Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Leopard Leotards

The other morning, as I was sitting on my back deck, I was suddenly struck by the pattern of shadows on my leg.  Just like that, I heard the first line of the poem below.  So, following once more in my tradition of boldly sharing my “bad poetry,” here we go.  I also hope it helps span the gap between relating personal experience to descriptions found in text books.

Me in my leopard leotard of wholeness
The weight of light and shadow on bare skin
reveals the super supple:
Silence gulping, “Brahman eating”
as I sip my morning coffee.
How to move without tearing these finest of silk stockings?
Oh, that I might rip a hole in wholeness!
A hole in wholeness -
Impossible, I know, and yet the tear is felt in every cell
and the very Silence.

Paradox is simply That: here, there and everywhere.
Which is different from “not knowing” or even being “lost.”
I remain the Queen of Contradictions and Conundrums.
Don’t look to me for answers
but good inquiry can be quite useful
until it’s not

not when god gives morning coffee,
cicadas humming their Samaveda
thru the perfect summer air
as my Retirement unfolds
and leopard leotards appear
out of Absolutely Nowhere.

It took a big effort to haul myself out of the silence of the leotards and pick up pen and pad.  That effort in itself shattered the direct perception.  But, it was so paradoxical the mind couldn’t let the issue drop.  I recalled Harri Aalto recently emphasizing that one can indeed see the Absolute – a seeming impossibility and contradiction.   I also immediately recognized these leotards as a version of Wang Liping’s practice with his reflections and shadows.  I couldn’t recollect exactly how the story goes, so I looked it up:

One day the Wayfarer of Pure Serenity took Wang Liping to a small reservoir, where he had prepared a large plank.  The Wayfarer had Liping sit cross-legged on the plank, then eased it out into the water, where it gradually came to a stop in the middle of the reservoir.  Liping sat on the plank in a state of silence… [When] the Wayfarer was sure that Liping had reached the right state, he disturbed the surface of the water with his hand, sending a wave of ripples toward the center of the reservoir.  When the ripples approached the plank, Wang Liping’s reflection in the water was shattered; he himself just felt a shudder in his heart…  When the ripples had passed, the surface of the water again became smooth as ever, and Liping’s body and mind returned to their former quietude…

The young apprentice told his mentor all about the sensation he’d had on the water, finding it quite beyond his understanding.  … [Through cultivation] the yang celestial soul and the yin earthly soul in his body had both been strengthened and sensitized.  From the ordinary point of view, shadows and reflections are unreal, things have form but not substance… From the Taoist point of view, however, these “unreal shadows and reflections with form but no substance” also have ethereal force, which can be felt by the body on contact…  This is why Liping’s body and mind stirred when his reflection was disturbed in the water.  When one gets to the “middle three realms,” shadows and reflections are no longer insubstantial forms; now they have form, they also have substance.  This is the principle underlying the practice of curing illness by working on people’s shadows, as Wang Liping later learned from his mentor.
Opening the Dragon Gate:  The Making of a Taoist Wizard, translated by Thomas Cleary

Interestingly, once you compare these experiences, you realize that both Wang Liping and I found it “quite beyond” our understanding.  This is confusing and new territory of what’s normal. It’s not what the mind is used to.  There are new rules and possibilities.  Or, to site Nisargadatta:
A good measure of spiritual maturity is the degree to which one can appreciate paradox and ambiguity.

Settling into this maturity comfortably requires both experience and intellectual understanding. … to wit, the effort at bad poetry as I try to get the words precise.  I hope it helps.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


To me, a metapattern is a pattern so wide-flung that it appears throughout the spectrum of reality: in clouds, rivers, and planets; in cells, organisms, and ecosystems; in art, architecture, and politics…

The most revolutionary time I ever had intellectually was in 1974 sitting with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for one week of what he called “Vedic Studies.”  He was going to explain consciousness from a non-dual perspective.  In the front row he had a bunch of PhDs: physicist, chemist, biologist, mathematician and an artist.  He told them, “Now stop me when you think of something.”   The experts did stop him when they thought of a parallel between Maharish’s explanation of consciousness and some branch of science.  Day after day they did that, until my mind began to freak: “Why!”

Why were there so many parallels between consciousness and what I thought of as “Laws of Nature”?

I finally hypothesized that it was because all of Creation was based upon Pure Consciousness (consciousness as Absolute -not the consciousness generated by the brain) - and what we saw as Creation were actually, inevitably, “Patterns of Consciousness.”   I viewed this as a working hypothesis as my mind just couldn’t really swallow it.  Trained in biology and chemistry I was a materialist.  Or, to paraphrase my niece a generation later, “I don’t see how any college graduate can believe in God.”  And while perhaps I’d have said I did believe in God, that didn’t necessarily translate into all Creation being created in His image.
However, I made a hypothesis and have been collecting examples, bits of data, ever since.
So, now it’s 2014 – forty years of watching – and I have just discovered the work of Tyler Volk.  Since 1995 he’s written about Metapatterns.  I think this is the science supporting what I called patterns of consciousness.  What precipitated this discovery of Volk’s work?   I am trying to understand Geomancy as practiced by Marko Pogacnik.  And in my poking around this week I came across a rather surprising pattern.  These correlations are always so surprising to me and always seem to evoke a sense of wonder and why!

To begin:  I was looking are Plant Hardiness Zone maps – those maps that tell you what plants can be planted where.  I was interested in what healing plants grow where.  Somehow in my Googling I came across a map that displayed the differences in the 1990 USDA hardiness zones and the 2006 arborday.org hardiness zones.  This map shows wheretemperature changes are occurring across the United States.  This is one way of visualizing the evolving global climate.  

What surprised me was how this map of the U.S. reminded me of the pattern seen in developing embryos.A classic image in biology is that master gene expression establishing developmental gradientsBelow is a fruit fly embryo revealing the distribution of maternal proteins in anterior/posterior axis. The A/P axis is set up by a protein called BICOID that is expressed in an anterior-to-posterior gradient.

When I was in college a favorite phrase among biology students was, “Phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny.”  That was just the smart way of saying it looks like evolution of the species follows the same pattern as developing embyro.  Here that pattern seems to extend to global climate… Why?  Just chance?
I define metapatterns by saying where they are found and how I use them.
But what are they? And are they out there (patterns sensed) or in here (patterns imagined)?
Tyler Volk

AH!  Here is the inside/outside question of consciousness! 
It all depends upon ones point of view regarding Consciousness.  Is it Egoic or Wholistic?  You’re your definition of consciousness state that it arises from the complex organization of the brain?  Or, does Pure Consciousness express itself as a Creative Intelligence (CI) arising from the VOID?
Egoic separation says the patterns lie outside and are observed. 
Wholistic vision realizes that CI repeats itself throughout layers of complexity and scales of size: physics, chemistry, biology, ecology, sociology, geology, astrophysics.

Experience seems to suggest to me that both viewpoints are valid.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sticky Stages

The apparent shift from the sleep state to an awake one is actually quite subtle. There's no real line, except that there is! This subtlety is the reason that after an initial glimpse there can be so much trailing oscillation before we reach a real grounding, or stability, within Nondual awareness. 
There's no such thing as "permanent" enlightenment, which is purely a mind-constructed idea that could only happen to a somebody, but there is certainly ongoing enlightenment, which has nothing whatsoever to do with a human being. Ongoing enlightenment--also known as abiding awakening--is unshakable and boundless.
Fred Davis, Awakening Clarity

This is REALLY good to know. Got it/Lost it has to come to an end at some point. ...ha,ha - just as spiritual egos need to disappear.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Dog, Cats, and Powerless Hate

This is fun and worth a listen:

At times it feels almost like an exercise in Tapping to release beliefs.  But, I also just enjoyed his take on dog energy and cats and hate.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The "Sacrifice" of Oneness

Landsong fire circle, Krishan Bralley
The world you see is based on "sacrifice" of oneness. It is a picture of complete disunity and total lack of joining. Around each entity is built a wall so seeming solid that it looks as if what is inside can never reach without, and what is out can never reach and join with what is locked away within the wall. Each part must sacrifice the other part, to keep itself complete. For if they joined each one would lose its own identity, and by their separation are their selves maintained.
ACIM, Chapter 26

So here were more words that went straight into my heart.  Sometimes it is good for your heart to break.  Only then do I become open and defenseless and ready to receive the influx of love I’ve been resisting.  For a moment, these words made it imperative for me to see the world in a new way, to see the Oneness.  Perhaps they’ll resonate with you too.

A Course in Miracles states as its goal, in many ways, a shift in perception, a different way of seeing. The Course calls this different perception by various names -- the eyes of Christ, spiritual vision, salvation, Atonement, true perception, and forgiveness. The entire goal of A Course in Miracles is but this. For example, the introduction to the Workbook of the Course states unequivocally, "The purpose of the workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world."…
All of our experience is tied to our perception and perception is not a fact but an interpretation.
Daan Dehn, commentary on ACIM

Perception is not a fact, but an interpretation! 
That is not simply ACIM or non-dual philosophy but also physiology and hard science.
And where does all this take me? 
I scan the ACIM texts and from time to time come across a phrase that churns me, evokes some deep response that I cannot really understand and turn away from in discomfort.
I find many of them have to do with healing and highlight my resistance to something obviously of beneficial.

Is Healing Certain?
Healing is always certain. It is impossible to let illusions be brought to truth and keep the illusions. Truth demonstrates illusions have no value…
Yet what if the patient uses sickness as a way of life, believing healing is the way to death? When this is so, a sudden healing might precipitate intense depression, and a sense of loss so deep that the patient might even try to destroy himself…
Healing will always stand aside when it would be seen as threat. The instant it is welcome it is there.
Manual for Teachers, Section 6

I recall a comment on BATGAP that anyone who meditates diligently for years and has not awakened is harboring some uninvestigated ambivalence – in short, they don’t want to wake up.
I think of Adyashanti explaining how many people awake and go through a loss of all will power.
And I think of Evie and others working their hearts out to heal their cancers.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Required Course

Jump, by P Bralley
 For some time now, I have been uninterested in posting anything here. Something seems to have broken inside, which I actually take as a good sign. However, I find I really want to share these words:
This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means that you can elect what you want to take at a given time. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

This course can therefore be summed up very simply in this way:
Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.

My nephew, when he was little, one day suddenly realized, “Life’s a lot of work! Why do people do it?” To this day, his words are something of a family joke.
But, isn’t this what A Course in Miracles is saying? It is required.
Your only choice is if you want to accept the challenge now or later.

When will I remove the blocks to love’s presence?
And how - How to let love in?
I find I can only aim at discovering what deeply moves me. And then, resist nothing.
Today, it was these words.
“Read ‘em and weep” … because then, I open up to Love.

Love will immediately enter into any mind that truly wants it.
Truly? Why not go with that?

You are free to believe what you choose, and what you do attests to what you believe.
A Course in Miracles

And less you think this is simply airy-fairy and not for the practical, gritty challenges of life, let me introduce you to two remarkable women:

Helena – who should by now be dead from rectal cancer.
Corinna Borden– who has refractory Hodgkins lymphoma.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

A Krishnamurti Millisecond

Asemic Circles, by P. Bralley
I’ve mentioned that I have migraines. Curiously, over the past few years they’ve changed. They have gone from seemingly an obvious physiological pathology that sometimes gave rise to a spiritual experience to the exact opposite: a spiritual experience that makes the body sag as it tries to biologically support “the vision.” And sometimes, there is just this weird in-between state. My vision gets altered and I feel a little headachy and definitely nauseated. Not at all your classic migraine, but for lack of a better term, I just call it a migraine.

My doctor always asks how they are going (not that his by-the-book-medicine understands a thing about the spiritual) but, to give him something of a reply, I explained to him that something happens to my vision: I lose the ability to process vision in the normal manner. I don’t get the flashes of light or bizarre distortions that are ripe within the migraine literature. Rather, my vision becomes “disconnected” from the normal higher processing center.

It has become very obvious to me that vision is a process composed of a hierarchy of processes or functions. Most basically, the retina picks up light and the signals are processed in to a flowing image. We “see” the world around us and then at another level this image gets processed further. Another level of brain activity gives rise to meaning, interpretation, linguistic labels, and ultimately the logical interaction of “me” with the world I see.
The migraine disconnects this level of interpretation and labeling. When it happens at work, I call it quits and just go home. Last Saturday, it happened while I was driving up to the mountains for a family weekend. My reaction was, “No, no, no – not now!” I rubbed my eyes and rubbed my neck and tried to “reconnect.”

It’s with this background of “spiritual migraines” that I came upon this Blog entry by Nicole Taras, a psychic by profession, and was fascinated by the new angle Nicole provides my understanding. Her disconnect involves the sense of hearing and she calls it a Krishnamurti Millisecond:

It happened while I was watching a video talk by Krishnamurti.
Krishnamurti is fun to listen to for me because he always, only, talks about “reality” on the very deepest level which cannot be talked about or understood intellectually so he is constantly frustrated by students trying to understand what he is saying intellectually…
In any case, during part of his lecture, Krishnamurti became very frustrated about this and said sternly, “Just listen. Don’t try to listen. Don’t try to understand. Just simply listen to what I am saying...” (that may not be a direct quote but that’s how I remember it)

He went on talking and I decided to listen without focusing on the concepts or trying to gain any sort of knowledge, or get anywhere further on my spiritual path by having listened.
For probably less than a second, I just listened. It felt as if some sort of filtering or resistance system that I live in constantly had turned off and for that millisecond life was allowed to just be without me slowing it down or counting it out in terms of a process of time before acknowledging it, organizing, categorizing, making concepts, understandings, perceptions, judgments — I saw that my normal processes of perceiving myself and the world around me acts as a filtering system which slows life down and breaks it into categories or measurements of time that I can then count and comprehend...

The best way I can describe what listening was like is that it seemed like a flood of openness...but even a flood is too small...it was just being open and with no idea in the world of a closed comparison…
the question I am stuck with is – how would it even be possible to actually go about living in this state of mind (if that’s what you’d call it)? In hindsight, I’m left with the concept of just how vulnerable it is to not have the filters on.

Krishnamurti says that once you have seen things as they really are there is no going back to the old way of being — I definitely am not there yet — he does not believe in a gradual awakening because that implies time and a goal, somewhere to get to — but my path appears to be gradual.

Yes. My path seems very gradual.
I poked around Nicole’s website and the more I read the more relaxed I became. There’s a sweetness that resonated with me. And before I knew it, my vision was disconnected once again. I wouldn’t call this a migraine. I’d call it witnessing, but then I might not even call it that. Witnessing presents a “radical duality” that by definition establishes a here and there.  I'm noticing that disconnection with my vision is a dropping off of differentiation, labeling, dividing. There's a soupiness or ocean that disorients my normal vision. (Perhaps the habit of vision/nervous system is to WANT to label and dissect.) And, of course, I can see all the cups and pencils and notebooks same as anyone. But, as the vision changes and the relaxation arises, mostly I am aware something dropping away leaving behind a Wholeness - or at least a chunky soup as we all swim about within the same warm pot of ...what?  Wow!  What?

Or, as Nicole summarized:
This moment, along with other milliseconds of sudden conscious shifting in my life helps me see (little by little) my mind with more perspective and with a deeper trust in my Oneness with God.
Well, I hope that makes sense to somebody!

I think it does, at least to me! Thank you, Nicole.