Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Changing Clothes

 When we look at life and death from a broader perspective,  then dying is just like changing our clothes! When this body becomes old and useless, we die and take on a new body, which is fresh, healthy, and full of energy! This need not be so bad. 

Dalai Lama


From the Editor's Introduction, The Tibetan Book of the Dead: First Translation. 2005. Penguin Books: London

Dying Eyes: New Vision

 An essential part of seeing clearly is finding the willingness to look closely and to go beyond our own ideas.

Cheri Huber

As I sit here to write I have my face pretty well pressed up against the screen.  My left eye is not behaving.  I know if I were to put a patch over it and view the world from my right eye it would not be so nauseating lol.  My perspective is off...I am not perceiving the world like I have in the past.  It is uncomfortable to look out at what is before me with  this big hazy blob that comes and goes over one eye. Part of me wants to go back to the vision I had before this eye started acting up. It seemed so clear then. It was more comfortable and less exhausting.  But was it real? 

Hmm! Yep...I am getting to a point.  I am seeing things differently now in all kinds of ways.  In my waking up my perspective is convoluted and distorted from what it was before. What seemed clear is no longer  so clear. Why? Because my ego has glaucoma...my ego is sick. ...and I have been seeing through my ego most of my life. That type of vision ego gave me is leaving me...for good...there is no return to the pre existing vision.  It is a bit off putting to have the ego change so dramatically and find yourself not seeing the way we were trained to see...to find yourself  questioning those shapes moving  before you and in you, wondering just how solid and substantial they actually are. It is off putting to know you can't get that vision back. The more you squint and struggle to focus the more nauseated one becomes with the effort. It takes so much energy. We are not meant to struggle to see. Seeing is done through us not by us. We will see what we need to see  in the new way when the time is right.  We just need to sit back patiently and wait for it all to be taken care of...to wait for the new vision to establish itself.  It's coming.  It's coming. 

So just as I patiently await for my appointment next week to find out what the next step will be in establishing a new norm for my physical vision...I await for the eyes of spacious awareness to replace the eyes of ego. I am confident that I am establishing a new way of seeing and understanding the world and myself through every bit of learning and practice I feel compelled to do.  

I am presently reading a text/book that will help me attain new and clearer vision.  I have been wanting to read and study , The Great Liberation By Hearing in the Intermediate State, or better known as, The Tibetan Book of The  Dead, for so long now.  I am sure it will help this form I call "me" to let go of  old ways of seeing so a new realization can be born within me.  It will also help me to cope, not only with the physical loss of a certain visual acuity, but of the loss of body that is sure to come  for this form and for forms I am attached to. One of the greatest things we can do for ourselves and other beings is to accept the impermanent nature of all things. We do that when we look into the eyes of death and we do not have to die to do that.  We will definitely see clearly, achieving luminosity and awareness, when we die but we do not have to wait for death of the body to achieve a glimpse of this understanding. This book will possibly help me do see clearly.  Ironically, it is is in very small type...ugh! 

 All is well.  .  

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Don't Take Any of It Too Seriously

 

Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.

C.K. Chesterton

Talking/writing to myself again. Big fat 0 on my stats page.  What happened, I wonder, that disconnected this blog from what it once had? And why am I okay with it? Just taking it as it comes I guess...maybe something will change in the near future or maybe I will be inspired to do something differently...I don't know. 

I am dreaming at night...those kooky dreams I get...and am possibly  being told things are going to change soon, somehow physicians are involved in this change ( in my dream anyway)?? Which is really bizarre.  Maybe my book is going to get published. I don't know but something is going to change for the better in unexpected ways and I think this dream is showing me that I am going to be paid for it...paid well possibly...which would be nice lol. Maybe it is telling me not to give up, not to lose faith which I have been doing. Any improvement in my financial situation would be a blessing.  Any change in so called "luck" would be appreciated, let me tell ya.  My father, jokingly,  used to call me "Calamity Jane" and said that instead of  being blessed with the luck of the Irish, (the luck  that is  believed to be held in the horse shoes nailed above doorways), it seems I am more likely to have those horseshoes  drop on my head.  I have a lot of bumps on my head, I guess,  and I have no idea where the luck went. It didn't pour on me. 

Of course, I am being silly.  I do not , like my Irish ancestors, put much faith in luck. I do put my faith in karma...and the cause and effect thing but luck has little to do with why I am where I am now.  But I do like to remember the silly teasing from my father. We were brought up not to take the challenges in life too seriously, to laugh when everyone else seemed to be crying. And we did.  We laughed in the most inappropriate settings. It was a great release and a great relief to play a little here and a little there within the so called "seriousness" of things, to play  instead of constantly struggling  to survive.

Alan Watts tells us we are not supposed to take it all so seriously. Staying alive is not a must or an obligation...it is an opportunity to dance. Imagine if we looked at life like that...as an opportunity to dance and play and laugh even when everyone else is crying.

Regardless of how sad and how serious things are in a given moment...we have to remember that, This too shall pass. Nothing lasts forever...not so called good times or so called bad times...nothing lasts forever. We don't last forever.  So let's look at every moment as if it were one precious note from the most beautiful musical composition...savour it, play with it, dance with it and enjoy it.  Don't take it too seriously.

All is well. 

Alan Watts/Mind Awakening ( n.d.) Achieve State the of Flow, Right Now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOzaqmTbbbg

Sunday, October 2, 2022

On Prayer

It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.

Gandhi

 I sit here today, writing  from my disconnected- from -the -world state, trusting that it is all as it is meant to be. Trusting the Tao, trusting God, trusting Life ( or at least wanting to). I do what I do because I do.  I do  because I am a participant in this Karmic dance of cause and effect and not the controller of it....allowing all to be as it is. I am swept along by the invisible chords of music I can only know by connecting to it with my heart.  

Hmm! Adding another video.  Helped me...hope it helps others. Well it is obviously not getting out there for others to see lol but it is out there. :) 


All is well!

Known By Those Who Do Not Know

 He by whom Brahman is not known, knows it;

He by whom it is known, knows it not.

It is not known by those who know it,

It is known by those who do not know it.

Kena Upanishads 

What the fork? 

The above quote is not a mind twisting riddle, though it may seem to be. It is an  excerpt from the Kena Upanishads, a very important Hindu text dating back to 1000 BCE.  This text attempts to describe what God is...or probably more accurately...what God is not while constantly reiterating the limitations of concepts and words, the limitations of our thinking mind and our idea of knowledge  to describe, understand and to know something as hard as this source of everything we call God or Brahman is to know. If we think we know God "conceptually"...we do not know God at all.  If we understand there is no real way to know God with our limited minds...then we know God. 

There truly is only one way to "know" something and it is through what Wayne Dyer referred to as  "conscious contact." He goes on to say, in the linked vide below, that there is big difference between knowing "about" God and  knowing God. Most of us know about God without truly knowing God. 

Now many of us, whether we know it or not, are seeking to know God.  We go to religious centers, to scriptures, to dogma, to practices like prayer and meditation,  to Gurus in hope that they will create in us a conceptual knowledge of God. We seek to attain that "knowing" that will free us. We may devote most of our lives to doing this but Alan Watts tells us, in his recorded lecture ( see link below), that we are simply chasing our tail...going around in circles, getting nowhere when we do this.

Why? Because we already have that knowledge within us but we do not "know" it. We do not "know" it  because we do not know" ourselves in the "conscious contact" way.  We really do not know or experience who we are:

The God head cannot be the source of its own knowledge just as a knife cannot cut itself (somewhat paraphrased)

So just as we need a mirror to see our head, we look outside our self for God , depending on concepts and ideas and practices. Our minds have no way of handling "non-conceptual knowledge" that a true knowing entails. We seek knowledge from others. 

We may be told in our practices, in the scripture or by our priests, teachers or gurus...to "let go" of all these concepts...to "let go" of thinking. Following their directions, we shift gears and begin "doing the work" of letting go. We strive, we seek, we put effort into  attempting to "do nothing", to stop thinking these thoughts which are so much a part of us.  We meditate maybe to get to a state of trance induced  emptiness, mindlessness...the blank slate.  We think the trance like state of the meditator or seeker is enlightenment but Watts warns us that seeking this is just another trap leading to another tail chasing experience.

Meditation, Jhana yoga, prayer, listening to wise teachers is all wonderful, having  so many benefits to us in all realms of our existence but they are  not the be all and the end all of our evolving.  It is a medicine not the nutritious diet we need to sustain ourselves with. (paraphrased somewhat. ) Each element of our practice is merely a tool we use... a raft that takes us across the river. Once we get across...we are not finished and we do not pick up  the raft and carry it with us on our journey...we leave it there.  

You do not need anything to hang on to.  You are it. 

I love this:

You can't sit to meditate unless you are already a Buddha, in which case, why sit?

We meditate, not to get somewhere or to gain some special knowledge or to seek anything. That is counterproductive.   We meditate to connect to the stillness we already are, to have "conscious contact" with what is. There really isn't anything to gain from our practice because everything is nothing,

Hmmm! Something to think about.

All is well! 

Wayne Dyer/ Inner Self (n.d.) Just Stop Doing This and You Will Be Healed Permanently/ Wayne Dyer The Secret Powerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1waHtJwcRaw

Alan Watts /Mind Awakening ( n.d.) Everything is Nothing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCk-5QB7aaQ


Saturday, October 1, 2022

The Tao: No Self or Effort Required

 The man who rows a boat uses effort. The man who puts up a sail uses magic.

Alan Watts

I love that quote above.

What does it mean crazy lady? 

Alan Watts in, The secret of happiness, teaches about the Tao and the importance of getting out of the way of it.  The Tao, of course, is that invisible fluid perfection of nature, of  Life flow that we cannot fully understand with our limited human minds. When we see ourselves as separate little "me"s in a strange and dangerous world full of "others", we often get in the way of it ...we strive to get somewhere, we push hard...we work against this force.  We row the boat ( often against the current)  when all we really have to do is, put up a sail, let go to the flow and be carried by the "magic" of the Tao. 

Self? Other?

If we identify with our separateness, we often feel  that we need to defend and attack to protect ourselves from Life.  We judge what unfolds in front of us as fortunate or unfortunate, advantageous or disadvantageous to this  separate little me...failing to see the whole impersonal nature of the Tao, failing to see the 'bigger picture'. We may feel attacked by Life when unfortunate things happen 'to us'  and "resist" life circumstances and Life. We may "work hard" to change it, instead of accepting, allowing and questioning if there is a wiser, more meaningful wind  beneath  these turn of events, beneath  that which is unfolding in front of us...than  the ego is capable of  understanding. With tongues out and fists clenched we too often stand  in the way of this flow ( as if that is going to do anything to change it lol) instead of allowing ourselves to be carried by it. 

Different or the Same?

There is no "self" separate or different from the "other" anywhere but in our minds. We would not have a sense of self if we did not perceive an "other".  Just like we can not perceive darkness without perceiving light, just as we can not have a front without a back and vice versa...we cannot have a self without an other and an other without a self. All things are connected. 

We can put up a so called fence between self and other but that fence becomes shared property, doesn't it?  On one side it is my fence ...on the other side it is your fence... but it is just one fence.  Whose fence is it then  and does it really separate what is mine from yours when the shared earth runs beneath that fence? And just as you multiply 1 x 1...your side times my side ...you still get one.  

Our body lines...that which we think separate us are shared property. They do not separate us from each other or us from the environment in which we live. Self is other and other is self.  In some eastern philosophies this consideration of so called polarities or opposites is termed "identical differences" . Different is identical and identical is different. I love the way Thich Nhat Hanh used to refer to this understanding of what we call self and other..."Neither different nor the same". 

A Part of The Flow

So once we understand there is no fence, no border, no separation  between self and other, between "me" and " you"...between "me" and everything else in the world... this understanding of the Tao becomes a little clearer. We begin to understand that there is a force flowing beneath everything, carrying everything, and we as little dots of matter, are carrying that same force within us.   Our effort to stop or redirect that flow not only exhausts us and causes conflict both externally and internally, it  is meaningless.  We cannot stop the flow that has been here on this planet...this tiny speck of dirt in the universe for billions of years before we were born and will continue for billions of years after we die. So why don't we learn to stop resisting, to accept and allow what is and flow with it instead of against it? 

Observing and Knowing

In Taoism there is no difference between you, the observer, and what is being observed, between you, the knower, and what is being known.  If there is any knowledge  at all it contains the knower and the known. What is important is the true experience: to be happy and to know you are happy. Yet we are often required in the west, Watts reminds us, to do what is acceptably happy making but to do it only as if it wasn't required. I may love to dance  for no other reason than to experience dancing  but if you observe me dancing and comment on my dancing  I may learn to dance for you and for me instead of the sheer joy of experiencing it, without observer or knower or "me" or "you". You may then tell me I am showing off. I will then  become self conscious and focused on how I appear to you and to myself . That diminishes the felt sense of happiness,  of being in the Tao. 

Dance as if you have no audience...not even yourself!

Anyway...I am beginning to ramble.  Have a listen for yourself.

All is well!

Alan Watts/ Timeless Knowledge (n.d.) The Secrets to Happiness.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jFXwJ69j8Q  

Friday, September 30, 2022

Not a Separate Stranger

 

I, a stranger and afraid in a world I never made.

A. E. Houseman

Two readers on my stats page today and I discover it is just me lol...checking to see how a highlighting came through on the readers page. Man, something has definitely cut this blog  off from the rest of the world and I can honestly say  I think it goes beyond what others may consider bad writing or an uninteresting topic lol.  I have been disconnected somehow. 

Still...here I am recording what I am learning from others and mostly from observing my own mind. So am I helping?

Frequency Holder?

Well interestingly enough, I stumbled across a video lecture from Eckhart Tolle today where he talked about something called a "frequency holder" and I wondered if that was what I could be here.  Now a frequency holder is someone who holds the frequency of presence for others, affecting far more people than they actually come in contact with. In olden days they would have been referred to as the "forest dweller", cloistered monks and nuns...those who devoted their lives to holding this frequency and have been often segregated from the busy world so they could do this.  Man...I feel segregated and isolated these days let me tell ya...but I don't see myself as someone who is doing much good for the world in my present state. Yet embodying presence is my goal and Tolle tells us healing happens when we embody presence.  It isn't so much what we do that helps or heals others but how present we are when we are doing it.  When we, as the ego, get out of the way and let the essence of who we are shine through then we heal.  Hmm! If we can look out upon the world with the eyes of compassion and non-judgmental acceptance that originates from this place of spacious, ego-less awareness we can do much good.  Carl Rogers would call this approach we take to the world and other beings as , "Unconditional positive regard". Hmm...maybe I am doing some good here? Maybe.

Who is "I"? 

I guess that takes me to the next bit of learning I did today.  In a video lecture from Alan Watts I was reminded to question who this "I" , I believe wants to help, is?  Trying to understand who "I" is, is one of the greatest mysteries of mankind.  It is like trying to touch the tip of one fingertip with that fingertip...to look at  yourself in the eye without a mirror.

Watts went on to explain that in the West we tend to equate this "I"  with a consciousness inside a body...the head more specifically.  He said our version of "I" is a "skin encapsulated ego" that operates in the mind and with thinking. Whereas in the  East...the "I" , if it is in the body, can be found in the heart or the solar plexus and operates with "feeling". 

In the West we tend to see the self as a separate soul imprisoned in a body looking out upon a world that is strange....an island of consciousness locked up in a bag of skin facing a foreign world outside itself.  Watts

Not a Skin-Encapsulated Ego

We grow up believing in the West , if we were raised in the Judeo-Christian way,  that we came into this world, that we and all things of this world have been made.  We grow up on the idea that some wise, loving but very watchful and corrective being created all this and "made" us, the humans, the only intelligent things in the universe.  The universe, we are conditioned to believe,  is basically stupid and was made for us to use and misuse as we see fit. If we grew up with science dominated thought rather than religious...we may have been taught that though there is no big benevolent being in charge, the universe, still very blind and stupid,  through a series of very random and chaotic coincidences, comes to be. Again for man ,who is not really a part of it, to use and exploit. 

In the east, in contrast, children are often taught to see how they, like all things in nature grew into being.  Growth is expanding from the inside and extending outward.  They are taught to see how intelligent nature is, how much a part of it they are.

Does not the eastern idea make more sense?  Watts reminds us that we, as intelligent beings, must have come from something intelligent. We can not get an intelligent organism from an unintelligent environment. 

We grow out of the world, just as an apple grows out of an apple tree.

We are simply extensions of our environment and the environment is an extension of some great invisible intelligence we will never be able to understand with our limited minds.  Everything...absolutely everything comes out of this intelligence. Everything, absolutely everything is consciousness.  The outsides or external forms or explicit nature may differ but what is inside everything is exactly the same.   It is all this consciousness. We are the environment we think is outside us. Our behavior can not be separate from the world around us

You are something the whole world is doing.

We are not separate and isolated strangers in a foreign world.  We are not, "a stranger to the earth- a momentary flash of consciousness between two eternal blackness's". We are a part of all of it.  We are all of it. We as "I " are not limited to "me":  a separate personality, body, mind.  We are  are  players in a game the universe is playing to express itself.

Just as the sun shines its rays, so does the cosmos express itself in rays of "you and you and you..."

All is well.

Eckhart Tolle (September, 2022) Am I Ready To Help Others? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icheiaA4F1w

Alan Watts (n.d.) Understanding Life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZArIBiRkGfk

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Cults: Hoping and Grasping

 One of the things that can be helpful in terms of an explanation is to look at the ways in which cults are similar to abusive relationships. Nobody seeks out an abusive partner, but so many people stay in these relationships longer than they should - they make excuses, they ignore red flags, and they allow themselves to be emotionally manipulated.

Sarah Edmondson

Hoping and Grasping?

Man life is so different without "hope".  In the psychological and psychiatric perspective, hopelessness is considered one of the chief symptoms of depression.  In the spiritual perspective, it is considered simply a lack of grasping.  I stopped grasping...well, let me rephrase that lol... I am putting effort into the committed practice of not grasping so I can simply sit with what is.  That means I am doing my best to stop "hoping" (praying and wishing)  the things that are presently unfolding in front of me  will change for the  better.  I am not projecting or escaping from them and this moment into some future scenario.  I am here and now where and when  things do not seem or feel so pleasant to my body or mind.  I am not struggling or striving to get something "out there" so I feel better "in here". For the most part, I am noticing and allowing the unpleasantness of what is. And yeah it feels depressing. It sucks lol. So what does my mind do? It gently lures me away from the depressing feeling  into  diversional activity. I binged over the last two days on the Crave series, The Vow. and ironically, doing so intensified my focus on the notion of hope and grasping.

Cults

This series was all about the cult like nature of the NXIVM group started by a man named Keith Raniere, who right now is serving a 120 year sentence in a federal prison in the US.  As you may know, I have always been fascinated by cults and cult leaders in my attempt to understand where that line lies between groups and leaders that humbly support and encourage self development without any egoic interference and those that are simply used to help build the ego of some narcisstic and sociopathic leader. My fascination is probably more of an obsession than anything else. 

Why do people fall for these manipulation tactics of these sociopathic leaders?  How are these leaders able to manipulate and control so effortlessly the minds and lives of other educated and intelligent beings for their own selfish and twisted purposes? And why do most of these "cults" center around the promise of something so good and altruistic : self improvement, happiness and freedom from suffering in order to make the whole world a better place?  To me, the answer to all three questions lies in our human tendency to grasp and to hope.

Why do people fall into cult mentality?

We fall into these manipulations, I believe,  because we are constantly grasping "out there" to make us feel okay "in here."  And these cult leaders know that and use that human fragility and vulnerability for their own purposes. 

Well, no one sets out and says, "I am going to join a cult" lol.  No one seeks to be manipulated and controlled at least not consciously.  But we are all "hopeful seekers" in one way or another whether we know it or not.  We are all looking to fill the empty holes within us whether we know it or not. Those empty holes are our disconnect, I believe anyway, with our True Self...with our whole complete eternal nature. Until we are Self realized and evolved we are going to feel that something is missing in us  and we are going to grasp out there for it. 

These groups that later become cults give us something to wrap our hands around so we feel we are finally holding onto something that is solid; that will fulfill us in the way that matters most. They offer us the hope of putting aside, once and for all, this painful craving we have spent our lives previously consumed by. They promise an end to suffering. Of course, these leaders are intelligent enough to recognize this need, this vulnerability, this grasping tendency in human beings and because they lack a 'conscience', or a true concern for the well-being of others as a sociopath, they are more than willing to use it and exploit it to get what they need or want.  The leader finds in the follower something to wrap his or her hands around as well...a something that strokes the ego.  They grasp and cling big time to those that follow them. 

How Does the Leader Attract and Control the Followers? 

Coincidence and a variety of external forces line up to take the follower to the leader or the leader to the  follower. The follower does not respond to an ad in the paper that reads, "Narcissitic, extremely selfish and sick sociopath, looking for vulnerable and good natured followers, who are willing to be brainwashed, manipulated and controlled in order  to enhance the  identity and self serving desires of the master. " 

Well intended individuals seeking to heal the mind, to get beyond the ego, and to serve the world, are "innocently" recruited  by other well intended members whom they trust.  The premise on which the cult is built is that it is  for some higher and honorable  purpose that is ethical and altruistic.  It is often built as a means to Self-development. Self-development means a better world in the long run. That is what the individual who ends up in a cult is often seeking and hoping for. It is their desire to be "better humans" that often leads them there. 

 What keeps them there? 

What keeps them there involves  a lot of other factors , however. There is some form of what we call "brain washing" which is basically just a very intricate, repetitive type of manipulation that plays on the desires and weakness of others. Repetition is an essential component as well as a very subtle disconnection of the member from outside forces that will interfere with the manipulation. Members are often, at least to some degree, cut off from the outside influence. These leaders not only have a certain degree of charisma that draws people in but they are intelligent enough to  understand the human psyche and know how to play it.  The modules, the courses, the repetitive teachings and activities (walking and volleyball?)  were set up by NXIVM to play on these weaknesses and the desire for improvement. And yes, many cults will also use a subtle form of hypnosis. Sometimes it comes in repetitive chanting and repetition of key terms.  Other times it comes in actual hypnotic techniques. In this case, they were also using NLP: Neuro linguistic programming which the co-founder was well trained in and starvation(calory control) . So once the newbie arrives for whatever reason...gets passed that gut feeling that says "Oh this is weird!" they are pretty much lost. 

Like teh former Dos member quoted above, I compare it to the development of an abusive relationship. Both individuals are hopeful and grasping...seeking.  The "sick, sociopathic" partner seeks a certain vulnerability, a certain loving nature and a certain "something is missing in me"  in the other that will boost their sense of self. The soon to be abuser puts on all the charm to draw that partner in.  The other is often drawn to the charming and very devoted personality of  the grasping other.  The beginning of an abusive relationship is usually very idyllic and exciting...with promises that both will be fulfilled for a lifetime by the relationship. The soon to be abused is very, very happy thinking they have found the answer to their prayers. Manipulation from the abuser begins early on...they recognize the desires and weaknesses in the other and they use them to keep the partner under their control. Slowly and subtly with the guise that it is for their own best interest the abused is removed from outside influence and is socially isolated to some degree.  Guilt and shaming is often used. Manipulating insults are offered repetitively,  first as constructive criticism and then as repetitive abusive statements until the abused begins to own those statements and believe them.  They become more and more dependent on the abuser.  Then they are physically or mentally assaulted and fear of leaving and what will happen when they leave keeps them where they are. 

Why do  cults often center around goodness?

Well if the ad in the paper said, "Cult leader looking to exploit others in an evil way...to use them to do evil things as directed by evil master"...they probably wouldn't get many followers.  Cult leaders know that humans tend to strive towards goodness. The fact that cults like this flourish  shows to me the inherent goodness in the human psyche.  People do want to be better humans.  They want to make the world a better place.  We are driven by goodness more than by a lack of it. Even though we have both seeds in us...it is the seed of altruism and compassion that we naturally want to grow. Unfortunately, less than evolved humans who happen to be charismatic,  intelligent and aware of the human psyche can exploit that desire for goodness as Raniere and so many other cult leaders have done. It is the blossom on the rose that attracts the bee, not the thorns. These leaders will do what they can to look and smell like a rose. 

My take away from all this is that we have to be careful when it comes to how devoted we are to teachers and gurus.  I know it is the Indian tradition to devote oneself fully to their guru...but we have to see our gurus firstly as human beings .  Not all gurus...in fact few, I suspect...have actually transcended the ego and its desires, few have gotten beyond the grasping tendency of the mind. If you are going to join any group where there seems to be a leader with devoted followers, ask and observe just how evolved that leader is and just how devoted the followers are and why? Is the leader asking for devotion?  That to me is a big clue that ego is running the show? 

And also  know that nothing out there...not a leader, not a sangha... can fill what is missing in you.  Only you can do that by discovering who you really are? 

And stop hoping for things to get better in the future.  What are they like here and now?  I can just imagine how many times that the abused partner says to herself in a day, "Oh it will be better tomorrow.  Things will be different tomorrow if I do this or that tomorrow...there will be peace." You deserve peace now.

Anyway, I went on a rampage again.  Just my opinion and my little knowing.  Watch the series yourself and see for yourself how the grasping and hoping tendency can get us into trouble.

All is well. 

Crave: The Vow Season One (Sorry not citing as I should)


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

 When the Buddha described how long humanity had been on the journey, as he spoke of reincarnation he talked of a mountain six miles wide, six miles long,  six miles high. Every hundred years a bird would fly with a silk scarf  in its beak and run it over the mountain once. The length of time it takes to wear away the mountain is the length of time you have been on this path.

Ram Dass

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Not Of It

 Be in the world, but not of it.

??

That above is an often used statement used by spiritual seekers  but I am not really sure where it originated from in the bible. Regardless...it makes sense,  right?  We are much better off if we approach this Life with less attachment to the world and with what Ram Dass refers to as "choiceless awareness."  Instead of being lost in the drama...always reacting to circumstances and external stimuli just so we do not have to "experience" it or "feel" the suffering that comes as part of the "being alive"  package deal...we can step away and simply witness the suffering,  as well as the pleasant and neutral experiences, without reaction.

He speaks about this as being an important step in Jhana yoga...the "studying" component.  Of course, I do not consider myself much lol but I do see this self immersed in Jhana Yoga, and call myself a Jhana yogi.  With this type of yoga we use the mind/intellect to beat the mind/intellect into submission with several techniques.  

We may study in order to shift context. After all my studying of scripture, the teachings from wise masters, the world, others and self, the context of reality  has changed dramatically for me.  I look at things so differently than I did before. I see the normal tendency to get lost in, overidentified with, and to react to stimuli in an unwholesome way that alters our approach to Life and reality.  I am not awake because I realize this though. I am just beginning to become aware.

Can you activate that part of yourself that can look at the universe without any reaction? 

Jhana  meets Dhyana 

We take this learning then into our meditation, our mindfulness in order to develop further the witness consciousness.  We want to develop that part of ourselves that does not react to stimuli but that responds, instead, in a wholesome way to whatever Life offers us...be it " good, bad or neutral." We detach ourselves from the drama and instead, at a distance, observe it with great awe. Meditation and mindfulness help us to do that. We can then look at physical pain in self or another and instead of saying , "Oh my pain"...we simply say, "Oh!  There is the pain"  When we look at depression...we can say instead of "Oh I am so depressed!  " or "They are so depressed"..."There is depression".  We remove the identification from it. 

Of course,  it isn't easy to stay in witness consciousness.  We keep slipping down into the drama and get lost in it again and again.  Then with some form of an anchor ( meditation and mindfulness can provide anchors) we bring ourselves back. We keep bringing ourselves back to the space where the witness resides. This is the practice. We are cultivating the witness...that part within all of us that is not all tangled up in worldly things...that is in the world ...but not of it. 

We also have to loosen our judgements and expectation about how things should be.  We need to face the fact that we do not know how they should be.  We actually know very little of Universal Design and mission.  We do not have to know. We can learn to look at suffering, feel the pain of it and say, "It is all perfect as it is" through our tears. 

The more we cultivate witness consciousness, the more we become witness consciousness.  This, according to Ram Dass, is true transcendence...witnessing the witness...and then being the witness...knowing who you really are when you are finished being who you think you are.

Deepak Chopra also reminds us that reality id relative but who we are as witness consciousness is absolute.

All is well.

Deepak Chopra (Sept, 2022) How to Be in the World but not of it: A Guided Meditation Exercise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSot4ApLPgY

Ram Dass/Here and Now Podcast (n.d.) Shifting Contexts. Episode 206. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEDUa81H5AE 


Monday, September 26, 2022

Insights From Some Pretty Wise People

 In one fragment of my existence, I capture the whole universe. 

Deepak Chopra


A quick entry before I take the dogs for a walk in the rain. I am releasing my hold and my need for more readership but my mind cannot get over the fact that stats are showing that not one entry written from Sept 2 on was read...yet I am getting readers according to stats and google analytics everyday.  What is up with that? (Thank you readers...I do appreciate you.) My intellect still gets in the way sometimes and my lack of "knowing" and "understanding" what is going on here leaves me unsettled. I  just follow my dharma and come here, releasing my attachment to outcome, but my mind will still pop in and say, "This is still really weird...how all of a sudden many of  the readers just went "poof." 

Anyway, offering some great insights from Ram Dass from the second part of the Breath Inside the Breath (Note:  some will be actual quotations and some paraphrased versions of what was shared):

  • We can go the long way in dealing with strong emotion by seeing them as something concrete and solid in our experience or we can go teh short way by noticing teh space within them
  • We are deep in the do-do of personality, caught up n it and defending its rights and needs at all costs
  • Does fulfilling your needs make you any happier than not fulfilling your needs? And if so for how long?
  • How do we play our roles, have our needs met without being trapped in them? Realize you are trapped-not really- but you are thinking you are trapped.  You cab be in them without being them....Play the roles just don't get trapped in them.
  • Be a blend of compassion and emptiness
  • In relating to others : My presence offers two bits of information: 1)empathy by letting them know we are all in this together and 2) letting them know we don't need to be caught
  • The main approach is to make sure nothing in 'me'  is keeping them stuck in their suffering and nothing in 'me' is demanding they come out of their suffering
  • "I give people what they want because they don't want what I give"...spoken by a guru who felt he needed to provide miracles for ppl
  • We can help each other to freedom
  • Can you hear without getting caught up in hearing; can you speak without getting caught up in speaking? 
  • All methods and all identities are traps.  Meditation is a trap. You don't want to end up a meditator-you want to end up free. 
  • Play the role of life  -just don't end up trapped in them 
  • we need to stop taking the personality and the drama of life so seriously
  • We will get it when we get it
  • taking something seriously does not make it happen or go away any quicker
  • couple of stories, I will share later
Also listened to Deepak Chopra today 
  • Nothing in the physical world exists without consciousness There is no colour, sound, taste or fragrance  ...all are simply sensations interpreted by mind. 
  • Emotions and thoughts do not exist without consciousness
  • So the answer to the question about a tree falling in the forest..."if no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?"  is "No!"
  • The physical world is actually inside us
  • Line from Gita??: In one fragment of my existence , I capture the whole universe. 
All is well!

Deepak Chopra ( Sept 25, 2022) That Which Upholds  the Universe Is the True Self. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCWjtecMq7Q

Ram Dass/ Audio Buddha (n.d.) The Breath Inside the Breath Part 2https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbFypQOHMkE

Sunday, September 25, 2022

The "Crappy" Stage of Waking Up

 Enlightenment consists not only of the seeing of luminous shapes and visons, but in making the darkness visible. The latter procedure is more difficult, and therefore, unpopular. 

Carl Jung

Still clinging! Still grasping! Still looking for something out there to make me feel better in here...but I am doing it less and less.  For the most part, I find myself sitting with what is and saying to myself, "Well this sucks!" Well...maybe not to that extreme lol... but  I do find myself feeling a bit 'hope-less' and sad. I am at the "crappy" stage of waking up, I guess.  

The Crappy Stage

When we give up our old conditioned ways of getting through the day, what are we left with?  The reality of what is.  And what if that is less than pleasant, as it 'appears to be'  in my case?  The old conditioned mind would say,  " Well find something out there that you can fix or change to make your situation better.  Or at the very least find something you can look forward to in the future or fall back on some pleasant memory of your past. Just don't stay here in this moment.  It sucks!"  This is also what we are encouraged to do by psychology and society, is it not? "Don't lose hope! Stay positive!  Look for the bright side.  Find your happy place.  Think of a pleasant memory. Focus on some future goal." There is no, "Notice, allow, accept, embrace, learn, grow  from what is right here, right now...even if it sucks and you feel miserable inside." 

I am at the point of my understanding where I truly realize that nothing "out there" can make me feel good inside and nothing "out there" is responsible for making me feel yucky. It is purely an internal game. But  without the veil of ignorance that once convinced me otherwise I am looking smack dab into the eyes of reality.  I am left to face some less than pretty things in my life. I am left to face the yuckiness of my insides...the discontent, the resentment, the frustration, the fear...the 'suffering' . There is no more hiding behind this veil (a pseudo sense of happiness derived by denying the reality of the moment). At this point of the juncture it does not feel good being so exposed. I know the peace is there beneath all these things that I stuffed on top of it  over the years  and I do know, without a doubt, that I will get to it when I finally rid myself of all these samskaras...Let me rephrase that, I am falling into peace as the knots within me untangle, come to the surface and are released. But as of now...I am still falling as these things come up into my conscious awareness. I am  bumping into my stuffed emotion and it hurts. This leaves me feeling very 'unsteady'. 

When we feel unsteady or uncomfortable in the moment...what does the mind want to do? Escape! Despite what I know, I still occasionally fall back into the old ways of grasping and clinging...wanting to numb or escape the moment.  I have been going to Netflix and Crave every evening with a plea, "Save me from this feeling, this moment!" I catch myself doing this.  I watch myself doing this and I willingly go there instead of just sitting with this "yuckiness" inside. I suppose the fact that I am calling it yuckiness is an indication of my lack of advancement.  It isn't "yuckiness"...it is just feeling, emotion, thoughts, story that may not be pleasant. Part of me still says if it isn't pleasant..."it is wrong, bad  or shouldn't be!" And I resist it.  I catch myself doing it...I do...but I have yet to commit to sitting with "even this" level of intense emotion. I know that it is only through allowing this sense of suffering to be and by going through it will I get beyond it...but part of me still resists. 

I still judge and resist my moment. And then I catch myself resisting the fact that I am resisting. So, I start there. I gently release the hold I have on those habits of beating up myself for not being where I want to be. I say to the resistance of the resistance, "It is okay.  Come up here and sit with me for a while.  I hear you. I feel you. We don't have to be 'there 'already, though, k? .  It is a process. It all unfolds one layer at a time.  It is all good. We will just keep falling back into what is and with curiosity and awe , we will just watch what happens."

Hmmm! Learning, learning, learning. Growing, growing, growing.

All is well!

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Dharma and Karma Yoga

 .....My dharma is to do this. I am doing it. I am at peace with the universe. It is what it is.  It includes horror and beauty and it is all unfolding and I am part of it.  I am part of it, like the winds, the mountains and the rivers. I am a part of it. And I am at peace.

 And the actions, and every action that catches you is another action to awaken and see how it caught you and to bring you back into a center. Then you are a karma yogi. Then you a karma yogi.  And when a karma yogi, a real yogi, meets another yogi it is only itself meeting itself through all the different forms of the dance, of the dialogue between two parts of itself...  

Ram Dass

I think part of my journey is to be perpetually confused! lol.  After what I wrote yesterday about there possibly being something wrong , not with the lack of readership, but my 'desire' for more 'knowledge' and readership because part of me is longing to be recognized as someone that knows...I once again came across the video on Karma I listened to and wrote about a few entries ago. It added another perspective to the mix of musings and questions circling in this much too busy mind of mine. 

I realize...that first of all...I need to, once again, put effort into removing those words, those judgements of "Good and bad, right and wrong, should be and shouldn't be" from my vocabulary and thereby from  my mind. There is no right or wrong about what I am doing.  It is all just as it is and I am exactly where I  am supposed to be at this part of the journey. All the "studying" I did helped to bring me to this point, as did all the 'living', the falling, the failing, the losing, the making so called mistakes.  My big fat ego that wants so badly to redeem itself and be recognized also helped to bring me to this point of where I am.  Where am I right now?   am exactly where I am supposed to be. I know that the end of suffering for me and others will only come when we wake up to who we really are and we can only wake ourselves up. So I am committed to waking up myself and sharing this journey so others may be inspired to wake themselves up too..  That is how this blog began. I am not yet awake.  I am still in the so called early stages, very much grasping and clinging ...looking for things out there to make me feel okay in here. The beautiful thing about this is that I realize that. I realize it enough to share it. It helps me to awaken and that in turn has the potential to help others.

Can't wait until you are enlightened to help another person...bring whatever truth you got to bear into the situation. Each act you do to help another person is simultaneously the act you do to help yourself.

From Jhana...

As a Jhana Yogi, I learn so I can teach and I teach so I can learn.

Ram Dass mentions that once we get to a certain point  of our evolving we will feel compelled by something greater than 'little me' to keep going, to practice a certain way, even if 'little me' is still very much around.  I am literally compelled to study everything that comes my way in the form of scriptures, reading, lectures, teachings. I am "pitting the mind against the mind". So I study. Jhana yoga is a part of my path right now, my dharma. Ego may be attempting to use this for its own benefit but I can "see" that...so I can bring myself back to the pureness of  my dharma.

...To Karma Yoga 

I am also compelled as you can see by the frequent sharing of what I am learning from my own mind to follow the path of the Karma Yogi. Karma Yoga, according to Dass, is that yoga that works with the stuff of your life. Karma is all about cause and effect so it is using every action as a way to wake up.  It is not so much about what we do but how we do it.

Ram Dass offers four components or ways to help us use Krama yoga to fulfill our Dharma:

  1. Firstly, we must quiet down, become still so we can listen to that inner wisdom helps us hear what our dharma is. What are your skills, interests, opportunities, present day circumstances, education etc and how will these things help you best serve?  We do not need to manipulate the world to suit our dharma...we use what is offered us, what we got, so to speak in the present  moment. Our dharma will fluctuate and change from moment to moment so we need to keep listening.  Right now...I am not working "out there"...I have time and an opportunity to write and study.  I have that compelling interest. I have this blog and a few readers, at least, whom I am very grateful for. I have years of education and past experience as an educator so it makes sense that I would at least share what I learned, don't you think? So when I am most still and quiet...in those early hours I awaken I sit and I listen to my dharma...feeling the pull to study and come here with what I have learned. That may change tomorrow and I may be called to serve "out there".  Who knows? 
  2. Secondly, we need to loosen our identity with being the one doing the action.  We really don't do anything, we are done.  We need to get that. I don't do the learning, the  learning comes to me and through me.  I don't do the writing...it too comes through me. Lao Tzu said, When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. We just flow with Life. We don't make things happen nor are things really happening.  It is just getting done.  We just need to rest in spacious awareness of all that is getting done around us. The Karma yogi is using the act to come back to the space behind the act. They are seeing beyond the veil. 
  3. Need to detach from outcome.  We just do the action as best we can ( knowing that it is simply just being done through us)  without getting too hung up on the goal. What will happen will happen.  Though I occasionally slip and become disappointed or worried about the number of readers I have ...for the most part I let go of all that.  I bring myself back to spaciousness and just do what dharma tells me to do....leaving the rest up to Life. The process of Life becomes the focus rather than the product. I still slip many times and get all tangled up in the idea of Life as a product rather than a process but I am committed to  keep bringing myself back to that spacious center, to who I really am. Back to awareness. What is free is awareness. You are free.  Who you think you are isn't. 
  4. Then there is the devotional component in Karma Yoga.  Who is it that you are relating to in your act of service...through your dharma? We need to see the being, not that which we want them to be in order to best serve our egos. There is a being beyond the idea of that person and the being in me will see it if I get beyond my own image of self.  I do not want to use that being to enhance my ego.  So sometimes I , as the ego, see the being or potential being who may stumble upon this page as a "reader" who  enhances the numbers on my stats page and therefore enhances my ego...I do. I diminish who they are.  But most times I, the being,  see or at least strive to see the "being"  reading what I have written so we  can connect  for I know that my experience of Life is not "individual" or "unique. 
Hmm!  So much learning. In my practice of Karma Yoga I also took up a mantra from Buddhism...developed by a 12th century Japanese Monk in his desire to help all individuals he saw suffering to find peace and an end to their suffering. It is a simple chant : Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. This can basically be translated from Sanskrit into : Devotion to the mystical law of enlightenment/Buddha nature as the lotus  flower opens revealing both fruit and flower simultaneously ( cause and effect at the same time...a transcendence of Karma) sutra. 

Anyway, I learn and I share.  I learn and I share.  What else is a gal to do when she is compelled by Karma to follow her dharma? 

All is well

Ram Dass//Be Here and Now Network (n.d.) Getting Free With Karm Yoga: Here and Now, Episode 207https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEHx5B0fuPc

Soko Gaikki Official (n.d.) How to Chant Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo/Englishhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02jPdwVgO4U


Friday, September 23, 2022

Self-Intended Knowledge

 Lady with fair countenance! Understand that one who is not able to realize the Truth in his heart by this knowledge of spiritual wisdom known as Kala Jnana, can never attain it, even by studying countless crores ofsastras ( scripture) spread out like the sky.

Ramana Maharshi

I often whine and complain about a lack of readership here implying to myself and others, in some subtle way, that there is something "wrong" with that, that it was another indication of a universe challenging me.  After all the "studying" I do, all the reading, listening and interpreting I do, after all the knowledge I gain it somehow seems "unfair, wrong, should be different" that what I am sharing in regards to that knowledge collection is not getting out there. I suddenly realize today that my lack of readership could actually be the Universe, not challenging 'me', but supporting 'me' in my desire to be Self-realized. 

One can know thyself only with one's own eye of knowledge, and not with somebody else's. Does he who is Rama, require the help of a mirror to know he is Rama?

In...Ramana Maharshi's teachings , shared in the linked video below a 'disciple' speaks about Maharshi's view on knowledge outside ourselves and our desire to share it like I do here.  He often says that true knowledge has nothing to do with "I know this" but more to do with "I am this"...again we are getting back to this idea that "knowing is being". The only real value of knowledge cannot be found "out there'...only from within.  It is Self intended knowing we seek 

He also speaks of a very subtle and powerful desire within most of us to be recognized for what we know because we, like, most egoicly bound humans, long to be praised, seen, respected, revered, regarded with high esteem.  We think that by collecting knowledge and "showing" what we know we will attain this, satisfying this desire. I think that is a trap many spiritual teachers fall into without realizing it.  Oh man, I am not a spiritual teacher but part of me has been doing that here.  After assuming I lost so much of this type of "respect and esteem" from the outside world with the recent going- ons in my life, I was looking to be redeemed here. My goal of self realization was being corrupted, maybe, by this desire for recognition as someone who "knows". I erroneously believed I needed readers outside 'me' to recognize 'me'. If I had true knowledge of Self, however, there would be no 'me' to recognize.

I love the learning...the reading, the listening and the studying but I need to be honest with myself.  Am I feeding my ego here or my heart?  Is this type of knowledge seeking hindering or assisting me to gain that "I am-ness" I seek? I need to look at that. 

People out there do not need more "knowledge" from me or others, they need to tap into their own essence. The best thing I can do for myself and others is become Self-Realized...not to study more and share more. I really have to look at that too. 

Ordinary knowledge is always accompanied by ignorance, and ignorance by knowledge; the only true knowledge is that by which one knows the Self by enquiring whose is the knowledge and ignorance. 

All is well. 

Ramana Maharishi/ Medicine of One  (n.d.) Surrendering To The Death Of The Mind- Teachings of Sri Ramana for the Layman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYk2Km4sfmI

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Already That

 

So I say the Self is not reached. You are the Self, you are already that. The fact is, you are ignorant of your blissful state. Ignorance supervenes and draws a veil over the pure Self which is bliss. Attempts are directed only to remove this veil of ignorance which is only wrong knowledge. The wrong knowledge is the false identification of the Self with the body and mind. The false identification must go and then the Self alone remains. Therefore realization is for everyone: there is no difference between the aspirants. The very doubt you can realize and the "I - have-not-realized"  are themselves the obstacles.  Be free of obstacles. 

Ramana Maharshi

I just listened to a timely and captivating lecture on the nondual Vedanta's view of knowing and being, offered by Swami Sarvapriyandanda (who I never heard of until today).  On my way home,  after a trip to the ophthalmologist's office for further Glaucoma testing, I was feeling "unsteady". I was holding onto my side as if that would somehow make the pain there go away. I have been overwhelmed by the circumstances unfolding around me and in me lately . Vulnerable, would be a good descriptive word to use here.  I felt "unsafe"  as I often do when I am driving, especially in a vehicle in desperate need of an inspection,  that seemed to be pulling to the left while the  big Exclamation mark flashed on the dashboard. I have, as I have written,  been feeling like I was losing control over so many things in " my life"  lately beyond what 'my' car was doing, 'my' eye was doing, and what 'my' body was doing. Stuffed things are bubbling up from the bottom of me and boiling over as I deal with the many "going ons" affecting this version of Life I call "me".  "My" experience of life is not a pleasant one these days. So I prayed as I drove  for some comfort, some ease and I wondered why I just cannot seem to find it. Am I not doing things right in my attempt to realize Self/no-self?  Am I not prioritizing what is really important by taking the spiritual path towards enlightenment?  Isn't it suppose to be easier when we do that?  I have come so far in my understanding, haven't I? Am I not supposed to be feeling peace no matter what at this point? I just felt so "unsteady". So I prayed for both comfort and answers.

As if my prayer was being answered, when I got home I felt greatly pulled to YouTube and to the video linked below entitled simply, Knowing and Being. It was exactly what I needed. The teaching offered, based on Advaita Vedanta, the non-dual school of Hindu philosophy is so much like the learning I have received from Buddhism. They line up beautifully. 

In the Shadow

Swami Sarvapriyananda began by reciting a line from T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Man: Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow. I realized instantly that I have been living in the shadow. I am living, like so many, in the gap between knowing and being. I have been doing the self-help thing since I was a teenager and doing the heavy duty spiritual practice for over a decade by embracing Eastern Philosophy.  I have been reading, listening,  studying and practicing it but I don't seem to be manifesting anything beyond the "knowing". Why is that? 

The more you "know" the bigger the gap gets between knowing and being..

I failed to remember that I do not need to know in order to be, because knowing is being. 

All efforts at self improvement are just fine.  They help to tune down the madness so you don't appear so mad...but...it doesn't cure us from this madness. 

Already That

None of our physical world and externally directed actions will get us what we really want. The solution for all of  Life's so called problems  is indeed enlightenment,  Self-Realization and Knowing who we really are.  But the thing is, regardless if we know it or not...we are already that which we seek to become....we are that. Tat Taum Asi. Nondual Vedanta, just like Buddhism, teaches that knowing is being. You are already that whom you seek to be ( divine), everything is already alright, you already have all the things within you to be complete and happy...you just don't see it and you just don't see you as you really are. We are simply lost in illusion and delusion and tend to be overly attached to that which isn't real.  If we want to experience realty, to "be"...we just have to remove the veil of ignorance Maharshi speaks of in the above quote. 

Enlightenment does not make you  Brahman. You are Brahman but your goal is to come to see it and be it. Knowing is being. 

Swami tells a story about the lion cub who after losing his mother in a hunt shortly after his birth is raised by lambs.  He grows up believing he is a lamb.  He eats grass like a lamb.  He bleets like a lamb.  He timidly runs from predators like a lamb.  Then one day another lion spots him in the pack of sheep and captures him.  He tries to convince the young lion that he is a lion not a sheep but all the younger lion says in return is, "Baa! Baa! Please don't eat me big scary lion. Baa! Baa!" . Taking him to the river, the other lion forces the young lion to look at his reflection in the water comparing it to his own and then he forces him to roar. To his utter surprise and delight, the young lion realizes who he really is...a lion, king of the jungle.

Moral of this story? Even when the lion thought he was a lamb...he was a lion.  He was always a lion. He was just delusional operating in a world of illusions.  Believing he was a lamb, did not make him a lamb. Being told he was a lion, didn't make him a lion, He was already one. Looking at his reflection in the water didn't make him a lion...he was already one. Hearing himself roar didn't make him a lion.  He was already one. All these things did was help him to realize who he always was. Enlightenment won't make us beings closer to God...it will just help us to realize we were always beings close to God. 

Two Major Components of Enlightenment

The lecture goes on to discuss the nature of enlightenment as having two major components.  The first component is what Swami referred to as, The Paradigm Shift. Here we shift from a body-mind focus to enlightened awareness where the problems of "me" disappear.  You see, it is only the body and only the mind that has the problems, right?  All "problems" belong to this realm, don't they?  It is in the body that we have physical pain and illness, aging and death.  It is in the mind that we have the concept of pain and suffering, limitation, of unpleasant, of anger and grief etc?  When we shift to pure awareness there are no problems because we go beyond the limitations of body and mind. 

The second component of enlightenment is the ethical manifestation aspect. There seems to be certain expectations of those who are fully evolved, Self-realized or enlightened. These beings are said to be selfless, fearless, peaceful, kind and compassionate to all, loving of all equally, possessing great wisdom, and serene.  Because they have solved all their problems forever, they are believed to be free. 

In order to be truly enlightened we must not only have shifted our knowledge and awareness, we must be living as an enlightened person as demonstrated in the second component. If we say we have realized Self but are still slipping into reactions all the time with others, getting angry, grumbling and complaining; if we are still clinging to material world things, still attached to body and mind in anyway...we are not truly enlightened.  We may be able to teach like we are...but in truth we are not. 

An enlightened being gives away their right to grumble and complain

Non-Dual Vedanta

The goal of nondual Vedanta, swami teaches, is to become free while living. Until we not only "know" who we are but  live as fully actualized beings,  we will continue to suffer. We achieve true Self-realization through 1) obtaining knowledge of reality 2) eradicating deep seated desires ( attachment to the external world) and 3) deep absorption or samadhi ( getting beyond ego)

Attaining all three of these simultaneously is the ultimate goal and it is said by doing this that we will have true liberation...freedom from suffering and bliss. 

For many of us the first part...attaining the knowledge is the easiest of the three and where many of us are stuck.  I know I am.  I mean I have not attained true realization by any means but I do know I am not this body or mind and that the world around me is illusionary.  I know there is so much more than this that I perceive with my five senses but man, I still suffer.  Why?  Because, I am still trapped by desire, by preferences, by my attachment to this world of form.  And I have not reached anywhere close to samadhi. I have not attained all three levels. So Life, doing what Life does, keeps throwing things in this direction and I keep reacting to them. I suffer. And oddly,  the fact that I have more knowledge now than I did before I first started this journey  seems to create even more suffering in me. It is like I am (the intellect) riding an elephant. The intellect knows what it wants and where it wants to go but the untrained elephant doesn't always agree with my directions.  It has other things it wants. Until I train it with repetition and practice it is going to continue to take me for a ride instead of us travelling as "one".

I walk away from this talk knowing I  need to up my yoga practice, all limbs of it, if I want to end this sense of suffering once and for all.  Starting at Samadhi, I need to work my way down to niyamas and yamas(rules of conduct) .  Swami has a lot to say about pranayama which is interesting and he goes beyond controlling the breath in his discussion to "steadying the being"... anyway.  It is interesting.

So much was gained from this lecture that I cannot transcribe here.  Please watch it for yourself.

All is well in my world.

Swami Sarvapriyananda/ Vedanta Society of Southern California  (n.d.) Knowing and Being. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSbTaIDYTb0 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

On Seperatedness

 This sensation of being a separate lonely individual is a hallucination.

Alan Watts

The following are just some words of wisdom about this illusion of separateness we collectively share because we have been conditioned to do so:

Alan Watts more or less tells us we are not just Awareness in a sac of skinwe are awareness.  Our sac of skin does not separate us from one another as it seems to.

This sense of separateness often leads us to search for completeness, fulfillment and love outside ourselves and we seek to  form "special relationships" 

The minute I heard my first love story,

 I started looking for you 

not realizing how blind that was. 

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere, 

they are in each other all along.

Rumi (from Ram Dass video linked below) 

A Course in Miracles refers to it this way:

In reality you are perfectly unaffected by all expressions of a lack of love. These can be from yourself and others, from yourself to others, or from others to you. Peace is an attribute in you. You cannot find it outside. ACIM. Chapter 2-I-5:6-9

There are three planes/spheres of existence, according to Ram Dass: the ego plane (this idea we are separate), the soul plane (we are connected to source on some deep level but each has a unique karma), and the plane of pure awareness (that goes beyond the skin and the soul connecting everything at the deepest level).

We start out as pure awareness, knowing who we are,  but quickly realize a sense of separateness and then begin to use other people's eyes to reflect back to us who we are. The ego is built. The whole ego is basically relational. So we seek others to help us understand who we are on the ego level. We form relationships based on our and their 'specialness'. 

After fascism and communism we got into "individualism:" a worship of our "somebody-ness" Ram Dass

A Course in Miracles refers to this sense of separateness and our use of special relationships throughout the text and lessons within it.

The special love relationship is an attempt to bring love into separation. ...You seek but for your own completion, and it is they who render you complete.  The special love relationship is but a shabby substitute for what makes you whole in truth,  not in illusion. Chapter 16-IV-7-8

When will we learn that we are already complete and whole and the love we seek to feel and share is already in us?

All is well. 

ACIM Foundations for Inner Peace

Ram Dass The Breath Inside the Breath Part 1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGIKAaOFhCc

Alan Watts. The Ways  we lose our identityhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dDxGkQ5NkQ

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Self Pity

 Self pity in its early stages is as snug as a feather mattress. Only when it hardens does it become uncomfortable.

Maya Angelou

I am sitting here with my tea. The tea is lovely but my mind isn't lol.  I have jumped into the van of self pity and am picking up a lot of speed as I go down that road.  The wind of "oh woe is me " actually feels pretty good on my face right now and there is a nice distracting hum to the momentum. It is almost comforting. But I know it isn't taking me where I really want to go. I also know that this comfortable feeling will soon become hard and uncomfortable. Sigh! 

The Pull of Self Pity

There is definitely an inviting pull to this type of mental reaction to life circumstance, isn't there?  Something that lures us in with the promise of lollipops or puppies and before we know it we are being swept away as innocent  victims to some mind made villain. We go off telling people our stories about what lead us here in hope that their sympathetic reaction will allow us to sit back in this van and keep going.  (It is so much easier to be swept away than it is to take responsibility for our minds, our own lives, isn't it?)  And we will defend ferociously how we have no choice but to feel the way we do as we wait for the sound of violins to play through the surround sound around us. 

The thing is I am not an innocent child with an underdeveloped brain trusting that which seems trustworthy but isn't...I am an adult with an untamed mind who knows better.  I chose to jump into this van.  I  knew from so many past experiences where it was taking me. I knew I was being lured and manipulated by an old programmed tendency in my psyche. I knew the comfort it provided was only temporary and that it would soon become very hard and uncomfortable.  I was so "aware" yet I climbed in anyway, in hope that I would find some comfort, some reprieve from this perception of "overwhelming hardship"  I have been experiencing. I wanted to feel good and sorry for myself. I still do.

The Story

Why? Why do I feel the need to feel sorry for myself? There are many reasons. I am alone now, managing on my own (which is actually okay because I am one of those odd ducks that is okay being alone...but I have to add 'my alone status' in there for added dramatic effect lol).  My phone got cut off yesterday because I could not pay the phone bill. The dog just ate one of the last cans  of catfood that I have been trying to conserve so I could feed my cats. (I am more concerned about keeping my pets fed than I am about feeding myself...what is up with that?)  The vehicle I was left with has an outdated inspection sticker on it and a cracked windshield  I cannot afford to replace.  I cannot even afford the fine if I get pulled over. Heck...I cannot afford gas lol.  My eye is sore and my vision in it is getting increasingly blurry. I wake up every morning with this pain in my side and I don't know what it is...that drags me back to my memory of all the many experiences I had in health seeking waiting and waiting to find out what things were...knowing, because I am somewhat bright, that they are all something but seldom having the ease of a quick diagnosis...just the waiting, the waiting, the waiting. (Now that statement there was definitely a dramatic attempt to pull the audience in so they would pity me as much as I am pitying myself right now....my bad...just came out as a reflex.)  I really, honestly, do not know how I am going to financially survive here alone on a 900/mth pension income and with a 1000/mth mortgage...even my poor math skills tell me that there is something really wrong with that equation.  (Now, I was really trying  to keep this van moving with the pity of others by sharing that!). I have been dreaming non stop about my old job, reminded of how much I loved teaching, how much I miss it  (and how I miss the stable income). Then there are my children that need me in so many ways and I am tired and dragging myself around to provide.  I have a daughter who is dependent on me financially because she is too ill to work ...imagine. I tried to get support for her  but the necessary support people outwardly refused to fill out the required forms. I have been left with the care and responsibility of three dogs...one who eats everything she can get her mouth on and one I have to carry up and down the stairs because she is recovering from ACL surgery. That just exhausts me sometimes. 

Oh...I could go on and on about my so called "woes", there are many,  but telling this story over and over again to myself and to others is all part of a mental reaction....a desire and a clinging to that psuedo-comfort self pity provides. Man, I jumped right into that van this morning and I am somewhat reluctant to leave.

Can anything good come from this self pity reaction?

Yes...if and only if we are aware.  Any time we react in a less than wholesome way to Life as it is and we catch ourselves, observe ourselves doing so...it is a positive thing.  It is just like we are catching our mistakes in the classroom lessons we are working on and learning from them.  We can correct them before we bring our work to the teacher for marking. Or we can even learn from them afterwards.  Every slip on our path towards higher realization, is a learning opportunity.  We cannot improve upon something unless we are aware it needs improving. My mind, most our minds, could be improved. This little trip I am taking down the road of self pity is a reminder to me of this unwholesome tendency and when I observe it, I am detaching myself from it.  I am no longer lost in it. Therefore I can do something about it.

We do not need to punish  ourselves for feeling sorry for ourselves. That is counterproductive. I am not going to  "beat myself up" for this lapse into self pity.  I am going to, instead, wrap it (and the "me" that is experiencing it)  gently in mindfulness, loving kindness and compassion. I am not going to resist it, struggle  against it by saying, "it shouldn't be". It is.  I am not going to  push it away or down like I would normally want to do.  I am going to notice it, allow it, sit with it, embrace it and give it permission  to leave on its own when it is ready. Just as I write this I feel it starting to leave.  Hmm!

The other thing self pity can give us is an opportunity to express and release the deeper emotions beneath it. Self-pity is often a surface cover for feelings of grief, loss, sadness, and despair. It is much easier to get caught up in the drama of self-pity than it it is to simply "feel" and experience these emotions under its cover. Self-pity will make me cry and if I keep it up and sit with it,  what is under it starts to simmer and boil up  pushing the cover of self pity right off the pot. The other emotions will come up.  Truth is I do feel great loss. I feel grief over the losses I have experienced over the last few years...heck...over my entire life.  I have been trying with great effort, though automatically,   to suppress and repress these feeling but there is so much ungrieved loss inside me, under this flimsy shield of self pity.  By allowing self pity into my awareness, I allow the other deeper feelings to come to the surface so I can sit with them until they are spent.  In short...I need a really good cry and self -pity can start that pot boiling. 

Anyway,  there are both unwholesome reasons and wholesome reasons why I shared this. In all honesty, the part of me still so identified with "my story" is looking for pity and possibly compassion from others when I really need it from myself.  At the same time I know this is a universal human tendency I share that others could easily recognize in themselves. 

It comes down to the basic premise of all  teachings here. The more we understand our minds both on the individual and the collective level...the better off humanity and the world will be.  Let's look at our own tendency towards self pity and learn and grow from it.

All is well. 

 .   

Monday, September 19, 2022

Beyond Words to Experience

 Each of us is an aperture through which the universe is observing itself.  

Alan Watts

I listened to Alan Watts today and it was a very useful transaction of words...that helped me to understand conceptually that which goes beyond words. Both videos spoke to this idea that the understanding we are truly seeking cannot be described in words yet as conditioned humans when we seek to understand something , Watts reminds us, we are often just looking for a translation of that something, the going ons of the physical world, into language and words.  As long as the words are there, however, they are in the way of us truly experiencing that 'something' we are trying to understand.  

When we first attempt to go deeper and try to 'define' who we are and what God is...it gets even more confusing.  We cannot define ourselves and we can not define God with words! When we do this, it becomes even more confusing and counterproductive to us 'knowing' and 'experiencing' that which we are attempting to know and experience. Duality, that which comes with language, gets in the way of understanding: we see a knowing and a known, a doing and a doer and a giver and a receiver etc.  This duality  gets in the way. 

The most important thing we can do to understand at the experience and feeling level is to clear our head of thoughts.  Of course, we cannot stop thinking  but we can stop losing ourselves in the thought process and instead... experience life in the present moment. The more we do this, the more we touch or fall into that spacious emptiness, that shunyata, that oceanic view , that yoga...that truth of who we really are is 'experienced' and 'felt'. 

The thing is we are that which we are seeking to understand. "Tat Taum Asi: You are that",  are great words that speak the ultimate truth and can be "felt" in the experiential realm of Life but mean nothing to the conceptual mind. They are just words.   These words have great limits but the truth that is the space behind these words can set us free.  We need to access that space behind the words.

Watts tells us that through meditation we can become aware of what is without naming or labelling it...just experiencing it, sensing it, feeling it and allowing it to be as it is.

For example we can,

Listen to the sounds of the world in the same way you would listen to classical music...without asking what it means. 

We just listen, allow, feel and experience without words.  For sure shootin the mind is going to do what it does...it is going to think.  Thoughts and memories and judgements will pop into our minds but we do not need to bother with what is said.  Just listen to the sound of the voice in our heads.  I personally like to group all thoughts that come into my mind under a big cloud of "thinking" without labelling, analyzing, or explaining but I never thought to pay much attention to the sound of my internal voice at those times...to note its texture and tone. We can just allow all sound, even our own internal noise, to be a part of the symphony. as we experience what is now. 

I often ask in my personal and guided meditations, "Who is listening?" to help myself and others to connect with the observer but Watts said that too gets us all tangled up in the duality of language. He suggest that we simply notice instead that "There is a watching". And as we focus our attention on our breath we can ask, "Are you doing that or is it happening to you?" Then we can simply realize, "There is breath in and there is breath out."

We also need to release our "effort", our striving to attain this realization of Tat Taum Asi.  He tells us if we can simply "be" mindful or meditate for the sheer de-light of it, adopting an attitude of "it doesn't matter" we can become like surgeons with a steady hand...much more effective in our practice and in our approach to Life. We need to realize we are incarnations of that which we seek ( God) otherwise we will spend our lives putting great effort and strain into trying to be God...changing, fixing, attempting to alter the "what is" of that which is occurring around us or to us. 

Peace is all about letting go of our words, our striving, and our opinions of how "it should be" so we can fall into the spaciousness of what is. 

All is well in my world. 

Alan Watts / The Spiritual Library( ) When you stop talking to yourselfhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDg2ko4HYos

Alan Watts/UCLA CommStudies ( ) Alan Watts Speaking at UCLA 2/21/1973 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro0bjhfg4mg


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Deeper Consciousness Potential

There is potential in every human being for realizing in her or himself(themself)  a state of consciousness that is deeper-infinitely deeper-than ordinary thinking and doing in everyday life. 

Eckhart Tolle

We already have all the conditions we need to be happy within us. 

Beneath all the the thinking, busy doing, story telling, and identification with self is the realm where true peace, happiness, joy and Love exists.   In yogic terms we have Turiya, that forth stage of consciousness that we can always fall back into.  The Buddhists would call this Shunyata and the Taoists would call it Kung but it is all basically "spaciousness." It is the precious empty background of our existence.  

Contrary to popular belief, we do not need to strive to attain spaciousness...we are spaciousness.  We just need to realize it. How do we do that? Through mindfulness and concentration we can gain insight into this realization. The energy of mindfulness makes things true and alive,Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us. By coming to the present moment, truly coming to it with mindfulness and concentration, and through embracing the miracle of being...we tap into our true spaciousness, into our shunyata, our Kung and our Turiya. Hmmm!  

All is well. 

Eckhart Tolle (n.d.) The Forth State of Consciousness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bim73icRzCk

Thich Nhat Hanh (n.d.) Mindfulness, Concentration and Insight in Everyday Life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2uV1V1M_3g

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Rays of Consciousness

 To know yourself as consciousness is the most amazing liberation...not a liberation for the person, but a liberation from the person.

Eckhart Tolle 



The Source of all Life expresses Itself  in all of us.  We are parts of the One Consciousness just as a ray of sunlight is a part of the sun.  We are rays of light, we are expressions of consciousness.

We are not separate single selves.  How can we be when we, like the beams of light that shine down upon us,  are expressions of the Source? 

The greatest miracle, Tolle reminds us, is that the world, the Universe is conscious.  How do we know that?  Because we are conscious.  If the rays of sun light are the sun, we, as expressions of that consciousness,  are consciousness.

Pretty cool, eh?

All is well.

Eckhart Tolle(n.d.) How to Get True Guidance.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYCwYmk6248

Writing Without Readers

 I write to discover what I know.

Flannery O'Connor

Hmmm! Wondering what has happened to the outreach of this blog.  Why am I not getting through?  It seems I have been pushed into the closet of cyber space and locked in there. My previous readership has been disconnected from me as a result. I feel like an unpopular  outreach worker who, because of some mechanical issue, is now unable to deliver the bit I have to deliver to those few people on the street who may actually want it. I mean I just do what I do because I do. I seek to  serve through my writing of this blog for selfish reasons, because service helps the "no-self" in me to grow and the "me" to lose its significance...but part of me fears that all of the sandwiches in the back of the van will spoil before they ever feed another hungry belly (mind). It was okay if many or most of them were refused before. As long as I was able to feed a few others, the time and energy it took to make them was worth it. Now that the readership is often at zero, I question why I keep coming here. I am not complaining.  I am not asking this to be some  way other than the way it is.  I try not to do that with anything in my life anymore...but curiously I wonder: What is happening here and why?  Should I do something about it to improve my readership

Maybe...maybe not.  For now, it simply is as it is...just another thing unfolding in front of this form. So without too much attachment to outcome, without grasping or clinging to some idea "this shouldn't be", without any strange notion that this is bad or wrong and that I 'have to fix it or fight it asap...I just curiously observe it with a bit of wonder, accept it, allow it to be and simply come here and write anyway. I have no idea if I will ever get another reader and if I do how this will impact them. If  some inspiration comes to "me" to "do" something about whatever tech issue is preventing this from getting out there, I will, but for now I just write here. Something  tells me whatever happens after that doesn't matter.  My job, is to simply show up...do what feels natural and wholesome, and leave the rest to God.

All is well in my world. 

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood.  I'd type a little faster.

Isaac Asimov