Sunday, 20 December 2009

Look What You Do, You Do It Still i' The Dark.

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!

51 comments:

Andrew said...

Right on, Suzanne. :-)

I like this bit:

> Perhaps you will be freer to BE that passion, rather than just noting it and poking it with your mind-stick.

Fernando Rozas said...

Hi, Suzanne
Creo que resumes magníficamente el sentido y la razón de ser de cada 'postura'. Y comprendo también por qué la última impacienta a tantos 'buscadores'. Pero advierto bien su valor práctico para quienes han devenido buscadores crónicos y frustrados. Además de su valor práctico, esta 'tercera' postura es maravillosamente compasiva.
(Disculpadme por recurrir al español, pero no sabría decir esto en otro idioma).
Feliz Navidad, y continúa con este bellísimo Blog
Fernando

No One In Particular said...

Hola Fernando, dice que su español perfectamente. Gracias por compartir esto conmigo en su idioma nativo!

No One In Particular said...

Hi Andrew, thanks. I like the mind-stkck thing too...I THINK it's original, but it hardly matters, because I DEFINITELY do not write this stuff!

lucyandsylviesdad said...

Hi Suzanne,
Well said...whatever that means. Here's some clunky ol' words back at 'cha..
So, I'm putting the kids to bed (Lucy 6 and Sylvie 4) last night after a "long" day, and I just about have them calmed down after a couple of books and stories told, when my mind starts drifting towards the thought of eating some delicious cold pizza (is that an oxymoron?) that awaits in the fridge.
Welp, right at that moment the cat strolls in (which he "never" does) and whips the girls up in a cat love frenzy...dang sayeth my mind, I have to delay my cold pizza eating...disappointment...how dare that cat poke my future with his "now stick"...

zafire said...

Just to wish you a bright and wonder filled Christmas experience

Christine said...

Yay! Finally, an explanation for all the differing advice given to us, "do this no don't do that." Thanks for the clarification, Suzanne.

Crazy Pianist said...

I like that. Thank you for pointing to the third, less noticeable door which is... oh wait, it did seem there were several ways out... damn must have been dreaming. you rock! even if you pretend it's not you!

tom sullivan said...

Thank you for "engaging with the world" with colorful kindness and good sense.

Brenda (betaphi) said...

I love the gentler tone your writing has taken since I first encountered your blog. And I love the fact that you're coming to America! Does that mean you'll be spending holiday time with the folks in Indiana?

No One In Particular said...

Hey Lucy and Sylvie's dad, I generally find it's the kids themselves not staying where I bloody well told them to that pokes the now-stick at my FlashForward plans!

No One In Particular said...

Hey Zafire, same to you with silver and gold decorations sprinkled on top.

No One In Particular said...

Hi Christine, I don't know if I explained anything at all...when it comes down to it, after all, it's just energy and nothing is happening. Such an interesting nothing!

No One In Particular said...

Hi Crazy, and behind door number three is...A NEW CAR!!!!!

I also roll.

No One In Particular said...

Hi Tom, all that taking apparent risks...funny how things seem to unfold when there's no one left to be validated by them.

No One In Particular said...

Hi Brenda, gentle? HAH! My apparent husband may have some differing opinions on that.

And yes, I'll be in South Bend for 10 fun-filled, not-boring-at-all days. United Skates of America in Mishawaka beckons; nothing like skating backwards, jamming to Atomic Dog!

msayers said...

:)

Great! Have a Merry Christmas, and a safe trip.

Julian said...

Thanks for this.A good post. i love the idea that 'I am the only thing that cannot be deconstructed.'

There seems many ways of seeing what you are or arn't. I don't really think of them as seeking. It is just the stream of life discovering - or creating - its own banks, like a river. Different perspectives keep arising, and, when they bring about feelings of peace, passion or love they are hard to resist. And why reject anything that feels right and good? Personally, everything i read here and elsewhere teaches me something, though i am naturally attracted to some blogs over others.

Have a happy adventure in the US. x

No One In Particular said...

Thanks Mike.

J said...

Hiya, I was getting into a discussion about the self as inner narrtive here
http://singyourownlullaby.blogspot.com/
and was prompted to ask if zen masters have an inner dialogue when reading.
As your readership is into such things I wonder if anyone can offer any insight into this, if they think it relevent?

Thomas said...

wow! what a wonderful blog entry. thanks so much suzanne. gonna save it. i'll write after i get 90 days. love from hawaii.

Brenda (betaphi) said...

Gosh, I love how that sounds. Mishawaka. I can't quit saying it now. Mishawaka. What a groovy-sounding place to be from. Happy Mishawaka!

No One In Particular said...

Hi J, having read your and Mariana's comments on the Sing Your Own Lullaby blog, I'd have to say that whether there is an inner dialog or narrative when one is reading or not, whether one is deaf or not, or whether one is a Zen master or not, makes very little difference to what we are attempting to describe here. A narrative may arise, or not. Thoughts, like anything else, are choiceless. Thoughts may quiet down, and they may be disregarded, but that's not the goal: there is no goal, other than simple existence. Having a discussion about inner dialogs is just something that can come up, not unlike a moral dilemma, a natural catastrophe, or an argument with your partner. No matter what it is that seems to be happening, you are its creator, and that you is the big You, all of consciousness, arising in awareness; no matter what the content seems to be, thoughts or feelings or actions or challenges, it is the same thing, in yet another new guise. However, quibbling and opining over such small concerns are the spice of life; the resolution of the question may come, or not, it matters not, the quest itself is intrisically fulfilling, for no one, for its own sake, and for the hell of it. Your mind is capable of so much entertaining delving into meaningless questions; relish it!

No One In Particular said...

Hi Thomas, WELL DONE!!!!!!! In early sobriety there's only two things to remember: don't drink, and go to meetings. And in the spirit of the blog, now is the best "time" of all to ignore your thoughts! Your best thinking got you here...

Please do let me know how you're getting on.

No One In Particular said...

Hi Brenda, Mishawaka was the name of a Shawnee Native American princess, Chief Elkhart's daughter, who was fought over by Grey Wolf of the Potawatami tribe and a white fur trapper named Deadshot in the early 1700's. Deadshot killed Grey Wolf, but not before Grey Wolf wounded Mishawaka with a knife. She lived, and the whole thing was so dramatic that the white people named the town after her. And the strange thing is...all that never happened! In the nonduality way, anyway; in actual fact, nothing that exciting has happened in the area since!

blogwithoutaname said...

have a great time, have you seen The Painted Veil? This illustration reminds me of the film/book.....very atmospheric.....

much love, still waiting upon earrings, L x

No One In Particular said...

Hi Lune, thanks, and hope earrings get there; I haven't seen The Painted Veil but I'm a huge Ed Norton fan - loved loved loved him in Fight Club - so I'll put it on the list to watch.

The picture is actually of a train station yard in Sri Lanka, taken when we went there in 2004. I didn't mess with the colours at all, they were that vibrant especially when compared to the surrounding mist. One of my son's classmates did the picture as part of their Celebration of Me (ironic!) collage for the year 6 yearbook last schoolyear; I thought is echoed the trees in the photo perfectly, and combined them, I think, effectively.

It remains, however, if the mind is making judgements, that I am a mediocre artist. Nothing is ever what is pictured in the nearly unlimited imagination.

Nicholas (Conscious Flex) said...

"I" remember when the body/mind over there was complaining about apparently feeling pathetic for not having comments. I am wondering if you're sick of replying to comments!? HAHAHA

No One In Particular said...

Hey Nicholas...envy you Christmas in Florida!

I love responding to comments, however, feeling pathetic can still arise in awareness!

lucyandsylviesdad said...

Indeed! How irritating it is to have my nice peaceful Advaita blog reading "now" interupted by my kids with their messy, noisy, urgent, "now"

Genju said...

Well. *I* have nothing to say. :-) I like that there is nothing I can do to attain the unattainable which leaves me free to drink my tea and watch the waves on the beach...which is so bright, brilliant that even the pelicans are glittering. Enjoy Mishawaka!

No One In Particular said...

Genju - yes, yes, yes yes yes!

Anonymous said...

Lovely, original, refreshing - just stumbled in here from Never Not Here dot Com - greetings and merry christmas from Sydney Australia

No One In Particular said...

Merry Christmas to Sydney!

Svante Odmark said...

"But compassion arises, and these words are written, in the spirit of taking risks and engaging with the world in its 'online community' guise."

Lovely put. And it seems from the increasing number of comments in your blog that the world in its online guise is responding to the outreach... Suzanne, are you sure you're not one of those teachers after all? ;)

No One In Particular said...

Shu-up Svante!

Erin Aslin said...

I can say what worked for me. The direct experience of reality-revelation that like a bolt of lightening shook me out of my dream. The ultimate knowledge of what is real were implemented into me. It was not the end of my awakening, but a beginning...but I knew the end now. To me awakening turned to be a process–a destructive, painful process, but I would never desire anything else but truth – and I prayed for the strength to stay on my path.

What led me to awakening? First of all my desire to know the truth. A genuine, sincere desire I had since I remember myself. My inner Guru - my inner voice that always guided me. My prayers. My spiritual teachers. And again, the desire for the truth and only truth – not for the awakening, not for the enlightenment, nor for the non-duality, or whatever label would apply – none for any of those, but longing for truth. Your desire, what do you want - really want - that’s all what is matter, all what is needed, and of course the courage and sincerity to go through whatever it takes – to the truth…and then you will not be alone as the teacher will come.
Hope it helps.
Happy Holidays!
Irene - Erin

No One In Particular said...

Hey Erin, thanks for the fascinating story...I love the stories...although what they are is equally unimportant and profound.

Anonymous said...

The EGO has NEVER done a damn thing.
Believing that it does anything is just a belief. There is only one animating 'force' in the WHOLE and your own true nature is THAT.
So, all concepts about not being the 'doer' are just concepts.
What animates all concepts is not limited by concepts. How could it be limited by any concept?
Are you a concept?
No one can truly explain what they are and all definitions remain as expressions of THAT ineffable presence that you ARE.

From a piece of emptiness that often has a label attached - but it keeps slipping of - the lable is 'Gilbert'.

J said...

I'll take that as a yes then :)

J said...

Or as a don't know, but you aren't a zen mster so that's maybe to be expected.

TTFN :)

Erin Aslin said...

Dear Suzanne,
thanks for the response. It’s interesting what you said - that stories are equally unimportant and profound. I would both agree and disagree. To me, the stories are unimportant only when they truly seen for what they are – just stories…dreams, until then they are important in the sense that our stories are our devices for learning, and in this world we must learn, if we want to know truth, or God, reality…whatever the label is. It’s hard to explain with words as everything in spirituality, but what I am trying to say that until one knows, really knows that his or her story is just a story, until then it’s better to learn from one’s life story, so to see himself or herself for what it really is, to observe and inquire, honestly and courageously in one’s motivations and actions, bringing them up to the surface…and then maybe to change one’s habit and actions.
With love,
Irene-Erin

No One In Particular said...

Hey J, Zen masters go to the toilet and have snacks and probably even watch Brady Bunch reruns now and again. If what their inner dialog is when they apparently do these things is an important question, perhaps the underlying question is, why on Earth do I want to know?

No One In Particular said...

Hey Anonymous Gilbert! Agreed, it all just comes up, concepts, actions etc., all just expressions of what you truly are. And those expressions, those concepts, and their definitions...fascinating, as Mr. Spock would say. Thrilling, as I would say. And a constant surprise!

No One In Particular said...

Hey Irene-Erin, however it comes up for you to define it - that's the answer!

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you would or wouldn't want to know, it's natural for humans to want to know things and figure things out.

No One In Particular said...

Hey Anonymous, wanting to know can come up along with everything else that seems to be.

Anonymous said...

after reading about all the different shades of zen experience, it's a little baffling to see that there seem to be lots of different non- dualities. Should be only one, really, but there seems to be well established variations and spiritual stages/events. After trying to see where you fit in, I give up and just appreciate what you are about, if it changes or not is matter for the future.

No One In Particular said...

Hey Anonymous, there IS only "one nonduality". Any words coming up about it, are concepts, and necessarily NOT present awareness or whatever we call it the week between Christmas and New Year. And yet, the writing of them and the reading of them are present awareness. Go figure. Or better yet, don't!

FK said...

Hey Suzanne, this was the post that prompted me to come to the un-satsang. Been a fascinating week since then. Fun to watch this story unfold. Thanks for your part in it.

No One In Particular said...

So glad you came.