Infinite Edgeless Vastness

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

there is a source
a true self,
a soul,
she said

and
she
fell
through
knowing

embracing
mystery…

appearing to be
and appearing not to be

songbirds and stars  
shouting this mystery

selves searching to find
what is

closer than close,
beyond time,
and
timelessness 

i have a
separate awareness, 
she claimed  

as claiming laughingly
continues
impersonally

and it seems
i am here
a figment of 
imagination

dusting as infinity
dissolving as
mist and fog
while
appearing as what is
and is not

wholeness appearing
as separateness

unknowable
infinite
edgeless
timeless
vastness…

a great mystery

this, she-who-does-not-know, 
is and is not 
every thing
and
no thing 
playing as cosmic light

no thing and every thing
as a danceless dance
laughing and singing, 
crying and clinging,
as what is
eternally momentary
infinitely edgeless
unknowable
cosmic
joke

life appearing as living itself
as appearances
as what is

arising, dissolving,
a grand twinkling glimpse,
a fleeting appearance

nothingness
playing as
appearances of
everythingness and
nothingness
and everything
playing as 
appearances of
nothing.

anita

 

 

 

Falling Through Fear and Surrendering

Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

Once upon a time, I had major control issues.  Well really, for most of my life.  Let’s take, for example, 1991, which was a fertile year for panic attacks, anxiety, and agoraphobia with a near meltdown. Around that time, a friend and I watched the movie Silence of the Lambs which of course, triggered all my repressed control issues with my father, so between daily life, and all the crap showing up in my head, I was a mess…yet still high functioning at work, which seemed odd at the time.

During the 1990s just the thought of surrendering, losing control, and being vulnerable was so disturbing to me that I knew I needed to see a psychologist and dig around in my head for a few years about why this movie, along with single parenting and broken relationships, shook my control issues to the core.  Perhaps now I can say I am well acquainted with all forms of anxiety, especially agoraphobia and panic attacks.

If you’ve been reading these nonduality posts for a while you know I’ve written at length about our human attempts to better our selves, enhance what we are, and make our selves more spiritual, more humble, less angry, more devoted, and generally polish our selves into a bright shiny probability that awakening will seize us. We seem to get so carried away on the spiritual quest with releasing all our identities, stories, and beliefs, well I did, that we fail to understand we cannot erase the viewer, the point of where we are seeing from, the senses, the eyes, and the impersonal me that seems to be seeing and sensing. Besides, what is is the perfection appearing each moment within and through our sensory perceptions, our dear body.  Yet we name, claim, and label these intense and unsettling perceptions and body feelings as fearful, awful, and unthinkable.  Again, I did this habitually until I finally saw clearly what was happening in the body and how our beliefs shape our biology.

In 1991, I had no idea the tendencies towards panic, anxiety, agoraphobia, and OCD were natural energetic and biochemical expressions of a body hijacked by a brain to see a screenplay of fear.  I had labeled these body sensations as terrible and awful because I was living in the land of thoughts and not noticing and allowing the body to naturally dissipate these chemicals (as the body quickly does) if we don’t create or resurrect a story about what we are feeling and what is seeming to appear.

Fog at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

And here was the shocker for me…I could not fathom the biology and body chemistry of anxiety and panic would remain wired within this body after realizing that there is no lasting personal self.  Erasing anxiety, panic, and agoraphobia were the reasons I crawled down the path to awakening…so all my suffering would go away and never return.  I perceive differently now and see all thoughts, feelings, and appearances as momentary expressions of impersonal awareness though it still feels like there is a me here, now, at the center of this aliveness though now “the me” feels impersonal.

When we can gently, thoroughly, and curiously notice and practice seeing what is appearing without adding the old habitual storyline about of how this affects a lasting and solid me, suffering begins to drop away, and we begin to see all appearances as this fleeting Mystery, this Paradox, seeming playing as a dream of itself.  And though I know I am not lasting as the woman in the body, it sure feels like there is a continuity of perceiving from this momentary vantage point. Is truth stranger than fiction?  Are truth and fiction the same momentary play of light, vaporous water, and magnetism? 

Truly, we as selves, as momentary and fleeting vapors of appearance cannot gain, claim, or achieve any spiritual state of mind, if that is what we are seeking.  Again, we don’t exist the way we believe we do and all we can do is seemingly surrender, let go, (our characters have no ability to initiate or make changes) and question all the mental junk blocking our perceptions of this that we are this very moment.  Suffering is simply appearing…to no one in particular…and yet we claim it as our suffering since it feels located close to or within the body.  We believe the body is our personal territory and self-contained.  Nope.  There are no edges. Close your eyes and tell me where you believe the body ends.  See, no edges. You will only find edges if you use thinking about the past. Even the present is now the past since it dissolves so very quickly…poof it’s gone!

And believing we can direct this pathless path of inquiry and discovery is also a trap as it perpetuates that we have free will and free wont to make these “decisions.”

If you are inquiring or meditating there is no you who initiates this. 

The silly ego claims beingness as personal and wants very much for you to listen to the steam of commentary and reason to perpetuate its illusory existence.  As long as you listen and believe that the voices in your head are personal and important to your wellbeing these voices will continue to impress and frighten you.  Once you see all the inner voices and perspectives are not personal to a specific you, tension fades.  Stress begins to abate and the body seems to let go and relax.  Isn’t relaxation and ease what you are after? 

Deep peace within the body will continue to be fleeting until you see the inner voices as the momentary expressions of this edgeless perfection, this dreamy fleeting illusion, playing in its dream of itself as itself. Nothing is lasting.  There is not one shred of personal energy involved in this play of vibrations, electrical energy, and biochemical body responses.  Panic just appears and disappears as quickly as it arrives.  Two good books I recommend to learn about the biology of the brain are Dr. Bruce Lipton’s – The Biology of Belief, and Dr. Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion.  

I am sure I am not in control of this body. I can only verify that the body seems to be appearing here and now, and there is no belief in a sequential time concept anymore.  I am not now, and never have been, driving this human body bus.  How and why any thing at all seems to be appearing is a Mystery.

Life twinkles in and out as appearances and our brains make these energy bits into a solid and sequential story of a me where none exists. 

Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

We suffer because we believe we are linear across a horizontal timeline of past present and future. All I can report is that what is appearing this moment seems more a vertical twinkling of fleeting appearance, ever fresh, ever spontaneous, ever momentary, and incredibly mysterious. It surely blew up the horizontal time line of life.  Best we can do, from my perspective, is to be very quiet, still, and notice what is seeming to appear with openness, innocence, and without any beliefs and preconceived knowings.  

Notice now what is only a momentary fleeting appearance…as an edgeless mystery…from the only perspective you and I ever have, as a me, here, now, an impersonal me, as this fleeting impermanent body. 

When all assumptions and beliefs and concepts fall way, including the belief of being a personal identity with a linear storyline living in time and space, what is appearing is known as simply a Mystery with no solid ground upon which to linger.  And this lack of time, stability, and structures makes most of us bat-shit crazy realizing we must fall into infinite not-knowing while welcoming what is showing up in front of us as fleeting appearances.  

anita

 

 

Charactering

F Minus Cartoon – News and Observer 6/22/18

I opened our local newspaper this morning and saw this nondual comic while looking to see if my name is listed in the obituaries as Carl Reiner suggests. Apparently I am still here.   

I took myself quite seriously until the early 1990s when I began looking more deeply into the Eastern religions and philosophies. Something akin to Grace swept me towards A Course in Miracles and the teachings of Buddhism in the early 1990s when I saw that I was under the spell of a deeply rooted belief of appearing as a me, a personal self.  I learned through ACIM and the Buddhist studies and meditations that I was being lived as this fleeting appearance of life. 

And yet it certainly feels like we have a center, yes?  On the one hand, it appears this moment I have a centerpoint…yet this moment falls away, so on the other hand, I do not.  I certainly thought I was separate until one day in 1990 I noticed I as Anita was a well-developed concept and set of beliefs.  This beginning of an intellectual seeing was absorbed by studing and practicing the teachings of Gautama Buddha while attended the Kadampa Center in Raleigh.

A realization that we are not separate and lasting is not easy to uncover with all we have been taught and learned about ourselves.  We feel the aliveness streaming through our body and infer there is a center to this sensating  streaming, that there is a me, a thinker, a doer, who is experiencing the streaming aliveness in time and space, right? 

And I know I’m in a minority since most believe there is a personal consciousness with private thoughts experiencing the world.  There is not.  You can begin noticing what is breathing you…walking you, sleeping you, and filling the brain and mind with a steady stream of thoughts and bodily feelings as you claim this river of thoughts as yours and personal to a you.  

And since we can feel this aliveness and these sensations of sight, sounds, touch, tastes, smells, thoughts, emotions, and feelings, we are certain the indivisible symphony of perception has a separate me and you to experience it…but there is no separate perceiver: what seems to be appearing, if anything could appear at all, is impersonal consciousness, aware presence, awaring itself. I love this word “awaring.”  I use it more since I’ve read the writings of Alfred Sorrenson, now known simply as Sunyata. This word “awaring” points more clearly and naturally to the true essence of “awareness” than does the word awareness, in my opinion 🙂

This wondrous and impersonal aliveness, this awaring, fills you, is you, dissolves you, leaving you feeling breathless, and yet, feeling just as ordinary as the oatmeal in your breakfast bowl. And you feel this aliveness but you cannot capture it and squeeze it into a personal body…nor step outside of it…it’s undivided, limitless, and has no edges, like the illusory nature of the sky.  

And for those I’ve spoken with that have become the final answer, most report this awaring is nearly unbearable at first…this realizing you are it, that it is you, and all there is is impersonal consciousness/ awareness awaring and dreaming a relative dream, and not even that.  

This realization can feel like the dry death of all you know and love until the heart finally and completely opens to infinity with unending compassion flowing across all you see as God in action. And I am, and you are, That.

You appearing as a character may be rendered immobile by this seeing, or not. You many perceive and feel this seeing and awaring in the body as a naturalness like walking in the rain or watching a sunset, or not.  And perhaps the acute awe and shock of it all seeps in slowly, or not, and wipes the metaphorical mental slate as clean as a whistle. And sometimes the slate of mental debris appears to continue falling away.  Some pilgrims and teachers feel the deeply rooted mental debris continues to rise up to the light and shed as long as the character seems to appear.  The more I know the less I know.  

Yes, most everyone you know and love may believe you are nuts at first for going against the grain of what we are taught.  If you are lucky enough to be in a tribe of pilgrims searching the depths of the heart and mind – you are blessed.  I cannot imagine not having someone to talk with while walking this pathless path away from untruth.  This compassion is the motivation for writing these posts for you.

On the path, I seem to have left a wake of family and friends who did not understand my need and yearning for questioning everything, for  different paths of spirituality and philosophy, and my perpetual silence, aloofness, and seclusion.  And yet I felt, and still feel, deeply compassionate for all beings and all suffering, my character included, arising as appearances of a dream of what is.  And yes, even the emptiness is empty as Buddhists say. 

If you relate to this post, consider commenting below as I know others readers value your comments.  Sharing your words and perceptions may be just the perfect pointer or question readers of this blog want to read.  And of course, you cannot mess up, make a mistake, or make a wrong turn.  All is well and is as it is my friend.  

anita

 

http://www.nondu.org/understanding-nonduality/

http://www.nondu.org/philosophy-of-nonduality/

http://www.nondu.org/nonduality-self-inquiry/

Removing Ourselves from Ourselves

Lake Gaston – Island Goats – 2010

Consensus Reality

Have you ever pondered the beliefs we cherish about the world we perceive? For instance, do you believe in an external, concrete world that’s tangible, independent, and outside of you? Most of us do, I did, until someone asked me if I ever considered all the beliefs I had accumulated about life, about reality, about the world. It was a head-scratching moment for me.

We are taught to believe a consensus reality of the world with us/me located at the center of what our senses are comprehending.  This is how we are wired to survive. Maybe one percent of us are eventually able to see beyond the relative world to see aware presence, aware of itself as aware presence, as the character or doer, and as Absolute dreaming its own dream as Itself.

When there is a consensus of beliefs this sets up an alternate reality which is innocently shared, and communicated. The world is flat. There is a past and a future. Humans will never fly, or go into space, or land on the Moon. Most of us at one time believed there was one consistent and enduring reality referred to as the world and the universe. We now know this is not so, but I definitely would not have believed this in 2010 even though I had studied the nondual teachings and A Course in Miracles since 1989.

Our human brains are wired to label and compare this to that for our very survival — to measure, judge, and separate reality into inner and outer realms based on a belief in an objective and relative world of subjects and objects. I was surprised to realize the volume of beliefs I held to be truths without ever investigating them for myself. I was living from a consensus belief of the world, and when I realized this I felt stupid. Why had no one ever mentioned we were living in an illusory consensus reality? I wondered if others had been seized by this realization, and if so, where were these kindred folks? I found them at a local Inquiry Group quietly peeling the onions of beliefs and concepts. (This is perhaps one of the greatest blessings in my life, finding my tribe).

Trusting in a consensus set of beliefs, we “miss the mark” of perceiving what simply is because we ignore nature’s laws which are governed by quantum principles and not by mere human beliefs. Did you know the definition of sin is “missing the mark” and this language, as I understand it, is used widely in the sport of archery.

Pivoting

But honestly, how are we to remove ourselves from ourselves while perceiving the world?  We cannot remove ourselves as long as there is a body but it appears we can surrender to being confused, being in pain, suffering, being clueless about what we really need. It is at that tender moment that God/Grace seems to open an interior door allowing us to see we are traveling in the wrong direction and comprehend just how programmed we really are. It’s frightening to realize we are living as robots and readily swallowing a conceptual consensus overlay (culture, science, education, religion, history, philosophy, etc…) added over and covering what is simply original, fresh, pure, and fleeting…as this moment.

How humbling it is to see we are seeking truth in exactly the wrong direction. What is the direction? Close your eyes and pivot, and you have it  — it’s this breath…here…now. The direction of the pathless path is never deeper into the brain/mind. The direction is in the opposite direction, it’s out of the brain and towards the heart…from claiming, naming, and labeling to letting go, surrendering, and being here now without the mental commentary about the now…just innocence, freshness, newness, without needing or knowing a single label, name, or description about what is appearing as this moment.

That’s perfect peace…living here, now, open, completely vulnerable, simply not knowing, and knowing that no amount of knowing will ever explain the unexplainable. Yet we still try to communicate what is beyond words and understanding through music, art, dance, writing, and pointing towards nature.

Brain/Mind Internal Storage – Separate Me and My World

When we pivot, we begin to see the brain cannot record and store this present moment, this now. The brain is only capable of storing and recording a story about the now-that-just-zipped-by in awareness.  In other words, the brain only stores the past, a memory, a story about the moment. The brain can never record this moment since this moment is too fleeting. This moment appears and disappears so quickly that any perception of it or description of it is always in the past. Mostly, we are living the stories of the brain’s memory banks that we tell ourselves about this moment or about me. Rarely are we awake to what is here, now, fresh, original, as this.

I urge you to examine your beliefs, and then examine your examining, and then examine you. This work of dissolving our identities as personal selves is not for the average human as most of us are too comfortable being our illusory selves. I’ve seldom met an original thinker as most of us just swallow what we are taught and graze on the fodder of well-meaning parents, teachers, preachers and the tribal and ancestral customs. I notice there are very few with a profound and burning desire to peel the layers of falsehoods, to deeply look within and explore the dark shadows of beliefs and grasp how we create separation and reality with these beliefs, and finally awaken as original, edgeless, absolute infinite identity.

Subtraction – Backing Away from Untruth

I found out directly that we cannot move towards Truth/God/Absolute/Divine (we already are that) but it seems we can back away from, subtract, and dissolve all the beliefs and concepts that are not Truth thus making an easier go of seeing Truth in all its radiant glory. This process of backing away from untruth is really the basis of the teachings the great sages (Jesus, the Buddha, St. Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart) have been pointing towards.  Sadly, most of us do not have ears to hear nor eyes to see these paradoxical truths, nor are we willing to surrender deeply enough to realize the Truth already burning brightly within and without, here, now, as this fleeting perfect moment. 

Dark Night of the Soul

So few are willing to spend time and energy in solitude examining the layers of the little self to see all the layers building up the walls of separation and personal identity. I’ve read a few stories where awakening is spontaneous… Ramana Maharshi quickly comes to mind and there are a few others but most authentic awakenings seem to arise after years, even decades, of solitary introspection, inquiry, and painful dark nights of the soul. There is much peeling away and dissolving into thinner and thinner versions of self. And yes, the peeling and thinning continues. This was/is the case for me and most of the dear ones I know awakening within the dream as the dream.

Know this: you cannot mess up, you cannot get it wrong, you have never made a mistake, you are perfect just as you are, even if you do not believe it. There is only this here now.

Before I close, I encourage you share your comments and questions below…I’d love to hear from you about this post and also read your suggestions for topics or specifics for new essays.

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

 

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

 

Glimpsing Perfection

Juniper Level Botanic Garden

I kiss the lips of oblivion and my name is abyss.
So deeply washed as this mystery I cannot comprehend
or explain how
I’ve awakened as an endless swoosh of the cosmos through my heart.

The ideas and beliefs conjured as imaginary Anita seem so selfish and small now as seamless emptiness
breathes the body and dances the music of radiant pulsing energies
complete with impersonal thoughts and images for seeing what is here now.

No where and no one to be and no thing to be or do as this imaginary symphony
of lights and sounds and yet
just for this precious moment,
an intimate view of limitless infinity… and then it’s gone…beyond gone
as flow-less flow, as perfection, a whisper of blissful not knowing, not being,
and yet being and knowing this is all there ever is,
or could be, as this appearance dissolves
as the vastness of oblivion.

Beginning and ending finally unite and ignite a flicker as this moment.
A thorn of loving loss as they spark union and disappear as the edgeless edge.
Such sweet sorrow and joy for the momentary gift of unicity when all distinctions are seen
as false and the fullness of aware emptiness is all there is.

Oh sweet sailor of the vastness…lover of tides, winds, and deep oceans…
let go and surrender your heart and head in personal destruction to the ravages of the deep
and death, to the thin shadows of bravery peering towards dawn
offering herself fully to the sun.

Let go and breathe the last breath of surrender while falling deeply and
swiftly as silent emptiness where fear and suffering await your personal death.
Be still and offer your personal treasures to the dark.
Laugh at your insanity of believing, naming, and charting a personal you apart from infinity.

And as you seek to find what you never lost,
and then see what you have always been,
just let go into death and give thanks for the infinite swirling
edgeless possibilities of appearing
as an instantaneous imaginary being…
beholding the amazing grace of raw wonder
and loss for this tiny glimpse of perfection.

anita

 

Easy Breezy Waking Up

Juniper Level Botanic Garden – Southwest Patio Garden

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 thousands 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 web 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 appearances as appearing as 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 seem to 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 seems unknowable from a relative perspective.

Truth projected from the relative brain/mind of a human appears to be 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 you already are – and always have been – it may be helpful to understand how the brain/mind is programmed – – to ensure you continue believing you are separate.  

  • Absolute Truth is not relative and the human brain is  relative.
  • Absolute truth is not describable with languages based on subjects or objects.
  • 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, is not, or could be and not be.
  • Absolute truth is.
  • 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. 😉 

anita

Changes

Today you’ve landed on the updated nonduality website which is nearly complete. I’ve transferred most of the prior nonduality essays to this new site and I’ll be sharing nonduality teachings at this new web address: www.nondu.org.

I wrote you two weeks ago of these web changes, but in case you didn’t read the post here’s a recap:

Website changes are coming…

I’ve decided it’s time to migrate the current mindfulness pages and posts to a static informational website and focus on nonduality writings going forward. Perhaps turning 60 this year is a catalyst 😉

This site “Mindfulness and Nonduality” will soon be redirected to www.nondu.org.  

If you have already signed up for email notification of new posts, self inquiry sessions, and nonduality retreats you will continue to receive an email from MailChimp letting you know I’ve added new content to this site.

If you would like to subscribe to the posts on nondu.org please sign up in the top of the column to the right. I never share your information with anyone and all I need to subscribe you is your email address, not even your name!

Please stay in touch with your comments and questions and feel free to bend my ear anytime.  I’m here so let me know what you would like to read, and or where you believe are stuck on the pathless path.

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

Ashtavakra Gita

Nonduality at Juniper Level

I devoured the paradoxical and powerful teachings of the Ashtavakra Gita, in particular, and other Advaita teachings on the spiritual path.  Advaita (the Sanskrit word meaning “not-two”) are the scriptures within the ancient Vedanta teachings pointing towards a singular omnipresent energy.  Meaning “not-two” and, as such, Advaita can be said to be the essence of all matter, all particles, visible, invisible, excluding nothing, and including all, even you, me, and God, Universe, Source. 

What is is impersonal, uncaused, and spontaneously appearing and disappearing as what we mistakenly perceive to be subjects and objects in a time and space-filled universe.  What seems to be appearing is indivisible, immeasurable, edgeless, spaciousness, and impersonal, as a paradoxical fullness of emptiness and emptiness of fullness.

I spent more time with this poetic yet disturbing scripture than any of the other ancient teachings.  I read the Ashtavakra Gita each morning upon arising and again in the evening before going to sleep.  I even carried a copy of this Gita in my shoulder bag to read while waiting in line at the grocery store.

For me, this Gita was a gift of wordless words pointing towards the vast and edgeless void, a dissolving of false concepts of the personal self, and brain/mind like no other scriptures I’d ever studied.

These teachings directly and clearly challenge the beliefs and concepts of a separate and personal self and a separate and tangible reality or creation.  I prefer to read Bart Marshall’s translation of these illuminating words.  Bart’s books are available here.

anita

Quotes

Nonduality at Juniper Level Botanic Garden

I was afraid that by observing objects with my eyes and trying to comprehend them with each of my other senses I might blind my soul altogether.  – Socrates

There is no becoming.  ALL IS.  – Wei Wu Wei

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. – Joseph Campbell

God is not the dancer but the dance itself!  God is much more a dynamic verb than a static noun. God is constant flow.  – Richard Rohr

We dream that we are awake, we dream that we are asleep. The three states are only varieties of the dream state. Treating everything as a dream liberates. As long as you give reality to dreams, you are their slave. By imaging that you are born as so and so, you become a slave to the so-and-so. The essence of slavery is to imagine yourself to be a process, to have past and future, to have history.   – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Eternity is in love with the creations of time.  William Blake

The enemy is a very good teacher.  Dalai Lama

What is this “I”?    You will, on close introspection, find that what you really mean by “I” is the ground-stuff upon which all experiences are collected.  – Edwin Schroedinger

The world exists only when we think about it; creation stories are for children. In reality the world is created every moment. –  Jean Klein

The Buddha and all sentient beings are nothing but expressions of the one mind. There is nothing else. Here it is – right now. Start thinking about it and you miss it.  – Huang Po

That all opposites—such as mass and energy, subject and object, life and death—are so much each other that they are perfectly inseparable, still strikes most of us as hard to believe. But this is only because we accept as real the boundary line between the opposites. It is, recall, the boundaries themselves which create the seeming existence of separate opposites. To put it plainly, to say that “ultimate reality is a unity of opposites” is actually to say that in ultimate reality there are no boundaries. Anywhere.  – Ken Wilber

The first of all colors is white … we shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen. – Leonardo Da Vinci

Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sagehood has nothing to do with governing others but is a matter of ordering oneself. Nobility has nothing to do with power and rank but is a matter of self realization. Attain self-realization, and the whole world is found in the self. Happiness has nothing to do with wealth and status, but is a matter of harmony. – Lao Tzu

When you go deep inside nothing is all there is. There is no ‘I am’. The ‘I am’ merges in the Absolute.  – Nisargadatta Maharaj

I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me. Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time.  – Herman Hesse

Self-Realization or Enlightenment is nothing more than the deepest possible understanding that there is no individual doer of any action – neither you nor anyone else. Also you are not the thinker of any thoughts, nor the experiencer of any experiences – they happen.  – Ramesh Balsekar

Row row row your boat gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.  – Eliphalet Oram Lyte

There is neither creation nor destruction, neither destiny nor free will, neither path nor achievement. This is the final truth.  – Ramana Maharshi

If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?  Dogen

It is only through silent awareness that our physical and mental nature can change. This change is completely spontaneous. If we make an effort to change we do no more than shift our attention from one level, from one thing, to another. Only living stillness, stillness without someone trying to be still, is capable of undoing the conditioning our biological, emotional and psychological nature has undergone. There is no controller, no selector, no personality making choices.  – Jean Klein

…The self-constructed nature of experience would dawn on you. In a nonconceptual and entirely nontheoretical way, you would suddenly gain a deeper understanding of the fact that this world, at this very moment, only appears to you.  – Thomas Metzinger

In the stillness of the mind, I saw myself as I am: unbound. – Nisargadatta Maharaj

So we have to keep in mind the great difficulty involved with dualistic language. That “reality is no-boundary” is true enough, provided we remember that no-boundary awareness is a direct, immediate, and nonverbal awareness, and not a mere philosophical theory. It is for these reasons that the mystic-sages stress that reality lies beyond names and forms, words and thoughts, divisions and boundaries. Beyond all boundaries lies the real world of Suchness, the Void, the Dharmakaya, Tao, Brahman, the Godhead. And in the world of suchness, there is neither good nor bad, saint nor sinner, birth nor death, for in the world of suchness there are no boundaries.  – Ken Wilber

We are the eyes of the one single seer and this seer is freedom itself  – Francis Lucille

Thoughts are just what is. They appear. They’re innocent. They’re not personal. They’re like the breeze or the leaves on the trees or the raindrops falling. Thoughts arise like that, and we can make friends with them. Would you argue with a raindrop?  – Byron Katie

 

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

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