tough love

Tough Love? Because most readers will find the contents of this post confronts their comfort-zone. Like happened here when I first encountered these notions. I won’t be surprised if you unfollow this blog, but I’d nonetheless love to think that you’ll take a look for yourself. For yourself. For. Yourself.

faith and hope

 

When you open your newsfeed and scroll through the week’s latest instalment of tragedy and brutality, you are observing the carnage wrought by faith and hope.

Faith and hope are two words sagely trotted out by both traditional and new age purveyors of fixes for the human condition. They feature large in the Christian Bible, and slip easily off our politicians’ tongues at times of crisis. “Only have faith!” “Defend the faith!” “Trust (have faith in) our democratic processes!” “Hope is our salvation …”

We are warned about “losing faith” or “losing hope” as though such absence will lead us to the top of a slippery slope and the inevitable descent into despair.

My teachers were strict. They demanded that every word employed be fully understood in all its implications. They would incisively question words that fed the illusion of separation, or that implied a ‘self’ solid and separate from the all-containing movement of creation. They had no time for those who counselled one to have faith, to hope, or to trust, because each of these positions betrays a desire for a self-satisfying outcome, a result that will bring relief, comfort, security or improvement in the life of the supplicant – or in the world they perceive to be faulty. They pointed out that these words, and others like time, need and want, are just more names for the illusory self, which is the root cause of all violence and suffering. They dismissed those who enthused about the merits of such attitudes with ruthless compassion: “Please come back when you want nothing but the Real.”

And I have grokked this so deeply it actually hurts my heart to hear people tell themselves they only need more faith or hope or trust (or compassion or understanding, or even time) to embody “the peace that passeth all understanding”, when it is the very abandonment of these notions that will throw them into a ‘me’-shattering, heart-melting intimacy with Life. An intimacy that makes future outcomes irrelevant, for the future is seen to be as illusory as the present (a dreaming streaming of perceptions, imagination, and ceaseless commentary); an intimacy that brings the mind unconditional peace and rest.

Let’s get the crucial questions lined up and check them out for ourselves:

Where can the one who needs to have faith (in any ideology) and hope (in any imagined outcome) be found? Be very precise. Where is the world to be found? Again – precision please. Where are disharmony, violence and tragedy to be found?

If you suggest they are all in the mind, tell me, where is one’s mind to be found?

If you can locate any of these, or anything else, outside of your fundamental awareness, you’ll be the first in the entire history of humanity to do so. And you’ll be wrong, because no matter where you stick the pin, it will still be a gesture occurring exclusively in the awareness that you are.

Gertrude Stein put it pithily: “There is no there there.”

If there is no place or time, or me or them, apart from the awareing of them, what does that do to ‘our relationship’ with the streaming shimmering dance we call world? Does it even make sense to speak of ‘relationship’ (which again implies separation), or is there only the streaming shimmering dance, dancing?

What are the implications of that mindshift?

Where is the brutality? The tragedy? The heroism? The suffering? It is nowhere but here, and it is all ours; it is all us – busily entertaining robotic thoughts and believing them to be real.

On the other side of faith and hope there’s a spaciousness that knows exactly how to respond to anything it meets with intense appropriateness. It’s a movement without a centre – without a trace of conditioning, without the burden of memory. We have all experienced it.

Let us rest in that spacious stillness, alert and awake, and see what Life will do with us. It might be something shocking, something we’d never imagine for ourselves. That will be a good indication of its authenticity.

I’ll meet you there.
 


 

In a similar vein, something I wrote in 2009 on ‘this unlit light’ blog:

the universe arises in your light

 


 

I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men’s hands
even at the height of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound.

– Hafiz

 


nothin’ left to lose …

I’ve had an encounter with an ear worm. You know, those catchy tunes that keep playing in your mind ad nauseam.

It’s amazing the lengths tic-toc thinking will go to, to ensure some activity is going on. I’ve found the only effective antidote to be a kind of meditation where you just plonk yourself down (or not) and cast attention in the worm’s direction without any intention to “stop” it. Brain worms loathe the light of attention.

This worm was fun (for a while), as my mind played with the lyrics. I jotted a couple down before returning the wriggler to sender, from whence it has failed to return. Maybe it’s back in Janis’s pocket…

 

Janis Joplin, 1970

“Freedom’s just another word
for nothin’ left to lose.”*

Love is just another word
for when you disappear.

 

Peace is just another word
for right and wrong conjoined.

 

Heaven‘s just another word
for no one left to choose.

 

More stanzas on the nondual theme, anyone?

 

[Later – they just keep coming… ]

 

Me is just another word
for God knowing Itself.

 

Joy is just another word
for thankfulness enthused.

 

Praise is just another word
for wonderment expressed.

 

God is just another word
for What’s beyond all words.

. . .


* Lyrics from Me and Bobby McGee, by Kris Kristofferson


Image: Janis Joplin, whose version of this song was her only number one hit. It was included in the album Pearl, 1970. Source: Wikimedia Commons


 

lessons from the lifeboat

Lessons from the Lifeboat

Seventy years on and still floating along. This morning’s sit sent me scrambling for my pencil and here’s what downloaded – a list of seven treasured wisdoms the old girl has learnt (so far…)

peace

is this rock-solid, inescapable

aware-ing

contentment

is simply the end of seeking

salvation

separation

is a story without verifiable

substance

suffering

is an argument with Life’s

thusness

compassion

is meeting Life’s thusness without

a story

joy

is unbridled delight at Life’s endless

wonderment

grace

is the gift of this unshakeable

understanding

.


Image source


 

please don’t lie to me

Please don't lie to me....

please

don’t tell me you don’t know
exactly WHAT you are:

that you ARE the peace and sweet release
you seek

. . .

I know you’ve looked;
you’ve seen, you’ve conceded
that
– nothing you know
–  nothing you think
–  nothing you feel
– nothing you remember
– nothing you experience
can be what you are

since

– all these phenomena
–  all these perceptions
– all these peculiarities

come and go

yet

your bright alive Knowingness remains

. . .

Beloved – even your pain
your suffering, your grief, rise and fall –
you’ve seen how they wither
(along with your hubris)
when you drop out of your story
and into mind-fucking
immeasurable
timelessness
that never changes

don’t tell me you haven’t yet fallen
back/forward/down/across/into
THIS
that can’t be known
or experienced

don’t lie to me, Beloved

I don’t believe you

. . .

yes, but …

314

being seeing is being peace

yes, but who is “being seeing”?
no one, only the beingness of sensorial perception
– some folk would call it primordial awareness

yes, but who is “being peace”?
no one, only the beingness of choiceless awareness
– some folk would call it pure consciousness

yes, but “who is”?
no one, only all-that-is, right-now, right-here
– some folk would call it simple suchness

~

my version of peace

303

Today I’m off to hospital for the knee surgery that was postponed in December last year.  Given the events that set the scenario in motion – a motorcycle accident in Athens, Greece, 1972, and given the subsequent wear and tear in over 30 years of leg-work, it’s easy to see that it’s all happening as it must. Gratitude for my Orthopedic surgeon and his team, and for access to a humane hospital facility.

.

Like most folk I longed for emotional equanimity
But longing – like its twin, avoiding – isn’t something wee-me does
it’s what wee-me is.

When dear wee-me was exposed for what-it-is
its games were seen as mental skylarking, and
the ideal of equanimity ceased to be relevant.

This unknowable knowingness – let’s call it ‘I’
is untroubled by the ups and downs of life,
by the dangers and pleasures of emotional expression.

Resting as ‘I’, emotions are free to be.
And in that freedom they rise,
swirl and fade
like the mists on this mountain.

That’s my version of peace.

~

after the fall into calamitous clarity

302

after the fall
into calamitous clarity
one cannot call either the state of war
or the state of peace ‘real’

the only reality is the knowing
of war or peace

this unknowable knowingness
which hosts and populates
perception’s phenomena
never takes sides
and has nothing to lose
or to gain
ever

~