Saturday, April 1, 2017

Eric Baret - Life is not a concept

In time it becomes evident that life is not a concept. That life cannot be thought. “

The mind cannot understand. The only thing we can do together is to come to see what is not. Yes, is not. The mind wants to choose, but then you come to see very clearly at some point that something is stopping you. There is no freedom, there is nothing pre-determined either, they are both concepts of the mind. You cannot have one concept without the other. So yes, you say: “see that you have a story”, and yes you can say: “there is no such thing as a story”, because there is no one there to “have any story”. So what do you do with that? If you follow the two lines of feeling very deeply you come to a blank state and in this blank state there is dissolution. And you see it is not the one, nor the other. They are both concepts. But these concepts have been recalled from memory. In time it becomes evident that life is not a concept. That life cannot be thought.

That’s why you can never say: “I understand something.” This realization will knowingly remain as a constant background present before any upsurge of understanding. All knowing is included in not knowing. The moment you say ” I know this ” you exclude the opposite. So of course you challenge the knowledge later on and it is very upsetting to the mind. We realize that wanting to understand was a need to grasp what cannot be grasped. It goes against what we have said that there is no sense in anything. You may hear that and feel very happy. To make sense out of the idea that there is no sense in anything gives you a feeling of security. Then someone tells you: ” Look you are making sense out of it ” and then the mind becomes crazy because it sees that it cannot not make sense out of it. Because when you understand that there is no sense in anything, you are saying to yourself: ” that makes sense “. You are falling into the trap. So you have to constantly observe yourself because you constantly want to grasp what you cannot grasp and for the mind of course it is very upsetting. But it works. You must see the mechanism of understanding there is nothing to understand. There is nothing to understand, — you hear that and say: “Yes, now I understand that” and again you fall into the trap. So you must stop knowingly before understanding.


Jiddu Krishnamurti - This is the only hour you are living

"Sir, try it. Live for one day, one hour, as though you were going to die, actually going to die the next hour.
If you knew you were about to die, what would you do?
You would gather your family together, put your money, your little property in order, and draw up a will;
and then, as death approached, you would have to understand all that you had been.
If you were merely frightened because you were dying, you would be dying for nothing;
but you would not be frightened if you said, “I have lived a dull, ambitious, envious, stupid life,
and now I am going to wipe all that totally from my memory, I am going to forget the past and live in this hour completely.”

Sir, if you can live one hour as completely as that, you can live completely for the rest of your life.
But to die is hard work - not to die through disease and old age, that is not hard work at all.
That is inevitable; it is what we are all going to do, and you cushion yourself against it in innumerable ways.
But if you die so that you are living fully in this hour, you will find there is an enormous vitality,
a tremendous attention to everything because this is the only hour you are living.
You look at this spring of life because you will never see it again;
you see the smile, the tears, you feel the earth, you feel the quality of a tree, you feel the love that has no continuity and no object.
Then you will find that in this total attention the ‘me’ is not, and that the mind, being empty, can renew itself.
Then the mind is fresh, innocent, and such a mind lives eternally beyond time."

Friday, March 31, 2017

Jeff Foster - I’m the worst guru ever

Birds conference by Peter Sis

I’m the worst guru ever. I’m not afraid to admit it.
I’ve never been to India, and don’t feel pulled to move there any time soon.
I don’t claim to be awakened, liberated, enlightened, or in any particular state. That all seems so irrelevant when it comes to Truth.
I don’t have an organization, a sangha, or any kind of devoted following. Nobody ‘works’ for me. No adoring disciples. No Yes Men or Women.
I am open to feedback and criticism. I take everything in. When I screw up, I admit it and move on. If someone disagrees with me, or criticises my teaching, I don’t automatically say “that’s your projection” or “that’s just your ego talking” or “you are not yet awakened”. I don’t feel I have anything to defend. 

Truth needs no defending.
I don’t have a guru. I’m not from any lineage. I always knew Truth was within. 

I always fought for first-hand Truth.
I have no system, offer no particular path. My teaching is spontaneous and not 'mine’.
I make no promises that these teachings will cure you, fix you, awaken you, make you rich, leave you in states of permanent bliss or make you anything like me, god help you.
I don’t have an ashram. I do have a beard, but it’s not very long.
I don’t wear white. I do have a couple of white T-shirts.
I swear. I fart. I’m not a superhuman. My heart loves to break wide open. I have known the depths of unbearable suffering. I have walked on the edge of suicide, tasted the sweetness of life without hope, seen the impermanence of even the most blissful states. I see clearly that our humanness and our divinity cannot be two, and love - the kind of love that survives crucifixion - is all that really matters.
I use the words 'I’ and 'me’ freely. I say 'my body’ instead of 'the body’. I have no problem talking about the past, knowing the past is a story. I love silence, but I love noise equally. In the space of no stories, I embrace stories with all my heart.
I believe true spirituality is for everyone. I have no interest in cults. I see the age of gurus and disciples dying, the time of second-hand revelation coming to an end, and the birth of a new kind of democratic teacher-student relationship. 

We are all teachers and we are all students, 
and we are all expressions of the One.
I don’t put on a fake persona, talk in a special 'spiritual’ way, pretend to be something I’m not during meetings or retreats. You won’t see me attacking those who disagree with me. You won’t see me secretly screaming at volunteers behind the scenes.
I don’t grin with supreme confidence all the time, pretend to be 'up’ or 'positive’ or 'spiritual’ all the time. My being embraces both the light and the dark, both unspeakable joy and the sorrow of lost universes. I don’t believe in 'all the time’, nor pretending itself. The image means nothing. Authenticity is the key. Even false humility is false. Even the “I have no image” image is an image, which will be burned.
I don’t see myself as a guru, an enlightened mystic, a creature so very different from you, so much more evolved than you, so much more holy than you.
I don’t have a winning, charismatic personality. I’m crap at telling stories, anecdotes, amusing tales. I’m not interested in gaining your admiration or your approval. I love it when you walk away. I admire you for it. I love it when you stay. I honour your fearlessness.
I do love speaking about Truth, of course.
I do love sharing this gift of Presence with you.
I do see you as inseparable from what I am.
I do see unspeakable potential in your eyes.
I am a bird. I have no choice but to sing my song of joy and heartache, 

and fly away to wherever life takes me.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.  


Cynthia Bourgeault - The Way of the Heart

From the Christian esoteric tradition, a path beyond the mind

Put the mind in the heart…. Put the mind in the heart…. Stand before the Lord with the mind in the heart.” From page after page in the Philokalia, that hallowed collection of spiritual writings from the Christian East, this same refrain emerges. It is striking in both its insistence and its specificity. Whatever that exalted level of spiritual attainment is conceived to be—whether you call it “salvation,” “enlightenment,” “contemplation,” or “divine union”—this is the inner configuration in which it is found. This and no other....


...According to the great wisdom traditions of the West (Christian, Jewish, Islamic), the heart is first and foremost an organ of spiritual perception. Its primary function is to look beyond the obvious, the boundaried surface of things, and see into a deeper reality, emerging from some unknown profundity, which plays lightly upon the surface of this life without being caught there: a world where meaning, insight, and clarity come together in a whole different way. Saint Paul talked about this other kind of perceptivity with the term “faith” (“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”), but the word “faith” is itself often misunderstood by the linear mind. What it really designates is not a leaping into the dark (as so often misconstrued) but a subtle seeing in the dark, a kind of spiritual night vision that allows one to see with inner certainty that the elusive golden thread glimpsed from within actually does lead somewhere.

Perhaps the most comprehensive definition of this wider spiritual perceptivity is from Kabir Helminski, a modern Sufi master. I realize that I quote it in nearly every book I have written, but I do so because it is so fundamental to the wisdom tradition that I have come to know as the authentic heart of Christianity. Here it is yet again:

    We have subtle subconscious faculties we are not using. Beyond the limited analytic intellect is a vast realm of mind that includes psychic and extrasensory abilities; intuition; wisdom; a sense of unity; aesthetic, qualitative and creative faculties; and image-forming and symbolic capacities. Though these faculties are many, we give them a single name with some justification for they are working best when they are in concert. They comprise a mind, moreover, in spontaneous connection to the cosmic mind. This total mind we call “heart.”

“The heart,” Helminski continues, is the antenna that receives the emanations of subtler levels of existence. The human heart has its proper field of function beyond the limits of the superficial, reactive ego-self. Awakening the heart, or the spiritualized mind, is an unlimited process of making the mind more sensitive, focused, energized, subtle, and refined, of joining it to its cosmic milieu, the infinity of love.

Now it may concern some of you that you’re hearing Islamic teaching here, not Christian. And it may well be true that this understanding of the heart as “spiritualized mind”— “the organ prepared by God for contemplation”3—has been brought to its subtlest and most comprehensive articulation in the great Islamic Sufi masters. As early as the tenth century, Al-Hakîm al Tirmidhî’s masterful Treatise on the Heart laid the foundations for an elaborate Sufi understanding of the heart as a tripartite physical, emotional, and spiritual organ.4 On this foundation would gradually rise an expansive repertory of spiritual practices supporting this increasingly “sensitive, focused, energized, subtle, and refined” heart attunement.

But it’s right there in Christianity as well. Aside from the incomparable Orthodox teachings on Prayer of the Heart collected in the Philokalia, it’s completely scriptural. Simply open your Bible to the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:8) and read the words straight from Jesus himself: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." 


Read the full essay at PARABOLA


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Saadi - The Pearl and the Ocean

A drop of rain trickled from a cloud into the ocean.
When it beheld the breadth of its waters it was utterly confounded:
"What a place is this Sea, and what am I?
If it is existent, verily I am non-existent."
Whilst it was thus regarding itself with the eye of contempt,
an oyster received and cherished it in its bosom.
Fortune preferred it to a place of honor; for it became a renowned royal Pearl.
Because it was humble, it found exaltation:
it knocked at the door of Nonentity that it might arise into Being.

 translated by Samuel Robinson

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Hafiz - And you were there, in my union with All

I used to know my name. Now I don’t.
I think a river understands me.

For what does it call itself in that blessed moment
when it starts emptying into the Infinite Luminous Sea,
and opening every aspect of self wider than it ever thought possible?

Each drop of itself now running to embrace and unite with a million new friends.

And you were there, in my union with All, everyone who will ever see this page.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lorin Roche - The Radiance Sutras

The Bhairava Tantra is a conversation between The Goddess Who is the Creative Power of the Universe, and the God who is the Consciousness That Permeates Everywhere. For short, they call each other Devi and Bhairava, or Shakti and Shiva. They are lovers and inseparable partners, and one of their favorite places of dwelling is in the human heart.


 One day The Goddess sang to her lover Bhairava,

Beloved and radiant Lord of the space before birth,
Revealer of essence,
Slayer of the ignorance that binds us,

You, who in play have created this universe
and permeated all forms in it with never-ending truth.
I have been wondering . . .

I have been listening to the songs of creation,
I have heard the sacred sutras being sung,
and yet still I am curious.

What is this delight-filled universe
into which we find ourselves born?

What is this mysterious awareness shimmering
everywhere within it?

What are these instinctive energies
that undulate through our bodies,
moving us into action?

And this “matter” out of which our forms are made -
What are these dancing particles of condensed radiance,
Are they an illusionist's projection?

What is this power we call Life,
appearing as the play of flesh and breath?
How may I know this mystery and enter it more deeply?

Beloved, my attention is ensnared by a myriad of forms,
the innumerable individual entities everywhere.

Lead me into the wholeness beyond all these parts.

You, who hold the mysteries in your hand -
of will, knowledge and action,
Reveal to me the path of illumined knowing.

Lead me into joyous union
with the life of the universe.

Teach me that I may know it fully,
realize it deeply,
and breathe in the truth of it.


The One Who is Intimate to All Beings said,
Beloved, your questions require the answers that come
through direct living experience.

The way of experience begins with a breath
such as the breath you are breathing now.
Awakening into the luminous reality
may dawn in the momentary throb
between any two breaths.

The breath flows in and just before it turns
to flow out,
there is a flash of pure joy -
life is renewed.
Awaken into that.

As the breath is released and flows out,
there is a pulse as it turns to flow in.
In that turn, you are empty.
Enter that emptiness as the source of all life.

Continue reading 32 Sutras HERE


Monday, March 27, 2017

Chuck Surface - I have fled the walled villages of belief

I have run from those who "know",
Who assert aggressively,
Speaking with certitude and authority,
The experience and interpretation,
Of those now long dead,
Regarding "Truth".

These Knowers have every right to speak,
And others, every right to listen,
And I, every right to turn away,
From the contempt and disdain,
In which they hold,
Those who do not share their belief.

There are many tribes in this Vastness,
Taking refuge in walled villages of belief,
Of right and wrong, true and false,
Decrying in their temples,
The Untruth of others...
Marching forth to vanquish the infidel.

I have fled the violence of ideology,
Of belief, faith, and dogma,
To wander the Wilderness of Unknowing,
Traversing its Immeasurable Vastness,
Having burned for warmth along the way,
All notions of "Truth".

I have fled to the mountains of Mystery,
And there, watch from lonely heights,
The movements of their armies;
Brandishing concepts, beliefs, and faith,
Like swords and spears held aloft,
To impose the "Truth" on others.

Here... in this Infinite Solitude,
This Boundless Immensity,
Like my Friend Attar, I find myself,
Knowing nothing, understanding nothing,
No longer aware of myself,
In Love, but with whom, I do not know.

With whom I do not know, and yet...
At the risk of building the smallest lean to,
Which, in time, might become a house,
And in time, become a walled village,
I cannot keep myself from whispering,
So tenuously, the word for my "God"...


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pir Elias Amidon - Munajat: The Quiet

Your stillness is upon me.

How gentle it is.
It doesn’t ask anything.

It holds the beating of my heart
and the air around me.

It holds the story of my life.

So quiet, so clear,
no wonder no one notices.

Your stillness is upon me.

It comes first, gives birth,
like a mother births a child.

Mother light, child light,
the quiet at the heart.

Your stillness is upon me.

You are the I that I am.


Francis Lucille - Sky of Presence (Guided Meditation)

Turn your attention towards the Presence in you, which is aware of these words. 

Now ask yourself the question, “Where is this Presence, which is aware of these words and these thoughts, located?” Make this determination based upon your own experience in this very moment, not based upon what you have read in books. And you may have a first answer that would say that this Presence is located in the head somewhere. Now take a closer look at this first answer. You will see that this first answer is a feeling, a sensation located in the head or in the chest or somewhere else. This first answer is a sensation, a localization, a location in the body. 

Now, that which appears, the answer, the localization, the sensation, seems to be localized, but ask yourself the question, “Where is the Presence, to which the localized sensation appears, located?” If the sensation is localized does that make the Presence localized? Ponder this based upon your experience. In other words, “How do I know this presence I call ‘I’ is localized?”

Find the answer for yourself. Don’t let me tell you what the answer is. What I tell you has no value. What you find by yourself, what you discover firsthand has value. If you decide this presence is localized, that’s your decision based upon your experience. My advice is: check it out, again and again. It is your experience alone which makes the decision. My advise is: check it out, again and again, until you reach a rock-solid conviction one way or the other as to whether, based upon your experience, this Presence which you are, is localized or not. 

Now you may say, “I don’t know.” Fair enough. Or you may say, “I don’t know, but other people know.” That’s not fair enough, because how would they know better than you where your Presence is located? Only you know your Presence. They know their Presence, assuming their Presence is different from yours, but they don’t know yours. So they have truly no say as to where your Presence is located. I have no say in this matter. That’s why I don’t want to tell you anything. That’s why I suggest you find out for yourself. It’s called freedom.

You have to understand the weight of peer pressure, the weight of false knowledge, or knowledge accumulated through generations, that has been transmitted to you though your genes, through your education, through your relations. That doesn’t make it true. The fact that knowledge has been communicated to you, imprinted on you doesn’t make it true. 

You are the gatekeeper of true and false knowledge. You are the final judge of truth. That’s the esoteric meaning of the ‘the final judgment,’ because you are the truth. As Al-Hallaj said, “I am the truth.” They killed him for having said that.

You cannot find the localization of this Presence, which is hearing these words right this moment. Nobody can. And if nobody can, perhaps it means that this very simple Presence is non-local, non-local meaning it is not the product of this body or this flesh. It is more like a property of the totality, of the cosmos—-if we see the cosmos as God’s creation, as God’s body. It is one more property, one more quality of that power that created the cosmos. 

Presence, one more name for the ultimate. 

And if we think about this body, which most of us see in isolation from the rest of the cosmos—-if we take a closer look, there is no such a thing as an isolated body, other than a concept of it. The body is in total symbiosis with the rest of the universe, with the air it breathes, with the water it drinks, the space in which it moves, the things it eats, the other beings it relates with and the stars. And just as the body is not isolated, the mind is not isolated, always exchanging information with the rest of the universe. So that even from the vantage point of physics or biology or information theory, we are led to the conclusion that there is no isolated system in the universe, that there are no isolated bodies. It is a childish concept to consider parts of the universe in isolation.

And if it is true that the body and the mind are not isolated, even if we believe that consciousness is the byproduct of the bodymind, (since bodyminds are, in that case simply a byproduct of the totality), we have to reach the unavoidable conclusion that this Consciousness, this Presence that I call ‘mine’ is not produced by the bodymind but rather, at it’s deepest origin, by the totality of the universe. It is not the Consciousness of the body, but ultimately the Consciousness of the universe. 

We are the flowers of the tree of life. Many flowers, only one tree.

In ancient times in the West, people believed that the sky was closed, that we were inside a blue sphere and that the stars were diamonds attached to the blue sphere. We believed that space was limited. And then we knew better; we knew better because we investigated the sky.

But as we investigated the sky and the universe around us, we didn’t investigate the inside of us. And because of this lack of investigation of the inside, we believed that our Presence was limited, that it was bounded just as we believed the sky was bounded. And just as the boundary of the sky was a man-made creation, so the inner boundary of Consciousness, which we call ignorance, is of our own making. 

Just as the sky out there, space, the universe has always been unbounded, the inside sky of Presence has always been without limits.

Susan Kahn - Undying Self

Infinitely here, infinitely itself,
Unbounded within,
Yet immeasurably outpouring.
Going nowhere,
This undivided field of now.

Singular and endless simultaneously,
Innocent and fresh beyond dawn.
I have held the mind’s breath to die here,
Only to remain indestructibly This.

Unseen luminosity voices
This choir of silent emptiness,
This that is not created or imagined,
This one undying Self.

Posts by Susan Kahn

Jami - Full of the Beloved

Happy is he who is able to escape from self, and feel the gentle breeze of frienship.
His heart is so full of the beloved, that there is no longer room for anyone else.
It is the beloved flowing through his every vein and nerve like his very life:
there is not an atom of his body that is not filled with the friend.
The true lover can no longer perceive either the scent or the color of his own self:
he has no interest, either friendly or hostile, in anyone other than the beloved.
His heart is attached neither to thorne nor crown; 
all greed and lust have packed their bags and left his street.
If he speaks, it is to the friend; if he seeks, it is from the friend.
He no longer takes himself into account, and lives only for love.
He leaves the raw and turns to the ripe, abandoning completely the abode of the self.

Abd ar-Rahmān Jāmī (1414- 1492)