how extraordinary! how beautiful!

Please tell me this: how does it profit one to be convinced that everything one takes to be true and real – beliefs, body, belongings – is so, when at the end it all “becomes transparent”? How can we heedlessly march into that Great Transparency without unshakeable awareness of the pure Clear Light? How can we deprive ourselves of the extraordinary beauty it unveils?

Pir Elias Amidon reflects on these questions in the light of his own experience. How beautiful!

The Clear Light and the beauty of the world - Pir Elias Amidon

 

At the moment of our death, when the messages of our senses cease and the contents of our mind become transparent, The Tibetan Book of the Dead offers this instruction:

Remember the Clear Light, the pure Clear Light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind….
Let go into the Clear Light, trust it, merge with it.
It is your own true nature, it is home.

When I first read that passage as a young man I was deeply moved and reassured — it assured me that the confusion and loneliness I felt as a twenty-two year-old would vanish one day in that great, final homecoming. I didn’t understand what this “Clear Light” was, but it didn’t matter — the certainty of the voice in the Book of the Dead comforted me. The Clear Light would come.

And meanwhile, I would just have to make the best of it. So in the years that followed — my twenties and thirties — I kept attempting to find or build some kind of substitute, metaphorical home in which I could belong during my exile here on earth.

I realize now that I had succumbed to the old polarity of my species: the sacred hereafter and the profane here, heaven and earth, light and dark. As far as I can understand it, this polarity has its genesis in our need to identify ourselves as individual beings separate from the other beings and objects of the world: me in here and all the rest out there. The dominance of the “me in here” sets up the added polarity of my suffering and incompleteness now versus the promise of redemption and homecoming in the future.

Of course, these kinds of polarities are understandable — we are two-legged organisms walking about, seemingly disconnected from the earth and sky, and anxious about avoiding any dangers that might be lurking on our path. It appears we are separate beings.

It took me a few decades of spiritual practice and inquiry — not to mention the normal sufferings life provides — to realize that the nature of reality only appears to be split into these dualities. As one of my teachers, Murshida Sitara Brutnell, once cryptically said, “There is no other.” This whole show is one magnificent Happening, one awesome Brilliance reflected in the infinite prisms of possibility. Which means that we — you and I right now, every humming atom of us, every thought and feeling, every movement — are inextricably part of this blossoming of spontaneous light.

Sufis call this wahdat-al-wujud, the Oneness of Existence. Nothing stands outside of its Oneness and Suchness — there is no other. The multiplicity of the phenomenal world is sometimes imaged by Sufis as a veil over the Absolute, though the veil and the Absolute are not seen as two different things, rather “the veil is the external epiphany of the Absolute.” Or, as the 14th century Persian Sufi Mahmud Shabastari wrote, “The whole world of Being is the beams of the Absolute Light. The Absolute remains hidden because it is so clearly manifest.”

Which brings us back to the Tibetan notion of the Clear Light, surely the same as Shabastari’s “Absolute Light.” The Clear Light is not, as I had first thought, something waiting out there to welcome me when I die. It is present now, right here, both as perceptible as all the apparent things and thoughts and feelings of this world, and as imperceptible, invisible, and transparent as the awareness in which these words appear to us right now. The “light” of awareness, the Clear Light, “the original nature of your own mind,” all indicate this same “light” that can’t be seen or located, though it is unmistakably, spontaneously present. “God’s Light is in the heavens and the earth,” says the Bible and the Quran. And the Quran adds, “whichever way you turn, there is its presence.”

When I die I imagine that one of my last feelings will be, “How beautiful!” I won’t be referring to the beauty of where I’m going (I have no idea about that), but how beautiful is where I’ve been, this astonishing earth, sky, and cosmos, this astonishing body and its capacity to know and love. As the mystic-philosopher Francois Cheng remarked, “The universe is not obliged to be beautiful, and yet it is beautiful.” How extraordinary!

The mystery of the Clear Light and the mystery of the beauty of the universe have become the central contemplations of my life. “Beauty” (I’m fond of repeating these words of Ibn ‘Arabi) “is the welcoming openness of the truth toward us.” Somehow the “truth” of the unchanging Clear Light is revealed by ever-changing beauty. “God is beautiful and loves beauty,” a hadith tells us. Spontaneous, ephemeral beauty — the beauty of a song, a kiss, a passing cloud, a glint of sunlight — each one a momentary revelation of the unborn Clear Light, our home.

– Pir Elias Amidon


Text and image sourced from The Open Path


The Tibetan Book of the Dead


 

no one gets this

A notice from Kalyani Lawry for those in the Melbourne area who are seriously interested in ending the search or radically reassessing their understanding.


Sarrita King, Lightening Dreaming 2012

 

Seeking begins with the individual and
ends with the annihilation of the individual.
– Ramesh Balsekar

We are talking about annihilation, death, the end: nothing.
Not death of the body; nothing dies when the body dies.

We are talking about real death.
The death of the self/the personality package.
That existentially terrifying death of the me.
Facing that dread, that anxiety, the very fear that got us seeking.

While it’s easy to construct a conceptual bypass
“There is no me so I know there is nothing to do and no where to go”
It simply doesn’t cut it.
Repeating non-duality pointers like mantras may reduce and manage the anxiety,
Yet nothing changes.

There is no bypass.
There is no conceptual shortcut.
In the end it’s about facing that fear
Going to the place we don’t want to
Entering into the heart of darkness.

In 1991 in a conversation I had with U.G. Krishnamurti he said,
“If people realised what enlightenment is, no one would want it.”

NO ONE GETS THIS:

there is no awakening,
no attainment,
no getting it,
no seeing through,
no hope,
nothing,
No Thing.

After reading this, if you still would like to join us this Sunday 5th February at 39 Bradleys Lane, Warrandyte North 3113 VIC – 3 pm to 5 pm, you are welcome as we gently and respectfully deconstruct the search, turning the questions back on the questioner.

It’s not that you get answers.
When the questioner ends, there are no questions.
No thing.

Please let us know if you are planning to join us: kalyani@nonduality.com.au


Following the direct lineage of the ancient Navnath masters, and awakened through a direct and simple recognition 
of their actuality, Kalyani and Peter are able to express this to those who are open to it.
Sailor Bob Adamson


Worth revisiting:

why you don’t really want to awaken


Painting by Australian Aboriginal artist Sarrita King, Lightening Dreaming, 2012. I chose Sarrita’s painting to accompany this post because when the actuality of Truth dawns, it can feel as though one has been simultaneously struck and illuminated by lightening.

memento mori

On ageing, awakening and extinction. The title, memento mori, (see note below) prompts us to “remember that we will die” – but not to bring fear of dying to our attention in some morbid manner. Our physical end is inevitable. The prompt is for us to learn how to live while we still have time. When we understand how it is to truly live, we can find no reason to fear death. It’s all about learning to live.

A lifetime is so little time
that we die before we
get ready to live.
– John Muir

Since this blog is dedicated to my mother, Miriam, who would have been 104 years old today, I rally myself to write a post in her honour. She had a longer lifetime than most, and spent a great deal of it coming to the understanding that in order to fully live there needs to be a kind of death in every moment – a dying to the past, the future, and their construct of a solid, separate self.

What does it mean to truly live? These wise words from Joan Tollifson look life and death in the eye and are worth sharing. Being fairly advanced in years myself, I can vouch for their accuracy; the similarities between awakening and ageing are apt. Yet everything is here to remind us of what never awakens or ages, because it’s never been asleep or subject to time.

Some writers point to the likely extinction of our species as we plunder the planet that creates and sustains our life. Perhaps so. Where did we get the idea that anything could ever be permanent in a universe of ceaseless motion? Permanence is an impossibility; but that’s not all. Impermanence is an equally fanciful notion. As Joan points out, “a deep understanding of impermanence reveals that there is no impermanence, because no-thing ever forms or persists to BE impermanent.” Bodies will appear and disappear but never leave – where would they go? Death is a gracious messenger; it comes to alert us to its own illusion.


Fiona Hall: Out of my Tree

I see aging as a spiritual adventure not unlike awakening – you realize in a very visceral way that there is no future. You are beginning to dissolve. Everything is falling away. Growing old involves loss of control, loss of abilities, loss of independence, loss of self-image, loss of loved ones, loss of everything that has defined you. In the end, it is a total letting go. And at the same time, death is actually moment-to-moment. The bodymind is like a wave on the ocean – inseparable from the ocean, and in that sense, eternal, but never eternal as a single consistent form, which never existed to begin with in this ever-changing movement. The same can be said about the human species, planet earth, and the entire universe.

Whether through climate change or a nuclear war, it seems quite possible that the human race may wipe itself out. Many species are disappearing at a rapid rate in what has been called the sixth mass extinction to occur on planet earth, this one largely human-caused. Perhaps humans throughout history have felt “the end was near,” and certainly many people have lived through periods of war, famine and plague where everyone they knew was wiped out – but in some very unique way, we seem to live in a time when the vulnerability and potential death of the human species is in our face. Would this death be a tragedy or simply another change in the endlessly shifting kaleidoscope of infinite (timeless) unicity? How do we meet these threats of extinction?

When loved ones die, alongside the grief and sorrow of loss, there can also be the immense freedom and discovery of what cannot be lost. A loved one is gone forever, and yet they are right here. Everything is right here! No-thing actually begins or ends. As they say in Buddhism, a deep understanding of impermanence reveals that there is no impermanence, because no-thing ever forms or persists to BE impermanent. There is only the ever-changing, ever-present Here / Now from which nothing stands apart. Our fear of death may be very much like the fear people once had about sailing out to sea and falling off the edge of the earth – a fear based on a misconception about how things actually are.

Joan Tollifson


I began this post with a quote from John Muir. It comes from this stunning video, which is both an an ode to wilderness and an invitation to “get ready to live.” It was filmed in the Scottish Highlands.

Wilderness from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

More information about John Muir at johnmuirtrust.org


In January 1944 Miriam spent her 31st birthday in a New Zealand maternity ward recovering from the delivery of yours truly – just 48 hours earlier. We always celebrated our birthdays in tandem; my birthday poem for this year is posted on echoes from emptiness blog: on turning seventy three


Memento mori is a Latin phrase translated as “Remember your mortality”, “Remember you must die”, or “Remember you will die”; taken literally it means [In the future] remember to die, since “memento” is a future imperative of the 2nd person, and “mori” is a deponent infinitive. It names a genre of artistic creations that vary widely from one another, but which all share the same purpose: to remind people of their own mortality. The phrase has a tradition in art that dates back to antiquity.
– Wikipedia

Fiona Hall’s sculpture Out of my Tree, is part of that tradition. Crafted – with her usual meticulousness – from sardine tins, this piece was part of her installation for the 2014 Adelaide Biennial and the 2015 Venice Biennial.

where the light begins

Peter Zumthor - Bruder Klaus Chapel

 

As we turn towards our yearly habit of ritualising the New Now, let’s pause for a breath or two and be reminded of our sacred mission.
Jan Richardson: Where the Light Begins
 

Perhaps it does not begin.
Perhaps it is always.

Perhaps it takes
a lifetime
to open our eyes,
to learn to see
what has forever
shimmered in front of us

the luminous line
of the map
in the dark

the vigil flame
in the house
of the heart,

the love
so searing
we cannot keep
from singing,

from crying out
in testimony
and praise.

Perhaps this day
will be the mountain
over which
the dawn breaks.

Perhaps we
will turn our face
toward it,
toward what has been
always.

Perhaps
our eyes
will finally open
in ancient recognition,
willingly dazzled,
illuminated at last.

Perhaps this day
the light begins
in us.

 – Jan Richardson, from Circle of Grace, Wanton Gospeller Press


Jan Richardson’s website

Circle of Grace on Amazon

Image and source: Peter Zumthor – Bruder Klaus Field Chapel.
For more information about this extraordinary sacred space see archdaily.com

Gratitude to Claire Beynon for sharing this timely poem on Facebook.


give us light, o light of lights

Arti - Light

 

Jyoti Jyoti Jyoti Swayam
Jyoti Jyoti Jyoti Param
Jyoti Jyoti Jyoti Arul
Jyoti Jyoti Jyoti Sivam
Vaama Jyoti Soma Jyoti
Vaana Jyoti Jnaana Jyoti
Maaha Jyoti Yoga Jyoti
Vaata Jyoti Naada Jyoti
Ema Jyoti Vyoma Jyoti
Eru Jyoti Veeru Jyoti
Eka Jyoti Eka Jyoti
Eka Jyoti Jyotiye

~

Light O Light of Self-Effulgence

Light O Light of Absoluteness

Light O Light of Gracefulness

Light O Light of Auspiciousness

Light of Siva, Light of Moon

Light Divine, Light of Wisdom

Light of Heaven, Light of Yoga

Light of Wind, Light of Sound

Light Delight, Light of Water

Rising Light, Vital Light

The Only Light, The Only Light

Give us Light, O Light of Lights

Arti Chant


The image and chant were posted by Tina Koskelo on her beautiful blog being silently drawn with the title Lighting of the Candle.  (Thank you Tina!)  It’s a perfect fit for this blog, which is an ongoing celebration of The Only Light, The Light of Lights.

The Light of Lights is ever-present and inescapable – it wears your name, sounds as your voice, feels your every feeling, thinks your every thought and performs your every deed. If you doubt this, just experiment with trying to separate any of these self-attributes (identity, speech, feelings, thoughts and deeds) from that which is aware of them. That Which Is Aware of them IS the Light of Lights.

Whatever forms your Yuletide observance take, may they be blessed with peace and harmony. May you turn towards the New Year with courage and unswerving awareness of your luminous immensity.

 

the ordinary way will do

Enlightenment Right Now

 

Where shall I look for Enlightenment?

Here.

 
When will it happen?

It is happening right now.

 
Then why don’t I experience it?

Because you do not look.

 
What should I look for?

Nothing, just look.

 
At what?

Anything your eyes alight upon.

 
Must I look in a special kind of way?

No. The ordinary way will do.

 
But don’t I always look the ordinary way?

No.

 
Why ever not?

Because to look you must be here. You’re mostly somewhere else.

 
– Anthony de Mello

De Mello Spirituality Center


Image and text originally posted on the Science & Nonduality Conference Facebook page.
Too splendidly spot-on not to be shared…


 

thinking like a mountain

thinking like a mountain;
feeling like the sky

meeting mySelf
in all that displays within the field of awareness

knowing I am ever here, as this,
being lived by the breath
within the Breath

I bow deeply
before my compost heap

ml

 

Frederick Franck, Eye-I

 

Through a genuine experience of identifying with all beings, we may come to see our own interest served by conservation, through genuine self-love, love of a widened and deepened self, an ecological self.

When we plant a tree we are planting ourselves. Releasing dolphins back to the wild, we are ourselves returning home. Composting leftovers, we are being reborn as irises and apples. We can “think like a mountain,” in Aldo Leopold’s words, and we can discover ourselves to be everywhere and in everything, and we can know the activity of the world as not separate from who we are but rather of what we are. The practice of the “nonlocal self” means that when we work for the restoration of the rain forest, we are restoring our “extended self.”

– Joan Halifax Roshi, The Fruitful Darkness

Joan Halifax Roshi and Upaya Zen Center


Sculpture by Frederick Franck at Pacem in Terris