Monday, December 31, 2007

Spiritual REAL-ization

Many people talk of spiritual realization - seek it, treasure it, even speak as if they have 'achieved' it, but often it is not REAL-ization, but rather a form of spiritual MENTAL-ization or INTELLECTUAL-ization. The key facet of REALization is the word REAL. It is a concrete recognition, not simply a mental or intellectual understanding. Now, I am not demeaning a mental or intellectual understanding of spirituality or Truth, but only wish to make the distinction clear.

Let me give a couple of my common examples. First, nearly anyone who has ever had a child knows that there is a HUGE difference between thinking about having a child and actually conceiving and giving birth to one. When you look down at your own child, lying there, alive, virtually helpless, and squiggling, you know...YOU KNOW... that your life will NEVER again be the same!

Or, going to India. Many people know far more about India than I do. They can name every sacred site, teacher, language spoken, etc. They can even relate to you about Indian tastes, smells, congestion, traffic, pollution, politics, etc. But until you have been there, until you have deeply inhaled the smells and tasted the flavors, seen the garbage and the drab and the brilliant colors, it is only a mental picture. You have not LIVED it.

Spirituality is the same. A mental or intellectual understanding of spirituality, while a wonderful thing, basically comes down to what my spiritual master called, "armchair philosophy," or what many would today refer to as being "Unable to walk the talk."

The importance of making this distinction can be clearly expressed in the first lines of the Tao Te Ching - "The Tao that can be spoken of is NOT the eternal Tao." Now, that doesn't mean that one stops talking about it. The Tao te Ching, after saying this, goes on for 81 verses describing the Tao, what the 'superior' man or woman is, their symptoms, and so forth. But even memorizing the entire Tao in the original language won't guarantee that you will make it REAL or live it.

The sad result of only a mental or intellectual understanding is that a person often stops 'doing'anything to really understand and recognize the Truth. It's a sort of "Been there...done that" approach, and so they go on to look for other things to take up their time and entertain them, hoping that Realization will drop on them like a ripe fruit (which it could, but don't hold your breath).

In India, the term for spiritual practice is sadhana. The root is sadh which means to go straight to any goal or aim, to accomplish, to succeed, as well as to MASTER, SUBDUE, CONQUER. This is not always pleasant work, and the very ‘yogic term’ tapas, or tapasya, which comes from the word “to heat” suggests the nature of it. Burning away one’s impurities and karmas is not necessarily always pleasant. While it’s true one can have a path ‘with heart’, that doesn’t always mean (and generally DOESN’T mean) that it will be easy. Burning off all that crap can be a difficult and messy affair, but what are the alternatives?

It is a fine line…Often it feels like you shouldn’t try “too hard”, that realization should be a natural thing, which it is. But on the other hand, if you don’t ‘do’ anything, nothing happens. The main thing to remember is that it is NOT so much a doing, as a shift in Awareness, a perceptual shift, a turning attention “inward” or “heart-ward” or God-ward. And then KEEPING it there, as much and as continuously as possible. Spiritual mastery is about actually making that shift, making spirituality REAL, and not just mental or intellectual. Moment by moment… hour by hour… day by day, until “YOU” are no longer practicing. IT is simply happening. That’s the key.

And by the way...Have a great switch from one arbitrarily created time frame to another
(i.e. Happy New Year!)

Infinite Love & Blessings!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I Have VS. I AM

The other day it came to my attention, when a friend cried out, "I have Power!" that this is part of the fundamental problem, particularly when it comes to some of the new age and alternative thinking. It is the basic distinction of Having versus Being: like I 'have' prosperity' rather than I 'am' properity; or I 'have' enlightenment, rather than I 'am' enlightenment. (Also note the distinction 0f I am enlightenMENT versus I am EnlightenED.) The I "Have" creates a duality that is less subtle even than I Am. I AM is a doorway; I HAVE is a very definite 'me' and 'not me'.

Let's get into grammar for a moment. In Sanskrit (and a number of other languages) there is actually not a verb for 'to have'. You can 'be with' something, like 'I am with this car' or 'this car is being with me' or even 'it is my car,' but not I have this car. (I know, subtle distinction.) But it does say something about the language, which works in subtle ways. For instance, you would tend to say, I am consciousness, rather than I have consciousness. It is as if you recognize something as 'Being' intrinsically who and/or what you are, rather than something thata 'YOU' possess.

Another example, the Ashtavakra Samhita says "If you consider yourself Free you are free and if you consider yourself bound you're bound." And, "Where there is an I there is bondage and where there is no I there is freedom." Our tendency is to think in terms of our western language set up of, which has a tendency for maintaining an individuated "I". This is less common in many other languages. For instance, I have heard that in many native languages there are no nouns, per se, but rather all verbs. A house is not a house, but a 'housing'; a person is a 'personing'. In other words, everything is a movement, an arising of what is in that moment. You don't exist as a concrete thing, but rather a momentary apparency in the ocean of potentiality. Therefore, how can you have something?

Another distinction is that you either are or are not something, and often you can reccognize that you not only ARE this attribute, but have never not been it. To have something, has more of a tendency to allow for not having it. Today I have it, but tomorrow I may not have it, (or vice versa) as opposed to I am, have always been and will always BE consciousness, light, love, this-ness, divinity, whatever. Energetically, you can feel the difference. Try saying, "I have power," and then "I AM power." Or, "I have peace," and then "I AM peace". "I have love," and then, "I AM love." Just see how they feel. Does one FEEL more real? Is one experienced more as a recognition of what is true, rather than a sort of hopeful affirmation of what might be true?

Explore the possibility of "I AM" versus "I Have" and 'be' fun.

Blessings!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Right Here, Right Now & Buckaroo Banzai

Aja: So imagine for a moment, that you have heard about this great place, Puddletown, and it sounds like a really great place, where everyone is happy and peaceful, and blissful, and there's no problems there. Puddletown is the place to be.  It's filled with people and everything is wonderful. So what's the first thing you do? What would you do?

Student: Be skeptical.

Aja: Be skeptical? Good! What else would you do?

Student: Find out what they're eating.

Aja: Find out what they're eating?  Okay. Well, that wasn't exactly where I was going, but along those lines. But yes, you'd start studying it, researching it, finding out what you could about it. Now, as you did that you'd start finding out a lot about Puddletown and you would start to believe in this place called Puddletown. You'd even know their diet. You'd probably start eating like a Puddletonian. Then you start trying to figure out how to get there. But the problem is that the information you'd find would disagree with other information you'd find. Some information would say you take a plane, some that you would take a bus, and you'd never quite get clear on how to get there or where it is. Some would say it's over here and others that it is over there. They'd say that it looks like this or it looks like that. All you know is that it sounds like a really great place and you want to get there, but you don't have any clue how to get there.

And then one day, someone comes along and says, "Puddletown. That's just another name for Portland. You're in Portland!" And you say, "What? No." And your skepticism arises again and you think it couldn't possibly be the same because you're in it and you're miserable. Now what do you do? What happens then? You continue studying and researching and you start to believe that Portland and Puddletown are the same thing. But so deeply entrenched that you're in Portland and NOT Puddletown, you have no idea of how to erase that. And that's exactly what has to be done.

It's the same thing here. Enlightenment, Nirvana is nothing other than what's present right now. What's standing in the way is this deeply entrenched viewpoint that there's somewhere else to go. And most of this has been foisted upon us by this idea that there's someplace to get to, and that there's any problem with what's just here right now, by all the cultural and other blockages that keep you from totally experiencing what's right here and right now, totally allowing us to be who we are. It tells us that we should be all these other things.

The bottom line is that there is no place to get to other than what's here, and it's all about the removing all of the ideas that think this is not perfection right now - that this is not it: removing divisiveness, removing divisions of inside and outside, the difference between spiritual life and material life. But there is no spiritual life and material life. It's all just life. It's all just Presence. You can call it anything you want. You can call it all God, it's all freedom, it's all the Absolute, it's all Consciousness, it's all awareness, it's all power, it's all heart, it's all love. It's all of those things and a million more, and none of them. But THIS is it. This is it, and as long as you are looking for something else, you will absolutely never find it. Because it's not something to be found. Right?

To what extent can you recognize, right now, this is it...I am it? I am that Buddhahood, that Godhood that I am looking for. How many times do you have to be told, "You're it, you're what you are looking for. You're what you are seeking?" What is so hard to believe about that? Just recognize who you are and recognize that you are that which you are looking for. Stop looking and ask, "Okay, Who is looking?" Right now, you're looking at me. Now be the looker. Just switch and ask, "Who is it that is looking out these eyes? Who is the presence that is here? "Hello! Who's home?" So as you simply sit and ask, you recognize, 'This is Me here.' And in this 'Me' there is a body and thoughts, there's a world, there's vision. If I close my eyes, do I go away? Have I gotten bigger or littler? And then you open your eyes and see, "Okay, I didn't go anywhere." Who wrote that line, "Wherever you go there you are?"

Student: Buckaroo Banzai.

Aja: All right, Buckaroo. What more enlightened statement can you make? "Wherever you go, there you are." So what I want you to consider and examine is, what is it that stands in the way of this recognition? Or, what is it that isn't right about it that makes something else evidently more appealing? Or what are the doubts, what are the divisions, what is it that is arising in the moment that makes you say, "No, this isn't it"?

Student: So that's not just a rhetorical question?

Aja: No. That's not a rhetorical question.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

You are a D.I.O.D or "Be as You Are - part 3"

Everyone knows what a diode is. Well, actually, I have no idea what a
diode is - some electrically thing. But forget that. You are a
DIOD. So what is a DIOD? Let me explain:

Part 1. There are two basic ways of looking at the universe,
Existence, All of THIS: one is that it is a totally mechanical
spontaneous arising, of elements that randomly came together much
like the pieces of a watch that just happened to fall together into
Watchness, or the thousand monkeys on typewriters ultimately coming
up with Shakespeare,
OR
There is intelligence behind all of this, a God/Dess, Isness, a great
Singularity of Intelligence, Cosmic Beingness, Wisdom, Creator,
Creatress, Creatrix, Network, Hoo Haa, Divine Wow, Big Bangaroonie,
that Expressed, Imagined, created, manifested the 100 trillion stars
and 100 trillion cells of you and everything else perfectly, OUT OF
HIM/HER/IT-SELF.

Now, we're not saying that the first group is dummies, but....duh!
Which makes more sense? Which feels right? Which do even most
intelligent philosophers, scientists, and nearly every living being
on the planet uphold (#2 in some variation).

Part 2. Okay, so there is this one GREAT THING, creating and
recreating itself out of itself at every second out of the only thing
handy...Itself. The Ocean manifests as Waves. They just are the
ocean. The rays of sunlight are the manifestations of the sun. And so
on and so on. You are the manifestation of that ONE thing. The
formless becomes the form. The earth is not just the chunk of dirt,
but everything that comes from it...the mountains, valleys, trees,
bushes, flowers, people, animals, squishy bugs, et al. They are all
the manifestations of earth. They are the Functions.

Part 3. YOU are not different from the Divine Thing. You are a
FUNCTION of the Divine thing. This is the meaning of LILA - the
divine play, the cosmic dance. THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE. In a dance,
there is a twirl here and a dip there. You are a twirl or a dip.
(I've been called a dip on more than one occasion.) You are an
expression of that divine dance. The personality is the mask. It's
perfect. Each role in the play, each twirl and dip in the dance, is
what gives it its fullness, its mystery, its diversity, its
interest. You are a Function of the Absolute. So put the Fun back
into the Function.

Part 4. Thus you are a D.I.O.D. You are a Divine Input Output
Device. Each thing that you experience and each thing you express is
your function as an input and output device for the Absolute. Shiva
is silent...Shakti Dances. As a DIOD, it is not your place to do as
little as possible, (unless that is absolutely your function), but
rather to experience and express as much as possible. Don't second
guess everything. This is Divine Desire. You nose is the Divine nose.
What your nose knows, the divine nose knows. Every moment is God
experiencing God. How else is it gonna be done?

So, get out there and Express, Experience, and Be the DIOD that you are.

Yippie Ki Yay!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What Is is Perfect

I know it's hard to imagine, sometimes, but all that is, whatever is, is perfect. In honor of my good friend and former student, Jnanacharya, I'd like to point out, as he did, that perfect does NOT mean 'double good'. Perfect means that there is nothing wrong; things are exactly as they are meant to be. Whatever is happening in the Uni-verse is happening just as it is meant to happen.

So, why don't you believe this? Because your 'mind' is telling you differently. The mind says"No, it should be like this or that or the other." But if your mind wasn't speaking, would it not be perfect? It's very much like the question, "If a tree falls in the woods and there's nobody there to hear it, would it make a sound?" So, rephrasing this - "If a situation arose, but no mind to say it is a problem, would there be a problem?" Obviously not.

Does that mean you do nothing? Yes and No. You do nothing. The universe does everything. But for practical purposes, you probably haven't recognized this yet. It feels like you are doing something. All in all it looks something like this.

Universe is happening
You appear to be a separate thing happening within the universe.
A 'problem' arises to you (i.e. a situation that mind says is wrong)
A desire to 'fix' it arises.
Possible ways to fix it arise in the mind.
You appear to choose one and 'do' it.
On to next thing.

Simple right. And yet we complicate it in so many ways - first considering that nothing 'wrong' should arise, that this is horrible, that it shouldn't have happened to you, how will you ever make it 'right', what will others say/think about you, and on and on and on.

From a different perspective

There is a universe.
It manifests as billions of things/pieces/entities/galaxies, etc.
Stuff happens - all of it being the universe in its manifesting,
It goes through processes of change/balance evolve/balance expand/balance but never not being Perfect
The pieces of the universe that are called 'mind' analyze and evaluate those things that are happening, often calling them 'good' or 'bad'.
It all continues effortlessly with or without the mind,

EXCEPT that when there is resistance to what is...
There is apparent SUFFERING.

Even the suffering and the resistance is Perfect. Two things rubbing together create friction (resistance). It's not good or bad, simply friction. We only exacerbate it by contemplating what it means, the ramifications of it, and so forth. It's just happening. It will happen for some time and then change. It always does. Trying to hold on to the way it is or was is a form of resistance. Not bad, just impractical. Flow, be free of wanting anything to be a particular way. Be free of being right or wrong. Be free of future desire or past regrets. Recognize the Infinite Perfection that is happening in every moment and just BE FREE! Then there's not even a 'you' to be free...there's just PERFECTION HAPPENING.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More Be who you Are

I broke my phone. It's okay, I think it's getting fixed, so don't worry for me. (By the way, if you didn't know, I'm kind of a closet geek, or geek wannabe, or something. I love hanging out with geeks, cuz how many of them can say "I use to give 'noogies' to Bill Gates, which I did. But I tarry...

In the process of seeking a replacement or repair for my phone, I started emailing someone who had what I was looking for, and several email tags back and forth later I noticed a wonderful simple sentence. Now many of you may laugh that I didn't know this quote, but I was living in temples when this guy was around.

Anyway, the quote goes,

"I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not."

The speaker of this quote is none other than the late (i.e. dead for you non-sophisticates) Kurt Cobain - alleged suicider grunge musician.

So what do you think? Now, the interesting thing is many people would agree with this in principle but not practice. They proclaim, "Yes, I'm going to be who I am no matter what," but then the conditioning jumps in and in effect, makes them worry way to much about being loved than being who they are. When do you adjust your nature because it's "right" to do so. And then the cognitive dissonances start to set in. "This isn't really who I am, yet I'm acting this way."

"Be who you are and say what you want. Those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter." Probably one of the best quotes on the subject, that one by the late GREAT Dr. Seuss!

Every moment is an opportunity to allow that Absolute to express through you and as you. It will do it anyway, but part of the learning curve is to get the hell out of the way. The personality, the mask, is formed by the thoughts of others - parents, teachers, society, spiritual leaders, et. al., and only occludes Truth. Express, dance, delight in who you are, which includes the complete expression of your love OR your assholeness. Love your Blessedness. It's all the same thing.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Problems of the World

A few random thoughts and comments....

First, I recently came across this quote from Shantideva amongst my
collection:

"All the joy the world contains is through wishing happiness for others.
All the misery the world contains has come through wanting pleasure for
oneself."

The basic difficulty is selfishness (and that is with a small 's'). But
it's slightly more complicated then that. Let's see if we can't disentangle
it a bit.

1. Our initial idea is to find happiness for ourselves. While in and of
itself there is nothing wrong with that, in too many cases it involves
getting something from someone else or in someway depriving others of
something to do it. For instance, the basic 'necessities' of life are a
given, and under normal circumstances there is plenty to go around.
However, when certain people find that they need more than someone else,
then things go bad. This is in essence the human condition because of a
lack of satisfaction. People want what they don't have.

2. Wanting for oneself versus others also creates that sense of separation
- me versus others. When you want for others, and sincerely find joy in
seeing others happy, it minimizes the sense of 'me'. It begins to create an
identification with the other, expanding your sense of Self. Whatever
shifts the focus of attention from 'I, me, mine' to others - whether that
is extended 'me' (i.e. Family, tribe, nation), or to a Supreme Other -
Godhead, the Divine, etc. will help lessen the attachment and
identification to the individualized self.

3. The endeavor to become awakened comes from a personalized sense of self,
but it is also a recognition that the individualized ego sense is not
happy, and will ultimately never be happy seeking it's own gratification.
So although for many Enlightenment starts as the ultimate Ego-trip, it
actually necessitates the end of the ego. At this point, one can truly do
the most for apparent 'others' because it will not be based on selfish
desire. Here it is most undoubtedly the deepest innate sense of compassion
and expression of natural Love.

Well, that's all for now.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Nothing to Know

In the sixth part of the Yoga Vasistha it says:

"The belief in a knower and the known is called bondage. The knower is
bound by the known; he is liberated when there is nothing to know."

This is so contrary to most people's way of being that it's hard for most
to even get a hint at this, primarily because everyone is anxiously
awaiting the point where 'they' will be a 'knower' of the Absolute; 'They'
will have achieved enlightenment. Once more, dear friends, it doesn't work
that way. For a moment, just stop. In that moment, is there anyone to know
anything? Is there anything to know? In the silence between thoughts - no!
However, a half moment later a thought will probably arise saying,
something like, "Cool" or "But I was there knowing I was not a knower", or
some other such evaluatory statement. (Is evaluatory a word?)

Where there is no thought, that is where there is no knower or known. That
occurs through letting go of all thoughts, and/or the committed inquiry
into what is the knower. The knower (I-ness) also arises in the sea of
consciousness, but it to is simply an imposition. It is formed in large
part by the ideas or beliefs that form an idea of a knower. This is why so
often the quest for wisdom is antithetical to true wisdom. You are trying
to know MORE when the idea is to know LESS, and even more so, to recognize
there is nothing to know.

This moment is simply happening; it's not happening TO somebody. A
'somebody' appears to be arising in this moment, but it is just that...an
appearance.

So, what is so damn important to know (or do or see or achieve)? Be the
bliss of non-knowing!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Feeding Beauty or the Beast?

I came across a line of Ramana's where he compared trying to solve the
problem of the mind by using the mind as something which simply 'fattens'
the mind. I loved this thought and it reminded me of an image I have had
recently of 'feeding the dream'.

Attention is very much like food. It is an energy, and where our attention
goes, that is being fed. It is one of the semi-true aspects of the 'Law of
Attraction' that has been making such a hit lately. Where the attention
goes, there is the outcome. That is what is being fed. Astavakra Samhita
also states it very well, "ya matih sa gatih" - wherever the attention
(mind, intention, etc.) there is the goal (outcome, etc.).

So...what are you feeding? This is where the razor's edge comes in. It is a
very fine line (as well as an enormous gorge) between putting the attention
on and feeding the dream, or putting attention on and feeding the
recognition of Reality. Every moment... EVERY MOMENT your attention is on
one or the other - The Beauty or 'The Beast'. There really is no neutral
ground. This is why so many verses, teachings and so forth emphasize that
it is a constant practice - something that must be done at all times. It is
not a 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening kind of
thing. If one is serious about realization is must be consistent and
constant. It is the ending of a way of life. This is often what the
initiation ceremony is about - simply a recognition that now this life is
about waking up!

Ramana said, "Abhyasa (spiritual practice) consists of withdrawal into the
self everytime you are disturbed by thought." So, when are you NOT
disturbed by thought? Every thought is in essence a disturbance. Thus he
would consistently ask people, "To whom is this thought arising?" Whether
you see it as a 'disturbing' thought or not is not the question. Every
thought that you pay attention to is a disturbance. When you give into that
thought, follow that train of thoughts, even if they are so called 'benign'
thoughts, you are feeding the dream, feeding the beast.

There is a great book called, 'The Cloud of Unknowing' written by an
unknown 14th century Englishman. He says (in essence) that one must project
oneself into this cloud of unknowing (God) and push all other thoughts and
desires into the 'cloud of forgetting'. Even though it is a Christian book,
he says that even the thoughts of Jesus' love and sacrifice, and compassion
are hindrances and obstacles and must also be pushed into the cloud of
forgetting. All must be pushed into the cloud of forgetting and one simply
projects themselves (their attention) into the cloud of Unknowing. If we
translate this into our present understanding, it means putting our
attention on simply That, the Presence of Isness, or I Am, which arises as
that which can not be known, is unknowable, but only 'Be-able'.

So, where is your attention? The body will take care of itself, the mind
will take care of itself. Attention is on that razor's edge - feeding the
Beauty or the Beast... Fattening or fasting the mind.

Which will it be?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Popcorn or Samosa

Okay... Amar at the Indian store convinced me to take two samosas instead
of one. So, you might consider this a guilt blog. If you don't know what a
samosa is, you are missing one of the great Indian culinary delights,
particularly if it is made well. Deep fried, vegetable savory...well
spiced, just plain yummy. So, how is it that in the dream we are concerned
with such things as culinary delights? Why not?

So, I have a question for you: when you wake up in the morning, where does
your dream go? Where does the dream you go? You recognize that it was just
a dream and that it had no depth, no substance to it. Similarly, when you
wake up from the waking dream, you recognize that it too has no substance
to it. However, that doesn't change it. It doesn't necessarily go
away...only the experiencer as a separate, localized and independent
dreamer as seen as part of the dream scape. The you that disappears in the
sleeping dream when you wake up in the morning, is no less substantial than
the you that disappears when you wake up from the waking dream, only in
that case there still appears the dream body thing that you previously
associated as being you. The script of your life continues but with the
clarity that it is simply that- a dream, a dance, a movie, in which the you
that you previously identified with is simply one of the many characters.

Most people assume that 'they' will attain a thing called enlightenment,
but that isn't how it works. The illusion that you are an independent
entity is recognized, the Reality that there is only Consciousness
happening as One Great Thing, and the script continues. Other than that,
things in the dream may or may not change. The you that you previously
identified with will more than likely be pretty much the same, however, you
as Presence will not be feeding it with attachment and emotions. It will
simply continue, spontaneously, in its dance as it always did!

Don't look to get anything. Look to get rid of everything, and then you ARE
everything, or No Thing. I know. Hard to grok with the mind, but it is the
mind, the habit of seeing things in a particular way that get in the way.
Let it all go. Or as I like to say... Stop and Be Presence. Just stop.
Don't try to stop the doing, for you never have been doing. Stop the
association with the doing. Watch that you have ever (as I Am) been
watching/being it all, not doing it. The script continues until the end of
the movie. Just eat your popcorn (or samosas) and enjoy the show.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Good vs. Bad - the Never Ending Story

The other day, my brother in law, who is not philosophical by nature, sent
my mind into an interesting story. He had come out to replace our toilet
(in exchange for which my wife will sew him a new vest - his wifecan't sew,
I don't do toilets). At one point he was taking a short break and was on
the phone with a friend who had obviously said something to the effect that
they were "Dealing with shit," to which my brother in law wisely replied,
"That doesn't do any good, there's always more shit!"

Indeed, I thought, there IS always more shit, and yet this is what all the
world is trying to do - deal with their shit, as if, at some point there
won't be any more. How ludicrous! There will ALWAYS be more shit. The end
of shit is the end of the game, and there is no end of the game. The end of
the game is called dying...and then you get another life, and try again. At
least, that's the way it works in the games. Your character dies, and then
you try again, usually doing the same exact thing you were doing last time
you died.

One of the benefits of our modern technological age is it is a microcosm of
the 'real' world. The game world shows us how the 'real' world works. You
die. You try again. And again. And again. The difference is that this game
never ends. This is one of the reasons I think there is no end of the world
scenario - good OR bad.

There seem to be essentially two groups of people - those awaiting the
apocalypse and those awaiting the ascension (either in one form or another
- depending on their ideas of what that looks like - religious, ecological,
or otherwise. But it ain't gonna happen. It can't. It makes good blogs and
talk radio, but the reality is that the game ALWAYS goes on.

"But look at all the changes," people may cry. Yes, there are changes, but
there have always been changes. Perhaps they are going faster now, but just
like in the game, just because you finish a level doesn't mean the game is
over, you just finished that level. And guess what? By the time you finish
the game, the 'Creator' comes out with new disks with more levels, which of
course you have to buy (or maybe switch to another game). But it is never
over. And there is ALWAYS more shit to deal with. So deal with it, but
then, consider, is it really shit? To whom is it occurring? Is it real, or
simply an ongoing game within which you are simply one of the characters?
There is no ultimate happy or cataclysmic ending. Yes, your character (and
every character you know) will die, but that's how it has been since time
immemorial. Why, oh good God, why, should anything change now??? It's just
another level is all, like every day is a new day. Same dream, different
scenario. Get used to it. Or, recognize the dream for what it is, which
means all that shit.... Doesn't mean shit.

"Computer....Off!"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Five M's of Seeking

One of the primary difficulties when it comes to Enlightenment is
that hardly anyone understands in the least what it is. For instance,
I have often made the distinction between Mastery and Enlightenment,
while 'Jed McKenna' makes the distinction between Mysticism and
Enlightenment. Expanding those three a little, I would like to give
a quick overview of what I'm calling the 5 M's :

Morality
Maturity
Mastery
Mysticism
Moksha (Moksha being one of the Sanskrit words for Enlightenment and
essential means 'Freedom')


Many of these categories will have overlaps, and many 'individuals'
overlap in where they 'are' or in their 'recognition' of these 5. But
the general idea is that if you are seeking something, you better
know what the heck that it is you're seeking. If you're not clear,
you're not going to be even looking in the right place, and chances
are extremely good you're going to get something that ISN'T
enlightenment. If you're not looking for enlightenment (and chances
are you really aren't), that's fine. But if you think you are, you'd
better be able to discriminate what enlightenment is versus the other four.

Morality - Morality has to do with the concern or distinction between
right and wrong, good and bad. This has NOTHING whatsoever to do with
Enlightenment. Most of your Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam,
Christianity) are strongly morality based, as well as many other
philosophies - how one should or should not act or speak or be. This
would also include such things as Political Correctness, which is
just a more modern version (or post-modern) version of antiquated
morals for a new-age.

Maturity - Maturity has to do with just being an adult. Many of the
people on a so-called spiritual search are simply seeking a mother or
father figure, looking for a scapegoat, seeking to escape any kind of
responsibility for their thoughts or actions (even though they still
believe they are a concrete individual). Maturity is not as common as
you think. I'm a relatively intelligent guy, but I was 30 before I
actual recognized that I could no longer blame my parents, other
family, friends, circumstances, etc. for how I was feeling. If you
are blaming others for the way you feel and act, not recognizing that
your response to others is your choice, then you have not yet reached
a stage of adult maturity.

Mastery - This (and mysticism) are the most commonly confused with
enlightenment. Some of the obvious ideas of Mastery are walking on
water, feeding the multitudes, reading minds, any kind of psychic or
similar phenomena, healing, manifestation, finding a parking space,
etc. etc. The whole "Secret" Law of Attraction thing, and a great
amount of 'New Age' stuff is totally about mastery and has nothing
whatsoever to do with Enlightenment. It is based on a somebody (you)
who wants to have some kind of control, or that in some way fosters,
nurtures, assists the ego. All of the abundance, prosperity, feel
good stuff is generally in this category or the next...

Mysticism - The best way to describe mysticism is that it usually
deals with altered states of consciousness - ecstacy, bliss, a sense
of union, and/or other dimensions of consciousness - seeing God,
angels, kundalini risings, various yogic states, etc. These are VERY
often confused with enlightenment, because so often enlightenment is
poorly described as a state of bliss, ecstasy and so forth. I have
done it myself on occasion. Similarly, Love, compassion, etc. are
states of consciousness, not enlightenment. They all still have an
individual, a person, a you, who is seeking and/or having a 'state'
of bliss, love, awareness or something else - a state being something
which has a beginning and thus also an end. It is something different
or more that YOU are trying to attain.

Moksha (Enlightenment) - In Moksha, nothing changes, while at the
same time everything changes. The primary distinction between
Enlightenment and everything else is that there is no longer a 'You'
who is acting, seeking, or anything else. It is most simply the
recognition or perhaps apperception (not just intellectually or
mentally), but concretely, tangibly, that what you thought was you
is simply an apparent 'part' of the non-dual awareness that already
always is; that you are consciousness itself, and not the body, or
mind or memories, or concepts, or habits; that there is only ONE
thing going on in this infinite moment, whether known or unknown, and
that is Self/God/Nothingness/Allness. All of the other M's are based
on a person. Moksha (freedom) is totally different because it is the
recognition that there is no person - so morality doesn't play a
part, maturity doesn't play a part, mastery and mysticism have
nothing to do with it. There's nobody there to seek or care whether
those ideals are there or not. Now, that doesn't mean that they might
not manifest in a particular 'Enlightened Being'. Some enlightened
'individuals' either worked for those things prior, or they came
along in conjunction with, or the so-called individual's karma was to
manifest those, either before during or after the recognition of
Enlightenment. But they are not dependent upon enlightenment, nor is
enlightenment dependent upon ANY of those other M's.

The truth is, many people, upon understanding that Moksha or
Enlightenment means the annihilation of their identifications with
their old ideas of right and wrong, all the groovy beliefs about
altered states, God, Love, Light, and so forth, realize they truly
aren't seeking Enlightenment. More likely, they are seeking mastery
or mysticism or even maturity. And there is absolutely nothing wrong
with that. Many people just want to have a much better dream-life, a
more 'spiritual' or healthy or compassionate dream-life, and that's
totally fine. But just don't confuse that with enlightenment or
waking up from the dream. And if you are seeking those things, go to
a teacher who teaches those things. And if you are truly seeking
Enlightenment, make sure you are going to a teacher that is teaching
Enlightenment, and not something else and calling it Enlightenment
(which is far more common than you'd think)!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fire the Grid (Remix)

First, let me tell you about the miracle...

I woke up.

And I received a revelation...

Everyone can wake up.

And what's more...

All the 'problems' in the world are due to being asleep, i.e. not knowing
who they are, truly as simply the dream of the Absolute.

However, the great revelation continued (it was a voice...I heard it in my
head as plainly as I hear you groaning right now). It said to me, "Aja, get
everyone to come together and we can create another miracle. Get everyone
to come together at a particular time and recognize who they are and the
entire world can wake up from the dream."

"WHEN?" I asked.

"Why, Right Now in This Moment!"

"Which moment?" I pleaded.

"This moment. What other moment is there, bozo?"

"But," I remonstrated, "aren't some moments more spiritual than others?"

"Yes, of course. This moment, Right Now, is (according to our incredible
celestial and cool calculations, and testified to by all the ancients and
the brotherhoods of light) approximately one gazillion and a half times
more spiritual and enlightening than any other moment there is. "

"And what should I tell them to do in this moment?"

"Tell them, and this is really important...really, really important... To
be who they are; to be happy; to be grateful; to let go of all their
worries; to dance; to sing; to laugh; to make love (especially with old,
fat spiritual teacher types); AND to know, really know, that all of this is
but a passing dream, and is just a sweet and wonderful cosmic joke. They
should recognize this NOW, in this moment, and every 'other' apparent
moment (which of course, is only this moment), and never stop. And should
they stop, then all hell will break loose, and they will be responsible for
the collapse of all civilizations and the fall of the angels from heaven.
(Nah! We're just kidding on that one.)

So, that's it. Cool revelation, huh?

And with only love in the heart of Being, and no offense truly meant to
anyone, I wish you a truly glorious, enlightened Moment, in the depths of
this amazing and infinite Right Now.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

What the Heck is He Talking About Now?

Ooh! Ooh! I've done it again. I seem to have gotten myself in
trouble for telling the truth (well, at least my truth). Is there an
ultimate Truth? Only God knows. And I get the picture of God sitting
alone wondering whether he/she exists - "Most of the people I talk to
can't hear me or don't believe it's Me, and half of those who claim I
talk to them, I wouldn't give the time of day to. Hmmm?! I wonder if
I do exist?"

The last few days have been interesting. A wonderful friend wrote me
that to him, a friend is, "One with whom I can think out loud," in
other words, someone who is totally non-judgmental, totally
accepting, etc. In the last day, I have been accused of chewing on
rotting corpses, overly flirting, being too ordinary (for an
enlightened teacher), and on and on. I recently wrote about 'Being
As You Are", and I guess I'd have to say how fascinating it is to see
how delightfully the Universe responds: I Am as I Is, and the
universe says, "Can ya take it, buddy!?"

Being who you are is either the easiest thing in the world, or the
hardest. I'd prefer to make it the former. However, in order to do
that you have to let go of a lot, primarily caring what people think
of you. And how do you do that? Love. But not in the traditional
sense. Real love, as I have often pointed out, is perfect Self
intimacy. I am (and you are) the Absolute manifesting itself RIGHT
NOW, as you and as me. There is no doubt about that anywhere within
this Aja-ness. That is the nature of non-duality. Sarvam khalvidam
Brahma - "All this is the Absolute Only!" That means me, you, this,
that, all of it. God Godding! Waves on the Ocean, Sunbeams of the
Sun, gold bangles yet still just gold. I (as Aja-ness) recognize the
perfect, the pure, the Is-ness of That which I am, and that Aja-ness
is a manifestation of That. I LOVE IT. It might appear 'good' or
'bad' or whatever, and yet 'perfect' in its manifestation...as are
you and yours. So often people are trying to change. Change WHAT???
Change God? What you see is what you get, as the old adage goes. But
what is the reality behind that. If I tell you I love you, it's
because I love you. If I flirt with you, it's because I love you. If
I ignore you, it's actually because I love you. If I chastise you,
it's because I love you. And as importantly, I love ME.

Recently I heard about a satang teacher (yet another one) who had sex
with a student. People act as if this is amazing. Wake up people.
Humans have sex...constantly. What's particularly sad is that they
have to make up stories about it. "I had sex with the student because
she was having an issue." Maybe?! Probably not. They had sex because
ultimately they wanted to have sex. I love sex. It is a beautiful,
exquisite manifestation of the Divine. I'm an old fat guy, but if you
want to have sex with me, just ask my wife. She might punch you, or
more likely say, like the old comedic line, "Now, take my
husband........Please!" But people would much rather see (or
imagine) a spiritual teacher as being someone who only talks about
love & light and never says anything controversial. That's not
spiritual - that's ignorance. Or, they love the controversy, as long
as it's not pointed at them. Anything that shakes you up only shows
you what you hold onto. It is a great blessing.

So, what do you want? This always remains the most important question
for anyone. If you want love & light & fuzzy & warm, that's
wonderful. Look for that! Have that! Be that! But don't be in
illusion that that is necessarily the truth. There's the old story of
the person going to the train station and saying, "Give me a ticket."
The station master asks, "Okay, to where?" and the ticket buyer
responds, "Oh, I don't know, just anywhere." It doesn't work that
way. And yet, that's what people expect when they say they want
spiritual or truth or freedom or happiness. First, recognize what it
is that you want. The words Enlightenment or Awakened are loaded
words. A lot of beautiful and wonderful people are wandering around
touting enlightenment that wouldn't know it if it bit them on the
ass. I (Aja-ness) am not a warm and fuzzy teacher, although I
probably love you as much or more than anyone who has ever known you.
I (Aja-ness) is a fat, apparently grumpy, somewhat controversial old
fart who loves Truth, in all its manifestations, and will speak the
truth, be as I am, and will also tell you that if you want Truth,
drop every conception, deeply inquire into what IS true, who you are,
and recognize, Right Now, This is IT. In this infinite moment, all
boundaries, all ideas, all memories, all concepts, are just the mind,
and the mind is just an appearance of thoughts that are popping up
like birds in the infinite vastness of Space, and YOU, my sweet
friends, ARE that infinite space, that Awareness, that IS-ness.

Expansion/Contraction.....Wave/Particle......Light/Dark.....Left/Right....Up/Down......You/Me.......
Macrocosm/Microcosm ..... ONE THING ..... Impossible to get the mind
around, because the mind is one tiny thing arising in all of that
.... Here/There ..... Me/Not Me ..... Every boundary is an
illusion. What does that leave you? Where does that leave you?

God is back to wondering if He/She exists.
You do!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence Day ?!?

First, a major caveat: This is not about awakening in the traditional sense. In other words, it is not about exploring consciousness, recognizing who you are, in the Radical Enlightenment way. However, what we are about is Truth. More than anything, our life has been dedicated to the pursuit of what is Truth, what is real, and sometimes this incorporates what is part of the apparent dream.

Everything is part of the great Lila, the divine dance. To hide from any aspect is to hide from Truth. So, sometimes it is necessary to ask oneself - are you truly seeking Truth, in EVERY aspect, or are you seeking mollification and escapism? It's all an illusion, right! So whatever happens in the dream is only a dream. If you are sure of this, then truly let it all go and totally retreat into the pure essence of consciousness without stopping. However, if you are only seeking happiness (i.e. pleasure and pleasantries in the name of spirituality) then you are NOT seeking Truth. Truth comes in many forms, and we must be willing to look at all of them. What are we holding onto? What is happening in and around us? Never take anything at face value. Always go deeper.

And with that intro, I would suggest that one form of Truth, or at least something that at least deserves looking into is the following video:

http://www.zeitgeistmovie.com/

I will forewarn you that if you do not want to learn about government conspiracies, religious conspiracies, media conspiracies, DO NOT watch this movie. However, I will recommend that only to those who are totally dedicated to living in a totally REAL spiritual lifestyle, with nothing to do with the phenomenal dreamworld. If you are not living in such a lifestyle, then be willing to break your own boundaries and at least look at the possibilities (powerfully documented) that there is a vast conspiracy going on behind your backs, and in front of your faces.

I know that many of you hate when I go into this mode. But the bottom line is tough shit! I'm just trying to help. Do you want to let go of all that you hold onto or not? You can't let go of what you do not know. You cannot transcend what you do not see.
So, in the spirit of true Independence....
Infinite love & Shanti,
Aja

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Be As You Are

Many people are familiar with the phrase "Be as you are," and many
are also familiar with the book of the same name by David Godman,
about the teachings of Ramana Maharshi. But how many are really
familiar with what it is to Be As You Are?

What I'd like you to do for a moment is really explore and
investigate the 'feeling' that accompanies being as you are. Right
now, be as you are! Now a question might come up of what does this
mean, or how do I do that. The real question is how do you NOT do
that? How can you not be as you are? Primarily by trying to be
something that you're not.

I ran into a wonderful quote the other day. It's from the Hasidic
tradition featuring Rabbi Zusya. The quote has Rabbi Zusya saying,

"When I reach the next world, God will not ask me, 'Why were you not
Moses?' Instead, he will ask me, 'Why were you not Zusya?'"

This is exactly the problem. Everyone is trying to be a Buddha or a
Jesus or an anything other than that which they already are. YOU are
it. YOU are God or the Divine, or the Absolute, or Brahman
manifesting as you. How could you possibly want to be a something else???

So try plugging your own name and your favorite Deity in here:

"When I reach the next world, God will not ask me, 'Why were you not
[Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc]?' Instead, he will ask me, 'Why
were you not [insert your name here]?'"

The statement is BE as you are.....not BECOME something else.

The statement is be AS you are....exactly as you are, not some other way.

The statement is be as YOU are...not as somebody else is...not as
Jesus is or Yogananda, or Ammachi, or...but as YOU, YOU, YOU.

The statement is be as you ARE...not one iota different...not bigger
or more spiritual or less of anything. Exactly as you ARE.

Did the Creator do everything else right and then when He/She/It got
to you made a big "OOOPS!"

This is why Ramana's statement is Abide as who you are. And if you
can't do that, inquire into who you are, and then abide as that.

Nisargadatta says, Rest as the "I AM", in other words 'Be as you are'.

There is not two somethings which are material and spiritual which
are separate realms. There is one thing which is Arising from AND as
the Absolute. It is YOU right now. It is JUST THIS! All of this.

The Vedic mantra proclaims: om purnam adah purnam idam, purnat purnam
udacyate....From the Perfect & Complete Absolute arose the Perfect &
Complete!!! Recognize that. There is NOTHING WRONG.

A few years back a profound movie came out, I Heart Huckabees. If you
haven't seen it, see it. And note in there that there is a phrase
that they start repeating. In fact, if you watch all the way through
the final credits until the very end, it pops up as the very final
thing all by itself. The phrase is:

HOW AM I NOT MYSELF?

Consider this. How are you not You already. Where are you not You
already? When are you not You already?

It's all you...Always and Already, so....

BE AS YOU ARE!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Is There an Out There Out There

"Is there an out there, out there? I don't recall where I first heard this
phrase, but it re-arose in consciousness the other day. I like I because it
really begins a process of self inquiry. People - most people - take it
pretty much for granted that there IS an out there out there - that what
they perceive is certainly real and concrete. But as both the mystics from
nearly all variety of traditions, and many of the modern day quantum
theorists and scientists are telling us is that there is no out there.

Of course, this begs the question, if there is no out there out there, then
what is there? Or what is here? Or even what is? The traditional response
is to start spewing out mentally or intellectually conceptions based on
what you have heard. But what if you take a different approach? What if you
begin to directly explore what is present, right now? Where do you begin?

The best place to begin is with the idea of who or what is it that is
assuming that there is an out there, i.e. To whom is the idea of an out
there arising? Of course, the simple initial answer is 'To me.' The next
question (of course) is what is that 'me'? As you investigate, you will
recognize that the 'me' is simply awareness. Now, can you find a boundary
between the awareness that is 'me' and the so called 'object' that the me
is aware of?

Now, continue to explore this in a variety ofways, investigating what is
this me, where does it start or stop (if it does), when did it begin? And
so forth. Continue this constantly. Keep going deeper and deeper into it.
Don't let any concepts or pre-conceived beliefs stop you - just keep
digging, lettng go of whatever arises as any kind of concept or boundary.

If you have any problems or questions, feel free to email me. (see the
Email link to the left, right, down below, or wherever the hell it is) and
have fun!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Stop (again) and Be Presence

Stop and Be Presence!

Being Presence is being Pre-Sense...before the senses

Being Presence is Being the Self, the Awareness

Being Presence is Abiding as the Self

Being Presence is Resting in (and as) the Infinite

Being Presence is the eradication of the false self

Being Presence is the Gateway to the Absolute

Being Presence Awareness of Awareness


Being Presence is not....

Discussing how to do it,
Arguing over who does it better,
Philosophizing on why it is important,
Checking out which teacher says it better,
Wondering if it's the right path for you,
Deciding on how it will look when you get there,
Even trying to figure out HOW to do it...

It's simply Stopping and Being Presence,
And when you've noticed you're not being presence
Stopping (again) and Being Presence
And when a thought comes up
Stopping (again) and Being Presence

Ignoring the thousands and millions of strategies the ego has for
catching your attention
and bringing your attention back to attention
Bringing your consciousness back to consciousness
Bringing your Awareness back to Awareness
and YES
Stopping and Being Presence.

When you have done this continuously for some days, weeks, months or years,
You'll begin to get the picture.

So, now, in this moment....

Stop and BE Presence!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Forget All!

Often the path must be paradoxical by nature, apparently
contradicting itself in order to point out the truth. The following
is a perfect example of that. It is a quote from the Ashtavakra
Samhita (or Gita)

'My son, you may recite or listen to countless scriptures, but you
will not be established within until you can FORGET EVERYTHING.' 16.1

So, how would you know this unless you read the scripture (Ashtavakra
Samhita) which tells you not to read scripture? Actually, it doesn't
tell you not to read scripture, but rather forget all. Often, reading
scripture (or other spiritually oriented matter) becomes a pastime to
escape the Reality. After all, the scripture is still in the dream
world. Who is reading it? Who is contemplating it? This was Ramana's
constant question. A large percentage of the time when a question
was asked of him, he pointed the questioner back to them-Selves by
posing, "Who is asking the question?" The moment you recognize the I
Am or I-I of the questioner, the question becomes superfluous. The
scripture acts in the same way. In effect, it immediately says, 'Stop
what you are doing and look within, reverse the vector of attention
to that which is Aware, which is Awareness Itself. Forget everything
you think you know and look at the knower.'

A few verses later, the Ashtavakra reiterates in a different way:

'If even Shiva, Vishnu or the lotus-born Brahma were your instructor,
until you have FORGOTTEN EVERYTHING you cannot be established within.' 16.11

It doesn't matter who the teacher is, what the teaching is, where it
comes from, the lineage, or anything else...forget all!

At the end of the most well-known Gita (Bhagavad Gita), Krishna gives
his final instruction: 'Abandon all varieties of dharma and go to the
shelter of Me alone.' 18.66

The word dharma, traditionally thought of as religious truth, comes
from the Sanskrit root 'dhr' to hold or grasp, so in essence Krisna
is saying the same thing - forget everything and simply take refuge
in Me (or the I Am).

How does one do this? By inquiring into the 'I'. Who am I? What am
I? What is this I-ness? Who is Aware? What is Aware? Where is it
located?.....whatever points you to the recognition or REAL-I-zation
of Self as infinite Awareness. Whenever a question or thought comes
up, IMMEDIATELY return back to the 'Who is aware of it?' All else
will pull you off into all variety of spiritual, philosophical,
ontological and hoary questions which ultimately can never be
answered by the mind anyway. And as the Ashtavakra also says:

'What man is there who, having observed the diversity of opinions
among the great seers, saints, and yogis, and becoming completely
indifferent to learning, does not attain quietude?' 9.5

Every teacher, every teaching, has a slightly different 'take' on the
process. Yes, they all point, ultimately, to the same thing, but some
more directly than others; some more clearly than others; and some
may get past your filters better than others. But the moment you
start questioning the whys and wherefors, you're off in the tangle of
mental conceptions and ideas. Who are these arising to? Remember,
Self REAL-I-zation is about nothing other than the recognition of
Self, recognizing What you have eternally been. That requires no
understanding other than the recognition of that and abiding as that
(NOT the intellectual understanding of that).

So, now that you've read this.....FORGET IT! And Abide as the SELF.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Simply Words

Enlightenment...

Is simply a word
that points to...

Bondage...

Is simply a word
that points to...

Enlightment...

Is simply a word...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Speaking Truth

Well, the last blog, as well as the following satsang, precipitated quite a
diverse mixture of responses, and if nothing else, response (whether "good"
or "bad") shows that at least it is registering on some level.

Looking up something, I came across a quote that my teacher had written.
Throughout the Vedic scriptures, satyam, or truthfulness is touted as one
of the highest principles. Indeed, Kali yuga, or the present age, is
defined by the fact that the last leg of dharma IS truthfulness, and that
it steadily declines as we progress through this age, until it basically
disappears altogether. I have often quoted Orwell, and his "To speak the
truth in times of universal deceit is an act of rebellion," and those who
know me, know that I love to rant and rave regarding political, spiritual
or cultural 'correctness' which is generally little more than ignoring
Truth, in the name of how we would 'like' it to be. But what we want and
what is don't often match up, so we are left with a discrepancy, or one of
those wonderful cognitive dissonances.

Anyway, so this is what my guru said (more than 30 years ago):

"According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth
only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The
truth should be spoken in a straight and forward way, so that others will
understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and if people
are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth
is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness
demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others.
That is the definition of truth."

I suppose this does not necessarily mean that the truth, as unpalatable as
it may be, need be expressed in an unpalatable way(which some have accused
me of), or in an anguished way, but when one sees the extent of the
suffering which people put themselves and others through, the natural state
of compassion is overshadowed by anguish or severe pain. By nature, the
compassionate heart is pierced by seeing this suffering. It should be!

Yes, the state of Awakening is joyful, it is happy, it is free from
bondage, but the open heart of Awareness, can also be pierced by the pain
which is seen. It is, in fact, the part that makes us still human!

It is far too easy, especially in this day and age, to become indolent or
neglectful of spiritual Truth within ourselves, particularly when it is so
neglected, or worse, misrepresented, by mass media and the general
populace, (and our own minds). So, let us strive to always be open to the
truth, the highest truth, that we can open ourselves up to, letting go of
every previously held belief, that we may continue to shred and shed all
non-truths that we may cling to.

Always, with infinite love & gratitude,

Aja

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

POD, NAD & NDA

Okay, this one may piss a few people off, but that's okay. It's
'Perfect' right. And that, in fact, is what I'm going to talk about.
First, let me define a few terms: (I love acronyms)

NAD - Narcissistic Advaita Disorder
NDA - Non-Dual Apathy
POD - Philosophical One-ness Destructionism

First, POD. Philosophical One-ness Destructionism is essentially
where the 'individual' holds to the One-ness view as a philosophy, a
theory, an intellectual understanding. It basically states that "my
understanding from the teachers, scriptures, and everything, is that
all is One, all is Perfect, exactly as it is. 'I' don't need to do
anything to change it, because it is Perfect as it is." Now while, in
Reality, this is a truism, that ultimately, nothing can happen if it
isn't perfect for it to happen, doesn't mean that it is necessarily
perfect that it STAYS THAT WAY! So, let's give a very simple and
practical example. You are sitting at a table with one hand on the
table and the other hand repeatedly hitting the hand on the table
with a hammer. BAM! BAM! BAM! "Oh, I'm suffering so much; but
advaita philosophy tells me that everything is Perfect, so I can see
that this suffering is simply what is happening, and it's perfect as
it is! And I can surrender into that, and it's wonderful and joyous!"
BAM! BAM! BAM! This is Philosophical One-ness Destructionism, and
the adherents of this we refer to as POD-people. 'It's all perfect,
so nothing needs to change. So what if my pummelled, bone crushed,
blood splattered hand is lying limply on the table, no longer
useable. It's all perfect right!?" Now, if this was a total
recognition, in other words, if one truly didn't care that the hand
was crushed, we might call this enlightenment. However, it doesn't
make it NOT STUPID!!!! If you think you are your hand, and your hand
hurts, move your friggin hand! That doesn't mean you now have to
punish the hammer yielding hand (which is what most people would tend
to do.) You might take the hammer away, nicely; or instruct the hand
that hammering others isn't nice, or .... ??? You might say that it
is perfect that is arising, AND it is showing you something,
instructing you in some way. (Hands don't let hands use hammers ?!)

POD and POD-People suffer from NDA - Non Dual Apathy, which basically
says (and often people have questions regarding this) "If everything
is perfect in this unified non-dual field, why do anything? Won't I
just sit and do nothing?" Unfortunately, while the answer should be
no, the answer is quite often, "Yes, you will probably sit on your
ass and watch the world being taken over by power-crazed, inhuman,
mass-murdering psychotics, and ultimately watch as the world is
literally destroyed!"

Now, if you're like me, and really don't care either way if the world
is destroyed or not, that's fine. But my guess is that you probably
do care. You enjoy some aspects of your life, and want them to
continue. The difficulty is that this is where the other acronym fits
in - NAD - Narcissistic Advaita Disorder. Those suffering from NAD,
which is simply a philosophical expansion of the normal narcissistic
syndrome (I-ME-Mine) utilize the philosophy of Advaita to get what
THEY want, (or rather think they want), while simultaneously allowing
everything else to fall apart, not utilizing any God-given
intelligence to see that they are supporting, in one way or another,
those very mass-murdering psychotics they don't like. Okay, I'm being
over-dramatic...maybe. But how many of those people that we truly
admire, have said things like, "Live simply so that others may simply
live" (Gandhi) or "Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his
whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery
demands all of a person." (Einstein) or, "We can no longer afford to
confuse peaceability with passivity. Authentic peace is no more
passive than war. Like war, it calls for discipline and intelligence
and strength of character, though it calls also for higher principles
and aims. If we are serious about peace, then we must work for it as
ardently, seriously, continuously, carefully, and bravely as we now
prepare for war." (Wendell Berry) or "Stupidity and selfishness are
the only evil." (Nisargadatta Maharaj) Yes, he called selfishness 'evil'!

So, where does this leave us. Basically, it means that POD people
with NDA and NAD are going around not doing things (because
everything is perfect as it is) when it's for someone else or for a
higher cause or for their own awakening, but suddenly 'doing' like
crazy when it is for themselves, to make money, look better, get
more, etc. Suddenly, things aren't all that perfect are
they? Somehow things need to be bigger, better, more. I will say
that one problem is, people don't recognize the level to which they
are being subtly effected by the cultural standards. People
automatically consider that they are 'supposed' to live (often by
themselves) in a quarter or million dollar home, when a small cottage
would do fine, or to own a 30 or 40 thousand dollar car when a used
one would work just as well (or heaven forbid, no car at all). Don't
think about the ramifications of supporting a culture based on the
death and destruction of millions of innocent humans, animals,
forests, etc. Hey, it's all perfect, right!

Now, I know this is all a big departure from the normal 'It's all a
dream' speech, and nothing has changed. But, what is being seen is
using the philosophy of advaita to not do the needful; to continue in
the old way of being and seeing it as okay. You don't wake up without
a struggle, and the bulk of that struggle is the destruction of the
vasanas, that is the egoic tendencies to do and think those things
that are of a selfish (read evil) intent. This is why in traditional
Advaita, karma yoga - or working selflessly for the benefit of others
- is a pre-cursor. You don't need a 50 thousand dollar car. Buy a $15
thousand car and give the balance to feed people or to a homeless
shelter, or even to a political cause, or your favorite spiritual
cause. There's a famous proverb about 'talking the talk versus
walking the talk' or as Morpheus tells Neo, "Can you now see there's
a difference between talking about the path and walking the path?"
(or something like that.) Anyway, lots of people talk Advaita, but
can you walk it? Every moment!? This is not about the Church of
Non-Duality. This is about changing the very fabric of who you think
you are. You have a power within you that is tremendous. Don't settle
for a few trinkets (because everything is Perfect as it is). Use the
dream of this human life to WAKE UP! Or as Ashtavakra Gita says, "You
pervade this universe and the universe exists in you. You are really
Pure Consciousness by nature. DON'T BE SMALL MINDED."

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dreaming Spiritual Words

Problems in language so often tend to take us astray, and I fall prey to it
as much as the next. Take the word 'glimpse'. We use it, suggesting that
the 'individual' which is in fact part of the dream, can experience the
Absolute. In reality, what occurs is that for a moment, the Self shines, or
reflects (all inadequate) through to the mind and says it has a glimpse of
the Reality.

So imagine it like this. You are dreaming, and for half a moment, you wake
up, and then fall back asleep. The dreaming self, which is entirely a dream
creation (the dream body, the dream mind, the dream world) and 'remembers'
a moment of being awake and 'thinks' that it had a 'glimpse' of being
awake. So from this 'awake' perspective, we can recognize that the dream
person had no experience or glimpse of being awake; they simply remember in
the dream state that there was a place of not being asleep. That dream
person will not ever wake up...they will disappear entirely upon waking up.
They will no longer exist. So, the idea of a glimpse is a misnomer.

Which brings us to the 'How to do it?' that several people inquired about.
How does the dreamer wake up? In one way, it is easy. Right now, even as
you are reading this, recognize, or suggest to yourself or imagine, or ???
that all this is a dream. Everything you see, feel, taste, hear, etc. is
simply part of this dream, including, and perhaps especially, you (your
body, your mind, your history) is the dreamed. You are NOT the dreamer, you
are the dreamed. Your family, your job, your partner, your children, are
all part of the dream. That doesn't mean you ignore them, because you are
part of the dream as well. Recognize that what you call you - the
'Fred-ness' or 'Susan-ness' or whatever, will continue to 'do' what it does
in the dream. That 'Fred-ness' or 'Susan-ness' can't 'become' enlightened,
because in order for them to be enlightened, their dream nature must
disappear - die, if you will.

So, what becomes enlightened? Nothing, at least from the dream perspective.
The dream continues, and 'behind' the dream, or that from which the dream
is arising, is the infinite space of Awareness.

So as I said before, right now, and from this moment on, see it all as a
dream. Like Nisargadatta says, you can love the dream or hate the dream...
it doesn't really matter; but just see it as a dream, (and don't forget
that your body, mind, life are included in that), and the Truth of
Awareness, God, Presence, Emptiness, will remain.

Oh, and if you don't like the dream analogy, another 'method' is from this
moment on, to see it ALL as God- all of it, everything that is seen, heard,
tasted, thought, (again, including you, your body, your thoughts, your
history)...all the play or expansion of God. Either 'approach' works just
fine.

And, by the way, the question, 'Who am I?' points at the same exact thing.
It shows us, not so much what we ARE as what we are NOT, and what is left
is the same Reality!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Self Realization & God Realization

What many people don't get, particularly here in the West, is that there is
a difference between recognition of the Self and Recognition of God.

Ultimately, God and the Self are one, but it is a oneness like the wave and
the ocean, the sunlight and the sun.

Recognition of the Self is relatively easy. It can be done in an instant.
After all, it is who you are. When you simply stop and be, letting go of
the stuff that is in awareness, what is left is always the Self, the light
of consciousness. However, at this point, the so-called litte self, or ego,
remains. However, the experience is so profound, compared to the normal
moment to moment infatuation with the mind, that many feel this is the
end. This is only the beginning. It is, as I have said, like landing in
India and thinking you have seen the entirety of the country. You have only
walked through the door. This is where the real work begins.

Now begins the work of staying there, of remaining situated in that Self,
in that "I Am", letting go of every false notion, every belief, every
habitual pattern of egoity, surrendering the sense of indviduality more and
more into that Infinite Presence, returning to Source, to God, until there
is no 'you', only THAT! This is where the death comes in; that willingness
to give EVERYTHING, to Die to self. But most would rather have a glimpse
AND an ego than to surrender the ego to the Absolute.

This is not a judgment, only an observation. Better, awake to the Self,
even partially, than totally asleep, like the mass of humanity. Just don't
confuse having gotten on the elevator with having arrived at the Penthouse.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Comments

It turned out I (non-expert that I am) had not turned the comment
capability on. Now, you are able to make comments to posts if you
like (at least until "I" change my "mind".)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let's Go Hokies

Ever ready to watch TV, I watched the entire convocation at Virginia Tech
for the 32 (33 if you include the gunman) dead from yesterday's mass
killing. I find the whole thing fascinating on numerous levels:
1st. The fact that one more thing grabs the attention of the American
public so readily, pushing everything else aside. Have you any idea how
many people die every minute in the world? Doesn't really matter how -
guns, suicide, war, starvation, disease, etc. It's a part of the life
cycle. Yes, it is a sad thing for those involved, a loved one dead under
such bizarre circumstances. But then so are the tens of thousands of deaths
that are taking place in the middle east, Darfur, and (dare I say it) the
slaughterhouses.
2nd. This caught my attention quite quickly. Everyone immediately started
blaming the school, the police, somebody, anybody, that after the first two
murders (which looked like a basic domestic squabble) the entire campus of
some 26,000 students should have been immediately notified that there was a
killer on the loose and the campus (read 'small city') locked down. As if!
It always goes back to 'how can we beef up security everywhere? Let's make
the entire country into a police state. One person suggested that as soon
as the first 2 murders were seen (which they thought could have been a
murder/suicide), the ATF, national guard, police, and army should have been
called in. AS IF!
3rd. And to my 'mind' most important, was that fact that virtually no one
was asking 'why did he do it?' It's a little like when Bush or anyone, goes
to war, people really rarely ask "Why". They just kind of go, 'Uh, okay'.
I mean, obviously Cho was disturbed, but these days, EVERYONE is disturbed.
Over 1,000,000 people commit suicide (successfully) every year, with 2 to
10 times that many attempting suicide. Cho basically committed suicide,
just taking a few extras with him.
Anyway, there were many more observations made, however, back to the
convocation. So, there they are, thousands of people gathered together to
mourn their loss (including Prez & Mrs. Bush, the Virginia govenor and his
wife, speakers from the Christian, Buddhist, Jewish and Islamic faiths (why
do they never include Hindus? There are almost a billion of them.) and the
last speaker is a poet and professor at the school, Nikki Giovanni who
gave a powerful and stirring speech ending with "We are the Hokies! We will
prevail! We will prevail! We will prevail!" This brought the entire body of
students, faculty and all to their feet and chanting "Let's go Hokies!
Let's go Hokies! Let's go Hokies!" to rhythmic applause.
Strangest memorial I've ever seen.

But, again, the real question is why? Why did Cho find it necessary to go
and blow people away, emotionlessly it appeared, to the witnesses who saw
him? My answer here might best be given by quoting E. F. Schumacher who
said:
"It is a grave error to accuse a man who pursues self-knowledge of 'turning
his back on society'. The opposite would be more nearly true: that a man
who fails to pursue self knowledge is and remains a danger to society, for
he will tend to misunderstand everything that other people say or do, and
remain blissfully unaware of the significance of many things he does
himself."

Unless and until people seek Self knowledge, Self understanding, and true
wisdom (at the least) and even deeper, their own True Nature as
Consciousness itself, they will go around in any number of aspects of the
dream. Until they fully recognize that they are free from the mind and it's
conceptions and perceptions, they will continue to act in ignorance. There
is no way around it. As long as you consider the mind to be real and true,
and consider yourself AS that mind, you will act in ignorance! It is
inescapable. Mind means entrapment and ignorance when believed. It's as
simple as that. Give it up, explore it, investigate it, examine it, or
continue to live in a fool's paradise, which means suffering. Yes, Cho
killed a bunch of bodies...very sad, but those who willingly live in
ignorance kill the soul, and THAT is truly a sin!

okey dokey, I'm done.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Stop And Be

How much energy does it take to maintain a lie? Everyone knows the stories of how the layers of lies become more and more complex as the truth shines through and there is a desperate attempt to plug the holes, to strengthen the façade of the lies, before the entire lie comes crashing down and the truth becomes self evident.
And yet, in our own lives, we strive desperately to maintain that which, deep down we know is a lie - the lie of our own image, of a story of personhood and deeply identifying with that person, that body, that mind - when all we have to do is STOP - just relax our hold and let it all collapse!
Stop, for a moment. What is there? What and where are YOU? What is left is infinite Reality without the shaky structure of a personal you getting in the way. What is left is the joy of pure Presence...free from form or thought or ...

So for this moment, stop and BE. And again for this moment... and this one... and this one...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In or Out - A Dialogue

Okay, so everything is this ocean of Oneness, and from this ocean 'you'
arise as a wave.
Got it!
So now what?
What do you mean?
I mean, now that you're a wave, what do you do?
I don't know. Just be a wave, I guess.
Well, perhaps, but chances are it's more than that. Probably, one of two
things will happen: Either you will go out or in.
Explain please!
If you're a wave, one of several billion, you're not going to see much. Nor
are many other waves going to see you. So, you may want to get just a bit
above the other waves - perhaps get a better perspective - be a little
higher than the other waves. At first, it's innocent enough, but those
other waves are growing too, also trying to see (and be seen) over the
crowd.
Aha! Like a competition!?
Exactly. And you also need to defend your waveness from your competitors -
all those other waves. But, no matter what you do, there are always bigger
and better waves. Plus, there's always a feeling, perhaps even a knowing,
that ultimately, this is fruitless - because you're all just water.
So what happens?
Eventually, with luck, disillusionment sets in.
Ooh! Disillusionment - I like that word.
Yes. At first it might not be so much, but enough to question your motives
and actions.
Un-huh! And then what?
And then the out decides to go in.
What does that mean?
It means it goes in the exact opposite direction. Rather than trying to
expand out, it begins to contract in.
What does that look like?
At first, it might be confused. It still has this tendency to grow up and
out, but it's also now wondering about itself - what exactly IS it; where
did it come from, and so on. However, it is so conditioned now to look
outside itself that it will now look for bigger waves, or groups of waves
to anser its questions and give it answers.
Is that a problem?
Yes, because he can never know if that bigger wave or that group of waves
is right.
Ahhh! So what's the solution?
Turn 'within'. The wave must inquire into their own nature; explore their
waveness and their waterness, and ultimately, their Ocean-ness.
So why don't more waves do this?
Well, for one, it's hard. They have a long time habit of going and looking
out and of trying to defend their waveness. Even when they do try to go in,
they'll be distracted and again look out. All it takes is a moment of
looking out and they forget they were trying to look in. They have to keep
looking in, deeper and deeper without being, or allowing themselves to be
distracted! Or sometimes, they get a little idea - a little taste - and
figure, "good enough", and then head back out again, most likely to show
the other waves how much more they know.
Tsk, tsk! That's horrible.
No, it's just 'wave-nature'. Old habits die hard. The solution is to
recognize the backslide, the out-looking nature, and continue the inquiry -
ever deeper and deeper.
What will happen then?
Through this constant inquiry, gradually, the attachment and
identification with the waveness will minimize and the recognition of being
waterness and Ocean-ness will expand, thereby regaining their qualitative
One-ness.
Cool!
Definitely!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Truth of Sri Lirpa Loof

Well, April 1st has passed and the teachings of Sri Lirpa Loof no longer
apply (see the post for April 1st). If you didn't quite catch on, here are
some
hints:

1. In lirpa loof's tradition the capital is at the end of the name...
lirpA looF,

2. That they consider all things to be REVERSE projections of reality.

3. And it only works on April 1st!

(and if you still didn't get it, well, we'll just try again next year!)

And what is the blessings of the geat spiritual lesson:

Don't believe every piece of "spiritual" crap somebody feeds you -
including (perhaps especially) ME!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Instant Spiritual Blessings

Today is a very special day. There was once said to be a truly great and
deeply enlightened sage in Tibet by the name of Sri Lirpa Loof. All matter
of miracles were attributed to him and it was said that by meditating on
his name one could remove great heaps of accumulated karma.

However, if one truly wanted to achieve the ultimate goal of Absolute
Enlightenment, they should spread the holy blessings of Lirpa Loof by
loudly proclaiming to each person they meet today, "You and I and the great
Lirpa Loof are all One! You are the great Lirpa Loof! And I, above all, am
the great Lirpa Loof!" If one does this devotedly today, they are certain
to receive the blessing of the greatest spiritual lesson.

With the love and blessings of Sri Lirpa Loof.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Two Cool Links

I know I'm not always big on links and such, but I ran into these two
and loved them both:

The first is funny, but exceptionally true. For those of you who are
apparently in my age bracket (or thereabouts) you remember when the
"News" meant something. I confess that I first saw this link on
Leno, who played this cartoon from JibJab, the makers of such comic
satirical hits as "This Land". It's called, "What We Call The News"
and the link is

http://www.jibjab.com/what_we_call_the_news

It is a hysterical yet sadly true commentary on what we call
important news. Anyway, just something to enjoy!


The second video is at the website:

http://www.becomingme.com/

and
is itself called Becoming Me, based on the children's book of the
same name. It is a brief description of the author's idea of how all
"This" came to be manifested, but reflects what most philosophies
(and mystics) consider to be a 'True' understanding. But in any
case, it's very sweet and touching.

Both of these videos can be downloaded. The jibjab ones, you need to
join, but they are free. The Becoming Me video costs a couple of dollars.


Enjoy the Lila!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Some Highly Recommended Books

Two books have come across my desk (which is really the table next to my couch), but that I would like to recommend:

The first is Byron Katie's new book, A Thousand Names for Joy. Using her husband, Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching, Katie takes just a line or two from each of the 81 verses and then expresses her own recognition. Although she makes reference to her process, "The Work" and gives instructions in the back, this is primarily simply the beautiful expression of Pure Presence.

The Second is Dennis Waite's new book, Back to the Truth: 5000 years of Advaita. If you are interested in a deep and rich understanding of classical Advaita (non-duality) this book is bound to become the classic. (And not just because he quoted us numerous times.) He differentiates the various paths of Advaita from it's Upanisadic origins up to the present day; extensively and clearly expresses the various aspects of Advaita; and backs it up with extensive quotes from ancient and present day sources, teachers, scriptures, etc. Though it is intelligent and scholarly, it is not so academic as to be beyond anyone's grasp.

In order to facilitate the review or purchase of these and other books I've loved over the years, I've created a "bookstore" at Amazon. I will probably refine it later, and if you have any highly recommended books you think are MUSTS, let me know. Anyway, the link is:


http://astore.amazon.com/atmainst-20

Make it a link on your favorites page.

Shanti,
Aja

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Deeper Look at Inquiry

For years I have spoken on, and written, about Self Inquiry, but I'd like
to make a clearer distinction.

There are two basic facets of Self Inquiry: 1. The direct recognition of
Self, and 2. The letting go, or deconstructing of that which is NOT the
Self, specifically, the beliefs.

1. The direct recognition can best be described through the teachings of
Ramana (the inquiry "Who am I?) or Nisargadatta's abiding as 'I Am'. The
consistent and continuous practice of these methods, point us directly at
that which precedes our thoughts and beliefs. It is the discrimination
between what is sat and asat, or real and unreal, or permanent and
impermanent. The focus of attention is not on the objects of awareness, but
on the recognition that You ARE the awareness itself, without bounds or
constrictions - formless. Generally, in going through this process, we
'drop' into this recognition, realize our freedom, and for moments, hours,
or even days, there is just what IS.

However, what occurs is that the mind, ever present, pops up in the form of
beliefs, and our attention is pulled away from the Now and into some past
or future idea. This is where the second aspect of Self Inquiry comes in..

2. What we are NOT. This second aspect can also be done on it's own or in
conjunction, so to speak, with the resting as what IS. This part can best
be described as Jed McKenna's Spiritual Autolysis, or Byron Katie's 'The
Work'. It consists of systematically deconstructing our beliefs. It works
best by actually looking at, and writing down, what you consider to be
true, and then questioning whether, in fact, it is true. In the case of
Byron Katie's work, she asks 4 questions: Is it true? Do I absolutely know
it to be true? How do I feel when I believe this thought? And, Who would I
be without this thought? The answer to this leads to the same answer as
the direct inquiry - i.e. perfect freedom and total abidance as what is.

We are defined by our beliefs. We suffer due to believing our thoughts are
true. They are just thoughts, they arise, but they are NOT who we are.
Every time we believe a thought, we are bound by that thought. The inquiry
and resting as Who we are instantly takes us into the pure recognition of
Now, however, the systematic and complete destruction of our belief habits
will make that transition smoother and quicker.

Unfortunately, for most people, since they define themselves by their
beliefs, deconstructing those beliefs, is equivalent to dying. That's
exactly right. So, one has to decide - do you want to know (be) Truth, or
to continue to suffer by believing those thoughts?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Who Says So

Conditioning - subtle and pervasive. We can call it belief or ideas, mental
constructs, habits, it really doesn't matter. The point is that it appears
to be there, points upon which we fixate. We believe we ARE or we are NOT
enlightened. We believe that there can only be one or ten or fifty
enlightened people on the planet at any given time. We believe that
everyone is already enlightened. It doesn't really matter what the
fixation, whether it is a 'good' one or a 'bad' one - in some way it is
still holding us to an angle of vision, a perspective.

The question is, "Who the hell said it had to be this way or that way???"
People are constantly quoting someone or some scripture to me to prove
their point, as if I give a damn! Sure, I love quotes as much or more than
the next person. I collect them like stamps or coins, but I also recognize
that they give a flavor, they point a direction. I never take them as
unalterable Truths. "It takes three million lifetimes to become
enlightened." It's not even about believing you're enlightened right now.
It's about seeing what you are holding onto. That's all. Choose to let it
go or choose to live with it. It doesn't matter. But don't let it define
you, bind you, constrict you.

Now, look and see how you react to what I am saying. Do you agree? Do you
disagree? Doesn't matter one way or the other, does it? You simply hold it
in your own mind as 'true' or not. Yes, it leaves you dangling, without a
particular idea to hold onto, but that's sort of the point now isn't it?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Phacinating Phenomenon

"The mind & body happen to you because you find them interesting." -
Nisargadatta Maharaja

I saw this quote and loved it. It doesn't matter how you find it
interesting - it's just that it is more interesting than the alternative:
the emptiness. So when it comes to the body, and particularly, when it
comes to the mind, it doesn't matter if we hate it, or love it, or love to
hate it, or hate to love it, or, well, you catch the drift, it's downright
interesting. We'll look at every aspect of it. We will analyze it until
we're blue in the face. But let it go? Ignore it? Inquire what precedes it?
These are not our first choice.

I once heard an interview on the radio with Fred Rogers...you remember him,
Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. In this interview, he was pointing out how
powerful silence is, and how we have an aversion to it. He then proceeded
to stop talking for only about 10 seconds, but it was the longest 10
seconds I had ever heard (or not heard) on the radio. He had successfully
made his point. Similarly, we may put an emphasis on talking. Or, we might
put an emphasis on silence. In either case, we are focusing on the
phenomenon because it is interesting. It's loud, it's quiet, it's good,
it's bad. It's just 'stuff' happening. It's stuff that is changing. What is
it that never changes? What is it that is always Present and witnessing
that body, that noisy mind, or even that silent mind?
This is where that inquiry comes in. Question, not the mind, but where is
this mind? To whom or what is it arising? Like a vast empty space, the
body, the mind, the world are all arising within You! You are that Great
Presence, the Empty Awareness within which all of it arises. Notice that...
Become That... Rest as That!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Freedom's Just Another Name for Nothing Left to Lose

The title above really says it all, but it recently popped into my head,
and I rememer singing this song (Me and My Bobby McGee) and that wonderful
line - "Freedom's just another name for nothing left to lose." These days,
however, most people think of freedom as nothing more to gain - in other
words, that freedom comes through getting more and not losing everything.
Freedom (Enlightenment) comes not by gaining, but by losing everything that
is personal, or rather the personal identification with it.
There's a wonderful story in Yoga Vasistha where a king goes to the forest
to renounce everything. He becomes more and more austere, giving up his
hut, his clothes, eating less and less (all the suggestion of his teacher)
who keeps saying "Renounce more, renounce more". Finally he can think of
nothing else to renounce. The teacher says to him, "You have failed to
renounce the one thing that really needs to be renounced - your mind."
You see, it is the mind which is the obstacle. When you have renounced your
attachment and identification to the mind's collection of beliefs, you have
lost all that obscures What IS. You have lost the shackles...you have
nothing more to lose. Lose the beliefs, and you have nothing more to lose.
And then, 'Living life is easy!'

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Beyond Thoughts

How long can you rest as 'I Am'?
Perhaps you'd like to take a moment to try it now...simply resting as that
sense of I-Am-ness. Go ahead...I'll wait...........

Well? How did you do? Judgments perhaps? There are always two things
happening: 1. Is the actual thing happening, and 2. Is the story about
what's happening. The problem is that we normally focus on the story about
what is happening. This even includes our thoughts. So, for instance, in
the exercise above, you may have had thoughts, and then you proceeded to
have numerous thoughts ABOUT those thoughts. So, like anything, there are
two things happening...in this case, the first is that there are thoughts
that are happening, and then we proceed to feed those thoughts by having
thoughts ABOUT the thoughts.
These initial thoughts are generally harmless. They simply arise, like the
sun. But because we impart supreme importance to our thoughts, we then
judge them, or believe them, or chase after them, or rationalize them, or
... You get the picture. So, when those intial thoughts arise, simply
recognize their arising from and as the space of Presence.
This is always the case....something happens...every moment, things
happening. But then, we have a story about it. Why? Generally what happens
creates no suffering. However, our story about what is happening generally
has the potential to create great suffering. The sun came up. "Oh my GOD!
Why did the sun come up this morning?" When you have a belief or an
expectation about what happens moment by moment, there tends to be
suffering. When there is no expectation, simply allowance, surrender,
openness, embracing...no suffering.
A thought arises...no expectation...no suffering. Just remain as the ever
present Now-ness.

"There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our
mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind and one's
subtle body rest upon that and not rest on anything else."
Maitri Upanishad