fully inhabiting one’s luminous body

Mary DeVincentis - Shunyata (Emptiness)

 

Truly, is anything missing now?
Nirvana is right here, before our eyes,
This very place is the Lotus Land,
This very body, the Buddha.
– Hakuin Ekaku

 
Many of us who have journeyed through the rarified atmosphere of advaita and nondual teachings have been warned that we are “not the body.” And while in some abstract, absolute sense this might have validity, it’s only partially true and distinctly unhelpful. To disregard our body is to turn away from the only access we have to our unique and authentic experience. It is to inhabit a thought-bubble while telling ourselves that we are resting in nondual awareness – either that, or still desperately seeking it.

But “nondual” means just that – no duality: only one. If there’s only one thing happening here, how can we dismiss the body from the totality? How can anything be dismissed? Where would it go?

Judith Blackstone is one of the few contemporary female voices in the nonduality context offering a fully embodied approach to nondual realisation, an approach that doesn’t turn away from or bypass trauma (holding patterns) embedded in the fabric of the body.

Why is full embodiment crucial? Read on:

Most contemporary teachings consider nonduality to be the direct unmediated perception of phenomena, along with spontaneous, unmediated expression and action. In other words, direct, spontaneous participation in life, unhampered by preconceptions. Students of this view are usually instructed to fix their attention on the present moment, or to relax into an all-inclusive awareness.

There are two limitations with this approach. One, nondual consciousness is more subtle than simple attention. It not only focuses on phenomena, it pervades phenomena. It renders all of one’s experience as suffused with a radiant emptiness. Two, the fixations that obscure the present moment are not just mental. Long-held constrictions in the body limit our perception, cognition, emotional responsiveness and physical sensation. We cannot open to our fundamental nature just with our minds, we need to open throughout our whole body. Because of these bodily constrictions, when we attempt to let go into the present moment, we generally let go only from the surface of ourselves. In order to realize nonduality, we need to let go from deep within the core of our being.

When spiritual teachings do not recognize the transformation of the body, the result is, at best, a partial, imbalanced spiritual openness. Students can follow a path for many years without ever finding the spiritual dimension of life. In the Realization Process opening to nondual consciousness does not depend upon a volitional attention to the present moment. Instead, it is an enduring transformation of one’s whole being that persists even during reflexive thinking, intense emotion or while engaged in the I-Thou activity of relationships.

Approaches to nonduality that focus on recognizing and dissolving mental constructions also de-construct the notion of the self. Any fixed ideas of the self, such as “I am a teacher” or “I am a good person” will obscure our realization of nondual consciousness. However, when we realize nondual consciousness pervading our body and environment, we uncover a qualitative, authentic sense of our individual self. Nonduality is neither the subject nor the object of experience. It is the unity, the oneness of subject and object.

Nondual awakening is not dependent upon a particular spiritual lineage. When we realize nonduality, we are not realizing Buddhism or Hinduism. We are realizing our own fundamental nature—the spiritual foundation of our being is self-arising. It is naturally there, and it appears spontaneously as we become open enough to uncover it. Although the different spiritual lineages describe nondual awakening in different ways, the arising of nonduality itself is unmistakable.

The Realization Process is accessible to both beginning and experienced practitioners. It is particularly helpful for people who have glimpsed nondual reality and wish to stabilize there. The work includes practices for direct attunement to nondual consciousness, for moving as nondual consciousness, for releasing holding patterns from the body, and for relating with other people without losing one’s realization.

The Realization Process was developed by Judith Blackstone, but is now taught by certified teachers throughout the world. It is available in private sessions, classes, workshops and teacher/certification trainings.

Source nondualityinstitute.org. My emphasis.



Links

www.nondualityinstitute.org/Realization-Process.html

www.realizationcenter.com

www.judithblackstoneblog.com/2010/healing-trauma-through-embodiment/


Art by Mary DeVincentisShunyata (Emptiness)


you are a holy compost pile

Chameli Ardagh’s poetic letter dropped into my inbox a few days ago. Perhaps some of you received it as well. It’s too powerful not to be shared, especially at a time when so many of us are experiencing rumblings in the depths of our own unique [cosmic] compost heap. Let us be nourished and supported by this wisdom as we push again and again, and yet again at the “edge of evolution”.

Remember: whatever may be arising for us – it isn’t our little drama. It’s all for the sake of Creation Itself. She is restless and she is singing our song.

 

Benzaiten - Japanese Saraswati

The new world grows out of this fertile brew made of our outgrown clothes, our errors and awakenings, our dreams and prayers, and the luminous horizon we sense there — in the pause between the breath, in the gap between thoughts, in the softening of the heart. You are a holy compost pile at the very edge of evolution.
 
Brewing on this edge is an alive intelligence beyond anything you can grasp with thoughts and concepts. In your willingness to hang out in the pregnant unknown, you become the poet, the artist, the mother birthing her holy medicine into our world.
 
The thought you never have thought before …
The possibility you have never seen …
The song you have not yet heard …
 
It is uncomfortable to stay in the not knowing. We want so quickly to fill the void, eagerly grasping for the solutions dangling within immediate reach. Like a radio receiver with shortcut buttons to our favourite programs — even if the sounds torture us, distract us and zap our energy — we stubbornly tune into the familiar stations of consciousness, insisting that that’s all there is.
 
Tune into the subtler frequencies: the shadows dancing; the harmonies in music and rain; the silent sounds; the open spaces; the throbbing rhythms of growth; the open landscapes within that only poetry can take you to.
 
Tune into Radio Leela, the frequency of Divine Play and infinite possibilities. Our Goddess of creativity — Saraswati Ma — is the DJ here, and rumor has it that She is playing your song.

– Chameli Ardagh


The image is a portrayal of Benzaiten, the Japanese Saraswati. It comes from here.
The artist writes, “Benzaiten, or sometimes called Benten-sama, is the goddess of everything that flows: water, words, speech, eloquence, music and knowledge. She’s also the goddess of art and beauty. In my drawing she wears a kimono that flows out as a river and holding a biwa, a traditional Japanese lute. I decided to not draw her face, but instead show her from the back. The reason why I didn’t draw her face, is because I didn’t want to portray her with a specific face.”


 

when you know yourself

Rajasthan, India, Tantric Painting

 

when you know yourself

you know that there is nothing that is not God

you know that the face of God
is the Face of faces
you know It as both He and She
and neither: nada
you know It as the Beloved
whose embrace you can’t escape
you know Its Presence as your
absence, or rather,
your secret sensuous melting
into the ever-nowness of your aliveness

when you know yourself

you know that there is nothing
that is not this immeasurable immensity,
always hiding in plain view

you know It as the Nameless One
wearing any nametag with equal delight,
quivering like a child’s smile
simply to be noticed

Beloved
when you know yourself

you know that there is nothing that is not yourself

– miriam louisa


Image – Hindu Tantric painting, Rajasthan, India. Made using tempera, gouache, and watercolor on salvaged papers, these paintings from Rajasthan form a distinct lexicon dating back to the 17th century. They were/are used to awaken heightened states of consciousness. They are not produced for commercial purposes, but simply pinned up on the wall for use in private meditation.
In the example above, the lingam and the yoni have swapped their traditional colour depictions; the intense black of the lingam has become pink and the pink of the yoni is now black. (Lest we forget that the Dance of Consciousness is infinitely mutable, utterly defying all labels.)
The lingam represents Shiva, the transcendental source of all that exists; the yoni is the creative power of nature and represents the goddess Shakti.  The lingam united with the yoni represents the nonduality of immanent reality and transcendental potentiality.

Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan


 

please take these offerings

They often sneak up on me at this time of the year – a gaggle of words-wanting-shared. Yes, it’s birthday time – not a blog birthday, but another tick in the annual count for she-who-scribbles while her spacecraft steers itself around the sun…

Birthdays are a good time to reflect on one’s blessings, and to offer gratitude to our friends for their kindness and thoughtfulness. I always begin my birthday with a gesture of thanks to my mother, who not only gave me the miraculous opportunity for life, but also fostered, nourished and inspired the flourishing of that life in every way possible.

Now in my eighth decade, and delighting in life regardless of its curved balls, I feel to share some of the observations that have delivered me to this joy. It’s the best I can offer; may your mind and heart be able to receive.

Image source - https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/BoneStructure/

 

Life hurts.
But what you are never feels pain.

Everything changes.
But what you are remains unchanged, eternally.

You’re flat and exhausted and depressed.
But what you are is forever poised as equanimity.

You’re broke, stressed, squeezed dry, homeless and hungry.
But what you are is unaffected and impartial.

You’re smashed by disappointment, betrayal, abandonment.
But what you are is ever calm, accepting and unbroken.

You’re afflicted by physical and mental aberrations, abnormalities, imbalances.
But what you are never suffers for one second.

 

So what you are is clearly something with which you need to become very familiar. And it’s e-a-s-y to do so. You don’t need a formal introduction. You don’t need a manual or a map or a guide book. You don’t need to change your religion or your beliefs (although changes may well occur as a result). You don’t need a 12-step plan or a meditation practice.

What you are is more obvious and closer than the tip of your nose. It’s the one experience you can never escape, 24/7.

What would you call that? Your aliveness? Your awareness? Your presence? All these words come close, but none are ultimately true or exact. Why?

Because they aren’t yours. Or mine. Or anyone’s. Drop the personal pronoun, and there you are – radiant all-knowing alive presence. The Light of Knowingness, self-luminous, always-on, never-needing fuel or flint…

And that is what you are – free, fulfilled and flourishing as all you conceive, perceive and experience. All of it.

How wondrous that this is possible – that this primordial awareness is huge enough to hold the entirety of creation, excluding nothing – yet be unaffected and unmoved by any expression of its handmaiden, consciousness.

It is truly The Beloved, the Godhead of the saints and sages and poets.

And it is what you are.

 


Image source


 

try it, do it

This is another extract from my mother’s file of inspirational clippings and notes, which I first wrote about in the post keep far away.  She has taken some time to copy the last three paragraphs from a book called The Quest of the Quiet Mind: The Philosophy of Krishnamurti by Stuart Holroyd.  In these final lines, the author is summing up Krishnamurti’s take on meditation.

Earlier parts of the chapter make it clear that K held a very emphatic position on what meditation isn’t – not “the repetition of a word, nor the experience of a vision, nor the cultivation of silence … not wrapping yourself in a pattern of thought, in the enchantment of pleasures.” He would have added that it is not prayer – which is rooted in the illusion of separateness, and it is not a way or a path to anything – certainly not to freedom, for freedom is the precondition of meditation.

– – –

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flame_from_a_Burning_Candle.JPG

The basis of meditation, then, is watchfulness, both of the objective and the subjective worlds. It is ‘seeing, watching, listening, without word, without comment, without opinion – attentive to the movement of life in all its relationships throughout the day.’ It is the continual emptying of the mind of thought and experience, allowing the stream of consciousness to flow freely without thought seizing on any of its elements; it is living and dying from moment to moment.

Another paradox about it is that although it is not a thing you can deliberately set out to do, it nevertheless demands hard work and ‘the highest form of discipline – not conformity, not imitation, not obedience, but a discipline which comes through constant awareness, not only of the things about you outwardly, but also inwardly.  Just watch and be aware of all your thoughts, feelings and reactions, without judging, comparing, approving, condemning or evaluating them in any way, Krishnamurti says. Try it, do it, he urges, and you will find that there is a tremendous release of energy, there is the opening of the door into spaciousness, there is the awakening of bliss.

In a telling image he likens the bliss of meditation to a pure flame, and thought to the smoke from a fire which brings tears to the eyes and blurs perception.  In meditation the mind penetrates and understands the entire structure of the self and the world that thought has put together, and the very act of seeing and understanding the structure confers freedom from it, for mediation ‘destroys everything, nothing whatsoever is left, and in this vast, unfathomable emptiness there is creation and love.’

– Stuart Holroyd, The Quest of the Quiet Mind: The Philosophy of Krishnamurti


Find a comprehensive selection of Krishnamurti’s books at the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust website.


Image source


keep far away
words from my treasured teacher


kitchen sink epiphany

In her book When Fear Falls Away Jan Frazier gives us a privileged, intimate view of her mundane daily experiences in the light of her awakening. This little extract is from a piece she wrote titled “A Visceral Experience of Immortality: April 22.” In it, she is happily doing the dishes when she suddenly understands something “fundamental about existence”; a long-held idea moves from the concept compartment and becomes an experienced reality.

It brought to mind the words my mother uttered (shortly after she announced she was “going to die now”) as I leaned over her, whispering my thanks for being the perfect mother and friend to me:

But I always will be – it never ends!

kitchen sink epiphany

I was standing at the sink doing the dishes, chanting, looking out the window. The kitchen sink is turning out to be the place where great realisations seem to happen. I love to chant, and I love to look out the window at the green world, where at a moment’s notice a creature might amble into the yard, its feet quick over the new grass, the sniffing nose collecting data, gathering intelligence of possible danger, possible food. I love the window. Do I love washing dishes? Well, I do. It is what gives me an excuse to look out the window and chant.

So I was doing that this morning, happy as could be. Tingly with happiness. (I get like this a lot.) I was feeling a really sustained surge of delight at simply being alive. The world outside the window pouring into my eyes, my nostrils, every possible portal – and I felt myself pouring out into the world. And I thought how great it is to be conscious, to be alive. I said to myself, I’m so glad to be alive. Consciousness is a total gas. I just want this to go on and on.

And that’s when I realised it. Viscerally, I mean, for the first time in my life. Oh my God, it IS going to go on. Forever. THIS is what keeps steady, this very sensation – even past death. I won’t have to do without, ever.

I have believed this for a long time, belief being a thing that lives in the mind. I have had the idea of immortality, of continuity between physical life and post-physical life. But that moment in front of the sink, experiencing the very body of continuity, I realised something: I only thought I got it before, the idea of consciousness being eternal. But I never really got it before, not until right this second.

I couldn’t get over it. I never have to stop! Body or not. This will be my experience, clear past death – which will be a little road bump, if I even notice it.

Jan Frazier

When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening


If you enjoy Jan’s writing, you might be interested in another excerpt (on undivided perception) I posted over on the awakened eye:

I’ve lost track of which is which


Photo credit: katherinecollette.com


I watch me appear; I watch me disappear

 

I am never absent, I cannot be escaped
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

I am unaffected, I have no preference
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

Forget ‘Big Brother’ and CCTV:
there’s an eye there is no hiding from
and it’s known as “I” to me.

It prowls this world of dream and drama
ceaselessly scoping the cosmos and all creation:
macroscopic, microscopic and myopic too,
the outer worlds and inner…

Eyes wide open, eyes shut tight
I can never escape its unlit light.

I am unmoved, I am all movement
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

I am never absent, I cannot be escaped
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

– miriam louisa

I watch me appear; I watch me disappear
 

Beloved Gangaji writes:

At a certain point, a couple of years after [the disappearance of the ‘me’ as separate entity], I was aware of a sense of myself as a person starting to slowly return.  And I thought, “Oh, no, what does this mean?” because at that point I had been counseling people not to reconstruct themselves after this kind of experience.  There was a moment of wondering if this sense of myself meant I had lost anything, but by then I knew enough to check and see.  When I did, I saw clearly that the truth that needs no scaffolding was not bothered by any sense or perception of myself as being this human animal, this body-mind configuration.  Silent conscious awareness was not bothered by any disappearance of the sense of this form and not bothered by its reappearance.

The fact that the sense of me as form reappeared was actually a teaching for me because it threw me into profound inquiry.  And in that inquiry I saw that this sense of being a separate entity appears and disappears all the time, even in a day—for everyone.  It’s just that until we have an experience of it disappearing, and then discovering the true “I” to still be present, only then do we have the possibility of recognizing that the disappearance or the reappearance doesn’t really touch the unmoving truth.

It was at this point I felt myself reincarnating as an ordinary human being.  I didn’t fight the ordinariness coming back, because I was always aware that whatever came back—an emotion, a sense of me, a negative thought, etc.—it didn’t touch what had been revealed…

To this day, I can say that from that moment there has been no lack of resolution and fulfillment.  There have been negative states as well as positive.  There has been grief as well as joy.  There have been trials and there have been defeats, but nothing has dislodged the certainty that who I am includes all.

© Gangaji, 2012
[My emphasis.]
Source:  http://www.onethemagazine.com/blog/2012/10/12/answer-to-a-prayer/

Image source:  Rumi on facebook