Not Me And Not You?

I was sitting outside a café with friend some time ago, and we were talking about ‘consensus reality’ as he put it. He was wishing that he could be free of its influence. I sympathised with his POV but pointed out that we aren’t actually bound by it, and it’s enough to recognise one’s existence as prior to the arising of conceptual frameworks, false notions of reality, etc., to see that were already essentially free of such influences, when another friend, an older lady, came and sat with us.

This lady is a devotee of a nondual guru whom I count among my own spiritual teachers and with whom I spent time at his ashram as part of the sangha. So this friend sat and listened for a while, and after I’d finished speaking she said, with a ambivalent look on her face, “you speak the knowledge very well”. I smiled and made a few more comments in the same vein as before, but I could now sense a subtle closing down of her attention; I got a kind of “I’m not letting this in“ feeling.

It struck me that I’d seen this before, and I’m calling it the ‘not-me-and-not-you syndrome’, and it’s all bound up with what our expectations about what Self-realisation looks like and the contexts in which we expect or even allow ourselves to encounter it. You see, this friend had decided at some level that enlightenment looks like something in particular – mostly like an old, charismatic guy with a beard talking to a room full of devotees. The trouble is that once someone has internalised expectations like these, no matter how much the guru might exhort that “I am That, YOU are that, EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY is That!”, even when faced with the recognition of your own true nature, and seeing it expressed in other, less exotic individuals, this will be dismissed because it doesn’t comport with ideas you’ve adopted about what it will and should look like when it comes.

This syndrome is playing out when they hear someone talking “the knowledge”. I could see it in my friends face as I spoke; that what I was saying was resonating with her, but she was confused that it wasn’t coming from where she expected. So she effectively dismissed it as just words and then shut down her listening apparatus, better to avoid the cognitive dissonance of meeting some regular person who knows their true nature and expresses it but isn’t some exotic guru figure.

Bottom line, one has to see that this whole spiritual awakening thing is about YOU. And that at some point (anytime, now!) you need to RECOGNISE, confirm, and finally ADMIT that you are, in fact, awareness itself, and live as that. And see that this is entirely normal and increasingly common.

 

Getting It

The dichotomy dissolves
Of subject and object

Spiritual knowledge goes
Spiritual persona goes

Just this
Whatever is happening
Is it

Doubt
Is it
Mental discussions
About how this can’t be it
Is it

You can’t turn anywhere
Touch anything
Hear anything
Feel, taste
Without it being it

There’s nothing that isn’t it
And there’s nothing that can happen
That can make it not it
And nothing can happen that means
That you’re not it

Everything that happens
Is it
So keep quiet
(So far as one can take instructions)
Remain in ‘only don’t know’

Dive in
Or sit back
Think it through
Or not

Whatever occurs
Is it
This is it
Always

The sheer truth of it
The absolute is-ness
Will assert itself
More and more

But always
This is it

 

Untitled Thoughts #7

What magic comes from Silence?
All of it
Can’t you see it all comes from Nothing?

I’m a voice crying out from the wilderness
“It doesn’t matter!”
None of it matters

Perhaps
What matters
Is that we suffer
Or that suffering is
Can be

What do we do with that?
What can we do?

More questions

Find the one who asks the questions
Find the one who could know the answers

Uproot the whole premise
That there’s someone who needs to know
And that answers
Are the answer

It’s easier
If you just stop!

.

I can’t see any other way
Than to give it all up
But that’s not as bad
Or as radical
As you imagine

After all
Each night
You give up all that is
The whole world
For oblivion
You happily let it go
Drop into silence
Peace

It’s not so hard
To drop it all
In favor of rest

So why wait
Until you’re exhausted
To release your burden
To walk in peace
To trust
?

Notice what’s already true
Remember who you are
The veil falls
What a strange illusion!

The truth is not ‘other’
To be acquired
Or achieved

When all that passes
When all that can be
Is swept away
The truth
Is what remains

The truth
Is never untrue

What a riddle

Whatever is
Is truth

Unspeakable?

Delusion is suffering
Suffering is delusion

It’s no-ones fault
It’s not personal

Suffering arises
As the play of consciousness
Delusion –
A concept

Love?
Is that more fundamental?
Does love remain
When all else is gone?
Is love
‘I’?

That’s a question worth asking
An inquiry worth making
An answer
Worth living
Being

Love is bliss in motion

And bliss isn’t pleasure alone
Something to chase
Some response to stimuli

Bliss is the heart of being
Bliss is the texture and taste
The fabric
The warp and woof
The root and the branch

It reveals itself
As you approach
Yourself

It sets the compass
To true
To real
To this
Now

The source of now
Is you
Is bliss

So is suffering bliss?
Is delusion bliss?
Is hate bliss?

Is pain bliss?

Such beautiful questions
What a worthy inquiry

Go find out
Find your own answers
If you want
Follow the questions
To their source

This is the way of inquiry

To follow outward
Is mind and confusion
To follow inward
Is wisdom and truth
And freedom

Herein lies the choice
Or so it seems
But who chooses?
Anyone?

The gravity of awakening
All efforts return
To their source
The clarity of stillness

Delusion thinks
“I am lost to myself”
And
“I return to myself”

But truth knows
“I am always in my nature”
“I am that I am”

We are all Buddha-nature
We are all already consciousness itself
And just because confusion and doubt are present
Doesn’t make it any less true

Thou Art That

This is the victory of Being
And the real hope and confidence
That the truth is true
And delusion and confusion
Are of the nature of smoke
Impermanent and insubstantial

All that can pass
Must pass

And what remains?

 

Just a poem

I don’t really notice much
Outside
Because everything that happens
Happens in me
Of me

The flowers bloom
In me
The wind blows
In me
The hills roll and rise
In me

Like my bones
And my blood
And my breath

All in me

As if my body
Were the universe itself
And my breath
The wind

And the stars
Rejoice in my body –
The world

I am
Where I look
I am
Where I feel and touch
I am
Where the Sun shines

And the blaze of heat and light
Is me

I confess
That I am bigger
Than I imagined
And more capacious

In fact
I cannot find anything
That I am not

How reassuring
To be so complete
How helpful
To be so undivided
And so full

I am free to be
Myself

Fear

The process (of awakening) requires us to face the most profound fear of our own annihilation or destitution

To face that fear and continue is the challenge of awakening

In the end there’s nothing we can do

We either come to the edge and let go or we don’t

Rather, it will happen or it won’t

There is an inevitability about it

Ultimately all beings wake up

(Maybe)

And it’s not a choice

But the unfoldment of the story of ‘you’

One day the belief in yourself as a person just isn’t there

And it becomes obvious that the person you thought you were was and is a character in a dream

And you’re the dreamer, consciousness

.

There’s no-one doing any of this

It’s just happening

And if I say ‘you’ need to see this

It’s not the person I’m talking to

It’s You

If you want to wake up because you think you’ll get more of anything

Then that’s ‘false view’

If you think that awakening will prevent your utter destitution

Then that’s ‘false view’ also

I’m not trying to scare you

Or discourage you

I just want to name the fears and expectations directly

Drop your expectations and face your fear

Because expectations are a distraction

And fear is a threshold you must pass

To be free

Untitled Thoughts #6

This is new
It’s all new

Memory serves up similar visions
That give the impression
That you’ve seen it before
That you know this
But it’s all fresh

So stay awake
You don’t know what’s coming
The bleeding edge
Face first into the ocean spray of existence
The sharp breeze
Wake up!

The hum of Being
Alive, alive
This is no static field
The fabled flat equanimity
Equivalent to death
Or vanilla

This is life itself
Awake, alert
Even at rest
Electric
Energetic

But subtle
Transparent
Open

This.is.it

So stop what you’re doing
What you’re thinking
For now
Take it in
Rest here

Breathe

Yes

.

Meditation
Is the opposite
Of doing

It’s perverse
In fact
That we consider it
A thing
Rather than
Simply
What Is

It’s like flow
Everyone’s so busy
Trying to get
Into it

But flow is
It’s not a question
Of getting in
But are we ever out?

.

I Am

This Is

I Love

Love Is

Om

.

Be the space of gentle noticing
Be that which knows
Notice that you are
Already that

Meditation
Is effortless nature
Being itself
No more
No less

Zen!
Just so
Thus

And when are you not that?
When are you not thus?

“Confused in mind about Dharma”
The way it is

See clearly
But see

Begin
At the beginning

I AM

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God”

“Be still and know”

This

Look no further

Rest in the presence of God

I Am That

Thou Art That

All This Is That

Ayam Atma Brahm

.

All you need is here
All there is is here

Now

Abandon your seeking
Right now

Freedom!

Peace

Joy

Love

Bliss

Beyond, beyond

Gate, Gate, Paragate!

The farthest shore
Is here

“The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time”

Home, home
We never left!

Whatever seeking you have left
Abandon it
Now

“Free at last, free at last!”

And never pick it up again
And never doubt

Throw away false notions
Stand free

.

The end of seeking
Is like quitting smoking

The habit is so familiar
That when it stops
It feels strange
At first
Like something’s missing
There’s so much space
A void

But the void
Is bliss itself

Throw away the seeking
Like a bad habit

Make friends
With the space of being

Abide
In your nature

As your nature

As nothing

No-thing

Just this

Not even

.

.

“Are we there yet?”

Yes.

 

 

 

Willingness

If you’re serious about self-discovery, if you’re serious about the truth, then you have to be willing to give up everything you think you know. You have to be willing to question and look at every assumption and become like a clean slate. Because untruth and suffering hides under the rocks of unexplored assumptions.

Here the most important thing is willingness, because without it you’re not going to get anywhere, you’re not going to see what you need to see. You’re likely to be precious about some idea or some concept that you hold, some interpretation that you’ve organised your life around. Because coming to see the fullness of your own being is easy, it’s right here. What’s hard is letting go of your attachments, letting go of your preconceptions and your cherished beliefs.

You might say that the maturity of the seeker is somehow measured or exemplified by this willingness to look, to push through their defensiveness around their notions and concepts. Nisargadatta Maharaj talked about the most important quality of a seeker as being earnestness. And this earnestness is that willingness to throw themselves on the fire if they need to.

Of course this willingness is actually how ‘able-ness’ is expressed. Or stated another way, when spiritual ripeness comes about through Grace, the capacity and inclination to inquire into your true nature arises as willingness, earnestness, sincerity. When this occurs only the real, the true, will satisfy your yearning. You’ll find yourself drawn inwardly to abide in your own silent nature. The things of the world will lose their lustre and charm. When Grace descends it’s only a matter of shedding the remnants of false notions and misperceptions.  And quite naturally false ideas and attachments will drop from your Emptiness like autumn leaves.

 

Untitled Thoughts #5

Nothing exists in isolation
So many conditions that we take for granted

For any single thing to occur
The existence of a universe is required
And everything that ever was

Funny that

So stay out of it
You’re doing less than you imagine
Nothing at all in fact

What a beautiful day

Of course the universe doesn’t exist
That’s a massive illusion
It’s like every time you go to look for something
Then you find it
But Reality is laying down the tracks as you go

Everywhere you turn
The universe is being created as you look
And destroyed the moment you turn away

If an atom bomb goes off in a dream
And all the flesh from all the bones
Is burned away
And turned to dust
Is that a real explosion?
Or just the dream of destruction?

And are you –
The dreamer –
Scorched by the heat?
Killed by the bomb?

Is this world
A real world?
Or the illusion
Of a world?

Where is it?
Except in your mind

Oh of course
You believe your mind
Is in your body
Which in turn
Is in the world

But is that true?
Is that how it is?
In your experience?

Have you checked?
Have you looked really, really closely?

Is your mind in your body?
Or is your body in your mind?

Advaita says ‘Awareness’
Zen says ‘Big Mind’
Dzogchen says ‘Rigpa’
Taoism says ‘The Nameless’

I say This, Now, Here, I.

Wake up!
You are awake!

 

Untitled Thoughts #4

Drop it all
Leave it all alone
And if you’re still having trouble
It means you’ve picked it up again

Simple?
Yes it is

Do I need to elaborate?
After that is there any more to say?
Is that the final answer?
The only instruction?
Maybe

Any more would be just to assuage doubts

Like, “Yes, drop *everything*”

“Even *XYZ*?”

“Yes, even that”

“But what if *insert another possible exception here*?”

You see how the mind goes?

“What part of *everything* don’t you understand?”

We are wooly thinkers
We lack discrimination

We take things on trust
When we’re too young to know better
And then we hold on for dear life
To ideas that never get explored
Fundamental notions that never see the light of day

And so the truth is an alien concept
We don’t even know what it means to be true
We take everything on authority
And never look for ourselves
We’re lazy
And we’re ill-equipped for exploration

It’s a sad state of affairs actually
Really

In fact it’s this fundamental inability
To know shit from Shinola
Object from subject
Me from I
That wrecks our peace

And our ignorant grasping
And denial and defence
Of indefensible falsehoods
Is the endless wandering-on
Of samsara
The hamster wheel of suffering
On and on

But enough of the metaphors
And the spiritual rhetoric

“It is here, now!”
Is the truth
But drop all efforts
All mental engagement

What is here?
What Is?

Thoughts arise in this
But what is this?

Feelings happen
And sensations
Where?
How?
Who knows?

Whatever is known
Who knows?
Anyone?
Is there a knower?
Or just knowing?

Don’t answer with the mind
Just let the question be
Let it fall away

Where are you?
Who are you?
What are you?
What is?

This is how to look
How to inquire
The question is a mirror
That has you look
Not answer

The seer and the seen
The knower and the known
Are one
Are not two

.

Is non-mentation the goal?
Or the means?
Or both?

It’s recognising
That no-mind
Is the basis of mind
That no-thought
And thoughts
Are not mutually exclusive

Emptiness
Is full
But the fullness
Is empty

The silence
And the dynamism
Co-exist

But the silence
Is the womb of the dynamism

When you find the silence
The empty awareness-space
And you know it as your very being
Then thoughts can come and go
Without any problem

.

Ananda is the bliss of the Self
It is the attractiveness
The joy of pure being
That draws the wayward mind
Back to its source

Ananda is the Bhakti
Chitta is the Jnani

Without the bliss
Why bother?
Without Ananda
How would you know in which direction to turn?
To find Satya, the Truth?

Freedom is coming home
To where you already are

The deluded person
Is an amnesiac king
Or queen

Freedom is remembering
Smriti
Aham! I recall my Nature!
I know my Self!

The recognition and remembrance
Of that which is already true

The relief that comes
From shedding delusion
And living Truth

So take heart
And let go!

 

On Nondual Understanding

It’s often the case that nondual understanding in the dualistic mind is the product of ‘secondary mind’, the logical, analytical mind, and not a wisdom emanation from Pure Mind. True wisdom is born directly from Self-nature without reference to understanding. It’s the difference between knowledge born of Self-recognition, and the cogitations of the functional mind and it’s rationalistic outputs.

In a sense one can suffer from the consistency of functional mind as it produces self-supporting arguments and theories that appear complete on their own level, however the nature of such ‘knowledge’ is entirely theoretical and concludes without recourse to direct non-conceptual apprehension. It’s hard to penetrate such understanding because of the strong crystalline nature of its structure, but the absolutist assertions about what-is that are derived from the seat of reason and not from the seat of insight simply don’t satisfy.

But it’s life itself that deposes this usurping intelligence by offering endless exceptions to whatever conceptual framework is held, as the failure to accomodate the ever-fresh, ever-proliferating nature of being becomes the incentive to look beyond concepts altogether. Non-duality as a paradigm is a profound intellectual understanding, and perhaps even represents a kind of ultimate iteration of conceptual understanding as such. But it’s only when ALL understanding is transcended that the living truth is realized. Reference to secondary mind is still available, but is known to be merely relative and conceptual.

Ultimately all appearances are born from Original Mind, and even the notion of delusion is a spontaneous arising. But the belief that the goal of Self-inquiry or the spiritual ‘path’ is to understand nonduality intellectually is delusionary, and the idea that understanding on its own level could be satisfactory is misguided. The development of intellectual understanding will only find its satisfactory conclusion in its own transcendence. That said, a rarefication and refinement of comprehension seems to be a precursor of its own demise, albeit not a immediate guarantee of it.

Transcendence is a leap of faith, a jump into the void, a fall into unknowing. It is the final step from the clifftop, when the freefall begins and never ends. No (apparent) form is stable, so to cling to anything is futile and cause for suffering. Remain in freefall, enjoy the breeze!

Many will cling to understanding as if it were a fixed point in an ocean of change. But understanding is itself relative and subject to change and dissolution. There’s no-thing to rely on. Even Being itself; who can say?

If A equals B, and B equals C, then A equals C. This is the functional mind, this is the mind that calculates and concludes. And it’s fine for building bridges and writing code and following recipes. It’s functional, it describes, it extrapolates from what it’s seen before. But this form of intelligence is nested within total knowledge, the infinite potentiality of intelligence itself, and as such cannot fully fathom or describe its own origins.

Knowing is known on its own level, in its own Nature. It is primordial and self-supporting. It is singular, awake intelligence, it is the universal Subject. The I-I. And no amount of analysis or reason can deliver the lived experience. It is beyond and prior to all such considerations, but is immanent and ever-present as your very own awareness.

“Know that by knowing which everything is known.”

 

Untitled Thoughts #3

If we stop giving the mind attentional objects then it will tend to settle into its own non-conceptual, silent nature. It’s simply a case of remaining in an open and non-grasping posture.

The mind wants to settle, remaining always in a state of engagement is exhausting. Openness and non-grasping are a relief. But there are a couple of ways to look at this and approach it (although both resolve at the same place). The first is by the ‘action’ of noticing and releasing tensions in the body-mind. This is a result of a penetrating attention that actively works through and dissolves energetic densities and contractions as it finds them in the present moment experience.

The second way is more profound. It’s noticing the ever-present, non-grasping awareness that underlies and contextualises all energetic movements and phenomenal arisings. This is a more fundamental and powerful recognition. In a single stroke it transcends the problematic nature of embodied contraction and tensions, and at the same time begins the spontaneous process of natural releasing and the ultimate dissolution of embodied trauma and stress.

It’s the recognition of this foundational aspect of our nature that frees the human spirit from the burden of identity and activity and the affliction of embodied stress. Once known, awareness becomes the catalyst for freedom, while also being the goal and also the context in which any perceived process of liberation unfolds.

How this plays out in an individual can be seen as a function of bliss. At some point in the life of a person a dawning recognition can come that their essential nature is blissful, and on the basis of this the attention becomes attracted and inexorably drawn within to its own origin, where it finds rest and satisfaction.

It may be seen that suffering was only ever the result of the habitual narrowing of attention towards objects of awareness at the expense of the apprehension of ones boundless source. So at the heart of our experience is bliss, an ocean of it, but we miss it because we’re preoccupied with a limited view. Fortunately, because bliss is our essence, at some point its presence inevitably reveals itself to itself. We begin to remember who we are, what we are, the nature of our being. This is the dawning of the light of truth, we become the living memorial of the divine presence.

It may be that talk of bliss is alien. It may be that one’s attention is entirely caught up with the experience of suffering. This is a perfectly satisfactory starting point also. Suffering is a great teacher. It may be that the presence of suffering for so long can become the inspiration and incentive to seek out its extinction. This can be the birth of spiritual practice and seeking. And although in the end practice and seeking must both be dropped, in the beginning and along the way they serve to give purpose and focus attention in the right direction.

Bliss at the source, suffering at the outer edges as identification increases in narrower and more fragmentary ways. The primary injunction is just to turn the mind to its source. Stop chasing out, out into the world, turn the attention 180° where attention becomes awareness. Rest in your own silent, blissful nature, until it dawns that This is all that is.

 

So what’s on my mind?

I’ve been concerned with identity politics and PC culture lately. I don’t quite know why, maybe it’s that I’m seeing in the outside world, in groups, the same kind of dynamics of fear, control, and suppression that the ego uses on a personal level.

I’ve been noticing that my attention has been liberated from the narrow introspective view that dominated my life for so long as a spiritual seeker, and I’m now more aware of the ‘outside world’, social dynamics, ideology, politics, etc. I’m noticing that those with ideological agendas of all stripes are working hard to impose them on others, infiltrating schools, colleges, government, media. In fact anywhere they can. It’s funny that I never really noticed it before, I was like some kind of spiritual ostrich with my head buried deeply in my own contemplative sand. Waking up, I find my head unplugged and unburied, my eyes are open! And what I see is the destructive power and effects of identification and strong views, grasped tightly.

At the heart of all this dysfunction is fear. Fear of the groundlessness at the heart of our being. But the fear itself is groundless, it’s simply a result of the mind projecting into an imagined void. Beyond the fear, beyond the imagined and threatening possibility of our own personal extinction, beyond the vulnerability of our contingent and impermanent identifications lies our essential ever-present nature. But if we continue to turn away from fear in regard to our own self-exploration then we miss the great opportunity, the discovery the greater part of ourselves, Being itself.

The present culture of offence, outrage, safe spaces, speech and thought control, is the very antithesis of intellectual and moral courage and integrity. It boxes us in, it narrows our possibilities, it gives fear dominion over our existence and expression. The misplaced moral certitude and the resulting righteous anger and indignation are a seductive and heady trade-off for the ongoing and sometimes challenging journey of self-discovery. An easily indulged hit of outrage and self-righteousness is a temporary salve and a distraction from the intuitive recognition of our fundamental powerlessness. Ideological grasping comes at a high cost – how many must be wrong for one to be right? How much of the world must be pacified and controlled to protect one’s fearful sensibilities? How many voices must be stifled in the name of one’s emotional comfort? The indulgence of such fear tyrannises the world.

I contend that the solution to these problems lies not in holding tightly to untenable certainties, or to seeking identities in ever narrowing conceptions, or by defining ourselves simply by that which we oppose, or by blind loyalty to comforting ideologies that fail to withstand the scrutiny of sincere and honest critical analysis, as all do ultimately.

I implore all to seek truth not expediency, to suspend judgment indefinitely, to welcome uncertainty, to breathe through the fear of unknowing, to resist premature intellectual and moral resolution and judgment, to seek ever-widening and ever-deepening context, and to exercise compassion and kindness to the extent of one’s capacity to do so.

We are a work in progress, we need room for change and growth. We must reject the hubris and the expectation of certainties. Trust in our essential goodness and wisdom. And if that’s too much to ask, then consider it as a hypothesis to be explored. Above all we need to admit to and contend with our own fear. Resisting or acting-out both sustain it. By allowing it to be, by accepting its presence as it comes and by seeing that it inevitably passes, we lessen its power over us and ultimately free ourselves from the affliction of strong emotions. Between suppression and indulgence lies the middle way – let it be, let it pass, let it go. And yes, this takes courage, but we have more capacity for experiencing that we imagine.

The fruits of this freedom are peace, clarity, a gentle power, and a spontaneous, intuitive, living ethic; responsive and unfettered from the limitations of any calcified dogma or ideology. On this basis we become free to participate meaningfully, wisely, and compassionately in the human adventure.

 

Untitled Thoughts #2

Is there evidence for the existence of an outside/objective world separate and independent from the awareness in which it appears?

We can see that the awareness itself is malleable to an (presumably) infinite degree. Or not. Are there limits to the plasticity of relative arising? Is there a higher and lower limit, a range of phenomenality? Is there a finest and a fastest? A brightest? A subtlest? Or is it infinity in all directions? And infinite depth, an eternal well?

This infinite dance of appearances.

All the while the eternal Witness-subtrate is present, never changing, I AM, I AM, I AM. Always eternal Being, not personal but awake, alive, aware.

The nature of the ‘world’ is that no matter how closely you look it never resolves to certainty. There’s apparently no end to its kaleidoscopic blossoming at any scale. And what is scale anyway? It’s all relative to the nominal, containing space of awareness.

There are more questions than answers, and the bedrock we so desperately seek is ever elusive, yielding endlessly to emptiness and formlessness.

The heart of life is void of form, but filled with Being.

Ah! The bliss of This!

 

Untitled Thoughts #1

If we saw the world at different scales we’d have quite a different experience and conception of reality. If we saw it at the atomic scale there’d be a lot of empty space and atoms but no material objects as such.

Looking beyond atoms we’d see vibrations of the underlying field.

Layers..

People at levels of consciousness report similar conceptions of reality. Like distinct patterns and forms emerging from sound vibrations through a substrate. Mind is a matrix/nexus of interlocking self-supporting structures of relative intelligence.

Emergent..

Mind is embodied.
It’s not just a superimposition, it’s the emergent conceptual correlate of the embodied intelligence.

Mind + Body
Thinking + Feeling/Sensing

Mind describes and expresses what awareness sees/knows.

In nature there is a progressive development of expressed embodied intelligence, from simple to complex forms and systems, expressed in stages of characteristic organisation, progressively becoming transparent to the underlying substrate of awareness.

The ‘personal’ unfolds in the context of the non-personal. The non-personal is not person shaped!

Reality is not defined by what it is not.

Non-personal is a description only for the benefit of the person.

Trans-personal is trans-everything.
Not to be defined in terms of what it isn’t.

Body is mind, mind is body.
Deeply connected and related.
Mind is an correlating expression of the somatic experience.

Drop into the body.

Atma Vichara is exploring the nature of the lived experience from first principles.

Is the body embodied?

Experience of embodiment..

Vision is a seamless, unified, kaleidoscopic image arising in awareness.
Sensing/feeling is a sea of energetic textures arising in awareness.

All appearances are differentiated but not fundamentally separated.

Separation is arbitrary and notional.

So the body is a range of feelings and sensations, supported by a notional body-image and a morphing self-conception.

Dispelling the illusion of separateness on the level of self-experiencing (felt and observed) informs the correlating conceptual expressions, mind.

 

Ready, Steady, Wake!?

To awaken you have to be ready. But there’s nothing you can do to make yourself ready, because you’re not doing anything, because the you you think you are doesn’t exist.

So it’ll happen when it happens. Not a moment too soon, not a moment too late.

So do or don’t do, it’s all as it should be.

This is not comforting for a suffering ego, I know this.

So do something then, if you want, if you can. If you have choice available to you, use it.

But then you start worrying about whether it’s the right choice or the wrong one. And so the suffering comes, born from duality, doubt and confusion

It’s a miserable existence being an ego. Seeing and living from the deluded view of separation. But there’s so little that stands in the way (that appears to stand in the way) of Reality, Truth, Clarity.

It’s all just a misunderstanding of what and how you’re experiencing. A misapprehension that’s so easily cleared up.

Identify the source of thought. Recognize the origin of seeing, knowing, experiencing. Where are you looking from?

It sounds like a riddle but it’s not. You’re already looking from there, Here, This, Now.

It’s the persistence of a certain kind of thought that muddies the view and your understanding, your experiencing. Or so it seems.

But you are always Here.

Liberation is not the mere self negation of the enlightened “I don’t exist!”, nor the self aggrandisement of the enlightened “I am the universe!”, nor the subtle duality of ‘Union with God’.

Which comes first, I AM or IS?

The Self IS

Atma is Brahm is Consciousness

Brahman alone is Real

The world is Brahman

There is only Brahman

TAT TVAM ASI

AHAM BRAHMASMI

OM TAT SAT

Know this and be free

 

What is Enlightenment?

What is Enlightenment, Moksha, Buddhahood, Liberation?

It’s the obliteration of the Ten Fetters, the complete dissolution of the occluding mental densities that give rise to avidya. It’s the destruction of the ‘thicket of views’ that confuses and confounds the realization of Self and of life in the Natural State.

It is ‘what remains’ when the cloud of unknowing passes. It’s the ‘Who I Am’ when the personal story ends for good.

It is ‘what is’ without adornment, it’s the ‘Peace that surpasses all understanding’.

It’s the abiding recognition of your nature as awareness itself, the end of the delusion that “I am the body”, and the living knowledge that “I am the Self”.

May you know it now.

 

Empty Your Cup

Beginner’s Mind is very helpful in Self-inquiry. What that means is you let go of all of your concepts, all of your learning, everything you think you know – just drop it for now.  Put it in your pocket, tuck it away and come at the observation and inquiry with a fresh, open, empty mind.

In this way you can, for a moment, explore your experience directly and look with a uncluttered, unbiased awareness.

All these concepts that you’ve dropped for the time being, you can pick them back up later if you find that they’re still valid or useful. But what you might find is they are neither.

 

Questions

What is This?

Who am I?

What am I?

What kind of answers am I looking for?

What could satisfy?

Questions are beautiful, more illuminating than answers. Questions stop the mind.

So if I told you “you are consciousness”, would that help?

Would you be satisfied?

Would your suffering diminish at all with that piece of information?

Perhaps you could hold that thought in your mind, maybe you could write it down, repeat it as a mantra, an affirmation, a bumper sticker.

But is it true? For you?

Or is it just a hope, or an aspiration, some idea you like the sound of, so you repeat it to yourself.

But all the while you suffer from the other thoughts that assail you.

And if only you could banish those ones that trouble you, and keep the ones you like…

Then…

If only.

You got it all worked out.

If only…

You’d be happy if….

You’d be free if…

What if I were to tell you that your happiness was already here?

That your freedom is on THIS side of your experiencing?

Not on the far side of some desire or condition you’ve artificially imposed.

You betray your birthright when you forgo what is here for what is not.

The real for the dream.

And you miss the essential wholeness and completeness when you sacrifice reality for a lie.

All that we are is contained in love

The ‘fact’ of the answer becomes a thing to hold, to grasp, to identify with, to maintain, to defend, to lose.

Do you have an empty cup?

Can we drop all the teachings now and simply be?

Teachings get cumbersome, they get reified into persistent things, they become a hook to hang your coat on.

So…

Questions are better

than answers.

 

The Personal Path

The seemingly simple task of describing a path from ‘a’ to ‘be’ unravels the very notions that uphold the conditioned view. It’s impossible to find a starting point, there’s no beginning. It seems like a cliché but it’s true, any given point is arbitrary, no ‘event’ is original, always there is a preceding moment.

So where could I begin to recount my own path? Was it the day I sat in a white chair and began to meditate in earnest, or the day I first heard the Buddha’s teaching? Or was it the time my mind stunned to a halt over a girl and I burned my books?

The personal story is uninteresting, it’s old news. The present moment is already full, dragging the past around gets terribly cumbersome.

Identify the sense I AM. Abide there.

This is the origin of all experiencing. Give yourself to this, fall in love with this. This ‘I-I’.

This is the Self.

Remain as the Self and all becomes the Self, is known as the Self; there’s nothing but the Self.

Don’t fall in love with fragments and forget the Whole. Rest as radiant awareness.

Rest, because there’s nothing to do.

Abide, because there’s nowhere to go.

Be, because this is what you are.

The wave is the ocean. Atma is Brahm.

Everything is just happening in awareness. You are awareness. Can you confirm or deny this for yourself? Can you reflect on your experience, use your discrimination to test this for yourself?

Notice that this self-reflection and discrimination are happening spontaneously. Awareness is spontaneously knowing itself.

The person goes looking for the person and finds that the person doesn’t exist.

Hahaha. The Cosmic Joke.

It was always awareness knowing itself.

Delusion is like a fog, it lifts. Enlightenment is clarity.

Drop all notions of a path. Trust your own existence and abide as that which you are, in the recognition and freedom of what is.

 

The Great Happening

Your life is not your responsibility, you’re not doing it, you’re not ‘living’ your life, if anything life is living you. It’s important to recognize this. The burden of activity is not yours. Doership is a concept that has been imposed on the uncaused nature of life. Even the notion of a cosmic, supreme doer is an imposition.

We have the power of observation and discrimination. Use it to see what’s true and what’s not. Go find a doer if you can, at any level, in any realm of reality. Observe as awareness itself, see the waves of life move without cause, or need for cause. A singular flow of appearance arising in emptiness. These appearances are mindstuff, the cogitations of universal being. You.

What’s it going to take for you to admit your Divinity? It’s you, you, you!

But I’m not talking to this body-appearance you take yourself to be. You are not the body, stop orienting yourself around it. The buzz of sensations and memories, projections and opinions are just a bundle of noise in your transparent, unbounded nature.

Am I wasting my words? Who is hearing this? The person? Or the uncaused being that you are?

Who hears hearing? Who knows knowing?

Can an object know itself? Can the seen be the seer?

Don’t be too quick to answer the questions. Observe what’s true in your experience, in your awareness, awareness itself – yourself – your Self – the Self.

Identify the sense I AM. This is ananda, bliss. From here the world flows. The Great Tao.

The Truth is here if you want it, not ‘there’ in the objects of awareness. And when you see this, then there’s no ‘there’ – just This.

All is ‘I’

I-I

Atma

And Atma is Brahm.

Who can see this, know this?

All that is, is consciousness.

Who could know this?

Consciousness.

Be conscious, of being conscious.

Don’t think about it, just be aware.

Notice what’s already true.

You are aware, you are awareness.

Why jump into the mud of personhood? Why wrestle with the ghosts and projections of the deluded mind?

You are the pristine mind and all that appears shares your nature. Modulations occur spontaneously, the dance and play of life. The tissues of existence so seemingly robust are subtle beyond measure, the fabric of emptiness.

Where is this ‘world’? From where does it come and to where does it go?

I AM

 

Keep Quiet

That we believe ourselves to be a person is completely taken for granted. We don’t even think to look into this, to question its veracity. We’ve been conditioned to stop short in our curiosity about our nature.

Go all the way. Use your discrimination and intelligence to fathom what’s true. I can set you down the right track, many can, but you must walk the walk.

Perhaps it’s only when the limits of our knowledge fails us in some way that we even become interested in looking beyond our previously prescribed limits of comprehension. Maybe our life needs to break apart a little first. Maybe it needs to fall to pieces. Either way “if it ain’t broke, don’t look” seems to be the maxim of choice for most.

Who wants to know?

To whom do these thoughts arise?

To me.

Who am I?

.

There is a pathless path, a road to self-knowledge that begins and ends right here and right now. It is the road of stopping, of ending, of keeping still.

Quiet.

From where do thoughts appear?

If you watch them, in real time, you can locate their source. Not conceptually, or inferentially, not by speculating on their psychological origins. No, right now, arising in your mind. Are you not the awareness-space in which they arise? Are you not the emptiness that Knows?

Just watch, observe, abide.

So tell me, where is this body of yours? Where is your sense of self, of being?

What comes first, the knowing or the known? Are they two?

And is this mind of yours in the body? Or is this body in the mind?

And this mind, whose is it? And how big is it? And where?

Abide

Observe

Inquire

This is the work of the Jnani. This is the awakening Spirit.

It is only conditioning that seems to muddy the view. Only thoughts, concepts believed.

There’s nothing to do here. Life wakes up to itself naturally, spontaneously, in its own time, through you and I. This game of separation is fleeting, short-lived, less than a heartbeat; a whisper, a story, and a dream.

You are not the body, the cause of all your misery. It’s here, sure. It shows up, but you are so much more – intelligence itself, life itself, existence itself. The only thing holding you back from knowing this for yourself is your loyalty to concepts, particularly about yourself.

There’s an obviousness about our nature that is revealed when observed, but the mind’s insistence on holding a contrary view, the insistence on filtering what-is through a framework of conceptual notions, and the refusal to drop the false in the light of the true, the real..

Any moment, any given moment you can simply refuse to pick up anything. Forget about dropping, just leave it be. Let it go, remain open, you are openness itself.

Breathe.

In the light of the truth the false dissolves, has no weight, no substance, inconsequential.

The truth is bliss.

You have to set your motives straight. Do you want some philosopical position you can cling to or some knowledge you can use as social currency? Or do you want the truth on its own terms, for its own sake?

Keep checking in. It’s just you that you’re accounting to, no-one else is calling you to step up. It’s just that the price of truth is integrity, or ‘earnestness’; true sincerity, courage, and humility.

And ultimately surrender. Not to anyone or anything, just surrender.

 

Trust

Trust, rest, all is well.

You are home, always. This is it, believe it or not.

Hope is for fools. Running, chasing, holding, grasping, needing, wanting.

This is it, be here now.

Let the hope fall away, need be gone, cherish what is, here, this.

Simple, silence, source.

Time? Gone too.

Space? Just this, no inner, no outer, no names.

Rest.

Put your house in order, tidy your room, take out the trash, clean your teeth, pay the rent, do your job, become what you must become, live up to your potential, hold the line, stand your ground, sink or swim, do or do not (there is no try).

Abide. The Dude abides

I stare into the depths, the deep waters of the mind, nothing stirs, for now. And then..

Any dragons today?

I have to keep telling people that they’re wrong. I have to take their personal viewpoint and show them, if they’re willing to see, that they don’t exist as they believe themselves to be.

Even though what I show them about themselves is far greater and more permanent and fulfilling, even so they mostly don’t want to hear it or see it. But when they do, and they go “aaaaha!”, we share a communion of spirit, of truth, of reality and being. We share the recognition in union, and the resistance of the person is forgotten and forgiven.

The person stands in the way of the truth.

The person is fun while it lasts.

The person is a cartoon character who thinks it’s alive.

The person is an appearance in the Self.

Which are you? Can you choose? The ‘me’ or the ‘I’?

The person will end one way or the other.

The Self remains.

I AM.

You exist as transpersonal Being. In fact even describing your essential nature in terms of personhood is misguided. You are the unconditioned Satchitananda, the eternal Brahman, that which Is, in which the unending multitude of beings are born and die. But all that appears to you and in you is a mere dream.

WAKE UP!

You have forgotten your nature, you wear a mask that you take to be yourself, but the mask was never you, and for all your lapses of memory you remain the supreme Self.

When you give up your human tics like grasping, and hiding, and resisting, and wilful blindness, then what’s left is you as I AM.

Blast away your trivial attachments to minor powers and social currencies that only serve to bolster the pitiful illusion of personhood. Behold your Emptiness, endless and alive, eternal and inexhaustible, limitless. Jettison your faintheartedness.

Stand free! Stand free!

I am the deep waters
and the pouring rain

I am the swamp of hope
the mud of delusion

I am blue sky
wide and open

I am the cloudless night
ablaze

Of mountains
I am Meru

Of oceans
I am the deep blue

Of ravages
I am time

Of hatred
I am the betrayed

Of sleep
I am eternal slumber

Of love
I am the devoted

Of time
I am now

Of sex
I am tantra

Of hope
I am love

Of music
I am silence

Of beauty
I am youth

Of knowledge
I AM

To what extent is clinging to strong views problematic? Ideology?

In the absence of the recognition of the unconditioned view and the attendant satisfaction of the identifying function with the unbounded and eternal awareness-nature, the identifying function does its best with what is at hand, namely transient phenomenal ‘objects’. Now the more obvious objects of identification include the body and material ‘possessions’. But the more subtle ones are subtle abstract concepts, such as religious ideations and ideological constructs.

Naturally these conceptual objects are exclusive, failing as they to do to be all-encompassing, and limited, as they are, in their nature as mere mental constructs..

Why are we so terrified of the void? Why do we so desperately need to have something to cling to? Have some spine, people!

Just let go.

Holding on is such hard work. Aren’t you exhausted yet? Are you done yet trying to figure it all out? What would happen if you just stopped and gave up? Aren’t you even a little curious?

Struggle, holding tight to the reins. Release your grip, give your white-knuckles a break and just see what happens. Breathe. Breathe again. Introduce yourself to a more easeful way to be. Learn to relax. Could it be so simple?

Stay open. It’s a beginning. Turn up, sit, wait, watch.

Breathe, and breathe..

Good.

 

The Cave Where The Dragon Sleeps

Have a practice.

Take time out each and every day to sit in the cave of your interior and wait and watch. This is where the dragons are and this is where the gold is.

It is the cave of the unknown and that is the place of fear. It takes courage to enter and to face whatever comes. You will wrestle your demons here and gardens of bliss will grow here.

And just by turning up you call forth whatever dwells in the unseen, dark places of your being. You are the hero venturing forth with courage and awareness. You light the torch in the dark places, you illuminate that which is unformed and inarticulate.

You are the Light Bringer.

This is my cave. I come here alone. I leave the safety and comfort of the tribe and I sit in solitude, in waiting. I cannot know what will come so I cannot prepare. But I know that I am, I exist. And I have slayed dragons before, and I have gathered gold and flowers.

.

I am the cave and I am the light. And I am the dragon and the flowers. I am the spilled blood of demons and virgins. I am the temple bell and the sleepless night. I am the dream of hunger, the wolf-whistle and the kindness of strangers.

I am the dragon and I am awake. The gold is mine. Courage or not, you will die. If not by my hand then by the ravages of time. Is it truly gold that you seek, hero? Or is it the end of death?

I am the cave. Timeless. So many heroes, so many dragons, so much gold and blood. My walls and floor hold no stains, but I remember all.

I am the gold and the virgin and the light of life. I am the object of desire and greed. I will not fulfill. I am what I am. I remain in my immutable nature, I adorn the world and all the beings in it. Yet I remain untouched and unmixed. I do not decay or waste away. I am ever resplendent, bright as the sun at noon. Behold, here I am, the object of your aspiration and surrender.

.

We don’t want the gold, we want to be the gold. We don’t want love, we want to be love. We don’t want to be free, we want to be freedom.

Unity means free of boundaries, devoid of separation. Yoga is not to unite but to be unity. Nonduality is the state of nonseparation.

We are freedom, not free.

Love not loved.

Truth not true.

Peace not peaceful.

Life is the cave of dragons. Each day, each moment we must stand and face what comes. Armed only with our nature and our wits and the light of truth and courage..

I’ve been slaying dragons for so long now, but they keep coming back. These damn hydra. Sisyphus I am. I don’t need the gold. What do I need the gold for anyway? I need sleep more than I need gold.

Fighting is for heroes, I’m no hero.

I fight not for me but for others. There’s nothing in it for me. But since I must fight, I fight for them. Even though they despise me and reject me, I speak my truth because I must.

.

Is there a better way to be?

Than what?

Than striving, controlling, wanting, needing, being someone, something..

Is letting go, stopping, dropping the chase, surrendering and accepting what-is.. is shedding the burden of being and doing a better way, a more peaceful way, a fuller way?

If I drop my sword and allow myself to be devoured by the dragon, what then?

If my bones become food for the plants and birds, what then?

Can we give up the struggle and see what comes, what remains?

When we’re tired of holding on can we just let go and see what happens?

Do we trust enough? Do we care too much? Fear too much?

Do we lack the courage to release our grasp?

Do we even know what would happen if we did?

Do we fear to find out?

Do we dare?

Let go?

So we freefall into oblivion, forever. So what?

Enjoy the fall. There’s an adventure for the fainthearted!

It’s happening anyway. It is what is. We just don’t care to admit it. We’re just really, really tense about our not-knowing.

We are freefalling, there are no fixed points. Endless openness in all directions. Freedom is exhilarating, no?

Breathe in, breathe out, repeat if necessary.

Breathe through the fear, because this is how it is and you’re stuck with it. Might as well get used to it. No point denying the truth, it has a way of insisting itself.

.

In the cave of dragons, the voice of the father echoes out words of reproval. I thank him for his wisdom and go my own way.

My heart is filled with fear and love, but I am free.

Softly I begin to sing, words of goodness and kindness, words of joy and ease and peace. Words of love and essence. The melody is the fabric of Being, it is the Song of Life.

Behold the kindness of life.

 

You Are What You Seek

Why do we practice, why do we seek? Is it to attain or achieve some conceptual goal we call Enlightenment? Or is it to recognise that in every moment of our existence we are inescapably aware, we are here, we exist?

In fact we are awareness itself, we only have to look right now to see the fact of it. There is no path to it, there is only recognition of it; and that recognition is always available now.

Enlightenment is our natural condition, no-one has a monopoly on it, and it is not proprietary. Along the road we can make use of guides and pointers, teachers and teachings; but there is no master key, because there is no door, there is only Openness.

Feel into your natural presence, be aware of your existence. Recognise what is always here and what passes. Remain as awareness, remain as the witness, keep quiet. Thoughts are fine, feelings and sensations too. But know yourself as That which sees them all come and go.

There is a seamless continuity from your silent seeing through all the passing waves that arise in your experience. See it all, notice that you are free from its influence; it all spontaneously comes and goes in its own way. The burden of activity is not yours, you are Freedom itself.

 

Seeing Beyond Limitations

The problem of human suffering is the problem of misapprehension. Our ideas about the nature of the world are at odds with the reality of it. The key mistake is that we take ourselves to be separate individuals existing in an objective world. We believe that our sense of I-ness originates in the physical body and in that body is a mind that runs the show.

Suffering arises because the belief that we are the body is to believe that we’re limited and are therefore vulnerable, that we can be harmed in body and mind, and therefore our very existence can be threatened.

With this belief it’s perfectly natural to feel anxious and fearful, and no amount of sweet and empowering affirmations will abate this natural sense of vulnerability, even though it’s based on a falsehood. The end of suffering comes when you discover the truth of who and what you really are.

When the light of reality dawns in you as the direct recognition of your existence as unbounded, ever-present, formless awareness, the fear and insecurity born from the sense of limitation falls away naturally and effortlessly.

 

Nothing

There’s nothing to do
Nothing to think
Nothing to drop
Nothing to see
Nothing to follow

There’s no plan
No strategy

There’s nothing to believe
Nothing to hold on to
And nothing to let go of

There’s nothing to hope for
No future to come
No past to understand

There’s no right
And no wrong
No bad
And no good

Everything is negated
And transcended
In this
Unspeakable
Unknowable
Reality

Nothing that should be
Nothing that should not
No needs
No musts

Nothing ought
To look
Or be
Or feel
A certain way
To be right
Or not wrong
Or complete
Or true

It is
Simply

This

 

You Are Never Lost

My only aim is to help you recognise yourself as boundless, ever-present awareness right here and now, and to recognise your essential wholeness and completeness.

Your true nature is easeful, lack-free Being; freedom and peace is who and what you are. Your awareness-nature is where you’re looking from, feeling from, sensing from. Look for yourself, identify yourSelf this very moment as the formless Seer.

Know that you can never lose yourself, you can only believe that you are lost. Fall in love with the silence of your Being, merge beyond merging into the recognition that you are always already here, always boundless and open, always aware, free of affliction.

You are the formless witness, what can touch you, what can harm you?

 

From Awakening To Freedom

The recognition of our nature as non-conceptual awareness — spiritual awakening — is relatively simple. But the consequences of this recognition typically have challenging implications for our human-ness, conditioned as it is around the ego-belief. Awakening is rarely the end of the story. A reconstruction of the lived experience and outward expression in light of the newly acknowledged awareness-identity is inevitable, but it takes time to unfold.

During this post-awakening period, experience can alternate between heady bliss and the most challenging inner and outer experiences. It’s helpful to adopt the attitude of openness and allowing; to let whatever subjective experience that arises to pass through without resistance. This is perhaps the best way to minimize the ‘negative’ impact of this fundamental and necessary reorientation.

This process is an automatic one. For a while it probably won’t feel that way, you might feel that you have to ‘do’ something. But remember: allow, accept, let go, surrender (if you can). These are good pointers to be followed, but in time you’ll realize that they simply express your natural condition.

And trust the process, which is specific to your particular expression. Ultimately all that is untrue and a cause for suffering is falling away. What remains is the simple clarity of What Is.