Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Reason?

Whatever you say, you see.  So when you say nothing, you see everything.
Matt Kahn

Come January 1st Emory University becomes a smoke free environment.  Smokers won’t even be allowed to stand outside of buildings to have a cigarette.  Last fall when employees were renewing benefits selections, we had to sign a certificate that we didn’t smoke.  Next year smokers will have to pay an extra $50 per month in insurance premium.
Why all the changes?
Because everybody knows that smoking causes cancer!
Or to be more precise, smoking greatly increases the risk of cancer-
everyone also knows a smoker than seems to escape Scott free.
By profession I am a molecular geneticist.  That’s a discipline that is kind of renown for being the ultimate in reductionism, the ultimate advocate for biological cause and effect.
At least that was the stance as recently as 10 years ago.
But, all that reductionism, in a perfect yin-yang flip, led right into the arms of systems theory, an appreciation of the web of life wherein everything affects everything else.

At work I study a protein, encoded by a gene that when knocked out (mutated) causes the bacteria to stop synthesizing four different antibiotics.
However, we still don’t know how this disruption of antibiotic production actually occurs.
That’s because we’ve learned that when that one gene is knockout, several hundred genes change their behavior dramatically.
There is this whole web of interactions, actions and reactions.
I think of this as biology coming finally to the Buddhist emptiness teachings which speak of Creation as only dependencies arising.

Today, I got an email from a friend who commented, re a Woody Woodpecker cartoon I had sent her (go figure):
In compassionate friends [a group for parents who have lost a child] there are two camps – one believes, as I do, that there is some rhyme and reason to events – a plan in which Charlie’s death makes sense. Nothing is random. 
And another group believes the Divine sets things in motion but is not intimately involved in the day to day such that there is an element of randomness in the car accident or the cancer – God with a capital G does not have a hand in it other than that he created the initial creation….
Even though I believe there are no coincidences and things do not happen randomly – I also sometimes entertain the thought that I could be completely wrong on this and it could all be pretty random.  I don’t like that thought.

Theoretical physicist, Michio Kaku, says that Einstein talked about two Gods.
There is God, the interventionist, who listens to and answers our prayers.  Einstein didn’t buy this. However, he did believe in a God of order, harmony and elegance. 
But does that mean that nothing is random?

Actually, what does it mean to say, Nothing is random? 
Does that translate into, There is a reason for everything?
And is the appeal of Reason actually the hope that, One day I can understand?
...And if that is the real belief here, does that bring true relief and freedom?

I came across this video the other day in which Matt Kahn asks you to repeat a phrase so that you can feel your response to simply saying the words.
I think that’s a very nice experiment to try.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Bravery is something you can experience on the spur of the moment, faced with danger.  To have Courage, you must think about the dangers in advance, then weight the risks, and then do what you have to do…
Young Arthur to his mentor Merlin in The Saxon Shore

At the back of my copy of Eckhart Tolle’s A new Earth there is a list that I composed shortly after my partner informed me she was leaving.
It is a list of discoveries that appalled me at the time even as they liberated:
1.        If she’s not here, I’ll have to…
2.       Hair cuts
3.       Car maintenance
4.       Telephone, the answering machine
5.       Banking, budgeting, pay the bills
6.       Cook the meals
7.       I cleaned the refrigerator once in 20 years!  My God!  It makes me cry!
8.       ** As I do the responsible duties for myself I feel more competent and alert.  I don’t feel I am aging or as old.
9.       Why do I keep thinking about a new car?
10.   **I discover she didn’t just “hold me up” – she “held me back.”

Life’s disasters invite us into the courage that is actually our birthright, and for me this was and is a spiritual adventure.  Often when life is good and comfortable we’re really not advancing all that much.
Sometimes we are cradled and held up, while simultaneously we don’t even notice that we’re holding back.

A new year is coming. What will it bring? 
On my list there is perhaps Cancer, Joblessness, Awakening… these are the unknowns.
Who knows how they will play out and what I will be asked to face and feel.
And every single person gets to have this new year – if they are lucky enough to be alive.
Merlin and Arthur were explicitly concerned with leadership and war.  That may seem something of a non-sequitur here, but then, the entire story of Bhagavad Gita occurs on a battlefield.  So it isn’t too surprising that the principles of war have a bearing upon what Maharishi called “the battlefield of life.”

Men must want to fight, they must be inspired, willing to follow their leader to the death.  That willingness to die… for another man’s purposes only results from great and inspiring leadership…
The Saxon Shore

And what is the essence of great leadership?  … funnily enough it’s love.
His men would follow him anywhere, and they don’t care that he has a wooden leg.
No they don’t, because it’s not important.  They follow what they love in him.
And that’s about all any of us can do – follow the love we find inside.
For myself, trying to find my way forward from that stark list of inadequacies in the back of A New Earth, I found courage and a willingness to die in my great desire to awaken.
Now, desire may not sound so much like love. 
But my deep desire was a passion and passion is just the frothy waves of the silent ocean of love.
To become that ocean is to awaken.
And to embody that ocean into life requires that “one stand in one’s own shoes.”
That’s how Adya says his teacher described it.
And that was what I told myself whenever I got scared.

And I love that it is doesn’t matter if you have a wooden leg.  (Who doesn’t?)

Merlin and Arthur are describing the leader that lies within us all, our true Self,
which is always and already there.
And if you don’t believe me, then take it from the archetype...
and have a Happy New Year:

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Asemic Shadows 3 by Seeking Tao
Asemic Shadows 3, a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.

Yes - the springtimes needed you. Often a star was waiting for you to notice it.
A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past,
        or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing.
All this was mission. But could you accomplish it?
Weren't you always distracted by expectation, as if every event announced a beloved?
(Where can you find a place to keep her, with all the huge strange thoughts inside you
       going and coming and often staying all night.)
Rainer Maria Rilke, The First Elegy

It was Sunday morning early and I was driving the familiar road to be there at the Farmer’s Market right when they unlocked the doors.
That’s how I beat the crowds.
And as usual when driving I checked out – into my head and all those thoughts and the music floating up from the CD player.
And as usual there came a moment when I came up out of my head for air and a look around at the world.

I didn’t recognize a thing!
And for just a second I panicked because I felt totally lost.

And then, I noticed something surprisingly subtle (for me).
I noticed that I had expected to see the previous intersection.
And I saw that I’d become lost because of that simple albeit unconscious expectation.

It will rob you blind.

How many times on BATGAP has someone telling their story of awakening simply said,
“It’s not at all what I expected.”
How many times has Adya told how he’s never met anyone who wasn’t totally surprised?
It’s never what you expected.
So why not give that up?

Strange to no longer desire one's desires.
Strange to see meanings that clung together once, floating away in every direction.
Rilke, The First Elegy

Friday, December 23, 2011

Said a bit differently

I am really enjoying Michael Barnett’s teaching.  It’s what he calls “resonance based.”
Here he addresses the impotence of words and the importance of the meditative space.
It ties in nicely, from a different angle and different expression, with what I getting at in Dumb Saints.
Barnett’s moving meditations appear very similar to what my Taoist practice looks like.
That’s probably why I find such resonance.

I’m coming to appreciate three kinds of approaches:
awareness based teaching  (Advaita)
emptiness teachings (Buddhism)
resonance teachings  (Taoism, energy movement)

Dumb Saints

Asemic Shadows 2 by Seeking Tao

Asemic Shadows 2, a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.
Submissive to everything, open, listening
Try never get drunk outside yr own house
Be in love with yr life
Something that you feel will find its own form
Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
Blow as deep as you want to blow
Write what you want bottomless from bottom of mind

Jack Kerouac

Truman Capote said of Jack Kerouac’s writing, “That’s not poetry, it’s typing.”
I came across it recently as I sought to flesh out a comment Adyashanti once made:
Saint Teresa called that a dumb saint.

As I recall, Adya meant dumb in the sense of stupid – not seeing deeply enough into one’s awakening.
Dumb, of course, can also mean not speaking.
I’ve a friend, most loved and respected, Harvard educated, and she has insisted for some time now that she’s become quite tired of thinking. She doesn’t want to explain what is unfolding within her consciousness.
She simply wants to live it.

I really like to understand.
Though Adya also says:
There’s nothing to understand.

But, there is! And while … wow… I was going to say “And while Awakening is not dependent upon the mind understanding – awakening is not an experience of mind – suddenly, it hit me:
Understanding can take you deeper.
A new understanding can allow the mind to let go.

These days often I am torn. I want to write down the explanation, a description of what has transpired.
But about five minutes into the effort I feel how writing contracts, solidifies individuality, and brings back separation.
I let the effort go. That’s what feels correct. That’s when I understand the wisdom in my friend’s admonishing.

Then, this morning I came across Kerouac. He reminds me of my Taoist practice where we simply follow the flow of energy.
My friend and I began that over 15 years ago and soon discovered that it led to speaking in tongues.
We laughed at this unexpected “Pentacostal Buddhism” and let the energy blow the knots out.
Perhaps that’s not all that different from what Jack' describing:

No time for poetry but exactly what is
Visionary tics shivering in the chest
In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
Like Proust be an old teahead of time
Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
Accept loss forever
Believe in the holy contour of life

As the mind let goes of preconceptions,
it’s not at all what I had expected.
I have to risk becoming dumb.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Two hands clap and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand?

Satori is a Japanese Buddhist term for enlightenment that literally means "understanding".
In the Zen Buddhist tradition, satori refers to a flash of sudden awareness…and is considered a "first step" or embarkation toward nirvana…
The traditional way of achieving satori is through the use of koans.

Koans seem a formal way to inquire into the nature of one’s experience.
I find it’s also useful to simply sit and notice.  Maybe” useful” isn’t quite the right word.   
It sounds too much like a strategy.  I have these questions my mind seems to fixate upon.

And so, I was looking at my experience the other day and suddenly was hit by what felt like a stunning realization, a totally new understanding that let some rather inchoate knot dissolve and drop away:
I cannot answer the question as to whether or not I am enlightened.

Now, I was already aware that this is a correct conclusion.
Is it not frequently said, there is no “I’ to be enlightened.
And thus, “I” can never become enlightened.
What amazed me, was that I once again I had arrived at the correct conclusion in a rather backward manner.  So, I was also chuckling at my ridiculousness as I was blown away by the impossibility of ever knowing,  or rather, the depth of Not Knowing.
What I had deeply seen was, “There is no such thing as enlightenment.”
Or perhaps the thought at the very moment of epiphany was:
“Enlightenment does not exist.”

The exact phrasing doesn’t matter.  My point is that for a moment I had had a deep realization.
And this one realization came during a week in which realizations came one after another too fast to be recorded.  I found this rather frustrating.
Wow, a beautiful insight - and it’s lost because I didn’t write it down.
But that “supposed” loss is as it should be.  Loss is actually a letting go.
What is once seen in blazing clarity becomes a dead belief a moment later.
So let it go.  Holding on kills it anyway.  So let it go.

Why try to record exactly what the steps were to the insight?
A eureka moment cannot actually be shared.  Each person must solve the koan for herself.
And the letting go allows a deeper dropping… right into the sound of one hand.

There will be many realizations.  In fact, I hope to awaken from as many different angles as possible.
This is true and so is the exact opposite.   Enjoy, and then
Let them all go…

Two monks were watching a flag flapping in the wind.
One said to the other, "The flag is moving."
The other replied, "The wind is moving."
Huineng overheard this. He said, "Not the flag, not the wind; mind is moving."

As long as mind is moving I expect there will be realization after realization.
Let’s not mistake realization for Realization, or beyond that Liberation.

Post script
I didn’t finish this post at first sitting.  My Christmas To-Do List and Timetable called, and I was already behind the curve. So having written the above, I trotted off to grab a quick breakfast, throw on some clothes, and about 15 minutes later discovered that I was blow drying my hair and absent mindedly  singing into the bathroom mirror new words to an old holiday refrain:

Let it go,
Let it go,
Let it go.

I started laughing.  God I love the subconscious mind!  It’s both wise and filled with playfulness.
I mean, the old familiar words fit amazingly well to this whole process of awakening:

It doesn’t show signs of stopping
And I’ve got some corn for popping
And since there’s no place to go…
Let it go, let it go, let it go.

And Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2011

One Step Over the liNE

white stripe  by Seeking Tao
white stripe , a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.
My friend’s cat has been quite ill and my friend has started wondering:
Is she getting better? or
Is she dying?
Where is the line, the demarcation?

Long ago, my father taught me the phrase “asymptotically approaching.”
He was a chemist by training and shared many such wonderfully polysyllabic phrases.
I miss Pop. He crossed that Line over 15 years ago.
And yet, how is that possible?
If there is a finish line, and each step that you take gets you half way there… then even though you keep getting closer, you’re always only half way there.
In short, you can only “asymptotically approach.”

This reminds me of the biggest regret I have from my days of teaching biology.
It happened when I was in graduate school.
I taught an introductory lab course that was filled with non-biology majors, college freshman to juniors. The brightest student in there was a young kid from a local high school who was just sitting in.
One evening he hung around till everyone was gone to ask me a question:
Where was the line between inanimate and animate?

What a wonderful question!
In fact, I had taken it as my own for several years and really studied it. The answer is incredibly illusive.
While anyone can see a rock is inanimate and a parakeet is obviously animate,
there is actually no clear line of demarcation.
Animate: inanimate. What is a virus?
Life: nonliving? Crystals grow, reducing entropy and thus do not decay.
Alive: dead. When do we pull the plug on vegetative states?
If the extremes are so clear cut, why is an actual demarcation point impossible to find?

Curiously, back into 1960’s there was a Letter to the Editor published in the flagship science journal, Nature.The writer wanted to point out that since there could be no demarcation between animate and inanimate, it followed there could also be no clear demarcation for the arising of consciousness.
For if there were, we could simply make that the criterion for life and thus solve that question recognized as unanswerable.

Alive: dead.
Getting better: dying.
Consciousness present: consciousness absent.

Make no mistake – this issue is totally about consciousness.
It’s about the inseparable, unity of Creation, dependently arising, and how It also appears dualistically.

Oh! And why do I regret the boy asking me this question?
Because when he asked I was tired. It came at the end of a long day and I didn’t have the energy and the enthusiasm that young man deserved.  I feel sorrow for that lapse.
But, I’m also betting he just looked elsewhere for his answer.
Scientist, you see, are seekers through and through.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Consciousness

This beautiful film is one of the most eloquent testimonies to the mystery of consciousness I have ever seen.
Don't know if posting a link will work here.  But, I'll give it a try.
A belated Thanskgiving Turkey:

Watch My Life as a Turkey on PBS. See more from NATURE.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A History of the Sky

Everything that happens in a person is like clouds… A thought is like a cloud, an emotion is like a cloud, a feeling is like a cloud… but what a person really is, is the sky.  They are the space which everything passes through.
But this is poetry.  No one should believe me.  This is something to discover, simply by being with yourself… everything passes through, except for you.
It’s so easy to watch. 
If you look at the sky –the sky never moves… lightening or thunder or sunshine.  But the space in which it happens doesn’t move at all.
It’s sort of a poetic way to try to talk about What’s this?  What’s that?

So, I invite you to watch the poetry.
With thanks to my friend at the Cassandra Pages for the head’s up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Passing

All I ask is that we compare human consciousness with spirochete ecology.*
Lynn Margulis

Taking Vedic Studies with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1975 forever changed the way I think.
What Maharishi suggested, but somehow didn’t say flat out – or at least not in a manner that I could hear – was that since the Absolute is the Source of all relative creation, the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, mathematics, astrophysics, and all the arts… they are just the mechanics of Consciousness expressed in different words.

It was maybe a year later that understanding dawned and I abbreviated the concept in my head as “patterns of consciousness.”
The laws of Nature and laws of Consciousness follow the same pattern.
I have sought and admired these patterns ever since.

Lynn Margulis was a scientist who argued similarly, not from any Vedantic rationale, but from keen observation, good science, and a brilliant and tenacious mind.
Yesterday, she died.
And I am saddened by her passing.

Among other things she helped James Lovelock articulate the Gaia Principle.
Perhaps the best tribute I can offer is to let her words about Gaia correct any misconception you may have regarding Gaia:

Lovelock would say that Earth is an organism. I disagree with this phraseology. No organism eats its own waste. I prefer to say that Earth is an ecosystem, one continuous enormous ecosystem composed of many component ecosystems.
Lovelock's position is to let the people believe that Earth is an organism, because if they think it is just a pile of rocks they kick it, ignore it, and mistreat it. If they think Earth is an organism, they'll tend to treat it with respect.
To me, this is a helpful cop-out, not science… And I realize that by taking the stance he does he is more effective than I am in communicating Gaian ideas.
If science doesn't fit in with the cultural milieu, people dismiss science, they never reject their cultural milieu! …
Gaia is a tough bitch — a system that has worked for over three billion years without people. This planet's surface and its atmosphere and environment will continue to evolve long after people and prejudice are gone.

And long after Lynn Margulis is gone, biology students will be learning principles she discovered.

*And again to not lose context and to demonstrate the remarkable flexibility of her mind, the larger quote:
You can reduce the study of nervous systems to physics and chemistry but you're missing the microbiological step. It's as if you documented the changing surface of the Earth at urban sites using Landsat images, without knowing anything about the people.
Think of the nerve as coming from what had formerly been a bacterium, trying but unable to rotate and swim. Thought involves motility and communication, the connection between remnant spirochetes. All I ask is that we compare human consciousness with spirochete ecology.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hurts More, Bothers You Less

I came across this Ken Wilber clip that rang a bell.   He doesn’t get to the heart of the matter for over 2.5 minutes, but then he addresses how it actually feels to integrate both absolute and relative views into life experience.
It can HURT!  And while Wilber takes this to the level of bodhisattvas and Christ, the increased sensitivity begins well before that.

For the past few weeks I’ve been repeatedly doubled up with belly grief and love beyond all reasonable proportion.
And, I never see it coming. 
For example, as I clean up the breakfast dishes the radio announces: the first hard freeze arrives tonight.  Take your plants inside because those left out won’t make it.  In the morning the impatiens will be gone.

I look out my window, see my own impatiens, a bit yellowed but still in bloom, and I double over in sobs.
My god, tomorrow the flowers will be gone!
My god, Bralley get a grip!

Adyashanti told us once that there will come a point where, “What isn’t true will become so painful you have to drop it.”  That’s another way to say it.
I’ve discovered that even when all evidence supports a belief, That person lies, That person cheats… the thought becomes intolerable, too painful to maintain.  I am forced to let it go.
People are so much more than their history and behavior.
I seem to be repeatedly invited to drop beliefs and see more deeply.

And it’s not just the world around me.  The beliefs I hold about myself, the way I block love and Infinity from flowing freely through my Life when not exploding in my belly, just kind of hang there, like damp towels caught on little hooks.
Dirty laundry doesn’t seem all that dangerous, but this sudden immolation has a pain that is really quite remarkable. 

But, it seems to bother less.  Intensity does pass.  Such intensity seems only possible because of and due to Presence.  And it feels “correct” to really feel.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Lotus Sutra


This is the Lotus Sutra, memorized, recited, and chanted by Nikko Hansen. Nikko usually chants this Sutra twice a day.  He has been chanting for over 25 years. The Lotus Sutra is widely considered to be the most sacred teaching of the Buddha. 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Re-Imagining Identity

Oh, my God! Exactly! is how my nephew, Augustin, subjected his GOOGLE+ email.
Since I refuse to sign up for Google+, I cannot answer any of his emails, and since there was actually no personal message from Aug beyond the subject line, I clicked the link.
So it was I came to the WIRED Magazine article:
You Are Not Your Name and Photo: A Call to Re-Imagine Identity

This sounded surprisingly spiritual to me.
I recalled my own blog effort, Your are not the Body.
It also played in to my increasing awareness of a generation gap and attempts to better understand what is going on, or going past me.

It was through Aug that I first learned about Burning Man.
Here too things appear to be about one thing on the surface, yet I expect this next generation’s deepest yearnings churn below in very interesting ways.
Professionally, Augie is also into netware design (apparently “bleeding edge” – rather than “leading edge”).
The Wired Magazine article is illustrated with an etching of Shakespeare and highlights a recent speech given at a web design conference by a 23 year old wiz regarding identity as it is used and created online.

Understanding and managing identity online is for all of us.
What’s more, there is increasingly little to no gap between our online and offline selves.
It’s not that online identity should reflect real identity; it is real identity.
Tim Carmody, Wired Magazine

Whoa! Online identity is our REAL identity.
What a curious new way to play out the whole illusion game!
Here I am toggling between realization of “no self” and being someone who cares to the point of tears over the smallest leaf… “Who am I?”
No one, Someone, Both?
So, I read on.

We’re all authors of our data; the question is whether we want everything we’ve written bundled together in a giant book with our name and portrait at the front and testimonials from our friends — as Facebook just introduced …
Or do we want something looser, more fragmented, less monumental, less final.
We could be like the Shakespeare of the First Folio, dead and memorialized; or the living, collaborating, experimental poet, playwright, actor and businessman.
He’s something of a mystery to us, but infinitely more vital than the capital-A Author too often used to intimidate schoolchildren.
Tim Carmody, Wired Magazine

Yes, a mystery, The Mystery is always more vital, living, experimental, collaborative.
It arises out of Nothingness and dissolves back into Nothingness and in between we pour our hearts into living breathing moments, that for the life of me, I cannot grasp or truly understand.
Seems to me this younger generation is coming to this Mystery uniquely in their own way.
Walking through the parking garage this morning I noticed a bumper sticker:
Design Can Save the World

That struck me as very curious. To me, until that very moment, “Design” smacked of vacuous world, of high fashion, the strutting model on the ramp and in the lights, twirl and fake and costumed.
This bumper sticker pointed to a new world of interpretations.
My eyes then landed on a second sticker affixed to the truck’s back window:
Design. Build. Transform.

Reminds me of the world created on Burning Man playa.
What a contrast to the slogan of my youth:
Tune in. Turn on. Drop out.

And yet perhaps they are aiming at the same goal… find yourself, save the world.
I have this working hypothesis consisting of two parts really.
1) If the world is to survive the present global crisis, we as a species must Wake Up, must become more conscious. And,
2) In response to this need of the time Awakening will become more available and occur more quickly for this next generation.
So, I watch and try to understand the twenty some-things.

I’m fascinated to see specific efforts put into design and the wording that is used.
Re-imagining identity.
I take these as examples, as evidence of how my hypothesis may hold, how the changes may unfold.
If one is to “re-imagine” does this not imply that identity was originally IMAGINED?
Doesn’t this invitation inadvertently imply that one’s casual identity may be a misperception, may not actually be REAL (online or off)? …
Are you getting a feel for this unspoken truth as you use and design the internet?

…the only way we come to our true identity is by seeing what we are not.
We have to see that we’re not the image we hold in our minds of ourselves, or the thoughts we have about ourselves–good, bad or indifferent–that we’re not all the various ways we identify ourselves…
a big part of spirituality is actually getting consciousness out of its trance state with the roles we play or have played…
Just a very simple questioning of is it true?
Anything I take myself to be, any role I’m playing, is it actually what I am?
It’s identifying the difference between a role and true identity.
Adyashanti, Vision Magazine interview

And perhaps, rather paradoxically, as this next generation designs, builds, and transforms they will also discover their true identity which is indeed:
The Mystery…
infinitely more vital than the capital-A.

I hope so.

FaceBook reports that you have one identity.
Who you are online is who you are offline.
Chris Poole, web2.0 summit

Monday, October 03, 2011

Witnessing from the Heart

Gel 1 by Seeking Tao
Gel 1, a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.

…the spaciousness of Awareness is a different aspect of awareness. There is also the agape.

I want to try to get down some description of this year’s retreat with Adyashanti. He changed the format a bit from previous years. For one thing he led a guided meditation each day. One meditation I particularly liked tuned us into “the different aspects of Awareness.”

This started with the head – waking up on the level of mind as it is sometimes called, leads to experiencing a great spaciousness - and experience of one aspect of awareness. By contrast, when that wakefulness drops down to be centered in the heart, things feel very different. Before I left for the retreat I was just tumbling to what might be involved. In “witnessing from the head” (or what seems to be what's usually refrred to as witnessing) there is a radical duality of witness and the rest of the world.

In witnessing from the heart, that distance is simply too painful to endure. The heart insists upon closing the gap – a gap cuased by judgments, denials – all the human pettinesses seem to become intolerable and start burning up within this fire of heart ripped wide open… or so it was beginning to appear to me.
As Adya led us into awareness from the heart the experience was much gentler.
I thank Evelyn Rodriquez for these quotes from Adya which give you something of the flavor:

There's a type of awareness that's very connected to the heart. There's an awareness most people are used to that is connected to the mind--it's a sterile, alert awareness. If someone asked us, 'Are we listening?' We'd say, 'Yes I am listening.' But it's a listening from the neck up."

Yes, there is an awareness that’s from the neck up and that’s where most awakening occurs. I like this comment from a reader at Being Ordinary as it speaks of “having a gap instead of a head.” Yes! Here lie the roots of Douglas Harding whole Headlessness techniques.

The ‘Big kaboum’ is recent, 10 weeks now so I like to say that I’m doing my baby steps in a fully awakened life. I had a couple days of doubts after coming down from the Bliss state during which time I could barely function and was literally not in my body anymore. Very hard to describe obviously. I haven’t really gotten back fully into my body in some ways, and I guess that state is common to all of us that have awakened.
The feeling of just having a gap instead of a head.
Tristan’s comment at Being Ordinary

So there is awakening on the level of the mind. And maybe, particularly so these days, with the emphasis on mentally based practice of self inquiry as opposed to let’s a practice sensually focusing on the sound of a mantra. And perhaps Adya is hinting at this too as he points out:
An expert has a hard time opening the heart... To be open is a state of innocence.

But, once awake, awakening can go deeper.
... the heart is opening up as it were and really interacting with what's in your environment or what's going on inside.
It's through the heart that we perceive Oneness.

I like the word Agape. It's a selfless infinite love. It's just a love for what is. It's unconditional.
An unconditional love is also un-caused. There's no reason for it. The reason there is no reason... is because it's an aspect of your being. It's a pre-existing aspect of your being. It's just there. It's the love that's just loving. There's no reason why it's loving. It's just loving. It's an aspect of the truth of what you are.
Love is always there. It pre-exists anything that may happen. Anyone you may meet. A lot of times we don't experience this because we're protecting... some idea or image of ourselves. Or we're emotionally protecting or layering."

Opening of the heart is necessary if we are going to come to the fullest of ourselves.

The deepest forgiveness is realizing there's nothing to forgive.
True forgiveness is not something you create or manufacture - you discover it.

The reason for this is our nature is agape. It's an aspect of our being. If we cut off an aspect from our being--if we withhold it from someone or something or some event--then you're literally severing a part of yourself. It's a way of putting ourselves in a virtual prison. We're withholding our own nature. We're hiding it from ourselves.
For most people this is so unconscious they don't really know what they're doing....
and that's about all I can say for now.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Drop That

Canvas F by Seeking Tao
Canvas F, a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.
Do not mistake understanding for realization, and do not mistake realization for liberation.
Tibetan Saying

I mentioned yesterday that "I am suspicious" - that what I experience may be what Maharishi called Cosmic consciousness and God consciousness. I wanted to just leave a note on how that suspicion arose. I also want to emphasize, this is just a suspicion. Something to consider, a possibility to inquire into. So, here’s how the suspicion arose.

My friend, whom I call my little spiritual irritant because just about anything she says seems to have this way of irritating me, sent me a quote. We have been at this for two years now, and I am finally looking at these little irritations as marvelous invitations to explore where some misconception has velcroed onto spaciousness.

So, my friend sent me this quote. She actually thought I’d like it:
I am pleased enough with the surfaces - in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child's hand in your own, the flavor of an apple… the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind - what else is there?
What else do we need?

Edward Albee

Well, I really took issue with the phrase, What else is there?
What else is there? … there’s the infinity of pure being!
The absolute never changing seemed to get ignored with this concentration on the surfaces of the ever changing, and I found that really irritating.
So, I offered back quotes of Andrew Wyeth:
Most people come to my work through the realism and then discover the abstractness.
A sea shell lying on the sand is frozen in time, eternal.

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.

She smiled at the thought of irritating me and explained:
I find those details to BE the essence of the abstract, at every moment, in each precious sensation or experience or whatever.

I didn’t find that explanation helpful to my irritation. But, I read it over several times, slowly, trying to get what she was saying…
details are the essence of the abstract…
the essence of the abstract… is the details

Bam, it hit me. That is a statement from the point of view of Unity, Oneness.
The understanding immediately brought back a saying we’d previously argued over:
The world is illusion.
Brahman alone is real.
The world is Brahman.

My friend speaks from the perspective of that last line: The world is Brahman.
And I am sitting there trying to get her to agree that Brahman alone is real.
I was arguing from the perspective of duality – of Cosmic consciousness and God consciousness.
My next thought was, “Wow! Why do that? Drop that!”
Shortly after that, I realized I was taking my position because that is what I know. It's no theory.
I stagger through this world of illusion day after day, taxing my body, trying to ignore this “radical duality” between Brahman and the world.

Then there was a quiet "hummmm". And the suspicion arose. Is that’s what’s going on here?
This might be what's called Cosmic consciousness and God consciousness.
That was rather surprising.
And, upon this suspicion another thought rose.
Perhaps, I should consider Unity. To that point I'd no idea what Unity might feel like on an experiential level.  What if I looked...
It’s almost as if by simply allowing “perhaps the time is ripe,” actually permitted experience to shift.
Now, as I re-read this, I can only think, "Thick as a brick!"  How'd I miss this?  And so simple! Drop one belief and everything shifts on its own...

So, this Sunday I leave for a week’s retreat with Adyashanti. Last year I asked him about being stuck in the witness and he told me I’d have to discover for myself how to “witness from your heart.” I had NO IDEA what that meant. He said it was something like that Catholic image of ripping open the flaming heart of Jesus. I knew the image, but it was no help.

However, from the moment of the thought, “Drop that!” something shifted. First, the witnessing became quite intense. An abstract infinity seemed intent upon pouring down into my head. It obviously needed to work its way throughout my body. And that wasn’t happening. I ended up missing a fair amount of work and sleeping 12 hours a day as my body tried to adjust. The strain seemed to throw me into vertigous migraines.

Something also seemed to happen with my heart. I began to see deeply into the simplest moments: a freshman wandering the halls looking at science posters, an old woman walking up the street … noticing could reduce me to tears by the beauty that was revealed. I began to notice how things are one, as direct experience.

Last weekend, I went to a workshop with my Taoist Teacher. My silent request was for the energy imbalances of my physical body be soothed. Energy work is a Taoist forte and they didn’t let me down. In essence, my heart was ripped open in a meditation. I discovered that sacred flaming heart… words do not suffice, and the classic image is right on. With that opening the infinity stuck around my head descended into heart and from there belly.  There's physical comfort now.

So, that’s the note. I’m not sure that any of this matters. But, oddly, just as I was convinced there’s no point in this blog, several people wrote and said “thank you.” So, oh well. Here’s a note. And maybe this is the best way to end for now:
Anyone who has “seen the nature” is unlikely to claim to be an enlightened person, even when a master has confirmed the experience; he or she simply knows what a glimpse of enlightenment entails. Indeed, anyone claiming to be enlightened is probably acting erroneously from an inflated ego, which a teacher has been unable to contain. Simple humility alone will normally prevent any such claim.
Sheng-yen, Illuminating Silence: the practice of Chinese Zen

I know times change. But, this rings true to me. I like it very much.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Staying True to Your Own Experience: One Step

Carousel Monet by Seeking Tao
Carousel Monet, a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.
The psychological ‘I-concept’ has no nature of its own, is no ‘thing’, and could not possibly create genuine ‘bondage’. There cannot be any such thing as bondage at all, but only the idea of such. There is no liberation, for there is no thing from which to be freed. If the whole conceptual structure is seen as what it is, it must necessarily collapse, and the bondage-enlightenment nonsense with it. That is called Awakening, awakening to the natural state which is that of every sentient being.
Wei Wu Wei

I have been spinning round and round for some time now trying to answer the question, “Am I awake?” And I haven’t been able to decide.
This seems ridiculous to me, as I had assumed it must be very self evident.
But, for months and months now there’s been this internal debate running in a circle.
Just when I think, “ Yes. I’m awake.” … doubt creeps in…. “No. Look at that.”

However, there has been this kind of slow slide, until at some point a couple weeks ago I had the thought, “I have the suspicion that this is Cosmic Consciousness and God Consciousness.” (see definitions below if needed)

It was a strange thought to me.
First, it seemed rather disappointing. “This is it!?” Not what I’d expected!
Secondly, it seemed strange that I could now have a strong suspicion, and yet still really resist making any claim. Declaring anything just felt/feels all wrong., not ture.

Still, over time it seemed at least the suspicion has a solidity that seems genuine. It has an integrity that isn’t going to slip away.
So, I was going over all this in my head to a friend with whom I argue over expressions of awakening. My friend is clear: She is awake and she is liberated, "free".
Then, in my head there was the thought, “I have a suspicion that this may be CC or GC. But still, I cannot say that I am free.”

I cannot say that I am free.
I heard those words and came to a full stop. I thought them very strange.

I cannot say that I am free.
It was utterly nonsensical to me. Why?

What does it mean to be free?
I had no idea!
I realized that desiring to “be free” wouldn’t even cross my mind if my friend hadn’t dropped the phrase in there. That was part of the strangeness. What was that desire about?

What is there to be free from?
I had no idea! Absolutely clueless…
I looked around my backyard, at the trees, the sky, the dancing of the leaves. I looked inside myself… I looked outside my body…

I could not find anything to be free from…
And that was when I realized why I would never say, “I’m free.”
There’s nothing to be free from.
There is only One. There is not Two.
It all rests within myself. Inside, Outside: there is only One.
And Momma, there is no “free from.”
The issue cannot even come up. And that's why is made no sense.

Oh! Well, that sounds rather familiar, doesn’t it.
But, I never saw it coming.
I was stunned by my own innocence. (I've heard all the phrases ad nauseum)

But, all I saw was what I couldn’t say.
And I had to laugh. It all felt a bit back-asswards.
But, how else would a Bralley do it? I am a bull and not a ballerina.

Doctrines, scriptures, sutras, essays, are not to be regarded as systems to be followed. They merely contribute to understanding. They should be for us a source of stimulation, and nothing more... Adopted [as a belief], rather than used as a stimulus, they are a hindrance.
Wei Wu Wei

I'd like to post this here by way of a thank you to the friends who take the time to talk.  We may not agree.  But, if we use the words of wisdom as a stimulus, the results can be a spontaneous and innocent inquiry.
And a moment’s realization... still not making any claims.  And I am sure my friend understands, completely.
End Note.  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi described three levels of enlightenment or knowledge of the Self:
Cosmic consciousness so named because it is all inclusive—it simultaneously includes transcendental consciousness along with waking, dreaming, and sleeping. Adyashanti has described this as “radical duality” as the witness so strongly sees the world as illusion and the Self as Reality.

God consciousness is cosmic consciousness coexisting with the development of refined sensory perception such that perception and feelings reach their most sublime level. On a practical level, people feel an incredible expansion of the heart. In practice, the heart is crying “No!” to the duality described above.

Unity consciousness occurs as one experiences Being, the substance of transcendental consciousness, or pure awareness, as the basis of and permeating all aspects of life: everything is perceived as nothing but expressions of Being. Even though the diversity of life is still appreciated, what dominates is the experience that all aspects of life, are nothing but the self-interacting dynamics of pure consciousness.

Monday, September 12, 2011

listening at dawn by Seeking Tao
Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you.

I’m going off to practice for awhile.
This seems a nice thought to share upon parting.
Oddly, perhaps, Sheng-yen was a Zen Master cultivated amidst the classic rigors… and then he leaves us with these words: Be soft in your practice.
Perhaps softness allows better for the living of paradox.
Perhaps softness allows better for simple stopping, the simple dropping.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Memes and the Tortoise and the Hare

Petri Plate 4 by Seeking Tao
Petri Plate 4, a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.
A meme is an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures…It was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976).

Here are some points I have been thinking about:
1)   Spiritual Paths seem to change with time. Advaita now has neo-advaita. This causes arguments.
Some say you can become enlightened in about 30 minutes and “I’m done.” Some say it can take a life time and always opens up to greater depths. This argument is getting very nasty in some places. (Curiously, what doesn’t change is the presence of fundamentalism: rigidity and the willingness to destroy in the name of Truth.)
2)   We used to think that enlightenment changed the personality into that of a saint. Now, there’s clearly a distinction. It’s been put this way for clarity: Saints are those who display the ideals human behavior. Sages are those who have realized the true nature of the Self. This dichotomy began with Eastern teachers’ sex and money scandals. The behavioral license seems to have been cut loose path direct path emphasis of no-self. There’s no one to be a jerk. Jerkiness just happens, while no-me is free.
3)   Spiritual paths aka “how we spiritually evolve” are memes. Thus, we can expect “the teachings” to follow the laws of genetics: to change and mutate into new and fitter forms with time.
4)   The ability to evolve itself evolves. Thus, if you wanted to graph the speed of evolution, at some point you’d expect it to go parabolic.

Point Four comes strictly from concerns of molecular geneticists (of which or whom I’m one).
The ability to evolve, or “evolvability”, seemed really obvious to me the first time I heard the phrase. It’s not just that everything else in Creation evolves, so why not the ability to evolve… but there seemed to be the whole specific history of genetics revealing that Life (genes) invent new mechanisms to evolve at every major evolutionary transition.

So, when I hear that many people are awakening by directly inquiring into no-self, I cannot dismiss the possibility that awakening can be quicker now than in the past.
If spiritual paths are meant to evolve our consciousness,
If a shift in consciousness is the only means a person has to escape suffering,
If a shift in consciousness is the only hope our species has for survival,
If the ability to evolve evolves –
HEY! I should be hoping and expecting enlightenment to take less time.

That said, scientists NEVER think things are that simple. Turns out, they have only recently completed an experiment that demonstrates evolvability. I find the details illuminating:

A long-term evolution experiment on E. coli has been running for more than 50,000 generations. Two beneficial mutations arose in some strains prior to the passage of the first 500 generations. The researchers dubbed the strains that carried these mutations at 500 generations the eventual winners (EW) and those lacking the mutations the eventual losers (EL).

Surprise #1:  The fitness of EW and EL was compared. Both strains EW and EL had significantly higher fitness than the ancestral strain. But early on, the EL appeared fitter than the EW. The EW strains were at such a disadvantage that if these strains had not accumulated additional mutations, they would have gone extinct in just 350 more generations.

Surprise #2:  But, over time the EW acquired more beneficial mutations than the EL. These “later date” mutations enabled the EW to overcome their fitness disadvantage. In other words, the EW during their period of lesser fitness actually possessed a greater evolvability than the EL. You could see this difference in evolvability intially.  That's not so surpising.  The influence of genes isn't always obvious on the surface.

This saga of the bacteria reminds me of the tortoise and the hare.
The hare could get there quickly, but he had an arrogance that laid the ground for his ultimate defeat.
The tortoise in his own slow careful manner got there in the end.

These bacteria also make me wonder if perhaps the same thing isn’t happening with the memes of our spiritual teachings?
Direct path is great! Bam, you’re there: No-self. “I’m done.”
But, maybe, that leads to something of a dead-end evolutionarily (aka, eventual losers).
Meanwhile, some poor schlep of an Advaitan tortoise actually sits and meditates for 10 years, 20 years.
When he awakens, sometimes there may be no-self and sometimes there is an ego that could stand a little therapy and responsibility for that is taken.
And so change continues. Insights go deeper. Curiosity is maintained.
Maybe this is the EW, the deeply embodied enlightenment because the ability to evolve, evolvability is alive and well.  (for a different way of saying this, BATGAP has a really nice interview with Adyashanti regarding keeping a teaching fresh)

Does the world need more sages or more saints?
Does spiritual bypassing ever really work?
Does throwing a bomb for peace bring an end to war?

The other day I offered this quote, perhaps it’s again a good way to end:
Practice begins with enlightenment.
Suzuki Roshi

It's Not Your Life

Grandma  by Seeking Tao
Grandma , a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.
It's Not Your Life
It's not your life you said
And I remember exactly where we were
Not the time of year
Or even the weather
But the place on the levee
With the river on the right
As we walked back
And the rusty pump
Down the bank
Among the rocks
And the kingfisher
Cackling in the cottonwoods

And you were fierce
The way you said it
Not detached and indifferent
Like the night before in Forestville
But frustrated almost
Wanting me to get it
Urging me to catch up
So we can play together
On the same court

And I felt so ashamed
For complaining
For having the selfishness
To claim this series of events
As my own
To doubt the authorship
Of this particular short story
And the meanness
To question
The hand I was dealt
When it was not even mine
And I knew it

But mainly I was ashamed
For showing you my ugliness
For letting you see
My limbs bleeding with the pain
Of not getting it

But we played big stick with Honey
And walked on
Back to the car
Between the vineyards
Watching the evening settle over Healdsburg
And slowly my life became a memory
A series of shots
Like this one
With no place left to ask the question
Then whose life is it

For it's not that it's not my life
Over the hills and down the river
Houses friends and harpsichords
Whose life could it be
But mine
No we're not disputing that…

What we're saying
Back at the car now
Honey climbing in
Doors closing
Click of seat belts
Engine starting
The sudden contentment
Of nothing left to talk about
Is that
This simple crunch
Of tires on gravel
This hum of happiness
This wet dog smell
Is life
But unaddressed
        Tony Kendrew

I wanted to post this poem so I wouldn’t lose it. It seemed so perfect that I couldn’t bring myself to read another word. So, I can’t say I know Kendrew’s work. But, I discovered him through Pamela Wilson’s site.

If you don’t recognize what Kendrew is talking about, count yourself lucky.
If you do, count yourself as blessed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

All It Can Do Is Collapse

I just find for myself that when a structure lacks integrity, all it can do is collapse in on itself, and that's more how I see what's going on.
Lynn Barron

She was speaking about social and political events, but I took her words quite personally. And I looked to find more of what she might say to me, to me personally.
Why, because I feel this collapse occurringand I am having trouble putting the experience to words.

Last week, a friend sent some words and I started this whole quibbling in my mind.
I argued logically, until I discovered I was arguing for my own Un-enlightenment.
I thought of Adya asking us to watch, “How is it you un-enlighten yourself.” And I could see it in my actions, in what I had just written:

In trying to define things like “where you are,” you end up describing experiences on a checklist. My experience is that experiences come and go. What might seem like awakening or Unity might not be there tomorrow.

I can not say just what it was, but this observation, these words, felt somehow deeply wrong.
Part of the “wrongness” was its insistence upon “I am still not there.”  While I cannot say, "I am there," strangely it felt wrong to conclude the opposite.  It didn't feel honest.  The argument lacked integrity.
…when a structure lacks integrity, all it can do is collapse in on itself

Thoughts can be like that. No integrity. Something in the belly finds this quite revolting.
Some gentleness within the heart finds it almost unbareable.
… all it can do is collapse in on itself.

That’s not so bad. But, it’s also not so easy. You have to give it space and time and silence.

So, I watched Lynn Barron meditate and noticed that she gently rocked in the subtlest of circles.
I know that energy. It rocks me every day. Gentle energy trying to transform the blockages or simply stirring up a migraine. I know longer clearly differentiate.
But there she was rocking in the silence
and when she came out of meditation, this is what she said:

Now there are these four lights in the heart that are to be lit,
and one of them is called the light of submission.
And so when you sit in this way you place yourself in submission.
To be receptive to the bounties and blessings that come from Allah into your heart.

Yes, submission, that’s another way of saying sweet collapse. It’s not so much what I must do, but rather, can I be quiet enough to let Nature takes its course. Hands off. Mind off. Will off.

[The next] practice is called accompaniment and you do this practice with someone who knows the way because you're trying to go into your deep heart.
And so there is another light that is to be lit, and it's called the light of faith.
…faith is acceptance by the heart of the truth of God's revelation.
Now, this revelation has been streaming forth in consciousness since the beginning
but for some reason your heart hasn't really been able to accept it as the truth
and so you have a lot of doubt and uncertainty.
So this is another light that is to be lit in the heart.

I was crying with these words, as I knew their truth.
Despite all the experiences I’ve had, years and years and years and still, I cannot accept.
What more do I want?

The third light that's to be lit in the heart
is the light of gnosis
and this is the witnessing of the real.

I understand witnessing. There is so much of that. I understand Real and unreal. I feel like I do not have to worry so much about this light.

And the fourth is the light of unification.

Bam! With that word my heart broke.
Unity, I just don’t get. Even though I’m beginning to suspect, I walk around positively dizzy with the physical denial. I walk around within the ocean waiting for it to swallow me up, or perhaps desperately thrashing in the water like some fish upon the land trying to remain separate.

Last year about this time, Adya told me that I needed to learn to “witness from the heart”… and that I’d have to discover how to do this for myself. He couldn’t tell me how. But, he added, think of those picture of the flaming heart of Christ – the heart with those hands ripping it wide open.

…one of the intentions of doing practices
is to bring light into the chest
so that this particular quality of knowledge of God can come directly to you
so you won't have a teacher telling you what it is any longer.
You will actually know what it is because you will be having the experience of it
in your heart in a way that is very unique to you
and that you will understand in your own way
so that you can continue to travel deeply…

it's the interior teacher that's now guiding you.
I have one story that might help you when you get to that place.
And it's from the 14th century Egypt, and it's from a desert father.
A monk came to see Abba and said
Abba, I observe fast. I pray. I maintain stillness.
I try to keep my thoughts pure.
What more can I do?
The old man stood up, invoked,
and his fingers became like ten burning lamps of fire.
If you wish, he said, you can become all flame.

So, there you go, kind of full circle in a year. When better to finally collapse.

Lynn Barron shared one more thing:
When you're going into the deep heart, you'll reach a point
where a great deal of fear comes upon you
And I'm going to read something from Rûmî that may help.
Rûmî asks what is there to be afraid of:

Don't be afraid of nonbeing.
If you want to be afraid,
fear the existence you have now.
Your hopes for the future,
your memories of the past,
what you call yourself
are nothing.
So nothing is being taken from nothing, and
a nothing is being absorbed by a Nothing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Writing Poems

Omega garden by Seeking Tao
Omega garden, a photo by Seeking Tao on Flickr.
Say it again
Say it again I didn’t hear.
I could not understand.

And so, once again the sun rose
through the trees
illuminating translucent leaves
and the most delicate of tendrils, just so.

Just so I might hear.

Yesterday, while having breakfast on my back deck and mostly sitting quietly, this poem came to me. I just noticed hearing it as I was looking at the woods.
I liked it a lot and jotted it down.
It helped me notice there's such patience and love within Nature's mechanics; patience and love as aspects of that ineffable being, the Light, that shines through your eyes and mine sometimes so brightly.

Today, I came across these words.
Once again, such perfect timing:

At one time I was composing poems.
Poems used to flow out of me and, in this flow, I just added Nisargadatta.
I was reveling in composing poems until my Guru cautioned me, "You are enjoying composing these poems too much; give them up!"

What was he driving at?

His objective was for me to merge in the Absolute state instead of reveling in my beingness…
When this beingness goes, the Absolute will not know "I Am".
Appearance and disappearance, birth and death, these are the qualities of beingness;
they are not your qualities.

Consciousness and the Absolute: the final talks of Nisargadatta

... ok, I was going to stop here, but let me take this a bit farther as I seem to have many friends thinking about death these days.
Nisargadatta also has this to say:

the knowledge "I Am" must go back to its own source.

Now, consciousness has identified with a form.
Later, it understands that it is not that form and goes further.
In a few cases it may reach the space, and very often, there it stops.
In a very few cases, it reaches its real source, beyond all conditioning.
It is difficult to give up that inclination of identifying the body as the self.
I am not talking to an individual, I am talking to the consciousness.
It is consciousness which must seek its source.
Out of that no-being state comes the beingness.
It comes as quietly as twilight, with just a feel of "I Am" and then suddenly the space is there.

In the space, movement starts with the air, the fire, the water, and the earth.
All these five elements are you only.
Out of your consciousness all this has happened.
There is no individual.
There is only you, the total functioning is you, the consciousness is you.
You are the consciousness, all the titles of the Gods are your names, but by clinging to the body you hand yourself over to time and death—you are imposing it on yourself.
I am the total universe.

Many of these words link up to experience for me. 
When things shifted back in 1975, I found the space. 
I saw how air, fire, water and earth arise as movement starts.
"No individual" is becoming more and more apparent.
And yet, overall, mostly I live in "and there it stops."

Still, I do know from experience of a place beyond all conditionings, all words, all mentation.
And as Nisargadatta says, "the consciousness is you" and "consciousness must seek it's source."
Otherwise, we impose time and death and suffering upon ourselves.