Beyond and not beyond thought

Spiritual teachers point to the ever-changing Now and declare:  This is it!  Embrace it.  Be it.  Realize it.

Seekers all over this blue and green spinning planet hear these words and attempt to reach present moment awareness.  We meditate.  We adjust our chakras.  We chant.  We walk in the woods.  We dance ecstatically.  We write poems.  We dream.  We achieve an insight and think we’ve attained something. We try so very very hard to be aware 24/7.

The doer within so often hears words and attempts to claim this awareness.  It comes up with plan after dazzling plan.  And, if your doer is anything like mine, it fails with plan after dazzling plan.  It’s always back to Square One.  After one or six or ten years or a lifetime of this doing/planning/attempting/seeking it can get darn right discouraging.

What else is Mind to do except come up with a plan of action?  It’s what our thoughts do.  They’re so good and diligent at attempting to fulfill our wishes.  Don’t you just want to hug them for trying again and again and yet again?

Yet the poor dears seem destined for failure.  No matter how hard we try, no matter how much we insist, thoughts can not create the Ultimate Plan.  They can not lead us to the Promised Land of Ourselves.

Why?  Because present moment awareness pulses in an all-encompassing dance that surrounds and encompasses thought.  Because present moment awareness sings as freedom, whilst thought prunes into categories and explanations.

Our Mind may read those sentences and determine that thought is an enemy to be conquered.  (Just get rid of thought, Thought advises, and you’ll get there.)  But thought isn’t the enemy.  Thought is a good friend, a great tool, standing ready in love to assist your bidding.  Thought need not be annihilated, even though it may be ready to try to serve your greatest desire.

So many plans of Mind leave us standing at a dead-end, weeping.  We’re not there yet, we cry.  We think up an explanation which attempts to explain our tears.  We’ll say sentences like:  I know I’m not there yet because I still think there’s a self.  I know I’m not there yet because I’m not 100% awake and aware and in the present moment.

Thought sobs at our tears and starts another Big Plan…simply to fail the next day or six months later.

Around and around and around the karmic bicycle we pedal.  (If this is our proclivity.)

Suddenly or very slowly we begin to realize that thought will never get us to ourselves.  Because we’ve never left ourselves.  Because this–this present moment awareness–is what we’ve been seeking all along.  We’re like a baby in womb trying to find her mother.  Her mother completely surrounds.

Thought isn’t the proper tool for realizing this pulsing dancing singing zing of present moment awareness.  Thought is like a calculator.  You wouldn’t expect a calculator to appreciate the beauty of a sunset, would you?  And yet that’s what some of us do sixteen times an hour as we seek the home which calls us.

So what do we do about this thought tool?  Is there any way for it to serve present moment awareness?  (My thought delights that it’s being asked!)

“Remind me gently to simply notice what’s already here,” I say to thought.  “Remind me to relax into this present moment awareness which always exist.”

Thought rushes off to comply.

Relax, it says periodically throughout the day.  Feel what IS before this thought.  Look.  Oh my goodness! (And then, perhaps, it stops, flabbergasted, for nothing it might say could add or take away from what appears, so complete onto its ordinary and miraculous Self.)





No separate self



So you know how non-dual folks say things like “There is no separate self” and our separate selves wrinkle our noses and try to figure it out logically?  We puzzle and fuss and kick up some dirt and attempt to rationalize what the heck that sentence means.

Then some of our minds set to the task of not only figuring this out–but applying it!  Thus we attempt to figure out how to fix our separate selves and spend the next sixteen years tweaking and changing and attempting to make our separate selves less separate.

Oh-my-goodness, it’s an endless merry-go-round!  (One should not say anything about non-duality to our separate self for so many of us will rush in with ego’s tools to create the latest desire: a non-separate self.)

Seventeen teachers from every walk of existence have uttered:  “It’s not about fixing the separate self” and I would read and hear that sentence and think “Yep, you’re right.  No, you’re wrong.  Yep, you may have a point. Forget you–I HAVE to fix all my compulsions and cravings asap!”

Depending on the day, month or year I would listen respectfully and agree, or assertively and disagree.

The mind continued its agenda of attempting to fix and heal and la-de-da, all the while seemingly knowing, “There is no separate self”.

We all know it’s one thing for the mind to understand non-separation.  (Or think it understands.)  It’s another thing entirely when the understanding hits the little toe.  When it arrives at the gall bladder.  When it informs your next step toward the kitchen, or bathroom, or computer.

When the literal understanding–there is no separate self--finally begins to penetrate through one’s thick skull.  (Some of our skulls may be thicker than others.  Mine has been particularly thick.)


This is huge, folks.  (Hey, there’s no separate YOU, either!)

The minute you type that sentence you see how ridiculous it is.  How the separate self will try to create a new reality from that assertion. A new rigid belief in non-separation.  Or it will fight with it.  How it will attempt to figure it out.  How it will pour the living reality of twinkling movement into a cemented belief and attempt to live from that instead of the twinkles.

And how OK that is!  Because it’s just Life doing what it does.  Life is doing what it does!  (I have typed this sentence eighteen times in the last decade and barely understood it, even though the mind had it wrapped up in Christmas paper ready to eagerly deliver to the next seemingly separate self.  Heck, my separate self may not understand it tomorrow.  And that’s OK!  Because it’s not about you and me.  It’s about us.  And we are the ocean, the Universe, the spinning planets and the tiniest ant crawling beneath sneakers.)  We are about life twinkling and moving and flowing and singing itself into apparently separate shapes when it’s really an unbroken whole, an infinite unspeakable mystery.

This heart is singing in delight and it may be crying in frustration with total by 10 a.m. and it’s all OK–because it’s not what/who I am.


Even spiritual arguing allowed



The mind is an amazing computer, is it not?  It sorts, categorizes, discriminates, reminds, organizes.  It scans the environment for pertinent information and assists us daily in making decisions, deciding directions and determining options.  What a gift!  Don’t you love it when you’re down the basement, clueless as to why you marched down the steps, and the mind whispers so helpfully, “The sauerkraut!  You came down to get the sauerkraut from the food room!” and you suddenly remember and bow before the wisdom of the mind, “Oh thank you so much, Phew!”

Three cheers for the mind.  (May it continue to cooperate with the whole of us evermore, Amen.)

Then again, let’s now ponder the effects of our beloved mind.  Our mind–being what it is–likes to create.  And simplify.  It adores putting Life into something simple, utilitarian and handy that it can produce at a moment’s notice to save us from offensive lions or bears.  It is not attracted to confusion and chaos and not-knowing.  It simply wants to know and keep us safe.

It will take huge murky subjects and decide “what it believes”.  It also creates the entire world of separation, subject and object, and then draws a sword to defend the separate self it hath created.  It fixates attention on certain aspects of the world and determines what is verily true or false.  It often decries shades of gray.  It many times latches upon either 1) white or 2) black and proceeds to defend its viewpoint onto death.

“Off with their heads!”  shouts the Queen of Hearts in Alice and Wonderland.  Is that her answer to the opinions of the world, or an invitation to move the energy lower into the heart and body?  Without the mitigating effect of the heart and body, we often remain trapped in our mind-worlds, defensive and ornery, insisting our singular simplified viewpoints unto death.

And, oh, how our minds contain singular simplified viewpoints at times.

An invitation to wholeness often starts with examining the mind’s rigidity and exploring that truth.  Is our latest belief true?  Can it ever be proven true?  Is it accurate?  Is it true NOW?  (It may have felt true six weeks ago, but is it true in the living moment?) One then takes the question into the body and feels attached sensations.  What are the sensations attempting to clarify about the belief?

It is interesting (and sometimes painful) to watch spiritual folks fight.  They sharpen their spiritual knives and attempt to behead the opposing viewpoint.  Those of us trained to recognize the arising of duality also fall prey to defense.  Sometimes we even fight more intensely than those without spiritual background.  I know I have struggled more intensely in the face of dualism after recognizing the All.  It’s as if the stakes go up.  You’ve seen the world implode and you can’t go back to the poker game betting the same dollars. Ego often kicks in with a vengeance insisting that its way is the only way, damn it!

Spiritual folks will post amazing non-dual statements on Facebook.  Then another fellow comes along and bashes the thought to death with other spiritual-sounding words.  A third person defends the first viewpoint.  A fourth person agrees with the second.  It’s a hoopla!  Then comes along another being throwing out all non-dualism.  “This non-duality is all crap!” announces the fifth.  Sixteen people arrive to agree with this position, followed by seventeen who defend.  The war accelerates.  All in the name of non-duality.

If one has glimpsed the non-dual with no separation between internal and external, one may have recognized the inherent wholeness.  When spiritual folks argue in our world and we feel an internal reaction, who is really fighting? The external world and the internal world are ONE.  (Yes, we could argue the validity of that statement until the cows come home, but I don’t know how to better utter this in actuality.  I could say that the external world is a mirror to the internal, but that still implies duality.  It’s one thing.  This, just this.  Unless we’re viewing it from relativity.  Then it’s 10,000 separate things.)

When the alleged external world exerts an unsettled inner sensation within us, Mind is ringing our school bell.  Here’s where we can learn!  Where our limited viewpoint can be opened.  If we’re listening to a separate thought and religiously believing it:  here is yet another opportunity to expand our world.

If I listen to spiritual people disagree and feel uncomfortable–here is another golden moment to relax into the challenge of staying present with the raw sensations arising.  My stomach may hurt; the chest feels hard and painful.  Which position am I defending at the expense of another?  Where am I rigid, fixated upon a belief which no longer serves the whole?  Where am I feeling confused, raw, chaotic, disturbed?  Can I feel where the ego feels lost and threatened? Can I stay right HERE without propping myself up in a comfortable viewpoint which eases my pain, my not-knowing?

Ahhh, yes…I relax a bit more…allowing yet another lost child back into being.  There is room here for all sides.  The sides that fight, argue and judge.  Yes, you too can exist here.  You too can post your status on the wall of Mind.  You too can love or hate non-duality.  You too can hurt. (And the side that doesn’t want to accept fighting is allowed too, the darling pacifist, another precious “separate” shard of self.)

What isn’t allowed Here in what is?  Where is the sacred cow that can be brought into consciousness?  What no is ready to be transformed into a yes?  What yes is ready to allow a no as part of the whole?

I bow to my teachers every day.  Thank you, spiritual ones, for arguing and disagreeing and bringing forth more unconsciousness unto the light.