Friday, April 17, 2015

Joan Tollifson - Open wonder

“We hear that “this is it,” or that “this very heart and mind is Buddha,” or that “ordinary mind is the way,” and we think, that can’t be right. This can’t be it. We search for some final intellectual clarity or certainty, or some permanent experience of spaciousness and peace, or some idealized and purified version of ourselves in which all our human blemishes have at last been successfully removed. And every now and then, we think we’ve got it, but next thing we know, we’ve lost it. There is a pervasive idea that enlightenment or awakening or liberation is some one-time, finish-line event that will permanently wipe out all delusion and uncertainty, solve every psychological problem, and turn us into all-wise, all-knowing, infallible saints, 
blemish-free at last.
After much disappointment and disillusionment, we begin to see directly that the “me” who seems to be going back and forth between getting it and losing it is nothing substantial or abiding (as we had thought), but that this “me” is an intermittent process that is part of the ever-changing, passing display. The “me” we had thought was so solid and real is nothing more than a conceptual idea made up of thoughts, memories, mental images, sensations and stories that together give rise to a kind of mirage. When we look closely, we cannot locate any actual “me” who is thinking my thoughts or making my decisions or living my life. We can’t find any actual boundary where “me” begins and ends, or where “inside of me” turns into “outside of me.” Any boundary we think we’ve found, if examined closely, turns out to be permeable and fluid or not really there. And there is something bigger than the bodymind that is seeing the bodymind, something that is beholding the mental images and the sensations and the apparent boundaries, and yet when we turn our gaze around to see what that “something” might be, there is no-thing there.
We begin to realize the emptiness of everything. Emptiness simply means that everything is empty of any inherent, objective, substantial, independent, persisting existence “out there” somewhere, outside of consciousness. There is only this seamless, boundless, beginningless, endless, streaming, flowing no-thing-ness in which everything is inseparable from everything else. This no-thing-ness is not “nothing” in some void-like sense, but rather, it is EVERYTHING without division: the sound of the airplane, the cry of the bird, the rumbling of the stomach, the breathing in and breathing out, the passing thoughts, the mental movies, the whole show and the awaring presence beholding it all.
And so in this way we begin to notice the bigger picture, the unicity that includes the whole show and the awaring of the show, the groundless ground, the groundlessness—the context in which that mirage of “me” and “the story of my life” comes and goes. We notice that awareness or presence or beingness (or as I often say, Here / Now) is the common factor in every experience—whether it is an experience of expansion or an experience of contraction, an experience of boundless spaciousness or an experience of encapsulation and limitation, a sunny day or a cloudy one. The present-ness of every experience, the suchness or thusness or IS-ness of it, the energetic aliveness or beingness is the same in calm weather or stormy weather. The awaring presence, the space of Here / Now within which everything appears, the eternal present, this ultimate subject is never not here. In deep sleep, everything perceivable and conceivable disappears completely along with the phantom observer, the one who cares about being enlightened or unenlightened. What remains? Any answer (any particular perceivable or conceivable thing) is not it. And yet intuitively, we know, something remains, even if the whole universe blows up and is no more. We miss it by trying to grasp it or see it—by trying to make some-thing (another object, another experience) out of no-thing-ness—but whatever the mind constructs or singles out or tries to hold onto, that is not it. And yet, there is nothing and nowhere that it is not.
Sometimes there is a tendency to draw an imaginary line between “awareness” and “everything that appears in awareness,” and this may be useful initially, but eventually we see that this line isn’t really there, that we cannot find any actual boundary between “awareness” and “what appears,” or between “me” and “the world,” or between “inside” and “outside,” or between “subject” and “object,” or between “seer” and “seen,” or between “the self” and “the Self.” It is all one undivided happening. The boundary lines are always conceptual. The living reality never forms into solid, separate, persisting, independent things. It is one undivided whole. And yet, we can still differentiate between me and you, table and chair, mountain and valley, up and down, good and evil. As they say in Zen, reality is “Not one, not two,” and awakening is “leaping clear of the many and the one.” Enlightenment is not being stuck in any view—not clinging to either the relative or the absolute—not building nests, as they say—not fixating anywhere—not grasping—not landing on one side of any imaginary divide.
Any “me” who claims to be in some permanently awakened state of consciousness is delusion, but in waking up, it is simply obvious that awakeness has always been here, that it was simply overlooked, and that it isn’t something that “I” have (or could ever lose)!
The thinking mind will always pop up with another “yes, but…” or “what if…” and if we try to resolve this by thinking our way to clarity, we will be endlessly chasing the imaginary carrot around and around on the hamster wheel. But there is another possibility, another way of being. What is it?
Don’t answer that question. Live with it. Fall into the answer-less-ness of not-knowing, the open wonder of this ever-changing, ever-present Here / Now that never comes, never goes, and never stays the same. Recognize yourself in everything that appears and as THAT which remains when everything perceivable and conceivable disappears.”

Byron Katie - After Life

"The woman interviewing me today asked if I believed in an afterlife. I said yes, completely, and no, completely. The afterlife is now, and everyone talks about believing in now until they see it as just another concept that isn't true and eventually they begin to see that actually now is the afterlife that they always wondered about. She asked me why I believed in the afterlife and what is the afterlife, and it never ceases to amaze me that the obvious is not understood. Why do I believe in the afterlife? This moment is after the past and that makes this moment the only afterlife possible to "not" believe in, because that now is gone, and so is this one. Poof! Live, a slight of mind, until it's not.

The afterlife is what happened after I brushed my teeth this morning.
This moment ends my whole life. Finally I am living in the afterlife.
You, as you believe you to be, have never been born, you are a mere ghost of your own imagination.

What to see and experience the afterworld? This is it! It happens in the afterlife. It's happening now, it happens each moment. I call it heaven! Are you there yet?"

Rumi - Just a shell

Love came,
and became like blood in my body.
It rushed through my veins and
encircled my heart.
Everywhere I looked,
I saw one thing.
Love's name written
on my limbs,
on my left palm,
on my forehead,
on the back of my neck,
on my right big toe…
Oh, my friend,
all that you see of me
is just a shell,
and the rest belongs to love.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj - In Face of Death

Visitor: My only son died a few days ago in a car accident, and I find it almost impossible to accept his death with a philosophic fortitude. I know that I am not the first person to suffer such bereavement. I also know that each one of us has to die some time. I have in my mind sought solace from all the usual ploys by which one consoles oneself and others in such predicaments. And yet, I come back to the tragic fact that a cruel fate should deprive my son of everything in the prime of his life. Why? Why? I keep on asking myself. Sir, I cannot get over my grief.

Maharaj: (After sitting for a minute or so, with his eyes closed) It is unavailing and futile to say that I am grieved because in the absence of 'self ('me' as an individual) there are no 'others', 
and I see myself mirrored in all of you. 

Obviously, you have not come to me for mere sympathy, which you surely must have received in abundance from your relatives and friends. 

Remember, one goes through life, year after year, enjoying the usual pleasures and suffering the usual pains, but never once seeing life in its true perspective. 

And what is the true perspective? It is this: There is no 'me', nor 'you'; there never could be any such entities.
Every man should understand this and have the courage to live his life with this understanding.

Do you have this courage, my friend? Or, must you wallow in what you call your grief?

V: pardon me, I do not fully understand what you have said, but I do feel startled and shaken. You have exposed the core of my being, and what you have said so pithily appears to be the golden key to life. Please elaborate on what you have just said. What exactly is it that I must do?

M: Do? Do? Absolutely nothing: Just see the transient as transient, the unreal as unreal, 
the false as false, and you will realize your true nature. 

You have mentioned your grief. Have you ever looked at 'grief' in the face
 and tried to understand what it really is?

To lose somebody or something you have loved dearly, is bound to cause sorrow. And since death is total annihilation with absolute finality, the sorrow caused by it is unmitigated. 

But even this overwhelming sorrow can not last long, if you intellectually analyze it. 

What exactly are you grieving for? 

Go back to the beginning: 

Did you and your wife make any agreement with someone that you would have a son — a particular body — and that he would have a particular destiny?

Is it not a fact that his conception itself was a chance? 

That the foetus survived the many hazards in the womb was another matter of chance. 

That the baby was a boy was yet another chance. 

In other words what you called your 'son' was just a chance event, a happening over which you have had no control at all at any time, and now that event has come to an end.

What exactly are you grieving for? 

Are you grieving for the few pleasant experiences and the many painful experiences that your son has missed in the years to come? Or, are you, really and truly, grieving for the pleasures and conveniences that you will no longer be able to receive from him?

Mind you, all this is from the point of view of the false! Nonetheless, are you with me so far?

V: I am afraid, I continue to remain stunned. I certainly follow what you have just said. Only, what did you mean when you said that all this was on the level of the false?

M: Ah! Now we shall come to the truth. 

Please understand as truth, that you are not an individual, a 'person'. 

The person, that one thinks one is, is only a product of imagination and the self is the victim of this illusion.

'Person' cannot exist in its own right. It is the self, consciousness, that mistakenly believes that there is a person and is conscious of being it. 

Change your viewpoint. 

Don't look at the world as something outside of yourself. 

See the person you imagine yourself to be as a part of the world—really a dream-world— which you perceive as an appearance in your consciousness, and look at the whole show from the outside.

Remember, you are not the mind, which is nothing but the content of consciousness. 

As long as you identify yourself with the body- mind you are vulnerable to sorrow and suffering. 

Outside the mind there is just being, not being father or son, this or that.

You are beyond time and space, in contact with them only at the point of now and here, but otherwise timeless, spaceless and invulnerable to any experience. 

Understand this and grieve no more. 

Once you realize that there is nothing in this world that you can or need call your own, you will look at it from the outside, as you look at a play on the stage or a movie on the screen, admiring and enjoying, perhaps suffering, but deep down, quite unmoved. 

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Pointers by Ramesh Balsekar


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Akha Bhagat - Who can bear witness?

What could be the Other when First is naught?
What is to dwell when nothing is born?
Viewers none, who can bear witness?
Untouched by tongue, taste the nectar blessed.
Akha, you will understand if you view this sensibly,
It's the possessed who grieve for father's father.

Rabia Al-'Adawiyya - My joy

My joy --
My Hunger --
My Shelter --
My Friend --
My Food for the journey --
My journey's End --
You are my breath,
My hope,
My companion,
My craving,
My abundant wealth.
Without You -- my Life, my Love --
I would never have wandered across these endless countries.
You have poured out so much grace for me,
Done me so many favors, given me so many gifts --
I look everywhere for Your love --
Then suddenly I am filled with it.
O Captain of my Heart
Radiant Eye of Yearning in my breast,
I will never be free from You
As long as I live.
Be satisfied with me, Love,
And I am satisfied.

Ikkyu Sojun - A Fisherman

Studying texts and stiff meditation can make you lose your Original Mind.
A solitary tune by a fisherman, though, can be an invaluable treasure.
Dusk rain on the river, the moon peeking in and out of the clouds;
Elegant beyond words, he chants his songs night after night.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Yunus Emre - In His hands

The lover is outcast and idle

My soul,
the way of the masters
is thinner than the thinnest.
What blocked Solomon's way was an ant.

Night and day the lover's
tears never end,
tears of blood,
remembering the Beloved.

"The lover is outcast and idle,"
they used to tell me.
It's true.
It happened to me.

I tried to make sense of the Four Books,
until love arrived,
and it all became a single syllable.

You who claim to be dervishes
and to never do what God forbids --
the only time you're free of sin
is when you're in His hands.

Two people were talking.
One said, "I wish I could see this Yunus."
"I've seen him," the other says,
"He's just another old lover."

Farid ud Din Attar - Looking for your own face

Looking for your own face

Your face is neither infinite nor ephemeral.
You can never see your own face,
only a reflection, not the face itself.

So you sigh in front of mirrors
and cloud the surface.

It's better to keep your breath cold.
Hold it, like a diver does in the ocean.
One slight movement, the mirror-image goes.

Don't be dead or asleep or awake.
Don't be anything.

What you most want,
what you travel around wishing to find,
lose yourself as lovers lose themselves,
and you'll be that.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sri Aurobindo - Silence is all

Silence is all, say the sages.
Silence watches the work of the ages;
In the book of Silence the cosmic Scribe has written his cosmic pages;
Silence is all, say the sages.

What then of the word, O speaker?
What then of the thought, O thinker?
Thought is the wine of the soul and the word is the beaker;
Life is the banquet-table – the soul1 of the sage is the drinker.

What of the wine, O mortal?
I am drunk with the wine as I sit at Wisdom’s portal,
Waiting for the Light beyond thought and the Word immortal.
Long I sit in vain at Wisdom’s portal.

How shalt thou know the Word when it comes, O seeker?
How shalt thou know the Light when it breaks, O witness?
I shall hear the voice of the God within me and grow wiser and meeker;
I shall be the tree that takes in the light as its food,
I shall drink its nectar of sweetness.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lalleshwari - Bliss in your Heart

I traveled a long way seeking God,
but when I finally gave up and turned back,
there He was, within me!

O Lalli!
Now why do you wander
like a beggar?
Make some effort,
and He will grant you
a vision of Himself
in the form of bliss
in your heart.

~ Lalla
(Kashmir/India/Pakistan, 14th century)
tr. Swami Muktananda

Source Poetseers

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sri Ananandamayi Ma - One vast garden

I find one vast garden spread out all over the universe.

All plants, all human beings, all higher mind bodies

are about in this garden in various ways ,

each has his own uniqueness and beauty.

Their presence and variety give me great delight.

Every one of you adds with his special feature to the glory of the garden.

Mirabai - Mira the Bee

O my friends
What can you tell me of Love,
Whose pathways are filled with strangeness?
When you offer the Great One your love,
At the first step you body is crushed.
Next be ready to offer your head as his seat.
Be ready to orbit his lamp like a moth
      giving in to the light,
To live in the deer as she runs toward
      the hunter's call,
In the partridge that swallows hot coals
      for love of the moon,
In the fish that, kept from the sea, happily dies.
Like a bee trapped for life in the closing
      of the sweet flower.
Mira has offered herself to her Lord.
She says, the single Lotus will swallow you whole.

William Blake - The Divine Image

Murillo - Brother Juniper And The Beggar

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, turk, or jew;
Where Mercy, Love, & Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.