? What is enlightenment?
Put another way, the opposite of "wanting more" is seeing that whatever is, is enough...more than enough...whole and complete, just as it is, whatever it is.
Is it abiding inner peace?
It is simply seeing what is, and there is nothing that finds it wanting.
Is it detachment?
It is direct presence, without taking the machinations of the mind, thoughts, and ego-concerns too seriously. You are always in direct presence of absolute reality; in fact, you are absolute reality. Perhaps more intense than detached, although detachment can come up just like everything else.
Is it Oneness with All?
You are already Oneness with All. In fact, you are All.
Knowing oneself to be God?
Maybe God is a difficult concept, with a lot of baggage. Perhaps knowing yourself to be the whole Universe, both creator and creation, is a slightly better way of putting it.
Is there a point to seeking?
Not exactly. There is no point to anything, other than its intrinsic value in simple existence.
The only reason we seek for anything in the first place is because we think it will get us somewhere. It's completely the Ego!
The ego is just doing its job. The ego might like to grab hold of Totality and keep it, but Totality is too much for it.
The ego says "I need to feel better and this enlightenment stuff will make me feel better."
Maybe the ego can say "Ya know, I can bear not feeling better. Not feeling better is just fine." And with that, perhaps there is acceptance, and letting go...the ego can perhaps let go of itself. And the ego can also go right ahead and do its job, negotiating through the convenience of time and its story. The story might change to something "better", or it might not. But a full, whole and complete human existence is certainly always available. The "bad stuff" is seen perhaps not as something to be avoided, and not exactly enjoyed...but appreciated, even relished. And certainly, there can be a lot less fear.
I get fed up with the Advaita stuff.
It is frustrating, the futility of Oneness not being able to see itself because it already is Itself. But what's wrong with frustration?
So what is the question?
Maybe the question is: why do I have to feel "better"?
This. Is. It.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Liberation isn't about being more than what you are; it is recognising that what you are, right now, is already free. Enlightenment isn't something you can claim, attain, or take comfort in; it is seeing there was never a limited, separate, sweetly human creature in the first place. Awareness is this, just this, and whatever this seems to be is you, created by you, for your delight. It can be seen. So while you self-inquire, sit in silence, be with stillness, stop thought, meditate, talk with others, agonise over ever being enlightened, make your breakfast, argue with your boyfriend, write tomes about how inadequate life is, feel frustrated, and lament the woes of the world - while you do whatever it is that is done - oneness isn't hanging around, getting any "one-er". The dance of life is danced, and you are along for the ride, the rider, the ridden, and the maker of the ride itself, always. Not tomorrow, or after you've read the next book, or sometime in some nonexistent future. Now. It has to be now. There is only ever now.
My interview is up on conscious.tv, but seeing that won't help either!
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Yet there is nothing wrong with any of this. Oneness is, whether the "me" drops away or not; whether there are "glimpses", and the small self seems to return, or not. Comfort is not the goal - there is no goal - not even enlightenment. But maybe it's a comfort to realise that this is, whether it is seen, or not, by no one. There are no goals, for goals need time, and there is no time; time is a convenience, just as the separate individual is. Oneness is, no matter what. Giving up may seem to happen. Or it may not. There is nothing to do but what is done. And if what is done is seeking, and what is felt is longing, and what is experienced is suffering, perhaps it is a comfort to know that even separation is oneness, in a particularly tricky guise. And if you're hopelessly separate, suffering and alone, perhaps it's an idea to treat yourself as you would some other separate-but-not individual you found to be suffering; that is, with compassion. Perhaps, too, there is comfort in the fact that there is no need to suffer and wait; it's not gonna get any more "one" than it is right here, and right now.
Friday, 6 November 2009
Why even talk about this? Concepts about enlightenment are fruitless, and can never be it. Why not spend time eradicating poverty? Last night I heard a comedian end his act by saying "If we [America] used all the trillions of dollars spent on weapons to eradicate poverty - which it would do, many, many times over - we could explore space together as a unified world". Well, in spite of the massive logistical social/national problems with such a task, and the fact he left out disease, he has a point. What I and so many write about, whether they emphasize there is no utopia but this or not, there seems to be a real lack of putting value on the story of life, and making that story a more compassionate one. It's an illusion, we say; you have no choice in anything you do. Yet seeing reality clearly brings with it - or can - a certain lack of fear, a loss of ego-concerns. The apparent actions of one's life can usually change to something "better", when we are not in the way, boxing our delicately constructed ego into a tight, protected corner, or lashing out in fear-driven anger against apparent others who threaten us. This is not a philosophy of life; it is merely seeing through the illusion.
"There is ONLY seeing-knowing. The expression is NOT it – the expression is like a reflection in the mirror. The reflection is never what is reflected and there is a SEEMING distance between these APPARENT two and YET they are actually One." -Gilbert Schultz
Gilbert's pointer to pure awareness - or seeing-knowing, beingness, or whatever we call it on Fridays - can be confusing, when in one breath the writer says there is only seeing-knowing and the the appearance is not seeing-knowing, yet in the next breath says that the appearance is, indeed, oneness. It's the kind of paradox the mind hates - the mind can't stand mutually exclusive yet co-existing concepts. They are, after all, just concepts. You can pay attention to the machinations of life - the ins and outs of the expression - pay attention to the apparent causes and effects - or there can just be paying attention. Thought, it is often said in these blogs and books about enlightenment, is overvalued; too much importance is placed on it, it is said. Boundless, infinite, eternal, timeless awareness is before thought; without thought. Thoughts, and the ego-structure they create and reinforce, are the problem; or perhaps put more mildly, the difficulty.
Well, maybe so. But it seems to me we have the perfect mechanism to explore, act, ponder and emote right here, staring us in the face; it is the face. We are boundless, and not limited; yet any apparent limitations of manifested life are the perfect playground for any and all actions. So if a strong urge to eradicate poverty comes up, volunteer. If not, don't. Without embracing the ego-fears of worthlessness, the energy for action is available and the freedom can be intense. However, the danger of trying to describe any supposed benefits of enlightenment is that the ego will desperately cling onto the idea of a "better" life. Life doesn't have to be orchestrated by a small self, just seemingly executed by it; All-ness takes care of it, opening up the story in ways the ego could never have imagined. And if the small self seems indelible, the playground is still here, oneness is, and many possibilities are always ripe. If there is a point to awakening, and there isn't for the ego, it is the intrinsic value of liberation itself. But don't take my word for it, or any word. It is everything you are, seem to be, thought or no thought; this, just as exactly as it is. See it "for yourself"; just see it; it is simplicity itself; it is everything, now, here, this.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
So whatever comes to be
Will melt into all that was,
This, no matter what life does.
Here I am, and here I stay
I am everything today.
I am time, and I am space,
Every deed, and every place
Every when is when I am
I am lion, I am lamb
I am anger, I am peace
I will never ever cease.
I, the only thing that's real,
That can harm, and that can heal,
I, the only thing that lasts,
No more futures, no more pasts.
I am what has always been.
I am sainthood, I am sin.
I am everything I see.
I am what it is to be.
All that happens, that is me
All love and antipathy.
I cannot reject myself;
Take me from the dusty shelf.
Everything - yes, that is me.
I am all, totality
I am me, and I am you.
This, no matter what I do.
S. Foxton 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Friday, 23 October 2009
I was asked if I felt I possessed personal power, and if I, for example, blessed an airplane as I boarded. No, if I go on an airplane I don't bless it or anything. I don't know about that kind of stuff, messing with energy, etc. With my luck, I'd get the blessing just a li-i-i-tle bit wrong and the whole thing would go down in flames!
I was asked: Do we teach what we need to learn? Well, if you're just talking about day-to-day life unfolding, it seems to me that there are a lot of mirrors and clues about lessons to be learned in every person we meet, or reaction/response we have. I teach my kids "pick up your disgusting dirty socks" so I better be darn sure I pick up my own dirty socks. The dirty socks on the floor offend me; what does that say about me? It says that I better yell a bit more loudly and persistently at the kids - and husband for that matter - until I have bullied and nagged them into picking up their horrible, crusty socks.
I was asked: Do I attempt to control anything in my life? That last answer takes care of that question: I attempt to control my family's behaviour with floors, and socks.
The personal power I possess is minimal. Although I try to use my power over the family's sock habits, through manipulation and aggression, they largely ignore me. Maybe I should chant some stuff and use some hoo-do, or cast a circle and call up the Goddess and the Great Horned God, but even a whole platoon of elemental spirits could easily be ignored by a child on level 10 of Fallout 3.
I don't really goal-set. Years ago I read "Creative Visualisation" by Shakti Gawain, but it was a bust. It was too much like telling the Universe what I thought was good for me. Now it seems that goals come up, writing the blog for instance, or writing a book which I've just done, but the difference seems to be I'm not agonising over them or trying to find my "true purpose" or needing them to validate or define me. I am defined, and undefined. It seems much more fluid and easier now. The less I'm involved - meaning ego-fears or concerns - the better it goes, whatever it is. Nonduality just means that ego-stuff comes up, due to long conditioning of the mind/body thingy, but doesn't really stick around; there's not much for it to hook onto. It also isn't taken very seriously, by, most definitely, no one.
I was asked: How do I raise my children? Long ago (or so it seems) my husband and I started socialising them along the lines of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". So if they do something "wrong" within this framework, a belief system like any other, I just remind them about being nice to others, and remembering that we're all worthy, and things along those lines. It seems to cover most occurrences so far. I remind them of how marvelous they are a lot, say "I love you" constantly and hug them to the point of them saying "get off me Mum!". That encapsulates my child rearing philosophy. I guess I lead by example: my observable behaviour reflects being very patient with myself, and not too hard on my own humanity, and with every apparent other person I encounter, which seems incredibly easy "these days". Mostly, I muddle along as best I can like 99.9% of humanity.
About choice - there is the appearance of choice in day-to-day life, of course, but life is illusory, it's just energy arranged very interestingly, and anything chosen is the same thing - oneness - in yet another fascinating guise.
I don't think there's destiny, because destiny implies time - future - and there is no time, just this, this now, this ever changing now. There can be an unfolding story that appears to validate the idea of destiny, but that yet again is just yet another beautiful and fascinating expression of oneness.
Ambitions come up, just like goals, and are intrinsically fulfilling - that seems the closest way to put it.
Instinct and intuition seem to be more part of the story these days. My poor, beleaguered mind has been let off the hook, by itself, by nothing.
All words fall together to reflect some system of belief, and are always concepts. The real challenge with describing direct, unfettered presence is that it's not a concept, or a feeling, or a state. It encompasses all belief systems, and negates them, and validates them, and is them all, and is none of them. Very tricky.
Oneness is always everything, always already the case even if your mind is in the throes of frantic seeking. Whatever you're doing is the perfect expression, the perfect invitation, as Tony Parsons puts it. There is no utopia but this. There will always be those who work for peace, love and a better world, and those who oppose all that, due probably to separation and fear. It seems it is possible to fall in love with it all. Who falls in love? Love falls in love with itself, I guess.
If I have a message - and I don't - it would be that you, whomever you think you are, however you seem to perceive reality, are beautiful, whole, complete and perfect just as you are. Your ego is beautiful, and the awareness that is everything is beautiful, and you are that awareness, looking lovingly at itself. Reality may be a fragile illusion, but it is a gorgeous, complex, fascinating, engrossing, fulfilling, and fantastic illusion to be enjoyed, and reviled, and felt, and touched, and seen and heard and apprehended by its own very self, and you are that.
Writing this was fun. However, my husband kept coming in and interrupting me. Annoyance arises in awareness! But also tolerance, patience and husband-handling skills. Whatever I'm doing, it is just what must be done. And I'm not doing a thing. What freedom.
It lingers, hope. It lingers as much as despair does. The story of hope for a better life and a better world, that the world's story will improve along the lines of less (or no) fear-driven actions and more (or totally) compassion-based actions lingers, even with those who supposedly have no stake in the world's story. The mind needs the story; the personality needs a goal. Very few see this world as utopia. If they do, they are dismissed as deluded or blinkered, or as coming from a place of apathy and privilege. For all of mankind's history - the story of humanity - there has been strife and peace, suffering and redemption. Life, the story of it, is always in balance.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Humanity - desperately working for peace, or inciting hatred. Despite the widely varying motivations and personalities, we are all the same. Strip away the belief systems of the mind, look in the mirror and know absolutely that the person seen is just the same as the Taliban member who wakes up in the morning, looks into his bit of mirrored glass and reaches for his turban. That sense of self, of I Exist, of I Am, that seems so singular and special and ours - that consciousness is shared. And simply that is what these words point to. It is tempting put a lot of importance on the thoughts, the story of existence; the people who write about oneness, Advaita, consciousness, awareness, or whatever we're calling it, go to great lengths to try and devalue the mind and the thoughts, and the personality they weave, the personality so often mistaken for that shared consciousness. The story of dispelling all that is the most important story, evidently. "Why are you unhappy? Because 99.9% of everything you think, and everything you do, is for your self, and there isn't one," says Wei Wu Wei. There is a great urge to end the suffering that the misguided attribution of the story equalling the Self apparently causes. There is a lot of energy devoted to insisting that the sense of separation - the effect of this mis-attribution - is incorrect, and not clear seeing of reality. Or, the self and its personality is celebrated, and the oneness of shared consciousness is rejected as too dry and arid; the story of life is treasured, and the tasks presented by life are deeply valued. If we all see clearly our shared consciousness, say some, then we'll be a world healed, working together for a common, loving goal; we will be love in action. Or, say others, if we lose our value of the separate life, we will be passionless, and be unmoved by the plight of mankind, and unmotivated to work for peace, healing and harmony. Or perhaps, say the haters of dispassion, if we lose our personalities and passions, the world will be a dull, saccharine place, full of do-gooders with no hopeless cases to take under their wing, all happy-clappy, touchy-muchy and healy-feely. Bleagh, they say. Where is the wholeness, the interest, the variety, in that?
It is already just as it is. How it might be is speculation happening now. How it has been is memory happening now. It is, was and will be as it must be. All the suffering, war, working to end war, passion to make a positive contribution to society, present awareness uncluttered by believing the thoughts that arise, apathy, hard work -it's all here now. Those thoughts - no matter what they are - are not yours, and every single thought is a gift. Those actions - no matter how well-considered - are not your actions, and every action is an act of worship. The thoughts rejecting or embracing the concepts just read - again, not yours, no matter how involved they seem to be with your personality. There is nothing wrong, not with the most amoral acts, or the understandable resistance to those acts of immorality; nothing wrong with passionate, missionary actions to save the world, and get us all to behave compassionately. Life is, has been, and will always be everything. It is here for no reason other than itself. Those stories, seeming to unfold, are real and unreal, meaningless and meaningful; the bland, passionate, cruel and loving Utopia our separate personalities have been looking for is right here.
Saturday, 17 October 2009
And now, a bit of "my" story, which seems to unfold, but doesn't really: I love life. I love it so much, the very appreciation of it floors me. This is in contrast to a dreadful, bleak, lingering suicidal depression that lasted about a year, three years ago. In my story, I would not change that terrible time for anything; it was a privilege to be so vulnerable, and to encounter others in their most human, fragile states. And, in the story, I might not appreciate every little thing the way I seem to now without that period of suffering. But don't think "you" must have such pain to "get" this. Everything is eternity and infinity; it is, whether the mind sees it or not; and "getting" this seems largely seeing that there is no one to get it. Everything is a gift, from nothing, to itself. It is. Here. Now.
"I am in love with Life. As the mountain lake
Which receives many streams And sends forth great rivers, But holds its unknown depths, So is my love.
Calm and clear, as the mountains in the morning Is my thought, Born of love."
J. Krishnamurti, from "From Darkness to Light"
Monday, 12 October 2009
We are never alone. Even the ascetic monk on the proverbial mountain, playing out the story of hermitage and self-denial, is not alone. The drunk in those last, lost stages of active addiction, locked in a filthy room, shades drawn, is not alone, despite the overwhelming feeling of isolation. However we may run, we cannot hide; whatever form the running takes, whatever machinations the mind concocts to be anywhere, anywhen but here and now, there is no escaping this. Mike S has some great thoughts about awakening with others, and how others are necessary to mirror and thus unravel our small ego-self; read some of his concepts here. Yet there's no getting away from others, the many lamps of one light. Try and hide from all that is; it isn't possible. Whatever you do, it is God; whatever you see, it is God; whatever you are, it is God, and so is everything.
Saturday, 10 October 2009
That intense, ravenous longing, that urgent need to see reality somehow differently than what it is, is the seeker's drive. We are all seekers, in one way or another; all activity is a seeking for consciousness - this life, just as it is - or a desire to come home to pure awareness (which can be called unadorned living) without importance placed on the content of life's story. How we want this! It is desired so strongly. And, frustratingly, we are told there is nothing we can do to make it happen. It's God's will, says Ramesh Balsekar; if its meant to happen, it will, and if it's not, it won't, says Stanley Sobottka.
Yet most of the bloggers and writers and teachers that seekers ferret out seem to have the (often only implied) goal of facilitating an awakening, even if it's merely to encourage the seeker to stop seeking, or to see that the personality is not what makes the man. Traditional teachers have many methods of stripping away all Earthly desires; more modern teachers encourage seekers to simply see things as they are, thus letting awareness shine through naturally. Sometimes the only action advocated is to "drop" the personal identity.
Well, how on Earth, or very pointedly how not on Earth, does one "drop" the very thing that does the dropping?
Therein lies the frustration. There is nothing the identity can do to drop itself; anything the persona does reinforces its own existence (and misunderstanding) as the seat of being, rather than being an adjunct, or a convenience. If it's any consolation - and consolation is not necessarily the goal either - "after" this seems to happen, the personal identity just ceases to be so important, and the task at hand is tended to very directly. That inchoate, wistful, painful, often all-consuming longing for things to be somehow different - somehow better - than they are just disappears. There can still be longing, but it is more like longing for the sake of longing; all states, all actions, all feelings, thoughts, plans and goals, exist only for their own sake. But there is no apt description of unfiltered life. It is what we've always done, but have never realised it was so.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
No one is is prison. No one is at the mercy of the circumstances of life. What happens - depression, despair, recovery, redemption - is unimportant; whatever happens, happens, and lessons may be learned or not, and healing might happen - or not. What we are is beyond all that, and is all that; "all that" is here for the hell of it, and the heaven. All that happens is parable; whether it seems an epic allegory or merely notable synchronicity, it hints at the greater possibility. And that possibility is that this is enough. We are boundless, and the happenings flow around the very fact of existence - the one indisputable absolute. Call it awareness, presence or "I Am" (capitalisation optional). It is the one and only thing that cannot be deconstructed or denied.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
I suppose the only goal behind these words is to point out that everyone is complete and whole and perfect, just as they are. There is not so much the goal of inducing somehow the "ah-ha" moment, when the needs and desires of the persona are eclipsed by the realisation that their heart's desire is, in fact, in everything they touch, think, feel, see, hear, smell and taste - and it always "was". My goal, for whatever reasons of my conditioning, is to point to the beauty of what is, and the wonder that is each of us, just exactly as we are. I'm not fond of people beating themselves up for being human. I'm appalled by the destruction - both of self and of everything near - that self-loathing is the catalyst for. So I gently try to make people see how extraordinary they are, just as they are, by simply telling them this is so.
However, it's also the case that being appalled by destruction doesn't mean that it's not necessary. The other goal I seem to have is to merely describe balance: in duality, which is simply awareness taking a look at itself, there must be depression for happiness, despair for joy, destruction for creation, subject for object, war for peace. So I point out that there is always balance, and there is no utopia but this.
So, bearing all this in mind, the answer to the question "what should I do?" is: do exactly what you are doing. You can't get it wrong. If the thought comes up to join a meditation group, or embark on some austere and fruitful Eastern-based spiritual practices, by all means do so. If Byron Katie's The Work seems to beckon, please embark on that journey. If A Course In Miracles seems to fit your particular conditioning, get stuck in. However, perhaps the most helpful advice - if, indeed, there is any - is to give up. Just take the whole enlightenment search and stick it up the collective Universe's butt. Read everything, go to satsangs, get frantic with it, and then get disgusted and throw the whole thing out the Great Cosmic Window. The Buddha similarly gave up; when the mind stops its frenzied quest to annihilate itself, the obvious can shine through. No matter what you are doing, it is eternal and infinite. No matter how small you seem to be, you are eternal and infinite, too. Do everything; do nothing; it is all just as it must be.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Monday, 28 September 2009
Monday, 14 September 2009
Life, the appearance, or whatever we're calling it today, is often full of surprises. It has the most marvelous, unpredictable twists and turns. The "fruits of wisdom" often become available in life-stories of struggle, suffering and redemption. Life, just as it is presented, in its ultimate unpredictability, will often carry with it intrinsically the practices that bear the fruits of wisdom; self-questioning, clearing house, and accepting what is without needing to change it or run away from it, to name a few. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." This phrase conveys the multifariousness, the infinite possibility of what is. Even a grounded common sense informs us that we often don't know what is "good" for us, or how any particular circumstance will turn out; anything might happen. And does. Including enlightenment, or whatever we're calling it today, "happening" for a devoted traditional practitioner, or WHAMMO! It hits out of the blue to someone who was never even a spiritual seeker.
The stories unfold on the crux of a twinkling of energy; all those thoughts and feelings that string the thing together - just firing neurons, neurons composed of atomic nothingness. I know there are children and bill collectors, bosses and boyfriends, crushing guilt and enormous responsibility, or great joy and fulfillment that make the story in time seem absolutely real. But even the poor, beleaguered, overworked mind can just about grasp "no time". All there ever is, is this ever present moment; and in that - this - what is present reality for every individual - there lies the key to the mystery. There lies the secret to man's immortality; the only thing that really exists is now, here. There is no beginning or end to this. Time is a mechanism by which oneness can enjoy, or merely be aware of itself; a means by which our senses and bodies have some voice and movement, a tool so that nothingness can be something, for the mere pleasure and pain of pure existence. If the mind is seemingly not engaged, as is what can happen in meditation, perhaps timelessness is more obvious. But such quieting of the mind is not necessary. There is nothing other than wholeness, completeness, oneness, here and now, "always". There is nothing to get "in the future". This is everything, right here, right now. Do nothing, and you are what you are, which is everything. Or do whatever seems like the next correct step, the next well-pondered decision. It doesn't matter. There are no mistakes. There is room for it all. There must be; it is.