Saturday, March 29, 2008

Put the Snow Globe Down

Imagine that whatever you are looking for – let’s call it ‘The Answer’ - is in the middle of a toy snow globe (you know, a clear glass globe with some sort of picture or figure in the middle and filled with tiny, white flakes). Now, imagine that thoughts and experiences, all objects, are like the flakes in the globe.

We believe that if we can just get a better view of the flakes, they will finally reveal to us The Answer. Most of the techniques we learn when we begin searching, deal with the flakes, the contents of the globe. We learn practices to help us in our attempt to take a look at every flake. We mindfully describe them all, often with the subtle belief that we will be able to control each flake and its thousands of siblings.

We try to get the flakes to arrange themselves in a particular order. We share with others the patterns we imagine that we see; and, we imagine meanings in their swirling, floating, fleeting dance. We decide that some of the flakes are “positive” and some are “negative” and we do our level best to make them ALL positive.

We introduce New Age flakes. We criticize some of the flakes. We worship some of the flakes. We think that by focusing more and more on the flakes, we'll finally "get it."

We investigate each flake because we think The Answer must be hidden on one of them, maybe written in some secret code. We search online and read what others are saying about their flakes. We join flake discussion groups.

Some claim to have found very special flakes; they describe these special flakes and suggest that only if we are able to remake our flakes into flakes like theirs will we enjoy the infinite, unending, bliss that they enjoy. Some sell their very valuable, bliss-producing flakes as well as their techniques for creating or finding the Right Flake.

Others suggest that only with - until now, secret - physical, mental, and emotional techniques, will we be able to get our flakes into shape so that we will be more available to receive The Answer. Ancient and revered teachers tell us that, if we are lucky, our flakes might evolve to the necessarily sublime level of existence after hundreds or thousands of reincarnations. We secretly hope that, if we really work at it, others will envy our flakes and want their flakes to look the same as ours. Then, we'll be able to write a book about flake-improvement, getting your flakes into shape, improving your flakes, reshaping your flakes, working with your flakes so they manifest even more interesting flakes and, yes, living as enlightened flakes.

Working with the flakes to find The Answer, the end of suffering, is folly. We keep shaking and shaking the globe in the hope of finding just the right flake at just the right time. We shake and shake in order to see every flake from every angle. The answer must be there, we think. More flakes. Shake harder. Change the rhythm of the shaking. Get up early in the morning and shake. Shake at least twice a day for 20 minutes. Get together with other people and shake and then talk about the shaking. Write about the shaking. Draw images of the shaking. Worship particular forms of shaking. The Answer must be there - we just need to try harder. Shake more. Take a seminar on shaking. Wear flowing clothes and crystal jewelry that opens our energy centers to create better, more loving, more creative shaking and flaking. Go on retreat to shake with expert shakers. We think, ‘I know if I just keep shaking it will become clear’ – that is what the flakes themselves tell us, after all.

Finally, perhaps, we tire; we are at the end of our rope. We've tried it all and to no avail. No flake, no matter how profound or sublime, is The Answer. We are ready to hear a simple suggestion: Just Rest. Quit shaking the globe. What you are looking for is already what you are. It surrounds you and interpenetrates you. In fact, the flakes themselves exist within what you are searching for - they are inseparable from that for which you are looking. Peace is already here. Clarity is revealed when we STOP shaking, not when we shake harder or longer or with better technique.

Someone tells us, ‘Put the snow globe down.’ We put it down. The flakes settle. We leave them alone. They no longer interest us. We realize that there is no end to the amount of shaking that can be done. As the flakes settle, we discover that there is no answer waiting inside the globe. Instead, we find a pristine clarity in which all of life is reflected. We enjoy looking at all of the shapes and colors and movement reflected in the globe’s clear, open space. Now and again, flakes are stirred up. No matter. We enjoy watching them, too. Even snow can be beautiful. We no longer focus on the flakes; they are just part of the entire scene. We rest. Clarity and silence shyly shine forth. We disappear.

Quit shaking the globe.
Put it down.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You Can't Drain the Water from a Mirage

VF: Hello Sam - good hearing from you again. I'm sorry this response is so late in coming, but I haven't had much of a chance to do anything other than my "paid" work recently.

Sam: Thank you for your prompt and generous response.What I get from your reply is that the endless flounderings of my personality are beside the point, and the only thing that matters is to see who is seeing, NOW.

VF: Yes; but you're not going to leave it there, are you?!

Sam: Again it's my smart intellect getting it all 'intellectually' while going on much the same way as before, but am I right in assuming that what I am as a person doesn't matter, that I can be good or bad or indifferent, the only thing is to SEE that it's all a mythical self, and so not different from Mother Teresa or Hitler, or you?

VF: It isn't that what "you" are as a person doesn't matter; it is that there is no you, no person. The believed-in "person" Sam, whom you mistakenly take yourself to be, doesn't exist other than as a swirling, buzzing, vaporous group of thoughts and sensations that arise presently. There really is no one to choose good, bad, or in-between. It happens that seeming choice may arise in this simple, unbroken, space that we are, but there is no choice in whether or not a seeming choice arises or is made (by no one).

Sam: One thing that has bothered me about being undifferentiated consciousness is how, if everything is awareness, there is no difference between me and a piece of wood, both are equally enlightened, and so what is the point of it all?

VF: This is only an issue for the believed-in separate person, the idea of an independently existing individual who believes itself to be separate and aware. To that imposter, just being awareness and no different from a piece of wood sounds horrible - understandably! Look at this directly right now! See that these are just ideas arising from nowhere and dissolving back into nowhere - they are seen, but they are seen by no one.

If you just rest as awareness, you will see clearly that all of this is just more of the same conceptual argument and struggle - it is one thought seeming to struggle with another thought. In fact, there is no struggle between thoughts; there is just this thought, now this thought, now this thought, and on and is only another thought that says thoughts struggle. Just rest back, lean back into awareness, and leave thoughts alone. Thinking is none of your business!

Sam: Another point is about us all getting there in the end, after death, so what is the point of struggle?

VF: Good! There IS no point in struggle. What you really are, this clear, open space of awareness, doesn't struggle. What you are is the space in which the story of struggle arises, is seen, and dissolves back into formlessness.

Sam: I like the way you throw me at the NOW!

VF: You've never been anywhere else. Even thought - whose content is typically either struggling with now, arguing with now, regretting the past, or imagining a fearful future - is still arising now.

Sam: But is there any point in formal meditation, and do you advocate any practice, a daily sitting?

VF: Where do you imagine daily sitting will take you? Do you imagine it will deliver you to some other "state" of being? Every state just arises and passes away in this open, clear, spaciousness - states come and go - what is aware of the changing states never changes.

So, if the imagined separate person sits in order to no longer be a separate person, well, as one japanese zen teacher put it, it is like polishing a brick to create a mirror. You can polish a long time, but the brick will never become a mirror. I once heard Catherine Ingram say that it's like trying to drain the water from a mirage - the premise is completely wrong. So if you sit as the imposter - the believed, separate me - you will likely just reinforce a belief in the mirage being full of water. If you sit as this open awareness, fine; but if you're already resting as open awareness, then any activity is meditation - sitting, standing, shitting, stirring the soup pot, drinking tea, wiping off the table, writing a note, smoking a cigar, looking at the sky, listening to music, lying sleepless, sweeping the walk, paying the bills, arguing with the landlord...everything, everything, everything arises in and as this clear, open, space. Try resting! Lean back into awareness (it's already where and what you are anyway); rest as awareness right now. Leave thinking alone, leave sensation alone, leave emotions alone, leave hearing alone, leave seeing alone, leave tasting, alone, leave smelling alone - leave everything, including the idea of a "you" alone. Just rest and watch.

i hope this helps. love, vince

Monday, March 17, 2008

Quit Playing and Run Home to Your Mother

VF: Hi Ron. Good to hear from you again. Let's clear this up so you can get on with things!

Ron: I am fully clear in my head that, as you put it, "thought" is not necessary to know 'I exist". I can also see that 'sensations' coalesce to produce the body and the sensations are transitional. I fully understand when you say that forms take shape in the smoke. But these 'forms' demand to be fed. The body is not like a plant to get by itself 'freely' energy from the Sun. Body has to depend on some others.

VF: Everything depends on everything; and, if everything depends upon everthing, then nothing depends on nothing and all arises IMMEDIATELY in THIS NOW - including the seeming Ron's seeming questions!

Ron: Any sort of dependency implicitly removes one away from total Freedom (Independence).

VF: Total Freedom is a concept whose existence depends up another concept - Total Bondage. Struggling with these concepts keeps the seeming you trapped in duality - this approach is like trying to escape from a house of mirrors! There is no freedom - there is ONLY THIS. Right now! Leave the thinking alone - let it ramble on - it always has and always will. Stop!

Ron: But isn't one forced to see a distinction of this body versus that (bringing in otherness). Another aspect highlighting otherness (Not Oneness)?

VF: "Otherness" and "oneness" are both ideas, constructs, concepts, arising in this complete and total cognizing (thank you, Gilbert Schultz) emptiness that is beyond concept, construct and thought. This ground of being is our mother. There is no doubt that you and your mother are, in some relative way, separate. At the same time, can you deny your oneness? Of course not. What I am pointing you towards is the Mother of all - the Mother of the ten thousand things, as it is referred to in Taoism. Ron, "you" cannot know it or experience it - you can only give up and rest AS it. Trying to "know" or "experience" it via more thought only takes you further and further from home. Rest. Quit playing the game, and run home to your Mother. You've never left her, anyway.

Ron: Isn't this staring right in our face: if Vince feeds his body, this ron-body does not get fed. It still needs separate food. So Ron and Vince are two -- not one there!

VF: Try an experiment. Hold up your left hand, palm facing your face. Now, with a piece of paper, cover all of the palm so only the top half of the fingers are visible. Do the fingers appear to be separate? In some relative sense, are they separate? Remove the piece of paper. Are the fingers really separate?

As long as you identify yourself as a finger, these questions will continue to arise. Unquestionably, from the standpoint of a separate finger, these questions are legitimate and, seemingly, of great importance. See clearly that your premise is wrong. Your premise is itself a conceptual construct, "I am separate." You can ask as many questions as you'd like from the wrong premise and you will get a myriad of interesting and useless answers.

Begin with the premise that doesn't rely on any mental construct or fabrication - YOU EXIST. Before the thought "I AM," you are. Begin there and stay there and see what (if any) questions arise. When in doubt, just rest as awareness. Thought is a hungry ghost - to borrow a term from Buddhism - it has a voracious appetite but cannot find satisfaction.

Ron: Of course, I can develop an attitude of being unaffected and lead a 'what if' sort of life. But then it is an "Attitude." Not beingness, Brahman!

VF: No "attitude" will be necessary if you change your premise to what is without question.

Ron: Another serious doubt : Is that "SEEING" so called "Brahman state"? (I know state is a wrong word but used here to express that condition). Does not Brahman state imply omniscience, omnipresence etc. etc.?

VF: Is there any doubt that there is KNOWING right now? Can that be doubted? Isn't even the doubt KNOWN? Forget all of this and return to resting as awareness - simply rest as what you already are and let thought do whatever it does - there is no choice. Conceptual explanations such as "Brahman" are meaningless and worthless without resting as what you are BEFORE the concepts can arise. Rest; just rest. I hope this helps. Get back to me with more questions, as necessary. Be well.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Do Nothing - Or Less

I wanted to end seeking. People who had come to an end suggested that there was nothing I needed to do. They said,

Do Nothing.

Thought interrupts and asks, “What do you mean, do nothing?” Thought is itself, a doing. Even the thought, “OK, I get it. I’ll do nothing,” is doing. Then the thought takes shape, “OK, I’ll just give that up. I’ll just keep doing things.” That, too, misses the point; more doing.

We begin the search, finding a never-ending library of techniques to “do nothing:” art, meditation, prayer, therapy, and more. These techniques are, of course, more doing. We find techniques for doing nothing mentally. We find techniques for doing nothing physically. We try to do nothing emotionally. All of the trying, all of the ways of “not doing” amount to more doing.

We stumble upon the direction to “let go.” How DO we “let go?” There must be a way to DO it. Is it by thinking certain thoughts? Thinking the right thoughts in a particular order? Not thinking at all? Good luck. Maybe it means learning to relax the body at all times? We learn how to DO that. We DO it sometimes and beat ourselves for not DOING it more. More trying. More doing.

If we are lucky, we realize that we are in deep DO-DO. Then perhaps, grace arrives in the form of exhaustion or head-crunching frustration and we just give up. We quit the impossible game. Sometimes doing happens; sometimes doing doesn’t happen. We leave the thought alone that “I can DO” or “I can not DO.” We quit trying. We quit not-trying. We quit looking. We quit not-looking. We quit caring. We quit caring that we care. We quit thinking. We quit not thinking. We quit quitting.

Thinking and trying and techniques have done all they can do – taken the vaporous idea of a separate ME to the portal through which it cannot step and survive (though it has only ever been lived, anyway – but it will never be convinced of that). Beyond this threshold blazes the pure light of awareness – so bright it illuminates even the sun – and no vaporous form survives the transit.

When will you get to the threshold? You’ve never been anywhere else.

Where can you find it? Always right here.

How can you cross? You already have – it is from the other side of the threshold that You-being-Isness watch the “doing” of this vaporous bundle of thoughts that believes itself to exist.

Do nothing? Even that is too much.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Is-ing All-ness: A Response to a Reader (R)

R: It was thrilling to find a newly minted awakened person, whose blog started 2 days ago (yesterday) thanks to Randall Friend's blog. I too have been accessing Annette Nibley's site for years.

VF: Hi Sam. Thanks for writing. I’m happy to share what I can with you. As I mentioned in the blog, several people were very generous with their time and attention - Sailor Bob, John Wheeler, Stephen Wingate, John Greven, Annette, Randall, and many others with whom I never spoke but read.

R: Somehow, this "you're it" thing doesn't seem to do it for me, as it apparently didn't for you, for a long time.

VF: Indeed not. All of this is paradoxical - there is nothing "you" can "do" and yet, there are some things that you can do - more on this later.

R: [It is] reassuring that it does happen, but WHEN?

VF: The frustratingly advaita-ish answer is, of course, NOW – and, while it can seem glib, this is a central pointer. Let me try to fumble my way through an explanation.

I once wrote to Annette, basically begging her to tell me what I was missing. I’d gotten to a point in seeking where it seemed clear that there really couldn't be anything that Sailor Bob, or John Wheeler, or Stephen Wingate, or Annette "had" that made seeing “this” more possible for them than for me.

Putting aside all the "there is no you" bundle of pointers, Annette said something to the effect of, 'look, they/we don't see anything that you don't see! The deal is that they see it NOW - literally - NOW. There is literally NOTHING beyond this moment.' Ok. What does this mean? It just means that THIS moment - literally THIS moment - is the only time there is and the only time anything is happening.

It is the nature of thought to string itself together in such a way that it creates a mirage of continuity and, specifically, the continuity of a separate person. However, in this very moment, isn't there awareness of thought? Whether that thought is "gee, I’m an enlightened master and should go live in a Himalayan cave" or "I’m a stooge and will never get this" or anything in between, it is still JUST A THOUGHT arising in THIS moment. WHAT is aware of the thought? What KNOWS the thinking? It isn't the thinking itself, right? Thought can't be aware of thought. The SEEING is happening NOW - RIGHT NOW! Don’t overlook this Sam! The next thought may be, "sure, but what about..." or "I still don't get it" or "well, that makes some sense but..." it doesn't matter what the content of the thought happens to be - it is still just another thought arising NOW, and the thought still arises within THIS awareness! What is seen by everyone offering these pointers is just seen NOW. It’s like my mom used to say to me when she was irritated, “Now see here, young man!” Little did she know she was giving me deep spiritual direction!

NOW. There is no other time.
SEE. There is no other activity.
HERE. There is no other place.

So, right now, you know you exist. This knowing is empty; there is no "person," no separate entity, who is “doing” the knowing. The knowing is just happening - the idea of a "you" is just another thought arising NOW. Sam, "you" can't see this tomorrow – seeing is NOW. So, stick with right now. You exist and there is a knowing. That’s it. Stay there. Just rest there. Thoughts - very enticing thoughts - likely continue to arise - no matter. Just stay with this simple (simple in the sense that it doesn't require thought to just QUIT) resting NOW. There is no way for thought to SEE this. There is no way to understand it. It can only be seen.

R: I am into Jed McKenna now and while he is the original myth buster, paradoxically, he too makes Enlightenment to be the big daddy - saying only a couple of dozen or so people have got there. But then I saw Charlie Hayes getting IT, and Annette herself, and scores of her students. Maybe it's not Enlightenment proper? Ok. I, too, know spiritual experiences are ephemeral andall that, the bells and whistles. But I wouldn't want anything like that, only what Annette, and you, now have; a serene understanding.

VF: But for the thought, "I don't really have it. I don't care about bells and whistles, I just want a serene understanding like Annette and you have," is there a problem? Is there something to have or not have? What is aware of that thought? But for the unquestioned thinking that there is a separate entity called Sam, does one exist? Please don't bypass these questions as "interesting" - I did that for years! If you want the search to come to an end, really look into these questions. As Annette told me very recently, this search has to become VERY personal. I know there are those who were just out for a walk on the beach when this understanding broke through, but that was certainly not the case here! Investigate!

R: In fact, I am not driven the way Jed McKenna makes out you have to be; I am more an off and on guy. The reality of my being is that of a supremely lazy guy,who finds most other kinds of reading useless and un-nutritious. So I read advaita.yes.

VF: There can be a kind of reading that happens as entertainment - nothing wrong with that. The complication comes when the idea of a separate, independently existing "me" is not directly investigated. So, when you just read this, what is aware of the thought that just arose? And now? And now? A better word might be "awaring." Awaring is now, and now, and now, and now..."you" are the awaring. The objects/phenomena - no matter how subtle or seemingly concrete - take form and dissolve within (and as) the awaring. The idea “I understand” or “I don’t understand,” are no different than any other phenomena that take momentary shape.

R: There was a time when I thought [Advaita] would make a good second career - start my own practice, so to speak, once I have IT. But no longer. I am already 48. Been on the path for close to 25 years. So how do I see it?

VF: Oh my, I hate to say this but...YOU don't see it. The seeing reveals the lack of YOU! YOU will never see it - nonetheless, SEEING is happening RIGHT NOW, Sam. Seeing "sees" the thinking "how do I see it?" I am not trying to be obtuse, or spiritual, or clever. The SEEING is so obvious, so “plastered to our eyeballs,” so to speak, that it cannot be pointed out. It’s a little like trying to describe the hole in a donut. We can do a great job describing everything about the donut – size, taste, texture, smell – and we hope that all of that will somehow make the “w-hole” of it clear. That was really bad, wasn’t it?

R: Meditation doesn't appeal. I get lost in thoughts.

VF: WHAT gets lost in thoughts? WHAT is aware of the thought, "I get lost in thoughts?" Does WHAT is aware of "getting lost in thoughts" EVER get lost in thoughts? Or, does the sniveling little bundle of thought “I get lost in thought,” appear and disappear in the very awareness that is registering these words right now?

R: So could you help me?

VF: It took me quite a bit of back and forth, but recognize that thought may well continue to bring forth arguments and reasoning and objections, etc.; that's fine. Thought is useful and there is absolutely nothing wrong with thought (it gets a bad name in some circles) - it is thought that allows this discussion to happen. But, thought can only take us to the edge of the cliff, you know? Finally, one needs to step beyond thought, which is just another way of saying REST as awareness (of thought, bushes, mourning doves, flat screen TV’s, ants, dirty dishes, iced tea, lips, gun shots, Venetian blinds, etc.) no matter how sublime or clunky the thought-object-sensation may be. We need to give our pea-brains a rest and just SEE – the entirety of Isness is happening – is is-ing allness – right now. Rest assured, what “you” think of as “you,” Sam, is included in the is-ing allness as is the Reality of You which cannot be thought.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Response to "A Glorified Coping Mechanism?"

From a Reader (R):

R: I also read with interest the postings by both of you at Randall’s blog site, particularly your light bubbly words (It’s Very Gentle). It is quite clear and I can easily see the fact of what you say. I address you this mail, however, out of some genuine concerns and NOT to pick an argument.

VF: I'm going to attempt to respond to your note. Thank you for writing. I hope what I say might be somewhat helpful. I understand your question and the struggle it produces and struggled with the same concerns and questions for years. I appreciate your sincerity.

R: “Just resting” and “SEEING” by the Awareness, as you can know happen, if and only if supporting organism (a life-form, a body or a body-mind entity) exists. The organism (body) needs food for its existence. ALL THE DAMNATION STARTS THERE!

VF: The Awareness is prior to the form and the form arises within Awareness, just as shapes take form in smoke - but the smoke is prior to, during, and after the dissolution of the form. The body does what it does and what it needs to do, no differently than a plant grows toward the light and moisture. This is only a problem when identification as a body is central.

R: After all, the body feels ‘hungry’. Dependency of mind-body on food implies the predator-prey pyramid. Violence and aggression to acquire the prey, the destruction of prey by the predator by devouring, the run for life by the prey to save itself, search for security, camouflage, deceit, exploitation, cheat will all ensue. Misery for the prey is guaranteed. The whole conundrum of grief and the rigmarole of ‘samasara’ begin there.

VF: Samasara is "continued" and "fed" with the mistaken belief in the individual, separate self - this belief is the source of suffering - do you see that what you are is prior to that? Prior to samsara? Do you see that even samsara arises within this simple presence that you are? Samsara, itself, arises only after the mistaken belief in/identification with the body. The cycle of birth and death ends each moment that we rest as the unborn beingness.

R: Surely, we cannot say all that non-dualistic philosophy is only for one whose belly is full and doesn’t have to look for feeding himself/herself.

VF: Of course not - Presence/Awareness is there registering hunger, illness, starvation and death.

R: The moment you look to feed yourself, somebody has to cook, somebody else has to fetch what is cooked, still some other has to grow what is fetched, growing food/crops involves killing, dependency on irrigation, externally imposing certain disciplines, etc., etc.; the cycle goes on! The non-existing zombie-like “I” neither understood the mechanisms of existence nor has "I" solved the misery of the body by dissociating itself from the body.

VF: There is no separation between what you call "the zombie-like I" and the activities of form. They are one and the same. Do you see that it is only believed concepts, arising now, that create this seeming difficulty? The body will experience pain and misery - there is no denying that - but will you?

R: So Sir, what I suggest is: Are we here talking merely about an escape technique, a “coping mechanism”, a survival tactic suitable for a few clothing the method in mystical and eulogized terms of advaita?

VF: Look, while I understand it can come across as mystical, there is really nothing mystical about this! The mystical approach is what has hidden this from so many - certainly Nisargadatta didn't approach this in a particularly mystical fashion! Please keep this very simple: You exist and you know that you exist, yes? Is thought necessary to know this or is there a knowingness that is not dependent upon thought acting here? After that knowingness, everything else is conceptual and open to argument. There are many who are very skilled at arguing about this - that is not my interest or my strength. See that this SEEING is here, right now (there is no other time) - within this seeing there are certain tensions, contractions, sensations, etc. that we have LEARNED to call "the body." However, notice that even now, these sensations, etc. coalesce and dissolve with no one there to "control" them. Notice that even the sense of "you" arises and dissolves. If you are trying to find a way to convince thought of this understanding, well, good luck. That certainly did not and has not happened for me!

Stay with this simple, direct, uncomplicated SEEING. Within that, the desire to feed others, change political systems, fight for justice, etc. may arise (that has certainly been true here - I work as a social worker) - the dream is certainly "real enough!" But, SEE that it is a dream and that all of us are dream characters within it. Within the dream - otherwise known as samsara - the drama will continue. Fair enough. Don't mistake what you REALLY ARE with this character. Investigate for yourself. This must become intensely personal or it is worthless. As long as it remains an interesting philosophy you would be much better off spending your time at the movies! I hope this helps in some small way. Please feel free to email me again if none of this makes sense or if you have further questions.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's Very Gentle

This "awakening from the dream" is really a very gentle happening (or non-happening). It is simply a recognition of what has been SEEING everything all along, and recognizing that the SEEING is what you are. Everything seen - absolutely everything - including these ideas about seeing - are more dream images arising in you. Trees, sounds of cars, the dog breathing, shadows on the floor from the lamp, the cramp in the big toe, the neighbor walking in front of the house on the sidewalk, the pressure of the keyboard on the fingers, starlings on the birdfeeder, your partner in the chair across the room, stomach rumblings, thoughts of work, thoughts about God, thoughts about getting it or not getting it, feelings of sadness, feelings of anticipation - all of these things coalesce in Awareness (including the concept "I am aware") and dissolve. The SEEING of them is what you are - and the SEEING can't be seen because the SEEING is not an object.

There is nothing "you" need to do in order to SEE. Isn't it happening right now? No fanfare, nothing earth-shattering, just simple, clear SEEING right now - RIGHT NOW in this very moment. SEEING only happens now and has never and will never happen at any other time or place (because there isn't any!).

Relax as the SEEING that you are. Just rest as SEEING. Everthing arises, has its moment, and passes away. Let it be - you only think you have some choice in the matter. The great good news is that there is absolutely nothing you need to do other than REST, right now, in THIS moment.

"Getting" It

This is a copy of the letter I sent to Annette Nibley as an update to our last conversation. I'm posting it here because I think it provides some explanation of what "getting it" has been like here. While I would love to tell you that energy has been flowing through my body and exploding out of the top of my head and that everything is glowing, that hasn't been the case; and yet, something is very different.

hi annette - here is the update we discussed.

i really don't know what to say. it is utterly obvious that this open, clear awareness is and always has been here. but from here it is seen that EVERYTHING - including openness and clarity and spaciousness and timelessness are all concepts that seem to take form within this awareness (another concept). everything continues - traffic, noise, bother, happiness, hunger, pain in the hips, interest and disinterest, certainty and doubt, a "sense" of me and no-me, cold feet, the sound of the exhaust fan, the color of the walls, the walls, epsom salt in a plastic container, the hands on this keyboard, worry, irritation...and there is a recognition that the knowing of all of this is formless, timeless, spaceless, never-ending, and unchanging.

Just RESTING as this - and leaving absolutely everything else alone - while itself a conceptual and imperfect pointer - is all that ever needs to be done (in fact, it is all that is ever being done - the rest are the shadows and colors on the screen - there is just thinking that something else is happening).

look, even as I read this over, I think it sounds like just real, unadulterated and incredible bullshit - but it is the absolute truth - not in some plato-esque philosophical way but from the standpoint of simple, direct, first-grade level observation. this little pea-brain will never "get it." for all i know, it may well continue to try - but the SEEING of the trying or not-trying is what NEVER changes. the angst may never end for the mind (what mind?) - oh well. there is still no suffering.

as long as there is recognition (by no one) of this big, open, clear, no-space in which everything and absolutely nothing happens (that really makes no sense to the little brain, does it?), then, well, then nothing. i still have to clean the cat poop in the basement and the checkbook is still chugging along on fumes until the middle of the month.

that doesn't sound too thrilling, does it? it isn't. it's very ordinary AND wonderful. no kidding. wonderful. i should stop before i sound even more psychotic than i already do. i think this all fell into place just as a result of you giving me permission, annette. there was something about that that allowed me to know what i know and see what i see; and , i really appreciate that you made this so ordinary and so available. i really can't thank you enough.

your slow-learner advaita student,

Monday, March 10, 2008

Start Here

Why are you reading this? If you're similar to me, it is because you're searching for something - you may not even know what it is. All you know is that "this" - whatever "this" is - can't be it. While you may not realize it, you believe the answer to everything is always around the next corner, on the next page, in the next book about awareness or nonduality or will all become clear after reading the next post, viewing the next movie, after the next conversation with the next nondual teacher. I know. Me, too.

I am writing this in the hope of helping you bring your search to an end as mine has come to an end. I am a "slow-learner" advaita/nondual student! I am the guy who got it, didn't get it, got it again, argued about it, forgot it, remembered it, suffered over it, lost it, begged for it, cried about it, dismissed it, said "screw it," intellectualized about it, tried to "feel" it, questioned it, threw it away, talked about it, thought about it, dreamed about it and more...and finally realized clearly that I AM IT - AS ARE YOU!

What has become obvious is the ordinariness of IT. IT is so obvious, so clear, so present that it is UNKNOWABLE. IT is immediate - that is, unmediated - KNOWING. IT is what SEES that IT cannot be known. What you are is the awareness reading these words, hearing the sounds in the environment, feeling the gurgles, tingles, and tensions in the (seeming) body.

IT is completely obvious - but not if you are looking for IT. IT is doing the looking. IT is what registers the seeming you looking.

As I struggled with all of these pointers, these cryptic descriptions, I became more and more frustrated. Finally, with the help of many people - John Wheeler, "Sailor" Bob Adamson, John Greven, Stephen Wingate, Joan Tollifson, Gilbert Schultz, Jeff Foster, Randall Friend, and especially Annette Nibley - who compassionately pointed me again and again and again and again (I could add many more 'agains'!) in the direction of the utterly obvious, it clicked. What is seen is so very ordinary that it is almost embarrassing to have missed it for so long!

Nonetheless, miss it I did, for years and years.

What I am pointing to has been pointed to for eons by many more practiced and eloquent than I. There is nothing I can say that is new. My hope is that there may be something that I write that might be the straw that is needed to tip the scale for you, just as the generous writings and conversations of many teachers tipped the scale for me.

I have nothing special to offer you - I have nothing that you don't already have. However, as was the case for me, you probably don't recognize that you have it!