sink deep down into yourself

So.   The atoms in a human body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space.
But is space really “empty”?
Bob O’Hearn echoes the ancient sages – Eihei Dogen comes to mind – in reminding us that what we think of as “empty space” is in fact vibrantly conscious, aware, and synonymous with the pristine and timeless awareness that is the bottom-line of our Being.  And – crucially – that one can know this irrefutably, for oneself and by oneself.

 

Just take the dive.

 

Sink Deep Down Into Yourself - Bob O'Hearn

 
 
Sink deep down into yourself, passing through flesh and bone, blood and water, nerves and electrical impulses, cells and molecular structures, atoms, and between atoms, immense empty space, conscious space, pristine awareness without gender, race, age, affiliation, belief, identity — our fundamental nature, nameless, formless, yet the basis of all names and forms, all life, all worlds.

Within this vast spaciousness, which has neither ceiling nor floor, nor any boundary or circumference, something appears. Immediately, attention flows out of itself and merges with that manifestation of itself, in the same way a cloud might appear in the midst of the empty sky, or a wave on the ocean, until we forget about the sky, or the ocean, in our effort to grasp at the cloud or wave. By habit, we grant these objects of consciousness a substantial and independent existence apart from their basis, identifying with them to the point that, when they inevitably vanish back into the space from which they originated, we tend to suffer a sense of loss.

Just so, this essentially cloud-like and transitory matrix of memory, thought, and perception which we generally regard as me, myself, and I spontaneously manifests within the spaciousness as a play of the spaciousness itself, except that we then imagine it to be our exclusive identity, and consequently squeeze the vastness down into this fragile formation of bubbling elements which we want to somehow persist forever, even though it never will, and so in its inevitable vanishing we tend to suffer a sense of loss.

Our friends and relations may gather around a glazed box of stuff which we once took to be our self. As it is lowered into the ground or rolled into the crematorium, some tears may flow, because the spaciousness took back what it made, leaving memories which too will fade, and eventually it will be as if it never was, and that much will be true — no praise or blame, no lingering regret: a wave arose, an ocean swell, it subsided again like a night’s brief dream, and all is well and will always be, in the empty sky of eternity.

– Bob O’Hearn


 
Sourced from Bob’s Facebook page.
Bob also writes on several blogs. Here are links to a couple of favourites:
the conscious process
feeling into infinity
Thank you dear friend.
 


 

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.

it never ends!

a dream was born of love

like a flower, budding in the field of time
it swelled, spread its petals
shared its perfume with complete abandon
smiled under the sun’s kisses
was tossed by many a foul storm
surviving almost a century
of spinning orbits around its bright star

“It never ends!” she exclaimed, exuberant,
just a few breaths before her last exhale,
before she abandoned our solar lover
and melted into the arms of
our eternal Beloved

a dream died

yet the love, the love remains,
imperishable, inescapable
and always beyond the reach of memory

~

impermanence


A little memorial piece. It’s been four years today … by the day rather than date.
(How beautiful that this year’s remembrance falls within the Easter weekend.)
I remain amazed and more grateful with every passing year for that final teaching:
IT NEVER ENDS

See also:

nothing ever dies but a dream

what is it that follows me wherever I go?

wideawake women

Image source unknown