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

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

Perceiving What Is

I’m often asked how it feels to perceive what is…how it feels to perceive no boundaries, no separation, no specific characteristics.  Well, it feels just like living…like life unfolding…but without a separate and solid “me” freaking out, spacing out, or bitching all the time…or even a me to soak up bliss and serenity.

Understand that freaking out, spacing out, and bitching still continue as appearances of aware presence but there is no separate Anita identity running a constant commentary overlay over aware presence while bitching and freaking out are appearing. If you take this a step further to self inquiry, you will soon see that angry, depression, and freaking out are simply labels applied by the brain/mind as a veil over the perfection of aware presence.

If you believe you are an angry person before awakening to realize what you are, anger and tantrums will still appear but you will know deeply these appearances are simply aware presence aware of itself as angry, petulant, or depressed as the personal identity will be seen as only a belief and not a truth.

What is…is invisible to the human perceiving mechanism (aware presence), yet pervceiving is all we have.

All I can offer is self inquiry techniques, love and hugs, and point towards what is.  This, what is…cannot be described, only noticed as a primal longing, a silent whisper, energy echoes radiating from a vulnerable and surrendered heart.

The only helpful way I’ve found to approach describing what is is to describe what it is not – since what is is like the edgeless, silent stillness between breaths, thoughts, feelings, smells, tastes, touches, sounds, words, and heartbeats.  

We seem to inhabit an imaginary external reality, each of our own making…reflecting our core beliefs, fears, concepts, and principles we hold so near and dear.  Indeed, we are as prisms.

The mechanism at play yearning for this description of what is is the brain/mind — the ultimate label-maker and dispenser of names, titles, and concepts. For most of us, it is nearly impossible to believe or imagine that what is appearing is a seamless subtle energy beyond the realm of relative concepts like time, distance, and space.

Most of us imagine that there is an inside and an outside to what is…to awareness, to bodies, to objects, but what is is not any of these concepts.

And here is the head-scratcher…what is appearing is not a thing yet it appears to encompass and include all things…and yet no things at all are appearing.  The relative world of subjects and objects falls through itself…shatters…and is seen to be illusory projections of the mind upon awakening to what is.

I’m reminded of David Beaver’s classes many years ago in A Course in Miracles when he discussed and demonstrated virtual reality, perceptual reality, and how the brain is so easily fooled! We’re so convinced that there is a you and a me and that both are real and tangible.  Soon, it will be hard to distinguish virtual reality games from what we believe to be reality.

We also want to believe we have a choice, that we make a difference and we have the ability to direct our lives, and steer our own ship.  This constant battle to assert “our” power is continually fueled from the beliefs and concepts embraced and circulated by the brain/mind and reinforced by society.

We are programmed by parents, teachers, religions, and society to believe we are able to improve, endure, and perfect our worlds and our lives…and yet time and space only exist as a running commentary of concepts, thoughts and beliefs in our brain/minds.  And we cannot accept, even for a moment, that we have never had an ounce of control or choice, and that we are figments of our own imagination.

And this inner friction or itch in the heart is so subtle that we seldom acknowledge or address it. It goes unnoticed, but is sensed as restlessness, discontent, depression, anxiety, panic, boredom, despair,  mania, and everyday unease, frustration, weariness, and malaise. Like the outline of a cloud with no beginning or ending, no top or bottom, we are simply the fleeting appearances of a vaporous suggestion of energy-charged-water…hydrogen and oxygen…and not even that.

There are no words that can describe the indescribable…there is only sighing, accepting, and surrendering, and pointing towards what is when our weary hearts prompt us to marvel at what we label as poetry, silence, song, and beauty appearing.

What I see as beauty, you may see as ugliness. What I see as poetry, you may see as poverty or crime.  What I see as perfection, you may see as war, death, or torture.  I no longer see with the lens of relativity, of good and bad, up and down.  I see all that is appearing, what simply is, as the perfect silent stillness beyond relativity.  You saw this too as a toddler…but you have forgotten.

anita

Caged

Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

We’re conditioned to perceive life/reality as unfolding inside or outside a person/body. This caged way of perceiving life is held by the vast majority of humans and is the root of all emotional and psychological suffering. It’s been said by many folks, many times…with our thoughts we create our world. This is how the brain/mind works…conceptualizing, rationalizing, and objectifying what is perceived…and this is how we are programmed and trapped in the mind’s naming, claiming, and labeling cage.

After the perceptual shift in 2011, I noticed the perception of reality was replaced with a simple timeless, indivisible, immeasurable, unmovable, impersonal lens. I saw clearly…our beliefs and thoughts create and inform what we perceive as reality or life.

Before awakening, I believed I was enclosed within a body as a separate and individual anita.  After the shift, I no longer perceived life as being contained and enclosed within the edges of a human fleshiness named anita. I appeared to extend as far as the eye could see…edgeless, undivided, unbounded, still, and vast.  There are no boundaries to the anita character anywhere…just fleeting appearances of edgeless, seamless, undivided, and timeless aware presence, a metaphorical canvas of no-thing-ness and not no-thing-ness…spontaneously appearing/not-appearing as uncaused and fleeting impersonal awareness.

Seekers ask what is “seen” when my eyes are closed…since I have to use words to communicate, it like this…appearances dissolve into a brilliant-yet-inky silent and aware endless void…the same aware, silent, and inky void present when consciousness ceases and the body appears to die. The felt experience of the anita character is of unbounded and overwhelming sorrowful gratitude that anything at all appears upon the silent stillness.

I know it sounds crazy and as a character would not have believed or conceived of this shift of perception fifteen years ago. These unspeakable shifts of perception and identity appear to arise spontaneously and to no one in particular…ignore words claiming otherwise!  There is no cause and effect in play here, life seems to appear here, now, spontaneously, edgeless, and uncaused.

I understand why the misunderstood and those perceiving differently (including artists, musicians, saints, and sages) are often ridiculed, reclusive, or sedated and locked in mental institutions. Society is generally fearful of what it does not understand or what is outside the leaky edges of normalcy…and the going consensus, whatever the majority agrees upon, is labeled normal.

Perhaps we might consider, even briefly, the nature of what is… a vibrant aliveness we call reality or life…perhaps even consider the scientific evidence suggesting humans are misperceiving themselves and the world. This is a sadly funny exercise for the few who question reality. Quantum physics attempts to describe and explain the unexplainable and unspeakable shift in perception in terms of probabilities and collapsing waves and particles. Words and descriptions move us away from the essence and into our thinking brain/minds so give attention to the intimate feelings of awareness — just don’t claim awareness as your awareness!

What you are…is…what you are…improvement is not possible or needed…as the “you” is simply impersonal awareness, always aware presence, appearing as a vast and edgeless field of fleeting potentialities.  Yes, most misperceive what is and believe what is to be distinct, measurable, and operating within time and space. I have seen the folly and felt the suffering of these tenacious and socially endorsed beliefs.

Our perceptions and sensory experiences are shaped by conditioning, the influences of society, science, religion, philosophy, and various tribal and ethnicity beliefs. There are many perceptual lenses and ways of seeing. For a simple example, just imagine seeing life with the fresh and clear eyes of a pre-verbal toddler…seeing life/reality as a little child sees it…undivided, spontaneous, outside of time, unmeasurable, and fleeting.

What’s looking through your eyes?

anita

 

Eliminating Thoughts and Feelings?

Recently in the news I’ve heard or read of several well-meaning teachers, gurus, therapists, and medical professionals suggesting we change, suppress, or eliminate negative thoughts and feelings — as if this were even possible.  This approach rests on the core beliefs of being a doer and being able to create change.

There are no doers doing the doing!  It’s not possible to remove, change, or substitute emotions or actions either…what is appearing…is…what is appearing.

Is it possible for what’s appearing to change as it’s seeming to appear? No — it is already appearing! Most humans want the imaginary now, future, or past to be different than what is unfolding…a guaranteed recipe for suffering!

I’ve come across many blogs and websites suggesting practices, methods, and treatments to “manage” or eliminate unwanted and uncomfortable thoughts and emotions and these practices and methods simply perpetuate our misperceiving:

  • that there is a separate person to whom these thoughts and feelings seem to occur, and there is not.
  • that separate thoughts and feelings occur, and they do not.
  • that there are some thoughts and feelings that are better or worse than others, and there are not….especially feelings of anger (as if anger is inappropriate or wrong)

Notice that any method, practice, or teaching, suggested by anyone, including those deeply revered – Buddha, Christ, Allah, or Krishna, etc… perpetuate the illusion of a separate person, a separate goal, an endpoint, a finish line, a desired place, or state, or feeling.  As Bart says, there is no use polishing the terd. 🙂

The biggest and shiniest goal, carrot, or achievement in the spiritual realm seems to be enlightenment, salvation, and realization — also fueling and perpetuating a consensus belief in a separate self identity that might eventually reach these imaginary prizes.

Nonduality, spirituality, and oneness preachers and gurus are incredibly popular and are a convenient way of avoiding and hiding from the flimsy and illusory nature of the separate self and reality.  These teachers and gurus offer a safe and secure comfort zone for those obsessed with reaching these goals. Interestingly,  I have seen many of these gurus are themselves believing in a lasting unicity or eternity of existence beyond the bodymind.

Anytime you hear or read of gurus and teachers referring to an essence, entity, awareness, or consciousness as anything lasting, solid, or fixed… such as a true self or an eternal self, or as an absolute awareness or consciousness…look out!

There is nothing lasting, remaining, transcending…and concepts and words are simply the objectifying brain/mind/ego attempting to perpetuate itself in an imaginary future, heaven, dimension, when not even nothing exists – just edgeless, infinite, impersonal awareness aware of itself.

In short, all perceptions are illusory appearances of impersonal awareness perceiving itself in an imaginary dream as itself.  No separate self or dream character can awaken or be enlightened outside of the illusion. At best, an illusory character might realize itself as an illusory character in a dreamy illusion of impersonal awareness and laugh at the possibility of escape or enduring beyond the apparent physical death of the dream character.

The duality, the relative world, is the only platform, or place, if you will, where aware presence or impersonal awareness can know itself, as itself and as other, by spontaneously appearing as it’s own dreamworld.  How brilliant and remarkable that appearances appear at all!

anita

 

Relative Brain – Part 2 of 4

The personal self that is seeking freedom or awakening is the hinderance or roadblock to uncovering what is appearing now.

The brain/mind creates and fashions the illusory self by objectifying what seems to be appearing. Many scientists are of the opinion that the mind is an invisible relational-process-regulator of the neural flow of information in the brain and body. Do you accept what brain scientists report about this mysterious beast?

Being a relative beast (subject and object), the dualistic nature of the mind is the source of the division of words and thoughts into names, labels, categories, distinctions, and definitions.

This relative quality of brain/mind is the very foundation for our belief in separation, the belief in a separate being as a “me.”

  • If all our thoughts and words in the brain/mind are based on a global belief in separation or duality, then we will always view the world as discreet objects being viewed by discreet subjects.
  • The brain/mind that seeks can never find what it is seeking – the seeking brain/mind cannot believe the aware presence it intimately feels…is the same aware presence, though impersonal, it is seeking.  
  • Most all people create an elaborate life story and personal archive of traits and identity and then search for a primal or original identity which is always present and overlooked!  
  • But the character cannot see that what is seeking is seeking itself, and cannot locate itself because it is too simple and too close to be the final answer.  
  • Beliefs and concepts of being a doer, a separate being, must fall away in order to live simultaneously as aware presence as the observer, the observing, and the observed.

The sense of a separate self must be seen as the illusion it is. The separate self is merely a projected illusion the brain/mind constructs to maintain the identity of being a separate entity.

There has never been a separate entity, so there is nothing to seek towards…only something to realize now or uncover now – the personal self has never been anything but an illusory belief created and held in place by an objectifying brain/mind.

Many have compared aware presence to a movie script displaying scenes passing across a silver screen.  Both brain/mind and movie are projections.  The brain/mind is projecting a dualistic version of reality where none exists since the brain cannot ever contemplate infinite, edgeless, timeless awareness.

With the advancements in functional magnetic resonance imaging we now safely and non-invasively measure and map activity in the brain to gain a wider understanding of the relationship between the brain and the mind. But with all the science and technology at our fingertips, scientists still do not know how to engineer the flow of information into being-ness, but aware presence is not a flow as a flow would require a belief in time to sustain it. 

Here is the easy way to understand all this scientific stuff…simply observe small children and babies when they play as they demonstrate the ease and joy of accepting and noticing what simply is.

Every word, thought, or object the brain/mind describes, references, or points towards is simply the impersonal, uncaused, spontaneously arising, indivisible, seamless, emptiness of aware presence appearing as forms and formlessness in it’s own illusory dream of nothingness, and yet, not there is not even nothing.

Just ask the toddlers and little kids about time and gravity and they will simply look at you and hand you a toy and want to play.

anita

Richard Rose

Richard Rose was my nonduality teacher’s teacher. Bart Marshall pointed me to towards the gateless gate and Richard Rose was Bart’s teacher. You will find Richard’s timeless words below quite clear and penetrating:

 

The path to Truth, or Reality, or Essence is very simple:

 

It requires a Selfish man, an individualist not afraid of the annihilation of individualism, a fearless man not afraid of powers within him that are much greater than himself, and a man of suicidal relentlessness once his commitment is given.

 

All that is necessary to find the Truth is an unconditional commitment, -not putting a time upon the commitment nor a greater value on any other desires or fears. If a person sincerely makes a commitment he automatically becomes a vector in a sure direction. 

 

But if we wish to see the commitment become an Absolute result in this lifetime, we must be conscious of our limited time, and of ways and means to expedite the realization. All energies must give priority to the vector. Every hour must be used in a way to expedite the success. 

 

So that as soon as the general commitment is made, we should immediately commit our energies which are generally used for anger or pleasure so that transmutation will bring Intuition. 

 

The voice of Intuition will be our most valuable teacher. It will furnish all future planning for the campaign. But do not rest. Make violent efforts but do not disturb the sleepers.”

 

 

— From The Direct Mind Experience by Richard Rose

anita

 

  • Breadcrumbs on the path...

    Silence is not the absence of thought. Silence is the absence of a personal self taking ownership of thought and thinking.