Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Sometimes We Come Back.

No corner of the story of our lives is exempt from oneness, no matter how excruciating or paradoxical. No matter how much it seems that "bad things" are happening to me, they are simply happening, to no one. Even if it seems I "come back" and claim and own the suffering, it is simply suffering, and claiming, and owning. And no matter how substantial and important the circumstances of my life seem, it is a timeless burst of aliveness, oneness seeing itself. There are so many ways to be, it seems; so many solutions to the problems in the series of events that make up a life; but there is always only this, perhaps with a vivid memory, perhaps with a strong feeling, or perhaps with little of either, just an awareness of surroundings. Even captivity within a prison of self is liberation. Nothing can escape, nothing is excluded. Thoughts of self-destruction are allowed, and so is tender self-care. So no matter what level of despair may be the case, or even what order of bliss, there is nothing amiss. There never is.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Futility Arises.

When seeking drops away, there is just this, and this, believe it or not, is enough. The mind will point out that it seems a shame to do away with the importance of the story. Thoughts and feelings will arise that romanticise the indomitable nature of the human spirit. The struggle is valued, the will to survive applauded, the stories of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles thrill and inspire. Becoming and evolving also seem natural and desirable. Introspection, knowing the self, self-inquiry, spiritual depth and the wisdom borne of surrender seem the greatest personal challenge we can take on; for successful self-inquiry, ending in complete knowledge of self and then complete surrender of self, make possible the loftiest goal of all: service to humanity. We strive to drop our selfish goals and help others. We gather wisdom, become centered, clear our minds, attain clarity, see that there is no one at the center but some ancient collective consciousness, we sense our connection to each other, and we lose our need for material comfort. We work very, very hard to get to this place. Our story becomes one of peace, self-forgiveness, and compassion for all. It sounds really, really good, and gives us something worthy to do. And there's not a bloody thing wrong with any of it. But it's not liberation. Liberation is this. It has never left, nor is it more attainable through practice of any kind. You are perfect in all your neuroses and selfishness; you never have any choice, even in what choices are apparently made; whatever is, is. It is enough, it is everything, it is wholeness and it is the only constant; its appearance and quality seem to change, but wholeness always is.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

There Is No Why.

It is nearly impossible to let go of "why". For someone caught up in the story, why is the most important question of all. The wisdom of David Hasselhoff: "Don't take life too seriously." Go with the flow, some others expound, let go, accept, be. Be here now, in fact. These are hints and tips for the happy lifemaker; they make separation seem more bearable. But it doesn't matter in the slightest whether you seem to be letting go or not. Letting go might happen; what might also happen is that it is seen that there is no one to let go, and nothing to let go of. For the individual, why that person does anything is often a source of great angst. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Why do we suffer? Why do some suffer less than others? Why don't I have a better life? Why do those people have such a terrible, war-torn existence? Why am I spared such terrible circumstances? These questions only come up if there is someone things are happening to. Death of the separate person is not the death of compassion. There is nothing but compassion, or unconditional love; and this love is everything, and allows everything. The compassion is for all, not just apparent victims of injustice. The answer to "why" is: because. Life is, and that is why it is; it simply is. This cannot be known. But it can be.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Dis-ease of Separation.

There is such discomfort in living in separation. All that we label "trouble" or "cruelty" stems from it. Adulterers being stoned to death by the Taliban are the victims of such extreme separation that not only is God a separate entity, that entity is cruelly judgmental and ruthlessly sadistic. God becomes a personification of fear in a land that is continually violated by invaders and torn by civil unrest, where there is no sense of safety, and where the fundamentals of life are constantly threatened. The Taliban may be cruel, but their existence is hardly a mystery. Separate countries war with each other, defending their piece of land, or perhaps grabbing some more land, the divisions stoked by the promise of safety and the egotistical building up of each nation as "good" and the other as "bad". The mind loves a story, and war stories are popular. We sit with suspicion always, see others who merely look somewhat different or speak a bit differently as so alien that they are mainly a threat, and rarely a breath of fresh air. We dislike differences, and comfort ourselves by pointing these differences out and using them to widen the chasm between "us" and the chimerical "them". Our own children's task and duty is to become more separate, and hopefully to evolve into the most unique and different individual that ever was, with as little resemblance to the parents as possible. This kind of separation is the burden of each small piece of humanity, and is, in fact, labeled "mental health". We seem like islands, alone and isolated, apart with our little thoughts and overwhelming feelings; no one is like us, and no one could ever understand. We are at war with the world, and either try to get to know it, understand it and control it, or set up a fortress against it, engaging with it as little as we can get away with. Yet there is nothing wrong with any of this. Duality is as it must be, it is life looking at itself, but that doesn't mean it's not oneness. We are each other no matter what the colour or flavour of that seems to be. Perhaps when this is recognised there will be less apparent cruelty borne of fear, perhaps there will be more compassion, and more compassionate acts. But there is always balance, no matter how dismaying the extremes are. The balance may be more centered, but there is no guarantee. The stories may abound but this is wonderment, here it is, it never left, it is nowhere to be found; this is it.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Never Mind What Arises.

Although it doesn't matter in the slightest, maybe what arises is a bit smoother, a bit calmer, a bit evened out. The mind is at a loss, and has given up; it occupies itself with friendly conversation and Excel spreadsheets, not the meaning of life. This is the meaning of life, whatever this is, or whatever this happens to appear to be, not here, for no one, and not in time. This thing about no time is a real humdinger. What about the dinosaurs? you ask. Well, there is a story about dinosaurs, interestingly before any self-conscious beings were around, unless you're speaking to a Scientologist of course. The story is memory of things read about dinosaurs, bones of dinosaurs, paleontological data about dinosaurs. There is no time, just energy, or whatever you want to label it, so there was no time when dinosaurs existed. Not to say the creationists have the right idea either; that too, is another story, albeit a ridiculous one. You can be a scientist and get the story just as precisely correct as it can be. That is a worthy venture, but they're all worthy ventures, no matter how asinine the venture seems to be (the Scientologists, i.e.). The effort expended on debunking charlatans is as it should be, and balances out the charlatan's rantings. The outrage against anti-science by scientists and apparently sensible people balances out the delusions of creationists and their ilk. But it's all a story, a fascinating story, "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." It's very, very difficult, if not impossible, for the apparent individual to swallow this no time thingy. It's extraordinarily galling for the mind to abandon all its treasured tenets; for sensible, balanced individuals to realise that the cause that infuriates them is not exactly there, that abolishing the ignorance of others is not the answer, that it is all as it should be already. Study dinosaurs. Debunk creationists (and Scientologists - please!). Promote your worthy cause. There is no one choosing to do any of these things. The story is not the point. That is the shift of perception, of awakening, or whatever it is we want to call it on a Friday morning. Whatever arises, run with it; no one is choosing to run; it isn't what you're running with that is the point. It is the beauty of running.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

It Sings Through The Senses.

It's frightening, losing your life. Everything you ever thought was important just melts away. The complex value systems, the vehicles for outrage, the impassioned striving for a better world, all that happens to no one. What dies is what believes it is not whole. What goes is the notion that any of the morals or outrage or striving is the "why" of being; what drops away is the need for any "why". It is the seeker that dies, although seeking can still arise, but perhaps not in the context of the search for some massive existential purpose. There is still seeking, and longing, and circumstances that require apparent actions that seem opposed to this message, such as raising your children to be constructive citizens, with a drive to fulfill their potential. But who is all this happening to? When does it happen? To no one, and not in time. It is shining, singing being, speaking through the senses and thoughts and feelings, observing itself with duality, but it is only and ever being, playing the game of living. There need be no one taking it all so seriously, for what is being taken seriously is an illusion, the illusion of a separate self. What can happen, can happen unfettered by this funny idea of you. Being is a luscious thing, and when there is no one taking possession of it, boxing it in, making it a certain way according to some arcane recipe, the intensity of being is fully there, you are it, it is you. But pretending to be someone is not a choice, nor is to drop it. What wants to drop it is what is dropped. But it could drop away at any time. In fact, it often seems that when everything is at its most hopeless, and the mind despairs of ever gaining some kind of spiritual awakening, that is "when" it happens. It doesn't matter if it happens or not. Even the most separate, boxed-in individual is oneness, being boxed-in.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

This Duality Is Oneness.

There are so many non-duality books floating around now, it's all the same crap over and over, saying there is nothing to be done, by no one; nothing is wrong, nothing is right, no questions, no answers, nowhere to go and no way to get there; nobody is saying nothing to no one, there is nobody who needs to awaken because there is no one; nothing exists, despite appearances. So why write a book? The relentless and uncompromising nature of this message, such as it is, is one of hopelessness for the individual. There is no one who can make their life work; there is no world to save. So why bang on about it? Why have "satsangs" or "meetings of friends together" where there is no one present, no message to be delivered, no one to deliver it to, no agenda, and no method to impart? If we are already awake, if oneness is the case no matter whether it is seen or not, if it is already everything including the resistance to it, then why even bring it up? If it is ineffable and indescribable, not an idea or concept, not a feeling, not a state of being, as all those things are encompassed by it, why try to understand or describe it? Well, for one, that's what the mind tends to do. There's nothing wrong with it. But more importantly, because it's fun; but most significantly, because there is no choice. I am not choosing to write this tosh each day; it happens, the ideas for it simply come up in awareness, apparently, and it's just as meaningless as everything else. There is a lot of ostensible satisfaction as I seem to push the "publish" button. There is a great deal of glee as I respond, apparently, to comments. There is a lot of pleasure in the pressing of the keys and noticing the thoughts as they arise. But it wouldn't matter if these words remained unwritten, that would be perfect too. It makes no difference whether anyone seems to read them or not. It all seems to shine, to screech, to rumble, to purr, to crash. This duality is oneness, whether we notice it or not.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Sometimes Worry Arises.

There was some idea of wondering how the story would turn out this morning. Some memory of a news story last night, with scientists speculating about mirrors in space to deflect the sun's rays and reverse global warming; another memory of a friend opining recently that he feels the world's in for a fresh start, and that he wants nothing to do with the world's systems as they are, ostensibly run by greed and rampant individualism; the world, seem to say so many people, is going down the toilet. Is it now. There is often a perceived imbalance before balance is restored, but balance is the case always, no matter how difficult it is to see. Global warming, rampant consumerism, detached capitalism, and a seeming lack of compassion (which is an excess of fear) exists in a story of energy that has no real mass; we are not really invested in the story, the seeming investment is part of the story itself. The story is us, we are one, we are each other, the cosmos, and even the flies buzzing around the pile of dog poo, despite any appearances to the contrary. Stories have many types of endings. Sometimes the most profound are those that are open, where "what happens next" is left to the imagination; Gone With The Wind is a prime example. But many apparent individuals crave narrative closure. Vast industries have been fed by the need for a happy ending. It is fun and fascinating, or worrying and alarming, to see the story unfold. But it doesn't matter how it seems to end; it doesn't end. It has never begun. There is no story, for there must be time for a story to unfold in, and there is no time. There must be people for the story to happen to, and there is no one. There is nothing happening, no journey, no travelers. This is what is. It is indescribably whole and rich and glorious. And it is all there is, much more than any story, no matter how sweeping or full of suffering the story is.

Monday, 23 March 2009

If It Were Different, We Would Not Be Here. But We're Not.

There are lots of writings and thoughts and conclusions floating around...out there...somewhere... along the lines of: science and spirituality, at last, concur. In the realm of particle physics, and cosmology, astronomy, the principle of fuzzy logic, etc. etc., the nature of reality is questioned, and the assumptions fall apart: something labeled "consciousness" usually comes up, often as the only thing that exists, and perhaps that's what we've been calling God all this time. This is a necessarily vague and hapless nutshell, but suffice it to say that the solid nature of reality is often questioned and abandoned. It's fascinating. More importantly, it's fun. The open secret, to steal the phraseology of both Thomas Carlyle and Tony Parsons, is unavailable to the mind, no matter how beautifully clever the mind, or how amazingly expanded the mind, or how apparently close to the secret the mind seems to get. The open secret...it's everything, and nothing, rolled up into one, with shining beingness drizzled on top, and overwhelming absolute completeness sprinkled on for good measure. It is impossible to describe, frustratingly so, and so blindingly pervasively obvious that once it's seen, you'll kick yourself for not seeing it before. Ah, the fun of trying to communicate the ineffable, it is definitely to be recommended.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

There Is No Formula For Perfect Living: This Is It.

The sweet poignancy of the human condition is not lost in this. That pull of opposites, the struggle to be in duality, the bemusement at the simultaneous co-existence of infinite love and bottomless cruelty is all still there. The dawning of the age of Aquarius is this, it has always been this, there is no "point" in the story where all humans understand just what the meaning of their existence is, cast aside despair, depression, fear and brute survival, and live innocently forevermore in love. That is already the case. It always has been, for all there is, is this, there is no time in which such a story can unfold, or anyone to which it happens. We live in love now for love is all-encompassing and all-accepting, it is this, and this cannot reject itself, for it is itself, despite the appearance of rejection. Everything is allowed; everything that exists, exists just as it should, as it must, and as it does. There are many voices and stories in the manifestation that say our suffering must end. In duality, there will always be suffering; if there is bliss, there is its opposite. Seeing this does not devalue any of it. There was a story in the UK news yesterday of a baby being taken off life support. The baby's fate was determined by the courts, who ruled that the suffering was too great, the physical pain too immense, and that it was cruel to prolong the baby's life. In seeing that even this extremity of circumstance is too, just the story, it doesn't make it any less sad, it doesn't make it any easier to imagine the suffering of a tiny baby, and it doesn't make such a question of life and death any simpler; it is still a question for the archetypal Solomon. There is great suffering in my apparent story, lest anyone caught up in these stories decide I have no right to assess the suffering of others. There has been great pain, both physical and emotional, abuse at the hands of others, violent attack, and a heavy burden of guilt about my own actions. But in these stories, there can be balance; there can be redemption, and in my story, I know these sufferings were immeasurable gifts. They have given me the sweet vulnerability of humanity; they have stripped away my many defenses. However, it is just the story, however intense the story seems to be. Whatever seems to unfold is the wholeness I sought, it was always there. Whatever formulas people seem to devise for perfect living, the answer is always, this is perfect living. It is simply difficult to see.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

The Horror of No Volition.

Non-duality stuff doesn't get into the mainstream press very often, but I recall seeing something once in the (UK) Times. I can't remember what the article was about or what the organisation referred to was, but it said something like: "...with their emphasis on no personal responsibility." Contextually, this was abhorred; the organisation was dismissed as zany and possibly dangerous. It became clear to me how society categorises such people: crazy, deluded, threatening iconoclasts, liable to rock the boat at any moment. For a society of apparent individuals, busy taking the story terribly seriously indeed, the idea of no volition - no choice about what happens on any level (not even in mental health circles, where "I have a choice now" is the mantra of wellbeing) - is a horrifying prospect, but only because duality is so ingrained that they imagine this freedom to be necessarily anarchy. There is no choice because there are no separate individuals, there is only oneness, despite the appearance of two (or more.). There has never "been" any choice. There is no choice "now". There will never be any choice, despite the appearance of choices. There is no one who can choose to be a raving loony killer, just because they've realised there is no personal responsibility, and no choice. Who is it that would kill? Who would they kill? If you aren't already a killer, it's unlikely that you ever will be, in the story of your life. Everything seems to go on much as it ever did. The message here, such as it is, is that "no choice" being anathema to everything you've ever valued is because indeed, it is anathema to that; to taking the story ever so seriously, and trying to make everything better, or indeed to just muddling along without doing anything too vile. The fear is of the death of the individual. In liberation, everything is still everything, and nothing is still nothing. The appearance of choice can still arise in liberation, but like everything else, it is just appearance. The appearance is both real and unreal, solid and ethereal, but just a parable for a greater possibility. There is no need to fear what already is. The fear is oneness as well, being fear. Whatever happens unfolds in beauty and perfection, no matter how horrifying it seems. Or annoying, like the author of that article in the Times, who fell back on society's absolute tenet, that everyone must take their responsibilities seriously. That will still seem to happen. It's just not the be-all and end-all.

Friday, 20 March 2009

What Happens Is A Parable.

Apparently - and I'm dropping the pedantic semantics because they apparently get on my nerves - I invested some time telling someone yesterday that they were worthwhile. I got right into the story. I regaled this perfectly lovely person with my own story of becoming, the richly paradoxical quality of this circumstance not entirely lost on me. It was the story of unconditional love. For most of my life and until not too long ago, I believed that I shouldn't exist. Any sense of my intrinsic worth was completely hidden from me. That excruciatingly uncomfortable sense of being out of place in the world was hideously pronounced for me; no matter what I did, no matter how I performed, it was inadequate. Not that it matters, but I understand, with my mind even, that the big hole in my middle, that sense of incompleteness and unease, was in fact the sense of being separate from everything. There were many stories that came out about why this was so: messages from my childhood, disappointment that my potential was never fulfilled. But the truth was elusive; I didn't understand yet that the messages, all of them on the theme of "you should never have been born," were counter-intuitively my invitation back into oneness, and that my potential is always fulfilled. The story I regaled my friend with was the parable of realising my worth. This is just another story, but a powerful one; I was shown over and over, by the love of others, that I was worthwhile. These others showed me my worth by giving me their time and effort, by actually telling me they loved me, and by sticking with me through some shockingly destructive behaviour. It was shown to me by going into a roomful of people, confessing some of the detail of this behaviour, and not being judged to be "bad". It was shown to me by the loyalty of my family, and by the care of professionals, who transcended their paid-to-care status and really invested themselves in my recovery. And one day, after a great deal of analysis and revelatory emotion, it was plainly obvious that I was a worthwhile creature, with a right to exist. It was plainly, glaringly obvious, and most importantly, it had always been the case; it was simply hidden from me. And this is the parable of awakening. No one is ever separate; we just think we are. Sometimes, the veil is thrown aside, and the absolute nature of reality is plainly seen. There is no longer a person struggling; there is just struggle. Taking everything so seriously melts away; there is no one to take it seriously, there never was. Oneness was always the case. Oneness is always the case. Oneness is, whether we dream we are separate or not.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Inadequacy of Words.

These words will never bring you to awakening. They're real crap, in fact, and wholly inadequate in communicating something that is not a concept. But they're fun, they seem to arise in great quantities, and there is no choice about putting them down or not. So here we go again.

Everything that seems to arise is seeking. Working, raising a family, going to church, attending satsangs, going to therapy, writing a musical, dating, getting married, donating to charity, volunteering for a worthy cause, breaking and entering to fund the heroin habit, drinking to oblivion, lashing out in anger, trying to be a better friend/spouse/parent, saving the planet, trying to scrape through the credit crunch, devoting all your time and energy to caring for an elderly parent, getting through the chemo, grieving for your lost child; it is all the same thing. There is some nebulous goal at the end of it: this life of mine will work, it will mean something, I will feel good about it, I will achieve it with some modicum of grace. Or it is all fuelled by a sense of disappointment, unworthiness, and incompleteness; despair that the goal will never be met. This is the goal. The goal has been met, it is always being met. Whatever the story seems to be, however difficult life's circumstances, or blessed, the goal is met. This is the goal. This is unconditional love, being cancer or being a tragic accident or being charismatic leadership or being that tree over there, or your child, or the chair, or your best friend, or you. Even that sense of incompleteness is paradoxically immaculate wholeness. And it is glaringly, overwhelmingly obvious, but not to the dreamer in the dream of being a separate individual. This is God, if you want to use that label. Everything is God, everything is love, everything is, and in existing, has met the goal. And if this is seen, the only thing that is missing is what seeks. It all seems to go on much as before, but perhaps without the sense of loss. Rejoicing is not the goal, but freedom seems to bring with it - sometimes "quickly", sometimes "slowly" - a lot of joy. Joy even in sorrow, for sorrow is. Joy in struggle, joy in more traditionally joyful things as well. But even the peace of sitting in a meadow or seeing your child asleep, safe and sound, is not the goal. It is all the goal. You've done it already, you are always doing it. This is it.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Nothing Is Better.

There are no deals, in fact there is no one who can make a deal anyway; but the dreamer cannot make deals with oneness. When the dream of separation dissolves, as it can any "moment", there are no guarantees that everything gets "better". It may seem to unfold more efficiently, since there is not the extra added "me" trying to control and understand and make right choices and accept and reject and generally make a mess of it; but there is the same appearance of the usual mind/body organism, the same old human character, with all the same apparent memories and conditioning, and things go on pretty much as they always did. When this is seen, it is also seen that that's all that ever happened anyway. Even in the many parables, the stories we tell and the stories we live, freedom is not always the fantastic thing it's cracked up to be. But to see this - that all there is, is this - is liberation. It is unlikely, in the story that seems to unfold "after" this is seen, that there is so much concern about getting everything right. There is no one to get it right. It is right. It is what it is. What is seen is that what happens is eternal and wondrous, and a fragile appearance, yet a fantastic and fascinating one. Perhaps it's likely that there's less despair, less hand-wringing, and less yearning for what is missing. There is nothing missing. The apparent reality, filled with politicians and hunger and suffering and joy and birth and charity, is a mere appearance, and is appearing as it must. No one owns it. There is no choice at any level. It is gloriously and divinely this.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Utterly Simple.

All the traditional and ancient formulas for enlightenment, or whatever we're calling this today, keep the seeker firmly in the seeking and reinforce separation by giving this separate person a whole heck of a lot of things to do in order to "achieve awakening." There is nothing to achieve, and no one to achieve it. Despite whatever the appearance is, this is it. There is no path out of duality for the individual. The individual is only a dream, and anything the dreamer does to get out of the dream reinforces it. This sucks, but there it is. There is already nothing and everything happening, it is oneness despite the appearance of many. Whatever is happening is it. It is already this. The utter simplicity of this can't be grasped with the mind, the mind whose job is to make a story of it all. Despite the appearance, it is the joyful play of life. Despite whatever grave circumstance fills us with despair, this is beauty. There is no one that is filled with despair; there is despair. There is bliss. There is everything. However it seems to happen, there is only aliveness, being this. There is nothing and no one. Whatever seems to be happening is a miracle. You can't see this, but it can be recognised. There can be some reminder, and the mind and the separate self can just give up and die. Everything you thought your life was falls away, and leaves eternity and infinity. It is so simple, it is inconceivable. But there is no getting away from it. This is it.

Monday, 16 March 2009

How Can This Be Meaningless?

This is all so beautiful, so fraught with meaning and profound resonance. How can it be meaningless? There is so much discovery, so much revelation; the layers of the onion of the self are peeled back, naked truths are realised, and so much perspective is gained; it becomes clear how my life went wrong, and what it is I have to do to make it better, so it is more attuned with everything, more in harmony with all. I have learned to love, and the nature of compassion is clear; unconditional love is truly unconditional, and I am able to practice this, seemingly without much effort, despite liking and disliking those others in my life. I see clearly that the suffering I have gone through was a gift, despite the vulnerability, despite the injustice of it; I can also forgive my own crimes, perpetrated in a state of illness and fear. There is truly compassion for myself, and compassion for others. How can this be meaningless? The feelings are so sweeping, so profound, have such depth and breadth. How can they be the same as anything else? How is it they are no more moving and miraculous than the stain on the carpet or the insect crawling toward the stain? The answer is: the story can be about miracles, resonances, deep feelings of love and acceptance, or about an insect crawling on the carpet. The story can be deeply moving or exceedingly ordinary. But it is just a story, no matter how moving, no matter how mundane. The miracle is that anything appears to exist at all. There is the story of scientists looking closely at the very nature of matter, getting into the sub-atomic level of the manifestation, and seeing that unless there is someone observing it, there is nothing there. All there is, is this.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

There Is No Story.

Despite all that seems to happen, there is no story. There is no time in which a story can unfold. We seem to be creatures of linear time, learning from our mistakes (or not), waxing nostalgic for a past where things seemed better, or yearning for a future when this contingency or that expediency will happen, and life will, at last, be happier. We crawl into the memories that arise or the speculation of the future and think that it proves that things have, indeed, happened before, and things will, absolutely, happen again. There are cartloads of regret for things done wrong, and barrels of planning for doing the next right thing. Yet all there ever is, is this. This is all we ever have, all we ever are. The timeless void that is this - not now, for now suggests then - is all there is. Perhaps it can be labeled presence. All is presence, whatever form it seems to take. Even if there is a sense of separation, you live in boundless infinite light. The sense of separation only hides it, it doesn't destroy it; this is eternal being, it is all there is. The dropping away of a separate person - which is, after all, only a fragile concept - simply reveals what has always been there, what always is, what is. It doesn't change what appears to happen, but what appears to happen is seen for what it is. Boundless, changeless being. You don't have to do a thing. Here it is. If there is still some sense of being apart, it doesn't matter, for that is just as it must be. For goodness' sake, enjoy it. Just relax and be. Everything will still appear to go on without you just fine.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

The Story of Aloneness.

So much isolation and aloneness. Loneliness, apart-ness; it fuels, in the story, all the things we label "bad". The human condition seems to be one of many islands, and we want to feel we are not an isolated mass anymore. Murder is the abandonment of any hope of empathy, of feeling a part of everything. Greed is the same with a bit more restraint; there is no hope of joining, so there is no respect for life, just taking care of the only being that seems real - the self. This self, this "me", is so precious; it's the only thing we know, and we long for someone to care, to feel that this isolated being is as important to someone else as it is to us, thus validating its existence. Falling in love is so powerful; it seems to bridge that enormous perceived gap between individuals. Good therapy is powerful too; the therapist cares. They have no concerns, in that hour, except yours; they may be paid, but they show us that we are as important and special as we feel to ourselves, or perhaps they show us that worthiness for the first time. The most powerful stories (It's A Wonderful Life comes to mind) comfort us that a life rich with friends - those others that validate us - is a life worth living. Everything we do is to try to be whole again. If we feel separate from the Earth, we trash it. War between peoples is a compromise - at least we can feel a part of a certain group, bound together by a conflict with another group. There is so much underlying despair, it seems, the abandonment of ever being a part of, or some acceptance of being apart. Yet this is just the story of the dream of separation. However powerful or hypnotic the dream seems to be, however much other facets of the story reinforce it, it is an illusion. The illusion can just drop away. And there is everything, and nothing; there is only the play of life, happening as it must. Even the most lonely, isolated, shunned individual is the one. There is only that. The freedom gained is your whole life, and everything you ever thought important, lost forever.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Words Are Useless.

Oh dearie me, the words, the very serious and deliberate words out there, kabillions of them, trying to describe awakening (or whatever we call it on a Friday morning, blah blah blah.) I just skimmed over 37 facets of awakening, Buddhist I think. Thirty-seven, huh? Blimey. That's a lot. There are not 37 facets of much of anything, I reckon, unless the mind is still in charge, skimming and slicing and categorising and analysing. Thirty-seven is, to state the obvious, exceptionally dualistic. Or thirty-septistic. It seems to me to be a way to describe utter, iron-fisted control of each action of life, also each thought and every feeling, all ruthlessly pinned down and mastered. A lot of seekers are glad to find a discipline, it gives them something to do while they wait for awakening to "happen" to "them"; and if it's not just going to spontaneously happen, well then, they're going to bend and mold their spiritual selves until they bloody well force it to. God (who's he?) forbid life just happens, to no one. And it's life happening to no one that is impossible to describe. Admittedly, this "impossible to describe" thing is annoying. There are a lot of words on this site devoted to: all there is, is this; there is no one; there is no one who needs to awaken; everything you've ever looked for is here, even the looking is it. Blah blah, blah blah blah. Sitting here and reading this isn't going to hasten awakening. The best to be hoped for is death, death of the dream of "you". There is no one, there is no seeker desperate for awakening - there is desperation, and seeking. The difference is either life happens to you, or life happens. Yet these words are fruitless. The shift is entirely energetic, and is akin to some kind of dropping away of a veil, but these words too are useless. As useless as all 37 carefully dissected facets of awakening, which, by the way, there is nothing wrong with. Seeking is fun, seek away. But "you" are already "there", and no words can bring being any closer; it is already all there is.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

What Is Compassion?

We must be less selfish, and help others. Compassion is the answer to a lot of questions, apparently. Compassion for self, with compassion for others to follow, is the holy grail of mental and emotional health. The end to self-obsession, a longing to be a part of the whole of society, to feel less separate from our fellows, to be able to feel empathy for the plight of others, is mighty important for those whose job is to balance out fear- and survival-driven self-interest. So many people are concerned that selfishness and the individualistic nature of much of the world is sentencing mankind and his habitat to extinction. A lot of hand-wringing and corrective action goes on in the name of the selfish, short-sighted fossil fuel burning culture. The seas are not only warming, they're becoming more acidic, and unable to support shellfish. (I'm sure there's a play on words here about selfish weak-willed people and weak-walled shellfish, but it eludes my small brain.) Compassion, sing the wise, is the answer. The end of poverty is the answer, for the impoverished don't have the luxury of compassion; they're too busy surviving. So, compassion for the poor, and the end of their suffering, will spawn more compassionate people and the end of selfishness, or self-interest, and we'll all look after each other more efficiently, and the world will be a better place. An only slightly flawed utopia, where there is no need for war because we are compassionate towards each other, and recognise we are all the same; where there is no shortage of food because we compassionately share everything; where there is no threat of global climate catastrophe because we use our big brains to meet our needs and comforts in an environmentally sustainable way. However, compassion is more all-encompassing than that. Compassion is this, just as it is, in its seemingly flawed and sometimes selfish manifestation. Compassion is seeing there is no one who needs help, there is no one. Compassion accepts what is, it is what is. Compassion is the sound and fury of selfishness and selflessness, compassion is wholeness, and wholeness is this, no matter how flawed it is judged to be. Compassion doesn't judge, it allows. If there is a profound moment when you set aside selfish pursuits and start to help others to get through their lives, or rally what masses you can to save the planet, or simply forgo that relaxing bath to sit with your child and help her with her homework, there is nothing wrong with that - but it isn't liberation. Liberation is this, as it is, happening to no one. In perfection and unspeakable beauty. Whether it is rampant greed or giving a motivational speech to an adoring crowd. Whatever it seems to be, it is what you have been looking for, it is what is looking, and what is seen, and what is. Just exactly as it is. If there is a burning desire to be compassionate and spread compassion, by all means follow that dream. But it is simply a desire arising; it is not happening to you.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

It Will Always Be A Mystery.

There are so many ways to avoid "awakening" or whatever you wish to label it. It's strange, how we use the story to make our characters feel less worthy than they already do. It seems such an elusive thing, something so special, this enlightenment thingy. "When the pupil is ready, the teacher appears" is a snippet of supposed wisdom that is bandied around a lot. So we find a nice, enlightened spiritual teacher, who wears floaty clothes and eats only wheat grass and goji berries. They must be well-educated, and teach with great knowledge of all the traditional roads to enlightenment, especially Buddhism and the Tantra. They sit on a raised platform, and invite everybody to see the energy, to mind the gaps between thoughts, and to find the stillness from which all things emanate. The disciples look up at him (or her) with great awe and reverence, and project every relationship they've ever had on the poor guy. They either despair of ever being so wise and awake, or want to sleep with him. They do as he says and things get really interesting. The story revs up. They start to "know themselves" really well. They analyse their dreams as instructed, and use them to correct their "wrong" behaviour. They read great tomes filled with complicated instructions on how to change the way they think and perceive reality. They meditate, and sometimes find a great long gap between the thoughts. The disciples start to think this really must be a great thing they're doing, because they feel better; reality is more bearable. The teacher pays a lot of lip service to oneness. There is no one, they inform the devotees, and there is nothing. We are all each other. However, in order to see this you must buy my book and attend my seminars and have an exclusive, and expensive, satsang with me. The disciples work their socks off, they get to a place where they are in an ivory tower and simply notice what happens, detached; or they open their heart and feel the oneness, and they write down all their dreams and determine what the Universe must be telling them; they notice the grand synchronicity that happens, in a beautiful dance of duality, and feel they are ever closer to awakening, but that they'll never get there unless they work very very hard. They are already there. There is nothing else. No one can teach another to be. They are. No one can teach what is, it is. The great thing about these teachers and their students is that they might work so hard and try so much and still feel separate and unworthy - so they give up. And see that it is all just a story, albeit a very interesting one, perhaps filled with revelation and self-knowledge. It doesn't matter what the story is. It will always be a story. It will always be a mystery to the mind, especially the mind that believes it can all be figured out. The cleverer the mind, the more minutia the mind can grasp about the nature of reality, the more interesting the story - and the more elusive "awakening". Yet there is nothing wrong with any of this. As ever, it unfolds just as it must. But perhaps there are more apparent individuals who give up and see how sweetly prosaic it all is, how ordinary. How exactly what is happening, whatever that seems to be, no matter what it is, is the great mystery right in front of them, and in them, and in everyone and everything that seems to be. This is it. No one can teach it. It is.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Story In Sharp Focus.

When something traumatic seems to happen, the story is in sharp focus. Yet that is oneness too. There's no getting away from it, no matter how deep the sense of separation is. When your child is sitting in the back of an ambulance, tears and snot and fear and pain in his face, his safe notion of invincibility shattered, the compassion and empathy are overwhelming. It all seems to be about how to make the separation more bearable for the poor little thing. So those words come out - you are safe, it's going to be alright - and the little creature takes heart, he trusts, perhaps he shows himself to be a pillar of fortitude, and the nurses and doctors at the hospital marvel at his comparative stoicism whilst dealing with a particularly painful fractured humerus. I'm so proud of you, you're so brave, and don't forget you saved the rugby match for your team with that disastrous tackle, I tell him; and he feels better, all those words reinforcing his isolation from everything. They are about how he can deal with the world and his pain, his fear, all of it stemming from the sense of separation; it is most categorically happening to him. Yet there is nothing wrong with these words, and with apparently reinforcing separation. They are what comes out, and it all comes out as it must. It would be ridiculous, and cruel, to tell an 11-year-old that what is happening is not happening to him. Yet as we chatted in the ward afterward, I had different words, and they were along the lines of everything is one thing. He seemed to accept this, but then he was high on opiates. It doesn't matter. It seems that young people spend a lot of time on their separation, making sure it's the biggest and best separation ever, starkly opposed to any separation that has come before, special and singular and very different. That too is as it must be. As is it all.

Monday, 9 March 2009

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Love, love is the answer, it's all about love. Remember that "love" is just a word, a label, we put onto an ever elusive feeling and concept. Love is usually a reciprocal thing, but sometimes we seem to be mentally healthy enough to love without needing the love returned. But here, perhaps it can mean even more than that. It's all love, even the wall over there, even the vilest deeds of the most evil despot. If everything is love, everything is love. It allows everything, for it is everything, and must appear as all forces and their opposites in duality. It is all accepting; it is itself, and cannot reject itself. Any intense feelings of outrage at this idea are love, too. It is difficult to accept that there is truly no right or wrong, that all that seems to unfold unfolds in perfection. It doesn't mean license to indulge in a murder spree, for who is it that would choose to do that? It unfolds in perfection no matter how gratingly uncomfortable and uneasy it seems to be. The very uncomfortableness is just what it must be. Resistance is perhaps futile, but if resistance occurs, there is nothing wrong with it. Resistance to absolutely unconditional love is also absolutely unconditional love. There is no getting away from it, no matter how lonely and apart and isolated and separate your life may feel; separation is love as well. All those apparent others, they are you. You might as well love them.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

I Don't Understand It.

Oh, the futility. I have a memory of watching the pasta boil last night (apparently) and being struck by the rolling boiling immediacy of everything. How to describe this, I thought, it's impossible. It's like that "now" . Unfettered, uncontrolled, vibrant, and not apart. It makes no sense to say I was the white boiling water, the stove, the pan, the hood light, but I was. It makes less sense to say I get on a bus, and feel profoundly that the little lights of awareness that are these other seeming individuals, are exactly the same as "me". That the quality of aliveness, stripped of all that stuff we hang onto it, is exactly the same; what seems to be a vital character, full of opinions and hang-ups, when stripped back to that very essence that seems to make us ourselves, is paradoxically just the same quality. That strong sense of "me" is actually just the same for "everybody". And even these little revelations are just the story, trundling along, not at all meaningful. There is deep wonder in it all. There is comfort for my character that I cannot make a mistake, although seeming mistakes are made. There is no separate will, however much the importance of "taking responsibility" or "making choices" is emphasized. Whatever it is "I" seem to do - whether it is carefully considered or utterly spontaneous - is exactly what must be done. And so, my mind seems to be relaxing. More and more, there is just being, boiling away, and my mind seems to be commenting on it less. But if I was gripped by a fearful need to control it all, that too, however inappropriate it may seem, that too would be perfect. I don't understand it. It is not understandable. But it is be-able.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

It Just Looks Different.

This is wholeness, this is everything you ever thought you've been looking for. This is all there is. Even the feelings of unworthiness and incompleteness are wholeness. It is overwhelmingly obvious, yet paradoxically not easily seen. There is nothing else, this is it. There may be thoughts of Australia (if Australia is not apparently where you are), but Australia doesn't exist, there is just this. It is everything. You may fly to Australia, but there is still just this - it only looks different. It's difficult, there seems to be a location, there seems to be a person where the awareness is focused, but there is no location. Just whatever is, arising, for no one. Memories come up of when I struggled with this, when there was still someone struggling to not be herself. Nothing changed. I just suddenly realised - or saw - that this is what I had been searching for my entire life, it had been there all along, just everything exactly as it is. The quality of everything changed, yet nothing changed. It's not about accepting what is, or being content with "your" lot. Those ideas can make the separation from everything seem more bearable. But even the unbearableness is wholeness. Whatever the thought, feeling or appearance, there is nothing wrong with it, it is what it must be. Even the discontentedness with it is wholeness. There is no getting away from oneness, or whatever we happen to label it. It is the biggest thing, it is the only thing. Freedom from the bondage of self is astonishing, wonderful, yet also miserable, uncomfortable, it can be anything, there is no surety, there is no bargaining with it. But it is boundless, unfettered by time or space. It is all there is. There was never any "hole in my soul"; I merely believed there was. Now there is no one to believe. "How can this be enough?" I wondered, in separation. It is.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Who Is It That Grabs Ahold Of Life?

It's strange, when I hear people going on about "being ready to face life" or "getting in there and taking hold of life". Who is it, exactly, that's going to do this? Strangely enough, letting go of your life seems to have largely the same effect, in the story. The results are much the same; everything seems to go a lot more efficiently, there is less fear, worthy goals come up, responsible actions seem to happen, actual relationships with others seem to ensue. Life, the story of it anyway, seems more fulfilling, and less about unworthiness and disappointment. But there are no guarantees, life is always in free-fall, and any notions of control are illusory. Make no mistake - a life that seems wasted, lived in resentment and self-deception, isolation and self-obsession, is a life no less worthy than that of the most altruistic and compassionate saint. It is all oneness, God, consciousness, beingness, or whatever inadequate label we impose on it on Friday mornings. And don't forget it's all just a story. What happens in life, strung together by the mind, is a tiny thing. Even the stories of great suffering in whole populations are just a story. Compassion may arise, actions may happen, the desire to alleviate the suffering may come up, but it is all a story. There is nothing happening, to no one, and what seems to happen is a miracle, no matter what form it seems to take. Funnily enough, the thoughts that seem to arise for "me" are along the lines of: just enjoy it. The manifestation is so complex and interesting, explore it. Of course no one is doing this. But that is what appears to be happening.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Who Is Becoming What?

Oh dear. However fun it is trying to describe absolute being, it's fruitless. How it's possible to apparently be going about your business and yet categorically not be is not easily described. It certainly seems to be strung along in some story of cause and effect, but it's not. It's quite obviously not. This seems to be happening, then that, but there is no time. There is very obviously no time. There is a memory of being a child at a keyboard, of watching the family dog slowly die, of vigourously exercising in the back yard. Yet those things never happened. There is no starving Africa, there is only this. Names on a gravestone are just being, grave-stoning, and do not report of Agnes Cuthbert 1852-1901 Beloved Wife and Mother. She never existed. No one has, or does. The appearance is a miracle, but there's nothing to be done about it. There is no one, so there is no one doing anything, going anywhere. And what seems to be a choice never is. Whatever the story of our lives seems to be, there is nothing happening - only appearance. So the agonies we go through to get it all right, while not exactly fruitless, are no one's to determine. Whatever the character of you is seeming to do, no matter how self-aware or open or spiritual or mentally healthy you try to be, you are doing nothing. You are like a puppet, or a film image. The puppet show or film might be full of characters doing amazing things and having astounding thoughts and feeling incredible feelings, but the actions, thoughts and emotions are not theirs. They have no choice. And the puppeteer is the puppet. There is no filmmaker. We are the light that makes it possible, that makes it seem to happen. But it doesn't matter if this is seen or not, for there is no choice about that either. The thought that seems to come up for me is, have fun with it. In the story that seems to unfold but doesn't, I am becoming good-humoured.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

So Deeply Into The Story.

It's lovely to watch people, to be with them, and see how deeply they are into the story of their lives. They are not only separate, but mighty fond of being so. They crawl right in there, analysing the minutia of their reactions, the quality of their thoughts, and the intensity of their feelings. They work hard to craft and hone their lives so that it gets "better". When it's not so great, they despair and say "I didn't sign up for this". There is a mad scrabble to change what is, because anything not reeking of bliss and contentment is resisted. Great pains are taken to discover their worth. That feeling of unworthiness is a hallmark of separation. In the story, they sense this and struggle to "be a part of" and label their self-consciousness "self-obsession" and take lots of actions to "get out of themselves". It's such a paradox that even the most walled-off, isolating, self-concerned individual is a perfect manifestation of oneness. That realisation of being alone is the most immaculate invitation to see that there is no one, and that they are simply oneness Lisa-ing or George-ing. Each apparent moment fraught with meaning is as meaningless as the most innocuous moment, another blink of an eye. Sometimes, it just seems more energetic than others. But whether an individual thinks so or not, it's all unfolding in flawless wholeness. In fact, it's not even unfolding. It certainly seems to, but it isn't . Those who struggle to "live in duality" miss the point that duality - which is just what most people refer to as reality - is deceptive, fragile, and insubstantial, for all it seems so solid. It reinforces its unreality by its very durability. This is not anything that the mind can grasp, but the mind is better employed negotiating a favourable contract than trying to understand the ineffable. What is clear is that this is what is, this is all there is, and it is beautiful no matter what form it seems to take. If we crawl right into the story or not, there is no choice whether to do that or reject it. It's happening, but not to you.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Cheer Up. It's Not As Bleak As All That!

There is no one, reality as we generally have been taught about it doesn't exist, there is nowhere to go, it's all meaningless, blah blah blah. Liberation sounds terrible. It is terrible. It's terrible in the same way death is terrible, or can be. Fear of death is a huge motivating factor for nearly everything we seem to do. Just ask Alvy Singer. But death can apparently happen before the demise of the mind/body organism or whatever we're carefully labeling "people" today. The loss of your life isn't so "bad". This is absolute perfect timeless being no matter what tiny thoughts arise about it all. This is constant, this is no different from the moment of "your" death, which is just another twist in the story. Unveiled existence, boundless, timeless, where everything seems to go on pretty much as it always has, is quite an extraordinary thing. It's astounding, nothing being something, it arises in perfect balance, for balance is the great quality of duality. What's hard for the separate individual to get is that it happens to no one. When there is no one, there is no fear of death, since death has already happened. Oneness takes care of itself whether we are free from the veil of self or not. It always "has". But even this is just the story. Whether there is clarity of the mind, which a lot of people seem to have, or unfettered living, or absolute being, or whatever we're carefully labeling "enlightenment" today, there is only being. This is it. And it doesn't suck.