March 31, 2005

"We are all thieves"

Re: Margaret Fell's comment "...but what canst thou say?"

We take scripture, dead words, and try to make them our own. They do not reflect our own inner light, instead they reflect someone else's experience of awakening. We believe in, have faith in, these scriptures, and ignore our own source of light within. These belief systems distract us, suck our energy, our juice which could be going into opening, receptivity, and the trusting of our own light within. At some point these belief systems need to be completely thrown out so that our energies are not divided, and we move in a total waytoward trust. Move away from faith, from belief systems of all kinds, religious doctrines, scriptures; say goodbye to these things so that your whole energy can move toward awakening the source within. Nothing spiritually enlivening comes from without, comes from anything external.

Margaret Fell had a glimpse of living light, the living presence of pure consciousness. This is what responsibility is all about. No one else, not Christ, not Buddha, not Mohammed, not Moses, not George Fox, not tree spirits, nothing, no one can be responsible for awakening the light within you. You must bring it forth on your own. It is not a result of intercession or mediation of any kind. The best these masters can do is to point out to you what worked for them, and encourage you to make your own journey and discover your own light within.

Imagine if you were around when Jesus walked the earth and you had the good fortune of encountering him. Here was the living presence of awakening. It was alive, fresh, juicy, risky and dangerous. You could feel it, experience it. Imagine you were Mary Magdalene in the presence of Jesus. When you were near him you were flooded with a presence, something within you was vibrating, something you had never experienced before. You were opening. In your heart a thousand roses were blooming and the fragrance seemed to reach to the furthest stars. You found yourself in the presence of a vast trust. You gave yourself over to this presence with a receptivity that was beyond your rational mind. You were dumbfounded encountering this presence, an energy that wascompletely unexplainable. You were filled with a bliss of such height and depth that it could not be fathomed. And it was emerging from your very own heart. It was like you were being ignited. Like you were an unlit candle coming close to a burning candle, and as you came closer to this presence, this flame, suddenly you ignited, a flame burst forth from the depths of your being. Jesus gave nothing to you, yet something magical transpired within you. In the presence of a living flame, something may transpire in your heart, something may wake up that had been slumbering for an eternity. In the vast silence of a Jesus, the light of transformation may burst forth within you. In your light, in the vast silence of your awakened heart, the light of transformation may burst forth within another. No scripture can do this, no matter how eloquent or articulate.

Imagine a thirsty woman lost in the desert. Every fiber of her being longing for water; her whole attention and quest one pointedly focused on quenching her thirst. She knows only one thing, a deep thirst. You cannot quench that thirst with scripture. You cannot satisfy that longing with lovely words about water or beautiful pictures of a bubbling spring or of a flowing river. The Bible, Koran, Buddhist Sutras, or the Vedas are not going to help her. Beautiful cathedrals ortemples, or belief systems of any kind will not satisfy her. They do not nourish. They do not quench this thirst. But if you take her by the hand and lead her to the river, where she can drink to her heart's content, where she can fill herself with real water; if you take her by the hand and lead her to a Jesus, a living presence of light, where she can drink deeply of his presence, his silence, his light, she will be nourished, satisfied, and within her heart she may experience an opening like she has never experienced before. She may find her own heartopening with light, with bliss, with love, with trust. But she will not be a Christian, just as Jesus was not a Christian. All of the subsequent doctrines and religious structure that followed Jesus, all of the Christians and Christianity, simply obscure the living light.

When you sit silently with this living flame, speak or write in the presence of this living flame, it is prayer. Your life becomes a living prayer. You find a tremendous aliveness and freshness in the here now. Your life is filled with bliss, a rejoicing beyond pleasure and pain. The fragrance of love flows from you. You feel as if you have been showered with such abundance that how could you ask for more. You are filled with such gratitude and an immense contentment. It is as if you had been living your whole life in a dark room with a small candle. When the candle was lit, you were happy. When the candle was not lit, you were sad. You lived in a small world of pleasure and pain, want and fear, a dualistic world. Then somehow you realize that the drapes could be drawn, the doors and windows of your house could be opened wide, and sunlight streams in from all sides, flooding the room with light. Now it matters not whether the candle is lit or unlit. Before, it made all the difference in the world. Now, with the brilliant luminosity of the sun, whether the candle is lit or unlit is irrelevant.

In this day and age, there is tremendous confusion around the subject of spiritual masters. A master is a presence, not a person, not a personality. If you have the good fortune to be in the presence of someone who is awake, someone who has realized his or her original face, you may feel your own heart lighting up, you may feel a blissfulness bubbling up from within. You may experience a kind of light you have never experienced before; a kind of peace or ease that seems to come from the beyond. You may experience a love that has nothing whatsoeverto do with what you've come to know as love. You may feel a prayerfulness, a benediction showering, but from where, you do not know. The presence that the master is is not separate from the presence that you are, except that the master realizes this nonseparation, experientially and existentially realizes this, and you do not. A master is the living presence of pure consciousness. This presence isliving, it is alive. It is a dance of emptiness and form, a vast silence with primordial energy dancing on the surface, an uncontainable and unexplainable juice that followers attempt to replicate and codify. A Buddha is alive, a living presence. A Buddhist is a poser. A Christ is living light, a Christian is a wanna-be. Why be a Buddhist or a Christian and live an artificial, disingenuous life, when you can be a Buddha or a Christ? Let go of your Buddhism, your Christianity and all the scriptures that support these dead vehicles. Open your eyes and see the presence of light that is already, always here now. The light isshowering on you, only you have your eyes closed. No one but you can open your eyes. The light cannot do that for you. This luminous presence is your original nature. It is your birthright. It is not something that Christ our Buddha has a monopoly on. It is not confined to these individuals or any individual. It is vast freedom itself, ever present. This light has been shining for eternity. It has no beginning and no end. Drop your self-identity, your belief, your faith, thespiritual doctrines you cling to, all the tired scriptures you're attached to, and realize the living light shining in your own heart. You do not need all these crutches because you have the living light within you now. Just a tiny photon of your own inner light is of vastly greater importance than all of the written scriptures of the world. But your focus is external. You are looking for the light outside your self, in a book or in a person. Turn within and see for yourself.

Post by Akilesh

March 29, 2005

Sharing Your Song

Sing your song of bliss, to whomever will listen. Don't get lost in the words. You realize what's being pointed at. Take heart, it only takes a little courage. Sing of your experience. If you feel you have had an experience of transformation, of realization, share it. The more you share it the deeper it goes inside your heart. If you feel you have had even a tiny glimpse, don't be shy, sing it, dance it, paint it, sculpt it, write it, let the poetry of it flow from your fingers, capture it in photographs, but share it. Use your creativity. Make a collage or plant a garden and the flowers that come up will speak for you. The tree you plant will spread its branches in the blue sky and in this way will share the bliss of your being, and at the same time its roots will go deep in the earth, into your own heart. The more you share your experience of bliss, of light, the more you find rejoicing in your heart. And the more you let the fragrance of your love spread to others, the stronger it becomes. The more you allow your music to drift to others, the deeper the chords echo in your own being.

If you have had a tiny experience, it's enough to share that in whatever ways you can. Bring the energy of light into this world. If it uplifts the world even a tiny bit, it's worth it, it is worth sharing. Don't think you have to develop or evolve further. Share the experience you have right now. You never know, someone next to you may be dying of thirst inside and your sharing was just a tiny cup of water. But because of the depth of their thirst, that person may be encouraged immeasurably. It may be just what they needed to see that water does exist in this desert. "If there is water in this tiny cup, then somewhere there is a source, a spring. Please take my hand, show me where you got this cup of water." And you can show them what you have found. You can share your experience with them. You don't know, they may find a bubbling spring within their own heart. They may drink deeply and quench the thirst of a lifetime, of many lifetimes -- from just a tiny cup of your own water which you shared with someone nearby.

There are many ways to share your bliss, creativity and individuality. There are so many ways to share with others the beauty you feel within. Drop into your heart and have a look. Share what you find. In the sharing you may open up a passage from a deeply buried spring. This may be the only source of fresh water in a very parched land. It would be unloving to withhold it. Share it and you will see more coming to replace what you've shared. In this way you might discover a deluge showering on the earth.

Consider those who have come before you and to have shared their song of bliss. Has it not brought a cup of fresh water which quenched our thirst? Has it not brought a small sunbeam onto the dark forest floor? Has it not uplifted us our spirits? Nearly 10,000 years ago, someone gathered the courage to allow a song to emerge from their heart. Perhaps they were sitting in a forest cave and heard a bird singing. Looking into a sunlit meadow they catch a glimpse of emerald. "Where did this abundance come from? And what is this joy burning in my own heart? Maybe this ancestor dissolved into the music of the beyond, and from their own heart music emerged. We don't know if it was a man or a woman. But this individual, living in our ancestral environment, walking in the deep blue light of early dawn, heart throbbing in the early morning hours of our civilization, just began singing. The song simply erupted out of nowhere within. Out of the body of an animal they were no longer identified with came a song of luminous happiness.

It wasn't the first time this song had been sung, but it was the first time it was recorded in the hearts of others and passed along like a living flame; passed in an oral tradition where the song-candle of one ignited the candle-song of another. A secret happening transpired between our mystic ancestors; a song-breath passing from one heart to another, a light leaping from one eye to the other, illuminating that eye like a rose or an emerald bird illuminates, like distant light illuminates the blue end of night, bringing warmth to the cool darkness.

This song has no beginning and no end. It was imperfect then, as now. An imperfect symphony ringing through the ages, through all of our bodies. If you go inside you can feel all the bodies that have lit up with this music. You can feel them. In a way they were your bodies. They are your mystic kin, your blood and bone, the Vedic seers, the writers of the Psalms and Bhagavad Gita, Krishna, Lao-tzu, the Buddha,Jesus, Solomon and Abraham, Mohammed, the patriarchs of Zen, Rumi, Meister Eckhardt, Kabir, Mirabai, St. John of the Cross, Blake, Emerson, Rilke, Ramana Maharshi, Trungpa Rimpoche, Osho, Tarrant, Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh and the thousands of awakened ones who emerged and are emerging quietly, doing their joyful work, and dissolving. Each has added their sweet vibration, their tone and verse to this symphony. And it will go on like this for eternity. And it will remain an imperfect, incomplete song. It is only alive in the singing, only brought to life with your singing. Add your part to the symphony, the rejoicing. If you do not sing your part of this primordial music, it fades into silence -- a secret ambient ecstasy. Warm and loving, it abides in this silence, this stillness. You can always find it at any moment because it is everywhere. There is no where it does not reach.

If you forget your song, here is an experiment you can use which may unconceal the sound of silence, the open secret. Find a favorite tree, or one that seems welcoming to you. You will feel it immediately, but it may be a fuzzy feeling, as if you're feeling it through thick gloves, or seeing it through thick, dark glasses, or hearing it while wearing earplugs. But it will be there, a vibration that welcomes you, or is vaguely familiar, or you feel a tiny recognition, or a bit of glee, just a tiny rejoicing in your heart when you catch a glimpse of this tree. Go up to it and just lean against it, like you're resting a moment. Open your heart as wide as you can, suspend thinking, drop your thinking mind, drop down into your heart and you will feel a silent vibration. Something will be communicating to you, an intelligence, a silent warmth and knowing. That's the still and silent vibration of the song, the primordial communion that the first song was born out of. And if you let it go deep within you, if you're willing to be a deep allowing for the tree to pour its silence in to you, if you are willing to be a deep receptivity and trust for the tree to merge with, it will share its light with you, it's song with you, it's warmth and bliss with you. Absorb it, let it in. Don't resist it. If you take this risk, this leap, you will notice a warmth within you, a little light glowing, a tiny song emerging. That's the song of consciousness, the song of bliss. Dropping down into the heart like this may seem childish, but a child is more open and receptive, much less burdened with rationality and identification than a so-called grownup. The heart of a child is closer to the source. Use your child heart to go within, and sing.

Post by Akilesh

March 27, 2005

...think on these things

...whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phillipians 4:8 --KJV

March 26, 2005

Eternal Spring

The camellia is in bloom, though likely not for long. A slight breeze or a spring rain will come and the blossoms will easily shed, dropping softly onto the garden bed creating a soft pink blanket of petals. The camellia knows that her outer beauty is temporary. She readily sheds this temporary visage to reveal her heart, a place where her creativity springs and her sap is clear and sweet. This is her center; original, unflappable, honest, calm and quiet.

In friendship, it would be lovely if we could become like the camellia blossoms, delicate and tender, dropping our petals easily, and opening to honor and share our true selves with the slightest encouragement. This could be thought of as some sort of surrender, a shedding of form. A friend said this was like our old self dying as we let go of some outer quality that is no longer useful. Opening, we become unattached to form, instead merging into formlessness, embracing the wondrous reality of the divine Beloved in our core –this lover that with us all along but with whom we continually learn new depths of intimacy. Let us persuade one another to open our petals, however slowly, so like the lovely camellia, we can see and hear and witness the divine mystery within each of us more and more clearly.

The fragrance of the camellia blooms lingers long after the petals have been shed. The lingering memory of her divine nature comes to us on a breeze. In this fragrance we shall open and dance and sing in honor of these lovely flowers of pure consciousness that exist in an eternal spring.

Posted by Hello

March 24, 2005

Lingering Here

There is an old myth. When the river is just about to flow into the ocean, after its long journey, it is said that it trembles with fear. Merging with the vast sea, it will be no more. Looking back, it remembers. The clouds, the snow falling gently on a high mountain peak, clinging to its granite face. The spring meadow, so luminous in the midday sun. The tiny droplets glistening on clear ice, joining, flowing in the tiniest rivulets over cold black soil. The ecstatic streams and waterfalls, crashing over boulders, running with unbounded energy in sunlight, and under the stars, coursing this way and that, so alive, so fresh and playful. Everything so new, the forests, the animals and all the fish racing up and down. The smell of the pines and the fecund earth of the forest floor. It remembers all its friends and lovers, all the streams that contributed to it. The hardwood forests, the long, hot, winding way through desert sands, where the only company was the cactus and moon. The smell of the grasslands and then the slow wandering, just spending days lightly in the sun, just lingering, moving so slow as to be imperceptible. And then slower still, spreading out, widening, feeling the countryside, the flatlands, the swamps with their banyan trees. Tasting salty whispers from fog rolling up along its channel, hinting of something vast and unknowable ahead. But the days are long and slow, easy, loose. And the sky so blue and lazy. After this long journey, after all the challenges and experiences, the old river had grown fond of its way, familiar, comfortable. It was used to being in its channel, confined by its banks, however far apart. Indeed it had matured into a mighty stream. Now nothing could stand in its way. It had earned this identity. And there on the horizon, "What is this, this vast water, this endless sea, this openness with no boundaries, this huge mystery that I am moving inexorably toward? It seems to be my destiny, but what will become of me, my rich personality, my identity as a mighty river?" Looking back, over the course of its life, and looking ahead to an inevitable merging, it trembles with fear. Somehow it senses that this is the time to be open and receptive, to be a deep allowing. Overcoming its fear, it surrenders itself to the vast silence of the sea, gracefully allowing water to merge with water. Not knowing, the river dissolves, with unconditional trust, into the endless sea. Here, now, experiencing the depth of unity, of eternity opening up from within, bliss and light streams from everywhere and nowhere. Isness. Suchness. Boundaryless. Beyond any words. No ocean, no river. Then, miraculously, vast ocean, sweet river, flowing in a circle from the clouds above, to the snow, rain, streams, river, ocean. Then circle dissolving into just this... Pure consciousness, bliss, authentic presence.

Blessed river, do not fear. This vastness before you is none other than your original home. Letting go, feel the trustworthiness of existence, the warmth and nourishment of this womb illuminated with starlight.

Post by Akilesh

March 22, 2005

Song of Bliss

"The loving contemplative feels himself... to be that same Light by which he sees, and nothing else."

You are the very heart and soul of life. You are this vast consciousness. You are this bliss, this being is the very stuff you're made of. Who you are is this consciousness manifesting in 10,000 apparently separate things. Rocks or stardust, the birds of the air, the animals of the forest, the flowers of the desert, the sunlight and rain, tiny lichen or a huge redwood tree is all the stuff of one consciousness manifesting in myriad forms. The luminous space a rabbit looks out of is the identical space you look out of. Life forms existing on another planet in a distant galaxy look out of the identical consciousness. All these forms are at various stages of evolution in consciousness.

Realizing who you are is realizing this consciousness, this godliness within your own heart, the totality of your being. The striving and searching of all the seekers and finders in existence comes to this one point of realization. Divine presence is within you. The veil of ego fixation dissolves and you see your original nature was with you all along, abiding here and now, warm and intelligent. This realization is enlightenment -- with nothing left out. The mind always thinks there is something left out, something missing. Because the mind is divisive, never whole, cannot be. Only being is whole, timeless, encompassing both form and formlessness.

Dogen said "...when we master one truth, we master all truths; and when we complete one activity, we complete all activities. The place is here; the way leads everywhere. So understanding is not easy, because it is simultaneous with the complete attainment of the Buddha's teachings. Even though we have already attained supreme enlightenment, we may not realize it. Some may, and some may not."

John Tarrant says it a little differently, "... a little bit of hell is all of hell, right? A little bit of delusion is all of delusion. And, just the same way, a little bit of enlightenment is all of enlightenment... A quality about being human is that you can step straight out of the deepest delusion into enlightenment... even in the moment you're reaching, and full of longing, and thinking you don't have it, of course you have it. Because your buddhanature's always with you. It's just that you haven't noticed yet. Someone asked Yunmen, the Chinese teacher, 'I'm reaching for the light, please help.' And Yunmen said, 'Forget about the light, give me the reaching.' It's always now and we're always here now and enlightenment is just the basis of our consciousness. Thinking it's not here is one of the things that keeps you from noticing it.... You might not be deluded in this moment that all. You might be quite free. You might feel the joy that's just the natural joy of being human. What you're doing then is trusting the universe, instead of employing all that effort."

With the realization that your enlightened nature is always with you, a bliss descends upon you, emerges from your heart. A fragrance is released, and that fragrance is love. You are awake. You are utterly free. You're not a Christian or Buddhist or humanist. You are a nothing, nothingness itself. And with this nothingness your life, for the first time becomes a life of light, of song and dance and celebration. Passing through all layers of survival, fear and insecurity, you realize you don't know who you are. You are not, and suddenly existence is. It's present in a most miraculous way; empty, pure and perfect as it is; uncontaminated by anything, especially religion.

Your external focus, your preoccupation with identity, want and fear has kept you dull and ignorant. Trying to find wholeness, trying to acquire something to complete you, whether material or spiritual, is a never-ending foolish enslavement to your mind. It will never be satisfied. It is just a survival and replication mechanism you have identified with. It is a very small thing. It's nature is dissatisfaction, acquisition, protection and defense. It evaporates in death. A central theme of ego fixation is clinging, holding on for dear life. If we're not holding on to our identity, we get shaky, we don't know who we are, and this feels like death to the mind identified self.

Pema Chodron recently wrote about clinging and attachment: "It requires enormous patience even to be curious enough to look, to investigate. And then when you realize you have a choice, and that there's actually something there that you're attached to, it requires great patience to keep going into it. Because you will want to go into denial, to shut down. You're going to say to yourself, 'I don't want to see this.' You'll be afraid, because even if you're starting to get close to it, the thought of letting go is usually very frightening. You may feel that you're going to die, or that something is going to die. And you will be right. If you let go, something will die. But it's something that needs to die and you will benefit greatly from its death."

She does not shy away from the core issue at all. At the same time, with infinite compassion she says, "You don't have to do the big one, because usually you can't. It's too threatening. It may even be too harsh to let go right then and there, on the spot. But even with small things, you may -- perhaps just intellectually -- begin to see that letting go can bring a sense of enormous relief, relaxation and connection with the softness and tenderness of the genuine heart. True joy comes from that... You can also see that holding on increases the pain, but that doesn't mean you're going to be able to let go, because there's a lot at stake. What's at stake is your whole sense of who you are, your whole identity. You're beginning to move into the territory of egolessness, the insubstantial nature of oneself -- and of everything, for that matter. Theoretical, philosophical, distant sounding teachings can get pretty real when you're beginning to have an inkling of what they're actually talking about."

Post by Akilesh

March 21, 2005

"...but what canst thou say?"

The following passage is from "The testimony of Margaret Fell concerning her late husband," from The Journal of George Fox, 1694. In this excerpt, which contains the famous "what canst thou say?" query, Margaret Fell is describing George Fox's "sermon" at the Ulverston steeple-house. It was the first time she had heard him speak.


And so he went on, and said, "That Christ was the Light of the world, and lighteth every man that cometh into the world; and that by this light they might be gathered to God," &c. I stood up in my pew, and wondered at his doctrine, for I had never heard such before. And then he went on, and opened the scriptures, and said, "The scriptures were the prophets' words, and Christ's and the apostles' words, and what, as they spoke, they enjoyed and possessed, and had it from the Lord": and said, "Then what had any to do with the scriptures, but as they came to the Spirit that gave them forth? You will say, 'Christ saith this, and the apostles say this;' but what canst thou say? Art thou a child of the Light, and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, is it inwardly from God?" &c. This opened me so, that it cut me to the heart; and then I saw clearly we were all wrong. So I sat down in my pew again, and cried bitterly: and I cried in my spirit to the Lord, "We are all thieves; we are all thieves; we have taken the scriptures in words, and know nothing of them in ourselves."

The direct experience of God is a kind of Knowing, which is beyond our cognition, beyond our intellect. When we feel this Light of Christ, or God, or Being within us, we know it, and cannot help but feel a subtle bliss, a warm feeling of love radiating. As Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." This is often the experience of those who speak of this union of God within. To know this internal consciousness of Christ, to know God, is to be permeated with the essence of this union. This is knowing God directly, the seed, the purest moment of our spirituality, foremost over any understanding of God through Scripture, doctrines, teachings, or church.

Akilesh and I would like to pose a question to you - anyone whose gaze is upon this page:

What canst thou say? How is this consciousness, this kind of Knowing, this experience of the union of God within, nurtured? How is it nurtured within you, and in your experience, within others?

March 20, 2005

Pure Consciousness

Meredith: Existence is showering upon us at every turn – and I do recognize this veritable showering of warmth and wisdom coming from so many sources. Sometimes it is as though my filter has too wide a mesh – I feel so much. My heart is so soft.

Akilesh: All of these little dialogues we have seemed to converge on one thing: pure consciousness. This authentic presence contains everything, just as
Forest Reid discovered within himself when he followed the song of the skylark within. Imagine what mesh God might place on a filter. No mesh, no filter, of course. And in this infinite warmth and wisdom no filter is necessary. Pure consciousness is this warmth and wisdom of God.

"I feel so much." Our conditioning emphasizes thinking. By and by we lose the capacity to feel. It's good to emphasize feeling, heart. The heart has been sacrificed on the altar of rationality. We are way out of balance, way misshapen with our rationality. In ego world the mind is king. So it is very good that you "feel so much." It is so very good that your heart is as soft as it is, raw, naked, unprotected.

When you, as our friend
Isaiah said, leap into the infinite, you leap into the arms of love. You also leap into the arms of wisdom. But we just have to do this, not think about. Leaping, you will find skillful means, all the skill you need to take care of yourself and others. It's the ego that is afraid. And it's okay to protect if you need to. Go at your own pace. Your wisdom within will show you the way and the pace. Trust that voice within. Just be aware when you are protecting, when you're guarding or closing yourself. What are you protecting? What are you afraid of happening?

We bring wisdom and compassion to each interaction with others, family, friends, strangers. We allow the wisdom within to guide us, and show us what each unique situation requires. What does this person before me now, need? Then you respond out spontaneous wisdom, without hesitation. This is the confidence that comes with maturing wakefulness. Trust it. It's the confidence of graceful presence, of pure awakened consciousness.

March 18, 2005


In the quiet of the early morning, I step into the shower of your Light. I let your beautiful images wash over me, your blessings slide down my slippery curves, your insight and wisdom lather like soap bubbles softly absorbing into my skin. I inhale the warm vapor that refreshes my soul and tenderly opens my heart. I love to linger here, a long time with you.

Eventually, when fully drenched, I turn off the water, and move from this delightfully captivating reverie. I step out, dripping, wrapping myself in a thick towel and begin to dry, rubbing myself all over wide awake. Fully refreshed I move peacefully into the sunlight of the new day. The fragrance remaining of this wonderful washing, bathing, slippery steam inhaling squeaky clean immersion in spirit is carried with me for hours. Every now and then I raise my arm to my face, and breathe in the soft fragrance lingering there. I feel such happiness, remembering. My face relaxes into a pleasant smile; my coworkers look at me and wonder, “What wonderful mischief has Meredith been up to now?”

Standing with you, my Beloved, in the shower of your Light.

March 16, 2005

Already Whole

You are already whole and complete, just as you are at this moment. What are you after? What are you afraid of? We preoccupy ourselves for lifetimes with such things. You will not find salvation or redemption outside. Turn within, empty your self and you will see your original face shining. It is here shining now. You do not need to develop further, or purify further. It is here now.

Release this hankering after something and realize you have everything you need right here and now, in full measure. If you turn within you will realize who you are, you will find that which you have been searching for your whole life. All the pain and misery will not have been for nothing. It has ripened you, softened you, so you are able finally to drop your striving, turn in and awaken, right here and now, on the spot, with no further preparation whatsoever.

Are you willing to be a nothingness? Your church or sacred scripture is just old wine in new bottles. The vessels, new and old, need to be broken again and again, and the wine allowed to flow from your own heart -- here is the sacred source, the wellspring of the divine, not in some tabernacle somewhere or in some scripture. The sacred temple is within, on your spot. At best a scripture may be encouraging, at worst a harmful impediment. Who is nurturing your wellspring within, your own sacred source of consciousness? Definitely not organized religion. This is a journey one has to go on alone, utterly alone. You have to walk the path alone. No one can walk it for you. It is particular to you and unfolds uniquely as you walk it, not before. It can't be laid out for you in a series of steps that fits everyone. You walk it alone, opening up and emptying out as you go. You become lighter as you go on losing, dropping excess baggage. You have been carrying so much baggage you can hardly move. Leave it behind. Where you're going, none of it is necessary. You've picked up all this stuff from others along the way. Drop it. It just clouds your seeing, the authentic insight that can actually lead you home. Rumi says,
"become seeing, seeing, seeing!"

We don't acquire anything on this path. Instead we release things that burden us, lightening up as we go. We let go and find ourselves not holding on, find ourselves increasingly naked. We see that it is possible to live a rich life without all this excess baggage; not only is it possible but it is a life that is blissful and intuitive beyond our imagination. At some point you realize all at once that you are nothing but naked consciousness itself. This insight might be painful initially as you see all you have invested in and attached yourself to and identified with is impermanent, temporary and provisional. This can be excruciating, fearsome at first, but it passes as you get familiar living your life naked, out in the open.

Realizing authentic naked being, God within your very own heart, can be daunting given the breadth and depth of our conditioning. Your confidence in this flame of authentic presence will grow and before long it will be a wildfire, consuming all your transparent attempts at putting on an artificial face, a mask on your vast, empty godliness. It's like trying to put the vast African savanna into a diorama at the Museum of Natural History. Under artificial light it is pale, gray and dead. While the real thing is alive, fresh, wild and uncontrollable, uncontainable, living and breathing, an interconnected unity of birth and death, wholeness. You cannot decorate, dress-up or improve upon naked nature, whether a grassland or the vast landscape of your heart. Adam and Eve were beautiful in their raw nakedness, their authenticity. In shame they felt the need to clothe themselves after eating from the tree of knowledge. That's what religion does, gives you knowledge so you feel ashamed of your original nakedness. And to realize that original nakedness again requires no religious mediation whatsoever. Religion just muddies the water, taking you further from the source within.

Naked is naked -- no religion, sex, color, nationality, class or age. When you are naked consciousness, are you a man or woman, adult or child, rich or poor, Christian or Muslim; are you your mind, your thought-stream, your feelings or body sensations; are you your body? Looking within, you fall into outer space, naked space. Not clinging to an identity, you turn into empty space, nothingness, conscious vastness; unidentified, a nonentity, boundary-less and uncontained. Looking within you fall into beauty and warmth and love. And it is so close, as close as this breath going inside right this second. It is the same breath going into you, that goes into me. It is the breathing of existence itself. You can realize this right here and now. It is possible, just open your hand. Release your clenched fist and it turns into an open hand which receives the benediction. When you come upon this happening it is unmistakable. It emerges from within and the whole of earth and sky beat with one heartbeat.

One sign of opening is overflowing gratitude. This gratitude is nonspecific and causeless. It is not based on anything, just flowing thankfulness with no object. It is love, warmth extending as a fragrance in all directions; bliss, an unmoored joy that comes from within -- again, not based on anything at all. Who you are is unbounded happiness itself. Enlightenment is not far off. It is as close as your heartbeat. Tennyson writes, "Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet." Religious thought places this at such a distance because it does not realize it. A religious institution can not realize anything. Only a person, an individual can realize his or her original nature. And when they realize it, the song that comes from their heart is the sweetest song in all of existence, unlike any song or Psalm in scripture. The song that comes from an awakened heart is beauty and love, alive and fresh, authentic. Religious thought is dead tissue, no blood flows through it. It just has the appearance of a living thing, but it is just form not substance. It is not breathing. Religion puts rituals around authentic being, but that doesn't help, it doesn't show us where the gate is. And the gate is very, very close. It is in your own breath, it throbs in your chest just as it pulses in a distant star.

Post by Akilesh

March 13, 2005

I Have Arrived

I have arrived.
I am home.
In the here,
In the now.
I am solid.
I am free.
In the ultimate
I dwell.

Thich Nhat Hanh


Akilesh: This verse by Thich Nhat Hanh sweetened my day. These words you send me from mystics, poets and sages resonate deeply within you. They speak your own soul. They declare your heart's deepest understanding. Yes?

Meredith: Yes, they do. Thich Nhat Hanh’s beautiful poem was like a spring blossom gently landing on me, speaking softly to me, resonating deeply within me. The simplicity, the open honesty, the pure tone of Thich Nhat Hanh's hollow flute is so beautiful. It was as though Thay was singing the song of my heart – a tune I did not yet have the words for. And yet there they were – so simple, so precise, so vividly clear.

Akilesh: Here is some of the sweetness I experience when I read Thich Nhat Hanh’s words. This light we have been dancing with, that has brought such bliss to our souls, has been shining eternally. While my eyes have been closed for so long, this light has nonetheless been shining. It is shining now and will continue to shine in the now, through eternity. I opened my heart, became a receptivity, an emptiness for the light to pour into.

Meredith: It is as though we need simply be genuine, open, and trusting, and the joy is there for us. When we are receptive we notice this bliss is the very air we breathe, the ground we walk upon, the sky we look up to. Our eyes and hearts have opened further, become receptive, and the light pours in. We recognize we are home.

Akilesh: I had to work hard, making many mistakes, to open, soften and trust. Trusting and being a receptivity seemed difficult with all of my protectiveness and defensiveness, my aggressive survival mentality, my desire for acquisition, my selfishness, and my deep, deep fear. By and by I got the knack of opening, trusting and being an allowing. Perhaps you can see in the course of our dialogue, I have encouraged you in the same direction. This was the best I had to offer, knowing that if you could find your way to open, trust and keep opening, existence would pour itself into you, and you would find your way to the source within; how with opening and receptivity you would unfold into your unique potential. All of us have a potentiality, and with openness and receptiveness one is able to realize that potentiality. I do not know what you're potentiality is, but I sense vast breadth and depth within you. What I do know is that if you continue to open yourself, expose yourself, allow yourself to become a hollow bamboo, the benediction will happen, is happening.

Meredith: Spiritual friendship has been an amazing gift. You have nudged me to open, to trust existence, to drop that which blocks the light. Little by little this has happened. And now I feel this divine love so clearly – every day I feel the blessings of light and warmth flow into me.

Akilesh: You are opening your eyes and experiencing the light. The light is not doing anything at all. It is a presence, a radiating presence. You are taking action by opening to it, receiving it. If you do not take this action, the light will go on shining, but you will not see it. You are free to choose. If you choose like most people to keep your eyes closed, the light will not object; the light will not diminish its love for you. For it is an abiding, indiscriminate and divine love. In your trust, your opening and receiving the light, it becomes yours. You are no longer there, and the light is. And you can see so much in this light. You can see the bubbling energy of the cosmos in a simple paperwhite narcissus. Your wisdom blossoms, discriminating wisdom which allows you to see the distinction between who you are and your thinking mind. In your bliss you find you are no longer burdened, confined only to this small mind identified self. Something much greater, pure consciousness is emerging. Being meeting itself, and falling in love and bliss with its creation. This is all seen in the light, the light of your original face.

Meredith: This light shines so brightly within you, Akilesh. This place beyond your ego, your small self, this is a place of true freedom. While your ego is not ascendant, who you are continues to be unique and creative, warm and loving.

Akilesh: Realizing that who you are is based on nothing external, you discover your individuality. With this discovery you see you are responsible for your own realization. Being is meeting itself in you. This seems to be the spirit of Thich Nhat Hanh's "I am home." With this realization you see you are responsible for your own awakening, for your own bliss, and for your own misery. With this realization comes a declaration, whether spoken or unspoken -- "I am home. In the here. In the now. I am solid. I am free. In the ultimate I dwell." If you have not realized it, you simply have not realized it and of course you do not declare it. Instead you continue to soften, to open, to make yourself more receptive, to trust your intuitive voice as much as possible.

I love that Thich Nhat Hanh has the guts and generosity to declare his awakening. He's declaring that awakened energy itself is manifesting here in this world on this spot; that he has found the energy of wakefulness present in this being. He has opened his eyes. The light has been shining, and now, here he sees it in all its luminosity. It has been here all along lovingly abiding, dwelling in the ultimate. He's not separate from this light now, thus he dwells in the ultimate. He's declaring, "I am home." If it's possible for me to find my way home, it's possible for you. "I am solid. I am free." If it's possible for me, one who is solid, human, existing in the historical dimension, to be free, it is also possible for you to realize your freedom; it's possible for you to realize and declare your own freedom.

I find this extremely encouraging. He's also pointing out how we can encourage others. How we can realize our own original face and then courageously, declare it, silently, to ourselves, to the universe, to no one in particular, and then radiate this presence in our own unique ways. This seems to be how light is transmitted.

Thank you for this verse. May you continue to be blessed with vast openness, trust and a receptive heart.

Meredith: As well with you, my Friend.

March 10, 2005


Posted by Hello

What does this image whisper to your soul?

March 8, 2005

The Gift

Last night
I put a package at the foot of your bed for you to find when you awaken in the morning. Go ahead and open it – it is especially for you! I imagine you will open it slowly, untying the ribbon, and then delicately peeling back the white tissue paper. The protective foggy airspace will emerge, gently rising, releasing the treasures inside. When this fog dissipates, open the package further, and let the azure blue sky appear, with its faint whisper white clouds. Underneath, you will find the blossoms – pinks and oh-so-whites, yellows and lavenders. The fragrance! The song of the birds! Beneath the blossoms you will find the sparkles on the water, and the greenest greens you have ever seen. Be sure to notice all the treasures, as well as the warmth and the softness of the breezes. Do you hear the laughter of the children? The form and the formless are in this small package for you, each to delight you and sing to you and feed your soul.

Good morning, Beloved.

March 5, 2005

Love's Sanctuary

If we reside in love’s sanctuary, the Beloved is in the softness of the pillow, gently enfolding us, breathing with us, caressing us. When we speak, we speak to one another from this place of love, echoing the murmurs of the Beloved. We speak softly, intuitively, gently. We pick beautiful words; our words are the vehicles to carry this sweet essence of the Beloved within us.

We keep turning, turning, to touch and feel and describe this beauty, which is so intrinsic, not separate from our very selves. It is, as my friend says, like trying to describe water to fish. Why do we keep turning, trying to share this presence? If we are it, we are open to this secret, then why the words?

In a sanctuary, a refuge and haven for the Beloved to spark, kindle and flame, enlighten the very walls and hillsides with presence, drifting, slowly, softly like falling snow, gathering on the stones, tree limbs, and our eyelashes. This presence is sometimes is barely perceptible, only because we are cloaked and covered over, our eyes closed to the rich beauty all around us. But when we are open, we hold ourselves open like naked bathers in the sun, absorbing this light from every direction, until we feel the power of the glow so strongly that it radiates from every pore, every breath, we have turned into… we are the Beloved, we are the voice, gesture and song of graceful presence.

A subtle glance, a flicker of recognition, a synchronous experience, a bird soaring soundlessly through the sky are little windows into the sanctuary, light reflecting on the water – all fragments of light bursting from the prism of knowing. Reference points have dissolved. Dimensions are ultimate. It is so difficult to articulate this kind of knowing – but we try. And we try because we feel some encouragement to shine our light as is has been offered to us. Light is encouraging. Without it, we would not open our hearts; we would not blossom and give our beauty back to the world, because, as the poet Hafiz suggests, we would be too frightened.

How did the rose
ever open its heart
and give to this world
all its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
against its Being.
Otherwise, we all remain
too frightened.

So we move in and through the sanctuary, love’s sanctuary, absorbing and being, reflecting and shining. Oh! Such strong light! Rays pierce the darkness and cause the dust to dance. We dance, too! How can we not share this? It is who we are.

March 3, 2005

The Great Way

The Great Way is the gate of non-being;
The thousand differences is the road of being.
Going through this passage,
Heaven and Earth is only a footstep.

-- Wumen Huik'ai, The Gateless Passage of Ch'an

March 1, 2005

The Skylark

Re: the post from Following Darkness by Forrest Reid:

Isn't this space all we ever really want? You know, we travel to hell and back in this strange land we live in. Is the comment by Forrest Reid a lark, the sentimental flight of fancy? Is it romanticism? Frivolous imagination? Realizations like his get easily dismissed. They don't produce any commodity or product useful to commercial culture. What are we doing in our conventional existence, in our scurrying about, in our gathering all these material so-called valuables around us closer and closer, more and more? What are we doing gathering increasingly exotic experiences, stimulating ourselves with ever increasing variations of entertainment; seeking fulfillment, salvation and redemption in things external, whether they be relationships, experiences or goods? What are we doing constantly establishing comfort and security around us, putting all this energy disproportionately into securing our survival? Where is our focus, our attention? How much of it is on a skylark's song, penetrating into the magic of that song, the promise of that song? We give away our hearts to so many frivolous desires, distractions and pursuits.

Did Forrest Reid re-create this experience again and again? This is what I would want for him, to carve a path to his breakthrough. Capture the scent of it and work at returning there again and again. This is worthy work, noble work. Perhaps he hates working in his cubicle at Intel. The pay is good, it's prestigious, a good benefit package, and the potential for upward mobility -- but he hates it. His heart yearns to lay down in a grassy meadow and invite the skylark's song. With this song his heart bursts open and he finds the universe within him, the stars glimmering in his being. He finds the wellspring, the bliss that all the seekers down through ages have longed for. Is this not worthy work? He loves this, he loves it, this work, this play. Where did we lose our way? I say to Forrest Reid, follow your bliss. If you hate your job at Intel, then it is done. Pay the price, whatever it is, to make your path again and again into the heart of the skylark. This may be your destiny, rather than helping Intel make advancements in chip production. You have had a beautiful breakthrough. Now follow your heart. There has been little support and encouragement over your life to do this. Instead you have been conditioned to pursue that which the culture determines is useful, productive. The culture has rewarded you for following the path that achieves its goals, that produces the results it finds valuable. It reinforces with wealth, power but these things will not fulfill you. Follow the path of bliss so that it becomes familiar and second nature to you. Relive it again and again. Find your skylark's song, and like a fragrance on the breeze, let it transform you. Re-create it again and again. You have the scent of it. Let this fragrance surround you. Give at least two hours each day to celebrate it, invite it, rejoice in it. Re-create this space and vibration that you wrote about so that it does not become just a mere memory, a nice experience. This is worthy work. Perhaps you can give five hours each day to Intel. But set aside two hours for your beloved skylark. Eventually you will be able to re-create this blissful space any moment. In fact it is here every moment, always. This insight, this breakthrough needs to be nurtured or else it will fade and you will place it like a pretty stone on your memory shelf. Don't miss, don't let it slip into just a beautiful experience. Nurture it.

Post by Akilesh