Books for 2018!

Bridge at Mystic Creek at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Happy New Year to you dear pilgrim friend!  May all your days in 2018 be full of laughter, insight, surrender, and love.

I am completing the first draft of my first book about my journey on the pathless path. This book remains untitled and will detail the core principles and philosophy of Advaita, nonduality, and the wisdom teachings of Jesus the Christ, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, and the Christian Mystics. Of course I’ll share how I perceived “peeling the onion” of this mysterious and illusory personal self. Read more here.

I’m addicted to reading as much as I am to writing and this may be one of the reasons why our house is often dusty and there are used dishes and utensils in the kitchen sink. Sigh.

Below is a listing of the books open beside my reading chair and I don’t have enough vowels to list all the books stacked in the queue on the floor, by the bed, on the desk, and on the nightstand. Just imagine how in the advanced stages of addiction I might want all my favorite books in close range in case I need to make a hasty exit to a place that has no books. Perish the thought.

The Naked Now  – Learning to See as the Mystics See – by Richard Rohr

The Heart of Centering Prayer – Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice – by Cynthia Bourgeault

An Alchemy of Mind – The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain – by Diane Ackerman

 

Happy New Year!

anita

 

 

Winter Solstice Gifts

Foggy sunrise at Juniper Level

I awoke at sunrise today and welcomed the Winter Solstice rays into my soft belly. Winter’s fading light yields to the darkness so we may dive deeper into the nature of this Mystery, this Creation, this appearance of what simply is.

Over the decades I’ve come to see the Winter Solstice as a perennial teacher reminding me of the power of the unseen and for being thankful for this darkness, especially as some of our 23,000 garden plants are now hibernating below the garden floor preparing for their re-emergence in early spring.

For us humans, embracing Winter’s darkness allows us the quietness and stillness to heal and jettison what is no longer needed – beliefs, opinions, judgments, and toxic emotions and ideas that keep us feeling and believing we are separate, distinct, and small. As we rest in the dark fertile lightness of aware presence, we notice the gifts within all appearances, along with increased creativity, intuition, and wisdom.

So today, and every day dawning, let’s walk slowly, smile, and notice and give thanks for what breathes us. Notice the moment without judgment…it’s present so it’s perfect, until we claim it isn’t.

Let’s pay attention. Listen, smell, touch, taste, see, and above all, smile, and breathe deeply into our soft belly.

We cannot mess up, get this wrong, or be anywhere or anything other than what we are right this moment, this appearance of aware presence awaring itself.

The sun is now rising over the gardens and greenhouses as I type these words. These holy solar offerings of lightrays are songs to tune our hearts and brains. Listen closely and quietly to your heart and know that we are the edgeless, perfect darkness and dawn.

And if you are inclined, be quiet and go within to notice who or what wants answers, solutions, and wants what is to be different than what it already is.

anita

Thinking About Thoughts?

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

When we begin to soften, to let go a bit, and perceive with an attitude and lens of not-knowing, we ease into vulnerability, rawness, and a willingness to meet and greet what is appearing instead of living in our mental processes (thinking, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, memories, and imaginings).

A deeper understanding of what is appearing resides beyond the brain’s conditioned mental processes and this deeper knowing unfolds on its own when we deeply question and meditatively inquire into our cherished inner dialogues and stories. But what does this jargon mean in simpler terms?

The ability to see how the mental processes operate provides a few ways to “crack open” and explore the habitual mental processing mechanism which many refer to as the mind or brain. I like Paul Hedderman’s use of the term “mental processing” since it shows no mercy for the habitual and sneaky mental machinery – so we’ll go with his term here.

During meditation or prayer, or while sitting quietly, we may turn our attention to thoughts and notice the thought stream, aka, the mental processing, until it plays itself out while we offer no merit to be placed upon the content any more than we place content upon the clouds passing across the edgeless sky.

During meditation or sitting quietly we may also notice our thoughts roaming free in all directions. Again, we place no judgment, opinion, or rule about how thoughts “could or should be.”

We may use thought to detect thought.  Notice to see if you can watch thought without using thought. How did that go? Seeing how this mental processing works is the first step towards living as our natural and abiding inner peace which never moves, nor changes…but is obscured and ignored when we live as the mental processes.

You’ve likely heard the metaphor comparing thinking to a river. You are relaxing on the bank of a beautiful and peaceful river just watching the water move along as it does. You can do the same with thinking and thoughts…just watch thoughts as you would watch a river – allowing all thoughts and thinking to pass freely across the screen of awareness without going into a story or thinking. Just notice thoughts and when you go into thinking, move attention back to noticing, again and again. Eventually you will quickly notice when you are in the story of yourself instead of the rawness of the moment because the story feels heavy and constricted and/or flooded with yearning, resisting, or grasping.

Do you know the difference between thoughts and thinking? Perhaps this will clarify some of the stickiness for you: A random thought like – “I need to wash dishes” is passing across awareness.  It’s just a thought, one of millions passing across awareness. I do not claim it or make a story about it with the mental process of naming, and claiming. If I do claim this thought as mine and how it impacts my life then I’ve gone into thinking and story-making All thinking is story-making and vice-versa.

Thoughts are just raw, random, energy flowing as pure awareness. Thinking pulls in the emotional and psychological land-mines we create in support of our personal narrative – I’m a clean-freak and keep a clean and tidy kitchen or I’m a slob with a weeks worth of dirty dishes stacked in the sink. See what I’m pointing towards?

Simply paying attention to what is appearing without the mental processing machine allows the raw and fresh seeing of what is appearing without any story or commentary about a personal me. But first we must begin to see the workings of the mental processing machine in our head. This is why meditation and meditative self inquiry is so important in seeing what is and uncovering our natural and abiding inner peace. And sadly, many confuse our seeing of what is appearing with the habitual story projected by the mental processing machine over the pure awareness of what is.

It is difficult if not down right painful to inquire within as the mental processing is serving up defensiveness, jealously, anger, envy, and hatred for what is arising. Where do these reactions arise and to whom? What is noticing these passing states and feelings?  We must be open, raw, and vulnerable to allow a quiet blanket of unknowing and a hot cup of tea to warm and enfold us as we quietly sit and unravel these prickly threads that weave the illusory personal self into a believable entity.

Paying attention to how we are responding to what is offers us clues to where we are on the pathless path to peace. And when we deny our shortcomings we often see them appearing in others so we can remember to do the work of self-inquiry. Are we open, raw, vulnerable to the moment or closed and habitually already knowing “the content” of the moment because we are going into the depths of memory? Memory is dead. Some nostalgia feels good but this too is a trap for staying in the mental processes and missing the beauty and gift of this moment. (Eventually we will see that nostalgia and all memories are actually new and fresh this moment, but that comes after we see the inner workings of the mental machinery and we’ve explored all the repressed stories that promote suffering.)

Only this moment is alive, raw, fresh and pregnant with the possibility that we will actually open to it like a small child accepts what is appearing – and really experience the wonder and delight of beholding what simply is. Once we are able to behold what simply is showing up without any judgements and stories we are on your way to uncovering our natural inner peace that passes all understanding….in other words, we see and swim within the deep inner peace that is beyond the mental processing, when all the naming, labeling, comparing, and claiming are seen for the nonsense they are. This is seeing through the delusion and misperceptions that the mental processing.

Deeply explore and listen within to what is appearing here now with openness, with fearless honesty, and really see the patterns and habits of clinging to and defending a personal self. Only with clear, raw, and innocent inquiry will the mental processing begin to free itself from its mechanical conditioning and relax as this natural aware presence and compassionate understanding of and for this moment.

And we will see clearly that this compassionate peace and pure awareness has absolutely nothing to do with any religious or philosophical trappings and beliefs whatsoever.

anita

 

Essence of Emptiness

There is no longer any-thing to grasp, no solidness upon which to stand, just an imagining of birth and death breathing what is appearing and dissolving. Permanence dissolves and is gone beyond gone.

I inhale empty universes flooding the heart as icy white light. I exhale edgeless, infinite, starless, stillness. Before and after dies seeing edgeless, infinite, timeless presence.

Sorrow and joy arise echoing the faint notes of meaningless fears. All the edges of form evaporate and there is only whispers of a silent, inky, stillness holding what is appearing here now as creation.

My head is gone and only you see the mirage of it. How can I describe what is impossible to describe with mere words and phrases? Yet I am writing upon the emptiness and writing seems to appear. It’s so puzzling to a human brain to ponder an intelligence so timelessly infinite and absolute it cannot be comprehended.

And it feels like this:

Before me is the fullness of what is appearing now…a voidless void glimpsing appearances as itself. I have no boundaries, no skin, no need nor urge to divide and separate this appearance of raw limitless perfect aware presence.

Tears of joyful sorrow flow…and oceans appear. Laughter paints the sky as imaginary stars.

There is an ease of noticing what is appearing and a feeling of intimacy as the thought steam describes the perfection of what is appearing. This intimacy and closeness feels as though you are tasting, smelling, touching, and seeing this dreamscape within your infinite and edgeless beingness. Such paradox, mystery, awe, and wonder that anything at all seems to be appearing.

Appearances look so damn real and tangible. Such feelings of awe for a brain so clever to create the appearance of a tangible reality where none could possibly exist.

It’s all me, all of it — I inhale the cosmos and I cannot get in front or behind it, above or below it….it is everything appearing as nothing and nothing appearing as everything as each glorious inhale and appreciating this edgeless, sourceless, timeless mirage as the exhale.

And this body, this glorious vaporous appearance of a dreamy body that feels so real and tangible but is simply an imagining within a brilliant illusory brain. How divine and luscious to feel this body, this perfect moment.

And yet I appear as the gut-wrenching murderous news on TV, as children gliding on the swings, a baby fox scampering across the garden, a homeless woman, a red truck, the laptop, the fire, the sky, the ocean, a tiny ant.

Now….this moment is fresh and new, is all for you as you:

Open your eyes to your eyes and see the original and innocent seeing that is always here now.

When you were fresh and new as a toddler and a small child this original and innocent seeing was what was looking through your eyes. As you grew as a toddler, your parents, siblings, and teachers taught you a subject/object framework for seeing which covered the innocent seeing you were born with.

See again as a toddler what is appearing as this perfect, timeless, essence now. Notice the urge to measure and write distinctions across appearances to slice and dice what is infinite and edgeless perfection into parts and pieces time will never touch.

I’d die a zillions deaths to share this with you now and tell you of your perfection. I’d roll up the universe and swallow it to give you a glimpse of your illusory and infinite beauty, perfection, and timelessness.

Go outside on a clear night and look upwards to the appearances of the stars…can you divide the sky? Do you notice the gratitude arising for the simple seeing of the brilliant starry vastness before you?

Now turn your head and look at your feet. Do you notice a powerful urge to name and claim what is appearing as your feet?  If so, are you sure you want to divide and label appearances into subjects and objects with you at the center as the viewer or perceiver?

Peace radiates naturally and effortlessly as you unlearn and unprogram the brain of the attachments to beliefs and concepts keeping you a prisoner in a tangible-appearing world of illusions.

anita.

Easy Breezy Waking Up

Nonduality at Juniper Level

Greetings,

I am not surprised to read the misleading content below from a well known and respected website about the science of nonduality:

Nonduality is the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and fundamental intrinsic oneness.

 

For thousand of years, through deep inner inquiry, philosophers and sages have come to the realization that there is only one substance and we are therefore all part of it. This substance can be called Awareness, Consciousness, Spirit, Advaita, Brahman, Tao, Nirvana or even God. It is constant, ever present, unchangeable and is the essence of all existence.

 

In the last century Western scientists are arriving at the same conclusion: The universe does indeed comprise of a single substance, presumably created during the Big Bang, and all sense of being – consciousness – subsequently arises from it.

 

This realization has ontological implications for humanity: fundamentally we are individual expressions of a single entity, inextricably connected to one another, we are all drops of the same ocean.

 

With “factual” information like the nonduality information above circulating over the internet no wonder seekers are popping up everywhere lately as they “awaken to their true nature.”

“That there is only one substance and we are therefore all part of it.”  Tell me please how this works – how do you have parts and parcels of an essence that is timeless, edgeless, undivided, seamless, infinite?  Can you divide the sky and be a separate piece of the sky?

Nonduality is a philosophy of not-two, undivided, indescribable, immeasurable. But it certainly feels really good to hold hands and sing that we are all part of the same aware consciousness while ignoring the main tenets of nonduality: there is no personal self, is no personal consciousness, no personal awareness, no time, no location, no space.

The universe or reality may appear as awareness here, now, this moment, but there is no external reality. There is no separation into seven billion human units each with their own private thoughts, desires, and feelings.

There is only one…as in not two. And there is not even nothing beyond nor before this moment.

Moments cannot be strung together unless you are creating a fictional story or an irrelevant running commentary about what is appearing now. Even those claiming awakening are still believing in concepts of time and space, still believing in something, some essence, lasting beyond this perfect moment.

Be careful of most nonduality teachers until you completely vet them…some will use your innocence and take your money all the while feeling good and helpful since they honestly believe they really are enlightened.

Here is the gritty grit….it’s much too difficult, if not nearly impossible to awaken to absolute truth. The nonduality and new agey groups, seminars, programs and churches popping up now are teaching oneness, nonduality, and enlightenment but are sadly misinformed and/or they are misperceiving nonduality teachings and offering pleasant and upbeat pablum to folks to fill the offering plates and their wallets.

We long to uncover the natural, peaceful, and intimate timeless perfection as awareness since we have forgotten what we are…and it feels like a wound that will not heal.

And what better way to ensure the survival of the new-agey seminars, conferences, and churches than to tell you that you are part of the oneness, part of the whole, part of the infinite love and joy. Sounds so empowering and peaceful, right?

Certainly I am not suggesting all leaders of new agey programs are intentionally misleading the public…they may believe they are teaching nonduality.  A little bit of nondual language may seem impressive, and may soothe the hurt until you come upon a fully awakened nonduality teacher and begin seeing beyond the fabrications and the pretending. And yet, this too, is the perfection of the appearances.

So what’s the difference between human truth and absolute truth?  Let’s have a brief look below, while knowing this topic deserves a much deeper examination and self inquiry.

Truth projected from the relative brain/mind of a human is the sum of thoughts woven tightly from complex concepts, hypotheses, theorems, laws, norms, prevailing wisdom, consensus, facts, and conclusions accepted by all as collective truths. Like gravity, time, location, and chocolate 🙂

Absolute truth is a different critter… beyond the limits and dualistic nature of the relative human brain. So in order to awaken to what is, you must, must, must, understand how the brain/mind works, is programmed — to ensure you continue believing you are separate.  And that’s the focus and work of this website…to keep re-minding you.

  • Absolute truth is not relative and the brain is relative.
  • Absolute truth is not subject to language and phrases based on subject or object.
  • Absolute truth cannot be taught, shared, described…only pointed towards. If it is describable it’s not Absolute Truth.  Words like abyss and void come as close as any words I’m familiar with but even these words conjure beliefs and opinions of what a relative void or an abyss is, or could be.
  • Absolute truth is only uncovered by diligently peeling away the beliefs, concepts, opinions, convictions, and physical laws hiding the perfect silent brilliance.
  • Absolute truth cannot be earned, bestowed, transferred, diminished, expanded, refined, defined, or claimed and comprehended or understood with a brain/mind.
  • Absolute truth is not measured with time, location, distance or any other relative system of measurement since Absolute truth is all there is …and yet is ignored, overlooked, and dismissed by 99% of humans.
  • Awakening is not what you think. 😉  This is the reason self inquiry is the tool for exploring all the beliefs and concepts you worship and keep you appearing glued together as separate.

anita

Relationships

Nonduality at Juniper Level

Today’s essay is brought to you by the joys and heartaches of relationships.

I received a note this week from “I’m Outta Here” — a younger fella who is about to strangle his very chatty girlfriend and wonders how awakening impacts relationships. This is a good question as it sends us straight into inquiry to look at the nature of “other.”

Below is my reply to this young man in case this paradox is arising for you too.  ANDRemember we have Self-inquiry Saturday, June  10, 2017 at Juniper Level Botanic Garden from 2:00 – 3:30pm. Feel free to bring your camera and a bag lunch if you want to hang out before or after our gathering to spend some quiet time in the gardens…and you may want to bring some mosquito repellant 😉

Dear I’m Outta Here:

Bart (Marshall) told me when I awakened that the hardest part of awakening is relating to “other”  and he is so right.  Many relationships cannot weather the seismic shifts when one awakens.

I continually struggle with wanting to be alone and reclusive while knowing that Tony/other helps me see where I am constricted, judgmental, and selfing.

If I lived in a cave or totally removed from the flow, and I am laughing as I type these words cause I am the flow….there would be so much less texture, emotion, selfing. I am giddy with delight pondering a solitary life in a cave… yet I know selfing can sometimes be shaved clean by scraping against the grain and texture of other.

I feel your pain.  J and I have often discussed how cool it would be to have a “wise-woman-house” so we can go days without speaking or interacting with “other” with no need to explain the pull of silence or the lack of interest with interacting or in offering comments or preferences.

I’m here for you dear one. I know this is a hard topic and hindsight in relationships seems to be 20/20.  I was totally insane to marry again, yet the heart seems to have it’s way and leaves the rational brain in the dust.  Remember we are being lived.  There is no decider.

anita

Sounds

Nonduality at Juniper Level

I hear the nature communicate her  timeless wisdom on many levels, but this “hearing” is not the same hearing that most people label as hearing.

What I am pointing towards is a pure HEARING, a pure sensation just at it meets the ear canal and before it is processed by the brain and labeled and categorized as the sound of surf, and seagulls, and wind.

Consider there is an instantaneous pure hearing and then a second later there is the human hearing after the brain processes the hearing.

Perhaps you might play around with what you hear without placing labels or judgments on the sound vibrations inside your ear.

The singularity of creation becomes evident when the personal identity dissolves.

anita

 

Memory

Nonduality at Juniper Level

What is memory and what perpetuates this belief-trap?

Long ago and far away I lived in a state of mind that enjoyed and cherished pleasant memories and disliked or feared the icky and gut-wrenching memories…like the day I peed my pants in second grade…all the kids pointing to me, laughing about my lack of bladder control before dear Mrs. Southerland rushed to my rescue.

We are so deeply programmed by society and well-meaning loved-ones that we naturally struggle deeply with the “concept” of memory when inquiring into our cherished and rock-solid beliefs about the nature and mechanisms of time and relativity.

We discover that a “personal” memory can only operate with a belief in time and space… and a concurrent belief in a personal “me” or “I.”

In fact, the belief in a personal “me or I” also requires believing in the concepts of time and space. Are you seeing just how tricky the split mind is at convincing “you” that “you” are real, are separate, by creating and sustaining the concepts of time and space?

As the character Anita, it certainly appears I experienced a richly textured life with plenty of memories of all shades…bright, white, and grey…pleasant memories, painful memories, repressed memories, and traumatic ones.

We cannot imagine that what we know as a memory is simply an arising thought stream or image appearing here now as this aware presence or impersonal consciousness.

I surfed over to Wiki to look up memory…click here to read more at Wiki.

We so want to believe we exist in time and space, at a location, and a finite point on the map.  Memory helps reinforce this illusion. But don’t take my words for this…inquire for yourself. Is it possible for a memory to appear separate from an arising thought?

If you believe memory can exist without thought then how specifically does this occur?

Investigate – to your own satisfaction – that all thought streams and memories are not what is appearing here now…as aware presence or impersonal consciousness.

anita

Politics

Nonduality at Juniper Level

I received these current events questions below via email:

Anita, here are some questions for you regarding conscious responses to the current political unfoldment:

  1. How to Be the accepting of all as is while saying no to actions that create suffering?
  2. How to resist harmful actions by seeming others without inner resistance? 
  3. Having no idea that anything should be other than it is while outwardly speaking and acting to create change?
  4. Would you share anything that arises for you about this?

Replies:

  1. How to Be the accepting of all as is while saying no to actions that create suffering?
    True nature, what you already are, accepts all as it is and welcomes all. True nature does not suffer. Suffering only arises to an illusory “you” a split-mind, a relative/dualistic mind that maintains separation of  “what is” into subjects and objects to name, label, measure, and compare.  The illusory person wants change so finding the source of the illusory “you” will help unravel the beliefs in a world of separation with a “you” at the center.
  2. How to resist harmful actions by seeming others without inner resistance?
    What wants to resist? Find the source of resisting…is there a personal “you” offering incessant commentary, labels, and descriptions of what is?  If so, inquire and locate this “you.”  
    Resisting may appear but there is no one resisting…there has never been a person who resists. Resisting appears spontaneously and uncaused, but not to a separate “you.”   Resisting is the same perfection as not-resisting, and neither is prompted by or owned by a personal and separate “you.”
  3. Having no idea that anything should be other than it is while outwardly speaking and acting to create change?  Changing may appear but there is not a personal or separate “you” initiating change.  Again, changing is the same perfection as not-changing, and neither is prompted by or owned by a personal and separate “you.”  Changing and resisting arise spontaneously as the dreamscape, but not to a separate you, a separate person.

Would you (anita) share anything that arises for you about this?   Notice the thought stream that is not happy with what is appearing and wanting change.  This is key.   Be still and inquire to uncover and notice the source, the root of what wants to divide, name, claim, and label life into subjects and objects…me and you…yes or no…good or bad…right or wrong…here or there..now or later.  Notice the energy, the voice, the thoughts wanting life to be different than what is appearing.

Once you determine the source of what resists, what wants change, what does not fully accept what is…that is the work of self-inquiry….of uncovering the millions and billions of beliefs, concepts, stories that appear to create a separate self and cover the infinite and changeless stillness that never moves, was never born, will never die.

Self inquiry was pivotal in perceiving and uncovering the silliness of maintaining any beliefs and concepts that supported an identity as Anita, as a separate self.

Here, now, as aware presence embodying as the concept of Anita, the imaginary personal self died in 2011 and nothing remains to prefer or desire what is appearing to change. There is only infinite capacity to accept all that is appearing and what is appearing is seen as perfection reflections of the intelligent light of awareness. Personal suffering and fear fell away.

As an aside, I see the newly elected POTUS as sadly entertaining storyline…the candidate I voted for did not prevail. Regardless of who is elected as POTUS, or what is appearing as life, the character as Anita is watching the nightly news, reading newspapers, and living life…and it feels like sitting in a theater chair and watching a juicy movie.

Life appears as what is ….just streaming upon a giant screen. In this analogy, I am the movie, I am the movie screen, I am the characters, I am the movie projector, I am the theater, and I am the edgeless, infinite, indivisible empty space of presence that all appearances seem to be appearing upon.

I am, and you are, indescribable…infinite, edgeless, formless, vastness, and more like the glowing no-thing-ness that holds the vaporous appearances of the every-thing…. and I would not change a tiny particle of this perfection we call reality….it’s how as human dream characters we feel and experience self and other as duality.  What a miracle that anything at all appears…and yet we as characters want to change it…aren’t we silly?

The dreamscape is an imaginary stage where the concepts of self and other can play as characters in a relative/dualistic movie script to experience the textures and feelings of duality, of separateness. And yet, not even no-thing truly exists, there are only fleeting appearances, just like the appearances of dreams while you, as a dream body believe you are sleeping.  When you inquire into the concept of time, you will realize it does not exist.  Not kidding.

Please email anita@nondu.org if you have questions.

anita