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

Longing

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Most of us long to fix and improve ourselves and make an imaginary entity (a me) feel better, even more spiritual. Religions are famous for perpetuating this notion of being a separate and personal self in need of redemption.  We innocently turn to spirituality, religion, alcohol, drugs, sex, and money to fill the emptiness we feel as separate beings living separate lives, where nothing separate can possibly exist here as this edgeless, seamless, aware conscious presence we call life.

There is no inside or an outside to be found, no edge, no ability to segment or measure what has no beginning and no end. Only Mystery and wonderment that anything at all is appearing. The perception and the recognition are not separate…there is never awareness without perception or perception without awareness. Sit with that and you’ll understand this deeply.

We are programmed as small children through learned words and ideas shared with us, usually from our parents, of the nature of the world and what we are experiencing with our senses. There is a collective, unchallenged belief that we are separate beings so we create and perpetuate the beliefs in a subject and object reality where none actually exists, except as a belief. This is the mental process that we claim as personal and specific to a me.

What we really are is like a transparent lens through which life is aware of itself. There is nothing personal in reality….only impersonality projected on the screen of itself to experience itself as life.

Some of us, very few, come to know that the real problem is our belief in having and being a separate self. To see this common misperception is a huge revelation and game changer – for once seen, then we can drop all the tools and intentions to fix the imaginary separate self which has never existed…and just relax in the ease of being here now.

anita

 

Anxiety and Panic as a Teacher?

Emerald Isle, NC – 2009

Seems we all have stories of how best to deal with anxiety and fear arising in the body. Those of us held hostage by chronic panic and anxiety sensations usually have compassion for others experiencing this cocktail of chemicals and hormones racing through the body.

For years I was on a mission to learn and practice any tool that offered the promise of relief from panic and anxiety.  As soon as I learned of a new practice or exercise to dampen or reduce anxiety…well, you know what happened. Anyway, I learned and practiced meditation and stress reduction techniques in classes and on CDs, books, tapes, education programs and therapies between 1989 until 2010. Nothing worked and the anxiety only intensified leaving a weariness I cannot begin to describe.

It never dawned on me that panic and anxiety attacks could be a teacher to guide me towards what need to be healed. My dear friend Mary Mooney suggested that anxious energy is spiritual energy. What? No! Once I allowed this possibility, I immediately noticed another freakin panic attack arise to experience this idea more deeply. Nothing like the wisdom of the Mystery right in your face and body.

And like most folks, I believed spiritual energy was better, purer, and more rare that physical energy.  I guess all those years in Sunday School tipped the scales to create the belief that spiritual energy was indeed a higher vibration. And this belief later led to beliefs about categorizing energy into good and bad energy, low and high energy, dirty and clean energy, etc.

Once I really started digging into the basic physics of energy as an adult, I realized all matter and energy is simply tiny particles known as bosons, leptons and quarks. An elementary particle is a particle that is not made up of any smaller particles. Elementary particles are the building blocks of the universe and all other particles and matter in the universe are made up of elementary particles. Listen now to Michael Singer talk about energy.

Anxiety was the driver towards wanting to awaken, wanting to be free of suffering, wanting to have the release of ease and comfort in the body. I was a slave to preventing and resisting anxiety. I took classes and instruction for hatha yoga, meditation, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, stress reduction exercises and tools, classes for breathing techniques, nutrition for wholeness and healing, healing crystals, reiki sessions, chakra clearings, theta healing, matrix energetics, yin yoga, sacred circles, essential oils, cleansing diets, dreams interpretation, and more.

You know the saying that what you resist persists?  Well, I was still anxious and having panic attacks after all the classes and workshops but I had the tools and skills for watching the mental process in full tilt. Then I found self inquiry when nothing else worked and excavated all the beliefs that remained.

In hindsight, anxiety was my greatest teacher, even more influential than the mental Jesus I had created in my head. At my darkest hour, anxiety forced me to choose it or death and I chose death. And on this ordinary December night I chose death and then the story of anxiety and fear swallowed itself and was seen to be the mirage it really is.

Yes, the sensations of adrenaline still arise but now they are simply noticed as energy appearing in the body, nothing more…and they quickly pass through and out the body just like clouds passing upon the sky. I no longer resist these energies…they are just appearances of what is unfolding here now.

So if you are fighting against anxiety…know that it may be a blessing you have labeled as a curse.

Anxiety is really a miracle calling you to surrender to what is appearing…to let go and be vulnerable…to cry…to trust that what brought you to this moment knows more than your tiny brain will ever know, and will ultimately move you towards a deeper and unshakable peace if you simply surrender and lean in to what is appearing now.

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

 

Paradoxical Jesus

I identified as a Christian pilgrim since the 1960s when I was baptized in a Southern Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.  As an adult, I began attending the United Methodist Church since, in general, the UMC seems more inclusive to women and gays in the congregational leadership and ministry. But only after the miracle of awakening in 2011 did I fully comprehend the nondual message the historical Jesus the Christ was teaching and preaching for those who had ears to hear.

This discovery about the Jesus I thought I knew so well resulted in heavy ice cream consumption. Truth be told, I drifted from the Christian teachings in 1992 to study the nonduality teachings of Lao Tzu, the Buddha, and Wu Hsin. That I later discovered the teachings of Jesus to be based on a nondual philosophy prompted laughter and tears at how dumb this Anita character really is…and how divinely brilliant, radical, and patient the historical Jesus is portrayed in the scriptures.

Jesus has no need to pander to us with these controversial and mind-twisting paradoxes and teachings. So why does Jesus point towards Truth using parables and paradox, or believe we need to hear these nondual messages and teachings of an upside down perspective of life?  A camel through the eye of a needle?  Give to get?  Die to live?

These paradoxical stories are used to jolt the relative mind into cramping and pausing, if only for a moment. Jesus perceives and lives from a spaceless space beyond the relative mind and understands the root of all suffering. Jesus compassionately and freely offers the remedy to any who have ears to hear this unusual message. If Jesus used the traditional religious words of the culture, the power and divinity of His presence and personality may have entranced some into believing His message without fully understanding the scope of what was being offered…a new and radical path of perceiving life.

The parables and paradoxes attributed to Jesus, these lessons in non-duality, serve a useful purpose. How do you explain an out of the ordinary experience to someone who has not had it? How do you explain the beauty of a rainbow to someone who has never seen one, or describe the busy activity of honeybees?  The parables and paradoxes offer simple mental pictures to point towards Truth. The New Bible Dictionary uses these words:

The parables are the appropriate form of communication for bringing to men the message of the kingdom, since their function is to jolt them into seeing things in a new way. They are a means of enlightenment and persuasion, intended to bring the hearers to the point of decision. Jesus, as it were, stands where his hearers stand, and uses imagery familiar to them to bring new and unfamiliar insights to them. (Marshall, p. 867)

 

And to jog your memory, below are a few of the paradoxical teachings of Jesus the Christ.  I’ll write more about these nonduality teachings and how they impacted the Anita character in an upcoming series of posts. I’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions of the nondual teachings of Jesus if you’re willing to comment or you may send me an email.

  • Give and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38)
  • The last will be made first (Matthew 19:30)
  • We are in the word but not of the world (John 17:14-16)
  • Humble yourself to be honored (James 4:10)
  • To live you must die (1 Cor 15:36-38)
  • Surrender your life to save it (Matthew 10:39, Galatians 2:20)
  • When you are weak, you are strong (2 Cor 12:10)
  • Difficulties are a reason for joy! (James 1:2)
  • Freedom is found through slavery (Romans 6:18)
  • We gain everything through losing everything (Phil 3:7-8)
  • True leadership is found in serving (Matthew 20:26-28)

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