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

Original Thinking

Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

The teachings on this website appear to be at odds with the prevailing beliefs of society, humanity, and reality. We seem to blindly take what parents, educators, religious leaders, and scholars tell us to be facts and truths. Most of us are caught in a vicious cycle of brain/mind numbing programming and daydreaming that serves to keep our perceptions personal, confused, compliant, and caged.

The vast majority of humans are unfamiliar with raw and unprocessed thoughts.  Most, believing thoughts are personal, twist these vaporous thought-clouds into stories and beliefs with a natural ease since we are taught by well meaning folks to name, label, and claim thoughts as personal. Nearly all absorb the teachings and beliefs of parents, teachers, and authority figures who themselves have simply passed along these concepts without much direct or critical analysis.

Thankfully, a few have dared to think outside the boundaries of traditional human programming to glimpse the edgeless aware presence upon which thoughts appear. These wild and weird ones are seekers with a budding seed for glimpsing absolute truth and they question what the majority deem as factual, concrete, valid, and true.

Noticing the power of habitual thinking may be shocking at first, and it is, and yet a sense of curiosity arises to investigate and explore what is actually appearing here now. Noticing when we are lost in thought, daydreaming, or zoned-out will help us see how deeply we are living in our tiny little worlds and overlooking the deep inner peace that is always available by simply accepting what is and questioning the questioner.

Once we begin to see that the brain labels what is appearing with only references to the imaginary past, we’ll likely feel energized to explore how we’ve missed the sweetness and peace of allowing what is appearing because we are lost in our head and the belief in a past.

Give it a try…simply notice the tricky little brain/mind as it’s playing its clever tricks and seduction to keep us believing we are separate and contained within the boundary of flesh and skin.

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

 

What is God?

Many pilgrims explore the validity and meaning of God or Absolute when investigating spiritual life, existence, and the afterlife. It seems there is nothing scarier than to ponder an endless oblivion at the end of living, or while living, for that matter. 

As humans, feeling there is something more after death, and believing in an enduring personal soul or spirit in an afterlife seems to draw and sustain many to a higher power or God.  

applied a Christian framework onto God for more than 40 years. God seemed like a devoted loving parent, promising an afterlife in Heaven, if all the dogma and doctrines were practiced and obeyed.

A belief in existing as a personal soul that would unite with God upon physical death and spend eternity with God in an afterlife was at the core of these personal beliefs.

Upon reflection and inquiry, this concept of God implied God was changeable, flexible, and able to exist in a relative relationship  –  God and other – creator and created – bound together in a relationship (relativity) enduring through time and space.

The belief implied that God was divisible, not already everywhere and everything, and that some things were created in the image of God and somethings were not. This belief implied that God was not timeless and ever-present since God was not with those folks or things labeled as evil or assumed to be living in hell, whatever hell is, or those not believing in God.

Is there a clear line of who is accepted by God and who is not worthy of God…does it depend on a particular set of beliefs and an allegiance or commitment to these beliefs? All beliefs and dogma are concepts.  I even taught this dogma to children and adults in Sunday School classes for decades in the Baptist and Methodist Church.

My powerful urge for teaching about the love and divinity of God and for dwelling with God heaven fell away here during a long dark night of the soul, and later in 2011, in a shocking shift of perception and identity.

Now reality is perceived as impersonal awareness which appears spontaneously and uncaused as appearances arising upon relativity (subject and object). You and me. Up and down. Here and there. Now and later. Here and there. Good and bad. Birth and death.  Past and future. In relativity, all things may appear true and factual until they are not, meaning relativity is changeable and dynamic, illusory appearances only.

For instance, humans once believed the world was flat, but no longer.  Humans believed man could not fly, until in seven short seconds, Orville and Wilbur instantly changed that beliefs. And mankind would never walk on the moon, until Neil Armstrong did. And we’ll never make it to Mars…or Pluto. 

Science is now moving towards the paradoxical world of quantum physics, yet another concept…moving awareness beyond relativity and into empty particles, dark matter, and entanglement. This is the fascinating world of exploring the nature of invisible particles and matter just by changing what or how a particle is being observed.

But no matter how deeply we investigate what is appearing, what is will remain as a concept, an idea, an opinion or a collective belief, because it is appearing in an illusory relative world — the world where the brain/mind creates all concepts and beliefs…including the concept of Absolute and the study of potentiality, waves, and particles in quantum physics. 

I spent decades meditating (and still do) to reconcile the scientific facts with spiritual beliefs. I was deeply spiritual all my life and who was I if I was no longer spiritual in the way I was accustomed?  And who was this “I” in relation to what science calls dark energy, which comprises 95% of the cosmos?

And for a while, the mystical teaching of Christianity and the scientific information of quantum physics agreed with my relative and logical brain.  St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross wrote at length about the illusory nature of the separate or personal self. Their teachings lined up with the ancient teachings of Lao Tsu, the Buddha, Jesus the Christ, and Wu Hsin, all describing an unchanging, indivisible, omnipresent, and timeless God. An Absolute God resonated for years in the heart, down into the bones and marrow, until it didn’t…the shift in 2011 blew away all concepts…including the concept of God.

Yes, it makes logical and scientific sense to see and imagine God as Absolute and not relative.  It feels good to an imaginary personal self as it offers a belief, a hope, a concept that perpetuates and lasts beyond the relative realm…survives the concept of death and enjoys an afterlife.

This is a hard realization to comprehend by a relative brain/mind.

In short, all perceptions are illusory appearances of impersonal awareness perceiving itself. No separate self can awaken or be enlightened. At best, an illusory character can realize itself as an illusory character in a dreamy illusion of impersonal awareness and laugh out loud at the possibility of escaping or enduring beyond the moment.

The duality, the relative world, is the only platform, or place, if you will, where impersonal awareness knows itself as conceptual, as itself and as other, by spontaneously appearing as itself as separate, here now, in the timeless now.  

Such mystery!  And if you wanna call impersonal aware presence “God,” , then feel free…but most folks will picture a dualistic God created of their beliefs when you speak the word “God” as most humans crave an enduring existence beyond this moment and beyond death of the body.

anita

Sages?

Years ago, the words and concepts of Nisargadatta Maharaj and Ramana Marharshi pointed this pretend pilgrim towards the illusory nature of self and reality. The conceptual framework of notions about who or what we are is often held in place by what others, especially teachers, sages, and spiritual authority figures…like Nisargadatta and Ramana, tell us about ourselves.

Humans are a collection of tightly held beliefs and concepts misperceived to be real and tangible. We are and always have been illusory and imaginary characters playing in an illusory dream of separation projected as impersonal consciousness. And it seems as though we must also question Nisargadatta and Ramana’s words, which are simply concepts too…projections appearing as impersonal consciousness dreaming a dream of itself.

So how do illusory characters notice and discern the nature of the personal self?  Realizing the illusory nature of a personal self cannot be accomplished by a separate or personal self.  If an illusory character realizes the illusory nature of itself and the dream, no one will know or see anything as humans are illusory.

If realization spontaneously appears,uncaused, there seems to be a knowing of impersonal consciousness turning and noticing itself playing a game…living as separate imaginary characters, living a dream of separation, as itself as impersonal awareness in a dream of itself.

Once the separate self and the world are seen to be illusory tightly-held beliefs and concepts, living simply appears…uncaused, spontaneously, flowing appearances and projections of awareness as choiceless characters, appearing human, reflecting an illusory and unspeakable silence and stillness which cannot be comprehended, dreaming a dream as itself.

anita