have you got a minute?

 

I’d like to invite you to sit down
right now,
for just one minute,
and not entertain one thought.

 

Can you do that?

 

Can you feel the coolness
that wafts through your entire
Presence
when you stop thinking?

 

Not “stop … and”
not “stop … then”
not “stop … so that”
but just stop.

 

Stop.

 

Everything you’ve ever longed for
is waiting for you
in that pause.

 

The cogs and gears of the “me project”
grind to a halt.
The engineers maintaining the scaffolding of the self
take a smoko.
The universe itself sighs,
so gladdened to see an earth angel
hold the claws of thought apart
for even one minute.

 

And every cell in your always-fully-awake body
lights up with a smile: “Now, at last,
we can bow before our own experience
and dance our destiny!”

 

You can do it.

 

It’ll only take a minute.

 

One thought-free minute equals one minute of full wideawakeness
or, one minute of intimacy with what the Buddha knew.
(Did you know that?)

 

You just need to want to meet the Truth of your life
more than you want to entertain a thought about it.

 


[entertain: v.t. Maintain (correspondence, discourse) Concise Oxford Dictionary]


Calligraphy by Jakusho Kwang, Roshi

it was a damn good deal

Ceramic sculpture by Haejin Lee

 

Until I woke up
to my unconscious insatiable insanity
it was the tireless weaver
of the fabric of my life.

It wasn’t enough to have mentally unpicked
and clearly seen-through
the myth and mirage
of the solid-state ‘me’ story.

Unconscious residue of that ‘me’
I thought was done and dusted
remained, and so, another unpicking began
– a second-level unpicking if you like.

Waking up to what one isn’t is utterly mind shifting.
It’s tempting to rest in the inevitable sweet relief;
it’s tempting to assume one has attained
the ultimate wisdom.

Yet, although thought likes to tell itself otherwise,
the thrust of cellular conditioning forges on
below the limn,
obvious to everyone but oneself.

I am driven by curiosity –
especially concerning creativity and freedom.
What might I not know about this multi-layered energetic playground
called my life? An investigation was called for.

I saw how the old unconscious imprints
ran deep; how their effects can’t be denied
yet are avoided, by-passed, rationalised
by a self-idea facing sure extinction.

Have you ever unpicked knitting?
You take the single thread responsible for the fabric’s form
and simply pull. The stitches unravel with ease.
If there’s a knot, you tease it free.

Just like that: I grasped the master lie,
and pulled. Stitch by stitch the network of neurology
unravelled. Each stitch was an imprint of pain:
fear, anger or grief.

Separation ceased as each imprint was fully felt
without one word being brought to the alchemy.
(Commentary, analysis, explanation
are neither required nor helpful.)

The howling insatiability that fuelled
my craziness was slowly sated. An incomprehensible
fulfilment surfaced that has no idea what words like
sanity or insanity might mean.

These days I find it absurd to claim that I am
anything – even “That”, or “Life”, or “Nothing”.
To say “I am” is a lie, yet as a sage once observed,
“the universe is myself”.

The universe chuckles to itself:
“It was a damn good deal – an imaginary ‘me’ for an immensity!
It only cost me everything … and everything
came back, marked perfect, wondrous, eternal.”

 


“I am not, but the universe is myself.” – Shih-T’ou, A.D. 700-790


Ceramic sculpture by Haejin Lee


 

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!]


walking forth, legless

 

walking forth,
legless,
into the theatre of my life
after 39 days immersion in a
silent Dzochen retreat

 

miriam louisa simons, Wangapeka journal - Dzogchen retreat, New Zealand, 2010

 


I recently came upon a journal written on a 6 week silent Dzogchen retreat at Wangapeka Study and Retreat Centre in Nelson, Aotearoa-New Zealand, in 2010. (The Lama had asked me to do this as part of my practice.) Other writings from this period have been posted at this unlit light blog but the scribblings in this journal haven’t been shared before. The one above, written on the last day of silence, packed a punch from which I will never recover.

This is what happens on a retreat that goes long enough, deep enough, wide enough – you get ripped in three and re-braided.

“formations”? – anything that takes shape in consciousness: a thought, a feeling, a memory, a story, a self, an other…

“universe”? – the changeless, ever-present, immeasurable, all-inclusive and inescapable THIS.

“preferred”? – by whom? by what? (there being no chooser to be found) By the universe ITself, as the miraculous and incomprehensible expression of ITself.

“why”? – make up a good story; it doesn’t matter what you conceive … all stories are formations, fluffy consolations for a mind made redundant.

(Best not to attend such retreats unless prepared for obliteration of the old concepts and fixations around self-identity and world-view.)


well-being & being well

 

Agnes Martin - Gratitude, 2001

 

There’s a mindset that runs a mythical story asserting that one’s “accomplishment” of awakening, and the attendant ease of well-being, is negated or compromised by any experience of being unwell. Beware of these myths!

Awakening is never “accomplished” or attained. It is simply a system-restore to the Natural State.

The Natural State – I call it wild wideawakeness – has no preference whatsoever for what might be being experienced by the body or the mind. It remains the essential experience, enabling and infusing all others. Its impartiality – and re-cognition of this – is what dissolves suffering and enables well-being – regardless of the passing play of one’s life.

Well-being does not depend upon being well.

It’s true that the more unshakeable one’s well-being, the more sensitive the organism becomes, bringing understanding and prompting changes that may lead to less physical and mental dysfunction. But well-being remains unaffected. Period.

I have been with frail, aged folk in heart-wrenching discomfort and pain and fully aware of the approach of their end days, who were aglow with well-being.

I have been with a close friend when she received a diagnosis that would strike terror into the heart of most people; she exuded such well-being that her surgeons and friends were at once amazed and relieved. (She has now fully recovered.)

I have been with myself during debilitating illness, pain, grief. At these times the litmus test for the extent of my freedom is a little inquiry: am I suffering?

And I have to say no; I can no longer find a solid-state ‘person’ here who could own a story about suffering.

If there is illness, no problem – I’ll seek help, I’ll take the medicine, but I won’t suffer.

Well-being is unaffected.
Well-being is the Natural State.
The Natural State is what one is.

Because the Natural State is ever-present and inescapable, accepting the entire array of experience without question, I’ve come to know it as Love. Love Divine. 

Whatever you call it – God, Divine Presence, Love, Suchness, The Great Perfection, Beloved – you are naming yourself and the entirety of your experience.

Along with everyone and everything else…

 


Painting by Agnes Martin, Gratitude, 2001. Courtesy of the Tate Gallery, London.


blessed are those who know nothing for certain

 

Bill Viola - Firewoman, 2005

 

blessed are those who know nothing for certain,
whose curiosity keeps them beyond the claws of conclusion,
who seek as an impulse of wonderment rather than for gain,
who question everything the pundits proclaim as truth;

whose questions deliver them, willingly or not,
to the fiery face of the Unnameable, and
who find the courage to keep a “yes” alive in spite of terror;
who come back speechless and trembling with gratitude

blessed are those for whom the encounter enlivens a capacity
and a willingness to hold both hands out to the world
(one to hold grief, the other, gratefulness)
for their heart knows the two as one;

who, without choice, stand naked in knowingness;
whose fulfilment is refreshed with every breath;
who are quietly content (which is not to say inert or passive)
in spite of all that life appears to heave at them

blessed are those who know these contented ones,
who count them among their friends and neighbours,
who seek them out for their simple wisdom, knowing
they have nothing to spin or sell – nothing to bestow
other than their crazy head-shaking heart-healing joy:

innocent – ingenious – immanent

 


Image: Bill ViolaFirewoman, 2005. Detail from video/sound installation.


memo from IT to ITself

 

IT is not understood until IT is forgotten

 

IT is not understood
until IT is forgotten.

When IT is forgotten
IT can express ITself.

When IT expresses ITself
you won’t recognise IT.

If you think you recognise IT
you are mistaken.

Realising you are mistaken
about everything

 

cracks open

 &

deconstructs

 

your many-layered
me-isphere

revealing IT to ITself

perfectly.

 


“IT” in this context = reality, big R.
This post might read like a madwoman’s rant, but those who have free-fallen into Unknowing will simply smile at the play of paradox.
Such is IT’s way.


Image sourced from Facebook, where credit was not given. Please advise if it’s yours and an appropriate link will be added.