“THE GREATEST OF ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 20TH-CENTURY SCIENCE has been the discovery of human ignorance.” Lewis Thomas, Lives of a Cell. “OUR IGNORANCE, OF COURSE, HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US, AND ALWAYS WILL BE. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks the coming of age of our species.” Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Energy Initiation

Spiritus is Latin for “Spiritual Power” and also for “breath.” The Greek word with this same dual meaning (“spirit” and also “breath”) is pneuma, the root of the word “numinous” (meaning luminously conscious) and “noumenon” (meaning “unmanifest spirit”). Similary, the Sanskrit word prana means both “life-force” and “breath.” As do these words:
      • Chinese: Chi
      • Japanese: Ki
      • Egyptian: Ka
      • Hebrew: Ruach
      • Arabic: Ruh

  • The Spiritual Power (or Cosmic Life-Force) that moves the atoms and the galaxies and drives evolution; the dynamic, radiant force manifesting as this ever-changing world; that Energy which animates us, which actually lives the body and mind—it is all a Single Power—and it is linked with your own breath!

  • In the company of someone who is alive with spiritual power, your own life-force can be spontaneously activated and intensified to an amazing degree. Such initiation can bring about       revolution in your life.

  • Accounts of such initiation (“Baptism by Holy Spirit,” “Shaktipat” “Pentecost,” “Direct Transmission from Buddha-Mind to Buddha-Mind,” etc.) feature in every religious tradition.

  • Most traditions describe the process as if it were a transmission of power from teacher to student, but this is misleading. “Spiritual Baptism” is NOT truly a transmission. The initiator does not add one penny to your treasure store! Rather, the awakened person “alerts” you, whole-bodily, and at depth (below the conscious mind) to the wealth of energy that already lies within you. (Using metaphors from kundalini yoga, the life-force is said to lie asleep, coiled at the base of the spine or at the level of the navel, until awakened by an initiator or some other agency or event). All the while, this dormant life-energy is your own power and not radically separate from the totality of cosmic power.

  • When a string vibrating at high frequency is held near dormant strings, they begin, sympathetically, to vibrate at the same pitch. Spiritual baptism (initiation) is an activating resonance of this kind—not an actual transmission (energy does not travel from point A to point B).

  • The “initiator” does not give you one quark of energy that you do not already contain within your being. The “initiator” does not “fill you with spirit” as if she were a brimming pitcher, pouring juice into your empty cup.

  • At the very least, this kind of blessing happens at the vital-emotional level, and is simply a contact high, like hilarity in a comedy club. However, it is a mistake to interpret these blessings as never more than psycho-physiological, because at its most powerful, the blessing can happen at a vastly deeper and more powerful level than the mere physical body and vital mind. It can occur in the subtle body and the deep psyche and opens the so-called “unconscious mind” to direct awareness of its own depths. The experience itself might be as subtle as the echo of a dream, or it can be overwhelmingly powerful, more intense than a sexual orgasm.

  • According to Greek myth, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, gave birth to twin sons: Eros, god of life, and Thanatos: god of death. That which is erotic is lively, is life-arousing, life-pleasuring, life-sustaining and literally life-giving. But we have narrowed and limited our life-force, our aliveness, to the genitals and to the ego. We have gone from polymorphously pleasured infants to genitally mature sexual adults, but at a great loss of eros, of life. The unfolding process of awakened Life-Force in the body-mind is a reversal of the narrowing of pleasure to the genitals. Becoming whole-bodily alive and pervasively erotic again. All the energy centers of the body light up. The whole body is an instrument of energetic pleasure, which includes (but is certainly not limited to) sexual arousal and pleasure.

Spirit vs. Flesh = Neurotic Nonsense!

  1. The imagined dichotomy between Spirit and flesh (or Truth and form)[1] is radically false. No such split has occurred or will occur. Existence is never dual.

  1. Fundamentally, there is no dilemma. No split, no gap, no division. The war between Spirit and flesh must be utterly abandoned.

  1. One need not choose between Spirit or flesh; indeed, no such alternative is possible. Spirit is already Reality, and flesh (or all form) is already the function of Reality. The first cannot be attained, the latter cannot be rejected.

  1. Try and try and try to rise above the body and all forms and functions. All such striving shall be in dilemma, in darkness and in vain.

  1. Ascetic strivers who seek to escape upwards out of the body (into the subtle realms above) seek to achieve the impossible. No matter how abstracted one becomes, one is still compelled to breathe, to eat, drink, defecate and urinate, to sleep and dream.

  1. The body and its changes (and all phenomena and all changes) can never be escaped.

  1. Grok this truth: “There is no escape.” Now cease altogether your struggles to escape.

[1] Advanced by Plato in the 3rd Century c.e.

"Everything is Everything."

I have borrowed a term from physics, “continuum,” to stand as a technical term for manifest reality—the totality of patterns within ever-greater patterns in an ascending/descending holarchy, in which space-time-matter-energy are indivisible, and all that appears is mutually dependent on everything else.

This condition is expressed in street slang as “Everything is everything.”

In Buddhism, it is called “mutually dependent arising.”

William Carlos Williams wrote a great little poem that reveals the kernel:

So much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Eve, the Original Human Form

The archetype of the Great Goddess calls to mind a truth from the field of embryology: The female form is the primary biological form; the template of all vertebrate embryos. That is, every male body develops from a modification of the primary biological form, which is female. If this conversion from female to male is blocked for any reasons, the fetus does not change from its basic form, and is born as a female, by default. Sterile, to be sure, but morphologically female.
In the case of human beings, between the fifth and seventh week after conception, embryos of either sex develop generic gonads that later become either ovaries or testicles. If these generic sex cells are removed from a female embryo, the baby will still be born a female; completely female in outward appearance, but sterile because of the lack of uterus and ovaries.
What is more fascinating, if you remove the generic sex cells of a normal male fetus, the baby also will be born as a sterile female, vagina included. Therefore, the female form is recognized as biologically innate. This fact applies not only to all mammals, but as well to all fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds: All vertebrate embryos are intrinsically female.
To further illustrate this female-to-male conversion process in the case of human embryos, let us examine at what happens naturally (if you do not tamper with the generic sex cells). In the case of a male embryo, the generic gonads begin turning into testes around the eighth week; otherwise, they begin turning into ovaries around the thirteenth week. Nothing is needed for them to change into ovaries—they do that by default. However, something has to intervene—genes on the Y-chromosome—to make the gonads change into testes.
Many things can go askew in the transformation process. Such accidents lead to genetic males, called pseudohermaphrodites, who show a mix of incomplete male and incomplete female structures.
In fact, there is one type of genetic male who perfectly resembles a woman. No chest hair or masculine build, no deep voice, and of course, no penis. They are missing a cell receptor for testosterone, so although they have internal testicles making normal serum levels of male hormone, they never grow any of the male equipment that depends on that hormone for development. The “girl” does not suspect any abnormality until she reaches puberty and worries, “How come I’m not menstruating?” A trip to the doctor leads to the discovery that she has no female internal organs, just a vagina that dead-ends, and testicles hidden in the abdomen, where the ovaries should belong.
As it happens, these blocked-androgen-receptor males tend to be strikingly beautiful “women.” They have got the long-legged height of males, large breasts and flawless skin (testosterone is a major cause of oily skin and acne). According to my research in a number of medical journals, more than a few pseudohermaphrodites have turned up among female fashion models!
Androgen-blocked males nearly always choose to continue their lives as women. They often get married to men and raise adopted kids, as the mom. Without the receptor for testosterone they are women, by default.
Worhippers of Devi will be tempted to interpret this fact of nature—that the female form is the fundamental embryonic form—as scientific evidence of the primacy of the Goddess. A psychological analysis might ask, Did this biological principle (in some deeply subconscious way) give birth to the Goddess archetype? In either case, every male vertebrate on this planet has been developed from the female kosha, not the other way around!

A Tantric Affirmation

Life is inherently Erotic (in the greater sense of the word). In fact, the Greek word eros means “life” (Eros and Thanatos, "Life" and "Death" were the twin sons of Aphrodite and Aries---the Goddess of Love and the God of War). 
The Cosmos is Always Full with the Energy of Life. Enjoy this ongoing conversation (exchange) of Energy. Enjoy the mutually-dependent arising and communion of all forms. Enjoy the sacred exchange that is ongoing forever between matter-energy and spirit. Know yourself to be this Continuum. Know yourself to be irreducibly Bright and Eternal Love.
            I am forever embracing my Beloved. There is nothing else that I desire. My one and only and total desire is to embrace eternally my Beloved. Why would I bother with anything less than that? That’s the bliss I live for and worship—my singular heart’s desire. In truth, I embrace eternally the very one I love-desire from my heart. I embrace forever (without beginning or end) my consort, my goddess, my beloved, Shakti.
Through this meditation I realize that I am Shiva-Shakti.

Absolute and Relative

There are two sides to the coin of enlightenment; two inseparable halves that form a whole. Traditionally, in Mahayana Buddhism, these two aspects were labeled wisdom and compassion. I prefer to call these twins, freedom and love. Without the realization and development of both these fundamental and complementary principles—freedom and love—one cannot be completely awake or completely happy.

The practice of deep meditation soon makes obvious the emptiness of all phenomena, and a certain sheen of freedom appears. When the intuition of original, free being is potent enough, dependencies and addictions shrivel and fall like dead leaves. (Or maybe not! Chogyam Trungpa and Alan Watts—eloquent teachers of the enlightened view—both died of heart disease related to alcoholism!)

But even those who have tasted this satori—this essential freedom from the “stuff” of life—will remain incomplete personalities, unless they also exercise and develop the complementary agency of loving relationships.

Too often, I have seen meditators (particularly from the more intellectual traditions, such as Zen and Advaita Vedanta) stuck in what the teachers of old called "void sickness"—tending in their characters toward indifference, fatalism, dryness. The main reason most outsiders misunderstand Zen as nihilism is because so many Zen Buddhists are nihilists! These arid, in-their-head-types, who populate every Zen and Advaita school, East and West, direly need a good, sweet, moist fuck! And any refreshment of Buddhism for modern times must include a generous splash of Eros, laughter and love.

All the world's a stage. A spontaneous display of conscious energy. And at the end of this divine theater, where does it go? The conscious energy remains when the play is gone. Then a new act begins. Don't get me wrong, however. I'm enjoying the play immensely in this very moment and playing it big to the back of the house.

From William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

Be cheerful, sir:
Our revels are now ended. These our actors, as I foretold you,
Were all spirits and are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve.
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on,
And our little life is rounded with a sleep.

The medieval German Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, talked about the void and called it "Divine Ignorance." His way to realize it was the "Via Negativa" (recognizing everything the Divine was NOT.) He also talked about divine presence—the Plenum—and the way to realize it was the "Via Positiva."

The Mahayana equation, Emptiness is Form (Void is Plenum) has no argument with modern physics, which looks at forms and patterns as mutually dependent events in an indivisible continuum. The all-comprising Continuum within which everything appears and disappears is the "Void"—but calling it the "Source" is probably a better choice of words. 

Calling it "void" is the time-worn translation, but what a weak noun! Yes, the phenomenal world is a paradox. There is such wonderful, beautiful stuff appearing—and yet none of it is
 ultimateit just doesn't last—yet there's always more where it came from! Amen.

Einstein said, "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible." Jacob Bronowski said, "All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility." They’re both right. Because all the comprehension available to us is structured on the human body-mind ("Man is the measure of all things"), we are bound to have incomplete and imprecise information. So mystery remains, forever.

Even so, I’m a huge fan and lifelong student of the natural sciences. I've even enjoyed reading a few issues of Skeptical Inquirer. My understanding of the mystery at the heart of things doesn't make me a nihilist. I've even written a couple essays trying to state why the ego is such a wonderful mind-program—the result of eons of galactic, solar and planetary evolution. Praise the ego! (This reminds me that Carl Jung said, "Egoless persons should not live in cold climates.")

Two Aspects of Reality: The Relative and the Absolute.

First, the Relative: There are as many paths are there are people. Again, it seems many folks I meet in spiritual circles grok this compassionate acceptance principle more easily than I do. They aren't the types who would kick people out of the synagogue—which I can picture myself doing: "Don't come back until you're ready to ignite with passion for THIS!" That's not the only response to people sitting on their butts and not singing or joining into the energy of the group. There is the total acceptance response that seems to me more "motherly." Perhaps both responses are appropriate in their time and place. Niels Bohr, the Nobel Laureate physicist, said, "The opposite of an ordinary truth is simply false; but the opposite of a great truth is also true."

Then there is the second principle, the Absolute: All dharmas are empty. This is the all-dissolving understanding I keep trying to communicate throughout this website. The       entire phenomenal world is only relatively real. Everything that comes and goes is no more substantial (ultimately) than a dream. Its basis is empty, unknowable, ungraspable and irreducible. Like events in a dream, all the worlds arise and fall without lasting meaning, implication, or effect. This "emptiness" (inadequate term, really), is beyond comparison. Beyond correlation. It is traceless—beyond all information.

I have met scores of people who have an intuitive inkling of this Pure Capacity, Void Nature: Muuuuuuuuu. But from the responses I generally get from people when I try to yak about emptiness (my mistake), it seems to me that they don't grok it at heart. That is, they don't profoundly see that their own self-nature is empty. Their own heart is the timeless, unknowable void. This is the final awakening of "Don't-know mind" when you take it all the way to its absolute, all-effacing conclusion.

And it's not just me, “my own particular ‘path.’” (Emptiness may be true and work for you, Eli, but others have their own paths.) Yes, everyone has her own unique pathBut there is no alternative to emptiness.

Emptiness is the nature of everyone, everything, whatever the path. I’m not being arrogant, here. I’m not saying my path is the one true path. (How boring that would be; I would hate to live in such a world!) But I am saying that emptiness is at the heart of you, me, and everyone. All dharmas are empty. That is their condition.

This understanding is the "transmission beyond the scriptures." And it is rare! The price of admission to this emptiness is one's mind. You have to be undone. It is a shattering, a kind of death. And halfway gone is not the same as "Gone Beyond." I let go utterly and fell into the Abyss—then came back to my ordinary “public” ego. But underneath the everyday hairy guy, I Am the Abyss. I Am Shiva, and I understand What I Am.

The Very Strange, Very Big Truth

Who can deny the born being, the incarnational process, the play of individuality? The individual is not ultimate, not permanent; but neither does a song last forever, yet that fact does not make music less appealing.
I, the apparent individual, won’t last eternally. However, the source of every apparent individual is everlasting. There is no Source (God, Self, Reality) that renounces the ego. Indeed, Reality Itself is ego-ing. Obviously, Reality is constantly being born as individuals (functionally independent beings).
The body is a totality that cannot be further reduced. The body cannot be reduced to an inner self or soul. The whole body (body-mind) itself IS the soul. The whole body itself is more than physical; it is multi-dimensional, reaching all the way to infinity.

There is no ultimate independence.
The Wholeness of Existence cannot be reduced to a radically separate unit, a part that is intrinsically discreet or permanent or self-existing.

Yet there is certainly relative or functional independence!
For example, if we both have to urinate, and you use the toilet first, I still have to pee! This level of individuality cannot be denied or negated. So stop negating the ego, which IS the whole body.

GROK THIS PARADOX: You are both individual (a functionally separate ego-"I") AND universal (an unqualified mutuality and continuum). This is the very strange, very big truth.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

The free, radiant nature of the total living world is not in the least bit concerned about:

  • trying to make ego-“I” disappear.
  • trying to return to its source.

This is because:

1.      Ego-“I” is no hindrance to open, luminous being.
2.      Life (or the totality of appearances) is never separate from its own source.    
Try on a new way of seeing life:

·         The free, radiant nature of the total living being already transcends ego. It gives rise to ego as its own spontaneous play in the worlds!

·         The purpose of life is not return to its Source. The purpose of life is simply Reality. (Life IS the Source Alive—in spontaneously flowing manifestation.)

Reality is Ego-ing

“It is better not to begin. Having begun, it is better to go all the way.” (Zen)

Don’t set about dying unless you’re willing to go all the way to become reborn. The Hero’s Journey is not meant to be a one-way trip. After your spiritual adventures, you come back home with your boon for your friends. Consider the ancient Buddhist chant from the Heart Sutra: “Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone beyond going beyond; fully awake, so be it.” Notice what follows “going beyond”—“going beyond going beyond.”
One-way trips can put you dangerously out of balance. Deconstructing your life and mind down to zero, seeing that all your meanings and conditionings are ultimately void, continuing in this path but stopping short of liberation is not recommended! Where you encounter intellectuals who have stopped short—at nihilism, meaninglessness, nothingness—you meet some profoundly unhappy characters.
Beware ego-death without rebirth and re-integration. Beware nihilism. You must continue all the way through the process to rebirth and new life.
Reality is not opposed to ego-“I”. It includes ego-“I”. The body-mind personality is not (inherently) problematic, and does not (inherently) need fixing.
“I” is a convention of language and thought; it begins to develop at about two years old (not coincidentally) with the acquisition of speech. “I” is hard-wired, like speech, and develops on its own. “I” is natural and inevitable. “I” (in and of itself) is not a problem, not the cause of suffering. Anyone lacking this self-organizing feature of mind, ego-“I”, would be about as functional as a head of cabbage.
On the other hand, mistaking this organizing faculty of intelligence, “I”, as your very identity IS the central cause of suffering! The chief symptom of this suffering is fear, the sense of separated, encapsulated, limited, threatened existence. The conventional attempts to cure this fear can be seen in endless secular and religious strategies throughout history. NONE OF THEM WORK.
The only effective “cure” for such fear is the awakening of the heart-mind beyond its bondage to the false identification with ego-“I”. Then consciousness is released to trust and love and laugh, to feel the Unqualified Openness of freedom from limitation.
Language, meaning, imaging, abstraction, knowledge, experience—all must be deconstructed (death) and allowed to reappear within the new perspective of wholeness (rebirth). Everyone must die and be reborn. That very theme is one of the oldest and most universal ways of summarizing the spiritual path. But, ego-“I” does not need to be destroyed, or healed, or saved, or changed—only understood for what it is: a natural program evolved through billions of years of life and adaptation to become an excellent conscious agent of Infinity.
Why destroy “I”? Do you want to regress to life as a trilobite? It took billions of years of universal and planetary evolution to build “I”. And now you’re eager to eradicate it? Get real. God, or Reality, is being “I”. Isn’t that obvious?
Why not live as the “I” of Life? Be the “I” of Love (as in, “I love you.”). It’s easier than suffering, more fun and takes less energy.

Use the Force

Part of the problem of “getting to” enlightenment is the very presumption that it involves distance or return, as if the purpose of life is to return to its source. But how could life continue for an instant if it were separated from its source? Enlightenment involves the living of another presumption: that Source and Life are always, already indivisibly whole.
            Another of the barriers to enlightenment (and the most widespread error throughout all mystic paths) is the notion that reality lies within. This implies that to go within, to turn attention inward, is to move toward truth, to be heading in the “God-ward” direction. But, in fact, there is no God-ward direction! To seek in any direction is to turn away.
Why this turning? Why the seeking? What presumptions are being dramatized by all the strategies of the search? Since reality is not a thing, a person, a force, an object of body or mind, how can it be located by searching for it?
What if the heart came to REST? Not seeking, not grasping at all. Not pretending to own or know or control. In that deep surrender, the mystery and its freedom become obvious, and consciousness stands nakedly present and unbounded. And that simple, intimate presence IS love and happiness and completeness (enlightenment).

            There is only mystery, but there is nothing mysterious about the mystery. The mystery is as plain as the vast blue sky. The wonder of existence is not hidden or removed. Not even subtle. It is more intimate than our heartbeat. It really could not be more obvious! Already, in your present experience, without adding or subtracting a thing, you simply do not know what any one or any thing is. You do not know what you are (so stop imagining and pretending; quit burdening yourself with phony identities).

            Typically, we draw back from the on-flowing gush of life to figure out who we are and what it all is. We withdraw emotionally, energetically, bodily. Wanting to avoid this appearance, hold on to that one. Wishing to know and control everything, in order to be safe from relationship and change and death—all threats to the separate “self.”
            But, already, there does not exist a definable, isolatable, locatable, circumscribable, independent self. Instead, the sense of difference, separation and independence springs from our own act of withdrawal. In other words, the separate self is not a thing or person, but an activity—the activity of recoil and contraction. Aside from that separative activity, there is only the native feeling of wholeness (love)—even while the body-mind-“I” and world continue to arise and change.

            What if we didn’t practice this habitual gesture of separation? What if (in spite of fear) instead of recoiling from the great current of life, we allowed ourselve to be engulfed in the flow, to participate in it without resistance? Then the sense of separation would vanish. There would be no survival of the independent one who seeks to know and to control. Then we would see that truth is not within, as opposed to without. Truth is ONLY. Truth is Mystery. Our condition is simply free, and we are already whole (complete). Therefore, “within” and “without” are dual aspects of a single, indivisible mystery.
Seekers who turn within, hunting happiness, become involuted, solemn and uptight. Seekers who turn without, hunting happiness, become scattered in a thousand directions.
All the while, truth is only whole. Truth is totally present now. Struggling to attain our innate nature “some day” (when you finally get holy enough, non-neurotic enough, knowledgeable enough, slim enough) ignores our innate abundance in this timeless moment.

Seeking is not required. What is needed instead is an open heart to fully trust and participate in this living mystery play. As Chuang Tzu put it, “Search for the Tao, and it is nowhere to be found; use the Tao and it is everywhere, inexhaustible.”

Thou Shalt Have No Images...

An abstract (non-image) symbol for the Way of Wonder, or “Radical Agnosticism.” I could wear this symbol as religious jewelry.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Feeling the Mystery

  1. All knowledge is secondary, it is knowing about; it depends upon existence itself. Knowing about the myriad stuff that appears can never “catch up” to what always, already IS. 
  1. Knowing cannot apprehend what is prior to the faculty of knowing. Consciousness cannot grasp its own identity. Therefore, Consciousness Itself is never identified, never known, never seen, never objectified, but only understood as Mystery—only intuited and presumed and lived as the Heart of everything. 
  1. Enlightenment is radical intuition, not objective knowing. It is being, not seeing. 
  1. Presume this Mystery as the very condition of all that arises and never falsely identify with anything. Recognize that all of it is forever included in the Unknowable which is Whole and Indivisible, Indestructible and Irreducible. Understand that the Real Condition is not any of the appearing conditions, within or without. 
  1. Presume the Perfect Mystery (Native Wonder) and live. Within this Mystery, everything appears and changes and disappears. Yet That which is the Source and Support of all things and events is forever unthreatened. This Source is Unknowable, yet obvious as one’s own nature. 
  1. In relation to the physical body this intuitive thrill of inherent freedom is felt in the chest; thus the Mystery is also named the Heart.

Friday, December 16, 2011

You're "IT"

  1. Our very condition (true nature) is not an object of body or mind.
  2. Our very condition can never be objectified; that is, it can never be reduced to a physical or mental object.
  3. Because our true nature is neither material or mental, it can never be perceived by the bodily senses or even imagined by the mind. Whatever appears to the senses or the mind is only more “stuff” and cannot be the nature of consciousness itself. Therefore, no experience or knowledge (no matter how exalted) captures or defines our original nature.
  4. Our true nature is transcendental. It exists prior to and beyond all arising events in the physical and mental (or subtle energy) realms. It is uncaused; not the effect of anything that appears. Therefore, it is free of any trace of dependence on the body, mind and world.
  5. All that arises in the physical and subtle dimensions of space-time is temporary. It appears, persists for a time (while always changing) and disappears. This law is without alternative: Nothing lasts; everything changes.
  6. Our true nature is not an object arising in space-time. Rather, it is the Source, the Principle, the Supreme Subject (or Being), the actual Identity and Basis of all arising things.
  7. Our true nature is uncreated and indestructible. Thus it can rightly be called “Divine” or “Real.”
  8. Everything that is absolutely true of us is true of us NOW. This is the moment of the Divine. This is the advent and expression of Reality. This is as God as God gets. This is It—and you (whatever you are, altogether) are always, already It.

Only Awareness Avails

Whole Awareness is the only ‘control’ of life and experience. All else is attack or retreat from a split-off (imaginary) position. Fighting or fleeing any unwanted emotion or experience does not help to set one free of suffering.

Fighting produces tension, anger, hatred and frustration—and the sense of endless war against an enemy who cannot be destroyed. 

Fleeing produces tension, fear, shame and despair—and the sense of being chased or haunted by an enemy who cannot be escaped.

Whether fighting or fleeing, such avoidance behavior is a vicious circle: it produces more of the pain that one struggles to eradicate or escape.

“Whatever we resist tends to persist.” (Carl Jung)

Each stressful episode ends, but others will later arise—and one is doomed to fight or to flee the pain, again and again.

To become free of suffering, one must live as Wholeness (radical non-avoidance, non-separation). This practice of Wholeness must pass the “test” of pain.

Awareness (mindfulness) is the way. Non-dual Awareness is truth and operates in truth. Non-dual Awareness abides as the Whole condition—not as a separate, limited (false) position.

Until the advent of continuous non-dual Awareness, there is no graduation from the “school” of suffering.

Here is an affirmation to help you practice Wholeness:

With loving kindness, I intend to live the way of non-dual Awareness (Whole Body-Mind).

When pain arises, I won’t try to prevent it or make it go away. I will allow it to be exactly what it is. Indeed, I will open to the pain—“lean into it” (with relaxed body-mind and soft belly breathing). The pain is produced in me. May I grok my own pain (that is, may I grok what I am doing that is painful). Exactly how am I producing suffering?

Whole Awareness is the only ‘control’ of life and experience. In Wholeness (radical non-avoidance, non-duality) “I” (body-mind) am responsible—able to respond appropriately to whatever arises. In Wholeness, my will (intention) is effective—it shapes the world—and events happen synchronistically. Such “magic” occurs because I am not radically other than the world.

May I always live as Whole Awareness, and may the fruits of this practice of Whole Awareness benefit all beings.

Stages of Awakening

The Buddhist psychotherapist, Mark Epstein mentions in one of his excellent books[1] that a school of  Tibetan Buddhism renders the stages of awakening as “Looking, Meeting, Embracing, Orgasm.” He says nothing further about this, but since I readily relate to those metaphors, I'll give below my own brief exegesis (which adds an ultimate stage). Read the post "A Summary of the Process of Awakening" for a more in-depth explanation. 
  • Looking – for a path with heart. 
  • Meeting – a teacher, a teaching, a community. 
  • Embracing
    • Falling in love – entering the stream, the honeymoon stage, drunk with love.
    • Sobering in love – going deeper, into the unflattering stuff, liberating honesty, dark night of the soulprofound love and compassion (agape, metta).
  • Orgasm – satori, breakthrough, Identification with the Beloved  
  • Family (Integration) -- bringing it all into daily life, nurturing others, producing family (a lineage).

[1]  I can't remember which book. You would think it would be Open to Desire: Embracing a Lust for Life; Insights from Buddhism and Psychotherapybut that's one of his books that I haven't read. 

Every "I" is of the Great Way

            “I” is not an object, not a fixed and concrete self, not an independent entity.
            “I” is a process. The process that is “I” belongs to the universal process, the cosmic life, the Great Way, the Tao.
            To dislike yourself is not to dislike a static and permanent entity (There is no such one!) but to dislike what is actually the process of awakening. And such contracted feeling is a hindrance to that very awakening.
            To love yourself is not to be in love with and identified with a solid, isolated entity, but to love, respect, support and trust the total life process that is “I”—the very process of Reality awakening to Itself. To love this evolutionary process, the body-mind-stream that is “I”, is to be in accord with the Great Way of awakening and happiness.
            Therefore, today, love yourself! Have faith in the Great Process and its unfolding, named “I”.
            Love yourself wholly. Be Whole and happy. Happiness is your first responsibility and your basic form of service to all others.

Love life as it wholly IS.

Love Whole Life until you awaken as Whole Life.

Always Remain Whole, feeling and breathing and relaxing into the total body-mind-world, which is composed of Uncreated Light and ever-presently arises from the Heart.

You are always, already the Heart, the Light and Life; you cannot be less than Whole.

This present stream of changes (body-mind-world) is always at Origin (the Heart). We have never left Origin, the Indestructible Source. Now is the Beginning.

Never deny (negate, reject, ignore, recoil from) the Wholeness of Life. There is NO ESCAPE FROM and NO CONTROL OF the total stream of changes. Therefore, allow everything. Let everything BE exactly what it IS. Permit everything to come and go in its own way. Be entirely present, not recoiled.

Because Life (the endless flow of phenomena) is a play upon the Heart (Original Mind) and Its All-Accomplishing Radiance, simply be as you are and live your life fully, free of self-concern and dilemma-driven seeking. Life is Given. So let go and let God.

Simply to be present and free, living life as it IS, responsible in this moment, is true happiness or enlightenment.

Ego-"I", like digestion, is only a function

The way is Awakening from subjectivity and inwardness, and to wholeness and radiance.

The being is only present and free. Experience is only patterns arising within whole being. The stuff of the mind—thoughts, emotions—is only arising, persisting for awhile and passing away. It does not identify (limit, define, implicate and bind) the being. Reality is not identical to subjectivity.

Consider this: Digestion is only a function of Life; digestion is not an IDENTITY, not a person, not the whole being, not Life Itself.

Likewise, subjectivity (mind-stuff appearing and disappearing) is only a function of Life; it is not an IDENTITY, not a person, not the whole being, not Life Itself.

Life is not identical to digestion or to subjectivity (thoughts arising).
Digestion and thoughts are mere functions, activities within Life.

Do not mistake mere subjectivity as reality, as identity, as defining what IS. Life is infinitely greater than the thoughts and emotions that endlessly come and go.

It is possible (and necessary) to sacrifice your attachment to subjectivity—all your imaginings and memories and reveries and moods—in silent, open-minded worship of the present Source of all the starry worlds of the cosmos.

The Basis of Happiness

All that appears only changes and disappears. But the essential nature and condition of all that we love is never threatened. The Basis of all life is immortal (or unborn and undying). The Basis of all is self-radiant being. It is the only “Person,” the single Identity or Self of all that appears. The Basis of all is not locatable, but non-local, all-pervading, all-inclusive, complete, prior and absolutely singular.

Reality is never identified. Every identity is un-Real. The Basis of all can never be found, known, remembered, imagined, defined, limited, described or compared. The Only Person is not cognized over and against any thing. The Great Person (the Person of all life) can only be intuited and understood. The Radiant Transcendental Being must be accepted (presumed) and lived, directly.

Take heart as that one. Take your stand as that one. Live your moments as that one. Be whole. Practice Happiness (Breathe and Smile).

“Yes” is the Word.

“Amen” is the prayer.

YOU are the necessary sacrifice

The Source is not many, nor even one (as a counting number). The Source is only.
All the many and even the one are a self-manifesting play of this Source alone.
The Source is not high or low, within or without. The Source is only.
All that is above or below, inside or outside, is a spontaneous permutation (modulation) of the Source.
Therefore, the Source cannot be located or attained, or ever lost.
To seek the Source by turning upward or downward, within or without, is actually to turn away from its present totality.
Seeking the Source is an exercise in separation and duality, for seeking necessarily involves and maintains the independent seeker. To seek the Source is to dramatize fear, dilemma and exile. It is to presume and act out the “absence” of the Source. But the Source is not ever reached, because it is always, already infinitely Here.
Seekers lean toward the future in hope and dread. But tomorrow never comes, while the Source is always timelessly present. Seekers recall the past and identify with its moments, pleasurable and painful. But those moments are gone, while the Source is forever now.
Awakening to the Source does not require further seeking. It requires the utter abandonment of the seeker’s false identification with separateness in this moment. Awakening to the Source demands the release of whatever you are now holding onto.
You are the necessary sacrifice.
Every mystical tradition, across all times, places and cultures, has taught that this “death” (or utter surrender) of the limited, independent identity is the sole entrance fee to the freedom and wholeness of the Source. Intuitively, every honest seeker comes to understand what is required. But not all are ready to pay the admission price.
Oh, human heart, do you really want the Infinite Heart?
Then drop seeking altogether. Renounce the principle of all your concerns and self-centered labors. Admit the Whole, Unknowable Condition, Now—absolutely.
The Source will overtake you, bodily, at the instant of your true availability.
Oh, sincere seeker, your seeking at last will become too painful to continue. Your separate self will come undone and you will fall into the Source and simply be the Source. In that revolutionary advent, Radiant Life will awaken you whole bodily by spiritual initiation.
Such initiation is grace. Whether it is called Baptism by the Holy Spirit, by the Goddess Power, by the Fire of God, the arousal of Kundalini, or any other name, it is the Eternal Life-Power that has blessed and quickened every woman and man on Earth (and any sentient being in the universe) who ever has fully awakened.
Praise the Radiant Life-Current and the graceful awakening that unclenches the navel, unknots the heart, loosens the throat, unwrinkles the forehead, relaxes the mind, opens the Eye and returns attention to its birthplace and eternal home in the Source.

All is Flow

The various qualities of life, with their attendant highs and lows, never cease. These cycles keep rolling on—up and down, ‘round and ‘round—even in the lives of awakened people. Why shouldn’t they? Awakening doesn’t alter the Tao, the process of the universe, but only our understanding of the Tao.
There will be moments when you feel rather stupid or lazy about your commitment to live happily and freely for the rest of your days; other moments when you’re boiling over with energy and creativity; and moments when you feel oceanically peaceful, beatific, Buddha-wise and free. These moments will always come and go. They are examples of the cycling qualities of manifest existence.
Nothing about the worlds is static. All is flow. Likewise, enlightenment is not static. It is not a solid thing, nor a definite state of things. You can’t obtain it, or maintain it—for there is no independent “you” (distinct from the total flow) to hold on to any exclusive state.
         This insight is liberating. One no longer projects upon one’s spiritual mentor a frozen condition called “enlightenment,” or tries, oneself, to attain such a concrete state of body-mind. As Suzuki Roshi put it: “Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as an enlightened person. There is only enlightened activity.”
Because enlightenment is not a state of body-mind, it follows that enlightenment cannot be brought about as a result of changes in the body-mind (changes of state). Rather, enlightenment is the enjoyment of prior (or intrinsic) freedom. You cannot become free, as the wise have pointed out, you can only be free. This means no matter how much you change (and apparently improve) your state of body and mind and world, you can never “gain” or “own” the power that is already at the heart of the whole process—real freedom and happiness, itself.
         You are already free and welcome to abide in this priorly happy orientation (the vision of Radiant Wholeness) all the while you move through the easeful and stressful moments of your life. In fact, enlightenment is this very presumption of prior freedom and happiness, rather than presuming dilemma and identifying with limited appearances and conditionings.
Enlightenment is an attitude, an understanding, a relationship to everything—an ongoing Way. And such enlightenment is nothing special, not apart from life. Life is not a dress rehearsal; a preparation for the glory-to-come; a progressive path toward reality. There is no path, ultimately, but only reality. (How does one “return” to God, when God is not elsewhere or other?)
         Nothing is more than whole. This moment is complete, as is.
         This is it, “the full catastrophe,” as Zorba the Greek put it. This kind of universe. Exactly so.
          Amazing. Wonderful. Terrible. Blissful.
         What can we do about any of it? Take a deep breath. Release our grasp. “Let go with both hands,” as Zen teaches. Abandon the principle of all our concerns and all our strategies; or as Krishna puts in the Bhagavad Gita, “Abandon all dharmas and resort alone to Me.” Thus surrendered, allow everything to come and go in its own way.
         Troubles won’t disappear. Sickness, old age and death won’t disappear. But if we can live in this unreasonably happy way, existence will shine with more and more clarity, and soon we will see for ourselves that reality is fundamentally open, spacious and bright, even while all the possibilities of all the worlds cycle around their source, the Free Sun of the Heart.

Just say, "Yes."

Get with the Program, the Cosmic, Living Process.

“Yes” is the Word. “Yes” is the mantra. “Yes” is a complete prayer.

The grace of gratitude, acceptance, no-resistance, openness and flow is in the attitude of “Yes.”

Total acceptance is total release.

Just say “Yes.”