February 26, 2005

It Was Within Me

From Following Darkness by Forrest Reid

It was as if I had never realized how lovely the world was. I lay down on my back in the warm, dry moss and listened to the skylark singing as it mounted up from the fields near the sea into the dark clear sky. No other music gave me the same pleasure as that passionate joyous singing. It was a kind of leaping, exultant ecstasy, a bright, flame-like sound, rejoicing in itself. And then a curious experience befell me. It was as if everything that had seemed to be external and around me was suddenly within me. The whole world seemed to be within me. It was within me that the trees waved their green branches; it was within me that the skylark was singing; it was within me that the hot sun shone, and that the shade was cool. A cloud rose in the sky, and passed in a light shower that pattered on the leaves, and I felt its freshness dropping into my soul, and I felt in all my being the delicious fragrance of the earth and the grass and the plants and the rich brown soil. I could have sobbed for joy.

February 25, 2005

Viewing Without A Viewer

Life is blissfulness itself in the here and now. Remain in the now and you will realize who you are at the foundation of your being. Just like trees and grasses are dancing blissfully in the herenow, you are here in this dance. No future, no past, no time or space at all, only just this... It is beyond words. Words fall short here. It requires a leap from the margin into openness, a letting go of identification with anything, and suddenly vast consciousness is present without a reference point, without a thinker. Viewing is happening but there is no viewer whatsoever; no viewer can be located.

Realizing this viewing, this open seeing, is blissful. A flower has opened its petals and a fragrance is floating in the air. The whole sky is filled with this fragrance of love. In the presence of this love, you are unconditionally grateful, just overflowing with gratitude, for what appears to be nothing at all. It's as if you were carrying a great burden for so long and you just assumed it was normal to be weighted down in this way. You didn't know any different. Then with the release of awakening, you drop this unnecessary burden you've been carrying. The lightness and energy that is available is a benediction - “the unbearable lightness of being.” You want to celebrate and share your joy with whomever will receive it. You are thankful to whomever receives your love, your joy. The sharing of it itself is joyful. This love comes from an eternal, inexhaustible source. And further, you have no expectation of anything in return. Your love is given freely.

When you realize this viewing without a viewer, there is a feeling of completion and contentment. Not finality. Instead there is expanding love, growing light as you continue to open further. The process of flowing openness is never-ending, yet complete and whole moment to moment. The source within is contentment itself. You are utterly independent, yet intimately interconnected with all things and so you care for and nurture your world. It has been said that to realize your authentic presence is like being an emperor of the universe, like a king or queen without a kingdom or subjects; you feel rich and capable of sharing this richness. This becomes your play -- sharing bliss endlessly. The more you share it, the more it flows to you, so you're never impoverished. The sense of scarcity or survival dissolves. You’re rich beyond imagination. You are generous with your inexhaustible wellspring of bliss. It is there inside, superabundant being, a miracle, closer than your breath.

Post by Akilesh

February 22, 2005


In you I see my reflection. Posted by Hello

February 21, 2005

A Moment in Eternity

The lightening flashes from east to west, illuminating the whole horizon and striking where it pleases, and at the same instant liberty of God flashes in the depths of a man’s soul, and he is illumined. At that moment he sees that, though he seems to be in the middle of his journey, he has already arrived at the end. Although he is a traveler in time, he has opened his eyes for a moment in eternity.

Thomas Merton

February 19, 2005

The Spiritual Friend

The spiritual friend is familiar with the energy of authentic presence and uses it to help others remember who they are at the foundation of their being. The spiritual friend reminds you constantly that who you are is more than just an ego; that you are divinity itself; that you've only forgotten and lost your way. They point out the way home; they point you toward the God within. They also point out what keeps you from this realization; they show you where you're preoccupied with want and fear. Again and again the spiritual friend points within, while the whole world seems to be focused outward.

In meditation, in a meditative presence, you're more likely to look within and discover your original nature. To realize this face is to transcend death itself. The old Taoists said with this seeing you joined the immortals. Chuang--tzu said, "All that has form, sound, color, may be classed under the head thing... But a man can attain to formlessness and vanquish death. And with that which is in possession of the eternal, how can mere things compare?" You are no longer confined in the house of self identity; the drop disappears as the ocean pours into you. Your heartbeat becomes the heartbeat of the universe. You enter the spaciousness of unconditioned freedom.

As you deepen into meditative awareness, the grip of ego loosens. You open up and clear out, and realize what is happening in the process of enlightenment, how all of existence lightens up, wakes up. With this awakening, as has been said so often in so many different ways, you don't achieve anything, you don't get anything that wasn't there in the first place. Enlightenment doesn't come from outside. The light emerges from within you. With this discovery you realize what it means to be a lamp unto yourself. You no longer seek external validation for your experience. It is self-evident, local and imminent. The Koran says God is nearer to a man than his jugular vein is. You are free and with this primordial freedom you see through all pseudo religious thought. No one can control you now, no religious institution can use you for its own ends, in the service of its institutional agenda. You realize you have never been separated from the source to begin with. And with this realization comes great joy. And this joy brings a need to share, to give, to unburden yourself; and so you let your song, the blissful fragrance of your flowering, float to others.

You only thought you were separate, but with this realization you see the interconnectedness of all things. There is one breath in all of existence, and that breath is breathing you and the furthest star. The same pulse runs through all, the same fragrance of empty blissful being is common to everything. In The Secret of the Golden Flower it is said, "In this kind of seeing, one only sees that no shape is there... If a man wants to make certain of his body he cannot get at it." Hsueh--feng said, "The whole great earth is nothing but you." Where are the boundaries to your body? Do they end at your skin? You could lose your arms and legs and still be alive, but if you were to lose the atmosphere that surrounds the earth, your body would not last more than a few minutes. If you were to lose the sun, your body would not last long. So our body may be larger than we think. In fact it may be as large as the universe. The Gandavyuha Sutra says, "Bodhisattvas are able to expand their bodies to the ends of the universe."

The spiritual friend is one who reminds you of your original face. The work/play of this friend is exquisitely joyful because it is an ongoing celebration of awakening. Can you imagine a more blissful endeavor than being present to the process of awakening? Can you imagine a more joyful process than being present to the rebirth of consciousness; being present to someone who has been under the illusion that they were an utterly separate entity, an island unto themselves, and then realizing who they really are; being present to the seed losing itself as seed, the caterpillar undergoing its transformation through chrysalis to wings? Just to be present to such a blessing -- being coming to meet itself -- is enough.

Post by Akilesh

February 17, 2005

The Spiral Stairs

Posted by Hello

I climb the spiral stairs, circling round
round, again and again, stepping up,
dizzy already, looking forward -
endless stairs.

Breathing hard, but hardly moving.
It begins to look familiar - Have I been
here before? No, I’m further up
the spiral, leaning as I go.

Climbing to larger views. Circling I ascend,
round again thoughts return, experiences repeat.
Dropping inconsequentials along the way,
outgrown clothing left behind.

As I (who am I?) climb (to where?)
the spiral stairs encircle me, I climb into nothing,
a center place where memories, joy
and sorrow, circle, spiral, out and in.

I climb in and out of darkness, Shall I look back?
"No, do not look back." keep going...
step into the question again, and again.

The only step that matters is the one I am on.
I have not been here before. Spiraling closer
and closer to the light. Consciously
climbing round out again.

As I (who?) step, losing myself
Climb into silence, no sound of footsteps.
uniquely alone now, this is a singular
silent journey.

Steps disappearing.
No one pushing or pulling.
No reference. I hold an invisible thread.
I...nothing, emerging, dissolving into light.

February 15, 2005


Meredith: My house has a large wrap around porch, and I like to spend time here in the morning, enjoying the silence. The other morning when I went out to the porch, it was raining hard. There was a clean, damp earthy freshness in the air. The field I look upon appears secluded, and at the same time, open. The birds were enjoying the birdbath, and a deer was just a few feet from the porch – grazing on my flowers for many moments before noticing me. Then, in my quiet reverie, I noticed how everything just seemed so lush, and wet, and I noticed the rain itself, the drops, and the ripples the drops made in the bird bath. I noticed the way the drops hang, like prisms, to the end of the leaves. I wonder about a single drop of rain water, where it comes from, where it goes, what it touches. I thought about my thoughts, as though my perception was a lens, that can become long, wide, or micro at my will. I noticed my self noticing. Who is noticing? A ubiquitous spirit joins me here.

...the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source.... Here is the fountain of action and of thought.... We lie in the lap of immense intelligence.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Akilesh: Where are you placing your precious attention?

Meredith: Where is my attention? It is more and more on the ultimate, on divine presence everywhere and in everything. My attention is more on the background, not the foreground. However, it is also within. This paradox is one I have been contemplating recently. I recognize that divine presence holds everything, including the cosmos, the earth, nature, and all the species that exist, but it is also the ground of my own awareness. This is like the transcendent and the imminent, the outer and the inner having the same ground of identity. Thus, the viewer is the view, or vice versa. The same divine reality that holds the universe within itself also dwells within our hearts. This, you know.

Akilesh: It is this consciousness, unbounded by any identity, identification, that is Divinity itself. It is that which holds all, and indeed Meredith it is the "ground of (your) own awareness." It is the ground of your being, local, "transcendent and the imminent." As you say the "viewer is the view." Viewing is happening, only there is no viewer at all, no one to which this viewing is happening. It is consciousness itself, the foundation of your being -- and miraculously it is in full measure here in your heart, local and imminent. When you drop ego fixation, there is no mediator between you and existence, no watcher, no observer. You are existence. Viewing is happening but without a viewer. It doesn't require positing a viewer. It's self existing. Presence, or God, or being is self existing. It doesn't require "me," or a thinker at all. In fact, it is this illusion of a thinker that precludes our realization of unity. It is an illusion, yet a compelling and persistent and fundamental illusion. And there is tremendous support and validation for this illusion in consensus reality. This is why it's so difficult to wake up. The conditioning is deep and persistent and pervasive.

February 13, 2005

Love from Wholeness

Like steam; loneliness.
Swirling, foggy, moist.
Lingering in the tub alone
a tender, romantic, yearning.

Turn down the hot,
slow bubbling thoughts,
finally steam recedes; light gathers.
In the stillness fog dissipates.

Naked and alone, observing,
warmth moving with invisible strength;
merging out, like waves,

Forgetting loneliness
circling aloneness.
Alone yet not yearning; fluidity,
a formless, transparent window.

Clear water, invisible yet complete,
warmth and light carried effortlessly
never asking another to fill,
lift or yield.

Filtered sunlight, tepid pools
merge into sheltered darkness and
cold flowing, silently infiltrating
non-possessively divine.

Loneliness, partial and yearning
now whole, offered and released
Pure, formless, flowing outward
ever returning, circling and surging.


February 12, 2005

Your Song

Posted by Hello

Imagine a bird in the forest. At some point in her life something emerges from her heart -- a song. And this song echoes throughout the forest and reaches to the furthest star. It is kindred with that star. Starlight is in her song. Her song is not separate from dust coalescing and igniting into a brilliant celestial body. Her song is pure and perfect, authenticity itself. Awakening naturally brings forth this song. Singing the song of celebration, the song of joy, brings it into existence. It is not a thing. It is a process that depends on the singing. Release your song, do not hesitate. Glimpsing who you are at the foundation of your being, let your heart open and pour out your song, the energy of awakening, the fragrance of those beautiful flowers, so alive within you, flowers in full, ecstatic bloom. This bliss, which you have tasted, is not manifest until you begin singing, sharing. Bliss, love, celebration, awakening is not a thing that you have to find somewhere, or that you will achieve or get, or that will come to you eventually. It is it being. You don't find it, you will never find it because you are it. When you realize this -- just sing. When you turn into this vast jewel of wholeness, the vibration around you is that of bliss, of love. Sing this love song. You will know it by the presence of gratitude and contentment. How could you ask for more? So many blessings are showering on you, filling you to overflowing. You are so grateful, so thankful for just this air, the sun that warms your skin, and the good earth that holds you up. You have touched the source within, and this source feeds you, blesses you deeply, and you in turn, can bless. An infinite abundance overflows from within you, and so you sing, you share your gratitude.

When we sing our song, we radiate our bliss to others, and they may take heart in it. They may be encouraged and uplifted hearing this song, however imperfect. I was listening to some Sufi singing and what struck me was the un-self-consciousness of it -- what sounded like an old man with a gravelly voice singing in a wailing tone. What was coming through was authenticity, not words or tones, but an ecstatic pointing at the beyond. Technically far from perfect but infused with the fragrance of the beyond. When you touch authenticity, whatever you sing inspires. It is breathing life, aliveness, and it uplifts all it touches. With inspiration, we breathe in each other.

Sing imperfectly. There is no right or wrong in this song, no better or worse. None at all. It is not about articulation or strategy or mechanics. It is a magical happening that is trying to emerge from within you. Only you have to allow it, let it come out, flow from that place of authenticity and joy within. You cannot fail at this. The only sin is to miss, to live your life unaware, a sonambulist until death, wasting this precious human life. And all we really have is a few short days. That's all, just a few days in the sun. All will be taken from us. It is not permanent. Drop these toys and distractions, these preoccupations, and sing this song of awakening, of joy. You have tasted so many times and missed. Return to the source of your bliss within. Start there and find your way back to the wellspring itself. It is inside you. Only you can bring it out. And we all do this very awkwardly. Why do we insist on attending our own enlightenment ceremony? This never happens. In waking up we don't gain anything, we lose something, give up something which we have been holding on to for dear life. We don't achieve anything. Nothing is added to us that was not present with us to begin with. A toddler walks awkwardly at first. It doesn't matter to her how she looks, she will fall again and again, experience pain, shed tears, get up again and again, her heart brimming with enthusiasm as she takes those first few tentative steps. Drop all this stuff about enlightenment. The word has become an impediment. You will never achieve it. When you realize you are a nothingness, a nobody, the light will be unmistakable. It will ring like a clear bell, the sound trailing off into silence -- a vast, endless stillness. You will not be there, and a vast silence will be present. And with it an exquisite and subtle bliss. This bliss is your beacon, your bellwether, your guide. It will not fail you.

Post by Akilesh

February 10, 2005


Rumi, the lover, spent the day with me.

Resting before getting out of bed, I pulled Rumi to me. He said, “Though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.” Rumi startled me. Refreshed and awake, I am quietly nudged, and sweetly reminded of who I am.

In meditation, I sit, and become empty and aware, warm with love. I lose myself. Rumi said, “I can’t explain the goings, or the comings. You enter suddenly and I am nowhere again. Inside the majesty.”

At breakfast today, Rumi said, “Who ever acts with respect will get respect. Whoever brings sweetness will be served almond cake.” Thank you Rumi, it is delicious.

I notice an old photo. With a lingering penchant for wistful sadness, tears rise up. Rumi said, “But listen to me; for one moment, quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you.” And I noticed early camellia blossoms already dropping their exquisite pink blossoms onto the garden soil. How did he know? In this moment my sadness dissipates.

Looking out my window onto the boulevard, watching the traffic speed by, I feel a sense of longing. Rumi said, “Days full of wanting, let them go by without worrying that they do. Stay where you are inside such a pure, hollow note.” I am here now in this comfortable space, watching out the window I become unattached – the moment is pure.

Rumi left me a note by my window. It reads, “Every object, every being, is a jar full of delight. Be a connoisseur.” And I looked, and saw with fresh eyes flags with brilliant colors illuminated by light, gently tossed by an invisible breeze to delight me.

He quietly whispered, “Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.” I notice the sunlight filtering through the early morning fog, illuminating the grass with the patterns of dancing leaves. I watch, silently, full of wonder.

Rumi popped up again and said to me, “Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look to see who’s there.” Oh Rumi, you are being playful with me. Who, who is knocking? Is it you? Is it me? There you are! It is my beloved.

The news came on the car radio. I turned it off. Rumi reminded me, “World-power means nothing. Only the unsayable, jeweled inner life matters.” I know he's right - I hardly have the words to express it.

My heart is so open. I live, full of awe, experiencing the joy and artistry of the simplest moment, rich beyond measure with inner treasures. I stop to wonder about it. Then Rumi said, “This is not a day for asking questions, not a day on any calendar. This day is conscious of itself. This day is a lover, bread, and gentleness, more manifest than saying can say.”

I know you are right, again, Rumi. Thank you, my beloved friend.

February 9, 2005

Spiritual Friends

It is not the clay the potter throws,
which gives the pot its usefulness,
but the space within the shape,
from which the pot is made.
Tao Te Ching

Friendship is like the space in the clay pot. This space is empty, ready for filling with thoughts, reflections, questions, musings, inspirations, and tender words. And as much as is poured in, there is always room for more. True authentic friendship is an astounding gift on the spiritual journey. In this sensitive and comfortable space we share, we can each feel ourselves growing in the Light. Through Spiritual Friendship, we are each nurtured toward our own natural and perfect unfolding.

I am so grateful for my spiritual friends. Thank you all!

February 3, 2005

A Crystal Rim

Lifts its glass to the sun
And light – light
Is poured.

A bird
Comes and sits on a crystal rim
And from my forest cave I
Hear singing,

So I run to the edge of existence
And join my soul in love.

I lift my heart to God
And grace is poured.

An emerald bird rises from inside me
And now sits
Upon the Beloved’s

I have left that dark cave forever.
My body has blended with His.

I lay my wing
As a bridge to you

So that you can join us


My Beloved's Presence

There are so many expressions of love; a knowing glance, small tokens, heartfelt letters, endearing expressions, and above all, my beloved's presence.

At one level my beloved’s presence is simply his physical nearness. Sitting at dinner together, sharing friendly conversation, walking side by side along the beach, feeling the closeness of my beloved's body, I am immersed in his physical presence. However, just simmering under the line of my consciousness, I sometimes have felt an underlying, gnawing feeling of separateness, of not really being known completely. I recognized, even with this intimacy we shared, that my partner and I could not know one another completely – for there is much about each of us that is a mystery, even to ourselves.

Recently, I have become aware of presence in a different context. This context has revealed to me other levels of being with my beloved that have brought even greater joy, deeper intimacy and a more nourishing spiritual bonding. Consciously or unconsciously, I believe all of us crave this deeper level of presence. We yearn to be truly seen and heard, to share ourselves with someone who listens to our emotional and spiritual self-discovery, who is able to focus on this with us. When we are deeply listened to, we more freely speak about ourselves honestly and from the depth of our being where we can begin to drop our mask and reveal our true self, our inner soul. And going deeper still, we can move beyond a presence that permits emotional disclosure to a level of exquisite presence that simply Is. This level of presence invites us to share our essence with another, to settle softly into our own Beingness. The quiet peacefulness we feel results from this shared presence, as we each rest in our own sense of Being. No longer separated by our stories, we are joined by our mutual participation in the Oneness of an all-pervasive, ever-present intelligent energy.

In a love relationship, we have at our side someone who loves us. I have been so grateful to share my life with my beloved – a path that has opened into greater and more meaningful dimensions of intimacy. As individuals, we walk, talk and experience life differently from one another, but when we come into open presence with each other, all those differences slide away. Only the Oneness remains. It is here, in relationship, that we really learn to walk this path, to open our hearts and share our open presence.

I have found that when I approach my beloved with reverence, I am able to touch the divine that lives in each of us. When I gaze upon my beloved with eyes that are open to my own soul, I am able to glimpse the spiritual nature that lies beneath our separateness. When I listen deeply, from an intuitive center, I hear my beloved’s heart speaking. When my beloved and I breathe together, allowing the breath move in and out of our bodies and mingle in the space between us, returning over and over again to the source of sacred breath deep within us, we stand naked in the mystery and joy of holy union. Apart, this connection remains; indeed, I feel my beloved’s presence even when he is no longer physically near. I feel him here right now, right beside me. I am filled with gratitude for this intimate presence in my life, a presence that reflects a Divine Beloved with in each of us.

February 2, 2005

Dark Night

There comes a time when both body and soul
enter into such a vast darkness
that one loses light and consciousness
and knows nothing more of God’s intimacy.
At such a time, when the light in the lantern burns out
the beauty of the lantern can no longer be seen.
With longing and distress, we are reminded of our nothingness.

Mechtild of Magdeburg


You too will have your descent, your dark night. You too will drop from the edge of the precipice, into open, empty space, the authentic presence at the foundation of your being. You are already here, only you harbor an extremely seductive, pervasive and persistent illusion. Were it not for the anguish of clinging to this illusion, you would remain in your cocoon, desperately trying to hold on to your familiar world unto death. But suffering is an unrelenting messenger, slowly or fiercely contributing to your ripening. The message of impermanence, the temporary and provisional nature of form, leaks into our sleepy consciousness day in and day out, and turns our head, helps us inquire, ask the big questions, and return to the source within.

As you allow yourself to be exposed to the forces of annihilation, as you willingly place yourself into the forge, where the heat and pressure of existence is allowed to work on you, as you expose yourself to this alchemical process where unconscious material is brought into the light of awareness, illuminated, given being, allowed, given a place, some space -- you ripen. Hanging heavy on the branch, you're exposed to the wind, rain and sun. There is nothing to shield you, protect or defend you from the harsh and benevolent grace of nature. And you ripen. You begin surrendering, letting your guard down, softening, dropping your resistance, you open and are transformed without having to do anything. By and by the fruit falls from the tree; you dissolve in the vastness of your original nature, which has been patiently abiding, lovingly waiting for you. Authentic presence moves from the background to the foreground in one sudden flash. Having released your identification with thinking, your clinging to a mind identified self, space opens up for existence to pour into. The hard work of clearing out and opening up has provided a space for authentic presence to descend, to fill you, to shower its blessing and benediction on you. You are no longer in the way, and existence has space to be.

The universe awakens. This awakening, this satori itself, also ripens and continues to lighten up. Then we get scared and pull the covers back over our head, and retreat repeatedly into the old familiar recesses of our cocoon. Here we think we have temporary surcease from our insecurity. But the freshness of living an authentic life evaporates with this retreat back into delusion. Reality is vivid, precise and inherently insecure. We have tasted the beyond, caught the scent of that fragrance, and nothing, nothing compares with the exhilarating rediscovery of our original home. No religion, no creed, doctrine, teaching or discipline can replace the bliss of realizing our original nature, our own treasure house within. This realization requires no external validation or confirmation. It is self-evident. It would make no difference if a hundred sages told you you're mistaken, because it has happened, the realization has flowered from within -- undauntable. It is not based on anything external. It is unconditioned. And you realize this.

Under the covers, back in the womb of our mind identified self, we again live in the sonambulistic twilight of unconsciousness. Once again we become disenchanted with our lives, the suffering, the misery. It dawns on us that our world has once again become claustrophobic, lackluster. Haven't we been here before? Where did we lose our way again, and how? Then we catch a glimpse of sunlight, a whiff of fragrant spring air, and again want out, and set off in search of the openness and freedom that is our birthright. Once again we replay the odyssey of awakening. We wake up and find we're in the theater of self, where the epic of Little Me has been playing over and over. We get up, dazed and nauseated and leave the theater. We go out into the fresh air and sunlight where we rub our eyes and are astounded. We remember our journey outside the prison walls. Eventually we learn how opening up and clearing out leads to increasing luminosity in our lives, a fathomless abundance. And one blissful day we discover the prison walls have fallen away altogether. They are seen to be insubstantial, of our own making, and the house of self collapses. Our identification with mind, body and emotion dissolves and (this has been said in so very many different ways) the sky falls on our head, we turn into existence itself, the universe wakes up, we are pulled through the gate without the use of our own hands. Simply, you are awake. Authentic being, authentic presence is here. Call it bliss, call it love, beauty, silence, call it God.

Post by Akilesh