Friday, August 10, 2018

Bob O’Hearn - Song of the Beloved


I have wandered deep and far
in the dreamy landscape of myself,
swept out into an ocean of forgetfulness,
drowned to peace in that sea of mystery,
rocked in the bosom of vast emptiness.

Now, here I am with you,
washed ashore on the waves
of your gracious indulgence, singing
these little songs of remembrance.

Perhaps at night one of these tiny tunes
may insinuate itself into some neglected pocket
of your longing, and you will gently awaken
with a single tear streaming from your eye.

Shining softly within that tear is everything
I have come here for, everything I am.

That tear is a kind gift from you to yourself –
the same self we share in this dream of each other,
spun from our womb of deep intimacy.

Shall we welcome this sublimity
and feel all the way to infinity?

Everything is seeking,
yet seeking only for itself.

Beyond these words, persist —
unless we can get to the marrow,
we will leave this table dissatisfied.

While standing on the beach,
can we stop a ship out on the sea?

Having boldly pushed out
from the safe shore of certainty
into the surging current of rippling life,
whichever way we look we are confronted
with the lies of what we thought we knew,
and the confounding truth of what we don’t.

Once we’ve embarked upon the maiden voyage
of our soul’s deepest longing, we may find
that there is something which Love
wants to do with us.

Who is willing to listen to Her soft whisper,
so familiar, like the evening chimes
in some forsaken ruin of a temple,
the temple of our longing?

Can you hear Her now?
Her tears, Her calling?

The constant music streaming, soaring between
and behind our thoughts, caresses these tears
now glistening down our cheek, and yet
it seems all we ever really want
is to just go back to sleep.

Resounding all around us,
the unsettled snores of discontent
rise and fall in a cacophonous chaos
of bleary limbo, echoing the plight
of those still lost in dreaming.

You, who
now open your eyes
in the midst of this dream –
let all of your cares melt away
like the lingering remains of winter
in the glow of spring’s warming sun.

In our natural state,
we can sing like little children
at the beauty of this incomparable sunlight
pouring through our windows, weaving together
the shadows and light that playfully illuminate
our own innocence – a true and simple song
of forgetting who and what we are,
all for the sake of once again
awaking and remembering.

Songs love to be sung.

Can we be the song
that our soul wants to sing –
the song of the heart’s yearning,
and yearning’s surest satisfaction?

I am here to sing it with you,
our longing is not different.

We can remember our original voice.

It is the voice that has never been bound,
never been limited, never been compromised,
and never despaired at the poignant fragility
of all that transpires from birth to death.

It is the lyrical call that has never faltered,
even though the most supernal beauty
is destined to fade and rot.

The closer that things approach
their point of vanishing, the more
transparent and exquisite they become.

Your exquisiteness makes me weep!

There is a gleaming questing in your eyes
that only magnifies your tenderness.

This magnificent tenderness is yet a stranger
to those who prolong the war with themselves –
the dark fiction of division and separation.

We can relinquish such fantasies, because
we have felt Her Lips pressed against the soft,
vulnerable tissues of our heart, and not resisted.

In this same way we’ll come to recognize
that, in the end, all knowing must submit itself
to the open-armed embrace of Mystery,
resting here, at home, at peace.

This is the song of remembrance.
This is the song of our Self.

Tracing back to the origin of anything,
everything meets right here.

We sit before each other now as This,
the traceless root of light itself, needing
nothing more, not one more word,
not one more “I love you”.

Spring, summer, autumn, winter –
in the cave of sky that shapes
a heart around us,
we are still.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Dorothy Hunt - True Emptiness

Be completely empty.
Be perfectly serene.
The ten thousand things arise together;
in their arising is their return. . . .

--Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 11, version by Ursula K. Le Guin

Minds fear emptiness, imagining emptiness means being lonely, detached, unloved, unconnected, lacking. The psychological experience that many call emptiness is based on a sense of deficiency—being devoid of nourishment, connection, or loving warmth on the level of heart, or feeling a lack of purpose or meaning on the level of mind. To the conditioned mind that interprets sensation, emotion, and experience, emptiness is often regarded as a failure of love, worthiness, or purpose; and thus we try everything to avoid such feeling. We stuff our lives, our homes, our bellies, our minds, and our free time with "stuff," to keep from feeling empty, or we succumb to feelings of despair.

But have you ever allowed yourself to truly experience emptiness without a story line, to be undivided from emptiness, to be Emptiness? Emptiness is nothing like our mind's ideas or fears. There is a vast difference between the mind's peering into its idea of emptiness, and actually being Emptiness. Are you willing to investigate for yourself?

True Emptiness—which we could also call formless Spirit--fills the universe and is filled by the universe. It contains everything yet is not separate from a single moment's arising or dissolving. What I am calling Emptiness is simply empty of self, and empty of definition. The word "Emptiness" is not really it, neither are any of our ideas about it, including the ones I use to try to point to the mystery that is unnamable and indefinable. To be emptied of our attachment to definitions and concepts--especially our self-concepts—is to be unburdened, whole, fluid, and free to truly be.

To be empty means we are open; to be empty means we are available for whatever or whoever is in front of us; to be empty means we are not stuck anywhere, but can experience the fullness and flow of life unhindered. Our seeing is empty until it lands on an object, is it not? Emptiness allows the world to appear and separation to disappear. Our freedom, inherent wisdom and selfless love arise right out of Emptiness.

Some believe a psychological "emptiness" must be "fixed" before encountering or exploring true Emptiness. I have not actually found this to be true. In the moment we are undivided from emptiness (regardless of definition or experience), paradoxically, we no longer feel empty.

For a moment, just allow yourself to be the emptiness, open and without definition, yet intimate with the moment as it is. You might just discover a vast and spacious Presence that feels more real, more connected, more meaningfully and lovingly your truest Self than anything you could ever imagine. And even though the mind cannot say exactly what this is, something knows; something in you remembers. And what remembers tenderly holds anything that may arise to be seen, experienced, or liberated—including fear. 


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Nisargadatta Maharaj - The Nectar of Immortality

Edited by Robert Powell
Reprinted from The Nectar of Immortality.
The Nectar of Immortality by Nisargadatta


Visitor: I have read
I Am That  and came here on my own.

Maharaj: Have you read the whole book?

V: I have read the first part fully and the second partially.

M: Having read the book, did you come to your self at the witnessing state?

V: Yes, I understood but I do not feel it. I have no peace of mind.

M: Do you get an inkling as to how you are connected with your self?

V: A little bit.

M: Would you like to ask any questions?

V: Not many, but I shall be grateful if I am told how to bring peace to my mind.

M: Because of the self, the atman, you are connected to the world through the body. The self is nothing else but the knowledge that “you are.” Meditate on that principle by which you know “you are” and on account of which you experience the world. Meditate on this knowledge “you are,” which is the consciousness, and abide therein.

V: But the concentration is just not there.

M: Ignore the mind the way you disregard the crowd you encounter on the streets.

V: I shall try.

M: As a matter of fact, mind is a universal dynamic principle, but we restrict it to the limits of the body and then depend on it — hence all the trouble. Consider the water in Lake Tansa. That water belongs to the whole of Bombay. Out of that water, can we claim some as yours or mine? In a similar vein, understand that the self is universal. But you have conditioned it by confining it to the body; therefore, you face problems. This self is also termed Ishwara — God — the Universal Principle. If you hold on to that, profound knowledge will descend upon you and you will have peace.

V: I try to meditate on that, but the mind wanders here and there. If I try to remain indifferent to mind, it will be a long-drawn-out process.

M: But are you not the root of any process?

V: The root of everything is life.

M: Yes, but the life force is universal and not personalized. Once you realize this, you have no more troubles.

V: That is right, but when the mind goes astray I have trouble. Sometimes I feel that life is universal, but at moments it becomes individualized. How to get rid of this?
Reprinted from The Nectar of Immortality.
The Nectar of Immortality by Nisargadatta

M: This is the conventional way of talking. The water is universal, use it when you possess it. Similarly, use the mind to meet your needs and then let it flow by itself without your interference and involvement, like the flow of a river from where you take water only when needed.

My talks are meant for intelligent people. [To a local visitor:] Why have you come? You will not understand these talks; you only sing bhajans in praise of God.

Why do I respect those foreign visitors? They are earnest seekers, in search of Truth, but they have not been able to locate it. I appreciate their sincerity and deep urge to understand.

V: They really go far. Any subject they take, they explore deeply into it.

M: Although the two of us talk here, in actuality they (the two entities) are not there. This is the theme today. At first, “no one” is. Instantly, one is, and then two. The subject of the talk is: How did these two reduce to one, and finally to nothing? Out of nothingness spontaneously the sense of beingness is felt — this is one. Later, when the sense of beingness knows “I am,” duality begins. Then, after the duality has arisen, the sense of beingness identifies with the form, and so on. Actually to refer to the sense of being as “one,” is not quite correct. Since in this state only the sense of being prevails, where is the need to say even “one”? With the appearance of otherness (duality), both no. 1 and no. 2 appear simultaneously. To say, “something is,” “I” must be there first. If “I” am not, I cannot say “something is.” So the fundamental principle in spirituality is that “I” must be there, before anything else can be. This “I” is the beingness which is first.

V: You said, in the beginning there is “one,” and later there is “none."

M: When one looks into one’s self, that is, when one abides in the Self, then there is “none."

V: Yet, when one merges, one remains.

M: To say that, is all right in common parlance, but actually it is nothing of the sort.

V: But you said that life is eternal, so life is there.

M: But not the life of an individual; it is the Absolute transcending the universal consciousness.

V: Life is eternal, that means life is there for ever.

M: Yes, life potential is always there. But unless a body-form is available, there cannot be any sense of perception. When the body drops dead, the senses do not function; therefore, no perception or knowing of the world takes place for that entity.

Only so long as the senses operate is perception and knowing of the world possible. So, in a way, the absence of sensory function is liberation. Isn’t that correct?

At present, I am alive and my senses and reflexes react to situations. The senses and reflexes of a dead person do not react. In the manifested universe, when the capacity for sensory perception and motor function is created in a body form, only then is existence of a perceptible universe possible. The main point is that for a universe to exist, there must be an observer with sense organs in proper working order. The mind interprets the sense perceptions and concludes that the universe exists. Therefore, if the observer’s sense organs and mind do not operate, then the observer’s universe does not exist.

V: But the senses of seeing, hearing and touching etc. belong to the body and not to the self, the atman.

M: Without atman, the senses cannot function. But it resides in the quintessence of the body. When it subsides in itself, only nirguna remains — the non-qualitative Absolute.

V: The atman can change bodies.

M: The atman has no body, so how can it change? At present, it presumes that “I am” means body only.

V: In this materialistic world, when we say “we” we mean the body only. But if my legs are removed, they are apart from me. Therefore, I feel that I as such am not the body.

M: That is correct.

V: So atman is something other than body.

M: Atman is not the individual, this must be firmly grasped. Atman feels the sense of being only through a body with senses operating, otherwise the atman does not feel itself.

V: To realize this, should I do meditation?

M: Yes, meditation is very necessary. If you can do it continuously, it is good, but with a daily occupation this is not always possible. Meditation done in the early morning hoursis helpful and effective. But you may do it whenever you have leisure. Seekers with a deep urge can meditate at any time. In the beginning, a seeker should sit alone in a quiet spot with complete leisure at his disposal. When he attains stability in meditation, he can sit anywhere, anytime. Suppose such an advanced seeker sits here in meditation. He will be totally lost within himself. His attention will be focused on attention only, with the result that he will not be aware of what is going on around him. Further, in such a state nothing will occur to him. Meditation should be of this quality. Suppose somebody is deeply worried, would he take note of things going around him?
Reprinted from The Nectar of Immortality.
The Nectar of Immortality by Nisargadatta

When you sit in deep meditation, your sense of being is totally infused with the knowledge “I am” only. In such a state it will be revealed to you intuitively as to how and why your sense of “I-am-ness” emerged.

V: By the “I-am-ness”?

M: Consciousness, beingness, sense of being, “I-am-ness,” all are the same in you, prior to emanation of any words.

This is a subtle point, so try to understand it clearly. When I say “I was not” prior to conception, then what I actually mean is that I was not like this present “I am.” But that “I” which could discern this must be there to judge the absence of the present “I am."

Owing to the absence of a body, that “I” prior to conception had no sense of being or sense of “I-am-ness.” With the arrival of a body the sense of “I-am-ness” is imposed on the prior “I."

In meditation, this sense of “I-am-ness” only will indicate how and why it came about. You must be possessed by this idea of finding out what this “I-am-ness” is, just as you would not rest until you found the source of a smell emanating from some place. For example, if a foul smell emanates you will have to go to that source; and when you discover that it is the decomposed body of a rat, you will have to dispose of that body in order to get rid of the stink. Similarly, if a nice fragrance wafts in your direction, you would like to locate the flower. You must go to the source of this “I-am-ness” fragrance, and find out its “how and why."

V: How does one chase that?

M: The principle that gives rise to this “I-am-ness” fragrance is termed Bhagavan-vasudeva — the god who gives fragrance. The one who receives this fragrance wants to retain it at all costs.

V: How can one enter that state?

M: You, from the body-mind level, are incapable of tracking it down. But that principle alone will discover itself. Somebody you may call Bhagavan, or Vittal or God, is so infatuated with this fragrance that he wants to perpetuate it.

V: One day my efforts will bear fruit and I shall find him out automatically.

M: His significance for you will be nullified the moment he is discovered, and you will be liberated from that infatuation with vasudeva.

V: In other words, I think when you always feel it so, you don’t go after it. Once you realize the self then it automatically comes to you, so there is no need for you to track it down. So once we realize it, we can use it the way we want.

M: In that state you will be beyond any needs and wants; you will have no use for anything. No desires will be left, because they are all fulfilled.

V: I did not mean that I should use it for my worldly needs. What I meant was that I would become one with it.

M: In actuality you were never detached from it. So where is the question of being one with it?

V: It is nice that I never got detached from it, but in my present state I consider myself only the body.

M: This is your concept, that you are the body, and it is deluding you.

V: Then I will be free.

M: [Reciting a couplet of Guru Nanak:]

    0 mind, what are you searching? Inside and outside it is one only. It is the concept that makes you feel inside and outside. Once the earthen pot bearing the name Nanak is broken, by getting rid of the concept that I am the body, where is inside and outside? It is “I” only prevailing everywhere.

Nanak furthers says:

    Like the fragrance in a flower, like an image in a mirror, this sense of “I-am-ness” is felt in the body. Therefore, give up your name Nanak and also your identity with the body.

Abide in the sense of “I-am-ness” and you shall be liberated.

V: When I try to track down the self it seems to me that it creates more selves.

M: But who is that sees so many selves? One thought produces further thoughts. Who observes the first thought?
Reprinted from The Nectar of Immortality.
The Nectar of Immortality by Nisargadatta

V: This is what I want to know.

M: Only you are the observer of the first thought. If the knower of the very first thought is not there, who will observe the other thoughts?

V: If the knower is not, there will also be no thoughts.

M: If you understand this, everything is over — you can go. To expound and propagate concepts is simple. But to drop all concepts is difficult and rare.

V: How do I remove thoughts and new concepts? If all concepts and thoughts are removed, will I become one with that?

M: Do not try to become anything. Do nothing! Without thinking on any of your words, remain quiet. Once a word sprouts it creates a meaning and then you ride on it. You follow the meanings of your words and claim that you are in search of your self. So be wakeful to that state which is prior to the sprouting of words. Did you associate with any sages?

V: This is the first time.

M: Have you been reading any books?

V: I have been reading Paul Brunton’s work on Ramana Maharshi.

M: Your spiritual background is ready, that is why you listen to the talks and try to understand them. Other people quarrel with me with their concepts. They are brimming over with concepts, with the result that they are unable to listen to what I say. Many people come here, presuming themselves to be very knowledgeable but I know that they are ignorant only. However, I consider them as consciousness alone.

All your identities at the body-mind level have been changing continuously, and none of them has been constant and faithful to you. Why then are you attracted to any of such identities by stating “I am like this,” “I am like that”?

V: This is all mental. At certain moments I think I am “like this,” at other moments I think I am “like that."

M: Who other than you is observing those moments? You are the witness of these moments. Whatever is seen and perceived and also whatever you see inside and outside you, that you are not.

V: I am trying to understand.

M: In meditation, you might convince yourself “I am Guru Nanak only,” or as some people in their meditation firmly believe: “I am Bhagavan Sri Krishna only.” None of such identities has any stability. The only stable one is the observer of those identities, and you alone are that observer — the eternal one.

Take the example of a poor actor who played the role of a king so splendidly that he received a lot of praise. But he is not the king. Similarly, you are not Guru Nana Nanak. You are the observer. Whatever you see and perceive is all the play of maya, the illusive principle.

February 19th 1980