#1914 - Tuesday, September 7, 2004
Nondual Highlights Issue #1914 Tuesday, September 7, 2004 Editor: Mark
- painting by Alfred Sisley, Boat in the Flood at Port-Marly,
How to Cross Samsara:
The venerable Upasiva once requested the Buddha:
Sir, I am alone, dependent, helpless, I cannot cross
the flood of sense desire, nor the flood of becoming,
nor the flood of ignorance, nor the flood of views!
Please, All-Seeing-One, tell me the meditation object
by which I may cross this flood.
Aware, direct mind towards Nothingness, replied
the Buddha, be helped by relying on the notion:
'Nothing really is...'! Thus by relinquishing all
desires, by stilling all speculative disputes & by
reviewing the elimination of craving day & night
one can cross this flood...
Sutta Nipata 1069-70
- posted on AdyashantiSatsang by Bhikkhu Samahita
To be sure, we all have a great deal to learn from each other. However, the process of subtle arrogance and self deception in the spiritual arena is perhaps the most damaging of all illusions. I am a Buddhist, or a Yogi, or a Pagan, or a student of the Fourth Way or the Kaballah or some other mystical or ecclectic school, and I imagine that Christians are at least somewhat deluded. Or I am a Christian, perhaps a Catholic or an Evangelical, or a Course in Miracles student, or a Muslim, or a Jew, and maintain some pretense that my version of "God" or "Love" is somehow more accurate than "theirs." But in fact, when we think "Jesus said so-and-so," or "The Buddha taught thus-and-such," we might ask ourselves, "How would I know, and why am I repeating this?" If we face it sincerely, it is hard to avoid the discovery that all we are doing is trying to justify our own opinions and their connected feelings, perhaps seeking to be tied in with some powerful authority figure(s) which is fortified by our own conditioning. So we each have our private and group stories about things, and continue to surreptitiously elevate ourselves and put each other down.
But in fact, there is no private liberation or salvation. (Where is the "one separate" from the rest, to be saved, except in some mental fiction?) Of utmost importance, finally, is putting an end to this devious and hurtful process of "spiritual ego," of imagining there's some kind of competition, and that there's someone who has to defend his or her particular spiritual turf against others. If you stop using your transient body or your thoughts or feelings as points of reference, it will be obvious that there is no "someone" and there are no "others." That whole thing is a paranoid fantasy, a pathological delusion, in this case in the name of whatever religion to which we happen to subscribe. So let's call a spade a spade: God, the Absolute, does not belong to anyone, nor to any particular group. (So why pay homage to a limited god?)
Furthermore, Enlightenment, Self Realization, does not belong to anyone either. (In fact, everything belongs to Enlightenment. So why pay homage to a limited enlightenment?) Although it may occur in virtually any context - Buddhist, Christian, Yogic, Sufi, Hindu, Fourth Way, Muslim, Taoist, Jewish, Wiccan, 12-Step work, shamanistic, agnostic, scientific and so on, Spiritual Awakening, the Realization of Emptiness, the Tao, cannot be owned. How could That which is infinite be possessed by any religion, tradition, path, lineage, teacher, or hierarchy, all of which are limited? Is God a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim? Is Enlightenment controlled by Buddhists or Yogis or Hindus? How could That which is formless be made to conform to any set of assumptions about liberation, past or future? (If you still find yourself resisting that possibility, you might ask yourself how you would know, one way or the other, and what motives are tied up in thinking about it in any specified way, for or against. Why maintain beliefs or disbeliefs at all?) Is truth a really a matter of subjective opinion? Is not truth, if that word means anything at all, an ongoing process of careful observation and uncompromised, undefended honesty?
It's time we stop pretending, subtly or overtly, that our particular group is superior in some way. That's a hidden way of saying, "I'm superior," (and therefore not inferior). Let's bring our woundedness, our childhood fears and hurts of inferiority, covered over by the pretense of individual or collective superiority, to a total and absolute halt. Completely. Now. If we need to weep, then let's weep together. And let those tears of shame be tears of relief, tears of joy, in finally putting down this burden of trying to defend and justify what we have imagined ourselves to be. What doesn't exist doesn't need to be defended. It never did.
Particularly in recent years, many of us have had very powerful awakenings, but these experiences, in and of themselves, do not mean that much unless we allow ourselves to be transformed, completely, by what we have discovered. If we try to use them to validate our religious and peer identities and opinions, with our various secret and subtle motives and perceptions so shaped, we corrupt our awakening, and are already entangled in delusion. (And when we make ourselves or our group or our path or the teacher we've identified ourselves with special, we make ourselves separate.) The most any spiritual institution can do is to support and celebrate what is already real and true without reservation.
Full awareness, peace, freedom, clarity and joy can, and do, only exist now. If any of us still find ourselves suffering from the symptoms of ignorance, divisiveness or competition, that is to say, fear, envy, anger, sorrow, frustration, disappointment, jealosy, self-loathing, guilt, depression, loneliness, despair, or confusion, it is because we are still negotiating with God, still negotiating with Truth, still negotiating with Love, still negotiating with Freedom, still negotiating with Serenity. The pain is none other than the agony of lying to ourselves about what we want more than anything else. It is like finally finding the lover we have always longed for, but holding back in terror of losing that love.
Why put this moment off? That which you seek is That which you already are, and always have been - you are not separate, you cannot be separate from the Absolute, from Infinite Consciousness Itself. If you dare to stop pretending that you and your life are based on some mental version of things that arises out of memory, you will find out beyond any doubt! This is not some kind of wishful thinking or grandiose mental trick. Rather, with total and unflinching sincerity, with no psychological defense or self deception whatsoever, search your heart and find out what you permanently are, what you've been all along. Find out if there has ever been a separate "Other." If you discover there never has been an other, is there one now? Could there ever be? Why pretend anymore?
If you dare to give your heart, your soul, your mind, your body, and your life, unconditionally, to what you discover to be true, you will know an infinitely deep and abiding peace that has never been even a breath away. This bliss, this tranquility depends on nothing, and It is not capable of ending. Furthermore, it doesn't make a bit of difference what you've ever done... or not done. You can put an end to the battle. Yes, that's correct, just walk right out of the war, right now. All you have to do is surrender, absolutely and completely, not to me, not to some authority figure, or some organization or institution, but surrender only to your own deepest Purity.
God and your own Unbounded Love are not different. If you truly give yourself up completely, it will shock your whole system. It will suddenly dawn on you,
"Oh my God, what a fool I've been! What was I thinking?"
Then the absolute insanity of giving yourself to anything else will become apparent. Why wait? Why put off your own complete and total liberation? In your innermost and outermost places, in every single moment, Love waits for you everywhere. Is there really something else you would rather do? Is it possible that the thing that you fear the most, the thing that you avoid the most, is what you truly desire the most? It cannot abandon you. Even if you choose to ignore It, betray It and walk away, It is always closer than your next breath. Suspend all opinion and debate, and find out for yourself.
From There Is Only Now by Scott Morrison
In this world itself, there is no mark,
lifestyle or tradition
For the one who becomes
of the Nature of the Self.
He has nothing to gain by any action of his,
no action need he perform,
Nor any injunctions prescribing actions
apply to him......Know this
Moving or standing or sleeping.
Waking or taking food or water,
In the face of the wind, the cold and the sun,
Unaffected will he be,
in any state, at any time.
Fear, indigence, sickness and
burning fever, indigestion...
Even when all these affect,
One established in the Self---
Peaceful and shining in full---
He is never at his wit's end on any account;
He will savour the satisfaction of the Self
- excerpt from Atma Sakshatkaram rendered into Tamil from the Sanskrit by Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, translated by Dr H Ramamurthy, posted to MillionPaths by John.
We usually seek joy in the wrong places, by
trying to avoid feeling whole parts of the human
condition. We seek happiness by believing that
whole parts of what it is to be human are
unacceptable. We feel that something has to
change in ourselves.
However, unconditional joy comes about through
some kind of intelligence in which we allow
ourselves to see clearly what we do with great
honesty, combined with a tremendous kindness and
gentleness. This combination of honesty, or
clear-seeing, and kindness is the essence of
maitri-unconditional friendship with ourselves.
This is a process of continually stepping into
unknown territory. You become willing to step
into the unknown territory of your own being.
Then you realize that this particular adventure
is not only taking you into your own being, it's
also taking you out into the whole universe.
- Pema Chodron from When Things Fall Apart, published by Shambhala, posted to DailyDharma
Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
You will not find me in stupas,
Not in Indian shrine rooms,
Nor synagogues, nor in cathedrals,
Not in masses, nor kirtans,
Not in legs winding around your own neck,
Nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for Me,
You will see Me instantly --
You will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir, from In Search of the Hidden Treasure by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, posted to truevision by Susanne
Ramana's great question was, "Who am I?"
Nowadays it's easy to see that we are this formless intelligence inside. Yet so many of us, in our innocence, still think that thought is thought, and that it's an object, and that it's going to be there for eternity, yacking away about nothing, bothering us.
Now, if we are not who we are, how come everything else is who they are? Wouldn't it make more sense to say, "Well, if I'm not my role, maybe nothing else is its role."
And rather than wondering what that role is, just ask it directly, "Who are you?" It's so much faster than trying to figure it out.
You don't ask it, "Who am I?"
One of thought's functions is to project onto you, because you have no form. It has to come up with projection after projection, and just in case you relax out of your role it has to create an diversion, quickly.
So ask it, "Who are you?"
Curiosity is the way wisdom gets revealed inside. It is the forerunner of wisdom. Curiosity arises and, if you sit with it, connected right underneath is the wisdom. They are not two.
Each one of these servants inside, from the most irritating of emotions, can reveal an incredible amount of wisdom when you interview it. First of all they show you their functions, and if you have ever had curiosity about how creation was created, or how bodies function, or what the nature of emotion is, or the nature of thought, or the nature of wisdom, all of it is there. These are amazing biocomputers, and you can ask and they will reveal anything you want to know.
Be really tender with thought. The pressure we put on it is extraordinary. It's only because thought is also the great mystery that it is able to function with all that pressure of disapproval and dislike and aversion and "I wish you would be quiet" - and all our rude projections: that you are not spiritual and you are the only thing keeping me from my freedom, and would you please just shut up!
That is why in all the great spiritual traditions, at their heart is tenderness - just to be kind inside, and then everything rights itself. Fear rests. Confusion rests. Everything that was perturbing the system rests. Because they know that when you are tender inside you no longer need their services, because you have returned to your true nature.
- Pamela Wilson