Friday, January 28, 2011

Still Life of the Mind: #1

Red Cube
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
The past couple of years I have noticed more and more that what I practice or experience in meditation, I could also be lived and work with during daily activity.

For example: Most people with a regular meditation practice eventually learn not to worry so much about the constant stream of thoughts that can fill a meditation. What you find is that, if you just don’t worry about thoughts, they can be left behind. They continue quietly on the surface of the mind and don’t interfere in the least with a deeper sense of rest and silence that fills the body-mind.

Now, can you maintain that in activity?
If you can, I think that’s called witnessing.
You can be aware of Unboundedness even while the mind chatters.

Still Life: #2

Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
You are the Source of your obstacles, the fact that you cling to them and aren't willing to let it go.

Do you talk about Silence or LIVE AS Silence ?
What is the use of rambling on and on and throwing out quotes that are at most just seen as possibilities?
Be Still and let the rambling fall away into Reality.
Guru Swami G

What happens when I let the impulse to chatter, explain, and label drop?
What happens when I no longer go in search of spiritual descriptions of my experience?
I find I don’t know what to do with my time. I sit quietly – kind of freaking, “There’s nothing to do!”
I’ve lost my hobby.
Or perhaps, I’ve located my obsession.

What happens when I drop that thought too, that freaking?
My body relaxes and begins to breathe.

Of course, I am still doing the same thing: chattering, labeling, observing, only it is quieter.
I can’t stand the thought of simply sitting and doing nothing when it’s not time to sit, do nothing and meditate.
Atlanta was iced in for four days and people screamed with cabin fever. See, it’s not just me.

The mind is going to react like a wild stallion. It's not going to still over night. No way.
So again one has to be in it for the long haul. You haven't been two days on earth and one has to have patience with the unruly mind.
Eventually it will get tired of its game and burn itself out or slow down until it loses steam and ends.
Guru SwamiG

… It’s been a hard month here in Lake Wobegon. Seems to be a lot of burning out.
My body has not cooperated in the least, throwing up continued fits of migraine and vertigo.
Atlanta was snowed in, as my plumbing broke, and the computer got screwed up.
I’ve missed at least a week of work.
Finally, yesterday my mind had had. It and pitched a classic fit.
I worked myself up into a full blown bout of suffering right up until the moment I decided, “Let it go. None of it is true.”

I’ve gotten much better at letting go since last fall’s retreat with Adya.
On retreat I saw so clearly that the mind is totally separate from “me.”
There was deep Silence (me) and then a space and then this mind spewing out these ideas which torqued a physical reaction from my body and led the mind to other thoughts.

During retreat, since the mind was kind of hanging out there separate from “me” – I found I could just let them go. Thinking no longer seemed obsessive or compulsive. I didn’t even need to stop them from arising. A simple recognition of just how tenuously they actually connected to “me” was enough to break their hold.

Guru SwamiG is the teacher of Sarojini, a woman who appears to have had a significant awakening through kundalini. However, recently Sarojini fell into an even deeper realization.
It is from Guru SwamiG that she and I picked up the phrase, “the mind needs to still.”

I’ve been looking at those words the past few days.
“The mind needs to still.” Is this the essence of embodying an awakening?
If the mind is truly still, the ego has no way to cause trouble.

I also find it interesting that Sarojini went deeper when something broke open in her heart.
Then the teaching became “continue to let the mind still.”

Actually, January also had a “high.” (Actually, I thought of it more as an opening. But to keep with the theme of highs and lows I use the former word.)
There was a huge opening of the head. It seemed as if my physical head was replaced by a vortex of energy and light that opened to the universe.
Energy poured into my body. When Eve and Mary and I met for our weekly meditation, I asked if I could just let that energy flow into them. I felt like I was about to burst and a good siphoning off would be a great relief.
They loved it. They felt great peace and comfort. And I was rather struck by how they enjoyed something that was making me a bit uncomfortable.

It reminded me of Retreat when Adya told me my head had awakened and was “shoowsh” “huge” and that now I needed to bring that down into the heart.
(Thus, my ears perked up with Sarojini’s heart experience.)

Then the vertigo and migraines hit. A system overload? Maybe.
Perhaps whatever comes up must also come down.
But these words seem more to the point.

What is truly interesting is that the human condition contains within it an unconscious need to struggle. Why? Because by remaining in a state of constant struggle we maintain the boundaries that create the sense of a separate self… And even more shocking is the discovery that not only do we need to struggle in order to remain separate, but we want to remain separate – even though it causes so much suffering, fear and confusion… by remaining separate we maintain the sense of being someone different, special, and unique.

Again, the reason that you struggle is in order to maintain a sense of a separate self, a self which is ultimately nothing more than a defense mechanism against the revelation that no separate self actually exists… With nothing to oppose, the false sense of self evaporates into nothingness, into the Unknown, and you suddenly feel very lost with no familiar ground to stand on. Your identity is cut loose from all that is familiar and known, and you find yourself floating in a vast expanse with nothing to grab hold of. This groundless expanse is a foretaste of liberation, but few choose to remain in this unknown territory…

Faced with a freedom that is absolute, a freedom that leaves no room for separation from the whole, most people will compulsively contract back into a condition of struggle where they can maintain a familiar sense of self.
Adyashanti, The Impact of Awakening

I think the operative word here is “compulsively contract back.”
You contract without even thinking. Or rather, the mind goes wild and smothers you with stories to be believed and clutched and suffered over. Or, you run from the house with “cabin fever.”

Ha! I also seem to recall some words about emptiness and awfulness in my last blog…
Maybe I was just itching for a way to crawl back into the struggle.

And that’s the news from here in Lake Wobegon: where all of the seekers are slow and conditioned, and aren’t really all that good looking, and all of the children seem to have runny noses.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Before and After

Chipmunk small death
Originally uploaded by Seeking Tao
Before awakening, life may feel empty and without meaning, after awakening it is realized that life is empty and meaningless.
Genpo Merzel

I read this the other day and the words have stuck with me.
They sound awful! Awful!
Who would want that? I don’t.
... and yet they seem to describe my life.

It isn’t really that bad – but, I am filled with a physical and mental discomfort that just kind of hangs there like Christmas tree ornaments in a vast emptiness.
These are the ornaments of my individuality. They keep me functional.
They keep me dissatisfied.
Awakening has to reveal more happiness than this!

I’m not sure just what to make of Genpo Merzel’s Big Mind teachings. I have my doubts.
But I liked this:
The primary realization in Zen is that we are already perfect, complete and whole, one with the universe... Sometimes people who have realized their perfection don’t continue to refine themselves in a deep way with continuous practice.
In psychotherapy we are seen as flawed... so we work on functioning as a healthy self, following a model that is still designed by the unawakened and dualistic mind.
With awakening we see that all flaws are clouds that merely obscure our pure and undefiled nature. Awakening does not ignore flaws but makes it easier and even joyful to work on our self.

Those ornaments hanging in the void seem to be how my mind perceives the flaws still knotted into my psychology and ego.
That said, I seem to have absolutely nothing worth commenting upon or sharing here.

It was with this uncomfortable-ness that I sat down to breakfast this morning and opened Adyashanti’s The Impact of Awakening. I wanted to start simply at the beginning. I wanted to revisit words I had forgotten.
Actually, I wanted to feel deeply enough for tears to arise once more.

Adyashanti teaches that awakening is a never-ending process of opening and deepening, in which we’re often faced with difficult old patterns and stuck places…
Steven Bodian, the preface

Do not seek after what you yearn for, seek the source of the yearning itself.
Chapter One

The impulse to be free is an evolutionary spark within consciousness which originates from beyond the ego. It is an impulse towards the divine… It is an impulse originating from the Truth itself. This impulse to evolve is often co-opted by the ego, which creates the illusion of a spiritual seeker… This impulse, this spark of evolution, becomes almost instantly corrupted by a wanting which gives birth to the seeker…

You stay in the impulse by seeing it as an impulse and not interpreting it as coming from a lack. A sense of lack is the ego’s interpretation of the impulse which instantly gives rise to the separate, lost seeker. The impulse is an inner pressure to evolve… it comes from your already present divinity…. from a freedom that is already starting to break into consciousness…

The great good news is that you don’t have to be worthy of enlightenment. Nobody’s worthy of it. Despite unworthiness, it is given… That’s the Love. Worthiness doesn’t count. Nothing can ostracize you from the Truth of your Self.

You have to allow yourself to be humbled… when you become humble enough to come back to being nothing and to discovering your perfect nothingness, you discover everything. When that is discovered, it’s important to be true to that and to not shrink away by saying, “Not me, no. It couldn’t be me.”

… be with an enlightened teacher and listen… Just let the words in, without thinking about them or trying to understand them. Then they can penetrate to a place that is beyond the mind… they go beyond the beyond the ego to Silence, to the Heart.

Enough said.
Thank you.