Friday, February 27, 2009

Turnaround of the Heart

This is an extract from an Adyashanti satsang. I saw the entire DVD some time ago and something about it has stuck with me... the part about how pleasure seeking egos do so much rearranging of their lives... always with the renovations!

I think this is a teaching easy to mis-interpret. i.e. I think of it by way of an excuse, everytime I don't want to clean my house. But, I don't think that's what he's saying.
So why did it so stick with me?
Listening yet again just now, I noticed.
He asks, "What is actually here right now?"
That's the true essence of the teaching.

And I think of the text message I sent a friend this morning at 7:30 from my back deck. Sky was so gray. Trees were black webs of branch and twigs against a silence filled with birds chirping. The temperature was warm enough to leave the back door open and carry my breakfast outside.
What a morning!... I had to text my friend...

U awake? Note trees clouds sky sweet

It wasn't a gray, sad day at all. It was beautiful, just as it was right now...
U awake?

Enjoy the video:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Addiction, Ego, Pain

This cartoon fascinated me.
I believe we are each knitters of one kind or another.
But, I noticed the people commenting on YouTube seem oblivious to this fact.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pennies from Grandma

1914 penny
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
I received a 1914 penny in change a couple days ago.
I was amazed.
Had someone broken out their old collection? But, this was no collector’s specimen.
It was well worn and a bit corroded. I began to think about a penny’s life span.
How many were in circulation? How many were pulled out regularly and melted down?
I wonder if pennies aren’t like seeds blowing in the wind- out of a million, surely one will survive and take hold.

Anyway, I began to think of pennies. And when I see a penny, a discarded and old penny for that matter, I always think of Grandma.

My point here? I really don’t know. But, it has to do with what we hold onto and how we let go. It has to do with love, and love gone wrong, and love curving round to heal.

It brings to mind an essay I wrote, long ago now, entitled, Pennies from Grandma.
The clip the magazine highlighted declares:

They told me that her blood was too thick for her heart to pump, and I wondered how it was that someone stayed alive so long after nothing’s left. I’d seen bugs crushed and gone so quickly. I couldn’t decide if life was fragile or tenacious beyond belief.

I’m still wrestling with these concepts. So I thought I’d share a bit more of the essay here.

I’ve been passing pennies on the sidewalk. There seem to be a lot, as if I’m not the only one who doesn’t bother anymore to lean down and pick them up. After all, what good’s a penny anymore? It’s enough to buy a memory. Every time I see one I think of Grandma Bralley. I see the two of us in 1954. She has me by the hand, for I am only four, and we are walking down the street in Bristol, a town all brick and iron-stained industrial cement.

We were on our way to the Delaware, to watch that oily river flow by, when Grandma saw the penny. It seemed to take her forever, and I held my breath, as she leaned over all arthritic to retrieve that penny off the street. When she finally had it, she held it out proudly for me to see, “Now, that’s a lucky penny!” The idea truly impressed me.

It’s a young girl’s first memory, those visits to Grandma’s. I think she liked me then. It was later that I grew too loud and impulsive, so that when I entered a room Grandma would jump and snap at me, “Be still.” I made her nervous. I don’t recall ever doing much of anything right for her except one time when I was about ten. Realizing she was very old, I spent the afternoon sitting on the sofa with her, holding her hand in mine, pushing her thick blue veins back and forth under the skin like spaghetti on a plate. I wanted her to tell me all about what it had been like when she was a girl. I looked into her eyes and saw they were so blue. I told her they were beautiful and suddenly, eighty-three years old, she sat up like a ramrod and burst into a smile. “The boys used to tell me that.” I’d never thought of Grandma and boys. I had never seen, nor would I ever see again, such a spark in her.

Later, that night, my father came to my room. Grandma had told him I had been nice. I was about to say how happy I was. Grandma’s stories had been wonderful. She’d told me things no one else knew. But Pop saw something else. “Here, you earned this dollar.” I liked the money, but it made me feel strange, being paid like that. Everything, like love, got turned askew…

I could hardly wait to tell my sister that Grandma had died. It seemed like such a news flash. She replied with a big grin, “She did?” and at the funeral we started laughing. It was terrible – my father next to me, head bowed, his hands trembling. And I was laughing out of control. I would just about burst with trying not to, but every time I got myself quieted I’d feel the pew shake, and knew my sister was down the line doing the same thing… I remember Grandma’s funeral as the torture of this laughter, and the curious inability to comprehend that she was really up there in that coffin…

Soon the dreams started. I saw Grandma old and we both cried. But in a while she was happier and we would talk. After a few months I didn’t really consider them dreams anymore. They were more like visits while I was asleep. She was getting younger, strong and happy. We enjoyed each other and I’d wake up feeling good. Then the dreams stopped. I figured she had gone off on her own.

Extracted from The Sun, issue 130, September, 1986.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Three feathers
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
Last night, at my Taoist meditation group, I was given an object with which to meditate.
My eyes were already closed, so I never knew it was a skull – until after the fact.
It was a very powerful meditation that challenged and moved me deeply.
I wouldn’t recommend meditating with skulls for the weak of heart.
Still, I’m glad I had the opportunity for seeing and for learning.

And though I am a collector or skulls and antlers, tooth and bone, at the end of the meditation I wanted to smash that skull with my foot – the way a glass is crushed in celebration under the chuppah.
There! Be done! A new beginning has begun…

Or better still, I found these words of Mary Oliver today:


My dog came through the pinewoods dragging a dead fox – ribs and a spine, and a tail with the fur still on it. Where did you find this? I said to her, and she showed me. And there was the skull, there were the leg bones and the shoulder blades.

I took them home. I scrubbed them and put them on a shelf to look at – the pelvis, and the snowy helmet. Sometimes, in the pines, in the starlight, an owl hunches in the dense needles, and coughs up his pellet – the vole or the mouse recently eaten. The pellets fall through the branches, though the hair of the grass. Dark flowers of fur, with a salt of bones and teeth, melting away.

In Washington, inside the building of glass and stone, and down the long aisles, and deep inside the drawers, are the bones of women and children, the bones of old warriors. Whole skeletons and parts of skeletons. They can’t move. They can’t even shiver. Mute, catalogued – they lie in the wide drawers.

So it didn’t take long. I could see how it was, and where I was headed. I took what was left of the fox back to the pinewoods and buried it. I don’t even remember where. I do remember, though, how it felt. If I had wings I would have opened them. I would have risen from the ground.

from New and Selected Poems, volume II

Monday, February 16, 2009

Off and On, In and Out

Last Monday, I "signed off" blogging.
Last Monday, I stayed home from work simply because I didn't feel like going. I wanted to just be quiet.

Today, I found this file. Appparently, I wrote it last Monday. I have absolutely no memory of doing so. I read it today a bit jarred at first - to have done so much and "never known." But then, that's happening alot lately.

At first I thought it was bad memory. Now I see I am transcending in activity. I find traces about the house of doing things I have no recollection of - refilling the kibble dish, putting oil in the frying pan and then skipping then meal. It's more startling at work. Without ever feeling spacey, I'll lay down an experiment and wander off. Or worse - continue working while "gone." I find myself at step 14, tube in hand, when last thing I recal I was at step 9. That particular experiment had to be redone.

I try to put events back together when I "wake up" (or actually - go back into this dream). There is utterly Nothingness on either side.
Time is something I get off of the clock. I've lost the feel to some extent. How can we make being in the Now a practice? That's actually all that there is. (This struck me as very funny.)

And every word is distortion. And confusing. SO, I am going to clip and paste. I can't edit. Too hard. Too confusing.
But, recording might be of some help. So here is what I found today:

Note January 9, 2009:

Sent this to Mary. (Did I really? - I don't think so)

Want to make additional comments. Been enjoying the song “Suddenly I see

I was writing Becky just now and she'd asked some things... anyway here's part of my response and I realized I wanted to tell you too - though it is really carpool material - somehow it doesn't seem "right" to bring up (or actually it didn't cross my mind as germane to anything) but, having written it, I'd like you to know. It's been such a curious spot to be in - curious and at the same time not worth mentioning - which is curious too to me... so here's what i wrote:

Had my first actual breakfast today which is good sign for the stomach.
LOTS of energy pouring in? Virus? Both? Certainly energy...

A bit confusing as to whether I am totally ungrounded (doesn't quite seem like that) or no longer existing (obviously, I exist - existing here and/but everywhere too). I think it may be just the light shredding the knots in the fabric of ego.
Am watching very closely what is just a habit and can be let go. And if I insist upon maintaining the habit - what happens? Universe does not support. So next time, just let it go.

Was sitting the other day at the kitchen table puzzling over the strange feeling permeating my body. Was surprised to see it was Love. But not any love I had ever felt before or even recognized as Love, so why use that word? So, I looked again. This time it was Joy... but it was not joyous. Then I started laughing. Maharishi used to say "Bliss is not blissful." Now I understood. And the Love that was so strange to be calling love was strange because it was not loving. Words can't really get it. ... another habit to just let go... trying to explain anything.

Better to just pass on happy songs. Then the Joy is joyous and the Love is loving and it all kind of rolls along.

Re: doesn’t seem right. Ego is a habit (a collection of habits) – so if you’re dropping habits by feeling right/wrong you’ll notice it doesn’t feel right to focus on the “me, me, me” of experience. It hurts. “Division hurts” been thinking on that too. The I wants to disappear and “me, me, me” hurts – almost physically.
Addendum 2/16/09: And who is this “I” – First answer is “I don’t know.” Look closer- Emptiness, a false construct wants to do a header into Nothingness and disappear. Anything else is a Lie. It "division hurts" as the effort goes counter the entire flow of the Universe.

And I think this next part is just notes I made to myself.

Universe doesn’t support: the other day I sent email to Mary & Lily about sadness in finding picture of Becky & Annie in the snow. I Knew I shouldn’t bother writing out the complaint. But I did anyway. No reply. Writing just prolonged the wallow.
Complaining is a habit. Which is not to say, ego doesn’t have to first learn to speak up about what hurts. When it learns to speak, then it can move on to learning it doesn’t matter.

Why the habit is a habit? A body/nervous system filled with stress/impurities/ lacking contact with Being registers an experience as if a line has been etched deeply into rock. So: Grief makes an impression – on a physical level (“The Body Remembers”) Grief can be released, healed forgotten, moved on from… but it requires a lot of time and energy, as if the rock must be ground away.
But, as the stresses go, purity rises, Being becomes infused into the system – literally a new body is created and the physical body changes. Now, when an impression in made, “Grief” is experienced… it’s as if the impression, the experience is registered as a stick drawn through the water. Yes. I experience grief… and then it’s gone. Think this is impossible? Watch a baby move through the day. Catastrophe, tears, and two minutes later… delight. No problem.
As you change, have to be alert to the habit of being upset for long periods. Yes, you can still experience deeply – a stick can reach into the water to a far greater extent that it can etched into a stone – and then the experience is cleared and ready for the next moment…. To be whatever it may be.

What feels right and innocent and moving – rather than put into words, which holds onto a transient experience – better just to play. Send the songs you find, share, listen to what others are saying. Listen, don’t talk, let others express what you would say. Music, cartoons, serving hot soup. Love and Joy then become loving and joyous.

Who am I – I have a physical body – that’s not the real me, though I hang around the place – my true body is infinite Love, infinite Joy. There is a body of this – it permeates and transmutes the physical.
The words to label this transcendent body will fool you. I bet you’d find another word every time you look. Someone said “I am Surrender.” Surrender is not something we do. It is what we are. Love, Joy, Surrender – none of them are verbs. They are the un-nameable infinite Nothingness.
This body, the true you coincides with physical body that will always have personal preferences.

Best not to look or speak – at this point looking too closely into all this makes the energy too intense. So, in a way, I’ve been avoiding. But, I know it’s going on – like a freight train. The Universe is rolling through … I was going to say "me." But, actually, I saw – I am rolling through me. "Self unfolds itself, by itself, to itself."

Added ~2 hrs later... Ohh. I just noticed this note is dated Janurary 9th - not February 9th.

I give up. I'm leaving it here. I give up. This is just how life is boys and girls. Mostly a swirl. Better if I stay quiet.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Signing Off

Midnight. No waves,
no wind, the empty boat
is flooded with moonlight

I sat down with Suzanne Segal’s Collision with the Infinite specifically to find the passage she has about playing the part of an actor on stage.
I was searching for those words because I knew that the ones in my own head,
“And finally he sat down upon a rock
and there he died…”
while expressing exactly the exhaustion of my soul, had no elegance and were not a poem.
(Does Chaucer have some rooster dying somewhere? I know those words are out there.)

I searched and searched Suzanne’s book and never found the passage that I sought.
But, I did find Dogen.
And he brought tears to my eyes.
Close enough. Go with that.

I need to take a break from writing because I need to stop creating for a while.
I have found it impossible to complete anything and yet I keep making these attempts.
It might be nice to stop this struggle – it’s as hopeless as a fish hauled upon the bank continuing to flop.
There’s no way back into the creek.
There’s no point to struggle against the game that will play out.
So, let it go.
Let it go.

And here I'm not thinking so much about a paragraph as I am a sense of self.

Suzanne’s book also has these words of Rumi.
For years I pulled my own existence
out of emptiness…

That one line captures another element of what’s unfolding for me now.
I’m dog tired of hauling a false self up and out of Emptiness.

Mostly all that gets created is a lot of suffering, as well as clever chatty personae. I find it all exhausting.
And while I think this blog and blogging has been useful and enjoyable,
the effort seems counter-productive to me now.
Right now the next step for me is to play like a balloon and finally loose all that hot air.
Writing requires me to purse my lips and exhaling re-inflate that which needs to just
“blow off into emptiness.”

Don't worry. Everything continues just fine without me. I get to drive to work and do all the things I ususally do - playing out the greatest, silliest joke of total Impossibility, until once more I manage to haul my sorry ass back out into duality and create yet another drama.

Not so long ago, I was given an opportunity to receive a spiritual blessing.
While waiting for my turn, mind started chattering. "What do I want?" "What do I need?" "What am I missing here?"
Suddenly, I realized I have been blessed beyond all expectations.
I have received Everything, all that anyone is ever given.
And I got this long ago. I gave my life that night in gratitude and in all the intervening years, a spinning lifetime of drama, trauma, laughter and tears, the blessings of the Universe were always there. Though often I forgot,
I have been in need of Nothing.

So, I took the opportunity to bow my head.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
Three by three it went.

And I think that is just enough for now. ...Thank you!
Also know – I could change my mind tomorrow. And I probably will post again. Not just this right now.