my tuppence-worth

One of my father’s nick-names for me was ‘Tuppence.’  Perhaps it was because I was always eager to offer my “tuppence-worth” (i.e., the state-of-the-world according to my all-knowing self), and irritatingly persistent with my questions – “But why?” “Who says so?”  When he was really mad at me he’d say, “For two pence I’d give you the hiding of your life!”  I was always relieved no one came along with those pennies.

I never out-grew the tendency towards contrariness and insatiable curiosity.  From here I regard them as having been essential companions – both tools and fuel – on the rather erratic life path that unfolded for the ‘Tuppence’ character.

The days when I held court in my pram are ancient history, but the questions that matter for me remain fresh and alive.  My responses to them are an ever-morphing ontology.  Here’s the current version – a crone’s tuppence-worth.

 

Tuppence (Miriam Louisa)

Tuppence in her pram: Well then. What’s this all about?

 

What does the “God” word mean for you?

The Unknowable

dressed up and dancing as the knowable.

Is Consciousness all there is?

I don’t know.

I can only say it’s all I ever experience.

But what knows the contents of Consciousness?

You’ll never find it.

(You’ll never escape it either.)

What is “enlightenment”?

An idea those who believe they are not already fully alight

like to entertain.

“Already fully alight” – how can one know that?

It can’t be known.

It’s quietly evident when all hunger for knowing drops away.

Can there be a partial or ‘damaging’ awakening?

Presence is already perfectly and completely just so.

But ideas about it can be experienced as wrong/bad/incomplete.

The sages say the observer is the observed. How is that so?

I’ve spent a lifetime on this koan…

I only ever experience all-inclusive observing.

Is there an Almighty God?

Too constricted and limited a notion, I’d say.

How about an Unlimited and Almighty Godding?

Is it true there’s “only One”?

From the perspective of Presence,

One is one too many.

Is there a purpose to life?

I ask Life. It grins:

Get onstage – it’s The Full Monty and you’re the star!

What is death?

That’s easy because I’ve been across and had a look.

It’s a little side-step, from one theatre into another.

Is it true that thoughts create reality?

Reality transcends thinking entirely.

However, thoughts and beliefs determine the quality of experience.

Is life a dream?

Maybe.

We’d know if we could find a dreamer.

What is surrender?

Abdication. Effortless, voluntary relinquishment

of the ME-project.

Is the world an illusion?

If it is

you’re the magician.

What’s the difference between illusion and delusion?

Illusion is the mirage in the desert;

delusion is believing it’s real.

Is there anything sacred?

Nothing knowable

could ever be sacred.

Is it true that “I am That?”

No.

You are the glorious “am”.

Are there any true concepts?

I don’t know

any.

Is there any valid aspiration / intention?

Yes.

K I N D N E S S

What is freedom?

Being 100% present as the capacity for passionate engagement with life

and not minding what happens.

What brings your greatest fulfilment?

Nothing ever brings fulfilment.

It’s one’s natural state when there’s no need of fulfilment.

And your deepest peace?

S I L E N C E

(no contest)

Do you have any plans?

The GPS is set to nth – now! this! here!

Presence is driving.

What is Grace?

The Beloved

sneaking up for a kiss.

What are you?

I am whatever Presence wants to be

in response to whatever It meets.

 


[The words Awareness, Presence, the Unknowable, Reality, Grace, the Beloved, all point to the same ‘thing’. Except it’s not a thing. If anything (ha!) it’s an event-ing.
I like the Godding word; I might patent that one!]


breathing with the lake

Here I am.
Sitting in Paradise
breathing.
Breathing the tide of clarity – in it comes
crystal-clear, out it goes,
often muddied by mind –
and I smile as this lifestream flows on
saturating each sensation, yet
paying no heed;
never cocking an eyebrow or casting a vote,
only ever reminding me:
Here I am
I-without-name-or-boundary
here and now
as This, and This and This.


The current version of Paradise finds me staying in a place of great beauty, beside a large lake. This entire year has unfolded as a series of deep retreats. It is a time for, and of, integration. Health issues are being lovingly tended and their emotional causality explored. It’s both harrowing and heart-swelling: Grace delivers whatever is needed, reminding me I signed up for the Full Monty.

Apropos of nothing (I never go fishing) these three small poems landed in my net:


Miriam Louisa Simons, Lake Macquarie, dawn

 

breathing with the lake

I am

Monet-mind beside the Seine

 

 

black swans glide by, curious:

pounding the lakeside path

a rainbow!

 

 

fog hiding the lake

one solitary oarsman

rows through melting space

 


Photograph taken from my zafu.


the ultimate conundrum

 

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893
(OMG – another think coming!)

 

Contemplating the savage wisdom of one of my major mindshifters

 

If you can forget it or remember it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can experience it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can know it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can be it, it is not you therefore discard it.

 

… I find myself scribbling some lines that say pretty much the same thing, but employ some of the more common jargon spinning around the contemporary seeker’s scene:

If you can surrender to it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can invite it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can activate it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can practice it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can lean into it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can rest in it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can embody it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can point to it, it is not you therefore discard it.

If you can master it, it is not you therefore discard it.

 

If you think you can discard anything,

you’ve got another think coming.

 


 

It cannot be invited; it is quietly present when you are absent.

 


The opening words are from Nisargadatta Maharaj. I have heard that when the realised teacher sees the efforts of the student towards their ’emptying’, they are filled with delight. Niz was not known for his patience with fools; would my application of some of the common lingo that shows up in the spiritual circus these days get his nod? Thank god it doesn’t matter.

The final words are not a quote, but my paraphrasing of the way my teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti would address the ultimate conundrum.


The image needs no introduction: Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893 – I am solely responsible for the sub-title, “OMG, another think coming!”


For those who might not be familiar with colloquial English usage:
“Another think coming” is the original form of the colloquial phrase aimed at someone who has a mistaken view. It comes from the old comical expression, “If that’s what you think, you’ve got another think coming.”


 

how could you not love something like that?

I was poking around one of my favourite poetry sites recently and found some of my own lines. They had been sourced from one of my other blogs.
(Sincere nods of gratitude to the curator.)

I had quite forgotten these lines (unsurprising, since you didn’t write them, says Emptiness), and reading them again delights me. Unashamedly. So I’m sharing them here.

 

Echoes from Emptiness: how could you not love something like that?

 

how could you not love something that

never leaves you
regardless of how often you ignore it?

that’s always self-shining –
never needing flint or switch or fuel?

that never changes
regardless of the vicissitudes of your daily experience?

that never takes sides
whatever person, team or nation you’re supporting,
whatever idea or opinion you hold?

that never breaks apart
even though your life appears to?

that never minds
n-e-v-e-r   m-i-n-d-s
that you spend your life running around looking for it
while it’s in your face the whole time?

how could you not love something like that?

something you can never escape,
and that’s so immanent
you are forced to accept it
as your own true identity?

how could you not then love
Y O U R S E L F ?

and everything arising
– thoughts, perceptions, memories, feelings –
within that inconceivable Self?

how could you not love that immensity which precedes
and includes all existence?

how could you not kneel at your own feet
in awe?

 

how could you pretend that your enlightened
heart-driven passion
was not the Great Passion of That
which holds the planets in their orbit?

 

how could you ignore the urge to pour
your energy and attention
into whatever opens your heart?

 

how?

 

– miriam louisa
August 2013


Link

goofiness and the great grok

After the last unashamedly goofy post about cavorting with twinkle-toed Hafiz and a pipe-playing bunny it seems timely to post something a little more … grounded.

Unfortunately Emptiness doesn’t deliver according to demand; this is what turned up. It starts off sensibly enough, but when the metaphorical “clicks” deliver one to the inevitable placeless-place, i.e. when the free-fall occurs, it all gets dizzy again.

(Sorry, but you did sign-up / click-through…)

ALICE and the Quantum CAT

Yes. It’s true. The mind shift out of separation is monumental. That’s why it tends to be mythologised. Yet the ‘happening’ itself is more like a series of extremely subtle nano-gestures; somewhat like the unnoticed adjustments one’s eyes make to a change in ambient light.

In my experience something is definitely ‘felt’ in perception – it’s physical as well as psychological. In other words, the shift can be sensed by something, yet I find the ‘something’ can’t be torn apart from the sensing. I notice, for example, a releasing of muscles in the eye area, the forehead and the back of my head. The top of my head wants to open like a flower.

However, it’s in the psychological arena that the effects are monumental. Imagine, if you will, a little meter in mindspace with a needle that registers ways of perceiving / creating / experiencing one’s world. As the needle moves through the various modes there’s a little ‘click’.

You start off in particle view; you know yourself as a solid-state person with a mind of your own. You don’t need anyone to tell you otherwise, but along comes a sage (or a kind friend) who says that’s a lie. (Ooops.) You explore a bit – maybe try meditation, or check out the evidence presented by your own direct experience. Eventually something causes your boundaries to melt and – you’re awash in wave view.

“CLICK”

You’re feeling pretty cool about your new wave view; it feels amazing actually. It makes you take the so-called spiritual search seriously and you suspect that this is what they mean by ‘enlightenment’. Maybe you crow about it a bit, start entertaining ideas about teaching others the particle / wave trick. But someone or something disabuses you (oh) and you settle down into humble not-knowing-ness. And without moving a neuron, maybe your humility quiets the wave and there’s a shift to oceanic view.

“CLICK”

Oceanic view seems like the pinnacle – enlightenment at last! – yet you find yourself asking, “What’s awaring this view?” Meaning – there’s still a sense of subtle separation. By this stage though, your flotation suit (the one with “ME” laminated in electric yellow on the back) is leaking badly. Your head is in the tiger’s mouth (as they say) and nothing can save you from drowning and dissolving. Now you no longer know any boundaries: self is spaciousness.

“CLICK”

Oh – – – so this is what they mean by cosmic view! Mama Mia, you say, I’m awake and I was never unawake! And it is true – you are awake and you know you are awake. Your eyes are wide with the shock of sensing your self as everything you can perceive as far as perception’s probes can penetrate.

(The sky-dancing sage is cackling and shaking her rattle. She knows the goose isn’t yet fully cooked; there’s more… )

Cosmic view is … yet another view. It’s the one, however, that places you in the neighbourhood of black holes, and eventually Life will make sure you are devoured, entirely devoured, by one of them. Everyone knows there’s no view inside a black hole. No view, and no you.

“CLICK”

{ { { J U S T  T H I S ! } } }

Crikey.

The edifice has been dismantled. Full-on wild wideawakeness pops the eyes right out of the head. Awareness beams itself through the slits in the eyes of Mr Schrödinger’s cat and sees that ‘dead’ and ‘alive’ and Infinite Potential coexist in timelessness. Goofiness floods in. The enigmatic grin of the great grok appears on your dial.*

The why and the how of it can’t be explained. It seems comic that thought desperately needs to bullet-point the ineffable.

As if it mattered!

Life joyously heads out into the theatre of  magical mind, meeting each moment afresh and recognising all arisings as its endlessly-morphing self: “This too! This too! This too!”

And what does the world see? A goof with a silly grin on her face and a cunning cat at her heels (or not).


* ‘Grok’ means ‘identically equal.’ It means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed — to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in…

“All that Groks is God.”


Image – detail from the cover of Alice and the Quantum Cat, edited by William Brandon Shanley – an adventure into the world of 21st century science with contributions from Fred Alan Wolf, Amit Goswami, F David Peat, Nick Herbert, Danah Zohar, Beverly Rubick and Peter Russell. What a line up!

http://www.paripublishing.com/books/alice-and-the-quantum-cat/


dances with bunnies

She-who-scribbles has been in d-e-e-p retreat for some weeks; don’t expect sense anytime soon.
 

Beatrix Potter - Dancing to a Piper, detail

 

Everything is dancing today.

 

Light,

sound,

motion,

all movement.

 

A rabbit pulls a pipe

from his waistcoat pocket,

then winks.

 

Breathes deep and fingers

a scatter of twinkling

starlight.

 

This causes a few planets and I

to go nuts

and start a little jig.

 

Someone sees us,

calls a

shrink,

 

tries to get me

committed

for

being too

happy.

 

 

Listen: this world is a loony-bin.

It’s only real if you’re chronically

sane,

if you haven’t made the

free-fall

into wild foolishness.

 

Even with its firmness

beneath my feet

and the mailman knowing

my street number

 

I hang out somewhere else:

with partying bunnies

and a cosmos spinning

in giddy delight.

 


Reading Hafiz’s poem Then Winks catapulted my brain over to Beatrix Potter and her partying rabbits. Or was it the other way around?
Purists will protest my highjack and mash-up of Hafiz’s words, forgetting that they aren’t even his – rather, they are the Hafiz-inspired outpourings of Daniel Landinsky.
Beatrix – who knew the truth about bunnies and most things – would smile knowingly.
Daniel – well, he knows what it is to be gripped by a verse and taken for a ride.
As for Hafiz – I’ll ask him next time we’re in our cups and jiving…


Beatrix Potter watercolour from bibliodyssey blog.

Then Winks, by Hafiz [Daniel Landinksy]


on the road

 

Brunswick Heads - Soldier Crabs

xlvii

unblinking eyeballs

on the march at low tide

sky-gazers!

[the river mouth at Brunswick Heads, NSW]

 

Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

xlviii

a smokers’ dawn chorus

shatters azure silence

cockies aloft

[near Armidale, NSW]

 

Wellington Caves

xlix

eyeless emptiness

gazes at its ancient artistry:

on the road

to now-here

[Wellington Caves, near Dubbo, NSW]

 


Image credits:
Soldier Crabs by yours truly.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoos from ABC News.
Wellington Caves from juliusbergh.com – see more stunning images of the caves on this blog.