an extraordinarily elegant way of realising God

What would it be like to be fully, continually aware of all of our senses – and what’s more, to be aware of that very awareness?  What might that full sensory awakening have to do with the irreversible realisation of Reality? Drawing from his personal experiences with Parmenides and Empedocles – foundational figures of Western civilization whose mystical dimensions have been forgotten or ignored – pre-Socratic philosopher Peter Kingsley maintains that to approach the changeless authentically, Western civilization must rediscover its own sacred origins and purpose. He asks, how can Western culture participate in the harmony of oneness if it has forgotten its own note?

In this post, which is a transcript of part of an interview made in connection with the Global Oneness Project, Kingsley outlines the sensory awakening at the root of Empedocles’ writings.

 

Persephone - Greek Goddess of the Underworld; Museum of Ancient Sculpture, Cyrene, Libya

 

You have to find reality, ultimate reality, here, where you are, in this apparent body, surrounded by these apparent colors and movements, and shapes and forms and sounds and noises. And they (the ancient Greek mystics) gave the techniques. They gave the methods for using our senses to find oneness all around us.

Empedocles and Parmenides were very, very up front, as most great mystics are, and at the beginning of their teachings they say, “Everybody is living a totally wasted life.” Everybody’s life is a sham, everybody is living in a dream. We can think we are driving down the road, we can think we’re shopping, we can think we’re in a business meeting. We are asleep. We are never actually using our senses.

Sometimes there can be the brief moment when we look out at a tree, or we’re driving down the road, and just for a brief moment we can say, “Good Lord, I’m holding a steering wheel. I have my foot on the gas pedal!” Or, “Good Lord, I’m looking at a tree!”

Usually we’re just looking at a tree and thinking about something else. Or we’re driving down the road and thinking about the argument we just had with our partner. It’s very, very rare that we simply look and are aware that we are looking.

And that involves being aware of what we’re looking at, and being aware of ourselves looking at the same time. So right now, I can be aware that I’m moving my hand, and that I’m talking, and that you there are in front of me. But it’s actually not a very, very common state at all, to be aware like that.

Empedocles gave very, very specific directions for how to start to become conscious through your senses. How to look and be aware that you’re looking. How to feel your tongue inside your mouth, and be aware of it. Not just rub your tongue on the top of your mouth, but actually be aware that it’s happening. And how to do this with all of the senses at the same time.

And this last stage, about how to do it with all the senses at the same time, this is very, very powerful, it’s very, very esoteric, it is an extraordinarily elegant way of realizing God.

Not by leaving the senses behind, but by consciously using all of your senses at the same time. If you do that, if you actually do that, you start to become aware… there is your sense of sight, there is your sense of hearing, there is the sense of feeling what you feel, your backside on the chair, or you feel your shoes on the floor. The hearing, the seeing, the feeling, the tasting, the touching. And it’s difficult enough even to do one of those consciously, but if you do them all consciously, you become aware of this infinite blackness between them.

There is a void that connects the seeing to the hearing, to the tasting, to the touching.

And that’s ETERNITY.

And that eternity is totally unchanging, but that eternity is also what gives rise to the physical world. And it’s out of that experience of eternity that people like Empedocles or Parmenides, these ancient Greeks, were actually able to bring the germs of a new civilization.

Because that eternity – it never changes, but it contains the seeds of all change.

 


The complete interview – 19:02


A prominent mystic of our time and student of sufi path, Peter Kingsley’s groundbreaking work on the origin of Western spirituality, philosophy, and culture is recognized throughout the world. Through his writings as well as lectures he speaks straight to the heart, and has helped to transform many people’s understanding not only of the past but of who they are. The author of three books, including Reality and In the Dark Places of Wisdom, and recipient of numerous academic awards, he holds honorary positions at universities in England, Canada, the United States.

peterkingsley.org

Peter Kingsley on Wikipedia

About the image:
Persephone, Greek Goddess of the Underworld; Museum of Ancient Sculpture, Cyrene, Libya.
In Greek mythology, Persephone, daughter of the fertility goddess Demeter, was abducted to the underworld by Hades but was allowed to return for part of the year, when the earth became fruitful. She is often depicted, as here, drawing a veil across her face, indicating her time on earth is ending and she is returning to the underworld, when the earth once again becomes barren.
Source

If, however, you read Peter Kingsley’s Reality, you will learn the true role Persephone played in guiding those who journeyed to the underworld – her domain – towards true reality.
And you’ll learn the real significance of the veil…

“… two and a half thousand years ago we were given a gift
– and in our childishness we threw away the instructions for how to use it.
We felt we knew what we were playing with.
And, as a result, western civilisation may soon be nothing but
an experiment that failed.”
– Peter Kingsley

Reality, by Peter Kingsley

Eckhart Tolle says, “This book is a journey back to the source
– not only of western civilisation but, more importantly, to the source within you.
Read it! To understand it is to be transformed.”
I couldn’t agree more.


 

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.

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…


 

trust the vast nobody lying behind you

This Unlit Light - Poetry by Kieran Patrick Riordan

 

The Teacher was asked repeatedly,
‘What is it to live in Awareness?’

Finally, reluctantly she spoke,
For she observed,
Few were willing
To relinquish their cherishing
Of the conditions for suffering.

With a sigh she began.

“Project not Outwardly

Contract not Inwardly

Hold onto nothing

In between.”

How will we speak to others? One asked.

“Back not your opinions,

Let silence move your heart to speak.”

What will I do with my life? Enquired another.

“Rely not on this character,

Trust the vast nobody lying behind you.”

Must my uniqueness die? Asked the cook.

“Be entertained by your ideas,

Let stillness light your way.”
 

She asked for tea and remained silent for another whole year.
 

(Excerpt from Bhutan, 2216….)

– Kieran Patrick Riordan

 


Posted by Kieran on Facebook


 

 

the primary fact

Sometimes a stunning image calls for an equally knock-out quote. I’m moved to post this one from Nisargadatta, because there’s so much misunderstanding around the ‘primary fact’. It shows up as stories that equate Reality with divine or sublime objects, or posit that it’s an experience one should strive to attain (via a smorgasbord of profit-earning materials and activities). It’s touted to ‘bring’ peace, happiness, awakening, enlightenment, and of course the obliteration of all our messy emotions as well as the problems we have with ‘others’.

Bring? The primary fact is that these supposed attributes are immanent in every case.

The primary fact is not metaphorical, mythical, magical or mystical. It’s not able to be experienced yet all experiences depend upon it for their existence. It is prior to anything conceivable and depends upon nothing for its absolute and ever-available presence.

And yet: It can only be apperceived as its display. How sweet is that?

 

Tree of Life: photograph by Kenneth Mucke

 

Beyond the mind there is no such thing as experience.

Experience is a dual state.

You cannot talk of reality as an experience. Once this is understood, you will no longer look for being and becoming as separate and opposite. In reality they are one and inseparable like roots and branches of the same tree.

Both can exist only in the light of consciousness, which again, arises in the wake of the sense ‘I am’.

This is the primary fact.

If you miss it, you miss all.

– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That

 


What are the implications of this view?

There is only The Dance. Today you are as twinkle-toed as a prima ballerina. Yesterday you dragged those feet as though they were cast in lead. Tomorrow? Who knows what will arise and choreograph your steps with exquisite fidelity to your patterned preferences and aversions?

It’s all the same, beloveds: Reality r-e-a-l-s on regardless; it only has one pair of shoes.

One-size-fits-all.


the great perfection


Photograph: Tree of Life, copyright Kenneth Mucke: more information here.


renounce

4am. Suddenly wideawake. Deep winter darkness. A hushed silence broken by one word echoing through the field called body:

renounce

I sat up. Lit a candle. Renounce? How curious that this unlikely word arose in mind here, at exactly the same time in the morning (it was a Saturday, too) as when she exhaled her last.

Pedant that I am, I reached sleepily for the dictionaries. I’m aware that my native tongue often hides subtle meanings beneath its everyday usage. First I clarified the breadth of meaning; as I did so the word took on skin-prickling relevance to my life, as it plays, nowadays.

Well, I thought, this is worth a scribble.

The dictionaries elicited an unarguable take on the life of this unofficial renunciate – I’ve inserted the gist into the pasted dictionary text:

Renounce – (rɪˈnaʊns)
v.t. & i., & n.

1. Consent formally to abandon, surrender, give up, (claim, right, possession).

– abandon, surrender, give up, all claims of personal doership, all stories of trauma, blame and fault, all rights to fruits of actions (especially those applauded), all possessions that are subject to change…

2. Repudiate, refuse to recognise longer, decline association or disclaim relationship with, withdraw from, discontinue, forsake, (~ treaty, principles, person’s authority, all thought of, design, attempt, friend, friendship; ~ the world, abandon society or temporal affairs).

– repudiate, refuse to recognise longer, decline association AND disclaim relationship with all that does not enliven, beautify, arouse gentleness and kindness; any phenomena (including people) posing as the Real or the agent of the Real. (The Real has no agents. Unless you include everything.)

– withdraw from, discontinue, forsake all conditioned assertions which deny the actual intimacy and interdependence of all Life. 

3. Refuse or resign right or position esp. as heir or trustee.

– refuse to take any hierarchical, authoritative position, or allow others to sign one up. (Which is not to abdicate responsibility, but to be perfectly placed – in choiceless awareness – to act in the instant.)

4. Give up some habit, pursuit, etc, voluntarily, e.g. to renounce smoking.

– give up the habit of pretending to be an unawakened ‘me’. It’s entirely dishonest.

5. In Card Games – to failure to follow suit because one has no cards of the same suit led.

– and in the Life Game, fail to follow, always. Repeat – fail to follow. The lifemap wearing one’s name is unique – a one-off – its unfolding exquisitely designed according to Life’s unknowable agenda (and being a groupie is always a self-betrayal).

[From Old French renoncer, from Latin renuntiāre to disclaim, from re-+ nuntiāre to announce, from nuntius messenger – Collins English Dictionary and The Concise Oxford Dictionary]


Five times I say: I do, I do, I do, I do, I do.

And another twice, because I’m fond of sevens (and so was she):

I do. I do.

– miriam louisa


Painting by Sophie Ploeg