Saturday, August 4, 2018

Jamie K. Reaser - It Will Be in the Silence

Sometimes you come upon a place that
beckons you into silence: an old stone bench,
a lake shore, a certain time in your life. Nothing
small can reside there.

I’m looking for that place now, the kind of place
that puts clocks to rest because something must
come forth to reset everything. I don’t want to
follow these rules and constructs anymore -
written, not written, felt.

Something is asking me not to, and it is wise.

Reason doesn’t have roots that run deep enough
to tap the place that I am longing for, that place
where obvious things cannot be explained. That
place that is called sacred even by those who
have never used the word before.

I want you to sit and wait with me, away from the
noise and the voices of those who speak only to rob
you of your name. What most needs to be heard
hasn’t yet been said.

(c) 2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Conversations with Mary"


Friday, August 3, 2018

Chuck Surface - Sublime Presence

The moment-to-moment Experience of existing,
Imbued with the Ecstasy of Pure Awareness,
Timeless, spaceless, objectless… selfless,
Diminished in its arising in Form,
But unmistakably “of” its Source,
Water from that Ocean, Light from that Sun.

To the Hindus…
The Ananda of Satchitananda.
To the Christians…
The Presence of the Holy Spirit.
To the Sufis…
The Perfume of The Beloved.

A river of Formless Pure Being,
Flowing effortlessly into form,
Into the Wellspring of the Heart,
Overflowing… flooding even the physical form,
With Fullness, Completion, and Bliss.

Not simply peace, happiness, and joy,
On the level of psychology and emotion,
Not simply a profound understanding,
An apperception born of knowledge,
But the Orgasmic Ecstasy of the Soul.

Not constrained to eyes shut “meditation”,
But with eyes open,
In this Dream of manifest existence,
Formlessness Being, Shining into and as Form.

The Beloved, ever within us,
Her Heart beating in ours, as ours.
The Embrace of Shiva and Shakti,
The Ecstasy of their Union.
For others… the touch of God.

Untouched, unmoved, impenetrable,
By the ever-changing circumstances,
Of conditionality,
Even as storms rage,
In the realms of psychology and emotion.

Ever-present, as Unimaginable Grace,
Even in moments,
Of deepest Sorrow,
Deepest Despair,
Deepest Fear.

This Ineffably Sublime Presence,
Shining as the true Sat Guru,
The True Murshid,
The True Teacher,
In the Cave of The Heart.

The Comforter,
The Teacher,
The Beloved.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Wu Hsin - All of it occurs spontaneously

The Great Hall is full as we await his arrival. Master begins:

Suppose someone is one hundred years of age. It has been one hundred
years of becoming; becoming this, becoming that.
But these becomings, these movements from infant to adolescent to adult
to old man are changes appearing in the changeless.
Becoming is always of what one is not, it is always a movement away
from, a fractionalization of, what one is.
Let us not preoccupy ourselves with becoming. Let us stay here, be here,

Let us now return to the silence for a time.

Master Wu Hsin continued:

It is, in a way, perverse that there is so little to really discuss.
All there is, is being and the knowledge of being. This is irrefutable.
The discussion should end here because all else is conceptual and can be
argued endlessly.
Yet, we continue talking.
What must be made clear is that the brain is an object. As such, anything
resulting from brain activity cannot be subjective.
The subjective, the Single Subject, therefore remains elusive.
Let us now return to the silence for a time.

Master Wu Hsin continued:

One need not make any effort to be, to see, to taste, to smell, etc. All of it
occurs spontaneously.
Likewise, that which is seen, tasted, and smelled also arises and sets
spontaneously. The day begins spontaneously and ends spontaneously.
You don't will yourself to sleep or to awaken.
So, who is doing anything?
Where is the need for various practices in order to become what you
already are? See it, then be It.

Ponder this; more tomorrow.

from Behind the mind


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Rabindranath Tagore - Ocean of Forms

I dive down into the depth of the ocean of forms,
hoping to gain the perfect pearl of the formless.

No more sailing from harbor to harbor with this my weather-beaten boat.
The days are long passed when my sport was to be tossed on waves.

And now I am eager to die into the deathless.

Into the audience hall by the fathomless abyss
where swells up the music of toneless strings
I shall take this harp of my life.

I shall tune it to the notes of forever,
and when it has sobbed out its last utterance,
lay down my silent harp at the feet of the silent. 


Monday, July 30, 2018

Walt Whitman - Song of Myself - Part 50

There is that in me—I do not know what it is—but I know it is in me.
Wrench’d and sweaty—calm and cool then my body becomes,

I sleep—I sleep long.
I do not know it—it is without name—it is a word unsaid,

It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol.
Something it swings on more than the earth I swing on,

To it the creation is the friend whose embracing awakes me.
Perhaps I might tell more. Outlines! I plead for my brothers and sisters.
Do you see O my brothers and sisters?

It is not chaos or death—it is form, union, plan—it is eternal

life—it is Happiness.

 Walt Whitman, from LEAVES OF GRASS (1855)

Text via  parabola


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Joan Tollifson - Choice, Choicelessness and What Is

Choice, Choicelessness and What Is:

Life happens automatically. Breathing happens, digestion happens, thinking happens, the entire ecosystem happens. Planets circle the sun, suns explode and die, ice ages come and go. At the subatomic level, there is an undefinable, indeterminate, ungraspable dance of energy that seems to solidify or particularize only in the observing of it.

Every thought we have, every interest, every urge, every attraction, every repulsion, every feeling, every movement of attention arises automatically from an unfindable source. This can be discovered by observing closely. And then thought, also automatically, poses as the self-in-charge and takes credit or blame after the fact: “I did it, I stopped smoking, I started up again, I decided to be a lawyer, I chose to have children, I took a time-out before speaking when I felt angry, I failed to take a time-out, I decided to meditate, I put my attention on my breathing,” and so on.

But when we search for this phantom “I” who seems to be at the controls, steering the ship, authoring the thoughts, making the decisions and moving the attention, we find no such entity or agency. And yet, we can all seemingly open and close our hand at will (unless for some reason we can’t). And undeniably, the bodymind can learn new skills and be trained and developed in various ways. The baby learns to roll itself over, pick up objects, crawl, walk, use the toilet, etc., and it develops greater and greater control of these abilities and functions. The athlete trains and refines their ability to perform certain actions. The medical student becoming a surgeon acquires amazing manual and cognitive skills. The meditation student learns to not move, to pay attention, to be with difficult feelings. A client in therapy learns new ways to respond to depression or anxiety. In all kinds of ways, there is an obvious ability Here-Now to initiate and carry out action and to learn new skills. But the more we search for the initiator or the doer or the learner, the more we find no-thing substantial at all.

If we look closely, ALL of this is happening by itself, including what SEEMS to be “my” effort, “my” will, “my” intention, “my” perseverance, “my” looking and listening, and so on. And for everyone who succeeds in various endeavors, there are others who fail. Some alcoholics are able to stop drinking and sober up, others are not. Some would say the ones who fail didn’t really want to stop drinking, or they didn’t try hard enough. But do we choose what we want in each moment? When we have conflicting desires, for example the desire to sober up and the desire for another drink, do we control which of these opposing desires has more energy and wins out in any given moment? It SEEMS at times that we do, for example, when we are able to resist a powerful impulse, but where did this ability come from in that moment, and what about all the times we were not able to do this—what was different?

When we truly get how automatic and choiceless everything is, how there is no independent author-chooser-doer, it frees us from guilt, shame, blame and so much more. It instantly dissolves layer upon layer of self-hatred and feelings of deficiency and imperfection, as well as so much of our judgment, anger, hatred and resentment of others. It brings forth instant compassion for ourselves and all beings.

This DOESN’T mean we let people walk all over us, or that we let serial killers run free just because we now understand that they couldn’t help doing what they did, or that we cannot work on ourselves or the world in various ways if we are so moved, whether through therapy or an addiction recovery program or athletic training or social change work or whatever. Recognizing the choiceless and automatic nature of life doesn’t mean we “can’t” or “shouldn’t” practice our tennis game, study a new language, make an effort, see a therapist, be a therapist, try out a new vegan diet, sign a petition or “decide” to join a movement for social change.

It means that the interest in such activities, the urge to do them, the ability to do them, and their relative success or failure is a choiceless happening of the whole universe and not the action of a separate independent self. No wave is actually separate or independent of the ocean. No wave can decide to go off in a direction other than the one in which the ocean is moving. No wave can ever “do it wrong.” Every wave, big or small, tumultuous or gentle, is equally water. All of them are a movement of the whole ocean, and all of them have the whole ocean under them, like that famous circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. You do what life moves you to do. You have no choice!

If we’re raising children, teaching school, training athletes or surgeons, flying an airplane, or performing a host of other life functions, we don’t just sit back and say, “It’s all happening automatically, so there’s nothing you or I can do—we just have to wait and see what happens.” Obviously, that would be absurd. It would be a misunderstanding of what is being pointed out here. Because, of course, we teach our children not to run into the traffic or scream in the supermarket, and we help the athlete or the surgeon we are training to develop and refine their skills and we point out the errors they are making, and in doing all that, we act—in a sense—as if there is free will. If our child screams in public, or if our athlete misses the jump, or if our students don’t do their homework, we naturally do what we are moved to do to correct this, and that might include discipline of some kind. But if we truly get the choiceless nature of life, then we naturally have compassion and understanding for these apparent failures and for our own apparent imperfections, such as losing our temper and yelling at our misbehaving child. We no longer take all this personally or imagine that it could—in that moment—have been any different.

In my own writing, I sometimes suggest the possibility of exploring something, or shifting attention, or sitting quietly, or whatever it might be. I’m not talking to the imaginary separate self. And I recognize that whether what I’m suggesting happens or not is not in my control or anyone else’s. Still, I make the offering. It is what life moves me to do! This is how life functions and moves. This is why I’m always stressing the importance of not landing dogmatically on one side of a conceptual duality such as choice or choicelessness, because reality itself cannot be captured in any formulation. The map is not the territory. And, of course, my stressing this point over and over, and the effects it does or doesn’t have on anyone else, is also a choiceless happening!

In this dream-like appearance that we call waking life, there seem to be billions of independent individuals involved in all sorts of important and meaningful dramas. There seem to be cause and effect, progress and regress, evolutionary development, plot twists and turns, purpose and meaning. And yet, all of that is a kind of conceptual superimposition upon what is actually an inconceivable, indeterminate, formless dance of energy. The movie-story is a creation of thought, an abstract map of the actual territory, and to some degree, it is a creation of conditioned perception as well, such as the way we have learned to see tables and chairs. A baby presumably sees different shapes and colors, but hasn’t yet learned where to draw the boundary-lines around different objects on the basis of category and function rather than simply on proximity and color. This abstract map-world created by conceptual thought and conditioned perception is a frozen, solidified abstraction of what is actually constant change and indeterminacy—it divides up what is actually seamless and indivisible. And it creates the illusory separate, independent “me” who seemingly stands apart from everything else.

This map-world gives rise to all our imaginary problems: the psychological fear of death, the pervasive sense of deficiency and lack, the fear of meaninglessness, the quest for purpose, the endless drive for self-improvement, all the various global and personal conflicts, and so on. We are fighting enemies that literally don’t exist, trying to improve a self that is nothing more substantial than a mirage, living in terror of sailing off the edge of the earth that actually has no edge, and worrying about whether we’ll still be here after we die. All of this suffering can disappear! And whether it appears or disappears is nothing personal and doesn’t matter either way!

Of course, in everyday life, we cannot ignore the relative reality of apparent cause and effect, or the relative reality of me and you as two different individuals, or the relative reality of apparent choice and responsibility, or the relative reality of apparent chairs and tables, laws and organizations, governments and countries, moral and ethical questions of all kinds, and so on. This is all part of how life functions. But we can SEE, if we look closely and carefully, that all of this is not the actual reality of what is. And when that is clearly seen, there is a significant decrease in the suffering we experience and cause.

Again, that recognition doesn’t mean we won’t act, or have opinions and preferences, or make apparent choices. We cannot help doing all that! But it is ALL a choiceless happening, and the closer we look, either with science or meditation, the more we see that nothing is solid, that no-thing exists or persists in the way we think it does, and that nothing is separate from the whole to be the cause or effect of anything else. It all simply is as it is. And how is it? We can’t say! And yet…words tumble out, choicelessly. And equally choicelessly, these black squiggles on a screen are seen and instantly translated into meaning. The meaning and the objects, ideas and realizations that the words magically bring into being all seem quite substantial, but look again…it all evaporates into thin air. What freedom! What relief!