how to start the day on spaceship earth

Begin your life, begin each day, begin a session of meditation, nourished by the experience of being seamlessly part of a vast living world.  Before even getting out of bed, pause for a few moments to feel the rhythm of your breathing and settle into the deep interior sensations of your body, an extraordinary community of tens of trillions of cells – all ‘talking’ to each other. Imagine uncountable cellular beings, each of them replicating, travelling, repairing, maintaining, eating, breathing, excreting, forming alliances and symbiotic associations, all functioning together in the process that is your body.

You are alive!  Not only that, but the community that is you, at this very moment is interbeing with myriad other communal beings.  Feel this billion year unfolding of embodied mystery.  In Buddhism, to enter this remembrance is to touch the essence of what is called ‘refuge’; a deep sense of belonging; a vivid acquiescence to participating in a living process that can never be completely mapped out.

Everything that you think, do and feel, has an affect on other beings.  You matter.  We matter.  Everyone matters.  Remembering our roots, or releasing into refuge, can bring a sense of abiding in a way of deep acceptance, wonderment and utter inclusiveness.  This moment before you roll out of bed is a time to feel your own unique sense of being enmeshed in and supported by, the living community of everything and everyone that makes up this world.

~ Tarchin Hearn

www.greendharmatreasury.org/blog/

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mind the gap!

If you’ve ever traveled the London Underground you’ll be au fait with this warning. It’s painted on the platform exactly where the the doors of the train will open. It’s delivered over the intercom at every stop to alert passengers to be mindful when stepping off the train. You hear it so often you stop hearing it.

The reminder to “mind the gap” is one of those inadvertent gifts delivered by mundane daily life and language; it’s meditation’s best friend.

Minding the gap as I step off one train of thought and onto another, ‘I’ floats as spaciousness. The gap between thoughts is the closest thing to God I can think of – but to think at all, I’ve got to be back on the train!

Who’d have thought the London Underground would be such a kind teacher?

The gap is R&R for the brain. The gap is succulent silence and the flowering of pure Aware-ing. The gap is my version of Graceland. It’s where the Beloved lives.

Mind the gap?

You bet.

– miriam louisa


image source – http://www.guardian.co.uk/


sunyata or story? – a reality check

Two weeks ago I took a tumble down unlit steps onto concrete. I’m no stranger to being hobbled for long periods (how else would a tearabout meet and fall fatally in love with a zafu?) but what’s interesting now, is that there’s … no drama. The Light of Being called ‘I’ is quite unaffected by two sprained ankles and one wrenched knee.

But there’s more, and it wants to be shared. In the leisure of forced immobility meditation finds no distractions. It flourishes. And this morning, after a sweet spell of simply being Being, it bubbled up some interesting questions.

Attention went to my left leg. There it lay on the sofa, the ankle swollen, the foot and calf black, yellow and blue with bruising. Not a pretty sight.

What do I actually see?
I see patches of color, shapes; a form.

Are the patches of color – in my actual direct experience, not in abstraction, interpretation or conceptualization – bruises?
No, they are simply patches of color – data perceptions. Bruises can only be inferred, not experienced.

And the shapes – the swollen ankle?
Swelling likewise. It can only be inferred, not experienced.

And the form?
Simply a form – ‘leg’ is what it gets labeled.

So?
No bruising, swelling or leg is actually being experienced.

What about pain?
My leg hurts, yes!

What leg?
Huh? Right. OK, there is sensation.

Where?
In my leg …… crikey…..?

Is the sensation outside of perception?
No, couldn’t be … could it?

Where is perception located?
Behind my eyes …

Really? Is perception outside of Awareness?
No. They can’t be separated.

So where’s the sensation actually experienced?
In Awareness – which has no fixed point of reference!

And where’s the perception of color, shape and form experienced?
In Awareness. Must be! OMG. There’s only Awareness experiencing Itself as a field of energy data!

And where’s the sense of ‘I’ experienced?
It … floats within Awareness … it is Awareness. It’s all Awareness!

Good Reality check, eh? Just in case you were tempted to turn it all into a wee story sweetheart!

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No-thing exists outside of the Awareing,
the Experiencing, the Knowing, that is ‘I’.
No accident, no injury, no pain, no trauma
ever affects this unknowable ‘I’.
The Knowing of this is sweet peace and Lightness of Being.

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I share this because I know the agony of bodily injury. This body has been smashed. One of my legs was severed and re-built. I have spent many months hospitalized and immobile, not knowing whether I’d ever walk unassisted again. Back then I was unable to separate the story of my experience from its actuality. Now I am able to do that, and I am profoundly moved to share this simple investigation with those who suffer. It’s such a simple inquiry, and it shows so clearly how we often don’t experience the actuality of what’s going on. We experience the story, and it’s usually an awful one. And it’s usually all a lie. To suffer is to believe the lie.

~ ml

rest your weary heart and mind

An extract from the page I added recently:
the great perfection

 

Simply rest in this transparent, nondual present awareness.

Make yourself at home in the natural state of pure presence, just being, not doing anything in particular.
Present awareness is empty, open, and luminous; not a concrete substance, yet not nothing.

Empty, yet it is perfectly cognizant, lucid, aware.

As if magically, not by causing it to be aware, but innately aware, awareness continuously functions.

These two sides of present awareness or Rigpa – its emptiness and its cognizance (lucidity) – are inseparable.

Emptiness and luminosity (knowing) are inseparable.

They are formless, as if nothing whatsoever, ungraspable, unborn, undying; yet spacious, vivid, buoyant.

Nothing whatsoever, yet Emaho!, everything is magically experienced.

Simply recognize this.
Look into the magical mirror of mind and appreciate this infinite magical display.

With constant, vigilant mindfulness, sustain this recognition of empty, open, brilliant awareness.
Cultivate nothing else.
There is nothing else to do, or to undo.
Let it remain naturally.

Don’t spoil it by manipulating, by controlling, by tampering with it, and worrying about whether you are right or wrong, or having a good meditation or a bad meditation.

Leave it as it is, and rest your weary heart and mind.

Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche


the breath-tide of silence

breathscribe series: silver singing silence
900 x 640 (mounted); acrylic on textured canvas
miriam louisa simons

Inhaling, the brush is loaded.
Exhaling, a line is laid down.

I and painting are one.

I and color are one.

I and breath are one.

One breath-breathing Beingness!


See more breathscribe works at wonderingmindstudio.com

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avatars of the sage sex

Gratitude to Jerry Katz for this overview of emerging and established wideawake women.

A vanguard of self-schooled female mystics is doing an end-run around the mainstream self-help and New Age movements — and is advancing a radical, 21st century spirituality.  Call it the ‘Anti-Me Generation.’

Across the centuries, spiritual seekers have invariably been women and the teachers men; from Jesus to Gurdjieff and Rumi to Ramana Maharshi, enlightenment has been a male-dominated business.  But figures like Byron Katie are in the vanguard of an astonishing advent in the mystical tradition: she is a leading light in a scattered coterie of women who have propounded a radical, new esoteric spirituality and seem to have leap-frogged ahead of male counterparts in the pursuit of the sacred.

Their work, if you want to call it that, isn’t wholly cribbed from Indian gurus or apprenticeships in Asian monasteries, but forged in a homegrown fashion in the crucible of contemporary America – sometimes as a result of frustration with oriental traditions.  Alongside Katie, these self-schooled spiritual masters include . . . Oregon-based Catherine Ingram, Santa Fe’s Pamela Wilson, and Calgary, Alberta-based Karen McPhee.

These wise-women represent an implicit indictment of the legion of vendors from the human potential movement who appear on Oprah’s show, or who fill the pages of Common Ground.  Those services are New Age brands that explicitly pitch self-improvement, and promise to fill in the ego’s deficits.

But Byron Katie, Catherine Ingram and the Australian-born mystic, Isha, undermine the very notion of self-enhancement through spiritual seeking.  In fact, they take direct aim at the personality’s hegemony over reality, and advance a counter-intuitive proposition that the act of thinking itself is an inherently contaminating phenomenon.

The mind is a terrible thing to waste, the famous TV ad slogan from the ’70’s goes.  To the new female mystics, the mind is simply a terrible thing.

This ‘Anti-Me’ generation of teachers also resists branding particular counter-measures for the likes of anxiety, addictions, adultery and affairs.

“I’m reluctant to specify a goal or repetitive motion using some technique,” says Ingram.  “I see people identifying as the doer — ‘I sat for two hours without moving,’ ‘I’ve completed forty-five retreats,’ — proudly waving the banner of spiritual achievement as if that had anything to do with freedom.  These thoughts and concepts all cluster around one central belief—the belief in ‘me.’  This is the ridgepole for their entire illusory house of pain.”

That’s the difference between the new female mystics and, say, Deepak Chopra.  He goes on Oprah and tells people to meditate each morning.  Instead, these women would say: “First thing we do — let’s get rid of that word.”

A notable exception to the rule is Byron Katie, who calls her work, well, The Work.  But she’s the best example of a self-schooled female mystic.  For two years, Katie was so maniacally depressed she rarely got out of bed.  A mother of two boys and a teenaged girl in Bakersfield, CA and an alcoholic, she ended up in a local halfway house.

When Katie awoke one morning to find a cockroach crawling up her foot, she had an out-of-nowhere epiphany.  “All my rage, all the thoughts that had been troubling me, my whole world, was gone,” she recalls.  “The only thing that existed was awareness.  I was seeing without concepts, without thoughts or a story.  There was no me.  The foot and the cockroach weren’t outside me.  There was no outside or inside.”

During the two decades since that halfway-house psychic makeover, Katie … has drawn audiences in the thousands to lectures and workshops, offering others the same experience.  To both experts and lay people alike she appears to live in an elevated psychological state utterly free of internal conflict, akin to a yogi or a lama.  Katie herself claims that she does not even see herself as a spiritual person.

“I don’t know anything about that,” says Katie.  “I’m just someone who knows the difference between what hurts and what doesn’t.”

While Byron Katie has tried to codify her Work, her approach is still very much a common touchstone for the teachings of the new, self-styled prophets.  She uses thought to disarm itself through a sequence of deceptively simple questions.  Other approaches tend to elude language.

Pamela Wilson un-plugs people from the stories they tell about themselves by walking them through a series of shifts in somatic awareness.  She asks them to identify recurring situations or feelings where they feel stuck, and then focus on the bodily sensations they trigger.  When they are allowed to arise, and understood as tactile echoes of past events, they can be metabolized.

The process works kind of like a primordial mind-body algorithm.  “There’s no lack of brilliance in the design of either the body or the way it lets go,” says Wilson.  “The system of release is strange, almost reptilian.”  “What you’re doing is helping the body let go of the past,” continues Wilson.  “One of the ways the body creates release is by recreating something from the past in order to pull it out of the earth of the body.  Otherwise, it stays deep.”

One reason it is hard to codify some of the practices of post-modern mystics in words is because they’re more like signposts that point you toward a mental state that lies precisely beyond words.  How-to tips are superseded by a stronger path of transmission at the disposal of Pamela Wilson, Byron Katie and the others: the simple power of their personal presence.

The international followings of these women aren’t built on much else.  A Mother Theresa, by comparison, had an honorific in a powerful multi-national organization; these women have no organizations per se.  Neither do they bank on an MD’s shingle, like self-help gurus Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra (Katie worked as a real estate broker in her previous life, Ingram as a journalist).  Mystics by their nature don’t actively seek fame or fortune.

How, exactly, did these remarkable women emerge as “realized” beings in our data-infused, image-obsessed society?  Like Katie, most of them have reported a fundamental dissolution of a social or personal identity.  For Smadar de Lange, a rising star who represents the next generation of female mystics, it came after a traumatic motorcycle accident.

For Ingram, her meltdown came after the break-up of an engagement.  “I had had romantic obsessions since I was ten years old,” she says, “which I now see as a yearning for divinity because that is the realm in which I had most tasted divinity — that intoxicating dissolution of separation.  So this last painful ending was a grand culmination of that whole fantasy, and in that pain there was no place that I could be in peace except free and clear of a lot of thinking and ruminating about the story, the past, or the future . . .”

“It forced awareness into a kind of luminosity that had not been there.”

– Jerry Katz


Source:  The Nonduality Highlights, with some editing by yours truly.


 

earthbreath

35

joy knows no bounds
in the predawn hours

the earth is held in the embrace
of an otherness that can only
be called ‘sacred’

it’s like a held breath,
a halt in time’s march …

then, the peach-hued sunrise
is noisily called forth
by the feathered guardians
of the dawn,
and the breath flows out

into the glory of Gaia’s first day

 

– miriam louisa
echoes from emptiness