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!]


please take these offerings

Today – another tick in the annual count for she-who-scribbles while her spacecraft steers itself around the sun.

Sitting watching the morning star rise in the pre-dawn coolness, I thought back to this offering, which I posted exactly a year ago on this unlit light blog. It wants to be shared here. I fancy it might be my yearly birthday post, since I can’t find one word I’d change. And I need these words.


Birthdays are a good time to reflect on one’s blessings, and to offer gratitude to our friends for their kindness and thoughtfulness. I always begin my birthday with a gesture of thanks to my mother, who not only gave me the miraculous opportunity for life, but also fostered, nourished and inspired the flourishing of that life in every way possible.

Now in my eighth decade, and delighting in life regardless of its curved balls, I feel to share some of the observations that have delivered me to this joy. It’s the best I can offer; may your mind and heart be able to receive.

 

Miriam Louisa Simons - Offering Bowl

 

Life hurts.
But what you are never feels pain.

Everything changes.
But what you are remains unchanged, eternally.

You’re flat and exhausted and depressed.
But what you are is forever poised as equanimity.

You’re broke, stressed, squeezed dry, homeless and hungry.
But what you are is unaffected and impartial.

You’re smashed by disappointment, betrayal, abandonment.
But what you are is ever calm, accepting and unbroken.

You’re afflicted by physical and mental aberrations, abnormalities, imbalances.
But what you are never suffers for one second.

 

So what you are is clearly something with which you need to become very familiar. And it’s e-a-s-y to do so. You don’t need a formal introduction. You don’t need a manual or a map or a guide book. You don’t need to change your religion or your beliefs (although changes may well occur as a result). You don’t need a 12-step plan or a meditation practice.

What you are is more obvious and closer than the tip of your nose. It’s the one experience you can never escape, 24/7.

What would you call that? Your aliveness? Your awareness? Your presence? All these words come close, but none are ultimately true or exact. Why?

Because they aren’t yours. Or mine. Or anyone’s. Drop the personal pronoun, and there you are – radiant all-knowing alive presence. The Light of Knowingness, self-luminous, always-on, never-needing fuel or flint…

And that is what you are – free, fulfilled and flourishing as all you conceive, perceive and experience. All of it.

How wondrous that this is possible – that this primordial awareness is huge enough to hold the entirety of creation, excluding nothing – yet be unaffected and unmoved by any expression of its handmaiden, consciousness.

It is truly The Beloved, the Godhead of the saints and sages and poets.

And it is what you are.

 


Image – Bowl, Miriam Louisa Simons, Japanese washi, threads, cardboard


 

how free are you?

one haiku, twelve ways

… depending on one’s particular aversion/s.

 

How free are you?

 

tell me this my friend

how free are you, when you won’t

 

[choose your aversion/s]

 

spin with the Sufis?

kneel with the Muslims?

pray with the Mystics?

sit with the Zenners?

gaze with the Atis?

drink with the Taoists?

chant with the Bhaktis?

probe with the Jnanis?

dunk with the Baptists?

bow with the Buddhists?

dream with the Shamans?

laugh with the Skeptics?

 


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


 

who are you when you aren’t there?

Drawing by Michael Leunig

who are you

when you’re not constantly

re-minding yourself

on social media?

 

when you’re not sharing

your selfies, your mundane and mediocre

daily details?

 

when you’re not broadcasting

your insights, your threadbare, faded

knowledge?

 

what do you see

when you’re not there

telling yourself the old stories

(identify – label – judge)?

 

when there’s no observer

standing separate from

texture, color, energy?

 

when time and space

disappear, taking out your memorybank (poof!)

leaving . . . . . . . . . what?

 

who are you in that apocalyptic instant

when you realise that

every hard-earned conviction you hold

concerning

awakening

enlightenment

salvation

freedom

is merely an empty concept?

 

who are you when you aren’t there?

 


 

[conceptual answers not permitted; keep emptying!]

 


Drawing by Michael Leunig – it also accompanies this post from the early days of ‘the echoes’:

sitting in this leaky boat called ‘me’


 

‘me + world’ or ‘me = world’?

'me + world' or 'me = world'? You get to decide your stand in the great Game of life.

 

everything
is either ‘for’ or ‘against’
your being free

one of my teachers sagely pointed out
that everything is definitely ‘against’

then along came another who shook
her curls and laughed:

it’s all set up for your delight!
how could you bear to miss one morsel?

they were both right of course –
it all depends on whether one’s view
is from the look-out of ‘me + world’

or ‘me = world’

in their compassion and kindness
both gave me the key
to the secret of secrets:

you get to decide which look-out you’ll accept
and which version of the Game you’ll play

you get to decide

yes

you!

 

[That’s the Game in a nutshell. Which version are you playing?]


Image source


“I’m free!”


The 'me' who claims to be free is just a caged concept ...

 .

as soon as freedom is claimed

infinite potential has been abandoned

.

as soon as happiness is claimed

the joy that’s causeless has been abandoned

.

as soon as awakening is claimed

natural wideawakeness has been abandoned

.

if you want to be free

{{{ unconditionally }}}

try abandoning the mirage of ‘me’


The wonderful cartoon comes from Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo on Facebook