grounded by love

This post is reblogged with gratitude from Pema Deane’s The Vibrant Heart.

Pema’s posts often have an uncanny serendipitous resonance with the unfoldings happening here.  I love her deep wideawake expression.  It gifts us that rare mix of savage wisdom and heart-full compassion.

Many of us in this extremely challenging and beautiful time of Self-realization go through periods where the experience of having a vital and energetic body is a distant memory.  And every attempt to restore wellness eventually comes back to ground zero.  We are left in ‘nothing works’ and ‘no control’.  Grounded by Love.

This is the time to let all ruminations about fixing go and simply receive the offering of the aches and pains of a broken body.  This is the time to see that every ache is like a kiss from the Beloved saying “Not here, love.  Not here.”  The answer is not here in the body.  Not only is the answer not in fixing it, it is nowhere near the body at all.

It is found in the seeing that a well body and a broken body are one in kind, they are both illusion.  That a clear, light body has no more value than a body filled with energy that is purging and releasing – they are both imagined into existence.

It is cultivated in the gentle, firm and knowing ‘so what’ and ‘nothing matters’ arising in the face of unwellness.

The body’s welfare is pre-ordained, the script already written.  Can we walk through the play holding its hand, letting the newly-shining truth of its unreality and ‘not mattering’ open the heart to great mercy and tenderness for all that is not real.  Mercy for the unresolvable issue in our lives, whatever that may be, for how in its unwavering relentlessness it is waking us up out of the heart of misidentification;  its tugs on our attention losing their strength through the sheer exhaustion of their known ineffectuality.

We rise up as true Self in the midst of the unfixable.  This is its job and this is its grace.  The rising up of the internal Real that sheds light on the unreality of all that is temporal.

~ Pema Deane

cutting through to naked experience

This is an extract from Contemplating Illusion Through Loving All Life, a new booklet from one of my precious Noble Mentors, Lama Mark Webber.

Meet the Great Illusionists – fast-talking clusters of brain cells that map out a ‘me’ and its entire experience of time and space – and just for a moment contemplate the utter unreality of your entire mental and physical landscape. It will change you forever.

Down the rabbit-hole we go … spinning, whirling whiffs of emptiness …

The illusion that one can hold any fixed mental position even for a millisecond is untrue.  All mental objects, thoughts, and sensations are fabricated.  Don’t believe me, take a close look.  To do so will take pellucid, naked mindfulness and inquiry, unbroken by thoughts and distractions.  No amount of intellectual certainty will be enough.  Reading a modern neuro-cognitive textbook that says the same thing will not be enough.  Yet the illusion of permanency and constancy, formed by a lifetime of talking brain cell clusters makes this fabrication appear to be very real.  In modern neuro-cognitive terms, these fabrications are ‘maps’ in the mind.  Our images and concepts of body, feelings, self and other, are but maps.  The tree you see, the bell you hear are not out there; however something is, but ‘it’ is fantastically vast in scope.

Ordinary experience, even most profound meditation and visionary experiences, are not what is.  Experiences appear solid only by conditioning.  Knock out those brain cells, those patterns or maps formed by normal conditioning, through physical-mental trauma or temporarily through insight meditation, and it all goes.  Deeply relax the rigidity via deep meditation and the illusion vanishes.  It only takes a small needle in a small part of the brain, and a human cannot recognize him or her-self, even when looking in a mirror.  Or use the sharp needle of penetrative insight, while looking in a mirror: “Is that Uncle Fred or perhaps… it is familiar… yes, hummm, Aunt Marge perhaps in that mirror?  And, more precisely, what do you call that thing I am looking at!”

Many illusions, really delusions, appear to exist, veils upon veils.  There’s the illusion that heaps of information are the same as meaningful content.  The illusion of not needing a Noble Mentor.  The illusion of permanency.  The illusion of concreteness.  The illusion that one can hold any fixed mental position.  The illusion of self.  The illusion of not-self.  The illusion of separate entities.  The illusion of happiness.  The illusion of unhappiness.  The illusion that objects are bad or good.  The illusion that we can Google our way out of this thicket.  The illusion that all thoughts are bad.  The illusion that thought is ultimately bad.  The illusion of speech as an inferior way of communicating.  The illusion of everlasting peace.  The illusion of space and light.  Even the illusion of some-body to become enlightened.  The illusion of a mind!  Cut through them all!  Cessation of clinging means cessation of clinging!

How many nice Buddhists keep forgetting the Four Noble Truths?  Far too many! Practitioners are often looking for some higher, deeper, more esoteric instructions. Finding something better than “Cease clinging (tanha) and dukkha ceases?”  Trying to negotiate out of the truth?

St. John of the Cross, a Spanish saint of the 16th century, declared the vital point of non-clinging in his famous and glorious poem, The Ascent of Mount Carmel:

When you turn toward something
you cease to cast
your self upon the all
For to go from the all to the all
you must leave your self in all
And when you come to the
possession of all
you must possess it
without wanting anything
In this nakedness the spirit
finds its rest, for when it
covets nothing, nothing
raises it up, and nothing
weighs it down, because it is
in the centre of its humility
When it covets something
in this very desire it is wearied


~ Lama Mark Webber


In a similar vein:

finding my mind …  isn’t mine!

nonduality and the mutating brain


the illusion isn’t a problem

When there’s intimacy with the Real
the illusion is no longer a problem.

You notice, appreciate, and marvel at the way worlding arises;
the way energies appear as feelings, thoughts, forms, plays of consciousness;
and the way it all melts back into the Real.

The illusion isn’t a problem, it’s a gobsmacker.
A miracle.
The pinnacle of exquisite creativity.

You are on your knees in awe,
and crisp, crackling JOY
is bursting the seams of your bodysuit.

~ ml


it’s about a eureka


the pearl
is vastly misunderstood

it is taken to be the realization of
‘no-self’ –
in spite of evidence that there is no
self to realize a no-self!

it’s not about self or no-self,
illusion or enlightenment,
form or emptiness
duality or non-duality

it’s about the cessation of all such notions

it’s about a eureka
beyond the grasp of the notion-spinner
thought-weaver, experience-craver

yet more intimate than one’s own skin.


~ miriam louisa
echoes from emptiness