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)


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


a deeper prayer

I love this profound and beautiful expression of radical surrender from Fred LaMotte:

No Affirmation

To make affirmations of abundance expresses lack.
To pray for strength confesses weakness.
To ask for healing is to be sick.
But simply to embrace what is
may be a deeper prayer….

FLaMotte-fb

I embrace ‘poverty,’
I expand into emptiness,
I don’t ask for ‘more.’
Is the universe not born from a boundless vacuum?
Not fearing the void, I ripple with wealth.

I confess that I am powerless
in utter surrender.
I abandon striving, and discover
pre-existent fullness,
the immoveable strength that is nearer
than the next breath…

I accept my dis-ease,
I welcome brokenness,
I hug this body.
In non-resistance, unity.
In unity, healing.

This very moment I refuse
to generate conflict
by changing the suchness
into the ‘should.’

I nestle into wholeness
and little things begin to happen
majestically…

All that greens with nectar,
all that buzzes with life,
emerges from
what Is…

Fred LaMotte

 

Image credit – Fred’s Facebook page.

emptiness blossomed as bliss

Darshan with Mother Meera

 

yesterday

those eyes

(darkly luminous, utterly empty)

looked into my heart

again

and

finding no watchman at the door

they waltzed right in,

blessed the space,

and emptiness blossomed

as bliss

 

oh Beloved!

we who are nowhere to be found

miraculously find each other

for an embrace of just seconds

in a dance

that spans eternity

 


ode to the great mother

A poem for Mothers’ Day.

 

Goddess Kali - Divine Mother

 

ODE TO THE GREAT MOTHER
by Han Marie Stiekema

I’ve had three teachers
My Indian Guru
Life and the Great Mother
The first transmitted me the Light
Through life I was painfully confronted with myself
While the Great Mother took everything I gained

How wonderful were those ten years of bliss
Roaming around like a child
Innocent, carefree and foolish
The world being paradise once again
Wandering around though never leaving Home
Everything continuously smiling at me

How painful therefore being pulled back
In what was forgotten for a long time
That other part of me: the common self
Unaware of the work still to be done
I tried to survive in the world
Suffering setback after setback

As I saw only “winners” all over the place
Everything was constantly taken from me
First my family, then my home, land and work
Once again my children, then success and a future
My ability to function, my credibility, my money
And finally my health and some friends

Never ending confrontations with myself
With everything rejected, denied and suppressed
Drove me crazy, brought me to utter despair
My Self-identity once so gloriously present
Broken to pieces, covered with a layer of mud
Not knowing where life would lead me

How lucky I eventually was
After I thought it was all behind me that
Life confronted me with the greatest crisis ever
Which put me with my back against the wall
In utter helplessness
I surrendered to the Unknown

Without samsara no purification
No liberation from identification either
On the Path suffering appears to be crucial
Peeling off the layers hiding the pearl
Bringing you to the Ultimate Reality
Emptiness Itself

While you are striving for Enlightenment
I have come from It
Identification with the goal prevents you from enjoying
As you climb the mountain with much effort
I met you walking down the road
In your ambition you didn’t even see Me

There is Nothing to achieve
Only relaxing in What You Are Already
To open yourself like a flower in the morning sun
Trusting the wondrous “laws of the Universe”
Getting in touch with the Space in and around you
Restoring the Wholeness of Life

Beyond Enlightenment and Death
The Real Treasure resides
It is the Womb, the Abyss of the universe
How compassionate She was to me
Breaking me down until Nothing was left
Hence I called Her the Great Mother

At the end of suffering the Origin appears
It is the meaning of all destruction and loss
Rather than trying to “save all beings”
You should let it happen
In order to discover what is Behind
To die and being reborn is where IT is all about

Your burn out is a rebirth
This is the meaning of a culture that is dying
Emptiness doesn’t tolerate too much accumulation
Both inner and outer things will be broken down
It is the goodness of the Mother to take
All ignorance, self-centeredness and ugliness back

How dear are all those to me who suffer
They are Mother’s chosen ones
How pitiful on the other hand the many who are
Trying to escape missing the wondrous gifts of samsara
On the other hand surrender to the Mother
In Her Vacuum the Light is born

If you think you have achieved you missed
Her NonReality is beyond all realization
Praise the miraculous Womb of the universe
And your rebirth will be ever lasting
And me? Being Nothing I am determined by everything
She set me free in order to become a prisoner

How poor my compassion when it really matters
Mainly concerned with preconditions
I constantly fail to respond when it is needed
Deep regret about so much lost chances
I return to the Mother who takes the sadness from me
Reminding me of my place in Her plan

The key paradox is this
Only by giving yourself up you will be saved
It is the Mother’s invitation
Her compassion wants to bring you back Home
She has been waiting for you for so many kalpas
So don’t disappoint Her

May all those who have heard the call
Whose passion is to restore the Wholeness of Life
Messengers from the ten directions
Come together practicing Unity in diversity
In this most desperate of times
Leading mankind to its Original Heritage

~ Han Marie Stiekema

 

Poem source: adishakti.org
Image source: “On the Narrow(er) Ridge” – where you can read more about the Hindu Goddess Kali (pictured).


this awareness is not aware that it is aware

To say that “awareness is aware of itself”
is to split it into two:
one bit as the viewer
and the other as the view.

But is this really so?
(Not according to any teaching
or dogma or philosophy; no,
save me from second-hand ‘truths’!)
What’s the experience right here,
beyond the cunning concepts
that inevitably appear?

Awareness awares.
That’s all that I can say;
its ceaseless unlit light
both creates and acts its play.

Even emptiness is empty
and mind a four-letter word;
my gut rips wide open
as I fall on my sword.

Just this! I cry –

yet instantly it’s clear
that thusness is a step too far
from the lucid living light
that’s plainly shining

h e r e

[~ ml – emmelle – on exiting retreat]

the cathedral of emptiness

Sometimes

saying ‘yes’ to your heart’s longing for silence

requires an unapologetic ‘no’ to the world

with its ceaseless need to script your story.

 

The world will dissect your motives, analyze your actions, categorize your traumas;

it will never accept your silence.

Silence is the word-wielding world’s worst enemy; you may well be spurned,

even by those who claim affection for you.

 

But your heart, quivering with quiet,

will deliver you into the cathedral of emptiness –

where the “roar on the other side of silence”

– the holy nameless name –

sounds existence into shape and form.

– miriam louisa