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


 

cracking open

This is a guest post written by my friend Amrita Skye Blaine. It was first posted, in part, on her blog The Heart of the Matter. I’m sure most readers will find themselves nodding in recognition at her personal description of her path from belief in the myth of separation (from the holy Whole), to the understanding of how we perpetuate this myth via our unexamined thoughts, to the full-blown and embodied apperception of the impossibility of separation.

Which is where the story of our life really begins, in Truth.

 –

Cracking Open - image credit http://uncoverawareness.wordpress.com/

 

When we are born, we are wide open; innocent and vulnerable, we know nothing, and trust everything. From that moment forward, we develop a shell of protection. This may occur quickly if our infancy is traumatic, or incrementally if we are raised in a nurturing and safe environment. But the shell develops, either way—in response to being denied, physically hurt or neglected, snapped at, not understood, or any number of other ways we are shaken into learning that we are separate. Our parents teach us this too, in hundreds of tiny ways. I cannot speak for all countries, but in the western cultures, we do not escape the experience of separation.

We cling to our shell because it is familiar. It is how we have learned to move in the world, based on decisions we made at a very early age. I learned that I needed to protect myself from my older brother’s wrath, and then expanded that world view to include all men. I understood that if I didn’t abide by my mother’s rules, she psychically withdrew her love. My heart contracted; it no longer felt safe or comfortable to remain open.

Later in life, some of us are drawn to unlearning this sense of separation that we have accumulated. This can occur abruptly, but that is rare. For me, it has taken a long time. Perhaps this process begins on our own, but it is more likely that we find a teacher, someone who can point both by the example of their presence, and their teachings, to the deeper truth of who and what we are.

Finally, after many decades, and with the pointers of more than one teacher, a dear and thoughtful husband, and friends, I learned to see the ways that I cut myself off, made myself separate. Later, I saw how believing my thoughts framed my world, and the old patterns and conditioning fell away more quickly. This leaves a softer and more vulnerable heart; this is the process of cracking open. Just like the baby chicken who grows until its shell is so unbearably tight that in desperation it flails and pecks it until it breaks, we too must crack open the shell of our own creation. After the first crack, when a touch of light pours in and we taste a new way, the unlearning may be able to be slowed, but it will not be stopped. We crack open to the truth and to love until we see that they are not two. We were never separate—never were, never can be.

– Amrita Skye Blaine


 The Heart of the Matter

Amrita’s unedited text concluded with a quote from yours truly –
something I’d written in a comment on my last post
imperishable, unnameable, the unknowing

“It is exactly so: the shape of the heart is changed. And there is no way back.”
Thank you dear Amrita.


Image source


the one outshining light

Sufi dancer; Light Outshining

 

‘I’ and ‘you’ are but the lattices,
in the niches of a lamp,
through which the One Light shines.

‘I’ and ‘you’ are the veil
between heaven and earth;
lift this veil and you will see
no longer the bonds of sects and creeds.

When ‘I’ and ‘you’ do not exist,
what is mosque, what is synagogue?
What is the Temple of Fire?

– Mahmud Shabistari

 


Mahmud Shabistari was one of Sufi’s greatest poets of the 14th Century. Stressing the One Light that exists at the heart of all religious traditions, his work is one of the clearest and most concise guides to the inner meaning of Sufism, and offers a stunningly direct exposition of Sufi mystical thought in poetic form.
–  Poet Seers


In this new video Rupert Spira explains with precision and clarity how this unlit light is not external to ourselves, but the self-luminous Knowingness of everything we perceive. Never lit because never not-lit; never to be found because never-lost; never to be escaped because it is the very essence of our Being.


The video is from Rupert Spira’s Facebook page; you can also find it at his website.
The poem by Mahmud Shabistari, and the stunning image, are from Dean Keller at one of my favourite blogs:
The Beauty we Love


this shines on regardless

Bill Viola - Catherine's Room, Scene 1

 

This shines on

whether I’m in bitch mode or radiating benevolence

whether I’m depressed or enjoying equanimity

whether I’m achingly weary or frolicking tirelessly.

 

This shines on

whether my bookshelves are stacked with scriptures, chick-lit, crime or porn

whether my shoes are microfiber or leather, my coat cotton or mink

whether my fridge is piously vegan or robustly carnivore.

 

This shines on

whether my philosophical tendencies veer towards the scientific and secular

or the mystical and metaphysical

whether I’m a closet optimist disguised as a cynic

or a knee-jerk nay-sayer, jus sayin

 

Don’t be fooled. This shines on

– pristine, incorruptible –

regardless.

 

This shines on

whether you agree with me as you scan these words

or jump to defend your own view

whether you accept me as a flicker of the vast Light we are

or turn your back on our inextricable intimacy.

 

This shines on

and in, and from, and through, every perception,

every experience of every face and fact of World

known by human and non-human Knowingness

(and I exclude nothing, no thing in creation

from that capacity for Knowingness).

 

This shines on.

The sages call it Reality, but beware: it’s not a thing, an object

or even a state. To name it is to turn from it, but it could care less.

It shines on regardless.

 

– miriam louisa


To be continued: The implications…


Image: Bill Viola – Catherine’s Room, Scene 1


when God comes in your house

Nothing’s left but what is looking,
yet everything you see is you.

Image source - http://favim.com/image/4582/

 

The Invitation

When God comes in your house
it is only by your invitation,
but even your invitation is God’s,
for she has always been
landlady and tenant,
windows and walls,
the fire in your hearth
and the cold wind blowing at your door.

At first, her visits seem so welcome.
She brings tea and cookies and loves you
so sweetly inside your own heart.
You keep inviting her back
by your prayers and meditations,
imagining you’ve found the one you always wanted
who will hold you on her endless lap
and take away your pain forever.

But pretty soon, she starts arriving
unexpectedly, at odd hours of the day and night,
and every time she comes,
she takes something away–
a pretty picture here, a bookcase there,
maybe even some trash
you are happy to be rid of
in your basement.

But at some point, it occurs to you
she intends to move in completely.
And now the mind starts backing up:
“Perhaps you could come back another day,
after I’ve worked on my house,
after I’ve bought nicer furniture,
after I’ve finished my fight with evil,
after I’ve planted a peace garden.”

But you must know
that if you invite God in,
sooner or later she will set up house,
and when she does, beware;
for she tosses out every single thing
she does not need, which,
in the case of the personality,
is every single thing you thought you were.

Every thought and cherished belief
she just throws out on the garbage heap;
and that might be fine if she replaced them,
but she never replaces those sacred thoughts;
she utterly destroys them. She strips the coverings
off the walls, and peels the paper from the window glass,
opens the door to invite in the wind,
and every creature you wanted kept out.

Sometimes she cleans your house gently,
dismantling it room by room.
But often, she just comes in with a torch,
and you feel in your gut the fire burn
in the center of your separate comfort,
and you watch the contents of your house
melt and turn to ash,
and the roof blow off.

And just when you think
there is nothing more that she could take,
she opens the ground beneath
the barely intact shell of your house,
and all the levels of your being
fall into the space that has no name;
and you are left alone in all the world,
without a map, without a path, without a point of view.

And you know you are creator of your dreams,
your dreams of mountains and rivers,
calm seas and storm clouds,
crashes of lightning and spacecraft,
beautiful babies asleep at the breast,
joyful dancing and puppies at play,
Spring’s new blossoms,
and the threat of Winter’s war.

And at this point,
what you are inside your house
is simply What is looking out.
Nothing’s left but what is looking,
yet everything you see is you.
Now your life turns inside out.
Your body is the world of being
looking out of Just What Is.

And strange as it seems
to the mind of your memory,
you enjoy each dance of yourself,
even the pains you hoped to be rid of,
you experience fully without regret.
For everywhere your eye may look,
all it sees is infinite love
displaying itself in creation.

And just to be completely honest,
there are times you might be tempted
to rebuild your house of concepts,
for the mind just loves to think;
but the fire of Truth resides within you,
where it always lived before you knew,
and it keeps revealing moment to moment
what is false and what is true.

So what can be said about what happens
when God takes over her house?
She laughs and simply sips her tea,
washes her dishes and sleeps when it’s time,
then goes to find another house
where there has been an invitation,
an invitation to come in
from the deep, deep love of Herself.

© Dorothy Hunt, Only This!


Dorothy Hunt is the founder of the San Francisco Center for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and serves as Spiritual Director and President of Moon Mountain Sangha, Inc., a California non-profit religious corporation. Dorothy currently offers meditation and satsang gatherings, weekend intensives and retreats, and also sees individuals for both psychotherapy and dokusan (private meetings with a spiritual teacher.) Her teaching is centered in the San Francisco Bay Area, but is offered elsewhere by invitation.
WEBSITE


who is this moment?

One hundred years ago my generation’s grandparents woke to the news that the world was at war. Many of them, and their own children – our parents – perished in that conflict (the one that was meant to be “the war to end all wars” – remember?) Many more perished in the second, perhaps deadlier version, and there’s no end in sight to the many current conflicts that plague peace on our beautiful planet.

One hundred and one years ago today, my dad was born. It hadn’t happened yet, but Hiroshima Day would become a grisly marker for his birthday. When I asked him how it felt to share his birthday with the remembrance of that atrocity he was uncharacteristically quiet. He said, “It was the war, dear.” His tone implied that it was something I wouldn’t ever properly understand, not having lived through such times, and he was right. But the sense of his resignation fuelled my lifelong inquiry into the nature and causes of human conflict.

Today I want to take some quiet time to honour my dad, to thank him for all the ways he (usually unintentionally) helped to pave my path. I also want to honour the countless souls who perished in those global conflicts, and those who continue to be caught up in the outrageous and totally avoidable conflicts that are occurring right now, as I type…

I haven’t a magic wand that I can wave over the mayhem to restore sanity to a species gone mad, but I do have a question. To answer this age-old question for oneself takes courage; to live the truth of what is discovered is not an option but an imperative. It just might be the only chance we have – as a species – to survive the old story of separation that drives the war machine. And to change the course of history.

Who is this moment that is morphing, with every thought, into a ‘me’ with its skeleton of opinions, certitude and self-righteousness? This ‘me’ who is so programmed by received ideology that it would make of its siblings, parents or neighbours an enemy; that it would exterminate innocents intentionally or unintentionally? Who is this ‘me’-moment that believes itself to be separate from others, who can look into their eyes and fail to see its own Beingness looking back?

There is no one else, nothing else. There is nothing to be found outside yourself.

"Outside of this there is nothing." original sumi painting for your altar or mediation space. The quote is from the Zenrin Kushu, by Seiko Morningstar illustrator of Zen by the Brush. A circle is called an enso and is a common image in Zen Calligraphy. Naturally there is no inside, no outside, no beginning and no end.

When the ego is dead, a new kind of life begins. This is why it is said that when you see the true nature of yourself, there is no way that you can live your life in the old way. It may take a long time to actualize it, but once you see it, it is like an itch that needs to be attended to.

Once we see what is real, it’s very difficult to hide from reality. Before we see it, we can plead ignorance and kind of bungle along, deluding ourselves about our existence. We can blame it on our parents or the president or any number of people, places, and things in order to avoid our responsibility. We can always be a victim, like the unfortunate soul caught in the “winds of circumstances.”

When you realize yourself, all of that self-deception is ended because you find out who is really responsible. It is you. You are the responsible party. There is no one else, nothing else. There is nothing to be found outside yourself.

At first, it is an awesome realization to be responsible, to have no one to blame anymore. It sounds silly if you try and say, “He made me angry,” or “He made me do it,” or “It’s her fault.” It sounds ridiculous, once you have realized yourself, to make the statement “I’m just a victim of circumstances.”

You realize that you are the circumstances, that you create what you experience, that what you do and what happens to you are identical. You realize that cause and effect are immediate and instantaneous; cause doesn’t precede effect, nor does effect follow cause.

If you want to know the past, look at this moment. If you want to know the future, look at this moment. This moment is the future and the past. Where will you find this moment? Who is this moment? What is this moment?

–  John Diado Loori, in Mountain Record of Zen Talks

 


Calligraphy by Seiko Morningstar – the quote is from the Zenrin Kushu.


 

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