1 June 2011
Once upon a timeless moment, before the conceptual ‘Big Bang’ shook us out of our womblessness and into creation, we were without perception of ‘self’ or ‘other’. We felt no sense of separation. We were not a "doer" or a "beer" for there was no "doing" or "being". There was only non-conceptual "Suchness"; our "original face before we were born" that everything is before it becomes some ‘thing’.
And now, for as far back as we have been convinced into believing, we live as separate selves, doing and being and often feeling "done in" and being "quite out of it. We are confused and anxious all the while searching to calm our ‘hungry ghosts’ that are searching for unqualified security. And we reach out for only a part of life believing that the pairs of opposites should be kept apart. We want what is acceptable and reject what is not. Give us security and not fear and by all means health but not suffering.
So the bad news is that we live in insecurity and fear. But the good news is that we wouldn’t be searching for security if we didn’t already know that it exists. And we wouldn’t have this intuition if we weren’t already, at some place out of time, already living the joy we so long for. We know what we are searching for, but, at the same time, we seem incapable of finding it in a lasting and satisfying manner. But if we already know what we are looking for, and if it already exists within us, why are we unable to bring it fully into our lives?
Searching involves looking for something which means we are separate from what we are looking for. So that even if we find our longed-for object, we will still be separate from it. We may possess it for a moment, but it will be a fragile object in our hands for anything that we find will always be taken away from us, whether by design, accident or death.
When All Is Left Behind
When we find something
It will be taken away.
But when we are empty
what is there to lose?
Prior to all gain what is present?
But what is there when even this
is left behind?
Meditation is not addition.
If anything, it is subtraction.
Take away all that there is,
and we find ourselves living in
and as empty-fullness.
So, Be quiet.
Cease all doing. Stop all non-doing.
Make no effort.
Don’t make this difficult.
You see there is no way to get there from here
for there is no there to go to.
now, before ‘I’ arises
and mind makes the difference.
What then can we do? What is it that when It is present, It can no longer be lost?
Separation is an activity of the mind. But life is whole. Go out as far as you can or go in as far as you will, there are no boundaries anywhere except as comparative edges projected by the mind in order to cognize a world of objects. The mind projects an ‘other’ so that it may be in relationship. And wherever there is relationship there is separation. And wherever there is separation there is fear. But fear is a messenger that informs us that the mind has conceptually divided what is whole into parts. Fear orients us. It is actually our friend.
But we are always trying to get rid of fear as we constantly struggle to change ourselves. This is even the warp and woof of spiritual practice. We want to be secure and relaxed individuals. And this is the problem. As long as we are convinced we need to be an individual and different in order to achieve some preconceived goal, we are at war with ourselves from the get-go. This is the origin of self-judgment. We are trying to be other than as we are.
And we can’t stand that we do this. So we drive our self-hatred into the unconscious. And whatever lives in the unconscious is projected outward. When anger and violence exist within we project anger and violence into the world. When we are angry that we are being judged it is only because we are already judging ourselves. No one can ever hurt us. We are only always hurting ourselves.
When we shift from trying to change ourselves to being non-judgmentally aware magic happens for anything that is placed in awareness, transforms. Awareness is like fire; fire purifies, and awareness purifies. Fire doesn’t judge. It simply burns away the impurities of what is placed within its presence. And awareness is simple presence; presence to what is. And here is the answer we are looking for. We simply need to continually rest in, and abide as, the fire of awareness. This is an act of being open that comes from the tremendous insight that everything else we have tried to do up to this point has totally failed. In this moment of resting in the fire of awareness the mind gives up and we are open to the unknown, listening without goal or intention.
Our listening is usually full of intention to get somewhere. But intention hinders us from seeing facts as they are. When we intend, try to achieve something or become someone, we are not open. We are living in a preconceived image of how we think we should be. When we are striving for a goal we can never reach the Truth of who we are for striving keeps us separate from what we are striving for. When our practice reflects this understanding then everything is fuel for the fire of awareness. Once we understand this way of living nothing distracts for awareness has no concern what moves in it. Awareness witnesses everything without judgment or concern.
This simple activity of being aware forms the new and solid foundation of our search for Truth and a lasting security free from fear. Anything beheld in awareness, without anticipation or expectation, is purified of its grosser nature. And as it purifies, its hidden nature unfolds. We realize that all objects are inside of us-as-awareness and all objects are actually non-separate extensions of awareness Itself. This understanding of "no-two-ness" and the unified nature of Ultimate Reality is the essential realization of meditation. We understand that separation is the product of a split-mind. Separation, like conflict, is only a mental aberration and is ultimately not real. Separation is caused by thought. Conflict is caused by thought. And trying to get rid of separation and conflict by further thinking fails even before it begins. Seeing that conflict and separation are only movements of the mind is the beginning of their dissolution.
When we shift from trying to change ourselves to listening and being aware, awareness expands. Awareness is not the product of the linear split-mind but is multi-dimensional and all encompassing. It includes all objects whether they are perceived to be outside, such as the people around us, or inside us like our thoughts and emotions. All objects are in ourselves-which-is-awareness. We are not in the body. The body is inside us. We are not in conflict. Conflict is inside us. So when we do spiritual work, can our practice reflect this understanding? We need to stop, at every opportunity, and feel our multi-dimensional nature and feel how everything is living within this all-expansive, all-inclusive awareness. It is very different to live with the understanding that "pain is present in this head" rather than, "I have a headache". When we live as awareness, body, mind and speech appears within what-we-are. Then the world in experienced as inside us; we are not in the world.
Now we are open without intention where everything is born out of the fire of Awareness, grows in awareness, and dies in Awareness. There is no judgment for things to be other than as they are. We are no longer concerned with becoming better people. Negative thought patterns have no hold when they are met with the light of Awareness. This is radical self-acceptance.
Then all outgoing attention turns and inquires into the very nature of the one who has been looking. And when awareness turns upon itself a collapse occurs from being a witness to being witnessing and the mind becomes still and at rest. Up to this point the mind has been engaged in the Great Search to find an object that will give it ultimate peace. But the mind has been trying to do a job for which it’s unqualified. The mind will always fail at the quest to know the nature of Reality for all thinking is in split-mind. The mind has to fail! It has been searching for the answer to a problem for which it hasn’t a clue! And each of us must come to this threshold where the mind finally admits that it doesn’t know what to do. In this moment we are open to the unknown, oriented in an attitude of listening. And silence is the ground in which listening takes root and blossoms. This silence is not the absence of thought. True silence, what I call Stillness, is beyond the absence of objective silence. It is the essence of all that is, the ground we stand on and out of which everything arises. Stillness is always present, whether objective reality is present or absent. It is by other names Consciousness, God, Divinity and Spirit.
When self-reflecting is sustained in the mirror of self-awareness the conceptualizing split-mind that projects ourselves out as being a separate self, collapses into being who we are as non-judging, all encompassing witnessing-awareness. And this multi-dimensional outlook of witnessing-awareness heals the split-mind. Everything is purified in the fire of awareness. What were contradictions are now realized to be opposites. Opposites resolve into their complimentarities. And complimentarities are realized to be non-separate expressions of a greater wholeness. When objective wholeness is realized to be but another complimentary unity of subject and object, everything collapses into wholeness and we find ourselves taken by Unity Awareness.
Now we find ourselves standing not as a ‘we’, but as an ‘I-of-Vastness’ which includes everything. All is welcomed. And when these eyes of Vastness look out over the world they see that everything animate and inanimate is made of the same substance.
Looking through the eyes of no-other the world is transformed for who is there to hurt when all is ourself, when everything is only God, only Consciousness, only Unified Wholeness? This realization moves us out of bed and into action, into community, into helping—for help we must. There is no choice in this. You see Consciousness is greedy. It is the ultimate expression of greed for it is only concerned with Itself for there is only Itself. And act we must for it is always the Totality acting unto Itself. It is no longer a "me" who acts but the Unity of the Universe which is always and in all ways acting with and through these body-mind apparatuses.
And in this we understand that we do not ever see another, we are the other. We do not feel the earth, we are the earth. And in this unmistakable realization we are transformed into the Universe and all separation is undone into a peace that surpasses mental understanding. And the world is transformed by our doing nothing at all for it is not a ‘we’ who do, but Consciousness, God, that is always doing, for there is only Consciousness. There is only God. And this is our spirituality of doing and being where there is no doer and there is no beer. There is only non-conceptual Being and Doing which doesn’t belong to a separate individual. It never did and never will.
Love after Love
By Derek Walcott
The time will come,
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door,
in your own mirror.
And each will smile
at the other’s welcome,
and say, "Sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger
who was your Self.
Give wine. Give bread
Give back your heart,
to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, but who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters
from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes
Peel your own image from the mirror
Sit. Feast on your life.