August 31, 2005

Held in Light

With sincere sympathy, I open my heart to those affected by the hurricane. It seems a small thing, but I hold You gently in the Light.

My Friend, Darrell, shared this touching poem:

Return To The Most Human...
Unison Benediction

a poem by May Sarton

Return to the most human,
nothing less will nourish the torn spirit,
the bewildered heart,
the angry mind:
and from the ultimate duress,
pierced with the breath of anguish,
speak of love.

Return, return to the deep sources,
nothing less will teach the stiff hands a new way to serve,
to carve into our lives the forms of tenderness
and still that ancient necessary pain preserve.

Return to the most human,
nothing less will teach the angry spirit,
the bewildered heart,
the torn mind,
to accept the whole of its duress,
and pierced with anguish...
at last, act for love.

~ May Sarton ~

August 28, 2005

What Breathes Us?

When you touch your bliss, it rings, confirming with the showering of further delight. A song emerges from the core of your being when you touch this sacred space. Unlike any other joy, it is fulfilling and rewarding in an unconditional way. It does not depend on any condition or circumstance to be in place. There is no prerequisite in order for this bliss to shine. It shines just as the stars shine in the blue sky at midday. One who sees with pure eyes can see this light shining at all times, even on a dark, cloudy night. Other forms of happiness are dependent upon various conditions and circumstances, but this bliss is self-existing.

One with pure eyes observes an ordinary ecstasy happening throughout nature at every moment. Pause for a moment and observe this orgasmic celebration. The trees and flowers are singing, the rivers and clouds are dancing, the sun, moon, planets and stars are playing their hearts out, holding nothing back. Why does humankind seem to be so unhappy? TV and news seems to document the same negativity manifest on a smaller scale in our workspace and social encounters. Even celebrations, vacations, and leisure activities seem to be pushed. How rare to find a person standing astounded at the miracle of life flowing in a small insect, a cedar tree, a babbling brook, a solar system, a galaxy. The human hand is a miracle of astounding proportion, and animated by an intelligence of staggering vastness. The play of light upon the human eye is a mystery unfathomable by science. Does science understand the being of fruit fly? It can break down all the components, but it can never infuse this organism with aliveness. It will never figure out that aliveness factor.

We breathe. What breathes us? Rocks breathe, the seabed breathes, oranges and light and cars breathe; the dark night breathes in and out, cosmic dust breathes, even empty space is breathing. All these things are alive and breathing, however subtle. They are expressing energy in some form. I am calling this expression breathing. You can feel this breathing in everything because what you are is this breathing aliveness. And you can feel the ecstasy in this breathing. Life and death are one variation of the in breath and out breath. The ecstasy, the bliss of existence is big, bigger than our small-minded notions of right and wrong, good and bad. These notions are limited by a perspective born out of fixation upon a self-identity. Releasing identification with this self opens up the vast perspective of God, of empty seeing from no reference point whatsoever - a happening that the rational mind simply can not wrap itself around.

The bliss of the whole includes everything in its celebration. Everything. It does not leave out what the mind would consider unacceptable. This celebration is beyond good and bad, right and wrong, happy or sad. This celebration is happening at all times and everywhere and can be realized in a miraculous /ordinary way at any moment. Look and see this celebration happening within and without before thought. Before you have any thought, this celebration is happening. It is utterly independent of thought, rational thought. One can see the actuality of this instantly, or use a variety of meditation techniques to reveal it. This celebration is not trying to remain hidden, miserly hiding the Truth from us. On the contrary it is vividly dancing naked, exposed in the wide open.

This can be approached from another direction, through appreciation – big appreciation or basic appreciation or primordial appreciation. Existence appreciates itself in form. You could say existence loves all of its forms or manifestations. Is it not so that your being in all its vastness, is deeply in love with itself? Are you not in love with all these manifestations of the whole? Is it not the mind that separates and divides that which is inherently whole? God looks upon her creation and sees that it is good. God looks upon all these forms, the 10,000 things and sees that they manifestations of one Being; that they are none other than the one-body, and what God feels is love. Is this not so?

It is as if existence appreciates experiencing itself in a myriad of ways, in billions of ways. It experiences itself in a child dancing around a tree and the collapse of a star in a distant galaxy. It experiences itself in infinite permutations, in infinite worlds in this herenow. It is simultaneously experiencing and appreciating itself with out any experiencer. This appreciation is vast, primordial, and before thought. When the hawk’s talons sink into the dove, there is the primordial ecstasy, the appreciation. When the child emerges from the womb, life emerging out of nothingness, there is deep appreciation, and when the child returns to nothingness after being struck by a car on the highway, before and within the human heartbreak, there is blissful appreciation. When the athlete vaults to his personal record, and when the elderly man falls breaking a brittle hip, there is immeasurable appreciation in and from the isness of existence. Our minds rebel against or applaud these things according to our social conditioning and biological programming, but this does not change the fact that existence loves its creation, manifestation, and expression in all its various aspects. While our human heart breaks at loss, suffering and death, and rejoices at gain, pleasure and birth, existence, God or pure consciousness appreciates all, spontaneously extends love to all processes, to both the healthy newborn and the terminally ill three year old on the oncology ward.

Not just for what we agree with does existence celebrate and appreciate, but for all things and processes - an abundant crop feeding thousands and a typhoon killing thousands. You may have read lines in scripture and sacred texts or in the poems of the mystics, that referred to allowing things to be as they are or to let things be, let it be, leave be, allow, allow it to remain as it is, love it as it is, or accepting “what is” instead of what you think it should look like or how it should be according to your pictures. In this you can see the arrogance of little me: God allows yet the I thinks it must be otherwise; existence accepts and does not interfere with its beloved creation yet the ego wants to change things, to improve upon existence, to make things better according to its agenda.

The whole is loving, open and allowing. It allows, and even allows the ego to make its efforts to improve upon creation. Again, nothing wrong with ego. It makes things more comfortable and secure for human life, its survival and health. It is just that through conditioning we have it in the place of master (we identify with and think we are this ego-structure as if it were a solid, separate self existing entity, which it is not, it is a useful, mechanistic process), instead of in its proper place as servant. Thinking we are this ego-identity, we miss our original face, who we are in the totality of our Being. When we realize our original nature, we see that we can still make our children safe, we can perform research to discover cures to cancer, we can provide relief for typhoon victims, and use the tools of science to cultivate the land and feed ourselves; we can promote health, comfort, security, safety, happiness, entertainment, recreation, whatever, but we move from awakeness, graceful presence, from our godliness, our realization of wholeness, and the wisdom and love of non-reference point. It seems like a small shift but this transformation makes all the difference in the world. You are awake and being awake your are filled with love for Self as it appears in all of its various forms. You can see how this alters everything. Imagine the Arab-Israeli peace process conducted by participants who are awake. Even if they were not very intelligent or intellectual or knowledgeable in the ways of international diplomacy, they would move from the wisdom of non-reference point; wisdom that realizes there is fundamentally no other; that Arab and Jew are just labels, just identities, names for the sacred nameless. They wouldn’t just think this, they would live it; they would live their godliness, realizing the God-Being they are, and seeing it as identical with the God-Being the fellow across the table is.

Talk is cheap. Spiritual terms like NamastĂ© just roll off the tongue or onto the paper, but to embody such a term, to live it and express through our humanity is quite another thing. Adyashanti speaks of a fidelity to Truth. We can never just hover, never just flop and not put forth some effort to express our realization through our humanness, our body, mind and emotions. The day never comes when we can go on autopilot and leave everything to the god within. Quoting a Sufi, Osho said God needs our hands to tether our camel. This human life is a precious opportunity for awakening. Once we taste this awakening and it deepens in us, stabilizes in our humanness, then we take up the mantle of responsibility to express it, to embody it in our day-to-day living as human beings. We discover our freedom and then embody it and express it in everything we do and say. This is celebration. We can relax into this responsibility because it is blissful. May not be pleasurable, comfortable or pleasant all the time, but it will carry that deep, subtle bliss of wakefulness. For some, this is the heart’s deepest desire to embody wakefulness and express it daily in their humanness.

Post by Akilesh

August 24, 2005

Fears

One of the challenges of the spiritual journey seems to be that of facing fears, of looking squarely into the unknown. Sitting in the safe pew of the grandfather, and superficially accepting religion without questioning leaves an inquiring mind and heart spiritually hungry. Yet to venture out to the area of the unknown, into deeper waters is like taking that first ride on two thin wheels of the bicycle – it makes us tremble a bit. But really - where is there to fall? Would the waves of the spiritual sea truly overtake us? Could we actually make a mistake here from which there would be no return? What fears dominate or censor our exploration, and cause us to desperately cling to an imagined safe and secure life ring?

I'm reminded of an experience of flying in a very small plane, and feeling very uneasy in the turbulence and rattling noise of the small engine. Fear kept coming over me, while I gripped, white knuckled, to the seat in front of me. And then, in a lucid moment laced with fatalistic humor, I realized that clinging to anything on that plane would be futile in a real emergency. There was nothing solid to hold on to. Finally, I just let my grip go, and relaxed back into the seat, and for the first time, noticed the amazing view. Aptly, it was the Grand Canyon!

Experience tells me that we are all gifted with a natural ability to swim in these spiritual waters, to let go into the majesty, and breathe deeply the same wondrous divinity that inspired Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and so many others.

August 22, 2005

Step out

Every night, just before going to bed, I have a little routine of quietly stepping outside into the darkness. I wonder if you do this, too. There is something so magical in the night – there are particular sounds and fragrances and shadows on the ground. The fullness of the night sky is so amazing, as it goes on and on into other worlds. The nighttime beckons us to let go, let it be. My heart overflows with the presence I feel. Just as I begin the day with the light of the sunrise, it is so complete to end the day honoring the darkness. In this quiet moment, I feel so much gratitude, so much trust, and so much love.

So step out tonight, and I will meet you there.

August 19, 2005

Reminders

You are on my mind tonight. I feel the sensation of presence ubiquitously. Maybe it is because the evening sun was glittering on the river this late afternoon. Maybe because the fragrance of autumn fills the night air. Maybe it is the powerful fullness of the moon. Actually there are these sort of tickling reminders everywhere... but the most potent reminder was found in the timid eyes of strangers looking up and making contact; intimate, brief, interior glances, each one a homecoming to the immediacy of Presence.

Why do we forget who we are? Why do we need reminders along the way?

August 16, 2005

The Face of the Friend

This morning, as has been true so many mornings, I watched the sun come up over the eastern skyline. The sun makes this remarkable yet ordinary journey each day, with exquisite penetrating energy. In the early dawn I let this light seep into me as I stand there in quiet reflection. This single moment in this herenow is all that matters – and it is a truly perfect moment. Where does this perfection come from? From where does this warmth radiate? My whole insides smile as I drop gently and effortlessly into the question, and become the answer.

Every evening this week just as we are finishing our dinner on the porch, we have noticed a doe amble by on a path she had made near our fence line. Following are her twin fawns, so endearing with their prancing steps and delicate young markings. The rhythm of their routine is comforting yet fresh; we never tire of noticing her near the field. As we observe her, the doe, alert and ever watchful, undoubtedly notices us. We are part of her routine, too. I love the circularity of this – the shared routine, the shared noticing. We are gathered in this cycle; there is so much perfection in this occurrence, so much blissful appreciation. Akilesh wrote, “Existence loves its creation, manifestation, and expression in all its various aspects.” How can it not? It is all so lovely – and I am struck over and over again with deep gratitude. Akilesh continued, “You are awake and being awake you are are filled with love for Self as it appears in all of its various forms.” Yes.

All outer things are reminders of Being itself; wherever you look is the face of the Friend. Eventually this process always becomes circular – Presence welling up inside us and moving outward, the outer world being consciously recognized and returned back to its source through our awareness. We live for spirit and spirit sustains us. And in that circle, encircled by our presence, is love. So very pure. Amazing love. Truly magical.

August 10, 2005

Lost

Stand still.
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
and you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
you are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
where you are. You must let it find you.

David Wagoner, Who Shall Be The Sun?
Indiana University Press 1978

August 7, 2005

Divine Web

Dusk. The days go by like this. Filled with the wonder of changing light. Darkness falls, there is a moon or not, a sliver or full. Dawn comes – the nubs on the bare branches nose their way into fists and then the leaf fingers open. Shade spreads like a slow liquid across the terrace, each week a little wider, as light softened by emerging leaves as it strengthens with the gathering of spring toward summer. The steady flow of days does not divide itself except by light. And in adhering to its course, cleaving to its current, some old fracture in me heals up like a bone given rest. Some old split between desire and action, between idea and emotion, between spark and dream, between ardor and immediacy – between body and soul, dissolves. Out of time I am carried into wind and weather, into the drift of unbroken enduring affection among all things, a communion in which body is no longer an object I inhabit, but a vehicle of presence that sustains the experience of all other bodies in their joining – tree to earth to sky to bird to seed to shadow in an endless continuity. Then I know why I am here. Then I behold the great belonging in which all things are made one. All things are at home in themselves within the whole. Body and soul are then a singular participation in the divine web of Spirit made flesh.


Elizabeth Carothers Herron
Parabola
Fall, 2005

August 3, 2005

Spreading Your Wings

My spiritual friend said the following is what the ocean says to the river when the river falls into the ocean. It is from a story by Chuang Tzu where the Spirit of the Ocean is speaking to the Spirit of the River:

"You cannot speak of the ocean to a well frog, the creature of a narrower sphere. You cannot speak of ice to a summer insect, the creature of a season. You cannot speak of Tao to a pedagogue, his scope is too limited. But now that you have emerged from your narrow sphere and seen the great ocean, you know your own insignificance and I can speak to you of great principles."

Post by Akilesh

August 1, 2005

The Silent Sky

We meet in the open sky
of not-two, not-one;
in this stillness,
unknowing.

Dissolving the web of identification,
thoughts and feelings no longer
bind us.

You are like a jewel
in an infinite, interconnected net of jewels,
each reflecting the Whole.

With a warmth, a mystery of love
that shines in the eternal now,
you recognize my original face -
"There is nothing at all there" -
in your own.

In humility and respect you refrain
from desecrating the purity of this shrine
with description.

You utter words of magic,
the inconceivable,
uncontainable "Open, Open,"
and leap naked
into nothingness.

This no-thing-ness
is without any trace of openness.
only just this,
the silent sky.


Akilesh