Too much order is paralyzing. Too much chaos is terrifying. Find the balance between order and chaos, just where breathing in becomes breathing out, where discipline becomes letting go, where you are neither on the left or the right but gently swaying, where you give up the argument for perfection, where you stumble into grace, and surrender to the gift of your dance.
Stumble into Balance
What Loves To Bow
"I" hate to bow. It means losing the separateness that is "me." But there is that of God, deeper inside me than I, who loves bowing.
A bow happens when I have no idea to whom I bow. My forehead touches the soil and whatever was in here spills out... Then I am so empty, all creation bows to itself through me.
Friend, let's kneel to one another for no reason. Let's throw ourselves gently on the sweet earth, and scatter our bodies like brown sugar.
Rest as Self-radiant awareness. Whenever you feel stressed, divided, weary, off-center, just rest as You.
Rest is not passive. Rest is dynamic return. Rest is empowerment. Rest is healing action. This is the real meaning of the Sabbath.True rest is that act which re-establishes the wholeness of matter, energy and spirit as one continuum. Matter, energy and spirit are just different densities of a single essence, which is your own awareness. This means that your awareness runs through the seer and the seen. All that is around you, from the nearest flower to the most distant star, is the intimate extension of You. You are the cosmic continuum.In order to find true rest, we must know where to rest. If we think we must go somewhere "else" to rest, that very "going" will make us restless. If we seek rest in a temple or an ashram, in the image of a God, or in a chakra of our subtle body, we will be restless. If we seek rest in a faith or belief, we will be disappointed. Rest can only happen in the present moment, right where we already are, before a single thought arises, before any seeking begins. Let us rest as awareness in awareness.
Through awareness at rest in itself, we rediscover the primordial continuity of consciousness and the material world. You are not a separate observer of the world. You are the world. The world arises in the observer, taking on the observer's quality and energy.
This primal unity was broken by our own mind. Resting heals our wound. What is the wound? The ontological gap that severs subject from object.
The gap between subject and object is the "original sin," the first fracture that caused every other mis-perceived duality: separation of man and woman, separation of man and nature, separation of "good" and "evil," separation of races, nations, parties, religions...
But resting as awareness, we re-cognize the wholeness, and perceive the world as the effulgence of the Self. No longer divided from the cosmos by an abyss of "me" and "mine," we can taste the sweet nectar pervading both subject and object, spirit and matter. That nectar is our own consciousness.
Go nowhere. Rest here! You will become so awake, so whole and clear. Earth will float in your clarity like a playful mirage, and your presence will bring levity to the material creation. You will lighten the burden of multitudes. For as you dissolve your separateness, you dissolve the separateness of others.The other is not other than the Self. It is You who flows through a blade of grass, a speck of dirt. It is You who flows through the moon, the sun and stars. It is You who flows through the eyes and tears of the homeless, the refugee. "Love your neighbor as yourself for the simple reason that your neighbor is yourself.
Mountains, rivers, clouds and supernovae spill out of your eyes. Their music overflows your ears. Your senses enchant creation. The big bang silently explodes from the core of your heart. Empty of all concepts, the luminous ocean of your awareness is the energy that solidifies into material forms. Forms arise and disappear continuously, the effervescent poignancy of the world, where loss is the very pregnancy of abundance. As you let things go, they come. You are wealthy beyond all measure, for you grasp nothing. What is there to grasp? It is all You.
Earth and myriad other worlds are marvelous bubbles of sparkling foam. They are filled with your breath and consist of nothing but the light of your awareness.
Your are invited to see that the cosmos is made out of your seeing. Let the world mirror of your loving kindness. Rest and be radiant.
The Work of the Heart
In the center of your chest is a muscle full of blood, fire, and air. And around that pulsing organ is a resonant field forming a hologram that contains every other heart on earth, as well as the heart of every Buddha, Bodhisattva, God and Goddess in the subtle worlds.
The work of this heart is the duty of a rose: drinking from its own root, absorbing the sun, opening, offering a breath of pollen to the sky. The work of love is simply to embrace your own heart with attention, and give it room to beat. It's beat will nourish heaven and earth.
The beginning and end of all spiritual practice is to rest awareness in the heart. Let action spring from there.
Photo by Kristy Thompson
The Foolishness of God
"The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men."
~1 Corinthian 1:25
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." ~Shakespeare (As You Like It)
The greatest good you could do for another person is to free them from their own thoughts. Not replacing their thought with another thought, but giving them a taste of infinity, a savor of the nectar of pure consciousness, liberated from the bondage of any thought at all.
"Guru" means "the light that removes darkness." A real Guru is the reverse of conventional Western notions about teaching. The myth of our tradition begins with the darkness of the unknown. Then an authoritative teacher imparts the "right" concepts to believe in, leading us to the light of knowledge.
But spiritual truth is just the opposite. The darkness is the known. A Guru plays the role of trickster and fool, startling us out of the shadowed labyrinth of our mind, into the light of the Unknown.
Is S-E-L-F a Four Letter Word?
"If we are established in our Self, then we feel connected to everybody." ~Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Like so many of us, I was raised with the Western Christian concept of the self. Self was a dirty four-letter word. I was supposed to condemn myself as a "sinner," and regard everyone else as a "sinner" too. Then, somehow, I was supposed to love, selflessly.
From the earliest age, our religion educates us to believe that, at the primal core of our being, there is something wrong. In fact, we are at fault even before we are born, infected with "original sin."
But this is only the teaching of the Church, not the teaching of Jesus. Jesus said: "The kingdom of heaven is within you.... You are the light of the world." A spiritual Master never teaches original sin, but original innocence.
When I was in college, I received initiation from the Guru, through the Shankaracharya tradition of India. By Grace, I directly tasted the radiance, the beauty, the oceanic loving-kindness of the Self. Then I knew through direct experience that this boundless Being is not merely my Self, but the Self in all. And I saw that this Atmic splendor is the very Kingdom Within that Jesus spoke of. It became so obvious that there is no conflict whatsoever between Jesus and the Masters of India. They shine the same Light, refracted into different beams through the prism of human culture.
The Self is without sin. In the Self, there is no thread of imperfection, not even the slightest hair-like fault line. If I see imperfection, if I see ugliness, if I see wrong-doing and attribute blame, then I need to look more carefully not at what I see, but at the one who is looking. I see the world with the same degree of clarity with which I see the Self.
As I see, so are my actions. Disconnected from the Self, my vision is overshadowed by duality. I see only separateness, otherness. My actions reflect that separateness in judgment, competition, prejudice, defensiveness, and aggression. But what happens when I see my neighbor, or even my enemy, as my own Self? Then I can see through the clarity of compassion, with the eye of the heart. Everyone is acting from their own conditioning, in their own level of consciousness. The violent need our help, not our judgment. And if we perceive their faults, we perceive them through the fractured lens of our own mind.
Yes, right now it appears that the shell of civilization is shattering like an egg. That is because the old world is rooted in the false vision of separate religions, separate races, separate nations, separate selves in competition. But none of them can "win." Only wholeness can win. We are birthing a new world, rooted in the vision of one Self.
Ramana Maharshi said, "Transforming your Self is the means of giving light to the whole world." Who are you, really? Beyond your name, resumé, gender, race, religion, behind the external form of this body and the mask of this personality, who are You?
You are the boundless clarity of the sky in the midst of clouds. You are immaculate stillness at the center of the storm. You are eternally free, regardless of external circumstance. Your are the purest pearl, even if you have fallen into the mud of this mind.
You are awakened space, giving birth to stars and galaxies from vibrations of pure consciousness, waves of infinite possibility. Your Self is a luminous jewel faceted with all other selves, scintillating with complexity in the diamond of unity. And the binding force of light that plays through you is Love. Love is the subtlest law of nature, at the basis of physics, physiology, and astronomy. Love is the science of your heart.
The Bible said, "God is love." Yet something was not spoken. Now is the time to tell the whole truth. Time to say, "God is love. I am love. You are love. This entire creation is woven out of love. Love is the light of the Self."
Jai Guru Dev
Death of Pan
The death of Pan reminds us that the most brilliant comic genius, the most visionary poet, the greatest artist and musician, is nurtured by the cool deep springs of melancholy, grief, and sorrow, as surely as by rays of sun. Those who expect life to be a constant smile or laugh will never know the wellspring of creativity, the seed of light, which is an immaculate, terrible, magnificent darkness, a God beyond god.
Robin Williams, d. August 11, 2014
'Layam vraja: dissolve now.' ~Ashtavakra Gita
They say that dissolving the 'I' is enlightenment, and this is extraordinary. But didn't it happen when you were a child, in ordinary moments of wonder, every day? Wonder at a caterpillar, wonder in the eyes of a new friend on the playground, wonder of a shooting star?
Doesn't it happen now, when you give yourself completely to your grief, and dissolve into a tear? When you give yourself completely to your joy, and dissolve into laughter? When you give yourself completely to the sound of Miles, a Monet water lily, a sonnet of Keats, and dissolve into beauty? When you give yourself completely to the Friend, this touch of divine breath, and dissolve into love?
In such an ordinary moment of no-thing, who is left? Doesn't enlightenment happen a thousand times a day?
Painting by Claudia Olivos
Lord, I have a confession to make: I don't believe in Sin. Even at the age of seven, It was self-evident to me that my Creator, whose nature is pure love, could not possibly judge one of her creatures to be any less divine than herself. But I do ask forgiveness for one thing...
Please forgive me for ever having doubted your immediate, immaculate, overwhelming, unconditional presence, at every moment everywhere, in darkness and in light. For you are Presence itself.
Thought and Silence
The thought of silence is not silence. Thought can never appreciate the beauty of silence. Only silence can taste its own beauty.
The concept of God is not God. Concepts are bound by their definitions. They cannot taste the infinite, because the infinite is boundless, indefinable.
We must become the infinite to savor the infinite, and become silence to taste silence.
When we encounter "great thinkers," it is not the form of their thoughts that are great, but the depth of silence resonating inside them.
That thought which dissolves into living silence, awakening silence within you, is true mantra. That form which transports you to the formless, is true art.
"I love your silences; they are like mine," wrote Anias Ninn. There is more than one kind of silence. There is the silence of repression and fear. There is the silence that is just an absence of noise. There is also the silence of deep communion. And there is the womb-silence of infinite possibility, a silence that vibrates with waves of potential, silence of the ocean of bliss, silence foaming and bubbling with unborn planets and galaxies...
Don't be so smart. Be a little stupid. Watch thoughts come and go without grasping them. Even the thought of 'me.' You can rest beyond mind as self-radiant emptiness.
You are not an idea, ceaselessly arguing with other ideas. You are sparkling omnipresent free space, where all ideas arise and dissolve without conflict.
I know this because I am the stupidest person of all: the way to peace is awakening the Witness.
Today I went to see my therapist, because I felt the ancient anxiety returning, that shadow of the past, that ghost in my body, with all its stories of conflict.
So I visited my therapist and lay my body down on her couch. Without speaking a word, she rubbed her silken spine against me, gently climbed on top of me, sat on my chest and gazed into my eyes, her pupils expanding with implacable nowness. She let me stroke her cheeks and run my fingers through her fur.
Her body shivering with delight, she arched her back, and I could feel the stress flowing out of me, a current of stale electricity cluttered with images of yesterday. My muscles released their grip on themselves. My brain dissolved its stories. My neurons became vibrant hollows filled with golden streams of imageless bliss. Because I was whole again, the world was whole again - the actual world of furry suchness, without blame or division.
Suddenly, the therapist leapt off my body and walked out of the room. My session was over. She had another appointment.
I inhabit this body for more than half a century. I inhabit this mind for less than half a second. What lupine-blue moth from the mountains lands on my chest, gently pulsing its wings until they find the stillness that is always here?
Or what edgeless sky, camouflaged as my soul, awakens in each honeyed cell of flesh? It withers and dries in the Autumn of my bones, returns in a breath with the fragrance of wisteria, purple riot on gnarled roots of patience.
The morning sun is completely contained in a dewdrop on the hummingbird's tongue. If you want to evaporate into pure compassion, hold two opposites in a hollow place: the desiccated wick of the old moon, and this promiscuous flame.
(It leaps from lover to lover, eye to eye, one star to another, crying "Yes!")
The Lover said to the Beloved,
"I am in love with You."
The Beloved replied with laughter
and twinkling eyes,
"You have no choice!"
Who comprehends this conversation?
I love because I have free will.
But when I surrender completely,
the will is annihilated in love,
and this is perfect freedom.
I know this because I became
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