The Awakened Heart is a Broken Heart

There’s grief in awakening. Grief at the loss of autonomy, grief at the loss of purpose and meaning. Grief at the loss of knowing and certainty, however deluded they were. There’s grief over losing one’s power, and one’s familiar identity.

There’s so much loss in  awakening. When it dawns that there’s nothing we can keep, nothing can be retained beyond its prescribed time, and all that we know and love must pass, then a natural grief for all of it can come. And since this knowledge of loss is for all of it, for all time, then that ache of grief is an ever-present refrain, a broken heart, amidst the delight at the miracle and mystery of life.

We know this poignancy, this pathos, because it’s familiar, it’s part of us, and it’s not wrong. It’s not something to be avoided or excised. We must comfort ourselves and each other tenderly, as we struggle to find the inevitable ground of acceptance.


Awakened mind is the impersonal sentience and not the contents of awareness. Even the sense ‘I am’ is known by this awareness.

But who can say how this thing works? Getting into a technical analysis of the structure of consciousness and the nature of awakening becomes an exercise of intellect, and therefore true enough on that level but not Truth – capital T.

That Truth just can’t be spoken, it’s beyond description, beyond analysis, beyond intellectualization. It’s beyond any method you could employ to attain it, and yet the living reality of it is always present as the totality of experiencing.

So I could say that the ‘I Am’ isn’t it, but if you identify it and abide as it then the fullness of liberating insight will dawn. But the fact is the recognition of this fundamental reality self-generates spontaneously.

You see it’s really difficult to talk about the spontaneous and uncaused nature of being, of truth in terms of doing. Scratch that, it’s not difficult it’s just not true, it’s like describing the growth of a tree in terms of the personal actions of the tree, what a tree wants, and anthropomorphic projections aside it just doesn’t work that way.

I’ve seen seekers go a bit crazy when faced with non-dual maxims such as “you can’t do anything” or “there’s no one to do anything”. But this is as much to do with the personal addiction to autonomy and self-determination as the apparent riddle that is non-dual exposition.

Awakening is about seeing not doing, recognizing not achieving. And like waking up from sleep, waking up to one’s true nature is a spontaneous affair. Even saying something like “be present, be aware” as an injunction to act is misleading, but it’s a good sign when that happens with more frequency.

Bottom line, if you still think you’re doing it you’re mistaken. The person has to be transcended. And since the person can’t transcend itself, it’s the introduction and recognition of the non-personal being as the subject that does it. From there the person is seen for what it is, a mental construct. And all this is happening on its own as part and parcel of the dreamlike nature of consciousness.

Awakening or liberation seems to occur at some point in time when ripeness is present. But when it does ‘occur’ it becomes apparent that liberated mind is all there is, and to even speak of a past and a path is a concession to a mirage. A mirage whose existence is so fleeting and nebulous that it can barely be said to exist at all, and whose suggestions can be likened to an imagined world in a story.

So at the risk telling a nonexistent person in the nonexistent world what to do, I say this; drop all efforts, identify the empty, observing awareness that you are, and remain there, as that. At some point, if fortune smiles, all sense of separate existence and doership will recede. What remains? You tell me.



Is nondual spirituality nihilistic?

Desirelessness, powerlessness, emptiness.

Sacrifice, surrender, formlessness.

Are these more fundamental than, say: fullness, all-possibilities, bountifulness, unboundedness, bliss?

It’s all well and good focusing on the qualities of mind required for the apprehension of silence. But this emptiness is full, this fullness is empty.

All around me I see fullness, I see rich intelligence and abundance manifested.

This Leela may be transient and not what it seems but it’s also a garden of joy. The futility of attachment is true, but what a bounty of appearance, what delightful forms the formless assumes!

This life is thick and dense with wonder. Every glance and glimpse is a living tapestry of beauty. Each moment a masterpiece is created anew, only to be supplanted by another a moment later. Such prodigy, such excess! Incredible, astounding.

Everywhere I look, more and more. An endless parade of impossible delight.

Life is both emptiness and fullness.

This was the Maharishi’s great exposition:

200% of life; 100% silence and 100% dynamism.

We had lost the ground of fullness, the silent source, pure potentiality. Without healthy roots the plant withers. But when the roots are attended to the plant flourishes, blossoms.

The risk of nondual ‘understanding’ is the inner life is cultured and the outer is denied; fullness is viewed with suspicion while the emptiness is idealised.

Both are one. This is the balancing of true nonduality, of unity. Holding the opposites without denying one or the other, refusing to concede to a false dichotomy.

The fullness Is, let it in. Be the boundless space AND the kaleidoscopic dance, both. Where are you not?

“Water the root to enjoy the fruit”

Denying the richness, beauty and wealth of creation is both futile and unnecessary. All is welcome. The Kingdom is founded on the Spirit. the Kingdom is the gift of Life.

Right now as I write I’m sitting in a country garden of exquisite beauty. Birds are flying and chirping, blossom is beginning to burst forth on the trees. The sound of running water whispers in the air. The sun shines its light and warmth, lush green and spring colours are all around. The air is fresh and fragrant.

Yes the boundless silence is the ever-vigilant ground of all, but it also dances in endless variety of expression. A self-created vision of light and life and blissful exuberance.

Aham! I am! I am alive. Aliveness in all its wondrous possibility, Is.

Birds fly, river flows, sun shines, grass grows, blossom bursts. I draw a clean breath and sip my strong coffee. Gratitude pervades my being. This world, this fullness, freely given, is a miracle; an endless, flowing mystery of being and becoming.

Know your Self and the world is yours to enjoy.

200% – you don’t have to choose.

Shiva and Shakti are One, the mystic marriage of silence and dynamism. Fullness and emptiness; reality is a paradox to the mind but self-evident to the awakened Heart.

Don’t hide in the transcendent, don’t hide the light of being under a bush.

Established in Unity, radiate the light of life in all its glory, in all its rich variety and seeming multiplicity. Deny nothing.

The Great Tao, the torrential Grace of the Divine, the body of Christ.

The world is Brahman; Brahman alone is real.

So thank you for this fullness, thank you for this emptiness, thank you for I AM.

Who am I thanking? Who am I to thank?

A-ha! The Mystery and the Miracle.


May You Live In Interesting Times

When the awakened view dawns it becomes apparent that everything we experience points to it, and always did. It’s the recognition that each moment is a Dharma Gate, the opportunity to realize the nature of what-is and it becomes fascinating and fun to see how the consideration of any given domain or field of knowledge offers an opening to its own origination and indeed the source and nature of phenomena in general.

The following is a brief exploration of three different propositions in the domain of science and technology and how each has at its heart the same unanswered question.

“May You Live In Interesting Times”

We might, if we were sufficiently curious and attentive, notice that the issues that we face in our modern scientific age urge us to question and explore the deepest nature of ourselves and of reality itself. The relatively recent emergence of rapid and accelerating technological development has introduced us to new and previously inconceivable propositions and possibilities to consider. New discoveries and developments prod at our imagined certainties about the nature of ourselves and the world. Venerable conceptual models of reality are being revealed as the insubstantial notional constructs that they’ve always been. Our brave new world is inadvertently attesting to the impermanence of ideas long believed to be concrete – ideas about reality, identity, truth.

As an example, advances in genetics and medicine, along with exponential progress in robotics and artificial intelligence, herald the prospect of the human as-such transforming beyond its evolved biological form into some kind of biotechnological trans-human being. Such a radical prospect begs the question: if the body isn’t fundamental or essential to my continued existence, then can I really BE this body? And if I’m not the body essentially, then who am I, what am I?

Another recent theory is that we may all be existing in some vast, cosmic simulation; an idea that is being taken so seriously that some leading thinkers suggest that the likelihood that we exist in ‘base reality’ is billions to one against. And if life as we know it is a stimulation, then who or what am ‘I’ that is experiencing the stimulation? When the simulation ends, including (presumably) the projection of a body and personality, do we wake to find ourselves to be a contemporary human, a future human descendant, an alien on a digital day trip, a neural blob in a jar, or some other type of aware intelligence? What exactly is the nature of our existential ‘base’ reality?

Perhaps the most subversive threat to the materialist status quo is from the perspective of quantum science, in which the necessity for the presence of an ‘observer’ is so fundamental to the existence of a phenomenal world, that it simply doesn’t exist without ‘someone’ to know it. But what is the nature of this essential observer, without which the universe couldn’t be?

Each of these examples brings the question about the nature of our true identity into sharp focus; if we are not the body, and the world that we experience is not permanent or substantial, then where and what are ‘we’ in all this? What came first, the world or I?

In our investigation into the world ‘out there’ we find that even when we look outwards, we inevitably find the need to turn our attention to where we are looking ‘from’ to comprehend the way of things. We have yet, in the modern world, to collectively apply the scrutiny of our scientific curiosity toward exploring ourselves as the essential subjective principle upon which the world depends.

The ‘hard problem of consciousness’ isn’t so hard, it’s just so ubiquitous as that it’s overlooked. It’s universally available for anyone to observe directly for themselves. The simple act of observing awareness from awareness reveals its nature and the nature of the objective phenomena that appear in it. It reveals itself as the first principle, self-existent, unconditioned.

This is old news; Masters of scientific introspection from Wisdom traditions have been reporting their findings for millennia and into the present day. Modern science has yet to fully embrace what I believe will be the transforming exploration of our times: the discovery and recognition of our true nature as consciousness by means of direct observation of awareness by awareness. The radical discovery that the universe is a ‘dream’ appearing in a singular, universal mind.

I’ll leave it to the scientists to do the math, to describe the details as best they can. But the lived experience and liberating benefits of knowing oneself as the ground of all being and becoming is the birthright of all. We need only to start looking for ourselves.

– Martyn


Many of our words and concepts, we think we know what they mean, when often our understanding hangs short of the great depths of being that we miss. Our recognition stalls at the conceptual and clings there instead of plunging into the open experiential oneness that upholds and contains all.

So words like ‘love’ can be like objects, known and quantified and limited, instead of experienced and recognised as the very ground and essence of our being, the ultimate resolution and fulfilment of all our longing and the very fabric of life itself.

Love is the prime substance, but what do we know of it? When we say “love” do we comprehend the fullness, the all-encompassing quality of it? Not just the feeling or even the action, but ‘that which is’?

God, truth, and love are names of the absolute, the divine. And as love always has its origins in the heart, the inner being, then it offers us a direction in which to travel, it sets our compass straight and true.

Love includes, love swallows up enmity and hate. Love can be strong, but never cruel, never unkind. And although it may be that we fail in love, love never fails us, it’s always available and always forgives. How great is love?!

Love is spiritual gravity.
Love is peace. It resolves to unity, non-separation, and freedom. Love is non-grasping, tolerant and kind. It’s patient and secure in itself. All things come to love in the end.

Love is bliss, love is blessing.
Love is fearless, love is courage.
Love is the sun, it radiates warmth and light and draws all beings into its embrace.
All life is nourished by love.

Love will break your heart and smash your world to pieces, it will crucify you. Love brings a sword. But fear not, love cuts you free.

To live in love is to live in joy and freedom and peace.

But we set boundaries on our willingness to love, we create separation where there is none. We guard our vulnerabilities from each other, we hold ourselves in reserve. We don’t trust enough to love deeply, freely. Our own love is limited by the desire for reciprocity and bound by conditions.

But in truth love is neither given nor received, it’s the fabric and substance of being itself, and we live in and are pervaded by its presence. It’s inescapable and ubiquitous. O blessed love! Love seeks no gain because love is all.

Dissolve yourself in love.
No techniques, no strategies, just fall in love with love.

Love is truth, love is beauty, love is good.
Love is not of mind, love is of heart.
Let love swallow the mind.
Mind finds peace in the heart.

But love will challenge you in all ways and test you, for love’s sake.


A Thought for Easter

Good Friday

What must die? All forms, identities.
What is Risen? Life itself, triumphant.

Because there is no death, ultimately.
Life Eternal is enduring by definition.

Today is the sacrifice, the surrender of all for the sake of Truth.

Do I believe in Jesus? Not as such.

But it’s impossible to deny the sacrifice that all must face, finally and in each moment. The death of each moment, endlessly. The end of everything we think we are for what is risen anew. Each moment a new frame, a new being, created complete.

It’s so fast we miss it, a blur of newness, so rapid that the very destruction and creation is hidden in plain sight. We choose to see only the successive ‘peaks’ of creation, the frames of the movie of we call life. We avoid the void, the gap; the emptiness that terrifies the mind is missed completely.

But it’s here in the Mystery of sacrifice and silence that we find ourselves in our fullness.


The Calling of the Soul

How much of our time do we spend bracing ourselves against the possibility of someone else’s reactivity?

When we fear to break a rule or make a mistake, how often is that apprehension based on the anticipation of having to deal with someone’s anger, sadness, or disappointment?

Bumping into people’s reactive emotions is unpleasant and depending on how much power they hold, dangerous too.

How do we stay open and vulnerable when we’re always braced for impact? And how, when we’re avoiding the possible wrath of others’ displeasure do we pursue the calling of our intuitive heart?

How do we gird for reaction without tightening, without building defenses, or deposing our integrity?

Perhaps the question is, how do we go the way of the heart and deal best with the inevitable pushback from the fear-based beings that oppose it?

Follow the current of true integrity, come what may.

Bare your open, unguarded heart for all to see. Meet the world with compassion and firm resolve to honour the calling of your soul in each living moment.

It may be that we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. So all things being equal, you might as well sing your soul’s song.

Nietzsche spoke of the ubermensch, the overman, who was beyond good and evil. Rumi wrote that “out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field”.

The conditioned, rule-based being derives their moral orientation from outside and cannot imagine or trust the spontaneous, living ethic of the awakened heart.

We meet this challenge as much inside as out. Our turning away from our true, intuitive course in the world is mirrored in our inner struggle. The voices of fear and anger and grief rise to deter us from our path in the forms of people and situations in the world, and also as the formless voices in our inner world.

These voices only have the power that we endow them with. The voices of the tempter and the fearmonger. Living from the heart is a path of courage and compassion. It is not the path of indulgence or suppression, it’s the way of what-is, of Truth. And everyone who walks in the Way is a catalyst for the awakening truth in others.


The Way

I’ll show you the Way 
but will you follow?

The Way is no way
The Way is silence and surrender
The Way is no effort
The Way is ‘stop!’
The Way is just this
The Way is no more seeking

Can you see the Way?
Can you accept the Way?
Or will you reject it?

Wherever you plant your foot is the Way
Wherever your eye lands is the Way
And the foot and the eye

The Way is unmissable
Because it’s everywhere
And everything

All beings everywhere follow the Way
There are none that fall from the Way
Because whatever occurs is the Way

Even the thrashing and tantrums
And refusals and resisting
The obstinate willful ignoring
The wailing and self-pity

There’s nothing 
That does not show the Way

Suffering is the Way
Joy is the way
What is not the Way?

The Way embraces and upholds all
Includes all 
Nourishes all

Be at peace 
The Way has you


Awakening and Creativity

Spiritual awakening is a bit like the creative process, because when you engage in meditation or introspection or inquiry, if you’re motivated by money or getting you want or anything like that it pollutes the process. It’s more important to be open and to play and be curious, to be intuitive and fearless rather than be wondering what you’re going to get out of it and how you’re going to benefit.

And I’m talking about process here. Because it’s OK to want things and to be motivated and incentivised in general, but any artist or creative will confirm that it’s that mode of play and wonder that opens up our intuition and leads to us deeper truths and greater joys.

Because remember, what’s being sought here is not learning, but discovery. Not achievement, but transformation. So just do it (whatever ‘it’ is for you) for it’s own sake, follow your bliss and discover the truth on it’s own terms.


Untitled Thoughts #8

The ego constricts around a more-or-less fixed mode of being. So when the ego is transcended and the constrictions are released, then the manifest being reorients to a more natural, unconstrained mode. And we don’t have any real idea what that might look like. During the ego’s reign fundamental embodied modes of intelligence may well have been completely subsumed, and so after awakening, in time we might find that we become an entirely different person with different likes and orientations. Political and social views might change, new paradigmatic perspectives might emerge.

But profound flexibility allows all our manifest aspects and characteristics to transform while never losing one’s essential being-nature. We are now the clay not the pot, and it turns out that the clay is not fixed and fired, but infinitely malleable. The trouble is that (for now) we live in a world of pots, and the temptation is to listen to them. “You are a pot! That is your fixed identity and only mode of being.”

The great challenge and the great freedom is to find, establish, and stand in your own inner truth and not to evaluate yourself by outer authorities. You must be the measure of yourself and the world. You know best for you, no matter what others would have you believe. If we give away all our power to the other by allowing ourselves to be judged and measured and defined by those who would control us, it’s invariably in the direction of limitation. You have to take that power for yourself, stand free in your own truth and be what you must be, on your own terms.


The Impulse To Spiritual Practice

The impulse to spiritual practice
is the impulse to awaken
so even if practice is wrong
or poor
or difficult
or ineffectual
it’s never misguided,

and in the worst cases
it can be redirected
or transformed
to better express
the core impulse.

All the prayers
and mantras
and chants
are well and good
but the urge
to practice
goes beyond
the limits
and constraints
of any particular method.

So don’t constrain yourself
to one particular
or method
or time
or place.

Less doing
more noticing.

Always return to presence;
this is powerful and profound
yet simple.

Be aware(ness)
always here and now.

This isthe final practice;

beyond this
is abiding simplicity itself
the passing away
of all efforts
of all practice.

Simple Self-recognition
nothing to do.


True humility comes when you run out of strategies and realise that you’re powerless
Surrender comes as a result of this
It’s something that happens not something ‘you’ do

This is the difference between prescription and description in spiritual teachings
The seeker hears prescription
Because it can only understand what it hears in terms of itself
It’s personal
It’s something it must ‘do’

But when I say “you need to surrender”
I’m really saying that surrender needs to happen
That humility needs to dawn in your experience
There is no-one to do it

And if this kind of talk is frustrating
Then good
It needs to be
Learning that you’re powerless can be deeply frustrating
Even annoying

Then what’s left is to ‘admit it’ as the 12 Steps say
Pay attention
Be earnest and sincere
And honest about what you discover
And it’s inevitable that you’ll find the truth

Learn humility
And surrender
Then Grace can come

But it’s not an exchange
Surrender for grace
You’re not bargaining for power
This for that

Surrender is giving it all up
Even if there’s nothing to replace it
It’s just stopping
All the strategies
Because they don’t work
And so you surrender them all
Not as a deal with God
But just because they’re all fake and useless
You effectively create a vacuum
Grace fills it

Die before you die
Sacrifice what you are for what you could be

In your heart
Gather all that you think you are
All that you think you possess
All that you think you know
Gather it all up
And throw it on the fire

It’s time to wake up