following fear into the star-stuff of my cells

Frederick Walker, The Woman in White, 1871 Tate Gallery

 

This post is an attempt to explain why I’m a dedicated follower of fear.  For as long as I can remember (and that’s probably way further than your lifespan dear reader), I’ve been keenly curious and unafraid of a good adventure.  So it’s surprising that I was so slow to arrive at the threshold of my body’s dark knowledge.  Needless to say, the Shadowlands had good reason to be well-hidden from my agenda…
But once the bellyflop into the deep occurred, the implications of the free-fall of fifteen years ago could at last percolate down and settle in the cells.  I am writing this in the midst of another dive – a somatic meditation retreat, which I think of as a pre-death trauma detox.  For the most part I’m avoiding the screen, but this pressed to be posted.


We hear it so often:  To be happy, to be spiritually liberated, to be … (insert personal agenda), we must choose between love and fear.  And the ominously silent insinuation is that choosing fear is definitely not the way to go.

My platitude-sensitive antenna start to hum; a dictum like this is demands scrutiny.

A good place to start is by being clear about what one actually is, i.e. the nature of one who could claim to make such a choice.  If there’s still a belief in a separate, solid-state self, (which is a bit like admitting that you believe the world is flat and climate change is a myth), then you’ll believe there’s someone who can make a choice of this kind.  You’ll believe that this mental object called “me” can adroitly and wisely select between other mental objects (fear and love) in order to become a happier mental object.  To the imagined self – the chooser – love and fear are inescapably conceptual.  And what follows won’t make a smidgin of sense.  (Click X now.)

However, if you’ve sniffed out the falsity of an independent me thing, you’ll find it slightly incoherent that these two concepts, with their inherent duality, are so commonly presented as an either-or option.  It sounds like an invitation to reconstruct a fresh version of a self – one that will either make the right choice (good work!) or get it wrong (see how hopeless you are?).  You’d be right to want to sniff out the truth of the matter.

Let’s start with love.  Having experienced the mind-shattering absence of anything that could exist as an independent ghost-in-the-machine, you’ve already noticed the sweetness, the benevolence that floods into the space vacated by that phantom.  You’ve realised that that very sweetness is the Love (big L) you always imagined was elsewhere.  (Hiding behind the façade of your spiritual teacher, your partner, your lover; waiting at the end of your seeking, your arduous practice-project…)  You’ve woken up to the fact that it’s always been there;  that it’s your inescapable fundamental state and that it has no opposite, only a limitless wardrobe of apparent disguises.

Repeat – Love has no opposite.

Which means: Fear is not the opposite of, nor an alternative to, Love.

So let’s look at fear.  We’re told that humans are born with just two innate, hard-wired fears: fear of falling, and fear of sudden loud noises.  All other fears are learned, and these are the ones I speak of here.  I’m not talking about natural, normal reactions to any kind of physical danger.

I experience psychological fear as a contraction within my body.  It’s a tension, a more or less subtle holding-on – sometimes so subtle that it escapes awareness – those who have encountered the consequences of heart tension know about this.

Unlike the changeless Love discussed above, which isn’t an experience but the space in which experiences arise, any experience will always have an opposite.  If the cramping experience had an opposite, what might it be?  Wouldn’t it be the absence of any contraction triggered by recent or ancient memory?  Wouldn’t it be an open and accepting gesture towards my life?  Towards whatever the universe is throwing in my face right this minute – regardless of how it conflicts with my stitched-together idea of how it should be?

Fear is a re-action posing as a new sensation.  When I learned that after the age of six or seven we never experience a new emotion, but endlessly experience a replay of those established in infant-hood – albeit dressed up in fresh scenarios – I was shocked.  I realised that since I’m well over the age of six, any experience of fear will always be a re-action.  A re-enactment.

Another shocker came with this:  98% of what the body knows is unavailable to our conscious awareness.  Meaning that – for the most part – I don’t know what I’m afraid of and why.  Which makes it tricky to talk about “not choosing fear” – let alone being “honest” with myself.  Gulp.

The primal imprints of my early experience were laid down in the cells long before there were words to describe anything, and proceed to map out my experience, decade after decade.  Without my conscious awareness having a clue.

And so it goes for all of us.  Until something moves us to inquire.

What moves us?

Since we’ve awakened to our abiding nature as Love, we must concede that Love moves Itself.

There’s nothing personal involved:  It happens by itself.  It happens for itself.  And it happens exactly when It wants to.

It delivers an impeccable invitation to enter into an unabridged encounter with things we’ve been working all our life to avoid because the associated pain was/is unbearable.

If fear is in my face it’s because Love is fishing for a lost child’s pain – a pain unique to this matrix of experience and potential, yet universal to all humanity.  And since Love is inescapably present as the shining awareness that knows my fear, I can turn towards this fear (or grief, or rage) without ever leaving Love.

I say, “Welcome!” to fear.  I plump up a cushion for it in my heart.  I stop.

I notice the instant impulse to act out habitual, conditioned re-actions.  I desist – or at least press the pause button.  I’m interested;  having been informed that we are ignorant of the knowledge hidden in the cells, I’m curious.  Who wouldn’t want to explore?

I turn towards the sensation that is visiting me – in dreams, meditation and daily interactions.  I turn my breath, my awareness, my sensitivity and my curiosity its way.  I don’t give it the label “fear” or spell out a story about it.  I refuse to be tempted to fix it or lean into it or accept it or imagine any outcome.

So here I am, just looking, with the impartial gaze of whole-body awareness.  As though I’m looking through the eyeballs of each of the 37.2 trillion cells in my body.

I watch what happens.  I pay attention when those long-stifled echoes from the emptiness of my body begin to whisper.

Love clears its throat.  And when it knows I’m truly committed (not furtively checking out the exits) it speaks loud and clear.  Its language is felt rather than heard, sensed rather than known.  It reorganises this neurological field and in so doing recreates my relationship to the world.

And further – since it’s evident that my body has no borders – it completely recasts my relationship with and as the Cosmos.  Slowly but surely, I come to view this work as an offering made by the Cosmos for the benefit of one’s fellow-beings, the Earth, and the Cosmos itself.

Out of my mind
and into the star-stuff of my cells
I’ll follow the angel called fear
so resplendent in her costume
borrowed
from Love’s limitless wardrobe.

The angel called fear.

Allons-y!

 


Image: Frederick Walker, The Woman in White, 1871, gouache on paper. Tate London


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/


mooning melts the night

 

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) - Wind Blown Grass Across the Moon

 

xxxii

a moment arrives

without a need of the past

the full moon rises

 

xxxiii

a thought bubbles up

a preference is posited

the moon doesn’t mind

 

xxxiv

the bubble bursts, pop!

awareness has no center

mooning melts the night

 


Image: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando), Wind Blown Grass Across the Moon
Woodblock print
Collection, Brooklyn Museum, New York


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.


the God game

How to play.

 
[Since participation isn’t optional, and there’s no Players’ Manual provided, what can one do but invent a good story?]
 

1

Go hide yourSelf [aka Primordial Awareness, Divine Light, Truth, Reality, Original Self, Godhead…] from view – somewhere so obvious and so simple, it’s guaranteed to be overlooked.

2

Call the shadow cast by your hidden self-shining Light “world”: an infinite array of mirrors reflecting every imaginable experience; a mind-field so intricate it can entertain for lifetimes…

 

Mirror Room (after Da Vinci)

 

3

Forget you had any part in this arrangement [crucial, repeat, crucial] and set out into the “world”, wearing an infinity of cunning disguises, to find yourSelf again.

4

Spend as much time as needed [i.e. aeons of now-ness] entertaining and satiating your seeker-self and eventually

5

stop.
shut up.
surrender and fall

back

 

down

 

in

 

and there,
which is now-here,
beyond time and space
behind the mirrors
out of your mind

 

meet yourSelf as your every perception
thought
and
feeling

 

love yourSelf as the font and the fabric
of this seething, sensuous
and wholly divine
dance

 

know yourSelf
– your own dear flawed and fantastic self –
as the Light
you hid so darned effectively
it took a lifetime of forgetting

before you could remember

again

 


Image: Mirror room built for the Da Vinci, the Genius traveling museum exhibition, based on one of his sketches. The mirror room was just an idea for Da Vinci, a way to see all around an object (or one’s self); the technology of his day couldn’t come close to creating mirrors of this size. I wonder if he fully realised what the experience of being in such a room would be like, the dizzying way reflections of your reflection would stretch off to infinity… did he perhaps reflect upon the all-inclusive Awareness in which this immense view appeared?

Source


 

silence has found me

This poem was originally posted on one of my other blogs in 2009. During some cyber housekeeping I found it again and it spoke to me with the same intensity expressed six years ago. It wants to be shared here on ‘the echoes’. With love.


 

Johann Heinrich Füssli - The Silence

 

silence has found me

its ruthless simplicity
has culled the clutter
from closets
I never knew existed
in the corridors of my brain

its unstoppable tide
has drowned the demon
that danced through my days,
demanding:
control, adjust, fix!

its throbbing roar
has muted the mutterings
of protest,
the pleas for reprieve,
from the screaming ‘me-me!’ myth

its yawning vastness
has swallowed whole
the impostor who once laid claim
to this luminous lifestream:
t i m e

its perfect love
has melted all that I took
to be me
in its crucible of fiery
Grace

and the receptors in these cells
heard the words
the whole world hungers
to hear:

you are loved!

how could it be otherwise
when separation from your essence
is impossible?

 

be silence

and Know

 


Image – Johann Heinrich Füssli, The Silence, oil on canvas, 1799-1801
Source – Wikimedia Commons


Reblogged from this unlit light


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’