No one will ever know what it’s like to be who you are.
Let that be an indescribable myth for your own appreciation.
No one will ever know what it’s like to be who you are.
Let that be an indescribable myth for your own appreciation.
nhlstnhlst said: i never saw a horse trying to find his true Self why should I ?
Is a horse orchestrating genocides, polluting the planet, working 9-5 jobs, or living in a general state of violent confusion?
1. A person juggling a dozen bean bags without realizing it.
2. That person then realizing they are juggling a dozen bean bags and starting to falter. They are excited to realize how incredible their feat of juggling is but also filled with hope and fear. They hope to continue juggling and fear dropping the bean bags. This added hope and fear then causes them to falter while juggling.
3. The person regains a state of unwavering composure. No longer are they caught by a mental imagination of the future, called hope and fear. Their full attention is engaged in the act of juggling but their sense of self is rooted in silent presence. The juggling remains smooth and continuous.
The horse is like number #1. The majority of humanity is at the stage of #2. The spiritual way helps to stabilize us in #3.
Is anything changing? The juggling in the beginning and in the end are the same. And yet there is also something different. There is a different quality of awareness.
Recognizing the reality of existence is not a “should.” I would never say that someone “should” be more spiritual or something like that. It’s just an inevitability if we want to free ourselves from unnecessary suffering and uncover the vast potential of harmony both within and without.
We are either living in ignorance or we are aspiring for clarity. Your True Self™ is not elsewhere to be found. It is not hiding. If it were, “finding” it would be much easier. What makes it seem so enigmatic is the fact that you are and always were that Self. The path is about finally coming to know that as it truly is, without the constructs of name and form.
I think most people come onto the path for different reasons. They want more peace, less anxiety, more love, less fear, or healing. But sooner or later the path will overturn every concept you have about yourself, the world, and reality itself.
theashwars said: I have trusted my intuition and left the Catholic Church (I will be working in the Church until June). I have great peace and love from leaving. However, I feel at this moment without the structure of the Catholic Church (or any religion) as if I am without structure or without something to hold onto. For example I don't have any practice or ritual, except silent meditation every day. I feel as if I should be DOING something as if to make my own beliefs valid or more tangible. Any suggestions?
Instead of talking, listen. Instead of doing, feel.
A belief is like a guide. As in, I believe the gas station is thataway, so I’ll walk in that direction and see if I find it. I don’t need to validate that belief nor is that belief particularly important once I have gotten to the gas station.
Also, that belief isn’t me. If the gas station isn’t thataway, then I can just shrug and head whichaway instead.
So then what’s the point? Exploration.
Churches and most religions focus on ideas taken as truth and then consequences of those truths. Because you believe this, then you believe that and therefore should do ______. Religion becomes a kind of governing force of dogma and is limited by its anthropocentric perspective.
What are you seeking: To assert your own beliefs and/or those you have taken in since childhood? Or to finally give the Creation a chance to speak its wisdom through your silent heart?
Exploration is active communion with the divine reality of consciousness. Belief is passive retention of mind, like a bookmark. Useful but not a place from which to seek shelter.
Leaving the church will likely feel disorienting. Like you say, you will feel an urge to DO. But try not to confuse exploration and “doing.” Exploration could mean sitting on a bench and listening to the patter of rain while waiting for the bus. Exploration means interrupting your habitual way of perceiving and acting. But you aren’t interrupting those habits with other habits or with other actions or perceptions. You are interrupting the unconsciousness of habit with the conscious presence of full attention.
You feel peace and love now but you may find yourself feeling all sorts of confusing or painful things. The path does not consist of clinging to what feels good and avoiding what feels bad. Rather, the path encourages us to go deeply into whatever wisdom this moment is attempting to share with us.
Since you are likely most familiar with a christian paradigm, you may enjoy reading some of the spiritual works of some magnificent disciples of Christ. The writings of Meister Eckhart, Thomas Merton, and Anthony de Mello will do a fantastic job do introduce some new influences to your practice and your perspective.
In my personal practice, I’ve adopted the approach of avoiding indulgence. If I feel very caught up in doing, I begin to emphasize the non-doing and non-dual nature of reality to my spiritual practices. If I begin to feel like withdrawing from the world and into myself, I will start to emphasize compassion, bodhicitta (the motivation to awaken to the fullness of reality for the benefit of others), and spontaneous enlightened activity.
The reason for this is that neither doing nor non-doing is the whole case. Like beliefs, they are approaches. Both approaches will urge you beyond the approach. By refraining from excessive indulgence into either activity or non-activity, you avoid mistaking them for the ultimate and falling into a habit of belief. It keeps your path alive and challenging rather than stale and dogmatic.
BUT in the end, your silent meditation is your best friend. When you can be quiet, the voiceless voice within will become more obvious. You are the best one to know your path and where it should go. Just as you knew to leave the church at this point in your life.
If you feel snagged or stagnated in the nakedness of your path, since having so much freedom can almost be like a writer staring at a blank page, you are welcome to contact me. Typically I find inspiration from reading the words of great saints, such as those of the christian mystics I mentioned above or those of the far East. But everyone’s got their own thing, I suppose.
Namaste :) May your way be blessed.
petedesa said: How does one deal with the idea of losing love (and losing it)?
You are love. You can lose something you have; you cannot lose something that you are.
The problem is that most of us have been encultured to think that love is a commodity that we get and give. If you are worthy, you will be loved by someone who is worthy. If you become unworthy, you will lose the love of others.
It’s also a way for your ego to pick and choose who receives the light of your love and who is left in darkness.
But loving and being loved are two very different things. If someone loves you but you are somehow shut off, depressed, or unable to receive it, then no matter how much they love you, you will not feel it. Yet if you love someone, regardless of whether or not they accept it, you will feel filled with love.
The point in that difference is to highlight the fact that love is a nondual phenomenon. It doesn’t require two people or a subject and object. Just one heart.
Whenever it seems like love is disappearing from your life, be that in the form of a breakup or a series of unfortunate events, don’t struggle to impose your preferences onto the situation. Don’t strive to satisfy your insecurity.
Instead, use that as an opportunity to uncover the real abode of love, the timeless radiance within your beating heart.
It’s not easy and it’s not painless but really there is no other choice. Love shines from the placeless, timeless, sourceless source within. So long as you require someone or something external to give you permission to access and commune with the source of love, you will be in unnecessary bondage. By learning to bear your heart, to allow it to break open, you can uncover the very abode of consciousness.
You do not love or bring love into the world. Love is what manifests you in utter newness, moment after moment.
Reexamine everything you have assumed about love and where to find it. Question all of your previous assumptions. And practice tonglen meditation.
A book I also strongly recommend is The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.
Namaste :) Much love.
beyondtheselenses said: Lazy yogi, I feel like I'm in this constant stressful environment, an environment that I'm creating. I keep stressing over not saving up enough money to move to a place in the future that I'm undecided about. I'm ignoring the present and focusing all my energy on the past and future and I'm at that point where my head feels claustrophobic. I just want to breath again and feel focused in a relaxed way....but I just feel unclear at this point in my life.
This is the raison d’etre for meditation. Everything you just listed as an issue actually has little to do with your environment. The stress is in your mind’s fixation on past and future rather than a certain quality of the present. In fact, it is the very lack of presence that makes the stress seem all the more inescapable.
When we define our world too solidly, too definitively, the world starts to feel like a smaller place. We think we know what there is to know, or even that the world can be an object of our knowing. That’s a ruse I sometimes get caught up in as well.
Primarily it is caused by the fixation on past and future. The past makes you feel as if you are a solid person, a specific individual. If you want to be another, then you will have to change. That is the perspective of the past; it freezes identity into place and relies on time for any changes.
The future, on the other hand, is what limits our current activity. Plans or hopes for the future can create a tension between the present and the mental conception of the future. It can almost feel as though you are living in a game of pre-selected moves.
These factors, in addition to the compulsive thinking that is driven by the added stress, come together to create that feeling of claustrophobia.
Firstly, let’s make one thing clear: You are capable of planning for the future while being mindful of the past without sacrificing your sanity and presence here and now. That is the new skill you are in the process of developing.
Daily meditation is an opportunity to sit, be still, and bring all of your attention to one single place. And since there isn’t anything for you to accomplish, no way for you to fail or mess up the meditation, you can also be wholly relaxed.
This has an impact on you both energetically and mentally. Your thoughts, judgments, and perceptions about you, your past, and your future all create energetic sensations in your body. They’re stored as neural pathways and like any pathway through the wild, the more well-traveled the path, the easier it is to traverse. Thus, these energetic sensations leave traces that are easily re-activated. When they are, they also cause the return of invasive thoughts.
There you can see the way thinking and feeling are a coupled system, as one can propagate the other.
In meditation, you are allowed to relax totally. However, unlike nearly all other forms of relaxation known in our society, this relaxation is conscious. People wrongfully associate meditation with a “tuning out,” like flipping on the TV at the end of a long day. That’s definitely relaxing but it is not conscious. When you relax consciously, these disharmonious energetic pathways are brought to your attention in one form or another.
All you do is sit with them. Whatever thoughts, whatever feelings arise, you just sit and remain focused and relaxed. The thoughts and feelings self-liberate. This means that not only is there nothing you can do about them but that there is nothing you need to do about them. All you can do is drop your preferences as to what you experience during meditation.
Every time you sit for meditation, something changes in both your mind and energy. It is a healing process and also one of awakening. But awakening nearly always begins with healing.
So take up daily meditation as a place to begin. You can start as soon as today!
It is okay to feel unclear. I can actually relate to that feeling. I’m in a new apartment for a new semester and I’m still sorting out all my responsibilities and commitments. I’m slowly but surely ramping up into study mode but I really have no idea what’s going on. This is one reason why I’ve made the extra effort to carve out time for daily meditation. It’s easy to get mired in the insecurity and ambiguity of any rat race, be it grades or money.
"Things" aren’t clear yet for me but that’s okay. If you’re clear, life doesn’t have to be. It can be messy, confusing, and demanding, but that doesn’t have to diminish you in any way. Life and its component parts are always shifting and changing. Sometimes they’ll be in a recognizable arrangement, sometimes not. Should we have to wait for specific formations before being at peace?
A book I would also highly recommend to help keep you oriented during this time is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.
"Before I went to the protest that day, I stood in front of a picture of the Dalai Lama, and I swore an oath: ‘If I am arrested, I will not give the names of any of my friends.’ They put me through eight months of interrogation. They burned cigarettes on my face. They made me stand in ice for four hours, until my skin froze into the ice, and then they pushed me forward. They gave me electric shocks on my tongue. They told me they were going to kill my father and mother. After eight months, I had a trial. Two guards stood next to me when I testified, and they hid electric shocks in my sleeves in case I said something they didn’t like. I was sentenced to four years. Sometimes I’d get so hungry I’d eat toothpaste. And sometimes I’d get so thirsty, I’d drink my urine. When I finally got out, I weighed 39 kilograms."
my immune system noticing the transition to autumn has prompted the first matcha bowl of the season :D
markcfm said: "A year from now, you might regret not starting today". My teacher wrote this on the whiteboard at school today as a 'motivational tool'. What are your thoughts on this?
Time passes ceaselessly. A year will pass regardless of what you do or do not start today. But the tiniest seed today may become a monolithic redwood in time.
Two years ago, I was in a rather tortured place. Living at home on a pullout couch, no job, cutoff from the society of my peers I had grown accustomed to in college. My ex of six years and I had split and I was continually bombarded by the criticism of my family, barely disguised as “advice.”
Then I had a fateful lunch one day with an old family friend. My father had died when I was in high school and this man was one of his close friends all my life. Originally I had planned to ask him about the potential for finding work through Tibet House, a charitable organization dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan culture. However, something else entirely came of our meeting.
Over lunch in Grand Central terminal, he explained to me why he thought I should be a doctor. More than that, he felt I was meant for it.
The first thing I said was, "I’ll have to go back to school. It will take a long time."
He looked at me with a saucy smile and replied, "I’m sorry, are you busy?"
I was a writer. Two years later and now I’m as versed in the chemical structure of molecules as I am in grammar. The physics of the fundamental forces composing reality, the applications behind calculus, and use of statistical methods all factor into my daily considerations of this or that.
It doesn’t matter who you think you are or what you think you are good at or what you think you aren’t good at. What matters is whether or not you plant the seed, nurture it, and help it to grow into whatever it is going to become.
I’m halfway through my 2-year premedical program and then I’ll be off to medical school, assuming one wants me. When I started, I had no idea if this would fit me. I also had no idea how much the thing I considered myself to be would change as a result of this new direction. I regret none of it.
Motivation is important but not because progress is important. The significance of motivation lies not only in the willingness to plant a new seed today but also in the commitment to nurture it every day. Inevitably that seed to which you initially gave shelter and support will become a great tree which will in turn give you shelter and support.
That’s one cool teacher you got, if you ask me.
handoh said: So, I've been hurt by men too many times, and I am starting to think that it's all my fault. I'm the common denominator in all my failures. What i am asking is, how can I learn to let go of these thoughts and just be happy with myself... I try to let go, but they are invasive and sneak back in when I least expect it.
Hit the pause button for a second.
Your fault? Their fault? How is that a useful approach? The end of a relationship may be painful but it’s only a failure if you didn’t learn what it had to teach you. No one can stop you from growing.
Stop and see. Don’t draw conclusions, don’t impose your own feelings. Take a good long look at yourself, your actions, the men you have chosen, their actions, and the outcomes.
Are the men you choose somehow injured or in need of healing? What are you seeking when you enter a relationship? How much peace and love can you experience by yourself, totally alone? Are you seeking a lover or avoiding aloneness? Do you become clingy, fearful, or overprotective once you taste happiness? These are just a few common lines of inquiry worth exploring.
My point is that fault-finding isn’t useful. Thorough examination is.
The mind can fall into the habit of compulsive thinking. You can’t help but to start questioning your value, decisions, personality, whatever. Thinking becomes cyclic and painful.
Whenever there are thoughts present that are causing you distress, it means your mind has started using you. The mind is a tool we are meant to use but when the tool starts using you, things get out of hand. What is needed isn’t to get rid of these thoughts but to no longer react and relate to those thoughts from a place of fear and suffering.
You want peace. You want to love and to receive love. Let those aspirations guide you. Right now you think that if these thoughts weren’t there, you would be happy. But that isn’t true. At one time, those thoughts weren’t there and look where you are now. The presence of certain thoughts or their absence is no guarantee of any measure of peace. But if you can meet all thoughts and emotions with a mind of peace, openness, and awareness, then it doesn’t matter what is here in your head and in your moment. You are ready for it.
Daily meditation is essential.
I would also recommend the book The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. It is a masterpiece.