“That little one never made it”

Who we are

Adyashanti shares an interesting story.  I am paraphrasing from memory, but this is the gist:  A spiritual seeker tells him–I want what you have.  Adya appears puzzled.  What do I have?  The spiritual seeker says–I want to be enlightened, to be awake, to be realized.  I want what you got.  Adya replies something like–oh no, I never got anything.  That young man never got anything.  That little one never made it at all.

This story comes back to me at times.  Like this morning.  Sitting here on the couch, thoughts appear in the background.  They keep referring to a “me”, to a Kathy.  They continue to reference a solid separate person with certain characteristics.  The foreground of consciousness watches them appear and disappear, appear and disappear.

I sometimes want to explain to my friends and blog readers here on line.  To tell them what happened, what shifted, how the outgoing blogger and social media participant dissolved–poof!–now you see her, now you don’t.

I want to make up a story telling you where the person went. “This is what happened,” I will say, craftily spinning a tale, pretending that there is an actual person who can come and go, arise and fall, create stories and fall silent.

But the stories can’t really be told without fabricating more creative non-truths.  I can’t tell you anything about me without shape-shifting into a me.  (Which is perfectly OK if that’s what the Universe wants to do in this ever-changing moment.)

Sometimes, like this morning, there’s a nostalgia which arises for the person.  Oh, that little one, that one, where is she?  I almost want to create her this morning out of sticks and stones and a rib from Adam and some grinning amusement from Eve.  To craft story after story to make a solid character who acts predictably in certain ways, who is dependable as the heroine or villain of the tale.  Or who loves acting unpredictably!

(And some days she returns–oh here I am, darling!  Let’s play today.  What character do you want to be?)

But it doesn’t seem possible right now.  It’s as if the old characters have fallen away into the snowy woods, a snowman melted away, the archetypes empty icicles gleaming in the weak January sun.

Matthew of Biblical fame says it this way:  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

The fullness that remains when one dies while still alive! Wow!  What appears in place of the stories is truly amazing in the most ordinary way.  Fingers typing, can you imagine?  The wood stove humming?  Thoughts and stories appearing? To enjoy encounters with people more than before, but without needing anything in return?  All without reference to a central character, a separate person?

Perhaps it was Adyashanti who said that you may lose the separate self but what you gain is the whole world. The whole darn world!  Can you imagine that?

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Does it matter if anyone shares your spiritual perspective?

Our creations

Many faces

Does it matter if your best friend understands or cares about your spiritual viewpoint (or lack thereof?)  Does it matter one iota if your husband or wife understands he/she is not a separate self?  Do you ever need to convince a single other person about the validity of your worldview (or non-existence thereof?)

I don’t know about you, but most of my friends do not care at ALL about non-duality or non-separation or Oneness or whatever.  Some of them seem politely interested.  Some of them are even intrigued.  But on a fierce and passionate search to discover THE TRUTH?  I think not.  Believing it’s even possible? Wanting to think about it or live it 24/7?  Nahhh.

And how many people have you met who have sought and sought and sought and sought and sought until giving up in exhaustion before realizing THE TRUTHLESS TRUTH which existed all along?  Have you met one person?  Six?  A baker’s dozen?

More importantly, does it matter?

My husband has five percent interest in discussing spirituality.  A very few friends exist with a moment-to-moment understanding of flowing as the river of life.  A handful of friends like to ponder spirituality, what makes the personal self tick, the meaning of the Universe.

And isn’t it all fun to ponder this and that?  To dissect the motives and actions and thoughts and intentions of the separate self?  It can be a blast doing that for most of this lifetime.  There’s always the possibility that we’ll figure ourselves out and finally be happy and content and peaceful and satisfied, right?

Or one can simply jump off the wheel of self altogether, the mandala of spirituality or philosophy or psychology.  What’s left after the jump?  Anything one can discuss with another living soul as you free-fall without a net?

Years ago I talked about spirituality with every Tammy, Dianne and Harriet. Every Tom, Dick and Harry.  You want to talk about Native American spirituality?  Kundalini energy?  Buddhist meditation?  C’mon, friend, let’s GO!

(This blog is really the only quiet corner of Universe where these typing fingers decide to share about “spirituality” any more…although the word spirituality does not begin to describe what *simply is*.)  And perhaps they only type because someone may be suffering, may feel a passionate desire to KNOW THE TRUTH, thereby starting the endless seeking…which eventually may lead to giving up…catapulting one into the endless now…which has always existed as the only truth, always available, always present, always whole.

But does it matter if your significant other or best friend cares about non-duality?

ABSOLUTELY NOT.  (Excuse that dualistic pronouncement, but does it really matter one iota?)

Everyone believes what they believes, inspired by what inspires.  I used to think it was important to be surrounded by friends with similar interests and spiritual inclinations.  But isn’t life more exciting with simply everyone and everything appearing with their own seemingly separate views and likes and dislikes?

Everyone is the Absolute appearing as a temporary separate self, an illusion, a trick of Maya with her twinkling wink.

Everyone reflecting a different diamond reflection of the whole.  You, and you, and you, spinning into existence and out again.

 

 

The trouble with non-existence

What nothing reveals

What nothing reveals

Here’s the trouble.

You talk to people about non-existence and–darn them!–

they have nothing to say.

What’s there to say about nothingness? the mind thinks

how boring, how mundane, let’s turn the page, keep moving, pour the

next cup of coffee, spill the beans somewhere else.

You want to shout:  But, no!  Don’t turn away, don’t leave, don’t allow

that shackle of mind to ditch emptiness, to turn it into something unappealing, yesterday’s ho-hum, what’s interesting here anyway?

I want to shout:  but nothingness is everything!  It’s everything we’re dreaming about as we buy, buy, buy

as we seek entertainment, fun, happiness!  As we seek and peek

for Santa’s next gift it’s been here all along, all year long, in eternity.

What’s nothingness?

It’s peace so peaceful you relax into holy communion.

It’s love so compassionate your heart accepts everything, even the

unacceptable.

It’s song so clear, so pure, so full!

It’s embrace of your dearest beloved, your bitter enemy.

It’s allowing every quibble, lonely tear, angry fist without

condemning quibble, tear, fist.

It’s joy so sweet the sense of you shatters into a million hugs.

 

Yet, I’m not telling the truth.  Toss this poem into a muddy ditch!

Nothing can describe the nothingness our mind imagines.

Anything uttered is not that, not that, not that.

Don’t be intimidated by a thought that says the lake is too unfathomable, too deep.

Jump in!

Only if we want to get wet, to realize we and the water are the very same amazing nothing

we’ve been running from in so many stories we tell about only

fleeting sparkles of something.

The peril of absolutes

Dolphin fin

Dolphin fin

Do you notice how often the mind operates in absolutes?

It so often insists that one part of life is ultimately correct, while the other is not.

Seekers everywhere entrench in one aspect of Life, insisting this is “the way”.

We might find ourselves thinking, “We don’t have to do anything on the spiritual path.”

This may be correct–at times.  But Life itself does many things. It pays attention, notices, thinks, feels, inquires and acts.  It’s a regular multi-ring circus of doing.

We then might find ourselves deciding, “We must do something to become enlightened.”

This, too, may become a trap if we strategically take this as a belief and attempt to implement. Because Life is also a non-doing game. Any attempt often strengths the ego, that capacity to want and not-want.

Spiritual folks can argue for lifetimes about the value of doing or not-doing. It can be helpful to look deeply at WHO is doing or not-doing any activity. Who is that mysterious chooser?  Is it really the individual, that peacock of personality?

When we look from the perspective of ourselves as individuals, it looks very much like we have choice. We think, we act, we choose. It seems utterly obvious.

However, if we’ve widened our perspectives to glimpse or realize oneself as reality, the game changes. We see choice arising effortlessly, with no central doer implementing action. Life arises, Life flows. It acts. It does. It doesn’t do. It’s a seamless sea of itself and we can’t really say anything about it. But we do and can experience it every single moment.

This sea of Life contains everything. Therefore, absolutes do not translate. Duality refuses to divide itself into sharp opposing categories.

When we hear a thought expressing, “This is the way it is”–take notice. It may be the way it is in THIS moment. However, in the next moment it’s likely another way. And in the next moment, it may revert to the first way. Then it’s another new path altogether, wandering a new stretch of the forest.  Life is ultimately creative, patterns flowing together and apart, constantly moving, constantly still.

This is why it’s difficult to utter anything which is ultimately true.  How can language do justice to such aliveness?  It can not capture the beauty of such a moving changing arising. It can only carve out slices of it, tidbits, and attempt to describe the finite in a way that doesn’t include the constant changing.

I watch thoughts labeling, discerning, judging, issuing absolutes. How slyly these absolutes attempt to maintain dominance! How cunningly they dissect the world into something manageable, clean, understandable.

Ultimately–how impossible. The flow arises again, falls away, creates something new in the next dolphin-fin of a sparkling moment.

One moment I find myself doing something.  The next moment…no doing required.

Opening to honesty and truth

Honesty and truth

Honesty and truth

Last night a friend expressed her anger at another friend.  I listened, my stomach and chest knotting in dismay.  Later my friend said, “I dislike people who aren’t honest about who they like and don’t like.”

I awoke at 5 a.m. thinking about this, trying to puzzle out something coming to the surface.  It is clear that if an emotional reaction arises that something is knocking at the doorway, a piece of the puzzle waiting to reveal itself.  It’s as if awareness wishes to clarify itself.

What did awareness want to illuminate?

When we say, “I don’t like such-and-such or so-and-so” and there’s an inner emotional contraction, that can feel like truth to us.  It is an imminent immediate truth.  Sometimes, those of us with more positive proclivities, refuse to allow this truth, labeling it “negativity”. We proceed to feel negative about negativity, refusing to allow this truth of self-expression its existence.

I realized this morning that there is an imminent honesty in negative expression.  The person refuses to repress her dislike.  She feels the revelation is true and real and honest in the moment.  I have not seen this clearly until now.

What is also true is that awareness need not stop with a negative projection.  There is a deeper truth, a deeper honesty incubating in that revelation.

“I do not like so-and-so,” we say to ourselves, expressing our truth-of-the-moment.

What is the deeper truth?

The deeper truth may require patient, gentle and loving presence.  It may be accessed through inquiry or grace or divination.  The deeper truth peers into the contraction of dislike to discover hidden gems.

Our natural state of awareness is very open and compassionate.  It allows existence to express itself–without exception. The eyes and ears and smells of awareness love by allowing life to express everything, even death.  Even everything our judgments attempt to fight.

The holy moment of the now is a cornucopia of spirit.  Life materializes endlessly, like the flow of a river.  When we resist this flow, something hurts.  We feel this as contraction.

“I do not like that,” we say honestly.

The deeper truth wonders why.  Why are we resisting this expression of life?  We can stay at the level of honesty of this revelation, or we can inquire toward the roots of our dislike.

As we peer inward, wondering, wondering, different answers may arise.  Different feelings appear.  The spiritual journey invites us to penetrate our resistance with compassion.  What can’t we see due to the blinders of our own limited perception? What further truths evade us because our honesty hasn’t reached the root?

As seemingly separate individuals, we often divide the world into “me” and “other”.  In the natural state of direct experience it often becomes clear that this division is arbitrary and conditioned.  We are taught to view ourselves as separate beings.  That becomes our truth at one level of the human journey.

When we begin to recognize the oneness of perception, the indivisibility, of “us” and “other” we realize that so many judgments against another actually reveals something about what we can’t yet embrace in the now, in this sacred moment.

There actually is no separate “I” and no separate “other” as we delve deeper and deeper into the truth.  There is only flow or awareness revealing itself.

“I do not like that person,” can be heard in a very soft way, realizing the honesty inherent in that expression.  It also can be seen as a beginning path of honesty.  To walk deeper and deeper into ourselves to discover where we dislike ourselves, where we turn away from compassion, where we refuse to feel pain, reveals negativity as a path toward revelation.

What truth do we proclaim?  What honesty do we adhere?  Do we continue to move into hidden pain, teasing it to the surface of consciousness, asking softly for it to dissolve what we don’t like into the pool of understanding, of love?

So often we pause at a level of honesty and truth establishing it as our new belief.  But an invitation always exists to follow the river of truth deeper into the forest.  Every moment holds a new opportunity, doesn’t it?

Perhaps life never finishes revealing new truths about itself, new possibilities of awareness.

What is truth?

Last night I thought about writing a blog post sharing what Truth might be in these eyes, in this unfolding.

For me, Truth is what is happening now.

It is What Is.

It is not subject to morality, discernment or judgment.

It’s what arises.  It is not an intellectual concept to debate.

Truth is what IS.

For you it might be eating bagels buttered with jam.  It might be drinking a glass of Chardonnay.  It might be laughing with a friend while simultaneously feeling nostalgic.  It might be driving to the North Pole, unable to see the road.  It might be feeling like you’re misunderstood, dying of boredom, frustrated, wanting to punch your partner.

Whatever.

Truth is what is appearing.  Untarnished.  Raw.  Unfiltered.  This, this, this, and now THIS.

It’s a physical feeling, as well as a spiritual knowing.

How to recognize that raw truth and respond from it–rather from the inner thoughts which paint their own picture of how reality should be–is the continual invitation of awareness. It is the place from which response rather than reactivity arises to meet the moment.

Today the Kathy wanted something so much.  She wanted to celebrate her daughter’s birthday in New York City.  That was the wanting, the desiring, the wishing, the impetus.

Truth followed a different agenda.  Truth involves a merging of Life beyond what the Ego wants.  Yet it doesn’t dismiss the ego.  It allows the wanting to arise.

Yet it’s the Truth.

What happened is that Kathy is home in the woods in blowing snow and her daughter is far away.

What I want is the Truth.  What is appearing.  The blowing snow.  The raging wind.  The dashed dreams. The revelation.

Love IS what appears, even though the thoughts so often miss the Present of that realization, the gift of it.

Are we separate from our environment?  Are we separate from what’s appearing?  The Truer Truth is what is arising.  That is what I surrender to.  That is where I bow this head.  What I want is only a small fragment of the jewel.  What appears is the jewel itself.

Shine on, Jewel.  Shine on, even while we humans continue to add our wanting, our vulnerability, our arising.

 

 

Resonance

Reflection

Reflection

Let’s say we hear or read a spiritual teacher speak about some concept–any concept, really–and we really resonate with it.

We feel the truth of it down to our bones.

Maybe it’s not a spiritual teacher that resonates.  Maybe it’s a song, or a painting, or the words of a friend.

We know it’s the “truth; we feel it.  We “get” it.

However, by noon Friday, the energy we felt seems gone.

We can’t pull it back into a feeling of resonance.

What remains?

Thoughts about the resonance.  Thoughts about the truth.

Now we’re in a totally different territory.

We’re now in a mental map explaining reality, instead of experiencing reality.

We’ve seemingly lost the immediacy of present now-ness with its resonating truth, and our minds have often created mental images and physical sensations attempting to recreate it, remember it, memorize it, judge it, categorize it, replicate it.

Every spiritual teaching ultimately contains the poison of becoming a dead concept.

Once it’s a mental concept, watch out.  Even the most “truthful” teachings no longer assist.  They remain as zombies, walking living dead.  They live forward only as a map, a mental construct, a has-been.

I have grabbed on to so many teachings, feeling the resonance, the great ah-ha, the knowingness.

Then have watched the mind turn them into dust.  Or dangerous poetry.  Or painful knives thrusting into the heart again and again.

A third possibility is that the spiritual teaching is embraced with its resonance and then gently released in the next moment.  One lives deliciously dangerously continually leaping into the abyss of not-knowing in the next completely unknown moment.  The concept is neither embraced or rejected.  It’s experienced as an ever-open palm facing upward, allowing it all, constantly letting go.

Easy or hard to do this?  I don’t know.  Only a mental construct would dare guess.

Let go of these words immediately if you resonate or disagree.  Turn toward the next truth which arises even as the mockingbird sings our last revelation, yesterday’s resonance.