How enriching, how superabundant, how elegantly simple it is to have an infinite Friend, a Friend who is omnipresent as pure space, yet so intimate, so near; a Beloved who dwells in your chest as very Self, yet marvelously personal and uniquely playful; who breathes with your breath and beats divine music to your pulse, yet does not bind you in any way, but bestows ever-expanding freedom.
This is the mystery of the Master. It is the supreme gift, which has nothing to do with authority and everything to do with Grace. All that is required to receive it is gratitude. Ah, but there's the secret! First the gratitude, then the gift.
P.S. I love to listen to my Guru give guided meditations in Hindi. I don't understand a word of Hindi.... Meditation is about imbibing grace, not instruction. Words are only vessels to pour out the nectar of silence. Jai Guru Dev.
"Guided meditation" is hot merchandise in New Age media, and no doubt provides relaxing benefits. But can "guided" meditation ever reveal the heart of samadhi? Who is being "guided"? And where?
As soon as there is guidance, there is authority. Where there is authority, there is control. And where there is control, even on the subtlest level, meditation cannot happen.
To be "guided," we must assume that there is somewhere to go, and that someone can take us there. These assumptions are subtle obstacles, thoughts in the mind that prevent the flowering of awareness, which is beyond thought.
The only useful instruction that a "guide" could give you is an invitation to annihilate the concept of the guide, the guidance, and the journey. Don't be guided. Don't go anywhere. Agree to be right here.
Surrender every effort to control your thoughts, your mood, your breath - including this instruction to "surrender." Even if 10,000 thoughts clutter the mind, you are already free, because you are the space where thoughts arise and dissolve. This space is not moved by a thought, not contained by a thought, not "guided" somewhere, any more than the sky is guided by the clouds that float through it.
Do you need to look for a "higher" plane in mind or soul when infinite space already fills each cell, each atom of your body, permeating every wave in a proton's quark? Your body is made of boundless space. And space is awake. Your body is the very deepest meditation, just as it is. Your molecules overflow with starlight. Your flesh incarnates distances beyond the furthest galaxy.
Resting right here, you are the energy field of wholeness that irradiates the cosmos. And what is the flavor of your boundlessness? Compassion.
But through thinking, we fabricate distinctions such as body vs. soul, soul vs. mind, the physical plane vs "higher" planes. Through thinking, we fragment our wholeness and cease to feel at home in the unified field.
What is real meditation? To abandon thought and rest in wholeness. Real meditation is nearer than the next breath, no deeper than a heartbeat, yet incomprehensibly profound and marvelous. It may happen while sitting, or in the midst of dynamic activity, if we are 100% surrendered to the present moment.
As soon as your unboundedness becomes a concept, a belief, or a philosophy, it is gone. There is no "teaching" of non-duality. There is simply non-duality. You may taste it immediately, prior to thought, as the sweet savor of Awareness.
Pure consciousness is empty of all thought, memory, and image-ination. It is not a higher state of consciousness, not even a state, not even an "it," but consciousness itself.
Pure consciousness is not waking, dreaming, or deep sleep, but Turiya, the ground of all states. This is the field prior to mind, where mind arises, the space where thoughts appear and dissolve. Pure awareness is absolute inner silence.
Though pure consciousness is our very ground, we don't directly experience it. The "fallen" condition of our humanity is this: that we do not taste the peace and purity of own fundamental nature. Why? Because we identify with the continuous stream of images and thoughts that pass through the mind. We have "fallen" into thinking, imagining, dreaming and remembering, so deeply that we cannot perceive who we really are. It is like sitting in a movie theater and believing that you are in the movie you are watching...
Our "fall" is not exile from God, from paradise, or from some "higher" condition. It is exile from our very Self. This has been revealed in the various symbolic languages of the world's religions. But what has not been revealed is the secret of the blue jewel, the diamond gaze of love that eternally irradiates the heart of pure consciousness.
In deepest meditation, the silence of pure awareness solidifies. Abstract consciousness becomes concrete in the self-effulgent jewel of Krishna. His body is un-created, neither matter nor form, neither a thought nor an image in the memory. Yet that divine humanity is the very Self of the self.
Krishna is the human body of formless divine radiance, described by Dante at the end of his visionary journey in the final stanzas of the Paradisio. He is the transcendental body of pure consciousness beholding its Self.
How can the formless have a form? How can what is infinitely abstract be solid as a diamond? How can impersonal, transcendental, absolute Being appear as the loving gaze of the Lord's face?
On the level of the question, there is no answer. On the level of the answer, no question arises. For this happens in a realm beyond intellect, beyond speculation, in the crystal depths of a stillness prior to the movement of thought. Here is only the gaze of Shyama Sundara, which means, "the sky-blue light of infinite beauty."
When the meditator beholds the face of Krishna, there can be no more desire, no more craving. Nothing more can possibly be wanted. The fruit of Yoga drops from the tree of Sadhana, ripe and complete.
In his sweet gaze there is no subject or object, nor any shimmer of duality. The seer, the seeing, and the seen are one Self.
Yet in the absolute stillness of samadhi, there are vibrations of love. Just so, in the vacuum state of quantum physics, there are "fluctuations" of the vacuum. This internal relationship within the absolute silence of the Self creates a transcendental geometry, a kind of triangular prism containing one who sees, one who is seen, and the bliss of seeing. This relationship-in-unity generates its own internal space, not as the space between subject and object, but the space between subject and subject, vibrant relationship of love with its own essence.
Out of this paradox comes the impulse to create: virtual photons of light, virtual electrons of matter, the incipience of a universe formed from the formless, generated by God's love for God. This paradox of three-in-one - the seer, the seen, the bliss of their gaze - is too dynamic to contain its own exuberance. How can Lover and Beloved suppress their Love? The very force of paradox ignites the explosion of the created universe from the un-created silence of the Godhead.
This is the real mystery of the Holy Trinity, and the final synthesis of Bhakti and Vedanta, where the path of devotion and the path of union are one - one in the blue diamond gaze of love.
Just as any image can be 'photo-shopped,' any news can be 'info-shopped.' The time is coming soon when intelligent people will no longer trust any information they see on the internet, and certainly not anything they see on network tv. Then where will they get the 'news'? When that crisis comes, great numbers of people will turn off the stream of external noise and turn to the heart-stream of inner Silence. That is how they will get in-formation.
"Take no thought for tomorrow." ~Master Jesus
For thinking addicts, here is a one-moment meditation: DROP THIS THOUGHT. The practice is unbelievably simple, so don't believe in it. Don't even do it.
Dropping this thought doesn't mean trying not to think. Trying to not-think is a repressive waste of energy, because thoughts are inevitable. But we can drop a thought as it arises, and not-clinging requires no effort. In fact, dropping a thought increases energy.
When I drop this thought, the energy bound up in thinking is released from form and expands as pure awareness, sparkling possibility, and boundless joy. The moment I drop this thought, an explosion of transparency fills my inner and outer sky, blessing every atom, resonating into the stars.Drop the thought, drop the affirmation, drop the belief. What can be formed in the mind is only an idea, and an idea can never bring us one step closer to Being. A thought of happiness is not happiness. A thought of God is not God. The image of Jesus in your mind is not what Jesus IS. Crucify the image.
When you pray, drop the divine name. When you meditate, drop the mantra. The very letting go of the mantra is like dropping a seed into dark loam, sprouting its power. The mantra only bears fruit when it dissolves into silence.
Truth is never the outcome of thinking. We will never construct a chain of thoughts or an argument that will end with the realization, "I found the truth: now everything will be OK!" Truth is a wave of spaciousness in the heart, not a particle of thought in the head. So drop this thought and taste your actual blissful nature.
Although we have been addicted to thinking, thought is not our true nature. One authentic taste of awareness-beyond-thought can awaken our real destiny. This is not a new teaching or an Eastern teaching. In the Bible, awareness beyond thought is called "the peace which passeth understanding." In the Sermon on the mount, Jesus tells his disciples again and again to "take no thought."
This is not the Information Age: it is the Age of Now. We are in recovery from our thinking addiction. Humans all over the earth are discovering the redemptive power of thought-free awareness, in short moments of awakening.
Fall into the well between words. One breath of this clarity is a baptism. Bathe in the blessing that has no content, no name, no ideology. There is no word for this blessing because it is the silence from which words arise. It is ananda, bliss. It is to alight from the ever-circling mind upon the clarity of the heart, like a swan settling upon still water.
And yet this stillness is a dynamic stillness, not a state of inertia. When I drop this thought, there is a surge of awareness, an awakening of space itself. And because this space is unobstructed by any conceptual form, it is dynamically expanding.
The early Christian mystic, St. Gregory of Nyssa, called this experience "epictesis": ceaseless expansion in God. The Greek philosophers had removed God from our experience, into the static idealized realm of pure Being. But St. Gregory described the true taste of mystical experience: the Divine is not static, but ever softly and silently exploding in a widening spiral of ecstasy. The Sanskrit term for this dynamism within the Godhead is "spanda," from which the English word "expand" derives. This spanda, or pulsation within the depths of silence, creates the universe. Quantum physicists now describe it as "fluctuation in the vacuum."
Such pulsing clarity cannot remain enclosed within us, but motivates us to give joy to others. In the subtler strata of creation, this awakened radiance overflows through our senses, energizing our environment. Awareness, sensation and environment are a single continuum, one field. When I drop this thought, I illuminate my senses. I can see hear taste touch more energetically, and this burst of awareness reverberates throughout the earth, cleansing and healing.
The innocence of dropping thought need not be spoiled by turning it into a "technique," or attempting to give it duration through time. I can practice short moments of this throughout the day, without clinging to the experience. Such moments of ecstatic non-doing are excellent meditations for those of us whose minds are fickle and incapable of self-stilling. Which means all of us!
Brevity is the soul of practice. Dropping this thought now, I take a sip of eternity, then go back to work. What happens in that instant? "I" dissolve, and nothing is so refreshing as the dissolution of the do-er.
We have heard of instant karma, but what we need is instant grace. Grace is not a state of duration, maintained by concentration, affirmation, or mindfulness. As C. S. Lewis wrote, we are rather "surprised by grace." Trying to hold on to grace is just an artifice of the ego, a vanity that robs our character of spontaneous joy. Let grace be discovered again and again in the moment, by dropping this thought.
It's very stressful living in a world where everyone is always right. Actually, it's hell. Want to know what heaven is? This same world, full of people with the courage to smile from the heart and say, "I don't know. I truly don't know."
I discovered these Autumn crocuses on a walk today.
Bliss is not an energy, a divine light, a life-force, or an outcome of spiritual practice. Bliss is absolutely nothing.
Bliss cannot be quantified. It is not given or received. Bliss cannot be communicated to you by a guru or a lover. Bliss is neither a transaction nor the result of purification. Neither vegan diet, nor yoga, nor celibacy, nor years of meditation lead to bliss. Bliss is giving up on all this.
Many wisdom teachers, from Gautama Buddha to Saint Francis, from Sri Ramakrishna to Eckhart Tolle, tell of breakthroughs that were not the result of any spiritual practice, but awakenings in the heart of depression, confusion, or illness. Liberation simply happened in a moment of divine hopelessness.
Blessed are the hopeless, who give up the bondage of believing in anything at all. Bliss is only possible beyond belief, because only without belief is the mind innocent, free from the boundaries of the quest for anything.
Bliss is not some thing. Something has boundaries. Bliss is the marvelous explosion that occurs when the mind becomes no-thing, and boundaries dissolve. These boundaries include even the most positive thoughts, or belief in the most benevolent God. Hence the great Christian mystic Meister Eckhart prayed, "O God, quit me of God!"
In a private meeting with my Guruji, I asked him, "Who are you, really? Are you the world teacher? The Avatar? Are you like Krishna, or Buddha, or Jesus come again?" He looked at me with eyes containing the uncontainable emptiness where galaxies arise and dissolve. Then he gently said, "No, no. I am nobody." He was absolutely serious. That's when I knew he was my guru, though it took me years to realize what he meant.
When we desire to repeat a blissful experience, that desire is bondage, and a subtle form of pain. In the moment of our bliss, there was relief from the pain of seeking it. Relaxing for an instant, the mind was free to expand into its own essence: the blissful subject we mistake for an object. But after that instant of Self-referral, ignorance returned and we created a concept of "bliss" as an object out there, something to be sought.
Bliss is never the repetition of experience.
There is no causal relationship whatsoever between any object and the joy we seemingly derive from it. All joy comes from within, from the Self. Yet we seek to repeat the moment of bliss by seeking it in another object. The Yogis have a shockingly effective image for this delusion: It is like a mongrel chewing on a sharp dry bone, desperately seeking the taste of fresh blood. Eventually they taste the blood, but it does not come from the sharp dry bone. It is their own blood...
Bliss only happens when I relinquish the glamor of the object. However beautiful the object of perception, it is like the dry bone. The glamor that seems to vibrate from the object is, in fact, the projection of my own desire for it, and this projection is the cause of my suffering.
I gnaw on the object, trying to derive sweetness from a glamor that does not exist, for that glamor does not come from the object at all. It is composed of my own ignorance.
Bliss happens the moment I stop gnawing. Yet a moment later, I associate this bliss with the object I've been gnawing on. My mind falsely reasons, "I was gnawing on this object. Then I experienced bliss. Therefor the bliss must derive from the object." But I fail to notice that the bliss only happened through exhaustion with my gnawing. And so I perpetuate the cycle of ignorance and craving.
Bliss has no substance and no flavor, not even sweetness. Perhaps I lick an ice cream cone to taste my favorite flavor, which I've been craving all afternoon. I close my eyes and say, "Mmmmm," returning to the original sound of creation, the great Pranava mantra. Yet it is not the ice cream that gives this moment of bliss: it is the simple fact that for a moment I gave up the quest and stopped seeking! Bliss arises not in the object of craving, but in the cessation of craving.
The same irony occurs in spiritual techniques. They do not result in bliss: they simply focus the mind in a limitation that is more sattvic, more purifying than other attachments. But when my mind becomes fatigued with even the most subtle sattvic focus, I give up the practice for a moment and just let go. That is when my mind transcends. From the subtlest bridge to the infinite, I leap into no-thing.
There I delight in an explosion of bliss, brought on by no practice but the exhaustion of practice. This bliss is always already there as the prior nature of non-seeking awareness. I simply dipped into it when I gave up every effort to seek it.
Hearing this, one now wants to make "letting go" one's next technique: a technique of surrender. But this is just another trap. Surrender is not a technique. Surrender cannot be practiced. The very attempt to practice surrender creates more boundaries.
The great Nisargadatta Maharaj said, "There can be no causal connection between practice and wisdom. But the obstacles to wisdom are deeply affected by practice."
So let's stick with the practice we already have, but take it more lightly! Know that our spiritual practice is a kind of good-natured joke. The more lightly we take it, the more frequently moments of bliss can explode out of non-doing and non-seeking.
If we keep our practice soft, and remember it is just a trick to short-circuit the mind, there will come an end to this game. There will come a falling away of the do-er. The quest will dissolve forever in the silent ocean of the void, which is pure Grace.
"Liberation" is no different than ordinary experience, except that the ordinary experience has an incomprehensibly vast, ever-expanding stillness around it.
We too often think of stillness as "within": small, hidden, secret, like a treasured pearl, "the still small voice of quietness." But this very contraction, this flight into the secret and interior, is not stillness at all. When we contract and go "within," separating the inner from the outer, we are engaging in the ruin of stillness.
Find stillness all around you, in the space between the stars and the space between the atoms. Find stillness pervading every particle, every cell, every wave of action.
Stillness is not interior or secret. Stillness permeates all, contains all, and dissolves all.
There is no 'news' today, and there will be no 'news' tomorrow. What we call the 'news' is just the ever-repeating stream of karmic reaction. The 'news' is always in the past. If you think some 'news' is important, just follow it for awhile until you see that it's the same old story. We need to wake up from the dream that there is any 'news.' The only thing New is the present moment, right where you are.
Some say that the cultivation of Presence is a passive escape from the work of social justice and political activism. Quite the contrary. When sufficient numbers of ordinary people learn to rest their hearts in the radiant jewel of their own Buddha nature, needs are few. With nothing to feed the flame of greed, exploitation ceases, anger dissolves. Each sees quite clearly, without the constraint of any commandment, that to injure another is to injure one's own body. Without the slightest need for politicians or priests, peace awakens spontaneously on earth, through the grace of conscious breathing.
A wave of living silence in your heart is worth more than a thousand correct opinions. Wield the ruthless sword of compassion and cut off the thinker's skull.
Sever the chain of cause and effect forever with the razor of a gentle inhalation. Let fertile seeds fall from your broken rosary. Let wine spill from the lotus in your hand, inebriating the earth with angels' blood.
The cosmos groaned 10 billion years to create you for the task of this breath. There is no need to remember the Goddess or to repeat her name, for with every beat of your heart she is remembering you.
This drum is hollow and silent inside, but it makes the world dance. Don't fall asleep tonight. Fall into the ecstasy of the dream watcher.
Is there a 'me' beyond information? Or am I just the information that I 'know'? If I am just information, why can't someone else become 'me' by hacking into my knowledge and stealing it? If I am beyond knowledge, then how can I know myself?
To answer this most basic inquiry, the ancient rishis gave us a technique of meditation for transcending all information, even the subtlest 'I'-dentity. A means of directly experiencing who we are, beyond any subject-object relationship of 'knowing.' A means of awakening to boundless self-effulgent ananda - bliss consciousness - just a taste of which is freedom. Jai Guru Dev.
There is no story about who I Am.
Stories are never in the present, and there is no Presence in stories.
Like insects in amber, stories bind us in time. How shall we fly? We are only alive and only have wings for Now.
Certainly we have sacred memories, but we can honor them without turning them into stories.
Some counselors tell us to "invent a new story." But if we are truly alive and truly present, why do we need any story at all?
No one has ever been liberated by a story.
Freedom is waking up from the mind-told tale. No story, only silence, expresses this awakening.
The religions of the world are all stories, full of angels and demons, beggars and kings, saviors and victims of sacrifice.
But spirituality has no story. Spirituality is ceaseless awakening into Presence.
I Am more ancient than the Milky Way. I Am brighter than death. How vast Am I? Uuuuuge! No matter how long you babble florid titular prefixes such as 'Most Glorious Grandfather' and 'Super Radiant Darkness,' You cannot reach the end of my name.
The earth is no bigger than a pea in the empty bucket of a single brain cell between my ears. This very breath fills my chest with stars whose light took 7 million years to get here. When I exhale, heavens and hells are indiscriminately created in a dance of photons flooding the void between my lips.
I Am sky blue emptiness. You can't contain me - I contain you. Ocean I Am, and you are just a wave of me. When I crush a blackberry on my tongue and sigh, the names of all your ancestors resonate in my "Mmmmmm." Where will you find me? Out here in the luminous meadow of mahatmic drunks, with Rumi and Walt Whitman.
Friend, if you try to resist my love, you'll drown. I immolate you like a cinder with my glance, which you call "noonday sun." Not even Shiva has eyes like mine. If I ever slept, what would happen to the universe?
You may have a PHD and think you are smart, but your tiny intellect can't calculate my dimensions. The curve of your soul won't touch the asymptote of my little finger bone. Avatars and Buddhas whirl through the unfathomable night of my astonishment, searching for a veil of ego where they can hang their cocoons. They grasp for some limitation of my presence, where they might fix a silken thread, and begin to weave their sticky webs for soul-catching. But I'm too boundless!
My nearest membrane is beyond any oasis of clustered galaxies where archangels might sleep over in their pilgrimage toward the sound of my Word. My voice doesn't slow down in spaces where the ever-expanding cosmos has not yet been born. Creation can't catch up to my Presence. Out there somewhere in my silence, a voice is crying, 'I Am Who Am!' But no prophet's tongue is long enough to reach those terrible sounds of aloneness.
I suggest you give up naming me, cease all efforts to know me, and just repose in your own heartbeat. Drown there where you already are, and you might discover my truth. I am deeper in you, and you are deeper in me, than the Creator. We are too vast for any Self. There is only one hope for grasping who we are: dissolve into the first dandelion you see.
Ask a child to point to it. Ask a Zen master to point to it. Ask an indigenous shaman to point to the heart. They will all point... to the heart.
This bloody fruit at the center of the body, just this, no new-age hip-hop chakra jazz.
We who thirst for life know that heart means heart. It’s beauty lies in physiology, not metaphysics.
My heart a meaty twin-chambered cabbage of duality: diastole and systole, arterial in, venous out, bright scarlet to deep purple, glowing green.
My heart a rough shuddering blast site of anxiety and yearning, rage and unspeakable sorrow, well of tears in love’s desolation.
My heart a cosmos of atoms in the darkest cavern of Adam's ribs, infra-red magnetic resonance with the lion in the jungle and the prisoner on death row.
My heart the reggae vibration of a field outdistancing its cruciform, yet deeply embodied in sacred mass.
My heart a hologram where all hearts conspire to be mine, locus among bones, mingling rays of inter-galactic information.
A black hole in each beat generating stars, alien races longing to become human in my pulse.
Heart the sinew of sound in “Let there be Light"; "Ya Hi Or” a portal to the first Word, the embryonic Son, floating in wombs of sea lymph and mountain marrow.
Organ of mere blood, the rainbow spectrum of whose power is rooted in gravity, yet widens to the white empyrean, beyond the elements.
Ringing with the quintessential music of the unstruck bell, chiming each proton out of its star.
This hungering love, this open wound, this sacrament, my heart…
It's almost sunset, evening meditation time. Why not make the earth dance with your stillness!
At any instant, in any situation, beyond the gray clouds of thought, beyond anxiety for the future or regret for the past, a limitless blue sky fills the space of the Heart with eternal silence.
Just to float here on a feather of breath is Prayer, watching your own soul shine like the full moon, holding in perfect clarity your highest purpose, deepest skill, and purest joy: to polish that pearl, then toss it away, letting it dissolve in the abyss!
This prayer is deeper than otherness, unfathomable unity more intimate than love itself, for it is the seed of love, hidden in darkness.
One wordless moment of this prayer contains the wisdom of all scriptures, and the gentlest tremor of this silence shakes the whole planet.