Sunday, 27 December 2009

For Nothing Had Begot My Something Grief; Or Something Hath The Nothing That I Grieve.

Writing about this, whatever this is, requires using concepts to dissipate concepts. The imperative is to describe the indescribable, pure existence, the thing that is whether thoughts are interpreting it or not. It's rather like painting a picture of someone eating an orange in order to describe an orange's flavour, or looking very closely at a mountain spring, marveling at its wetness and freshness, rather than going over and scooping up a drink of it. Contradictions abound the describing of it, for language is necessarily dual, and having mutually exclusive (yet simultaneously occurring) opposites is the nature of concepts. One moment you may read that there are no paradoxes, all is one; in the next book it may say that the appearance of time and the nonexistence of it is an unresolvable paradox.

It doesn't matter what you read, it is the reading that is this. Thoughts are much maligned in the search for enlightenment. Yet thoughts are this too; they cannot take you down the wrong path; there is no wrong path. It doesn't matter at all what is happening, how it is interpreted (or not) and what feelings come up about it all. Life is here, always. It doesn't matter what form it is taking, or appears to take. Life is life. Whatever arises is the same thing, in a different guise. Whatever arises is equally valid. And the mind will have a heyday interpreting, judging, comparing, and ferreting out relative truth and worth at every apparent new happening. But that interpretation, judgment, comparison and relativity are simply what is arising. The thoughts and feelings seem to come and go. They might be anything. They are of no importance, and they can seem fun and stimulating, or miserable and destructive. Whatever they may be, they are not what you are.

Trying too hard and desperate frustration may be the best labels for some thoughts and feelings that arise. Relaxing can come up too. Realising that the thing that wants death of the ego is the ego itself, and the ego has lots of problems with this, can rise to compassion, which can seem to ease the whole process (that isn't really happening at all). There is no prize that awaits; nothing can await; everything, infinity, eternity, and boundlessness are already the case. And if boundlessness is not obvious, then exploring the microcosm of life might reveal it, at last, to be a microcosm. Perhaps when "you" are least expecting it.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

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!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

To My Sick Soul, As Sin's True Nature Is, Each Toy Seems Prologue To Some Great Amiss.

There is so much tugging and pulling at the heartstings of the seeker; so many admonitions, so much advice, so many entreaties, so many commands. So many edicts to "dump the spiritual bullshit" or "get off the hamster wheel" or "stop circling the mountain and look up to see the mountain". I am not a teacher; I won't be telling any apparent person what to do, where to go, or how still to be to "get" this "enlightenment" stuff. A few words of advice might slip out now and again, but as the story seems to unfold to me, there are paths that work, paths that work for some "individuals" but not others, some who conclude the only path is no path, some who resonate with "there is no one" and some who resonate with "be still and see there is no witness". The "ah ha" moment might be a startling mind-event with bells, whistles, visions and bliss, or it might be a gentle shift that leaves the former seeker in gales of subdued chuckles, or it might "happen" and only be noticed "later" with an accompanying classic comedy slap on the forehead. In an unfolding story of common sense and mental health, it's clear that we don't often know what's "good" for us, and an endless circling of the mind, although frustrating, is often the fruitless series of events that needs to happen before a cycle is broken; before the hamster wheel slips from its fastenings, spilling us out onto the wood shavings where we look around and finally notice we're in a cage.

The most uncomfortable, tragic event can unfold into wisdom. The most futile, unprofitable enterprise is a journey of revelation. Some games may be more enjoyed than others, but each game is the expression of perfection, the reflection of that which longs to see itself, which is that longing and nothing more. The frustrated longing of the seeker is the sweetest, most apropos feeling, the clearest reflection of life's yearning to be. How strange and paradoxical that we cannot see what we are, when what we are is all we are.

We are not steeped in enlightenment; there is no enlightenment; there is only this, full stop, here now. Whichever teacher you are drawn to, listen. Whatever method you apply, delight in it. Whatever it seems you are doing, you are awareness, and everything you see, think, hear, touch, smell, feel and do, is arising in what you are, no matter what that is, no matter how to the point or not. You cannot run away from what you are. And if, by some accident, the illusion of reality is seen through, all those ups and downs and tragedies and joys can be savoured without the defenses of the ego in the way; but if all you seem to be is a bundle of defenses, savour them as well, for they are no less a perfect expression of being than anything else.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

For That Which Thou Hast Sworn To Do Amiss Is Not Amiss When It Is Truly Done.

All truth is relative. Every story, every system of belief is subject to disintegration if examined and deconstructed. Take anything, any notion, and ask, "is this true?" Can it be said to be true in every possible circumstance, every potential scenario? Every single thing that is what you've taken your life to be is an illusion, very tenuous in its existence; it is merely interestingly arranged energy. And existence, simple existence, is the only thing that cannot be deconstructed. This is the nub that so many seekers long to get to, as do we all, in so many interesting ways. These ways are the playground of existence. It's all very well, stilling thought, being present, seeing/being/knowing the true, unhindered nature of existence, unfiltered by the ego or anything else; the boundlessness of it, the lack of need for it to be captured and claimed, is something many try to express - and have tried, over and over, from the cave paintings to the lovemaking last night. We are the expression; we are the passion of being. We are the playground, and have ego and body and others and world and challenges and depression and unrest and tolerance and patience and children and time and space so many, many other playthings in order to express. Simple existence is the starting point; mind and time are the gift of awareness to itself. What we do, how we do it, when and where we do it is the game. It is delightful; it is devastating; it is relished. We construct belief systems that limit the game, and perhaps break free of them and change the game. We construct and hone the ego so that the player is known. The ego is necessary to negotiate the life game; and the player can change or grow, or regress, or be frustratingly stuck on a plateau; these are the nuances of the game. Ego can be good or bad, but the inherent nature of life is passion, life wanting to be, in all forms and every way. Our true nature is boundless, eternal, and infinite; and it is nothingness, nothing exists whatsoever, so the interestingly arranged energy that so many take to be the only reality is, in fact, miraculous. Once it is seen that nothing exists, despite appearances, and that indescribably essential and fundamental simple awareness is at last known, the game is seen for a game, and the game is no longer its own limitation. Just be; or if the game is still clung to, relish it, in all its many miraculous and gentle, astounding and cruel guises. There is nothing, that is not this.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

My Fear Hath Catch'd Your Fondness: Now I See The Mystery Of Your Loneliness.

You could say that awareness isn't dependent upon consciousness. Awareness is, always, whether or not there are bits of electricity firing away in the brain to produce a solid reference point that is identified with. Whether those reference points are there or not, "corrupted" or not (as with brain injury, delusional psychosis, etc), awareness - life - always is. The small thing we seem to be is a convenience, perfectly crafted by itself to apprehend itself, with "aberrations" (altered states of mind, hallucinations etc.) thrown in for variety. Without consciousness, you are that indefinable thing variously labeled awareness, God, presence, Sunyata etc., not a thing, but some essence that simply is, and isn't bound by time or space. And that's what you are, completely boundless, infinite, and eternal, whether you like it or not.

So why do so many feel it as such a horrible thing? Probably because the reflection of the infinite - what we know as day to day life - has taken on the identity of Totality, and as each day to day story of a life comes to an end, we can't take the thought of not existing in what we believe is the only way. Fear of death, in other words. The small self loves to exist - it doesn't want to not exist. It's very understandable.

The possible "good" thing is - the reflection is no less "one" than the indefinable essence, awareness, that it reflects. Splitting it into two - awareness and reflection - is a head's up that the mind is involved, splitting away (as is its job). Take any concept with a massive grain of salt, no matter how brilliant, or simple, or direct, or seemingly "The Truth". When we just get on with it, be it, do it, think whatever we think without picking it to bits - and actually there's nothing wrong with picking it to bits - life is more smoothly lived, with less apparent suffering. And suffering itself is part of the appearance as well. Whatever it is that seems to be happening, it happening just as it must. If the small self can somehow let go of needing to be in charge of it, it can be much more efficient...but it doesn't need to be "more efficient". It only needs to be exactly as it is, or as it seems.

So many people want to train themselves to see what's right in front of their noses, and, in fact, is their nose, and the seeing of it. They are tortured by their thoughts. Well...remember that what we're calling "themselves" is probably the ego, suffering from a rather grandiose case of mistaken identity. There can certainly arise a story of the ego doing its best to train itself to see thoughts as objects, and the objects are not what you are etc., but maybe it's an easier story to just ignore those pesky thoughts. "My" thoughts can do what they like - doesn't bother me a bit. They're not "my" thoughts. They're just thoughts. Awareness is, no matter what. One way of calming down the hyper mind (that is the tool of duality) is to think of your thoughts as oneness (awareness), "thought-ing". Again, whatever thoughts come up, or seem to, are what thoughts must come up. Nothing "wrong" with any of them.

People seem to make a big deal of the story of the "awakening moment" - it's something solid the ego can hold on to and wait for, deflecting its death for "another time". Well, just remember that "what happened for me" is just another nothingness, made apparently "real", and exists only as memory NOW. It's always now o'clock. My fevered (and tolerated) brain tends to put a story to it along the lines of "I realised what I had been looking for all this time was my life, just exactly as it is." There seemed to be a "shift" but not much of one. The thing that seemed to die was the need for whatever was happening to be anything else than exactly what it was. And what it was, and is, is just life toddling along as it always has, unresisted. Very, very, very, very simple! The mind will complicate it; the mind can try explain the mystery of life in any of a billion billion ways. I don't think awareness gives a flying fart whether awakening happens or not. It's just more dust in the wind, a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing, but a hell of a lot of fun, and to be relished.

A good friend of mine (Mike over at says that the ego is comprised entirely of fear. That definitely strikes a chord. Perhaps this is a maxim: Anything you don't want, don't fight it. Go with it. Feel the fear. Actually, you don't have to do a just don't know it "yet"! And there is no yet. Awareness isn't hanging around, getting more aware while your thoughts fool around with trying to figure all this out. You are infinite, eternal, whole, complete and perfect NOW. There is only now. Full stop. And whatever it is you're looking for, it's not what you imagine it to be...boxing it in will keep it ever elusive...and paradoxically, boxing it in and trying to figure it all out is just perfect too. You're doing it. You've done it. You're here, even if "here" is doubts and pain and suffering and financial instability and bereavement. This. Is. It.