the niggle in the gut

Awareness is always present – how else could one know one’s alive?  But as we also know – or sense – that’s not the end of the story. The “Awareness is all there is, therefore there’s no doer and nothing to do” position can be such a trap, and it’s one I can write about with some authority – having been leg-baited there for a while. It got me. I think of it as the “half-baked goose” period.

It’s a position that logic can’t refute. It might bring relief if there’s guilt, or if the search has been sickeningly long and fruitless. It always delivers an existential shudder, a shock to the system both physically and mentally. It can lead to nihilism and profound despair. A brain operating-system deprived of wise mentoring can get very very stuck there. It happens.

I’m not saying it shouldn’t happen. In my case it was a gift beyond price – with the benefit of hindsight of course.

The problem with this position is that you know in your innards that something isn’t right. You feel … uneasiness. This has to be denied, of course, and denial deepens the unease. You argy-bargy with yourself: “There’s only Awareness. There’s no self, so who’s here to be in denial? Everything is just happening.”

In a very subtle and sneaky way, thought has turned the shattering revelation that “Awareness is all” to serve its own ends. This is precisely thought’s function; we can’t (and needn’t) damn it for doing its job. But the problem is that most of us haven’t really got a grip on the subtle functioning of thought. We aren’t on to its dynamics. How could we be? It’s not part of the curriculum in our education. (Unless you’ve been lucky enough to be educated at Brockwood Park School, or one of the other Krishnamurti schools worldwide.)

So we miss the way the thinking process (not yours or mine or anyone’s) has shifted the ground to take up another position in regard to this wondrous Awareness. We grokked the first bit, the bit about Awareness being ever-present and all-there-is. But Awareness has remained an object with something apart from it (me) going on about it. This rankles, this is the niggle in the gut. What’s up?

Thought can’t accept that Awareness is the one thing it can never, ever, know anything about. In spite of all the dialogues and seminars and conferences and retreats we attend, in spite of all the youtubes we watch and books we devour, we don’t know a thing about Awareness – except, ironically, that nothing can be known. Eventually this sinks in. There’s a crisis where we admit to ourselves that perhaps the goose isn’t fully cooked after all. A very humbling moment. Exquisite.

This is the point at which some kind of Grace finds space and a ‘eureka!’ moment lights up our weary mind. The gist of it goes like this:

Awareness is always all and everything and always present.
Presence is the dynamic by which Awareness knows itself.
Presence and the movement of thought/thinking are mutually exclusive.
Presence is literally the undivided Be-ing of Awareness.

And Presence is entirely up to you, because, um, what else could you be
but Presence itself?

Well OMG it’s all about me after all. Bless my beloved wee boots!

You can know the false only
the Truth you must yourself be.
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

And so the turn is made. Presence cooks the goose. The argy-bargy stops. Awareness re-turns to itself in delight. And the entire body-mind thrills to rightness and ease.

– miriam louisa


nothing could be easier

The simple, most utterly obvious and unavoidable state of Beingness is the very thing we imagine to be complex, hidden, and therefore needing to be sought via an infinite array of practices.

I came down a pathway which attempted to get at this simplicity by examining deeply and interminably the mental dynamics that sabotage one’s clear seeing/experiencing of It.

Perhaps it was a worthy pursuit – it was surely interesting and entertaining – but in terms of leading me closer to ‘It,’ it was a total waste of time.  It made no difference whatsoever to simple Beingness – which silently ‘watched’ the goings-on, immovable and changeless.

Eventually it all ground to a halt – the inquiry, the seeking, the fascination and the endless construction of concepts.  And there I was, right back AS I’d begun on Day 1, Breath 1:  Beingness – simple, obvious and unavoidable.

It is surely the most amazing and incomprehensible of things that turning away from the mind machine and embracing the inescapable Light of Being is so darned difficult for most of us.

Nothing – nothing – could be easier.  It is now!  It is this!  It is here!

~ miriam louisa

beware the wayside mongrel

This Unlit Light: Disney screencap from 'Lady and the Tramp'

 

I’m reading Feather Fall – an anthology of writings by Laurens Van Der Post, and relishing his wordsmithing. Can’t you just see yapyap thinking-mind as this wayside mongrel? Barking, sniffing, tumbling, whining … any tactic that will serve to distract one from the sweet sensuous fullness of This …

How little mere thinking helps a soul in trouble.  What a wayside mongrel it can be, running the length of the threatened kingdom of our being, barking at one master instinct after another, sniffing at the trees of our natural selves for the scent of a bitch it can tumble, or whining at the back door of our first warm-lit emotion.

~ Laurens Van Der Post, The Face Beside the Fire


Image from Disney ‘Lady and the Tramp’ screencaps (with apologies to Tramp)


what gets your attention creates you

My mother’s mother was a wise one. She understood the dynamics of the thinking machine. She was aware that her thoughts were not her or hers, that they arrived uninvited and that not all deserved to be made welcome as guests. Talking about such unfamiliar notions in the early 20th century, a farmer’s wife on a high country New Zealand sheep station a hundred miles from anywhere brought sideways glances and cast her as an outsider. (What’s new, huh?)

She liked to say, “Stand porter at the door of thought.” Perhaps she’d read that somewhere, or even made it up herself, whatever – it was etched in pokerwork on my fresh young hard-drive.

My mother was a chip off the old block, philosophically speaking. Her favorite aphorism was, “What gets your attention gets you.” Come in after school with a bellyfull of moans about how one had been bullied or unfairly punished or cheated on, and that’s what you’d hear. Hmmm. She should’ve been called Kali, my mum.

So, unlike most kids (I suspect) I grew up with a healthy skepticism re thoughts, thinking, and even the ‘thinker’. When I came across the teachings of J Krishnamurti there was huge relief, because all through the years of my early education I had met no one outside my family who was remotely concerned about the way one’s thinking unfolds one’s experience.

But it would take the passing of many moons before the nonduality teachings of the Advaita sages would reveal the baseline error in both Granny’s and Mum’s pithy sayings, and explain why, in spite of their apparent wisdom, they actually made little difference. One was still locked into the effects generated by thinking – both one’s own, and that of others.

The error lies in the unexamined assumption that there is a separate self who can take up the role of that “porter”, or who can be ‘got’ if attention fixates somewhere it shouldn’t.

This morning, while mulling over delicate family business, the aphorisms reshuffled and restated themselves in a fresh cluster of words.

Thoughts are arising here.

The ones that receive attention create me.

 
Granny and Mum would know exactly what I mean. They’d be chuckling away like two crazy crones. Good company for this one eh?
 

freedom is at the beginning

Freedom.

I used to think that freedom was a word that went with a ‘from’ or a ‘to’:

Freedom from stress, pain, anger, jealousy, bad habits…

Freedom to express, to roam, to do what one wants…

It was all so mistaken.

I found that freedom is the ability to rest unfazed in the totality of whatever life is dishing up.  It can’t be cultivated.  It flows in when one stops believing life ought to be different, that it needs fixing, or any other commentary that the thinking machine generates.

Freedom is always waiting here, now, in exactly this, at the beginning and never the end.