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Infinite Mystery

Infinite Mystery

A recent interaction with one of my gurus (currently alive) has left ‘me’ puzzled and looking at the search for ‘awakening’ and ‘enlightenment’ in a whole different way.  I think I got addicted to the approval of teachers, so I have wandered around for the last 45 years looking for it.  Now that I’ve got it from some and don’t have it from others, I wonder what I’ve been looking for.

‘Awake’ and ‘enlightened’ are human constructs like any other human construct.  The ‘ego self’ is another such construct.  It’s true that there is something deeper than the ego self.  What it is, perhaps will always remain a Mystery.  We can try to explain it but, words ruin Mystery.

What we are and what Reality is can’t really be known in any final way.  It has to be lived from one moment to the next without clinging to any identity, even the identity of being ‘awakened or enlightened’ or ‘a teacher.’  Sometimes it takes failing to get a teacher’s approval to realize the truth that’s right in front of one’s nose all along.  No ‘I’ to get ‘awakened’ or ‘enlightened.’   No final ‘understanding’ that will be universally accepted.

Today it also seems that there is no condition called ‘awake’ or ‘enlightened’ that can be universally verified in all traditions.  “I” could chase “it” eternally and never be “done” depending on the latest teacher’s vision of ‘done.’  So “I” am giving up.  What remains, lots of tools and methods for going deeper and a desire to help others deepen.  What doesn’t remain?  Ultimate Answers or Identities.

What’s next is…a Mystery.

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Who is the Guru?

Temple Buddha Statue  in Sukhothai Historical Park,ThailandWho is the Guru?

I’ve often been asked who my ‘guru’ is, and I’ve had to ponder carefully when answering the question.  I don’t have just one guru, I’ve had many.  There is a long tradition of being told that we should work with only one guru, who should be able to see us all the way ‘to enlightenment.’  While I think this can be useful for some people, it is not helpful for everyone.

I can think of 12 people, on the spur of this moment, who I would consider ‘gurus’ to me.  Some of them are authors like Jed McKenna, some teachers like Adyashanti or Saniel Bonder, some are well-known and some are unknown.  Many trace their teachings to figures like Ramana Maharishi, Shri Bhagavan Rajneesh (Osho), Swami Muktananda, or Paramahansa Yogananda.  Others have worked in Christian or Jewish traditions.

Currently, I understand that the real Guru is The Absolute Itself, as It manifests Itself in, as and through each one of us.  Sometimes, another person can be a terrific guide or teacher to us at a particular stage of growth.  Sometimes, we find someone whom we can trust and who can take us all the way to the ‘finish line’ of ‘waking up’ or ‘enlightenment.’

As I write about this now, my experience is that The Absolute Itself is in every human being, every creature, every object, every situation, every moment, and every location.  Therefore, All of Life can be our Guru.  I would encourage readers to look at every situation as an opportunity to learn from the Guru, in Its many forms.  There is often grace to be seen, if only we look.

May all who read this be encouraged on the path of awakening.

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Calm and Quiet?

Calm and QuietCalm and Quiet

Noise echoes relentlessly through modern lives.  There is the noise of machines, multitudes of people, and the “noise” of endless communication in a multitude of forms (text, email, voicemail, paging, pinging, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.).  However, in my experience, the worst “noise” is the noise of my own thoughts.

Thought is a wonderful slave but, an awful master.  Although it’s only a representation of reality, we treat it as if it were true.  We treat our own thoughts as Truth, and don’t question them.  We treat our “selves” as if they’re entirely composed of thoughts and don’t question that assumption.  We let our thoughts dictate how we feel, and they are  often the source of terrible suffering.  Has anyone ever suggested that you question your own thoughts?  That they might not be true?  That they might create suffering?

Before you get another day older, start asking yourself some questions:

  •  Am I my thoughts? If so, then who or what is aware of thought arising?
  •  Are my thoughts true? How do I know?
  •  Are my emotions based on the truth or on partial or total falsehoods composed of false thoughts?
  •  Do I want to live my life in the cacophonous drama of false thoughts and the false feelings they create?

Truth is your greatest ally.  If your thoughts are false, stop listening.  If they produce unnecessary emotional turmoil, stop believing them.  Find a way to move to internal calm and quiet (meditation helps!).  It’s worth the effort.

May all beings ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it’s possible!

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Nothing, Everything

infinityNothing, Everything

In the Stillness,

chimes sing,

notes sound,

clocks tick.

I Am perception:

perceiver, perceived, perceiving:

collapse Into Essence

when no thought’s intruding.

Then nothing sustains

the illusory “self”

and Self is imploding.

No seer, no seen, so just seeing.

No inside, no outside: just being.

Nothing and everything: disappearing.

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The Peace that Passes Understanding

The Peace that Passes Understanding

In the Christian New Testament, we find reference to ‘the peace that passes understanding.’  When I was heavily involved in Christianity, I had an intellectual understanding of what this meant but, no visceral, actual experience of it.  It took ‘waking up’ through the Eastern spiritual traditions to really understand this Peace, since I didn’t find Christian mystics to lead me to it.

When ‘waking up’ happens, the ‘center of gravity’ of our experience shifts from the ego-mind to the Awareness that watches or registers the ego-mind arising.  I sometimes call this the Registrar; some call it The Witness.  This Registrar is effortlessly registering every thought, feeling, physical sensation, and sensory perception.  This Registrar is really another disguise, though, and doesn’t have a knowable identity.  Mystics and others call it by many names: Brahman, God, The Absolute, The Divine, The Radiant Darkness, and Emptiness being a few.

In spite of tumultuous circumstances (whether we call them ‘outer events’ or ‘inner turmoil’), The Absolute is always there registering everything that arises, sustains itself for a time, and passes away.  Once aware that I Am That, it’s clear that the deepest part of human beings isn’t all the fluctuations of life or body or mind but, The Absolute.  Knowing, intuiting and experiencing oneself to be the Absolute, is to sit in the Silent, Clear, Stillness that is doing all the registering of everything currently arising, whether pleasurable or painful.  It is to sit in the Eye of any storm, and to experience the essential Stillness of The Absolute.  This is the peace that passes understanding.

May all people who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!eye of storm peace passing understanding

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Death is Our Companion

tutankhamun-death-mask-pharaonic-egyptDeath is Our Companion

My 13-year-old nephew died of a rare blood disorder that stayed hidden until three days before it took his life.  The shock of the statement is enough to stop people in their tracks, let alone the reality behind the statement.  Death can come at any time, at any age, in any circumstance. If we are wise, it is our constant companion, reminding us to stay awake. It can rattle us out of our normal calm and complacent acceptance of the dreamstate, if we are still unaware of Reality with a capital “R.”  However, even aware of Reality, the shock of the sudden death of a young person brings a palpable heartache.  Certainly, it has produced a shattering of the hearts of those close to him.

The human body is frail.  Even those who take exquisite care of their bodies, and have the resources to spare no expense, will eventually succumb to illness and death.  How do we live in light of this truth?  Soberly.  Compassionately.  Adroitly.  As the shock wore off, and the numbness gave way to feeling, grief was and is my companion, as well as Death.  There is no adequate explanation to offer the bereaved, even though inwardly my thought is ‘The Absolute is taking back a part of Itself: it gives Itself into human form, and returns to Itself when it decides to dissolve that form.’

Whether we’re here in this three-dimensional construct, or awake from this dreamstate, we’re still in a body.  We can say, speaking a bit too imperiously from the Transcendent point of view, that “Nothing is happening and Everything is perfect, even the death of a boy.”  Yet even as we speak or write those words, we feel the sensation in our throats, or the perception of our fingers striking the keyboard.  Death will take the one who takes refuge in the Transcendent and refuses to acknowledge the Immanent (here and now 3-D world), just as quickly as one who denies the Transcendent and acknowledges only the material world.

What do we do in the face of Death?  Wake up to our True Nature as the Absolute Itself.  Live as free from the distraction of the chattering mind as possible.  Serve The Absolute in as many ways as possible.  Comfort the grieving, even if they are ‘lost in the dreamstate’ and without denigrating their lostness.  If we are no longer lost, we once were!  The Absolute goes ‘down’ into form, awakens in and as and through these bodies, in order to serve Itself and know Itself in a multiplicity of ways.  Our job is to cooperate with that, to surrender to that, and to accept the real suffering that exists in many forms here, including in saying goodbye to a wonderful 13-year-old boy.  May our grief serve the good purpose of breaking our hearts open, so that more light shines through them in all directions.

May all people who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!

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Embodiment: Awakening Occurs in a Body

Human Forms Heart pexels-photo-256807Embodiment: Awakening Occurs in a Body

Today I’ve been thinking how very esoteric the terms ‘waking up’ or ‘enlightenment’ often sound, and how very divorced from our bodies and our human experience they are ‘advertised’ to be.  One of my early fantasies about being ‘awake’ was that all physical and emotional distress would somehow disappear with ‘waking up.’  With my 13 year old nephew suddenly and currently fighting for his life, I can tell you that the latter is definitely NOT true.  There were other ‘enlightenment myths,’ some passed down via spiritual traditions and religions, and some made up by my own fantasy-oriented mind.

One thing that most people who ‘wake up’ know for sure is that the way we ‘sense into,’ intuit, or ‘feel into’ Awareness is through the body.  The body can be perceived as a ‘receiver’ of Awareness, a ‘transmitter’ of Awareness, or perhaps both.  The Absolute or Awareness or Consciousness takes form in, as, and through these bodies.  The body isn’t something that needs to be ‘wrestled into submission’ as if it’s the origin of sin, or starved into submission (starved either from food, or sex, or human contact), or treated as an ignorant and destructive ‘thing.’  It is a living form of The Absolute.

Just as it takes the perception of the body to begin to intuit Awareness or The Absolute, so it takes listening to the body, its physical sensations, and its emotions (a subset of physical sensations, entirely composed of them) to live an awakened life.  Though the body is temporal (most cells are being replaced at some regular pace), it is more reliable than the ego-mind in terms of the accuracy of its reporting.  It is also the vehicle through which The Absolute serves and knows Itself in Its many other forms (animals, plants, inanimate objects, human beings).

Waking up, doesn’t produce freedom from physical pain, disease or death.  It doesn’t automatically produce freedom from all deeply held traumas (such as in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), or from physiological reactions to physical dangers.  It doesn’t produce physical perfection, in short.  Perhaps a few mythical human beings have moved into some exalted and perfected physical state but, the vast majority of people who wake up are still subject to every human, physical limitation.  Some of the well-known masters even died of cancer.  It does, however, offer a brilliant, clear, unobstructed view of Reality….much to be appreciated and grateful for.

May all people who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!

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Lots of Nothing

Empty Room pexels-photo-271649Lots of Nothing

I remember thinking that when I ‘woke up’ my troubles would all be over and that people would recognize that something had ‘happened’ to ‘me’ and that ‘I’ would instantly become a teacher to other people.  Hahahahahaha….the ego-mind makes up funny stories, doesn’t it?!  Ordinary life goes on.

This morning I rediscovered that what ‘waking up’ really brings is Nothing.  No inner life at all, rather Inner Silence without effort, no boundaries with ‘the rest of it,’ no permanent ‘self’ at all, no recognition, and No One to care.  I could say that inner silence is ‘blissful’ but, that doesn’t exactly describe it.  Nothing does.

The condition of ‘being awake’ has, of course, nothing to do with the ego-mind at all.  It’s about walking around as The Absolute, and knowing there is actually nothing else being perceived but, The Absolute in all of its various forms, and in its conditions Beyond Form, Energy (Dark or Light) and Matter (Dark or Light).  From an Absolute point of view, I could say that Nothing ever happens, and there is No One else here at all.  “I” don’t exist at all, and so Nobody can or does love a “me.” Nonetheless, love is everywhere that The Absolute is recognizing Itself.  A lovely paradox.

May all who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!  Happy Solstice and Happy Holy Days (Holidays)

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Resting as That

Resting as That

Sometimes it is time to rest.  Even to rest from spiritual practice.  In fact, sometimes the best spiritual practice is to open to Life and learn whatever lessons It has for you just by paying attention to what’s right in front of you.

If it’s dark and cold outside, and you’re ill, the antidote is rest!  If your spiritual practice no longer bears fruit, the antidote could also be to rest.  If you are no longer pursuing anything, and you are silent inside, then you have become pure perception and at least, temporarily, merged with All.  In this condition, can you feel any boundaries between a ‘you’ and an ‘outside world?’

If you notice there are no boundaries then, no Inner or Outer, then aren’t you aware in that moment that you are Resting as That?  Now, could you continue that rest for the remainder of your life?  If so, then you would be ‘awake,’ would you not?

May all beings who read this ‘wake up’ in this lifetime: it is possible!

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Family of Human Beings

Family of Human Beings

When I was 16 years old in 1971, I had an answer to the first and ‘cheekiest’ prayer I ever prayed.  The prayer was ‘God, if you exist, create the miracle of getting me a scholarship to international high school  (6th Form, A Levels, International Baccalaureate level) in South Wales, U.K.’  I had originally been told that my parents were ‘too rich’ for me to qualify for a scholarship, though they had four children they had to educate and send to university.  After being accepted in April of that year, there was a postal strike, and I prayed the same prayer for another month until May 1st because there had been no word on the scholarship.  I found out that my prayer was answered then, when against all known odds I got the full tuition scholarship.  This led directly to becoming a believer in a Higher Power immediately afterwards.

Because the international school (United World College of the Atlantic) had students from over 50 countries, including all inhabited continents and even some from countries ruled by communist governments (in 1971 during the so-called Cold War, this was a rare privilege), I came to see that whatever country we are from, we are all human beings.  In fact, because we were put in common circumstances in a new place, all of us formed lasting bonds in spite of having different religions, ethnicities, currencies, and languages.

Though I was narrowly sectarian in my own religious views at the time, even this fact didn’t keep me from becoming friends with many of other faiths.  Now, 45 years later, I still long for communication and communion with people from all over the world, and am finding it by meeting people on Facebook.

I am amazed that we are able to speak to each other so openly about ‘waking up,’ ‘enlightenment,’ and the spiritual journey.  I’m also deeply delighted to again feel part of the Family of Human Beings.  Writing these posts and meeting people from all over the world on Facebook has made life richer by far, in a few short weeks.

Today’s little bit of writing is just to say ‘thank you’ for one more thing I’m grateful for: the family of all human beings that are now speaking together about spiritual Truth.  My experience is that we are each, individually, The Absolute Itself in form.  My hope is that these writings help all readers to uncover this for themselves.  May we continue our open dialog until all realize Who is the Origin and Who is continuing to come into a multitude of forms as The Family of Human Beings.

May all Human Beings who read this awaken in this lifetime: it is possible (and wonderful)!