Friday, December 17, 2010

Knowledge Becomes Understanding

What I know as Awareness seems to be taking hold, but it feels more like letting go -- letting go of everything. Everything seems to be at a distance. Even people saying things just doesn't have the meaning it used to have. Sort of frivolous most of the time. So it's like I hear through a fog.

Awareness is here just watching everything. This space I'm in is empty in a sense, but full. The fullness is from a distance, and yet close. Best I can describe it.

No bliss. Just waiting for adjustment to settle in. No rush. I'm not going anywhere, and certainly not doing anything, though things get done. The lack of involvement personally in things is a little odd, but this dispassionate feeling has been coming to the fore for a long time.

Reading Vedanta texts is like fresh clean water that wipes the last bit of dregs from my understanding. Appreciating the tradition of Vedanta is rather different for me, as in most cases, religion for example, tradition is a killer.

But in the case of Vedanta, it is a science. It is not a religion. It is not a set of beliefs. It is more like a path to understanding. The tradition is valid because it works.

It is a science because we are all required to prove it to ourselves. We become the proof. As a science, knowledge is essential. It is a requirement. Trying to permanently capture an experience doesn't work.

For one such as myself who was always attracted to the Jnana aspect, experience alone just didn't cut it. The final knot was undone for me as knowledge became understanding. Not that experience wasn't a part of that knowledge.

Experience becomes knowledge, and knowledge becomes understanding. The heart and the head become knowledge. And understanding is all.

Dead Baby Dream

Among a number of dreams I had last night, I recall only this episode.

A baby died and was buried. Apparently others who knew the baby, people I knew, heard about the death and wanted to make a big deal out of it. They found out where the baby was buried and began digging it up.

It seemed that I was there because those digging were related to me. But it wasn't clear to me who these people were, or how we were related.

The grave was dug up, and the little wooden coffin exposed. The women were all being dramatic about how small the coffin was, and how sad it was for such a young child to die.

Meanwhile, I stood in the background, not really participating. I couldn't feel any sadness. I could see no point in digging up the grave.

I felt no need to work at dredging up feelings about it. I couldn't appreciate the drama of it. It was what is was, and I knew that no one had died. I knew that everything was O.K.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Doubt

What is it that maintains "ignorance of the self" more firmly than anything else? It is doubt, and doubt comes from the intellect, the thinking, discerning mind.

The mind wants understanding on its own terms. It easily confirms and acknowledges experience, but it needs its own form of proof to relax and let go. It may even dislike its own doubt, but if it is honest, it wants satisfaction on its own terms.

As a spiritual seeker, you may have had a number of epiphanies, intense, unitive, and ecstatic experiences. They may have come with immense authority beyond measure. And yet they ended. They disappeared and went away.

Where does that leave you? Satisfied? No! Now you have a huge mote between experience and intellect - a gulf that seems insurmountable. The intellect remains, but the ecstasy is gone.

Without the feeling intensity of the experience, the intellect doubts the validity of what was experienced. Without the authority of the experience in full bloom, the intellect feels bereft.

The intellect acknowledges the experience, but it cannot understand it. It does not have the feeling capacity of the experience. It is left, as in a wasteland, looking for the meaning and significance of the experience.

As you know, experience is often outside the realm of reason, and does not easily succumb to investigation. Doubt sets in and disturbs the mind greatly, with no end to the pain. Somehow the gulf opened up needs to be crossed.

To dispel doubt, the mind needs help. It needs a method to see, on its own terms, what was experienced. So how does the mind examine doubt? It needs to satisfy itself in its own field, with discernment, logic, and reason.
It needs to examine doubt in its own light.

If the cause of doubt resides in the intellect, then the answer has to be satisfactory to the intellect. It needs a means, a science, a method of investigation.

That means is self inquiry. And self inquiry requires brutal honesty, brutal logic, and brutal persistence. This inquiry has to be pursued with the intensity that was revealed in the experiences. Yet this inquiry must be done with the mind, the full participation of the intellect, so the end result is conclusive, without doubt, satisfying the mind.

The intellect needs to have the same degree of satisfaction from inquiry, that the feeling experiential side, of you, received from epiphanies and ecstasies. Where the epiphanies may have come uncalled for, self inquiry is work.

Knowledge via self inquiry takes effort. You have to show up, and you have to do the work. But, like any science, there is a history, and there are methods, and they can make the path straight and narrow. A good scientific method can save years of time.

The science of self inquiry, Advaita Vedanta, has been around for a long time. How many thousands of years is not really known, but it has proven its worth over these years, and it works today. It is not a belief system, nor a religion, but a systematic means with various techniques that can lead to the end of doubt and the end of seeking.

The term "enlightenment" came out of the ancient East where is was defined and refined. They honed the terms, the methods, the questions, and the pointers. They have left it to us in the Vedas. But it is up to each one of us to take up the inquiry and find the answer for him or herself. 

The end of seeking may not be bliss, but it is peaceful, and it is satisfying. The force is with you.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Perfect World

Ah, this perfect world! Awareness loves all of it, and just the way it is! The perfection is that it couldn't be any other way. There is no measure by which to claim anything less than perfection.

What meaning there is, is in the mystery. The body-mind thing need not concern itself. It is but a localized view anyway, one of many. Nothing is really happening, even though it appears to be. 

These localized views can be ignorant and mistaken, but it matters not. There is nothing wrong with the ignorance, for it is only apparent. Each and every being is innocent. There is never a guilty verdict.

When one knows that he is the knower, what more is there to know? The quest is over. No seeking has ground. It doesn't matter what happens next. No plan has any effect. All is still.

The end of time is the end of seeking. Death has lost it's sting. The knower and the known are one. The gestalt has shifted. The one is the One. All ones are One. No two exist.

When one steps out of time there is no going back. Each step goes nowhere. Every step that is taken is always here. Only this moment, always now.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

When Understanding Dawns

When understanding dawns, so many things drop away. The needs you used to have fall like leaves from a tree, preparing for winter. The future is nothing to worry about. It will be exactly as it is supposed to be.

You no longer have to clean your mind, or watch your mind, it is stilled by understanding. Whatever thoughts arise are seen to be useful or not. No matter. If they are to be acted upon they will, if not, not.

Even prayer does not arise. When everything is known to be perfect, and everything is unfolding perfectly, what is to be prayed for? What needs to be changed? Since you are That, who will you pray to?

Everything becomes simple. There is a body to be taken care of, but it is not you. You provide what it needs. The mind no longer needs much as ego needs have dissolved. If such a need appears to arise, there is nothing behind it, to drive it forward, and it dies after arising. No effort involved.

There is only one Will operating in the universe. Aligned with That, what is an appearance going to do? It is not even possible to consider. Nothing left to do, but relax into That.

Understanding takes the person out of the picture, as the many become One. The personal becomes impersonal. Everything stands as It IS, as It always has been, and always will be.

There is only stillness, You watch the changing scenery, knowing that nothing is happening. Nothing has ever changed. Peace is all there Is.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Three States

The sages repeatedly refer to the three states all humans know: being awake, dreaming sleep, and deep dreamless sleep.

I always wondered why these states were so commonly referred to. What was the significance of these states? What was being pointed out?

I awoke from deep sleep with this on my mind. "If enlightenment is the deep understanding that 'I am Awareness,' how does this relate to the three states?"

I began to ponder what would be another way to say, "I am Awareness." What came to mind was "Presence Being Aware." With this interpretation I took another look at the three states. I was looking to see what could stand behind the three states. I wrote down the definitions that came to mind.

1. Being awake = Presence Being conscious.

2. Dream Sleep = Presence Being subconsciously imaginative.

3. Deep sleep = Presence Being aware of nothing.

What I like about these definitions is that it is apparent that the One thing standing behind the three states is Awareness. I also like the fact that these definitions make a distinction between awareness and consciousness.

Needless to say, I have always felt that a distinction needed to be made between awareness and consciousness. It has always been an irritation to me that  many use these words interchangeably. The distinction that I feel needs to be made, is that Awareness is attribute-less and consciousness is not.

This distinction removes the need to refer to awareness as pure consciousness. We can now say that Awareness is the attribute-less field in which anything can become conscious, and it is the objects that have attributes.

Now, back to the definitions of the three states as defined above, their significance seems to be clearer. The sages are pointing out that in deep dreamless sleep, you are not there. At least you are not there as a person. Presence is there as Awareness, ready to wake up, but no person is there.

If reality is changeless, and you as a person are not present in deep dreamless sleep, then the person you think you are is not real because it disappears every night. Presence is there, but a person is not.

In dreaming sleep, you as a person appears. Your subconscious which thinks in symbols, creates stories from the interaction of symbols. Since you are there, you may remember the dream when you awake. What was also there was Awareness.

In the waking state, you know yourself, and your dreams, and your restful sleep. The peaceful rest you report was while you were gone, during deep dreamless sleep. So the report can only come from Awareness which was there. That which was present during dreamless sleep is also present in the waking state, Awareness.

The importance of the three states for the sages has been to point out that during part of every day, you as a person are not there. Therefore, you appear and disappear. This makes you only an appearance in reality.

Only that which stands behind the three states and doesn't change, can be reality. That which you really are is Awareness. This establishes the fact that the definition of enlightenment as the deep understanding that "I am Awareness" is correct.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What are we looking for?

One of the problems for seekers is the fact that they are searching for something (Enlightenment) which they have not clearly defined. What is worse, there are countless teachers talking about Enlightenment who also do not define what they are talking about.

We can assume that in the seeker there is a strong sense of something missing. The strength of this longing validates the seeking. So the seeker is off on the journey seeking enlightenment. However, because that "something" remains undefined, the seeker is subject to looking everywhere and anywhere.

The goal being undefined, leaves the seeker listening to anyone and everyone who claims to know something about the subject. Not knowing what it is, anyone could have it. Anything could be it! The seeker is now subject to any and all pseudo logic and experiential pablum. What is the seeker to do?

First, the seeker must realize that if one does not want to spend forty years looking under every rock, and behind every bush, one needs to have some idea of what the goal is. Some definition of what enlightenment is, needs to be determined. Without a good definition of the destination, it is only a wilderness.

If we begin by noting that the conclusion of the Vedas is that Consciousness is all there is, and that it is non-dual, perhaps we can define these and related terms, and chart a possible path.

If you look at the definitions below, gleaned from on-line dictionaries and shortened, one might begin to be able to define what Enlightenment is. The four words that are fundamental are: knowledge, experience, consciousness, awareness.

Knowledge: The sum or range of what has been or can be perceived, discovered, experienced, or learned.

Experience: Direct personal participation in, or perception of, or observation of, a particular incident, thought or feeling, that can be remembered and its impact known. It may be considered subjective, but not easily dismissed.

Consciousness: The sum total of everything that can be experienced, thought, felt, perceived, conjured, or known.

Awareness: That which allows sense data, however subtle or gross, to be registered as consciousness. That which is aware of everything is Awareness, and everything that can be known or experienced, happens in Awareness. All that is, or can be known, is consciousness, and consciousness appears in Awareness.

Based on these definitions, we may be able to mark a path to enlightenment.

1. If everything is one, then individuality is an appearance.

2. If individuality is an appearance, and I exist, then to know who I am, I must find the source of the appearance.

3. To find the source of appearance I need to get rid of my doubts and prove to myself that consciousness is all there is, and that my body-mind is an appearance only.

4. To prove that consciousness is all there is, I need to analyze all my sensory input, all perceptions, and determine that everything that appears out there, and in here, is in fact, experience only.

5. Once I know that everything is an interpretation only, and that all interpretation is consciousness only, I still need to know where consciousness appears.

6. Consciousness appears in Awareness. Awareness is the ultimate perceiver, for it has no attributes. It is the capability, the capacity, and the potentiality of knowing anything and everything.

7. If anything and everything that has ever been conscious, can become conscious, or will become conscious, appears in Awareness, then that is what I am. As the enlightened have always said, "That thou art."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Ends the Search

Vedanta is said to be the "knowledge that ends the search for knowledge." I have found this to be true. The bottom line of searching is to finally know with certainty who I am. When one finally sees that one can be nothing other than Awareness, what more is there to look for? One can't go any further because Awareness is attribute-less and not an object of experience.

No more questions can be asked. It is the end of the road. A great peace descends. There is no more great itch to scratch. There is also absolute certainty that there is no one who needs saving, and no reason to shout it from the mountain tops.

There is no one here and nothing is really happening, only appearances with mistaken identities. What is said to be obvious by the sages, has always been true. Once the obstacle of ignorance has been removed, with knowledge, understanding arrives. Awareness is the knower, and consciousness is all there is.

The method for removing the obstacles has been around for a long time. It is called Advaita Vedanta. It was recorded, written down by the sages of India, thousands of years ago. It was not hearsay then, and it is not hearsay now. It is not fuzzy logic.

It worked thousands of years ago, and it works today. It is a tried and true method for removing the the ignorance that clouds the minds of apparent persons. When the ignorance is removed, one sees one's true nature as Awareness. It feels natural because it is true.

Vedanta is a true science of mind. It has only one goal -- the removal of the mind's ignorance of its true nature. It is proved each time an apparent individual uses the method and finds the Self as undivided Awareness.

Vedanta asks no one to simply believe. It may require some faith in the teacher or the scriptures, but the whole system is based on inquiry. It asks in myriad ways, "Is this true? Is this true? And one has to do the inquiry oneself, to prove it to oneself.

If you want to get a taste of the method, a good source is "Notes on Spiritual Discourses of Shri Atmananda," taken by Nitya Tripta. These are the inquiries of students of Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon." It is a free download from a number of sources on the Internet. 

The sages confidently say, "Prove it to yourself. No one can do it for you." Try it. It works.

http://www.advaita.org.uk/discourses/downloads/notes_pdf.zip

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anxiety and The Racing Mind

I don't worry about being here "now." Whatever is on my mind is here now, whether I am thinking only about what I am typing now, or bringing the past into the present moment, or bringing the future into the present moment. Everything is now. In fact everything is always just this.

It seems to me that when people talk about having trouble being in the now, they are really talking about intrusive thoughts, a racing mind bringing in thoughts about the past or the future. In effect, worry. It is a form of anxiety. I used to have that problem, but I don't any more.

I would advise not to try and directly stop the racing mind. Directly stopping the racing mind is impossible because the racing mind is a result, a symptom of unresolved issues. To stop the racing mind the issues need to be resolved. In other words, the stopping of the racing mind is an indirect result of resolving issues.

What I am trying to point out is that you can spend years trying to stop or control a racing mind and only succeed in wasting a lot of time. The racing thoughts problem isn't going to be stopped by force of will. It is only going to stop when the cause is removed.

In my case I was not looking to stop my racing mind. I was looking to resolve the inordinate mental anguish I was immersed in. At one point I even became aware that my mind was racing because I was trying to outrun my pain - trying to think my way out of it.

If there is an enormous amount of pain, and you try and rationalize your way out of it, your mind is going to race. The racing thoughts are are trying to outrun pain, they are screaming, "You need to resolve this!" Not doing so results in anxiety.

You see, the reality is, you experienced pain, or mental anguish, and somehow you did not fully experience it. It got repressed. You have unfinished business. On a personal level, to get back in touch with reality, the unexperienced pain needs to be felt. It needs to be felt to put you back in touch with your personal reality.

Now, I am all about getting to Impersonal Consciousness or Awareness. But it is going to be difficult to get there, if you have a ton of personal stuff in the way. Consciousness wants to experience everything, and if you have unfelt pain, it is going to insist that you feel it. Consciousness isn't going to avoid anything. It will not let you off the hook.

In my case, I went to a therapist who did Gestalt work. It was done in a group. I primarily worked on my dreams because they spoke the truth of what was going on in me. And what the dreams were symbolizing over and over was the pain.

When I did break through into the pain, it was enormous, and it was terrifying, and yet the experiencing of it allowed it to leave. At first it seemed bottomless, but eventually it cleared itself out. This did take a few years.

What happened when the pain was experienced and let go of? There was nothing left to try and outrun with my mind. I didn't have to try and rationalize my way around it. The result was a quiet mind.

Since then my mind has been extremely quiet. It thinks, but very little, and it doesn't have thoughts coming in unwanted, or having some other agenda, other than whatever task I am presently doing.

At work, whatever I am working on is all that is going on. Away from work, most of my leisure is spent on thinking about, or experiencing non-duality. It is what I want to think about. It is what I am. There are no intrusive thoughts.

If you really want to look at the issue of repressed pain and its relation to a racing, anxious, mind, read the book "The Primal Scream" by Arthur Janov. It made a difference for me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Enlightenment is not a Particular Experience

There is a problem with enlightenment. The problem is that it seems to have a myriad of definitions. If one cannot define it, then how, even after fifty years as a seeker, would one ever know one had achieved it. This shocking thought has probably come to most seekers at some point. Ramesh Balsekar talks about this in one of his videos on youtube.

Most seekers start out reading about enlightenment, trying to understand. There is a lot of literature that talks about experience, especially the Western mystical literature. The experience of the Saints describes a variety of mystical experiences in the pursuit of God.

Seekers read these accounts with avid interest. The experiences seem out of this world, way beyond normal, and seekers may unconsciously take in the belief that enlightenment requires one to have this type of experience. Worse yet, the seeker may take on the belief that this type of experience is enlightenment.

Sooner or later, the dedicated seeker is likely to have one or more of this type of experience. These are very powerful, and often carry an authority that is beyond words. The power of such an experience is utterly meaningful, and has the feel of the absolute.

Then the experience, however wonderful and ecstatic  passes, and one is dropped back into one's normal state.
Dropping back into one's normal state after an ecstatic experience of Oneness is not fun. It feels like one has lost one's most precious friend, lost the most meaningful experience one has ever had.

This loss may even lead to depression, because after the experience has gone, the normal state of the world seems barren, like a desert, a no man's land. This is a problem.

The problem with these experiences is largely due to their power. They are so powerful and meaningful that one is easily convinced that "This is it. This is enlightenment. This is what I have been looking for. This is what I have to keep to be enlightened." And so the experiencer is off in hot pursuit of regaining the experience.

But what if such experiences are not enlightenment? What if this is just an experience, although a powerful one, and not enlightenment? What if enlightenment is not an experience? What if the experience is just a message, a special message, designed to wake you up to something more permanent?

Experiences come and go, no matter how mundane or high and out of this world. Doesn't enlightenment have to be something more permanent than a state, an experience? Realization is a waking up to Reality, and Reality is unchanging. What do we do then, with an experience that is mystical, beatific, ecstatic beyond words?

The only thing we can do is examine it. What is the message of such an experience? Obviously it is a message that points to something deeper, more permanent. So we need to ask questions. We need to know what the experience means. What might it be pointing to?

We could ask, "Who did this experience come to?" Now we are back into "Self Inquiry." A good place to be, as this self
inquiry is a method expounded by the sages. Self inquiry is also not a search for experience, but for knowledge and understanding.

By the time a seeker is having mystical experiences of this nature, it is likely that they have also discovered that we are not who we thought we were. Perhaps we have even read that we are consciousness, and that life is actually impersonal. If we apply this knowledge to our mystical ecstatic epiphanies, we can go deeper yet.

As all experiences come and go, this ecstatic experience is like all others, a pointer, not the Reality, because Reality is unchanging. If the experience then, is not enlightenment, and we need deeper understanding, what do we use?

This is where the mind comes in. On examination, we can come to some conclusions. Since experience comes and goes, it can't be enlightenment. So what doesn't come and go? Awareness doesn't come and go. Where is awareness? Everywhere. I have awareness. My teacher has awareness. My dog and cat have awareness. Awareness never changes. Awareness is real.

One plus one equals two, no matter what experience you are having. Awareness is, no matter what experience you are having. It is the background of all your experience. You are Awareness whether you know it or not. But when you know it, it is knowledge you can count on.

Considering the unreality of experience, and considering the fact that you exist and are aware, it is apparent that enlightenment is the knowledge that one is Awareness. Of course this is not just an intellectual knowledge, but a deep and abiding knowledge, an understanding that includes one's whole effort: experiences, thinking, intuition and heart.

If one knows that one is Awareness, with conviction, on direct observation, including all one's experience, all one's thinking, and all one's heart, then one's knowledge is firm. This understanding is enlightenment. Understanding is all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Background of Vedanta

A person has many varied experiences in a day, yet somehow one still knows, I am me. One may feel happy or sad, thoughtful or anxious, the states come and go. Experiencing all these different states, one might think the person would feel discontinuous, but that doesn't appear to happen. One still considers oneself an individual.

How is it that one doesn't loose oneself? The inference is that there is something stable behind the individual, something ongoing, something real. The unchanging background of awareness is what Vedantins call it. And the One who knows this is called "Realized."

As the person remains himself, or herself, despite the constant changes, just so, consciousness itself remains one, despite having the experience of billions of different bodies. Not only is this similar to the person's sense of retaining individuality, it is the same thing, for the background of all persons, that which provides the background, is Consciousness itself.

Vedanta establishes that there is no difference between an individual having various passing feelings and thoughts, and consciousness having the experience of billions of bodies. The person passes in an out of feelings and thoughts, and Consciousness knows the passing in and out of experience, of all the bodies.

The experience of the individual, and the experience of Consciousness are One and the same. The only difference is that the individual feels that his body-mind owns the consciousness, whereas, in fact, the individual is only a focal point in consciousness. The mistaken identity is simply ignorance. To "realize," is simply to see through the ignorance.

Body-mind states come and go, yet the person knows himself as one. Consciousness experiences the coming and going of bodies, yet knows itself as One. The coming and going of body-minds does not split consciousness into the many. There is only One in many forms. Realize that and be free.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Common Awareness

I am aware of seeing through these eyes and viewing objects. I am aware of thinking about the objects I see. But who or what is looking out of these eyes?

I did not create this body I am looking out from. Neither did I create this mind that seems to possess this body. This being the case, this body-mind is an object - not a personal self.

If this body-mind is an object, who, or what, is looking out these eyes? Who or what is taking in the scenery? Who or what is experiencing this particular body-mind?

Since I did not create this body-mind, calling it "myself," is rather immodest, a taking of liberties. No object in the universe is known to be uncreated. It appears that this body-mind must be an object of that which created it. I can acknowledge this much, but who then, is here?

For that which created me to be here, looking out of my eyes, it must be something subtler than this body. If it can be inside of this body, and look out my eyes, it must be something formless, yet aware.  

I can neither see nor touch what is here looking out, yet it is definitely here. That subject is what I have always been looking for, even when I didn't know what I was looking for.

What is looking out my eyes, your eyes, all eyes? We can all agree we have a common Source. So whatever is present behind our eyes, must be common to us all.

What is common to us all: humans, animals, and all of life? Nothing but Awareness, the Grand Subject, the Great I, playing on its own stage.

I am That. You are That. All is That. Nothing personal. Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Knowledge is Power

A simple story of lights in the office where I work is a good example of ignorance.

Most mornings when I get to the office the lights in my area are on. Some mornings, they are not. It turns out that a few people know how to turn the lights on and the rest are ignorant of it. Until that person comes in, and I don't know who they are, we sit in the dark.

Typically, when the lights are out, we wait for someone to come in who knows how to turn the lights on. Usually it's just a few minutes, then miraculously, the lights come on.

One morning, I sat in the dark for a long time. I could see my monitor, but not the keyboard. I happened to go by the desk of someone close by, also sitting in the dark. I asked him, "Do you know who knows how to turn on the lights?"

"Sure," He answered, "I know how to do it."  As he got up to go do it, I said, "Perhaps I should follow you and see how you do it?" I followed him around the corner and a few feet down the hall where there was a light switch. He flicked the switch, and on came the lights.

"Funny," I said, "I have passed by that switch hundreds of times and never noticed it. Knowledge is power, isn't it?" He answered, "Yes," with a big grin.

Enlightenment is a lot like this. Awareness is familiar, it is close, we live and breathe within it, but we don't know it is there. Meister Eckhart gave us a clue when he said, "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me."

Awareness is staring us in the face, 24/7, and staring back at us as well, 24/7. We just don't notice it. We don't even know to look!

Assuming that the darkness is noticed, and that there is earnestness to find the light, all we need is correct knowledge and the willingness to look. Knowledge opens the door to the fact that Awareness is what we are, not something we have. The right pointers and an open mind bring understanding.

Years can be spent looking with Awareness at Awareness, for enlightenment, without knowing that we are what we are looking for. Without recognition, we can be it, and not know it. Knowledge awakens us to what we have always been, but overlooked.

Thank God for the teacher that can point at the knowledge, because he knows where it is.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Awareness is Not a State

Awareness is not a state. It is that on which states appear. You cannot experience awareness itself because you are awareness, yet everything you experience is in awareness.

The beauty of awareness not being a state, is that you cannot loose it. In fact, you have never been without it. You don't have to do anything to have it, it is already yours.

The reflection of enlightenment in awareness, however, may change what is experienced. An enlightened mind may experience life differently: the absence of suffering, or less frustration with the way things are. 

When one first gets a glimpse of oneness, the mind may feel an overwhelming bliss, or ecstasy, but bliss will not last. It is a great experience, but it is not permanent, and it is not enlightenment. When it goes, one may be rather dismayed, yet if one can take the experience as a pointer, it may lead to the understanding that is enlightenment.

With or without that blissful experience, you are awareness. Enlightened or not, you are awareness. You can't feel awareness directly. It is a potentiality, a constant, eternal readiness for experience.

Awareness is the foundation, the potentiality, for knowing, for experiencing, any and all things - however gross or subtle. It is the field in which interpretations of experience are labeled good or bad.

Enlightenment then, if not a state, can be nothing but understanding - understanding of the fact of non-duality. Those who understand we call enlightened. Yet all, with or without understanding, are awareness, and are standing in non-duality.

Experience is experience, it does not necessarily translate into knowledge. And it is knowledge that is required for enlightenment. Enlightenment is not getting something you didn't have, it is the realization that you are that - eternal awareness, waiting, ready for anything.

In enlightenment, you realize that the ordinary is okay. You do not need what is not in the world, you know that whatever is out there, or not out there, does not affect you. Your happiness is not out there, and seeking for self has ended.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Teacher Points

A small group of new students gathered in the room. A young man, quite impatient asked, "How do I find out who I really Am?"

The teacher said, "We'll get directly to it. Please everyone give your name." The students proceeded to do so.

"I am Jane."

"I am John."

"I am Ashley."

"I am Charles."

"Very well," said the teacher, "tell me a little about yourself."

Each student proceeded to provide a short description of their background and interests, and what brought them to the teacher. Then the teacher spoke.

"Each of you has described your attributes. Each of you has spoken of your Jane-ness, John-ness, Ashley-ness, and Charles-ness, but you have all overlooked something very fundamental. Each of you prefixed your name with 'I am' but none of you have talked about that."

John said, "That's just a matter of phrasing. It's typical. It's just grammar, you know, the way we talk."

"Is it?" said the teacher.

Jane piped in, "What does 'I am' have to do with talking about myself?"

"Well, said the teacher, "It seems to me, if you each prefaced your name with 'I am,' that it must be fundamental to you. Have you overlooked something?

The students sat in silence.

The teacher said, "All of you provided descriptions of your attributes, that which describes your apparent separateness. Even your names provide attributes, maleness with John and Charles, and femaleness with Ashley and Jane. What I am asking is what is common among you, and not separate?"

The students were again quiet, pondering.

After awhile the teacher spoke again. "You see, all of you have overlooked that which has the attributes. Wouldn't you say that that which carries the attributes is more fundamental to you than any attributes you attach to that?"

Several of the students nodded "yes," but said nothing.

"Consider," said the teacher, "that 'I am' is fundamental to each of you. 'I am' is the one statement for which you need no proof. Would any of you say that you do not exist?"

They all shook their heads indicating, "No."

"So, when you say 'I am' you are saying first, 'I exist' and only secondarily you are qualifying yourself as Jane, as John, or Ashley. Do you not see that you first are stating who you really are, and only secondarily that you are Jane or John?"

All were still silent.

"When Moses was on the mountain where he received the tablets, he asked God, 'Whom shall I say hath sent me?' What was the answer he received?"

Ashley spoke up, " God said, 'Tell them I Am has sent you.'"

The teacher said, "If God is I Am, then we can agree that 'I Am' is fundamental?"

The students eyes were getting big. Something was dawning on them.

"We overlook 'I am' and get caught in attributes. But our attributes are qualities. These qualities are like clothes. The clothes that God wears."

John and Ashley's jaws were dropping open. They had never considered this.

"I am is common to each of you in this room. I am is what you must have first, to be Jane, or John, or Ashley or Charles. Your parents said I am and your children's children will preface their names with I am. It is not a part of common speech by accident. It is fundamental. Can you see that I Am is what each of you are, before you forget yourself, and took yourself to be Jane or John?"

"Wow," said Charles, "I never saw it that way."

"Ah," said the teacher, " You are beginning to feel that presence, that something that is more basic to you than your attributes. I can see it in your eyes. That's good.

"Do you see that there is a common essence, an I am-ness present in each of you. It has no attributes, so it is easy to overlook, but it easily takes on attributes. Each of you are really that. Your Jane-ness, or Charles-ness, is really a presentation in I Amness. And each of you have taken the clothing as the real you.

"Some call it consciousness. Some call it the 'I principle,' but it is that which we overlook. It's easy to do. Having overlooked this, we begin the search. But we search for what we already are. We are looking out of what we are searching for!"

"So, what am I?" asked Charles."

"You are that. 'I am' has sent you into the world to play Charles. You are an actor on the stage of the manifested world. As Shakespear said, 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.'"

Charles just kept saying "Wow." The others were silent.

Knowing that this was enough for the evening, the teacher thanked them for coming and and went to make coffee.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Understanding

The teacher is at peace because he is standing as the background. Just as the movie screen is at rest, whether a movie is playing or not. The teacher is resting in understanding, no matter how animated he may appear.

The teacher is aware that nothing is happening. This is the truth. Standing as awareness, the pure background, everything else is just the dance of appearance. The fundamental, pure I, remains unchanged.

The teacher knows that whatever appears to be happening, changes nothing. His stand is in the absolute. All that appears to be happening can be enjoyed, but it changes nothing.

The understanding of the teacher is not personal. For seekers to place the label of "enlightened" on the teacher is misplaced. The teacher is an appearance as well, and can't claim enlightenment.

Seekers only lack the simple understanding of who they really are. If they understood, they would know that there is no difference between them and the teacher.

Satsang is really a comedy of errors. The teacher knows where all the questions are coming from. Their fundamental error is all the same. That is why many sages  proclaim that "The answer is in the question."

All the teacher can do is answer the questions until the questions stop. And the comedy is, that once understanding dawns in the seeker, the seeker disappears as well, having fallen into the impersonal himself. 

Nothing has changed, only understanding has dawned. The play goes on. The ordinary continues. There are ups and downs, but rest is there, and questions don't need to be answered.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Do Objects Exist?

Material objects are known to exist only because we say so. Our senses of sight, hearing, touch, etc., tell us so. Any object we claim to know is entirely a subjective experience. We ourselves are the proof that the world exists.

Do objects exist without our perceiving them? We've read of someone hit by a bus they neither saw nor heard, or the soldier killed by a snipper's bullet he never saw coming.

It appears that objects do exist without our senses having to perceive them. But that does not make them separate. That we perceive objects seems to indicate that we and objects are made of the same stuff.

To be able to perceive what is, implies a common foundation with what is. It cannot be separate if we can see it, smell it, touch it. A common underlying principle must be present.

What is common to all perceptions is consciousness. We tell a friend, "Go to the museum and look at such and such a piece of art." Our friend goes and sees. Doesn't this show that the same consciousness that is in us, is in our friend.

It is obvious that there is one principle behind what is. That principle is awareness. It was present when you saw the art, and again when your friend saw it.

When you saw the art, awareness became conscious of it. When your friend saw it, awareness became conscious of it again. Two people, different times, same aware presence.

That presence is always everywhere aware. It is conscious of all experience. There is nothing separate from it. Consciousness is all there is.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Veil of Objects

It is the apparent utility of things that causes us to focus on objects and forget the Oneness of experience. The utility of things causes us to conceive objects, which are actually concepts. Yet the field of existence remains One.

Concepts are utilitarian and we focus on them, naming and dividing until the world is full of things. We name all things, creating separateness where none exists. Naming is the veil we cover Oneness with.

Our naked experience is no longer seen, or knowable, and intimacy is lost, out there in a world, of created things.
One is sliced and diced into a million objects, named, categorized, and filed away.

We are dressed to the nines in concepts, robed in words, defined, refined, and abstracted into a billion things. We are the king of concepts, the king of naming, the king of separateness.

Yet behind the veil of separate things, I alone exist. I am not named, not defined, not separate, and not divided.
I am all experience, and do not label it good or bad. Everything is a sharing of myself alone. At peace with all.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to Look for Who You Really Are

When we start looking for who we really are, we start looking where we know to look. We actually start looking in the areas we know. What we don't realize, is that we are looking in boxed sets of assumptions, unquestioned opinions, looking through beliefs, looking via religions, philosophy, psychology, etc.

But the answer is not there! The answer is closer than that! Closer than your body. Closer than your mind. That is why so much looking goes nowhere. The answer is not where we are looking, and we don't realize that we don't know where to look.

Without help we are likely to have to plow through all the religions, all the philosophies, all the psychologies, and exhaust them all, before we even get a hint that we are looking in the wrong place.

This is why it is often stated that you need a teacher, a guide. Because, if the teacher knows, the teacher can keep pointing out that you need to look closer, that the answer is closer than all those beliefs, closer than all your assumptions, and outside the boxes in your mind.

The simplest thing is to look at what is subject, and what is object. Investigate if an object is really "out there," and you "in here."

Remember that the only proof of "out there" is your own self. Everything you see "out there" is sensed by you, interpreted by your body and your mind. That interpretation is all done in YOU. So where does that object actually exist? ONLY IN YOU!

And when you see this, you see that there is NO "out there." There is only here. And when you look at your own body, and your own mind, you see that even yourself is an interpretation of the senses, interpretations of the mind. And if you follow this to the conclusion, you can only deduce that what you are, and what everything is, is SUBJECT only.

If subject only exists. Then YOU are THAT. When you see it, it is very simple. It changes your perspective, you no longer see anything "out there." All is SUBJECT only. All is  only now, always and forever, and only as it is. And you are THAT.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Background of Enlightenment

Some teachers say, "You don't have to put out effort to be enlightened. " Paradoxically, they are correct. Yet the seeker doesn't get it. Can the seeker get it without effort?

Probably not! The seeker who doesn't get it, may need to put in some effort. For, though the truth is that they "are that," they do not recognize that to be the case.

The paradox itself has enabled some to get it. For others, they seek something, or a teacher, that to them feels more helpful. Of course, they will need the help until they don't.

Some seekers would insist that their search for Truth isn't even their own, and they can do nothing to stop it. These are the lucky ones. They can't help but make the effort. They are pulled by their own future, like an addiction.

Wherever the true seeker looks, in every form, whether physical, or conceptual, the obvious is there. In every function, the obvious is there. Everything is pointing, and everything is resting in that.

Everything is resting in the obvious. Everything is standing in the obvious. And what is this obvious thing, this silence, this rest? It is the background on which this appearance and every function rests.

Everything that is, points to the background on which it rests. There is no need to run from thoughts, to run from pleasure, or run from pain. Just see on what, in what, these forms and functions are appearing.

You and everything you see, touch, hear, and feel are in That. Every thought and feeling are in That. And That you are!

You are the Truth that has always been lurking in the background. How else would you see? How else would you know? You and everything else is dependent on the background. How did you fail to see that?

Truth is quiet, allowing, open, spacious, loving, and independent. It is aware. You are That!  Enlightenment is but the recognition of That.

In the recognition of that, the seeker disappears. The one needing help disappears. And since what we are has always already been there, enlightenment is often described as a "non event." It is as ordinary as waking up in the morning.

The only thing we ever did was place our attention on everything appearing, and not noticing on what, in what, it all appeared. A big mistake, so obvious, one can only laugh, or cry, and wonder.

And then you are in the position of saying that it is so obvious. You say that to others. And they in turn, look at you as if you are teasing them, because it is not obvious to them. A fun game, is it not?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Awareness is Alive

Awareness is alive. It is ready for anything to appear. As soon as something appears, awareness becomes conscious of it, whether it be seen, heard, thought, or felt.

Everything one can be conscious of dies, yet awareness remains. So one can say that all appearances are dead. None will last. Awareness alone remains.

It is awareness that is life. Everything in the universe is but a step child appearing for a moment. If you are aware, you can never die, for all things, including your body, mind, thoughts and feelings appear in that.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Analysis of Backpacks and Wedding Dresses

A reader sent this analysis of my dream "Backpacks and Wedding Dresses. I think it's pretty good.

From Dan:

Having read your Backpack and Wedding Dresses post, I couldn't help but notice it seemed in connection with your "Arrested" dream, and so I was moved to offer up an interpretation. Overall, this seems a very positive dream. I gather that was your feeling upon awakening? (Of course, having money thrown at you never usually generates a bad feeling!)

As you know, when exploring the implications of non-duality, no stone can be left unturned. Unfortunately, it can often be difficult to deal with the stuff that is unconscious, what Jung calls shadow content, since, well, its unconscious and the self-aggrandizing ego would rather not look at it. In this sense, the stones are often not even seen, much less overturned.

The beautiful thing about dreams is that the shadow content is presented, and can be looked, at even if ego wishes to avoid it, or tries to make something else of it entirely. In this respect I find dreams to be of the utmost value and take them "seriously". From your comments, and the dream work you've done, it appears you do, too. So, for what it's worth, I offer up this interpretation in the spirit of one fellow dreamer to another.

Here's the synopsis.

SYNOPSIS
Worried-father-ego doesn't understand, or particularly want for his son the lifestyle he is leading. Presence points out that those foibles are necessary for growth. Unconscious-clearer-seeing ego accepts this and sees no need to change anything, and accepts his son's perceived foibles unconditionally. Presence, always there to assist, guarantees spiritual rewards when this prescription is followed.

LONG VERSION

SYMBOLS:
Backpacks-- transience, wandering, coming and going, the lived life in the world of appearances.

Wedding dresses-- union, purity, eternal Presence.

Racing bike-- balance, precision, a healthy ego

Children-- newly forming aspects of your son's identity

Adults-- the supporting aspects of Maury

Neighbor-- Presence, close by, at hand, assisting

Money-- what is valued, spiritual riches.

THEMES:
transience, support, safety, acceptance.

--My wife and I have gone to bed. It's fairly late. Then there is a sudden commotion. We hear people running through the house, loud voices and laughter. I get up to investigate.

This is something you are waking up to. Perhaps you have been asleep on it, unaware, but now moving to "investigate". Also notice the dream takes place late at night, the dark, the unconscious coming to the fore. (often the unconscious is symbolized in a dream as something dark or lower, like a basement, or perhaps a hole) So the dream is depicting something that you don't normally give acknowledge.

--He is showing them around the house. I can see that they are friends of his.

It seems to me the children are aspects of your son, not you, as they are his friends. The children are the young, new, not yet formed aspects of your son. You refer to them as vagabonds. They are transient, wanderers who come and go and haven't taken hold yet.

--He hardly notices me. I see that a few woman in their late twenties or early thirties are coming in behind. One man about thirty-five follows. He had a really cool racing bike.

The adults are the ones who care for the children, just as you care for your son. In this sense they are aspects of Maury. Bikes can connote a number of things, the obvious one is balance. They can also be a symbol for the ego since we move from place to place on them just as the ego is a vehicle for Presence in this space-time world. In the case of the former, a racing bike is a very balanced type of bike, a precision instrument, and so your balance regarding the message of the dream is precise. The same can be said of it as a symbol for the ego, it's not some piece of junk you are having a problem with.

--are all abandoned children that are being kept safe by the women and the man. They have no money, so they move to safe places where they can stay for awhile.

If they are aspects of your son's ego, notice they have no money, aren't being given value. They are moved to safe places and your home, where you "live", is just such a place, and is regarded as such by your son since it is he who has brought them here. The "loud voices and laughter" clearly indicate his comfort in this regard.

--I have a big, rambling, country house on the side of a hill.

Houses in dreams can connote mind, with the various rooms suggesting aspects of the mind. A basement, the unconscious; a study, the intellect, a dining room, a place where the mind assimilates (food for thought); a living room, the part of the mind you normally "inhabit" or use, etc. An unfamiliar house can denote a different mind-set that is needed. In this case the house is sprawling and wide so may indicate a more spacious, open mind is helpful. It's placement on a hillside indicates "higher".

--Part of what we do is sell to travelers. We have a room that has racks of backpacks and wedding dresses.

Your having titled the dream with these symbols reinforces the centrality of them in the dream. Backpacks indicate travel, wandering, coming and going. The theme of traveling, wandering, or transience is an important symbol in this dream. As such, perhaps it symbolizes the living of life, the world of appearances. Backpacks are also carried on the back, a symbol of support, and this theme of support is also a prominent motif in the dream at large.

The wedding gowns are a symbol of Presence, of All That Is. Often symbols concerning Presence are like this, denoting union, or purity. Other possible meanings for the symbols of a wedding gown are commitment or new phase, but I don't think those apply as much as does viewing the dresses as a symbol of Presence. Presence, Awareness, is never touched (virgin white) by the coming and going of the appearances. Notice that the children climb a ladder to get them: they  "move toward heaven" to reach Presence.

As a symbol of Presence, the gowns dress the children, aspects of your son's ego, and cover them, just as all things exist IN Presence. Perhaps the dream is suggesting that your son is trying on Presence, just as you have come to in your long journey. Your being "pleased" that the children like the dresses may be a confirmation of this or of your knowing that these aspects of your son are in "safe places", as Presence is all, and no harm, ultimately, comes to anything.

--"Well, we must be meant to let them stay here or they wouldn't have come." We accept the fact that we will have company for awhile.

Your acceptance is unequivocal. Even if the waking ego struggles with what it perceives to be its lot in life at any one moment, ultimately it is forced give up the ghost. The children-- your son and all his perceived foibles-- are here, like it or not, and in no need of the ego attempting to change or deny any of it. In other words, even though Maury(worried father-ego) might be taking these aspects to be deleterious, Presence is pointing out that they are necessary, and will eventually lead to growth, to climbing the ladder, finding the dresses, and union with Presence. In the dream you know this, and accept this to be the case. Only worried father-ego needs to be convinced. This also goes back to the children not having any money, waking-ego doesn't see these aspects as something of value. In the dream, you recognize they are "meant to stay", you give them value, and don't regard them as something necessarily to be gotten rid of.

--I get up early in the morning, and step outside. A neighbor is at my door. He is an older gentleman. He is there with his assistant. He is tossing bills at me, hundreds and twenties.

Now we move from the darkness(night) of the unconscious to the light(day) of the known, or that which is not in shadow. The neighbor is another symbol of Presence. A neighbor is someone you live "close" to, and nothing is closer than Presence. Presence is there to "assist" you as symbolized by the assistant. It is "eager to help", and is showering you with money, a symbol of something of value.

Your acceptance of all the uncomfortable stuff that leads to worry, brings a new day with spiritual riches, since Presence only deals in spiritual gifts, not mundane ones. Not just for you, the money is for the children, the aspects of your son which have been difficult and a source of worry for you. Maury, allowing What Is to just be ("meant to let them stay"), without wanting to change it or head it off at the pass, gives everyone shelter, safety, and wakes to a brighter day.


Additional comments;

Now, maybe I assume too much, but: Notice that your son "hardly notices me" (typical!). Perhaps he's not looking to you to solve all his problems or to overtly guide him, but he obviously finds your "house", your point of view, comfortable, as he shows the new aspects of himself that he is trying out around your house in a kind of gaiety. It seems to me that even though he is not overtly acknowledging you, he finds your influence is clear and, I would say, "roomy" like the house. In other words, he's not as deaf to what you have to offer as might appear and, perhaps in his own way, is exploring your guidance just as the children explore and find the dresses.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Circus Came to Town

We are designed not to know, because who we really are already knows. If we knew, where would all the fun come from? Who would keep on playing the game?

We are designed not to know who we are, for who we really are, already knows. There has to be a problem for there to be a story. A conflict is required, and characters in the dark.

The plot is all same, from here to Timbuktu, just different characters, playing all the same parts. Different cities, different towns, different genders; same old story.

The circus "Lila" came to town, and all the elephants have run amok. The Hoi polloi are chasing elephants. A group of wise men have captured one. Feeling in the dark, one says the elephant has changed into a rope, another into a large snake, and yet another into a sail.

Yet someone, somewhere, sees the light, and can't stop laughing. He sees the wise men fumbling in the dark. He knows the circus never came to town, and never left, and won't come back.

One Question

There is only one question that drives all the other questions, so when that one question is answered all the other questions fade into nothing.


The answer is One, and no thing becomes everything.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Conviction

In the nondual literature are many statements noting the requirement of a guru for one who wishes enlightenment. What is the primary factor behind such statements? Is it just tradition? Is it elitist on the part of gurus and followers?

A primary fact that supports the tradition is that so few  ever attain enlightenment. It is a rare event. Being rare, a serious student may easily justify the need to have a personal guru.

For Westerners this is not as tolerable as it may be for those having grown up in the Eastern cultures. Surrender is not a highly regarded trait in the West. Having a guru is one thing, complete surrender to the guru is another.

I believe the critical factor in the tradition of needing a personal guru, is the need for conviction. What the student needs, what he requires, is conviction. As with many endeavors, conviction is a fundamental quickening agent. What the guru can provide is that conviction.

Being in the presence of a guru and seeing the sureness with which questions are answered, supports conviction. Seeing the attitude, the approach, the authority and humility of the guru, also supports conviction.

Seeing that a guru lives what he speaks, and is what he speaks of, supports conviction. Hearing words and concepts spoken with sureness and understanding, promotes conviction.  What is behind the gurus words, and the space from which they come, is also felt.

Conviction on the part of the guru easily lends itself to conviction on the part of the student. The leavening effect of conviction leads to the letting go of erroneous opinions, leading to faster results.

Another factor the presence of a guru provides is "silent transmission." This has been documented and described over the years. Among the faithful this is a given. What is this silent transmission?

Hawkins notes that the aura of the guru is at a different wavelength. Being a wavelength not encountered among the general population, it can have an incredible impact without a word spoken.

Those lucky enough to have been in the presence of a truly enlightened guru are already at an advantage. For the aura does carry the vibration to the student.

The fact that you have been in the presence of an enlightened person may already indicate that you are on the path, knowingly or unknowingly. Otherwise you wouldn't have had the opportunity.

In my case, I have met with and been in the presence of several gurus. I have spoken with others. I did not experience what some call "wu wu." That does not mean that I did not pick up the vibration. At the time, I may not have been ready.

Hawkins says that the vibration of the aura of a guru remains with the seeker forever, even multiple lifetimes. When that person is ready, it will have effect.

As for me, my most revealing and awakening moments have been when alone. Usually while reading the words of a master. Letting the words and the space between the words speak to me, has brought tremendous revelation. It has brought inspiration, ecstasy, and more.

I have always maintained, "Put no head above your own." Trust yourself, whether in what you read, or what guru you follow. This demands that you know what resonates with you. If it resonates, feel free to follow, to allow.

Having a strong intellect and being attached to words and concepts, I have always pursued enlightenment via the mind. Commonly called Jnana yoga. Most say this is the hardest way. I have a hard head.

For me, reading Krishnamurti, Krishna Menon, Franklin Merrell-Wolf, Nisargadatta and others, allowed me to reach depths previously unknown. These experiences brought conviction. Speaking with enlightened souls has also helped.

In any event, it is conviction that makes the way easier -- the grease that makes the impossible, possible. Conviction  is light that helps penetrate the darkness.

Lack of conviction is a stumbling block. Conviction is an aid. I am not condoning stupid fanatical belief. But I am in support of the experience of conviction, which allows one to suspend stumbling blocks of the mind, even for a moment. If a guru helps allay one's skepticism, by all means, seek one out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Backpacks and Wedding Dresses

Ah, but to dream! Ah, and to have a good dream! It's all a dream anyway. Here's a recent one.

My wife and I have gone to bed. It's fairly late. Then there is a sudden commotion. We hear people running through the house, loud voices and laughter. I get up to investigate.

Coming down a long hallway, I see my twenty year old son, walking briskly with a number of teenagers and middle schoolers. He is showing them around the house. I can see that they are friends of his.

Apparently he has joined up with this vagabond troupe and he has brought them home. I stand and watch as he shows them around the house. He hardly notices me. I see that a few woman in their late twenties or early thirties are coming in behind. One man about thirty-five follows. He had a really cool racing bike.

In awhile I learn that these are all abandoned children that are being kept safe by the women and the man. They have no money, so they move to safe places where they can stay for awhile.

I have a big, rambling, country house on the side of a hill. Part of what we do is sell to travelers. We have a room that has racks of backpacks and wedding dresses. The wedding dresses are small, more for young girls to play with, since like dressing and wedding gowns are fascinating to them.

I see the middle school girls climbing the ladder on the wall and pulling down the dresses, trying them on. I am pleased that they like them. After awhile I look at my wife and say, "Well, we must be meant to let them stay here or they wouldn't have come." We accept the fact that we will have company for awhile.

I get up early in the morning, and step outside. A neighbor is at my door. He is an older gentleman. He is there with his assistant. He is tossing bills at me, hundreds and twenties. He is writing checks, all different amounts. But it's a lot of money.

He tells me that I am going to need the money to take care of all these kids. He is eager to help. I pick up the bills and checks. I am very surprised by all this money being given to me. It is such a shock that I wake up.    

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Stolen "I" Principle

We take the "I" and beat our chests and prance around like peacocks, thinking we are so special. Are we?

We have taken the "I" principle and absconded with it. We are thieves, each and every one of us.

All the adjectives, pronouncements, and declarations are all extensions of the "I" principle. We make ourselves into something with all these adjectives. Our descriptions of ourselves, emboldened by our opinions, create a self - a little self.

We have all become a little self, an ego, a prima donna,
masquerading as something special, self made. It is all a lie. We have placed the trappings of illusion on a pedestal. We worship ourselves.

But the "I" is stolen. It is stolen from the One, the only "I" principle. We have stolen the grand principal "I" and covered it with a peon's robe.

Without considering the Source, we have taken ourselves to be something we are not. Our egos have run off with us, proclaiming immaculate conception, as if we were some self made being.

We are pretenders, naive, duped by our own unexamined assumptions. We never look back to discover our naked presumptuousness, our foolishness.

We have run off into a world of our own illusions, lost in fantasy, lost to who we really are. This is worse than "the Ides of March." For we are fallen. For we have wandered off without foundation, without true knowledge.

For the "I" principle is primary - irreducible, and without attributes. It stands alone. It is the being of the "I" principle. The One, the Only, the True.

Every apparent self has participated in this thieving folly. Every apparent self has made this mistake. But the wise  one looks back. Looks back to the Source.

The "I" principle never left. The "I" principle never changed. It is the very base on which our apparent selves have taken wings. It is for us to turn around, to stop, to look.

And if we stop. And if we look. Perhaps we will see the One, standing there behind us, holding us up, loving us, knowing who we really are. And perhaps we will wake up.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Prison of Attachment

I have a son who is a living a lifestyle that is hard for me to understand. It is not the typical lifestyle of someone raised in a typical Midwestern city in the United States.

I am not his judge. But I am his father. I have an attachment to him. When he doesn't do what I would do, I worry. Perhaps I don't worry like I would have at one time, but there is still attachment.

I am reminded of Nisargadatta saying something along the lines of, "get to the place where you have no need of friends." Of course, Nisargadatta is not just talking about a big narcissistic ego; he's talking about realizing that there is no separation. Furthermore, he talking about knowing the Presence. And knowing is being at One with that.

Dreams can sometimes be quite revealing about what is going on in the mind. The symbolism of a dream carries far more than words. I dreamed that I was arrested with my son. The reason for the arrest was not significant, or known, in the dream.

We were both handcuffed and put into a police car. I recall having a very strange sense about the arrest. I could not defend myself as the paradigm I was in, would not be understood by the police. I was upset about the situation, but not angry with my son, though there was some sense that my son was the cause.

At this point I woke up. Awake, yet having just been arrested. This dream perfectly expresses what my attachment to my son is doing to my sense of self? It puts it in prison. Except for this attachment, I would be free.

All attachments are like this. It is worth meditating on.

"Full Stop" MP3 Audio Podcast Review

I had the opportunity to listen to a wonderful podcast by Charlie Hayes. I wrote a review, see below.  A link to the podcast is at the bottom of this post. Charlie's website is http://beingisknowing.blogspot.com/
 
Maury's Review of "Full Stop" - An audio podcast by the spiritual teacher - Charlie Hayes

I just listened to Charlie Hayes' mp3 titled "Full Stop." This is about as good  as it gets. If you are ready to get this, you don't need to hear anything else, or read anything else. Honestly, it's all here. Where is here? Where is now? Nowhere. Bottom line, done, you're - finished!

You don't have to change yourself because what you really are, you already are, and it is here, and now, everywhere and nowhere. Do you get it? If not, try listening to Charlie's new mp3, "Full Stop.” While listening to spiritual work, I wait silently for the feeling of resonance. I have to say, that for Maury, there was resonance. I also have to say, that for resonance to be here, "I Am" has to be present. "I Am" was present.

You don't need to worry about who you are, because you have no control over that. For heaven's sake, if you had any choice, would you be listening to Charlie's latest mp3?

From beginning to end, the concept Maury, being rather arrogant about what he's read, could tick off the major universals brought  into focus.  The best of the best. There was an authority to the words spoken that can only come from the "I Am." Neither arrogant, nor humble, just what is, expressed, As Is. What else is there?

The silence and love with which the mp3 ends, says it all. You don't get to silence without letting go of a lot of obstruction, because what you are is already present, just not accounted for -- covered with bullshit -- mostly thought. You can seek what you already are, but it's like a dog chasing it's tail.

Charlie enlightens some of the stupidity propounded as spirituality; a major one being, trying to get rid of the "me." You can't. There is a body. It is here. It is present, and it does exist. The question is, "Is that who you really are?"

The suffering of trying to get rid of the me can be released, not by getting rid of yourself, but by realizing that that is not who you really are. You are That which is nowhere and everywhere. That which Is, whether you realize it or not, is what you really are. You are that presence, and you have never left.

If you insist on using your mind to find the answer, Charlie's recommendation is to deconstruct. You can blow your mind by earnestly asking the simple question, "Who am I." Not in a cursory manner, but deeply, profoundly. You can do this by doing a Full Stop at "I am." Everything after I Am is bullshit - opinion, projection, conjecture.

To point out the quick departure on which thought will take you for a ride, Charlie points out that, "The second you say 'Being' you are no longer in it. Now you are in concepts." Most of us have little awareness of how much of our world is a construct, and it is the constructs that cause suffering. I need say little more. If you are ready, all you need to know is in this mp3. Honestly, what is, Is, in this recording,
 "Full Stop."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Recent Dr. Hawkins Quotes

A student asked about comparing herself with other people, having feelings of jealousy, wanting to be like other people, and Dr. Hawkins replied:  “You can’t be jealous of what the person is – only of what you perceive and think they are.  You cannot see Reality.  You have no idea of what Reality actually looks like. …  What you are dealing with are your own projections.  Everything you see is a projection… {Wanting to become like another person…} … that is an adolescent trait, comparing yourself with others.  (They have more money than I do.  She has a prettier blouse.)  It’s an unwillingness to let go of that.  You are getting juice out of it.  You can’t compare your reality to them because you don’t know what your reality is!  You are not seeing who you are.”

Another student asked about blocks that occur to experiencing a spiritual state.  Dr. Hawkins said, “Why don’t you just experience the experience, instead of intellectualizing it and thinking about it? … You can mentalize endlessly instead of just trusting your intuitive knowingness.  You need to trust your own intuitive knowingness more.  Give up your thinkingness.  The thing is to give up all your thinkingness about it and just be, from moment to moment.  You don’t have to write a dialogue, okay?”

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Only a Story to Tell

I've been playing around with an autobiography of my childhood.  I wrote it in a fit of passion, feeling that it was important. That was forty years ago. It doesn't seem so important now. More of a curiosity.

Its been hanging around my desk like an old dish rag. Like old furniture -- should I throw it out? Is it of any use? Shall I just play with it! Yes, to play with it seems best.

I have no big purpose in working on it now, other than play, and simple curiosity.  A curiosity to look back on my childhood. To look for clues as to what made me such a seeker after truth. A curiosity as to whether it would be entertaining to others to read.

Making it public on a blog just seems like more fun. Will it interest anyone? Do they care that it is full of typos? Will readers care enough to point them out? Perhaps I will get some good suggestions on how to improve it.

Putting it out on a blog doesn't seem very personal. Is it really my story anyhow? Is the story about me? Or, is it just a story -- a story of a body mind, privy to this particular appearance?

The feeling here is that it is just a story. It is not my story, because I know I am not a body, nor a particular mind. It's just that awareness is here, and knows this story.

The blog is called "heart of darkness revisited." Here: http://heartofdarknessrevisited.blogspot.com. In blog form I can get comments, a plus, but the book is backwards, as the latest chapter is up front. Oh, well, readers will figure that out. Being anal, and wanting chapters in order, I also put them on a google site as well,  http://sites.google.com/site/surkwilu. But the site doesn't take comments, as far as i can tell, so if you have any, leave them on the blog.  Enjoy!

What's to Watch?

A few random thoughts do come into awareness now and then. Mostly they are the dregs from the long spiritual search. They are thoughts, such as, is there anything more for me to do? Anything more for me to search for? They don't carry much weight. So that's a good thing. Like I said, they are dregs from the bottom of the barrel.

A sample random thought might be: Should I watch my thoughts? Yet, I don't see how I could watch my thoughts as there are so few anymore -- mostly related to whatever task I am doing in the moment. Nothing intrusive. Not much left but to do, but be, responding to the moment.

Enough Already

We can talk about subtle refinements that relate to understanding non duality till the cows come and the dog is asleep. However, at some point, even the subtleties of non duality become trivial banter.

When there is wonder -- looking at the rain, a flower, a puppy, and you have no answers, is that not enough? When you feel the intelligence, the love, the incredibleness of it all, what more do you need?

Do you need an answer? Does wonder have an answer? Does awareness of the all pervasive intelligence need an answer?

What questions arise now? What need is there? What more could you search for? Is there anything else you need to know?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Grave Site

Two weeks before my Dad died, my brother and I went to the hospice to visit him. He was feeling relatively strong that day, so we got him out of bed, dressed him, and got him into a wheelchair. After talking for awhile, Dad said, "I want to go see where I will be buried."

Now, if we were in denial, and he weren't in hospice care, this might seem rather ghoulish. However, things being what they were, this seemed like a reasonable request. My brother and I were certainly capable of getting him in and out of my car.

We wheeled Dad down to the nurses station. I informed the nurse that we were going to take Dad out for awhile. She asked, "Where will you be taking him?"

 "He wants to go see where he will be buried," I replied,

This was not what the nurse expected to hear. She raised her eyebrows at me, but I just looked back, straight faced. She then looked at my brother. He was also straight faced. She then looked at my Dad. He said nothing. She turned back to me and said, "When will you be bringing him back?"

I was not taking to this inquisition very well. I replied, "We're not bringing him back. We are going to leave him there. " This was a bigger shock than our previous answer. She looked at me rather horrified, and then at my brother, then at my Dad.

That's when my Dad stared laughing. It was a good wholehearted laugh. The nurse looked at all of us, tried to keep a straight face, and then started laughing with us. Shortly, I wheeled Dad out of the hospice.

We drove the cemetery.  We got Dad out and wheeled him across the hard ground. It was a hot July in the Midwest. The grass was brown. We found the grave site and paused. We let Dad take in the scenery and have his thoughts.

His grave was to be right next to his wife, our mother, who had died a few years before. We didn't say much, each wrapped in our own thoughts. When Dad began to look tired, I said, "Well, I think we should go now."

"Oh," said Dad, "I thought you were going to leave me here." We had another good laugh. All in all, a pleasant afternoon.

Vive la différence!

The individual self and the One Self are a whole. However, the whole does not disavow the individual self, for it is its very source.

Non duality means there is no real separation. So the individual self is not to be disparaged, maligned, and demoted, for it is an expression of the whole.

The Whole operates in a variety of expressions, and each species, each individual life form, is equally divine. Each individual expression is an expression whose origin is the whole. To dishonor the individual self is to dishonor the whole.

We are not meant to be abandoned to a feeling of isolation, as if we are alone in world.  In fact, the feeling of isolation is so abhorrent, that we look for wholeness.

The oneness of life, as in the teaching of non duality, can be discovered. However, even when discovered, there is still a body present, that has individual needs. Needs and desires may or may not disappear with realization.

The experience of duality and non duality both come from the same Source. Whether one awakes in this lifetime or not, the same source is operational.

During a particularly lonely experience, I was looking out the window on a cold winter night. I began to watch a squirrel, sitting on a snow covered branch, eating alone. The loneliness, the singularity of that particular squirrel, became overpowering.

Noting, that no one in this world cared whether the squirrel lived or died, or ever would ever care, my loneliness merged with the aloneness of squirrel. A feeling of oneness with the squirrel became real and overwhelming. Where was the separation in our experience?

The oneness, the unity in our apparent separate lives was palpable. It made no difference that we were of entirely separate species. The oneness was self evident.

One could wrap logic around this experience, and try to explain it. But truth is beyond logic, ineffable, and not provable, but it can be experienced. The experience of non duality, the subjective knowingness, is the confirmation.

So let us enjoy our individuality, even if it is not the ultimate truth. As the French say, "Vive la différence! "

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Communicating Love

When my Dad was dying, when his limbs started turning blue, he sent me home. He wanted to die alone.

However, when I got home, the phone rang, it was Dad. I said, "Dad, you just sent me home! Why are you calling?

He said, "I just want to be sure the lines of communication are open."

Those were the last words he ever spoke to me. After a lifetime of poor communication, to have those be his last words, was simply love.

A Quiet Mind Works Well

You might think that when the mind gets quiet, really quiet, that you wouldn't be able to do much. I find the opposite to be true.

Jesus said, "The truth will set you free." Perhaps, the truth so quiets the mind, that you actually arrive at being Being, here and now. And when you are eternal Being, what is there to fear, and what is here to bind you?

The mind here in this body is 61 years old, but it is not quiet from being old. It is quiet from Being at peace. And that peace makes the mind very efficient at work. The mind is not distracted by personal thoughts, and only what is before me is what is on the mind.

Later, at the end of the day, on the bus coming home from work, a bit of the personal self might grab a few dregs of its remnants and say, "Well, now that I gave all my brains to the computer, dumped into Word and Excel, what do I have left for myself?" But even this doesn't last long. It just doesn't have much to hold on to any more.

What is interesting is that the search for truth brought my mind to stillness, and that very stillness allows for productivity.

Granted, if I didn't have to work to eat, I would probably be more entertained by what I was able to do during the day, but the beingness, the quietness, would still be dominant, and that is the critical factor.

I also find that not having a lot of ego to support, keeps one's involvement in the politics of the work environment to a minumum. I don't need to toot my own horn. What is interesting is that if one doesn't toot one's own horn, you find that the most unlikely folks will step up and toot it for you.

Lastly, I spend most of my day at work being creative. I look for where I can play, and spend hours coming up with something new. As long one periodically comes up with a new application, or new way of doing, or managing work, everyone thinks you've been working really hard.

Being is being, and has been being for a long, long time. Being isn't going anywhere either, so being will be around for a long, long time. Actually, forever! So, we can just relax into it and just play, and the work will get done.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Story

A story is a story and not the truth. The teller can only tell the the tale as it was in their experience. I have a story like each of you, and wonder if it might be interesting to others. Is there something in the pain of life that causes some of us to search more deeply than others for the truth? If such a story of my life is of interest, you can find chapter one here:

http://heartofdarknessrevisited.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 11, 2010

Discernment

The world is not like any one of us think it should be. Unless of course, we have given up our our beliefs regarding how the world should be.

Suffering is a good indication of how many untrue beliefs we carry. If we insist that "We should not suffer," we are simply saying, "My beliefs are more important than how the world actually is." To sustain this belief will guarantee continued suffering.

Knowing how things should be is the primary force behind suffering. However, were we to not know how things should be, we would still have discernment, which allows for preference, but without insistence.

Giving up our "shoulds" does not mean that we no longer have preferences, it's just that we no longer insist on them. We have given up insisting that the world should be as we see fit.

Any should will result in condemnation. Condemnation of how things are, how we ourself are, and how others are. Living in condemnation of self and others is suffering.

With discernment we can imagine what the world could be, but without the illusion that it should be so. We can still be the change we want to see, but not believe that others should be so.

True spirituality is by invitation, is is never insistent. It does not proselytize, nor condemn. It simply holds to the light that is.

Lovingness may be an ideal of how the world could be, but there is no evidence that this is how it should be.

My invitation is to let go of how the world should be. Let go of how others should be. Let go of how you should be. Simply see how you are, and accept that this is how you are.

This does not mean that you give up discernment. You can still have your preferences, just don't insist on them. Know them, even strive for them. But do not insist that others should have the same ideals, much less strive for them.

Be the person you would like others to be. Do your best to live up to our own ideals. This is a decent way to be, but not a requirement for yourself or others.

Be what you would like to see. Be responsible for the effort, but not responsible for the result. The result will be what it is.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Not a Victim of the Drama

I know from subjective experience that all is one. However, having experienced the truth of that, does not necessarily allow me to live in that space all the time.

In fact, while in that space I became aware that I couldn't live in that space and function in the world "as it is." There was no me in that space. At the time of this awareness I had small children. Who would take care of them if I was in a state of non functional bliss?

The state of that subjective experience came numerous times, and I had to hold back from doing what seemed instinctive: hug the neighbors, help the old cross the street.

Everyone was Me. If I had acted from that impulse, I would never even get to work.

Having experienced that, knowing that, here I am in the purgatory of this as it is. Is this so bad? No. The drama plays on. This that I experience as my personal self still feels, reacts, holds positions, gets angry, carries resentments.

While I know that ultimately I am not the little self, a personal self, there is still the experience of it. There is no point in rejecting it. God's will is in operation, is it not?

There are more advanced souls than I, who can perhaps, maintain subjective Oneness, and still function in this world. Not I. Though I am no less One than they. Perhaps they are further along the road. Same path, same Oneness, just at a different point.

The deck of cards doesn't arbitrarily give me cards that I can't handle. I have asked for the hand. For, in seeking purity, one gets the "Everything that's not pure hand" dealt. It provides the opportunity to see the remaining impurities up close. Hence the drama.

My only task is to partake willingly of the drama, without resentment, without claiming to be a victim, without complaining. I must acknowledge the drama as mine. Mine to look at, mine to work through. What an opportunity!

I do not wish I was more enlightened. There is just this journey. Where I am is exactly where I should be. The crap I have to deal with is my own. If I choose the higher road, the choices will change, the scenery will improve. If I don't, the hand will still be dealt, the hand will still be played.

Accepting the drama of where I am. Looking at it. Dealing with it, as it is, is the only game in town. This is it.

Be what it may, this is where I am, where I deserve to be. I am OK with it All, as it is. There is an eternity to work it through. The pace I am at is the perfect pace. It is all I am capable of. OK. OK. OK.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Waiting to Stub My Toe

The joke around my home is that any day now I might stub my toe and become enlightened. Not like getting it from a flower, eh? "Oh my, where has the Buddha gone?"

I love the intellect, my own especially, but it can get tiresome. Without the intellect, certain development may not be possible, but at some point, the intellect is a barrier. I am, perhaps, at the barrier.

Writing another brilliant line of words is not going to please me. Nor another good book to read. I've read plenty. Another Satori would be fine. However, on the map of where I am, who knows?

Took a two week vacation in Arizona and it was quite fun. It had rained and the whole desert was in bloom. Did lots of hiking with my wife. We even managed to get lost in the desert with no food or water. There were plenty of coyote trails, but in over four hours we didn't see another person. We had to follow our footprints to get back to our car. Got a good tan.

We went to Arizona to attend an all day lecture by Dr. David R. Hawkins. I did not need to attend, and I can't say that I got any woo woo from being in his presence, but it was the only thing we could get motivated by, to leave home and travel.

There were people from all over the world. As Hawkins is in his eighties, he is not likely to be giving a lot more lectures. Krishnamurti died before I could see him, and I had airline tickets in hand. Didn't want a repeat of that.

There is a space where meaning and essence are beyond words, not explainable, not provable, but experienced. Been there done that. It's the coming down from there that's the bummer.

A jolt of that much essence is like the best drug high you couldn't even imagine. So, once experienced, it's pretty boring dropping back into the way things were before you knew better. But knowing better and being there are two different things.

When you tell God you want to surrender, he takes you at your word. The whole universe will conspire to let you prove it. The dealer says, "Pick another card. Oh, shit, it's go to jail and don't pass Go."

Purgatory is here. It's where you play the game. The ups, the downs. Oh, the humanness of it all! If you've had a taste of ecstasy, not the drug, but the natural high of unmitigated source, everything else is just so so. Limbo land.

However, having had the taste, having had the view, anything less is a wasteland of okayness. There is much peace here, contentment, but not joy. Certainly not the overwhelming experience of beauty that really kicks your ass!

Perhaps I can take solace from Milton, who said that, "He who stands and waits, also serves." I am waiting. I am on the edge of moving on, but moving on cannot be forced. And waiting with expectancy is okay. Just a little boring.

There is little will power here, and I am not the doer. I can pray, but don't often feel like it. I can contemplate, but my mind is asleep. So best to wait. I ponder when it arises unbidden. I rest in the knowing that all is well, whether I feel it or not.

Thanks to "know one in particular" for asking me how I was doing. So, now you have it.

God bless, Maury

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hallelujah

That which is, is all that is, and has it's reasons, though I do not understand.

Hallelujah is all I can say to the Lord's perfection, which I don't understand.

The mystery is beyond what this mind can understand, yet the intuitive heart knows, hallelujah!

Faith is the only response to this, with no better expression than Hallelujah.

The victory is on my knees, in full submission, mouthing hallelujah!

Before this mystery, this masterful piece of oneness, nothing more than hallelujah satisfies.

Pride and arrogance are fallen in disgrace, tried and discarded as so much chaff.

Lord, have mercy on this soul in disgrace, while home is a hair's breadth away.

While the mind never knows the answers, yet my soul sings hallelujah.

My hands are tied, my knees are bent, my head is bowed, yet my heart sings but hallelujah.

School is almost over, nothing new was learned, but letting go.

Hallelujah tells the story that in the end nothing worked but surrender.

For surrender is the joining with that which is. Hallelujah!