Thursday, 29 October 2009

My Brain More Busy Than The Labouring Spider Weaves Tedious Snares To Trap Mine Enemies.

Thoughts are gifts, from nothing to no one; they are oneness like everything else. Thoughts are not your thoughts, even the ones that say "I can't see that everything is one" or "it's a good idea, having this affair" or "I'm going to teach that son-of-a-bitch a lesson. He can't drive like that and get away with it!". All those thoughts that seem to come together and make up a separate, special "you" that things happen to - they are oneness, being two-ness, life looking at itself. Meditation and self-inquiry, those tools for stilling thought so that oneness seems more obvious, are useful tools, yet not necessary for oneness to be; oneness is, whether it is seen by some separate, delicately constructed persona or not. But you want to see it! You want it more than anything else. You never will. Rachel never will, Bert never will. But Bert or Rachel can fall away, or seem to, and their concerns can be not so absorbing, and their suffering can be pain that seems to come and go, and their joy can be boundless, contained even within the sharp intensity of pain.

People who seek enlightenment come to find something in oneness; something better, something absolute. Nothing less than the Secret of Life will satisfy them; that knowledge of the meaning of life, its true nature; reality, seen clearly, lived completely. There are so many ideas and concepts about what enlightenment is like and what it should be. They have some idea that it should be more than is already the case. Yet this is reality; this is enough. Not only is there never any time but this, every practice reinforces the idea that there is someone to get this, and it isn't already what is. There need be no ah-ha moment, no peeling away each layer of the ego, no goal in some non-existent future. Enlightenment is as easy and natural as breathing, heartbeat, seeing your lover's face. It is here, now, and everything. So don't fret at the incongruency of life unfolding, timelessly, in some unmistakable line of time; this duality is a gift, from life to life itself, so that the only thing that is - awareness, or God, to some - can apprehend itself, in consciousness.

Perhaps the unfolding story can never hold the suffering it seemed, when boundlessness is known; but make no deals with oneness; there are no guarantees; and whatever happens is oneness, no matter what it feels like. The mind's small or large hurts and causes still unfold, for life must see itself, and see itself in all the many guises available. These tiny wonders that are life are but a hint of what truly is, and what truly is, is nothing different from the life that is right now, and the very fact it exists. Don't worry about time in timelessness, or thought's contraction in boundlessness, or imperfection in perfection, or any of the incongruencies that duality affords; or worry away, if that's what comes up. This two-ness is oneness. We are lived, until the living is us, and us the living. You are everything, already.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Be Absolute For Death; Either Death or Life Shall Thereby Be The Sweeter.

Questions I've been asked, and answers; a foray into the first person, rife with the landmines of presence vs. presents.

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.

I That Am Cruel Am Yet Merciful; I Would Not Have Thee Linger In Thy Pain.

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.

There is no time for the story to unfold, not really. It is always now o'clock. The memories and speculations that make up the story are happening now. There is nowhere to go but here. When that hope - though persistent - and that despair - though recurring - and the thoughts of yesterday and tomorrow - though abiding - are no longer taken for the point of it all, what is left is a boundless now, a spaceless here, full and empty, everything and nothing. You are not separate from what you are seeing, hearing, feeling, touching, even thinking. There is no difference; that is you. You are everything. Perhaps even more importantly, you are everyone. Every person you seem to meet shares the same consciousness. If the self and its concerns are lost, the whole world is gained, by no one. Just like that Jesus dude said.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

For Never Anything Can Be Amiss, When Simpleness And Duty Tender It.

There is nothing, that is not oneness. There is no one, that is not oneness. How can what awareness seems to manifest be wrong? There is nothing wrong. And in that awareness, of neutral, perfect manifestation, lies the attitude that many who seek - and exhort the benefits of - and desperately push enlightenment require. There is both peace and passion in this seeing; and often, there is no desire for it all to change to something better.

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

Lay Open To My Earthy-Gross Conceit, Smother'd In Errors, Feeble, Shallow, Weak.

Everything is oneness. Absolutely everything is; there are no mistakes. The most horrific errors, a split-second of poor reflex or a well-considered, but misjudged, decision, even these are not mistakes. The child that runs into the road, hit; the sober drunk that picks up drink and drugs again after many years of abstinence; the inappropriate career chosen, the person married in convenience or pressure rather than love; any of the long list of things we could change, if only we could go back in time; even these are not mistakes. Even the most painful, life-thwarting feelings and urges are not mistakes. Everything unfolds both to no purpose, and to grand purpose, in the context of the story of a life. Life is everything; bliss and despair, pain and great, soaring pleasure. And all of it is bearable. There is suffering, and the end of suffering is so often sought, both by seekers of enlightenment, and most human beings, convinced that the pain is theirs and theirs alone, that pain defines them, that pain is useless, that pain is to be avoided or dispelled. But pain and suffering - some say that suffering is pain + resistance to pain - in the unfolding story, is often very useful. And even if it's not, and all of it is meaningless, and it is seen that whatever seems to be happening is just as it should be - there is nothing wrong with suffering. Perhaps, in the context of a story, structured by systems of belief, organised by the restless mind into some kind of sense, suffering that lingers is not so useful. But suffering, in any story, usually changes; wait around long enough, and everything changes. No matter how involving and intense the story of your life seems to be, that story - those feelings - those events, those others whom you struggle to interact with - they are not your sum total. You are all of it, and none of it; life is its own beneficiary; great pain and delicious pleasure are the same thing. No matter what seems to be happening, even if it seems to be happening to you and you alone, is just what must happen. Your life, with all its resistance, all the wrong thinking, all those errors you wish had never happened, is perfect, blessed and whole. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong.

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

But Then The Mind Much Sufferance Doth O'er Skip, When Grief Hath Mates, And Bearing Fellowship.

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.

There is so much finger-pointing, advice and pointers to whatever it is Reality is supposed to be; so many methods and suggestions, so many ways to get it all right, or all wrong. There are ways to inject meaning into life, ways to potentially change our perception, tasks to complete that will remove every layer of deception, revealing the final and ultimate Truth. Yet this is the final and ultimate truth, just simply this, whatever it is that seems to be, just as it is. You are all you see, you are what makes it all manifest. There is no way to get it wrong. Strip the ego away, or let it thrive; there is no escaping reality. There are no mistakes, so don't reject rejection; do not prefer to have no preferences; do not be displeased by displeasure; and endeavour to not let go of holding on. There is no me that grieves, there is grief. There is no me that is tangled in the senses; there is entanglement. If love and hate are absent, and there is no distinction, heaven and earth are one; if the smallest distinction is made, and you seem the most separate, unenlightened being on Earth, heaven and earth are still one. Oneness does not care if there is separation. Oneness is one; life is always as it is meant to be.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Past Cure I Am, Now Reason Is Past Care, And Frantic-Mad With Evermore Unrest.

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

Are You A God? Would You Create Me New? Transform Me Then, And To Your Power I'll Yield.

What could possibly make this more than it is? Why isn't this enough? Clearly what is looked for most often is meaning, and there is nothing wrong with that. Countless dissatisfied souls sit in therapist's offices, or in meditation groups, or at the foot of the guru or the foot of their children's beds, searching for meaning. Perhaps they want a higher purpose than just to earn a living. Maybe they become self-sufficient, or change jobs to one that is of more obvious value to their personal tastes and values. Possibly a complete change is called for; and often, a lessening of anxiety and depression is called for, whether this is accomplished by treating these feelings directly with medication or by taking more control of the story of their life. This is all fine; in fact, it is admirable. But we are constantly imprisoned by the parameters of the person who is depressed, who takes control, or is anxious; the one who feels; the one who the story happens to.

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

Let Your Own Discretion Be Your Tutor: Suit The Action To The Word, The Word To The Action.

"What should I do?" ask so many, many seekers; Andrew asked the question pointedly in the comments section of the last entry. Well, a lot of answers come to mind, none of them particularly useful. Advaita seems to be largely about pointing to the fact that awareness is here, now; that enlightenment, that elusive goal, is always already met. Liberation can never be something that happens in the "future"; all there is, is this: this ever present, ever lasting, timeless moment. It is only ever "now". Now is all we have, all there is. So, logically, liberation, awakening, enlightenment, whatever you care to label it, is always available now. It is, in fact, just awareness; it is the mere perception of whatever it is that's happening. So advaita, or nonduality, is sparse on practice. And it is often pointed out that any practice reinforces the notion that there is some separate entity that can get this. That separate entity - the persona or personality, the ego, Mike, Fatima, Pervez or Barbara, the person that this all seems to happen to - is illusory, and a convenience. What happens, happens, but not "to" anybody. So writers of blogs like this are likely to say that there is nothing you can do. Just look around. Whatever you're doing is the perfect expression of aliveness, oneness, awareness, or whatever we're calling it on a Thursday.

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.