#1921 - Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Nondual Highlights Issue #1921 Tuesday, September 14, 2004 Editor: Mark
One of the most difficult things to remember is to remember to remember. Awareness begins with remembering what we tend to forget. Drifting through life on a cushioned surge of impulses is but one of many strategies of forgetting. Not only do we forget to remember, we forget that we live in a body with senses and feelings and thoughts and emotions and ideas. Worrying about what a friend said can preoccupy us so completely that it isolates us from the rest of our experiences. The world of colors and shapes, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations becomes dull and remote. Even the person who offers sympathy appears alien and out of reach. We feel cut off and adrift.
"To stop and pay attention to what is happening in the moment is one way of snapping out of such fixations. It is also a reasonable definition of meditation.
- Stephen Batchelor from Buddhism Without Beliefs, published by Riverhead Books, posted to DailyDharma
Dear R*** from Pakistan:
I acknowledge your feeling that you have not experienced love. In this world even those that do experience what they call love, often come up with pain and the awareness that it has always been conditional when this is really looked at. Love based on being a good boy, good girl, good student, good worker, good parent, good partner, good friend, good citizen. When we begin to look at what love really is, as an unconditional presence that accepts us totally and completely as we are, with nothing needed in exchange, then it becomes more evident this is rarely the case in the world.
As far as what love may mean if you continue to look at this with yourself, or with others, i will share my own experience. I have had a history of extreme trauma and abuse and grew up thinking i had to do something to receive love. I saw it as something earned and something between things. As my own unfolding has occurred, and probably mainly because of my ongoing, intense longing to know love, to know the absolute, i have tried many things.
In the end what has helped is becoming willing to be "with" myself. That for me is what meditation is about. Taking the time to release expectations of doing, and to just be. When i offer myself an unconditional space, and allow what arises including any feelings i've avoided, clear awareness opens. Within this, love becomes known. At one point i thought nothing was inside, and that was part of my fear. I came to this awareness through pain, through accepting nothing outside would ever fill the ache, the part that felt unlovable. I hit a point where realizing i had nothing left, i surrendered. I gave up thinking i could ever have what i thought i wanted. And when i opened to what seemed like nothing and accepted that, it opened all kinds of possibilities.
This emptiness inside is actually the most receptive unconditional love of all. It asks nothing and expects nothing. And as i remain with this it becomes clear this is who i am on a deeper level, and really on all levels. And yet what can really be said about this is so wordless. There are so many cliches and aphorisms, many starting with "all you have to do is...." and i used to find that frustrating. it seemed every book ended with and in conclusion, "all you have to do is love yourself". and i would think, yeah, but how?
i do know that my search all along was my love looking out for me. you've ended up at Bob Rose's site and online because you too are looking. i reach across countries, and i genuinely wish you to know that we all have this Heart, it is the same that beats my heart, that beats your heart. It is this aliveness that flows through us all that comes as love. It can be easy to mistake because it is like nothing of the images the daily world shows. It can be very quiet, non-assuming, present and i suspect as you continue you will recognize it has actually been here all along.
i speak from heart to heart. after reading beautiful online posts only a few nights ago, i cried feeling so sad that i had no way to express or stand for love. i am equally drawn in places online where clarity and wisdom are so honored, however love sometimes get misrepresented as something fluffy and unimportant. i felt so overcome with my resonance with the love that radiates, and so limited in my ability to represent it in places where it is denied or put down. and so i write to you as myself today and as my own acknowledgment of "love". i believe in love, i experience love and it is what i bow to. it is grace that has opened this for me. and what i experience now is not what could ever come from outside, it could only be recognized as what sources all that is.
what can serve to separate me from my awareness of love are my thoughts. and yet i have come to see that they too are simply seeking love. welcoming all that arises within is the essence of unconditional love and allows all obstruction to dissipate, so that this radiance may be clear, unmistakably present, right here and now, freely available for all.
and so as i conclude this, i open my heart to all that may feel unloved within me, and within the wordless silence, there is stillness and embrace.
namaste, - Josie Kane on meditationsocietyofamerica
What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make and end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. And every phrase
And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,
Taking its place to support the others,
The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
An easy commerce of the old and the new,
The common word exact without vulgarity,
The formal word precise but not pedantic,
The complete consort dancing together)
Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph. And any action
Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea's throat
Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.
We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.
The moment of the rose and the moment of the yew-tree
Are of equal duration. A people without history
Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern
Of timeless moments. So, while the light fails
On a winter's afternoon, in a secluded chapel
History is now and England.
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always-
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
- excerpt from T.S. Eliot's Little Gidding (No. 4 of 'Four Quartets')
I'm not in the don't-touch-it school. Maybe it's my Italian heritage. I call it Mediterranean satsang. I say, "Come here, poor little story!" If the story keeps coming back, it means it's desperate for a little loving attention.
If you are always going, "Oh, it's just story," of course it's going to renew its effort: "No, I'm not!"
If a certain situation continues to arise, just let it sit with you. See it as your devotee. Grant it the compassion to be able to sit with you. Say, "Yes, you are welcome here." Even story. In the beginning it's good to get firm with stories, because there are way too many of them. But it's like Reader's Digest; you have them condensed down to the top five issues, right?
When you're feeling strong, or if you have a friend to sit with, just sit in the silence until you're soothed, until the body and brain are soothed, and then invite the story to come sit. It will start to activate the body, and then the brain will start to bring in strategies to fix it and try to help. So thank the brain, and then attend to what's happening in the body. Stories have another function, other than bothering us. They're designed to dissolve the defenses in the body. They're like armor. So you sit with the issue, the upset, and see where it's triggering in the body, and then just allow awareness to move into it and permeate the upset - like awareness has hands, and it's soothing and loving.
What you're doing is helping the body let go of the past. One of the ways the body creates release is by recreating something from the past in order to pull it out of the earth of the body. Otherwise it stays deep. This system of release is strange - almost reptilian, it's so ancient. These bodies are from another time. Even though you get a fresh, new body every time, a lot of the defenses are recreated through thought. That's why I say bring the story here. There's no lack of brilliance in the design of either the body or the way it lets go, or even that this world is so harsh. Robert Adams used to call this the remedial planet, because when you really want freedom, this is where you come.
It's sweet: the body asks for a blessing through its upset, its agitation. It's invoking the Beloved, awareness-consciousness: "Please, master, come here. Please heal me." And if it's really frantic, then it will be sending out distress signals all the time. So it has another function: to awaken the Beloved. It awakens the satguru through its distress.
Ramana used to say, "I would follow a devotee into hell if need be." So when hell or agitation arises in the body, it's luring the satguru out of the heart. Everything is an invitation for the Buddha to awaken and bring peace, even to the body. It calls for the laying on of hands, the welcoming and soothing. Even doubt is asking for your love. Doubt is talking to you, saying, "Master, is this true?"
When you see your body and thought as your devotees, you have a completely different relationship with them. Where else are they going to go for truth?
- Pamela Wilson
I am a brief small nothing
set adrift on nameless water --
sunk below the surface,
tangled in weed, swift water
lifting me, freely,
wed with clear current in a
concupiscence of mindless motion,
sifted through massed boulders, moss
branch, rippling white rapids,
swathing smooth canyon walls
with cool pooling deep
peace, forgetful of
any intended destination,
no destination really -
just a simplicity of
watery grace, a
- Robert O'Hearn, from The Three Hundred Missing Poems of Han Shan
There was a house, and in the house there was a person; now the person is gone and the house is demolished. The sum total is, whatever experiences you have, whether for a day or for years, it is all illusion. The experiences begin with knowingness. What is the most ingrained habit you have? It is to say "I Am'. This is the root habit. Words and experiences are unworthy of you. This habit of experiencing will not go until you realize that all this domain of the five elements, are unreal, This "I Amness" is itself unreal.
Nisargadatta Maharaj from Consciousness and the Absolute
Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.
Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.
- The Buddha, from Sutta Nipata