Sunday, May 29, 2011

Waking Up Out of the Teaching

P Bralley and young friend, ca 1952.

You know, it’s all jazz.
Leonard Bernstein explaining Beethoven’s Seventh to Bobby McFerrin

I illustrated my last post with a self-portrait.
Let me share here the source and reality of that photo. I was standing by my sandbox.
But, which image best illustrates or "explains" the gist of me?
It feels to me like they both make wonderful commentary.
So, which is better? Which preferred?
It all depends upon the point I’m trying to make.
Historical roots are addressed by the sandbox view;
Spiritual aspirations by the self-portrait… perhaps.

This appreciation for different points of view seems to be occurring in regards to teachings and paths.
Several threads of experience have become intertwined and have brought about a shift for me:
First, I found I could no longer make the effort of self-inquiry. I am no good at that. And even resting as awareness, something that felt quite easy suddenly became too great an effort to even think about.
Secondly, when I meditate with Eve and Mary often I start channeling. Initially, we went with this because it falls within the realm of our Taoist practice, but more importantly, it’s shown itself to be very helpful to Evie as she deals with the physical challenges of chemotherapy and stem cell transplant.
Finally, I got tired of all the chattering debates at sites like Buddha at the Gas Pump: the neo-advaitist, “No Ego!” versus advaitist, “Don't be so sure!"

And maybe there's a fourth experience here:  I (?) let go.  Well, something wore out or surrendered without my even attempting to do anything.  Something stopped in a rather non-event. I noticed a little feeling: "exhausted" or "defeated" drifted through body and psyche. But all that was rather subtle.  Rather, daily activity tracked along the above events, and the words I was pondering were Scott Kiloby's:

The thought of myself and the thought of a cliff are equally both thoughts. There’s nothing about the self that makes it really not exist… the cliff doesn’t either…
We make the big deal about no-self and then we think the tree exists.
They’re all just thoughts.
“An unreal concept can’t disassemble itself,” but an unreal concept can drop a rock on its foot. The whole no-self thing becomes a mental concept, “I don’t exist.”…
People say it as they want it to be true or they sense that it is true.
But the word, that insight is an after the fact kind of a thing… It’s not like, “Oh, there’s nobody here.” And now I have to live as if there’s nobody here.
That’s a person trying to be a no-self.
Scott Kiloby talking with Jeff Foster

… at least I think that’s where this rough transcription comes from. The comment that an unreal concept can drop a rock is probably my own commentary.  The quote is probably Rupert Spira.  Anyway, I found these scribbled words on my dining table when I finally cleaned the papers off.

On the other side of the page, there are these words:
Scott: I could really believe I stumbled upon some truth in my concepts, but really they’re just words floating by.
Jeff: It’s like two birds singing. Two birds singing and that’s it.

Around this time I read an essay by Scott entitled, Waking Up (Out of the Teaching).
It felt really right to me:

The possibility of waking up out of the dream of being a separate self, through the use of a spiritual teaching, is amazing…What is more amazing [for me] is the possibility of waking up from one’s own teaching, lineage, tradition, or message.
It’s like waking up from the idea of “I know how it REALLY is” into an openness that wants to explore the diverse landscape of life —to explore how it is within each view.
So that becomes my new language —openness.

It’s funny. As I copy and paste this excerpt I realize that Scott uses the word “openness.”
I didn’t remember that and it's a seldom used word (for me) that I've been thinking about.
My tendency is to define "open" in terms of being tolerant and willing to listen.
But, recently I realized that's how I feel these days physically.  The inside of my body and mind feels Open as in “wide open spaces.”
Open can be a Nothingness that is far too rich to be considered nothing.
And it does no good to really think about this.
It’s something that is rediscovered in each moment, always new and unexpected.
No preconceptions. Just look.
Where are you standing if you’re not holding onto any teaching?

… there will be truth in any word you come up with… at least for that one moment.
Cause, it's all improvisation
when you're open.


rjh said...

this is so lovely

Pat Bralley said...

Thank you. I hope you can see behind what's written into where I was talking with you in my head... and for that I am so grateful. Thank you!