the important thing is the tear falling down your cheek

there’s no time like the Present to have a good cry

 

 

When the courage (le cœur: heart, French) to sit still and see what might bubble up from the heart’s cauldron finds us – and finds us innocent of any agenda to analyse, to fix or flee, tears will most assuredly flow.

I was raised a stoic.  In our household one’s face had to be bright and cheerful, regardless of the inner weather.  Tears said “shame”.  Tears said “weak”.  Tears said you were no fun to be around.  Tears were taboo.

I was already ancient when, by some wild grace, courage found me and guided me into my body’s dark knowledge.  (I wrote about it in this post at my ‘echoes from emptiness’ blog – following fear into the star-stuff of my cells).  In my cocksure ignorance I assumed it would all be done and dusted within a modest time-frame.

Three years later the tears are still falling, the heart is still cracking, crumbling, awash in tenderness, trembling with bliss.  (Yes, bliss – I had no idea that bliss is simply the opening of the heart.)  Yet now the tears arise from a depth beyond the personal, from a well of sorrow that’s ownerless.  Personally I don’t feel the need for notions of karma and reincarnation, but my lived experience shows me that whatever is happening here is dynamically all-inclusive and interpenetrating across time and space.

No separation can be found.  The tears belong to all of us because there is only one of us.

Many wise philosophers, poets and teachers have alerted us to the crucial importance of taking the descent into the unknown depths of the psyche.  The unapologetic baring of all that arises – free of analysis and explanation – turns out to be the ultimate alchemy:  The healing, the return to the whole.

We are not here to flee sadness and unhappiness but to welcome them whole-heartedly as part of our living experience of an inescapable immensity that unfailingly shows up as this, here, now.


Whenever sadness visits, I cherish these lines by Hafiz.  What a treasure of a poem!  The perfect antidote to mind’s default denial of one’s immediate felt experience, the slick side-stepping into the God zone, where all is light and great happiness … and one is experiencing only half a life.

Hafiz knows that Wholeness can’t be whole without including everything.

Hafiz:

I think I just want to be sad today, the way many
are in this world.  True, God rides in my pocket,
as He does in yours.

Yes, I could lift Him out and look upon various
realms of light and know great happiness.  Maybe
I will do that tomorrow.

The ocean has moods.  Have you not seen how its
colour can change, and the waves’ force and heights
can differ?

Feast Here


Steven Harrison:

Like archaeologists of the soul, we begin to uncover the debris of our mind.
Our need to exist in full relationship to our world is what drives us.
Layer upon layer of ideas, conditioning, and fear is what we dig through.

The hubris of knowledge must be the first sacrifice.  For it, we get nothing.
Nothing is a great gift indeed.

The Shimmering World: Living Meditation


Reggie Ray:

Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism understands non-dual awareness as an essentially somatic state. Practitioners come to see for themselves the condition of yuganaddha or union: that the more fully we know, explore, and identify with our human incarnation, our somatic being, including our traumas, the more profound and unwavering our realization of non-duality.

Trauma is a well-known phenomenon in the Pure Awareness traditions of esoteric Tibetan Buddhism and is considered the ultimate obstacle to realization.  In tantric yoga, through a series of somatic practices, practitioners are enabled first to create a safe and stable ground in the non-dual state for addressing trauma; then to open pathways so that early, previously unconscious painful experiences can communicate themselves to consciousness; and finally, how to allow unresolved emotional dilemmas to make their own journey toward healing and resolution.

Dharma Ocean


Rumi:

Set your life on fire.
Seek those who fan your flames.

Who gets up early to discover the moment the light begins?
What was whispered to the rose to break it open last night was whispered to my heart.
You’ve gotten drunk on so many kinds of wine.
Taste this. It won’t make you wild.

It’s fire.
Give up, if you don’t understand by this time that your living is firewood.
Set your life on fire.
Seek those who fan your flames.

The lamps are different,
But the Light is the same.
To change, a person must face the dragon of his appetites with another dragon, the life-energy of the soul.

What is the body?
That shadow of a shadow of your love, that somehow contains the entire universe.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and attend them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Sorrows are the rags of old clothes and jackets that serve to cover, and then are taken off.

That undressing, and the beautiful naked body underneath, is the sweetness that comes after grief.
You haven’t dared yet lose faith – so, can faith grow in you?
Gamble everything for love, if you’re a true human being.
If these poems repeat themselves, then so does Spring.

Rumi: Selected Poems


Dr. Gabor Maté:

I’ve seen so many positive thinkers in palliative care who say: “In all my life I’ve never had a negative thought.  How come I have cancer?”  The answer is, they have cancer because they never had a negative thought.  Not having negative thoughts is not allowing reality to intrude on your perception of the world.  You never see how things are.  You have to always maintain a sunny, falsely rosy view of the world so that you can’t see what doesn’t work.  Lots of studies show that people who are sunny and positive die quicker of their disease.  If you’re a woman with breast cancer and you’re a positive thinker, you’re guaranteed to die much quicker.

Dr. Gabor Maté


Cheri Huber:

Many people quit meditation practice for this very reason: it opens the door for everything we ever tried not to face.  And from a Buddhist perspective we aren’t talking about just one childhood; we are talking about lifetime upon lifetime, eons of suffering.  All of it will find its way into our awareness if we sit still with it long enough, and allowing that to happen is the only way it will be healed.

Trying to be Human, Zen Talks with Cheri Huber


Carl Gustav Jung:

No noble, well grown tree ever disowned its dark roots, for it grows not only upwards but downwards as well.

Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.


Anzan Hoshin Roshi:

We actually can experience directly and intimately the activity of thinking and feeling of other bodyminds; the more that we open to how experience actually is, and move past the tendency to narrow attention into discursiveness, the more that this is the case.  The more completely that we sit up straight and let our delusions fall away, the more completely that we live our life as it is, the more that we recognize ourselves as all beings and all beings as ourselves.  In the realization of what Dogen calls “shinjin-datsaraku” or “dropping through the bodymind” we recognize that all beings and ourselves are only the luminosity of “nehan-myoshin” or the “radiant Knowing which is beyond reference point, the nirvana of the Buddhas.”
[My emphasis]

White Wind Zen Community


Eric Baret:

Life speaks only of you, of this emotion.

So, you might occasionally go to listen to someone,
but when you realize that what you hear to be true on his lips is your own truth,
you will no longer feel any need to do this.
You will see that life, in all its forms, speaks this same truth.
Every daily event is a reminder of this profound emotion.

In many ways following a tradition, a spiritual teacher, is an escape.
You must follow yourself when you feel a true emotion.
You might be reading a text by Meister Eckhart and an emotion arises in you.
Close the book; the text will fall away.
The important thing is the tear sliding down your cheek.
This is your treasure, your direction, your teaching.
It is what you must follow, must listen to.

De l’Abandon, translated from the French by Mary Mann.


Image:  Vincent van Gogh, Vieil Homme Triste
Dessin au crayon noir, lavé et aquarelle (réalisé à Etten), 24 Novembre 1882
Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo (Pays-Bas).


this luscious luminosity

A selection of favourite word-weavings on the theme that underpins this blog, beginning and closing with beloved Rumi.

I drank that wine of which the soul is its vessel.
Its ecstasy has stolen my intellect away.

A light came and kindled a flame
in the depth of my soul.

A light so radiant that
the sun orbits around it
like a butterfly.

– Rumi

 

Light-Moth. Source - Amrita Nadi

 

I, the light of pure Knowing, can never be seen as an object or known as a state,
and yet all objects and states shine with My light alone.

– Rupert Spira


The great, shining light of divinity is not a light you can see;
it’s a light that sees.

– Adyashanti


Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent
and the divine is shining through it all the time.

This is not just a nice story or a fable,
it is true.

– Thomas Merton


Such love does
the sky now pour,
that whenever I stand in a field,

I have to wring out the light
when I get
home.

– St. Francis of Assisi


Meditation is that light in the mind which lights the way for action;
and without that light there is no love.

– J Krishnamurti


You are the light of the world.
You are the consciousness that illuminates the world.
Know yourself as that, and that’s freedom, liberation, awakening,
the end of suffering and madness.

– Eckhart Tolle


Vast is That, and self-luminous, of unthinkable form, and subtler than the atom.
It shines forth, farther than the far, and yet It is very near, for those who see,
residing in the shrine of the heart of every being.

– Mundaka Upanashad


The lamps are different, but the Light is the same.

So many garish lamps in the dying brain’s lamp-shop.
Forget about them.

– Rumi


and this Light does know all other light as its shadow


Image credit and first Rumi poem – Amrita Nadi on Facebook


the unnameable is the eternally real

This piece was drafted a year ago as a second post-script to a post called why you don’t really want to awaken. The first post-script was called your original luminous brilliance. There, I attempted to clarify what I meant by “whose only beacon is this unlit light”.

This post revisits the preceding lines: … whose only muse is this nameless name.  Here’s an extract from the original post, the poem, and a few quotes from different traditions about this “nameless name”.

Who’d have thought that the estrangement and agony, the confusion and the sheer vertigo of dropping out of every version of a self would eventually be known as a blessing, a grace beyond words?  But words are all she has, so the song goes like this:

the blessing

emelle says

homeless
I found the unassailable
rock of refuge

penniless
I found the treasure
that can’t be bought or sold

exhausted and ill
I found healing
in that which is ever whole

purposeless
I found delight
in every uninvited chore

outcast
I found my tribe:
the wild wideawake
wanderlings
whose only muse
is this nameless name
and whose only beacon
is this unlit light

 ~

Tibetan 'Double Dorje' energetic diagram

The “nameless name” is sometimes referred to as “the Word” (“In the beginning was the Word …”) and “the unstruck sound” of  Vedic scriptures. Poets and mystics throughout the ages have coined their own terms for this enigmatic primordial sound, while acknowledging that it can never be named.

Contemporary science now demonstrates what ancient teachings have claimed for millenia – that all living things – including you and me, in fact all things in existence, are made up at the most essential level of vibrating, pulsing energy.

Mystics and meditators are familiar with this energy. I was introduced to its vibration when practicing yoga kriyas – it was referred to as The Holy Name. It manifested in my auditory awareness as a roar similar to the thrum of huge dynamos at a power plant. Eventually it was perceived as a humming vibration around and within all phenomena. And further along, it was realized that my perception of it could not be set out, separated, from it.

In other words, like the Unlit Light of Awareness, the primordial Nameless Name is the essence of what one actually IS. They go together like up and down.

I’m sure many readers are familiar with this “roar on the other side of silence”. (See below.) What seems more elusive, however, is the closing of the gap of separation between the subject (me) and the sound (conceived as an object). The roar and its perception are One. One vibration that has neither cause, beginning or end.

In the Sanskrit tradition, this sound is called “Anahata Nada,” the “Unstruck Sound.” Literally, this means “the sound that is not made by two things striking together.” Its familiar symbol is the OM or AUM Sanskrit seed syllable.

Sanskrit energetic diagram: OM

Lao Tzu:

The Tao that can be spoken of
is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the enduring and unchanging name.

The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.

He who would rest in perfect peace
must know the nameless name
whence all things rise, and bloom and cease
returning whence they came.

The unnameable is the eternally real.

~ Lao Tzu (a selection of verses from The Tao Te Ching)

Kabir:

If you want the truth,
I’ll tell you the truth:
Listen to the secret sound,
the real sound,
which is inside you.

~ Kabir

Rumi:

I’ve been looking for a long, long time,
for this thing called love,
I’ve ridden comets across the sky,
and I’ve looked below and above.
Then one day I looked inside myself,
and this is what I found,
A golden sun residing there,
beaming forth God’s light and sound.

and

Seek the Sound that never ceases,
seek the sun that never sets.

~ Rumi

Shamas-i-Tabriz:

The universe was manifested out of the Divine Sound;
From It came into being the Light.

~ Shamas-i-Tabriz

Guru Nanak:

The Sound is inside us.
It is invisible.
Wherever I look I find it.

and

High above in the Lord’s mansion
ringeth the transcendental music.
But, alas, the unlucky hear Him not;
They are in deep slumber.

~ Guru Nanak

Ravi Shankar:

Our tradition teaches us that sound is God – Nada Brahma. That is, musical sound and the musical experience are steps to the realization of the self. We view music as a kind of spiritual discipline that raises one’s inner being to divine peacefulness and bliss. We are taught that one of the fundamental goals a Hindu works toward in his lifetime is a knowledge of the true meaning of the universe – its unchanging, eternal essence – and this is realized first by a complete knowledge of one’s self and one’s own nature. The highest aim of our music is to reveal the essence of the universe it reflects, and the ragas are among the means by which this essence can be apprehended. Thus, through music, one can reach God.

~ Ravi Shankar

George Eliot:

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.

~ George Eliot, Middlemarch

(My emphasis in all quotes)


OM/AUM image credit: that buzz – an article about “the sound of silence” well worth reading at Sharanam Katherine Rand’s beautiful blog on the precipice.

be secluded and silent

Another year approaches its use-by date and I am moved to thank each one of you for your interest in this little blog over the past year. Your company on the Way is cherished.

May your holiday season be joyful and safe.
May the New Year bring untold gracious blessings.
May you be always anchored in the unborn, undying Light.
May Love be your only guide, and may you know deep abiding contentment.

I see the candle, the face, the eye,
an altar where the soul bows,
a gladness and refuge.

My loving says, “Here – I can leave
my personality here,”
My reason agrees! “How can I object
when a rose makes the bent backs
stand up like cypresses?”
Such surrender changes everything.

Be secluded and silent. Stay in
the delight, and be brought the cup
that will come. No artfulness.
Practice quiet and this new joy.

~ Rumi

Image –  miriam louisa simons, Rose:  painting on Duppion silk, 100cm x 100cm

goneness, grief and grace

to truly grieve
is to, somehow

(by Grace?)

find the guts
to welcome
goneness

 
Grief and sadness are often mistakenly thought to be the same. They aren’t. Sadness will have its time and place – usually in the immediate aftermath of a loss. But sadness isn’t good company for those whose work is to grieve.

Sadness, as Byron Katie so succinctly put it, is “a hissy fit”. Sadness looks backwards and wants the what-is to still be the what-was.

Grief meets the what-is with no agenda other than to be 100% present, nakedly nowful.

The astonishing gift of grief and grieving is that it opens us to a love beyond anything we have ever known.

Rashani Réa, in her quietly, powerfully, honest book Beyond Brokenness says she has never met anyone who isn’t unconsciously holding grief.

I decided to take a look, and yes. There it was, patiently awaiting the impartial light of awareing. A little list of gonenesses, each one a treasure, an irreplaceable chapter in the story of a Life.

As this unlit light beams them into presence they come into full bloom, they mature and scatter their seeds of wisdom. Then – they vanish.

The only residue is the wetness on my cheeks.

And this love!

This sweet, helpless, holy love; it is love to die for.

Might you have a goneness list in hiding?

Go for it beloved.
 

Whoever finds love
beneath hurt and grief,
disappears into emptiness
with a thousand new guises
~ Rumi

 

I am the life of life

I am not a Christian, I am not a Jew, I am not a Zoroastrian

and I am not even a Muslim.

I do not belong to the land, or to any known or unknown sea.

Nature cannot own or claim me, nor can heaven;

nor can India, China, Bulgaria.

My birthplace is placeless, my sign to have and to give no sign.

You say you see my mouth, ears, eyes, nose – they are not mine.

.

I am the life of life.

I am that cat, this stone, no one.

I have thrown duality away like an old dishrag,

I see and know all times and worlds as one,

one, always one.

.

So what do I have to do to get you to admit who is speaking?

Admit it and change everything!

This is your own voice echoing off the walls of God.

~ Rumi

.

you know what love is?

You know what love is?

It is all kindness, generosity.

~ Rumi

Rumi Whispers of the Beloved”
Translated by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Koln

 

the moment of impact

This deserves to be shared because it’s unlikely you’ll hear what the Kiwi students have been up to in quake-shattered Christchurch: an extract from a heart-warming personal email from a dear friend writing to me in Australia (where this moment finds me) from New Zealand …

Incredible that there are now 700 rescue workers from various countries helping out in Christchurch.  I think on top of that another contingent of police from Oz arrived.  They got a rousing reception at the airport and the generosity is truly amazing.

My mind boggles at the organisation that is coping with where they’re all housed, fed, and rostered.  It’s a real United Nations and thank goodness the powers that be accepted so many offers.

You might have heard that 18,000 uni students have formed an ‘army’ and are out with shovels and spades clearing silt, helping out where they can.

Then the Dunedin students got together and have gotten up to 10,000 lunches organised to keep the students going.
Wonderful heart-warming deeds and it brings the emotion high just watching.

The Mayor… [Bob Parker] what a guy huh?  He’s never short of the right words, nor praise, nor down to earthness, just an absolute gem.  Some of the people interviewed (the professionals from various teams) speak so articulately and calmly despite being interviewed time and time again.  They’re all so patient and accommodating.

This is what love is: kindness, generosity, patience, calmness, and Presence – that wondrous capacity we all possess to remain wholly at-one with the actuality of the present moment.

Dust and death and disaster.  The Beloved assumes all guises and invites every possible response, while remaining unshaken, unshattered and unchanged.  This unknowable changelessness is our only safe haven.