walking forth, legless


walking forth,
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.)

seeing-into sanctity


[This post seems to echo back to clarity comes effortlessly.]

Let’s be clear when speaking about clarity.

Clarity has nothing to do with deductive thought, analysis or memory.  It’s a spontaneous insight without any perceiver.  It isn’t a product of the imagination which draws on the known, or intellect which connects the dots.

Insight means seeing-in, seeing beyond the mind, and it isn’t an experience of any kind because the experiencer (thinker) is absent.  It is a direct knowing on the part of unknowable Knowingness, which subsequently might use thought as a tool, if necessary.

For insight, Knowingness, Awareness – whatever name we give this ineffable Intelligence – is holistic.  It includes everything: thoughts, mind, intellect, feelings, senses.

There is nothing that is not the One no-thing, and seeing-into this Knowingness reveals the sanctity of everything.


solving the ‘what am I?’ riddle


Solving the ‘what am I?’ riddle is surprisingly simple really – you just keep on examining all the answers presented by the concept-weaving machine (imagination, thought) until you realize it’s impossible that you could be any one of them.

How come?

As long as they exist as objects to be considered, there has to be something – a subject – pondering them.  Eventually you realize that however deep you go into this crazy-making  Hall of Mirrors there is always an awareness of what is being pondered, and you notice that this awareness is a pure Subjectivity.  It cannot be objectified.  It cannot observe itself from any perspective whatsoever – just as your eye cannot see its iris.

What then?

You know it’s impossible for the ultimate version of ‘you’ to be anything other than that pure Subjectivity, which is pretty interesting because at the same time you know there’s no ‘you’ to know!


Put bluntly, if you say you know the answer you’re wrong.  You can only be the answer.


mystery? what mystery?


Many traditional spiritual advisors love to dangle the ‘Mystery’ carrot in front of their flock – always, of course, just out of range and reach.

We go for it with our customary (and sanctioned) appetite for spiritual must-haves.  We love a good mystery and in the spiritual stakes this one is particularly attractive.  Awe and adulation descend and before we know it we’re on our knees begging for all to be revealed.

But mystery is just another red herring put out by mind’s concept-canning factory; a conceptual stand-in for what we honestly hunger – our real and changeless Self, which just happens to be the most immediate, intimate and non-mysterious marvel that we insist on overlooking.

Here IT is.  IT’s never been anywhere but here, closer than one’s breath.  Yet we crave the carrot!

Can mystery be found outside of mind’s ideas about it?  If it’s only a product of the imagination then perhaps we should call it mystory rather than mystery.

Mystery and mystory.  Alan Watts would have called them a “goeswith”.


avoiding Grace


self-construct lives within a cocoon
woven on the loom of its experience

biological structure is the warp, experience is the weft

image-ination is the technology self – aka thought –
uses to patch up the rips in the cocoon

but these are the rips “through which Grace might pass”

(Simone Weil was onto it)

what inconceivable peace one patches over
with every suture stitched by belief!


a miraculous mirage


the apparent, accepted, assumed (and therefore experienced) self
is nothing more than a constellation of attributes
– all acquired –
around an uninvestigated thought

how it comes to be,
how it can be transcended,
and what might occur when it goes,
are more speculations of that assumed self

imagine! – the entire citadel of a self
rests upon a figment of the imagination!

seen with savage directness, the citadel dissolves –
it was merely a miraculous mirage

only naked inescapable Awareness remains

~ ~ ~

a silver shimmering silence sings
through this spacious beatland
called body:
it is the Word of the Great Light
echoing throughout infinite Emptiness