an extraordinarily elegant way of realising God

What would it be like to be fully, continually aware of all of our senses – and what’s more, to be aware of that very awareness?  What might that full sensory awakening have to do with the irreversible realisation of Reality? Drawing from his personal experiences with Parmenides and Empedocles – foundational figures of Western civilization whose mystical dimensions have been forgotten or ignored – pre-Socratic philosopher Peter Kingsley maintains that to approach the changeless authentically, Western civilization must rediscover its own sacred origins and purpose. He asks, how can Western culture participate in the harmony of oneness if it has forgotten its own note?

In this post, which is a transcript of part of an interview made in connection with the Global Oneness Project, Kingsley outlines the sensory awakening at the root of Empedocles’ writings.

 

Persephone - Greek Goddess of the Underworld; Museum of Ancient Sculpture, Cyrene, Libya

 

You have to find reality, ultimate reality, here, where you are, in this apparent body, surrounded by these apparent colors and movements, and shapes and forms and sounds and noises. And they (the ancient Greek mystics) gave the techniques. They gave the methods for using our senses to find oneness all around us.

Empedocles and Parmenides were very, very up front, as most great mystics are, and at the beginning of their teachings they say, “Everybody is living a totally wasted life.” Everybody’s life is a sham, everybody is living in a dream. We can think we are driving down the road, we can think we’re shopping, we can think we’re in a business meeting. We are asleep. We are never actually using our senses.

Sometimes there can be the brief moment when we look out at a tree, or we’re driving down the road, and just for a brief moment we can say, “Good Lord, I’m holding a steering wheel. I have my foot on the gas pedal!” Or, “Good Lord, I’m looking at a tree!”

Usually we’re just looking at a tree and thinking about something else. Or we’re driving down the road and thinking about the argument we just had with our partner. It’s very, very rare that we simply look and are aware that we are looking.

And that involves being aware of what we’re looking at, and being aware of ourselves looking at the same time. So right now, I can be aware that I’m moving my hand, and that I’m talking, and that you there are in front of me. But it’s actually not a very, very common state at all, to be aware like that.

Empedocles gave very, very specific directions for how to start to become conscious through your senses. How to look and be aware that you’re looking. How to feel your tongue inside your mouth, and be aware of it. Not just rub your tongue on the top of your mouth, but actually be aware that it’s happening. And how to do this with all of the senses at the same time.

And this last stage, about how to do it with all the senses at the same time, this is very, very powerful, it’s very, very esoteric, it is an extraordinarily elegant way of realizing God.

Not by leaving the senses behind, but by consciously using all of your senses at the same time. If you do that, if you actually do that, you start to become aware… there is your sense of sight, there is your sense of hearing, there is the sense of feeling what you feel, your backside on the chair, or you feel your shoes on the floor. The hearing, the seeing, the feeling, the tasting, the touching. And it’s difficult enough even to do one of those consciously, but if you do them all consciously, you become aware of this infinite blackness between them.

There is a void that connects the seeing to the hearing, to the tasting, to the touching.

And that’s ETERNITY.

And that eternity is totally unchanging, but that eternity is also what gives rise to the physical world. And it’s out of that experience of eternity that people like Empedocles or Parmenides, these ancient Greeks, were actually able to bring the germs of a new civilization.

Because that eternity – it never changes, but it contains the seeds of all change.

 


The complete interview – 19:02


A prominent mystic of our time and student of sufi path, Peter Kingsley’s groundbreaking work on the origin of Western spirituality, philosophy, and culture is recognized throughout the world. Through his writings as well as lectures he speaks straight to the heart, and has helped to transform many people’s understanding not only of the past but of who they are. The author of three books, including Reality and In the Dark Places of Wisdom, and recipient of numerous academic awards, he holds honorary positions at universities in England, Canada, the United States.

peterkingsley.org

Peter Kingsley on Wikipedia

About the image:
Persephone, Greek Goddess of the Underworld; Museum of Ancient Sculpture, Cyrene, Libya.
In Greek mythology, Persephone, daughter of the fertility goddess Demeter, was abducted to the underworld by Hades but was allowed to return for part of the year, when the earth became fruitful. She is often depicted, as here, drawing a veil across her face, indicating her time on earth is ending and she is returning to the underworld, when the earth once again becomes barren.
Source

If, however, you read Peter Kingsley’s Reality, you will learn the true role Persephone played in guiding those who journeyed to the underworld – her domain – towards true reality.
And you’ll learn the real significance of the veil…

“… two and a half thousand years ago we were given a gift
– and in our childishness we threw away the instructions for how to use it.
We felt we knew what we were playing with.
And, as a result, western civilisation may soon be nothing but
an experiment that failed.”
– Peter Kingsley

Reality, by Peter Kingsley

Eckhart Tolle says, “This book is a journey back to the source
– not only of western civilisation but, more importantly, to the source within you.
Read it! To understand it is to be transformed.”
I couldn’t agree more.


 

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


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).


nothing ever dies but a dream

I’m celebrating an anniversary this morning. Three years ago the dream had a daughter holding her beloved mother as she breathed the breath that would never return.

I’m also celebrating because, for the first time in those three years, the pain has vanished. The passage of time is a great healer, as is the time spent silently aware-ing on the zafu.  But I also honor the beloved mentors who have appeared in the story, their healing tools in hand. They are many, but I particularly want to thank: A kind, wise Lama, who sent me away on a retreat to find “the mother” I mourned. And a dear, dear woman whose energy healing (EFT) triggered the release of volumes of stories held in this body’s cellular vaults. And – Byron Katie. The work of the Work leaves no lie uncovered, and o-m-g some monster furphies were happily beavering away in this wee dream called ‘me’. One of them, running below the limn of  consciousness in spite of intellectual clarity about and acceptance of impermanence and the impossibility of independent self-hood, was a subtle and sneaky belief in death.

Nothing was ever born but a dream.
Nothing ever dies but a dream.

Reality is the always-stable, never-disappointing base of experience.
When I look at what really is, I can’t find a me.
As I have no identity, there’s no one to resist death.
Death is everything that has been dreamed,
including the dream of myself,
so at every moment I die of what has been
and am continually born as awareness in the moment,
and I die of that, and am born in it again.
The thought of death excites me.
Everyone loves a good novel and looks forward to how it will end.
It’s not personal.
After the death of the body, what identification will the mind take on?
The dream is over, I was perfection,
I could not have had a better life.
And whatever I am is born in this moment
as everything good that has ever lived.
~ Byron Katie

One dream ends. And here’s the beauty of it – this unlit light | reality | primordial awareness – abides, even as new dreams appear.

And I can hear her l a u g h t e r . . .

Gladness! Gratitude! Grace!

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awareness is an unassailable fortress

For those whose investment in their version of the ‘bondage’ dream is high, there’s bound to be a reaction when they meet any soul who dares to declare the immediacy of unconditional freedom.

It tends to go like this:

– if you are audacious enough to suggest that no kind of meditation practice or spiritual work will ever result in wideawake freedom (aka awakening or enlightenment), they’ll say you are truly deluded

– if you aren’t deeply engaged in analyzing your personal psychological pathology, they’ll say you’re in denial

– if you aren’t rushing around saving the lost souls, the children, the whales, the environment, they’ll say you’re irresponsible

– if you aren’t full of fear for the future with its threats of terrorism, mass destruction, financial collapse and mayhem, they’ll say you’re avoiding reality

– if you are happily and contentedly doing what you love, they’ll say you’re selfish

The good news is that none of this matters one nanojot to Awareness.  IT couldn’t give a toss.  (Just check in and see for yourself!)  Freedom is never anywhere but at the beginingless beginning.  Freedom is fundamental.  All the delusion, denial, irresponsibility, avoidance and selfishness in the universe can’t affect the freedom that simply is THIS.  Neither can accusations and insults.

Please don’t think I am trivializing or dismissing any of the practices or activities mentioned above.  There is room for every-imaginable-thing to manifest in the vastness of Life.  Everything has its place and purpose.  But once one has tired of all efforts to improve oneself and the world, and the quest has begun to move inwards rather than outwards, these things fall away of their own accord.  Perhaps they will re-emerge eventually, flowering as the focus of one’s wholly impersonal wideawake wisdom.  Perhaps not.  It ceases to matter, for one knows that whatever the dance of appearances, the Great Unlit Light of pure Awareing remains unmoved and unchanged.  It is the only unassailable fortress – yet It is without form or shape or location!

I remember my Granny teaching me the anti-bully rhyme when I was a tiny tot – “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never hurt me!”  Wise old wideawake woman.  She knew that Unknowable Knowingness was her true identity.

~ miriam louisa

yes, but can you live it?

Well –

if you’ve had a peek into
wild wideawakeness –

if the jigsaw pieces of
a lifetime’s seeking
have grouped themselves
into an apperception
that’s savaged
all your ideas about
what this IS
and knocked both your
feely fantasies and your
intellectual understanding
clear out of mind –

if you’ve fallen
head-first into this
simple suchness,
there’s no longer a
question of “embodying it” or
“living it.”

 

So my answer is no.

How can you

live the Reality

that lives You?

And yes.

How can You not?

 

– miriam louisa


a b i d e … r e s t … m e l t

What if there was a world you could slip into without effort of any kind, a world where you had no name, no status, no history?  A world where you didn’t have to know anything about striving to be richer, healthier, more creative, more attractive, more lovable? Imagine a world where the words enlightenment, awakening, freedom, salvation, were yet to be thought-up.  What if that world was real and ever-available, no conditions ever attached?

And what if that world was the Real World, for it was – unlike the dream world one normally inhabits – ever-present and changeless?  What if that world – which would be more accurately called ‘world-ing’ – was one’s natural home and substance?  What if IT was closer, more intimate than anything one could conceive?

Wouldn’t that change everything?

IT is here, right now, in just this.  Just this everythingness and whateverness.

Abide.  Rest.  Melt.

The Oneness we fondly call Beloved is waiting: bouquets in one hand, a big broom in the other.  You will be taken, you will be loved, you will be cleansed and re-formatted.  And you will eventually  – it might take a while, depending on the extent of your self-delusion – find it impossible to return to the old world.  In fact it ceases to exist for you; it has been absorbed by the new View.

What if all it took was a backing away from beliefs of any kind – even poetic expressions like the previous paragraph?  What if thoughts of any kind were the only obstacle to Truth?

Wouldn’t you want to find out for yourself?

You are warmly invited.  Admittance is free … but costs everything.

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