your self-shining magnificence

This beautiful piece of wisdom was written by Michael A. Rodriguez, and published on his new website/blog at boundless under the title One Bright Pearl. Please check out Michael’s site – his approach honours “both radical non-duality and the paths that emphasize the evolution of consciousness.” There’s a refreshing inclusivity, authenticity and articulate clarity about his writing. Highly recommended.

One Bright Pearl -

One Bright Pearl

One of my favorite Zen sayings was by Hsuan-sha: “The whole universe is one bright pearl.” Another translation runs like this: “The entire world of the ten directions is a single shining [or ‘luminous’] jewel.” There are other versions, but I like these two variations the best.

I often think the entire dharma – and perhaps drama – is contained in this expression. It speaks to me. That statement could only have arisen from the awakened state, and in fact, most people are asleep precisely to the reality to which this statement points. If you could wake up to this one truth, you would wake up altogether.

Somehow, by the mysterious mechanism of memory, the unknowable self-luminous jewel of awareness seems to become shrouded by what we take to be the known. We essentially come to live in a claustrophobic prison of the known and do not see the absurdly obvious fact that the reality of boundless experience could not possibly be shining more luminously. As the writer Samuel Beckett once wrote, “habit is a great deadener.” Because of habit, which functions by way of the veiling power of memory, we start to live within the narrow confines of our routines and fall asleep to the radiance of Mind. Actually, Mind falls asleep and dreams within itself a limited world made of habit. It’s not personal. This falling asleep happens slowly over many years, and it begins to happen before we are conscious of the fact. Because of conditioning and education from the moment we’re born (and even before that in terms of cell memory), it creeps up on us below the threshold of conscious awareness and solidifies as cognitive structures of experience in exactly the same way that hypnotic suggestion works.

The other main problem is that you, boundless awareness, have been conditioned to dwell with your attention in the human world of limited concepts. To wake up to the fact that you are already limitlessly shining in all directions as one bright pearl, try taking your attention off the human realm and contemplate, instead, the fact that “the universe” literally has no beginning or end. Ever since I was a child, this contemplation has always produced in me a rapturous wonder. Just think about it. Right now, human beings are running around as though they know what this whole thing is, as though we exist in a limited world that has boundaries and borders and edges. But it doesn’t! I’m not speaking mystically or poetically here. It’s literal. How could there possibly be more freedom? The universe (from which your body-mind is not separate) does not begin or end somewhere. It’s immensurable in exactly the same way that a nighttime dream is immeasurable. How much “space” does a nighttime dream take up? I hope you got the point with my rhetorical question!

Now, whatever this is obviously has a self-aware quality that shines as the fact of conscious knowing. I say “self-aware” because since it does not have any limits, there can’t be anything “outside” it to be aware of it. The limitless totality, therefore, is simply self-aware and shining as the limitless totality of experience. In other words, it’s a limitless subjective experience to awareness itself that does not contain a single object. Not one. Why? Because “objects” have to have limits (otherwise they would not be knowable), but objects are inseparable from the limitless environment. “Objects” are illusions of memory.

The fact is that you only ever experience yourself as one bright pearl. You as boundless awareness are the most precious jewel that could ever be. Try contemplating this fact over and over again until you wake up to your self-shining magnificence. To say that “it’s not far from you” is a severe understatement; it is you.

– Michael A. Rodriguez

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you are the light of the world

You are the Light of the World


There is only one thing that stands in the way of our radiant true nature of innate unconditional happiness and peace and living light. It is our negative, self-defeating, insecure thoughts and beliefs, and the actions and behaviors that flow from such thoughts and beliefs.

We can habitually become so absorbed into such thoughts that they begin to take us over and define us and project them selves out into the world around us, as “us”. But we do not have to believe these thoughts. They do not really define who we are. They define who we have THOUGHT we are.

In reality, we are undefinable. We are a radiant light that spontaneously shines through us in a somewhat different way in each moment. How can THAT really be defined? 

But we can begin to question all these thoughts that block the light. Questioning them is itself, a powerful spiritual practice. This questioning will weaken these thoughts and beliefs and will eventually, dislodge them.

And when they begin to dislodge themselves and fall away, our true, radiant, peaceful and unconditionally happy nature can shine forth into a world that so desperately needs it! The source of this light is the same light in all of us. It is the same source in you and in me. But it shines through you and through me in an absolutely unique and wonderful way that can never be reproduced again.

If we don’t let this light loose in our world, it will be a great loss for the world and for us. We are here to shine, to radiate this light out into our world in our own unique way, so that those living around us can enjoy it and dance with it. And we are also here to simply enjoy the shining of that light ourselves! We too can dance with the light!

– Francis Bennett

Sourced from Francis Bennett’s Facebook Page; used with permission.

Francis Bennett was a Roman Catholic, Trappist monk for a number of years.

In 2010, while in the middle of a Church Service in his monastery in Montreal, Francis suddenly experienced what he has come to call, “a radical perceptual shift in consciousness”, in which he discovered the ever present presence of spacious, pure awareness. He came to see that this awareness is actually the unchanging essence of who he really is and always has been; the Supreme Self, talked about by many sages and saints from many spiritual traditions down through the ages. He also came to see simultaneously, that this vast, infinite sense of presence at the center of his being (and at the center of the being of everyone else on the planet) is actually not at all separate from the presence of God, which he had been looking for during his many years as a monk and spiritual seeker.

Francis is now living a “new incarnation” as a spiritual teacher in the contemporary, Non-Dual spiritual Tradition. Francis offers a blend of the Buddhist Traditions he deeply studied, the contemplative Christian mystical tradition which he lived during his many years in monastic life, as well as the Hindu Advaita-Vedanta teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi, who has been a very profound influence on Francis for about the last 12 years or so.

Sourced from Francis’s website: finding grace at the center

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my brilliant image

light will someday split you open

the call from the heart

It’s two years today since my mum’s departure.

Here we are at her favorite beach-side cafe, indulging ourselves in our mutual coffee addiction! She would have been 95.

This post celebrates and honors her wideawake wisdom.

She is so alive in me now. Gratitude. Love.

“Following the heart’s longing…”  It’s a poetic turn of phrase, but there’s nothing poetic about the felt anxt of longing to be living a life that’s radically different from the one you find yourself in.  I’m long-in-the-tooth enough to admit to decades – yes dears, decades – of feeling as though I was somehow in the wrong story, on the wrong planet.  The times when I felt as though I was really “at home” in the “right place” were rare and usually circumstantial.

I recall my sweet mother confessing to me once – many years ago, she’d have been in her mid-fifties – that she had once found herself standing at the kitchen sink staring out the window, feeling like a caged bird and screaming “Let me out of here!”

To me she was the epitome of patience and forbearing, so I was deeply shocked.  I asked her why she hadn’t walked out, left the cage.  She replied that something in her knew that there was nowhere to go, that wherever she ran her mind would be there, urging her to find something better.  So she chose to interpret her mind’s freak-outs and desperate longing as a call from her heart to find sanctuary within.  She learned to meditate at a time and in a place where the idea was virtually unknown. She found her own way into the temple of changeless quietude – what her daughter would call Safe Mode a few decades later.  (It’s interesting to note that she sacrificed her hearing to do this.  She became totally deaf, and delighted in being able to turn the world on and off at will at the flick of a hearing-aid switch.)

It was a rare privilege to grow up with a mother who didn’t ‘do’ stories. Infuriating too, as I so wanted her to take sides (mine, natch) and prop up my self-righteousness and self-esteem.  She didn’t.  What she did, loyally and without fail, was point me towards my heart’s longing and unconditionally support whatever clarity of direction came out of that longing.  She taught me to ignore the shoulds and the yes-buts and the what-ifs, and to move with the promptings of the heart.  I was a very slow learner; caution had been thrown in the mix courtesy of my pragmatic father.  Unlike her, I had many red herrings to meet and move on from.  My path was the Neti Neti  Highway.

But the ultimate wisdom she left me with was this:  no matter what pathways the heart leads you down on the grand adventure of experience it is always and inexorably guiding you to find your changeless shining Self.  Dissatisfaction is the most precious of friends for it tirelessly re-turns you to that task.  You won’t be satisfied, ultimately, with anything else, for all else is mind, no matter how poetically put.

All else is mind.  And we all know that mind is just a dream, don’t we?  Little Miriam calls on me to remember, and I bow my head in gratitude.

~ miriam louisa


staying sane in safe mode

I’ve been having a few problems with my laptop of late.  It’s amazing how everything life throws into the day can be grist for the blog-mill.  I liked the notion of a Safe Mode (mind is always looking for safety, no?) and sat down to see what would get written . . .

When awareness rests as the disengaged observer mode of consciousness – what some refer to as being ‘present to awareness’ and some call the ‘I AM’, but what I prefer to call the ‘IT IS’ – there is serene impartiality to all the activity going on in the mind-field.

Resting in – or rather, as – ‘IT IS’, one is in Safe Mode.  There’s no possibility of identification with thought’s images, memories and feelings.  They still appear, as is their nature, and are responded to, but they cannot happen to a personal ‘you’ because the thought-bundle (software) that creates ‘you’ isn’t operating.

Starting your computer in Safe Mode is often advised when there are problems with the operating system.  Likewise, resting in Safe Mode as ‘IT IS’ is a good way to avoid problems with mind’s operating system and be free of its endless tragedies and comedies.  And if that sound s a bit boring, know that mind will resist.  Safe Mode renders it redundant; naturally it will protest.  (Until it swoons in wonderment, at which point it will want to know why no one told it to back off before. LOL.)

Resting in the sanctuary of Safe Mode is the ultimate relaxation, the greatest luxury.  Whether you’re engaged in the busyness of the world or in quiet contemplation, life takes care of ITself with remarkable order and graciousness.  You notice this – it’s not a fantasy.

You discover that in Safe Mode the self-shining light of awareness that you ARE is beaming brilliantly.  And you smile, for you recognize that this has always been the case – way before mind conceived the idea of a Safe Mode. . .

~ miriam louisa

matter-of-fact awareness

I’m always delighted to come across writing that is honest and juicy and not too proud to celebrate the mundane. “We are our ordinary lives,” says Susan Stinson – how true that is!  Seen with “matter-of-fact-awareness” the exquisite details of our life/self are available to be honored and expressed. This makes good reading, especially if what particularly interests one is the self-shining awareness in which IT all – all – arises and disappears …

Immerse, sense, feel, imagine, enjoy: this is our miraculous everyday beloved life!

… May your hands weather with grace.  May your fingers smell good.  May chill on your arms keep you alive to your skin as much as warmth might do.  May you grieve when you need to and know your own lacks, with matter-of-fact awareness, like you know the landscape of leaving where you sleep to begin the day.  Leave the sleep.  Begin the day.  Offer things.  Work. Build.  Step toward others.  Take a lean and a fall as a chance to spin on the floor on your back.  Gather your courage.  Make beautiful meals.  Know your gifts and delight in them with specific, attentive vigor.  Shovel.  Pedal.  Cruise.  Oh, my darlings and others, listen as if you mean it, as if it matters, as if that act, in itself, were consuming and a kind of completion. When the moment opens, answer.  The toilet might be running again in the other room.  Get up, shake the handle and keep going.  If the water goes quiet, there will still be ticking.  We are our ordinary lives, and they have such depths and textures.  We brush against the nap in relationship, or we’re pressed to the plush, or something is jabbing, the plastic stem of an old tag, a broken zipper, but we dress in the fabrics of the lives near ours, however we bring them near.  Such clothes.  Such colors …

~ Susan Stinson