Thursday, March 29, 2007

River of Dreams

Moonset 2
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao.

This is something of a total non sequitur, but I keep coming back to it, probably because I am up walking around just about every night in the middle of the night. And too, I discovered that a recent pre-dawn photo of the moon from my bathroom seems to be the perfect illustration.

So the story goes like this:
A few weeks ago, I was driving to work when this old Billy Joel song came on the radio. “River of Dreams” is a boppy little tune and so I was bopping along, singing happily. I hadn’t heard the tune in a long time and I don’t think I’d ever really noticed the words. Well, now I heard them and they hit home.

Later I googled the lyrics. And here, I have them edited for you, just to share and make my point.

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
From the mountains of faith
To the river so deep.
I must be looking for something
Something sacred I lost…

I’m a searcher for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I’d never lose
Something somebody stole.
But the river is wide
And it’s too hard to cross…

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep.
Through the jungle of doubt
To the river so deep.
I know I am searching for something
Something so undefined
That it can only be seen
By the eyes of the blind
In the middle of the night…

We all end in the ocean.
We all start in the streams.
We’re all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night.

What’s he doing?
If you can, read these words without the tune.
These are not words to which I’d ordinarily happily bop along.

These are words to which I would most likely dramatically and tragically slowly progress, insisting to my self that surely someone will eventually notice and offer sympathy if not salvation.

But, you know, obviously, you don’t have to play it that way.
He doesn’t. They don’t.

(Here’s how Billy Joel does it on YouTube.)

And if you don’t have to, why do you?
Isn’t happy boppy better than slowly tragic and dramatic? (Feel free to cast your ballots)
And yes, This is a lesson regarding consciousness.

Yeah, That’s It.
And I think my moon through the magnolia is the perfect image- not too tragic… it’s the view from the toilet for god’s sake. And it’s not at all bad!

So enjoy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Quest

Ancient Nun
Originally uploaded by Arddu.
Well, I guess it’s time for me to get my act together and put something up for March. Perhaps not what I REALLY want to say, but hopefully something worth sharing.

To be specific, some thoughts (that I’ve edited down) on seeking by Adyashanti. Check out his website for the quote in it’s entirety.

"The quest for enlightenment is the quest for truth or reality. It’s not a quest for ideas about truth—that’s philosophy. And it’s not a quest to realize your fantasies about truth—that’s fundamentalized religion. It’s a quest for truth on truth’s terms. It’s a quest for the underlying principle of life, the unifying element of existence.

"In your quiet moments of honesty, you know that you are not who you present yourself as, or who you pretend to be. … One day you’re an indulgent, worldly person; the next a pure, spiritual lover of God. One moment you love your image of yourself, and the next you loathe it. On it goes, identified with one self-image after another, each as separate and false as the last.

"When this game of delusion gets boring or painful enough, something within you begins to stir… It is the intuition that there is truth, although you do not know what it is. But you know, you intuit that truth exists…

"Once you receive this intuition, this revelation, you will be compelled to find it. You will have no choice in the matter. You will have consciously begun the authentic quest for enlightenment, and there is no turning back. Life as you’ve known it will never be quite the same."

Seeking & the Chickadee

Adyashanti continues:

"A great Zen master said, “Do not seek the truth; simply cease cherishing illusions.” If there is a primary practice or path to enlightenment, this is it—to cease cherishing illusions. Seeking truth can be a game, complete with a new identity as a truth-seeker … But ceasing to cherish illusions is no game; it’s a gritty and intimate form of deconstructing yourself down to nothing. Get rid of all of your illusions and what’s left is the truth…

"As the master said, “Do not seek the truth.” But you can’t stop seeking just because some ancient Zen master said to. Seeking is an energy, a movement toward something. Spiritual seekers are moving toward God, nirvana, enlightenment, ultimate truth, whatever. To seek something, you must have at least some vague idea or image of what it is you are seeking. But ultimate truth is not an idea or an image or something attained anew. So, to seek truth as something objective is a waste of time and energy. Truth can’t be found by seeking it, simply because truth is what you are. Seeking what you are is as silly as your shoes looking for their soles by walking in circles…

"The energy of seeking will be there in one form or another until you wake up from the dream state. You can’t just get rid of it. You need to learn how to invert it and use the energy to deconstruct the illusions that hold your consciousness in the dream state. This sounds relatively simple, but the consequences can seem quite disorienting, even threatening. I’m not talking about a new spiritual technique here; I’m talking about a radically different orientation to the whole of your spiritual life… if you’re like most spiritually oriented people, your spirituality is your most cherished illusion. Imagine that."

So, that's it for now. I hope to be back to posting a bit more regularly again. Many misadventures to report!