Saturday, April 23, 2016

Painted Objects

When you look at a beautiful painting, what do you see? Objects mostly; the the images the painting depicts. Perhaps you notice the colors first, enamored with the colors. But the colors are objects too, because we have named them.

Step back and the painting is an object as well. It is framed in wood and stands out from the environment. The surface is flat and it lays well against the wall. And the wall is an object, part of the house, or the museum. The wall is wood too.

All the objects in the painting are one thing: paint. Although there are many colors, carefully mixed by the artist, all the colors are a paste with color and oil. One base. And the white gesso cloth is one piece. You get the idea. All the objects in the painting are essentially paint. The colors are all reflected light. The painting itself is condensed light.

The frame is wood, the wall is wood. With all the labels gone, and looking past the apparent separation of everything we have named, all is One. That which is seen and that which is seeing, are One. There is not one separate thing in the universe.

Awareness is the base of all things seen and unseen. It is that which we appropriate via our body and call "I." Awareness through one body says "I am Jane," through another body Awareness says "I am John." Both John and Jane have borrowed Awareness.

Awareness is subtle because it is behind us. We are so enamored with what we see, think, and feel, that we forget who is looking. Awareness is looking. As Meister Eckhart  said, "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me." You are not who you think you are unless you know you are That. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Ephemerel Person

A few weeks ago I saw a video of myself some fifteen years ago. I was conscious of the fact that I had no identification whatsoever with the image on the screen. I was not entirely surprised because I had been contemplating many years on the insubstantial actuality of the person. This viewing was an unasked for confirmation that I no longer identified with the body mind. I did not identify in the least with the person on the screen, nor with the apparent person watching the video. 

I was conscious of the fact that I no longer had the same ideas or beliefs as the person in the video. Nor did I believe that the person watching the video would be the same person a week from today. It was similar to my feeling that my children were not mine, but belonged to life. 

If was fitting that in the video I was giving a talk at my father's memorial service. The main thrust of my talk was that my father tried to make me in his own image, but that I, and my brothers and sisters belonged to life, and not to him. 

My Father was an authoritarian, and his religion was authoritarian. He loved us through that prism. But the effect was not loving. He failed to know that we belonged to ourselves and to a higher power of our own understanding. 

I know for certain that this body-mind is an ephemeral thing, impermanent. It came and it will go, as all of us do. Our extinction is not a thought we love, since it places us on shaky ground. We all have a sneaky suspicion that we should be eternal. Where does this suspicion come from? Is there some missing truth? 

We have a nagging question, as the song says, "Is this all there is? Something knows there is more to the story than the story. What is That? 

That is what the non dual sages of ancient India revealed in their Advaita Vedanta. It is what the Christian mystics saw in their revelations. Meister Eckart, a Christian mystic said,  'The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing."

In ancient India the sages taught in the forest, and they taught only the qualified. They were wary of the public that would not understand and cause them trouble. Christian mystics were burned at the stake, and Meister Eckart was tried as a heretic by Pope John XXII and died before the verdict. 

Today, non duality is taught in the open. We are lucky to be alive in this day and age where this is so. If you find your way to this teaching and come to this understanding, you realize that our desire for eternal life is not unfounded. 

However, as the sages say, "Die before you die." This refers to seeing the person as an appearance, an aspect of something greater. That greater being is what we are, and That does not come and go.  

Saturday, April 9, 2016

This Is Beyond Freedom

There can only be freedom where there is bondage. This dichotomy shows duality, the sense of separation. Freedom here, bondage there. In truth there is neither bondage nor freedom. That which we are, the Absolute, is prior to freedom or bondage. Therefore there is no question of freedom or bondage. Only This.

The acceptance of This. The Knowing that you are the Absolute, lets the appearance of the person be what he is, without the tension of bondage versus freedom. The question of freedom does not concern the Absolute. For  that One, there is nothing to be free from. The idea of bondage cannot even arise.

If you are stuck on having free will, then this is a blockage that will prevent you from seeing the truth. This insistence on having free will is a sure sign of ego. For it is only the ego that will be insistent on this value.

Can you come to the point where Truth is more important than having free will? If so, then you are open enough to see the Truth. For it is only when you give up the separate self, invested as it is in free will, that you can know you are That.

Jesus said "The truth will set you free." But there is no free will in the Truth. The truth is you are That. That is not a separate personal self. That is the ground of being, the Absolute, the One, the Source, pure Awareness, where no separate self exists. That is the truth that sets you free. Free of any concern regarding freedom or bondage.

Upon realization you know that you were never bound and never needed freedom. The dichotomy of freedom versus bondage only existed as long as you thought you were a separate self. When appearance that you thought you were is seen through, the separate self disappears. Then you are the light. You know you always exist prior to bondage or freedom.  

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Spntaneous Love

A person is a set of positions and events apparently in time. Positions and events change. A person is then not what he was. When the mind knows this, the person is seen to be unsubstantial; not really a thing.  Only that which is the essence of things can be said to be. That is the Absolute.

Jesus said, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." He might as well have said, "You and I appear to be here, but in actuality, you and I are That. That formless essence is every form that is, material and immaterial. From That formless comes all, and into That all form, named and unnamed goes."

When this is known down to the core of the person, everything becomes spontaneous, as the person realizes he is not the doer. The personal will dissolves and love takes its place, as everything is That which you are. 

The Afterlife

Someone died and reported there was nothing but blackness. Like deep sleep. 

Who was there to report the blackness? Wouldn't it be the same person who would report an afterlife if the experience were different? If you really look deeply, the one thing you can't deny is that you exist. Since that is a basic truth, you then have to ask, "What is existence?" When you examine that, the only conclusion is that you are "Consciousness". That is why the sages say, "All is Awareness/Consciousness." 

The Absolute is not a thing, but all things come from That. The Absolute is no thing in particular, but it is all things in existence. I would describe awareness as a blank screen upon which characters come and go, such as you and me. We are focal points in Awareness. Once embodied you and I play out our experiences on that screen. 
If there is no thing after death, at least we are still That. Since That is what we are, the only thing we can do is Trust That. 

Is there is an afterlife as a person, a spirit, with past lives? It seems that if we can exist now as persons, the Absolute could certainly have us exist in different forms after death. The personality could still be there, but not in its current form. Why not? They say after enlightenment we don't reincarnate. But we are still That.

 What about people who go out of body at will? There are many records of that. For example, a neurosurgeon who died and was revived, who was an atheist before, but not after the NDE. Just the fact that there are so many NDEs points to something. 

In Sanskrit they say, Sat, chit, ananda (existence, consciousness, peace). If you know you are That, you can handle anything.