Thursday, April 20, 2017

Darryl Bailey - Dismantling the fantasy

 Once upon a time, a group of friends lay on a hillside
watching a cloud. They had become fascinated with
its appearance while walking in the country. It was a
marvellous cloud, massive and surging, one moment
appearing to be a house and the next a bevy of balloons.
In turn there were forests and cities, animals and people,
comings and goings, no end of activity.

As it so happened, an old man, a stranger, was wandering
close by. When the group of friends saw him, they cried
out in their excitement,
Old man, come join us!  Come
watch this cloud! 

After hurried introductions and the shifting of bodies, he
took his place within the group.

The afternoon passed pleasantly as the cloud continued
to surprise. There were soldiers at war and children at
play. There were creatures of the wild: birds, mammals,
and fish, as well as beasts of work and burden. There was
a mother and her child. There were the many scenes of
life: birth, death, sickness, youth and old age. There were
lovers and fighters, friends and enemies, the interaction
of groups, and single, poignant portraits.

Time wore on, the afternoon dwindled, and eventually
the old man stood to leave. He thanked his new friends
and made his goodbyes, but hesitated, looking at the

May I ask you a question?

Of course, they replied, in their various ways.

Were you at all concerned for those we saw this

Who? they asked.

The figures we saw in the cloud: the soldiers, the
animals, the children.

The friends looked at each other, perplexed.

One answered, Old man, there were no people, no animals;
there was only the cloud.

The others nodded in agreement.

How do you know that?

How do we know what?

How do you know there was only the cloud?

It’s obvious, anyone can see it.

See what?

There is only the cloud; it’s still there.

What about the forms we saw?

There were no forms; there is only the cloud and it has no
particular form.

How do you know that?

Just look, and you can see it.

What do you see?

There are no forms there.

How do you know that?

Because they’re always changing. No form is ever really
there; whatever form you think you see is always altering,
rearranging in some way.

How do you know that?

Just look! That’s all you have to do.

There were no soldiers, no animals, no children?

No. It may have seemed like that, but there was only the cloud.

There were no soldiers deciding to fight, no lovers
deciding to love?

How could those false appearances decide to do anything?
There is only the movement of the cloud.

So the cloud decides to move?

No. The cloud does not decide to move. It has no form. It
simply moves. That’s its nature.

How do you know that?

Have you ever seen a cloud that stopped changing? Every
aspect of it is shifting in some way. It doesn’t decide to do it;
it’s on automatic. The movement simply happens.

There were no people?
There was no birth and death?

Birth and death of what? There is only the cloud. It seems
like many forms coming and going, but it’s always only the
unformed cloud.

And no one is deciding to do anything?

No. The forms that appear to be there are not really there,
because each one is altering in some way and eventually
disappears. There is simply action or motion. The forms
are not the reality; they are false appearances. There is only
movement, a streaming that has no particular form.

But the lovers who moved closer together …?

There were no lovers, no soldiers, no animals. There is only
the cloud.

The old man pondered this slowly.

There were no forms there?
No decisions to act?
No birth and death?

That’s right! said the friends, thinking they had finally
gotten through to him.

But how do you know that for certain?

Just watch! The forms that you see are changing all the time.
They never stop. No particular form is ever really there. If
you had to describe a cloud, you wouldn’t say it looked like a
horse or a soldier. That wouldn’t give you a true sense of the
cloud. A cloud is constantly changing.

The appearance of form is not the reality. The altering is.
That’s the basic fact. There is no coming or going, no birth
or death, no decisions being made, no matter how much it
seems like that. There is only motion. Anyone can see that
if they watch it long enough.

The old man considered this carefully.

You’re absolutely certain?

Yes! We’re absolutely certain.

And you can tell all of this from seeing this constant
change, this motion, this dynamic?


The old man contemplated this.

May I ask another question?

The friends remained silent, waiting.

Are you actually people?

What are you talking about? Of course we’re people.

But you’re changing.


Everything you are – your bodies, thoughts, emotions,
interests, urges, desires, capacities, decisions, focuses,
ideas, activities – in fact, more than just you, all
things that you know of.

What about them?

They’re constantly changing.

Yes, sighed the members of the group, They’re changing.

Do you change them?

No, old man, they simply ...

The friends stood staring at him, their minds racing,
exploding to find some other response.

He gazed back at them.

They looked.

He looked.

For what seemed to be a very, very, long time.

Then he smiled, turned, and wandered away.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Khalil Gibran.- "Tell us of Pain."

“And a woman spoke, saying,
"Tell us of Pain."

And he said: Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break,
that its heart may stand in the sun,
so must you know pain.

And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;

And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.

And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.

Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen,

And the cup he brings,
though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the
Potter has moistened with His own sacred Tears.”

The Prophet
- Khalil Gibran.

Jan Richardson - Blessing in the Chaos

Shimmers Within the Storm © Jan L. Richardson

 To all that is chaotic
in you,
let there come silence.

Let there be
a calming
of the clamoring,
a stilling
of the voices that
have laid their claim
on you,
that have made their
home in you,

that go with you
even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest,
will not let you
hear your life
with wholeness
or feel the grace
that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you
Let what divides you
Let there come an end
to what diminishes
and demeans,
and let depart
all that keeps you
in its cage.

Let there be
an opening
into the quiet
that lies beneath
the chaos,
where you find
the peace
you did not think
and see what shimmers
within the storm.

source text Here

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dzogchen - Freeing your thoughts

You want to know what is meant when you see the phrase “thought-free”.

If you concern yourself with whether you are thought-free or not thought-free, would it be possible to be “thought free”, in that circumstance?

As the Dzochen Rinpoche Tulku Orgyen has commented:

“Checking, ‘Is there a thought now; or (am I) free of thought?’— isn’t that just another thought?”
These teachers speak of a “natural” mind. During your day, all sorts of thoughts come and go, spontaneously arising and dissolving, like surf washing up on a beach. Isn’t this what is natural to all of us?

Tulku Rinpoche has said, “ it is not beneficial to continuously pursue a special, thought-free mental state. Rather, simply allow yourself to be in naturalness, free of any fabrication”; that is, conceiving of, and attempting to engineer, some special state of mind or condition for thought. “Thought-free means free of conceptual thinking,” he states.

Tulku’s eldest son, Chokyi Nyima also speaks of the dualistic distinction between “thought” as compared to “thought-free”.

“What is to be practiced has nothing to do with thoughts and conceptual mind…The main practice is to simply rest vividly awake in this nondual awareness. Relax loosely, and remain naturally. Totally relax and do not check or question; remain totally free from accepting or rejecting—that is the conducive situation for meeting the natural face of awareness. Apart from this, you don’t need anything else to meditate upon.

“Whenever something is denied, something is affirmed at the same time. Whenever something is rejected, another thing is automatically accepted. This dualism is the very nature of conceptual judgment.

“When not involved in any kind of conceptual judging, that itself is innate suchness, thought-free wakefulness, and genuine ordinary mind.”

He has further stated:

“When leaving this fresh ordinary mind as it is, without correcting or modifying it, without altering it in any way, without accepting and rejecting, there is no fixating on anything.
“In the guidance manuals for meditation, it is often phrased like this: do not alter your present fresh wakefulness. Do not rearrange even as much as a hair tip. Just leave it exactly as it is. This is very profound, and there is a lot to understand here…

In the present moment, do not correct,
Do not modify,
Do not accept or reject.
Don’t try to rearrange your present wakefulness.
Instead, leave it as it naturally is
Without any attempt to alter it in any way.
That is called sustaining your natural face.”

Another son of Tulku Rinpoche, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, speaks in detail about the innate naturalness of the mind free of such dualistic concepts as thought versus no thought:
“Like many of the people I now meet on teaching tours, I thought that natural mind had to be something else, something different from, or better than, what I was already experiencing. Like most people, I brought so much judgment to my experience. I believed that thoughts of anger, fear, and so on (that came and went throughout the day) were bad or counterproductive—or at the very least inconsistent with natural peace! The teachings of the Buddha—and the lesson inherent in this exercise in non-meditation—is that if we allow ourselves to relax and take a mental step back, we can begin to recognize that all these different thoughts are simply coming and going within the context of an unlimited mind, which, like space, remains fundamentally unperturbed by whatever occurs within it.

“All you have to do is rest your mind in its natural openness. No special focus, no special effort, is required. And if for some reason you cannot rest your mind, you can simply observe whatever thoughts, feelings, or sensations come up (hang out for a couple of seconds and then dissolve) and acknowledge, ‘Oh, that’s what’s going on in my mind right now.’ Wherever you are, whatever you do, it’s essential to acknowledge your experience as something ordinary, the natural expression of your true mind. If you don’t try to stop whatever is going on in your mind, but merely observe it, eventually you’ll begin to feel a tremendous sense of relaxation, a vast sense of openness within your mind—which is in fact your natural mind, the natur
al unperturbed background against which various thoughts come and go.”Freeing your thoughts


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Eloratea - Silent Benediction

It came unexpectedly.
Descending from the unseen regions,
above the highest mountain tops,
behind the distant and cold realms of immense, white glaciers,
from the hidden abode of the Light of the world,
as in just one spread of invisible, mighty wings;

And It came down silently.

And silence came upon the whole field,
gentle, but profound, even substantially perceptible in its insubstantiality.
Firstly touching, than embracing and uplifting everything in its strong hold;
Standing in itself without any support,
extending without limits, in all directions and dimensions.   
And peace and serenity suffused the field,
releasing like fragrance, feeling of timeless freedom and great joy.
And everything was coming out of that silence,
returning back to it;
As one seamless, dynamic landscape,
unfolding from one eternal fountain,
as one weightless filed of life,
one unobstructed and ceaseless refraction of Light.


Lee van laer - Until we die of gratitude

I am not sure
But I think I will come to that last place
Shrouded, covered in the habit
Of monks and nuns, head bowed down
In awe before a majesty of substance;

The chemistry of breathing
Back to infancy, and life
Re-weaving threads until they form
A different pattern than the one
I thought I knew so well.

The stars will fade, then grow again
Into a greater light that loves—
Loves so much I cannot be
With it, yet also cannot leave—
And we will come together

Over the earth, the heavens, traveling
At such great speed that even
The soul itself cannot keep up,
No longer needed
In the final rush to God.

As I know the molecules
Of Being are one substance
With the Father, from whom
All things are made,
I'll know it even better then;

Give thanks for small things,
Which penetrate us
Blessing after blessing,
Until we die of gratitude.
So it begins.

—Lee van laer
Senior editor Parabola magazine