Friday, May 19, 2017

Pir Elias Amidon - The Art of Awakening




Looking for it, the vision cannot be seen: cease your search. It cannot be discovered through meditation, so abandon your trance states and mental images. It cannot be accomplished by anything you do, so give up the attempt to treat the world as magical illusion. It cannot be found by seeking, so abandon all hope of results.
— Shabkar Lama, 19th Century Tibetan Mystic

~~~~~ 

 Pir Elias Amidon explores three significant questions in his essay, “The Art of Awakening:”
If we are in fact already one…what is the point of making a path to go there?
How can what is already awake awaken? Who is Seeking?
Join Pir Elias in this compelling inquiry.
Read Part 1 of this 2-part series.

~~~~~~

There are contradictions at nearly every step on the spiritual path. In fact the very image of a spiritual path is a contradiction. It implies there is a distance to be traveled, that we are walking on a path that goes from somewhere far from the divine to somewhere closer, from darkness to light or from a state of less awareness to awakening.

And yet enlightenment is nothing other than the experiential recognition of Oneness and the simultaneous recognition of our seamless identity with Oneness, which is the case at this moment and has always been the case. So what purpose is served by postulating distance from Oneness? If we are in fact already one with Oneness, what is the point of making a path to go there? Won’t our identification of a path be a detour?

A second contradiction emerges right after this: implicitly a spiritual path leads to spiritual awakening. But surely the Whole by its very nature is awakeness itself. Since the central fact of realization is our seamless identity with Oneness, then we are already awake! How can what is already awake awaken?

These are some of the contradictions inherent in the ideas of path and goal. There is another contradiction embedded in the idea of the seeker. The seeker travels on the path toward the goal. But just as ideas of path and goal collapse in the ubiquity of the One, so too does the notion of a seeker. After all, who is seeking? Since the One is the Only Being, the idea of a seeker looking for the Only Being is bewildering to say the least.

And yet, through the course of history, untold thousands of spiritual paths have been delineated. Their goals have been spoken of in the most poetic terms, and seekers have journeyed with great endurance along their routes, some of whom have clearly “awakened” in the process. Inner schools, mystery schools, monks in monasteries, nuns in convents, wandering sadhus and their disciples, Buddhists sects and sufi orders—the human community has engaged in a vast project of spiritual search, teaching, and discovery.

But in light of the contradictions of seeker, path, and goal described above, is this vast project anything more than a smokescreen veiling the obvious? By formulating the notions of seeker, seeking, and sought, do spiritual paths simply reinforce these ideas and strategies as if they were ends in themselves, rather than opening us to what is beyond all ideas? Regardless of whether we are engaged in a formal spiritual path or are non-affiliated spiritual seekers, these questions are relevant.

In this contemplation I would like to consider these questions as directly as I can. While one could respond to them, as I often do, by saying it is in the nature of spiritual paths to encompass contradiction and paradox, that response is not entirely satisfactory. There is considerable danger in guiding or in following a spiritual path to unwittingly make of it a destination in itself. In this way seeker, path, and goal can each become furniture in our spiritual house. And yet without any guidance from a path or sincerity in following the call to awaken, we run the risk of self-absorption and self-deception.

Continue reading for the conclusion of this series in part 2




Pir Elias Amidon
 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Orgyen Chowang Rinpoche - Pristine Mind



Leave your mind alone, don’t populate the sky with clouds.
Refrain from creating mental events based on what has happened.
Leave your mind alone, don’t populate the sky with clouds.
Refrain from creating mental events based on what might happen.
Leave your mind alone, don’t populate the sky with clouds.
Refrain from creating mental events based on what’s happening now.
Leave your mind alone, don’t populate the sky with clouds.
In the absence of mental events, pristine mind self-reveals.
Pristine mind is original presence, prior to any mental event.
Pristine mind is meditation without object, basic aware space.
The original presence of pristine mind is always relaxed, at ease.
By refraining from creating mental events, stress becomes obsolete.
Thoughts, emotions, beliefs, memory associations, sensations,
judgments, desires, fears, self-images, ideals — all are mental events.
Leave your mind alone, don’t populate the sky with clouds.
Pristine mind cannot be acquired, fabricated, forced, or imposed.
It is the self-revealing presence that shines as it is when all efforts
to control, manipulate, improve, or modify mind are discarded.
When water is left to itself, all the sediment will eventually settle.
When mind is left to itself, all conditions will eventually subside.
Pristine water, pristine mind — all this is easy to understand.
Refraining from creating mental events, attention is self-liberated.
First realization: mind is naturally pristine, prior to any fixed identity.
Second realization: whatever appears is a passing mental event.
Third realization: meditation is being as you are, pristine mind.
Fourth realization: pristine mind is unconditional happiness.



 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Nisargadatta Maharaj - Beyond




Maharaj: The seeker is he who is in search of himself. Soon he discovers that his own body he cannot be. Once the conviction: 'I am not the body' becomes so well grounded that he can no longer feel, think and act for and on behalf of the body, he will easily discover that he is the universal being, knowing, acting, that in him and through him the entire universe is real, conscious and active. This is the heart of the problem. Either you are body-conscious and a slave of circumstances, or you are the universal consciousness itself -- and in full control of every event.

Yet consciousness, individual or universal, is not my true abode; I am not in it, it is not mine, there is no 'me' in it. I am beyond, though it is not easy to explain how one can be neither conscious, nor unconscious, but just beyond. I cannot say that I am in God or I am God; God is the universal light and love, the universal witness: I am beyond the universal even.

Questioner: In that case you are without name and shape. What kind of being have you?
M: I am what I am, neither with form nor formless, neither conscious nor unconscious. I am outside all these categories.

Q: You are taking the neti-neti (not this, not this) approach.
M: You cannot find me by mere denial. I am as well everything, as nothing. Nor both, nor either. These definitions apply to the Lord of the Universe, not to me.

Q: Do you intend to convey that you are just nothing.
M: Oh, no! I am complete and perfect. I am the beingness of being, the knowingness of knowing, the fullness of happiness. You cannot reduce me to emptiness!

Q: If you are beyond words, what shall we talk about? Metaphysically speaking, what you say holds together; there is no inner contradiction. But there is no food for me in what you say. It is so completely beyond my urgent needs. When I ask for bread, you are giving jewels. They are beautiful, no doubt, but I am hungry.

M: It is not so. I am offering you exactly what you need -- awakening. You are not hungry and you need no bread. You need cessation, relinquishing, disentanglement. What you believe you need is not what you need. Your real need I know, not you. You need to return to the state in which I am --your natural state. Anything else you may think of is an illusion and an obstacle. Believe me, you need nothing except to be what you are. You imagine you will increase your value by acquisition. It is like gold imagining that an addition of copper will improve it. Elimination and purification, renunciation of all that is foreign to your nature is enough. All else is vanity.

Q: It is easier said than done. A man comes to you with stomach-ache and you advise him to disgorge his stomach. Of course, without the mind there will be no problems. But the mind is there -- most tangibly.

M: It is the mind that tells you that the mind is there. Don't be deceived. All the endless arguments about the mind are produced by the mind itself, for its own protection, continuation and expansion. It is the blank refusal to consider the convolutions and convulsions of the mind that can take you beyond it.

Q: Sir, I am an humble seeker, while you are the Supreme Reality itself. Now the seeker approaches the Supreme in order to be enlightened. What does the Supreme do?

M: Listen to what I keep on telling you and do not move away from it. Think of it all the time and of nothing else. Having reached that far, abandon all thoughts, not only of the world, but of yourself also. Stay beyond all thoughts, in silent being-awareness. It is not progress, for what you come to is
already there in you, waiting for you.

Q: So you say I should try to stop thinking and stay steady in the idea: 'I am'.
M: Yes, and whatever thoughts come to you in connection with the 'I am', empty them of all meaning, pay them no attention.


Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
I AM THAT
67. Experience is Not the Real Thing


 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lalla - Enlightenment




Enlightenment absorbs this universe of qualities.
When that merging occurs, there is nothing
but God.  This is the only doctrine.

There is no word for it, no  mind
to understand it with, no categories
of transcendence or non-transcendence,
no vow of silence, no mystical attitude.

There is no Shiva and no Shakti
in enlightenment, and if there is something
that remains, that whatever-it-is
is the only teaching.
 
 
 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Kavita Byrd - Silence



How can that be described
Which itself
Contains all words?

How can that be captured
Which itself
Contains all worlds…

I throw my words
Like bones
To the dogs
Of past and future

I have never written a poem
Let me play here
With you
Whose silence
Strokes my
Wonder


 

Jiddu Krishnamurti - The book of life