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


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


we are all waiting for you

Today, a guest post from Vicki Woodyard.

This piece is a perfect fit for a follow-on to my last post – one day you finally knew

Worku Goshu: Birth of Light, oil on canvas

One’s Own Truth

To own one’s own truth is what life is about. To reach the place where all of the bells ring … to heal the godforsaken stretches of your inner desertions ….

Yesterday I heard Gavin de Becker say that if someone cannot accept your “no,” then they are trying to control you. After my husband died, I said three noes that first year. Two led to a desertion by the ones to whom I said no. And they each led to a deepening resolve to continue the practice of “no.”

“No” to the outer world is a yes to your inner world. And the inner determines the outer. It is daunting to go so deep into your own spirit that you understand that you are one with everything. It doesn’t necessarily make you any happier.

This morning as I entered the grocery store, one of the employees said a clear “I love you” into her cell phone. I told her it was so nice to hear her say that. She was speaking to her soulmate, she said, her husband of three years. I told her I was widowed…

Being alone is not the end of the world. For me, it is a time for going deeper into what I have chosen. I want to be with myself from now on. In a way that heals inner division, in a way that comforts and stretches me. For this I must say “no” to things that do not nourish me. I am facing myself directly, which is a difficult thing to do. I often prefer to nibble at the cheesy things of this world. Like a rat, I sample American Idol, and that makes me want more. The world is like that… making you want more of what can never sustain you.

So I sit here at the computer, wanting you to love me. But that is just another bite of cheese in the trap. What I really want is to love myself so clearly that I never say “yes” when I feel “no.” That is a big, big thing. The bigger the truth, the more it can change and heal you.

We are all waiting for you
to strike that one chord
in your own heart.
You know, the one you haven’t
strummed in so long.
The one that will make us all
stop for a moment and sigh…

For we have enough false notes
stored up in our music benches.
We need to see your single finger
pluck the harmony and sorrow chord
so we will remember who we are.

Vicki Woodyard


After regularly publishing on Facebook for some time, Vicki is now re-energising her blog as the premier place to access her writing. You can find it at http://www.vickiwoodyard.com/


Painting by Worku GoshuBirth of Light


I watch me appear; I watch me disappear

 

I am never absent, I cannot be escaped
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

I am unaffected, I have no preference
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

Forget ‘Big Brother’ and CCTV:
there’s an eye there is no hiding from
and it’s known as “I” to me.

It prowls this world of dream and drama
ceaselessly scoping the cosmos and all creation:
macroscopic, microscopic and myopic too,
the outer worlds and inner…

Eyes wide open, eyes shut tight
I can never escape its unlit light.

I am unmoved, I am all movement
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

I am never absent, I cannot be escaped
I watch me appear, I watch me disappear

– miriam louisa

I watch me appear; I watch me disappear
 

Beloved Gangaji writes:

At a certain point, a couple of years after [the disappearance of the ‘me’ as separate entity], I was aware of a sense of myself as a person starting to slowly return.  And I thought, “Oh, no, what does this mean?” because at that point I had been counseling people not to reconstruct themselves after this kind of experience.  There was a moment of wondering if this sense of myself meant I had lost anything, but by then I knew enough to check and see.  When I did, I saw clearly that the truth that needs no scaffolding was not bothered by any sense or perception of myself as being this human animal, this body-mind configuration.  Silent conscious awareness was not bothered by any disappearance of the sense of this form and not bothered by its reappearance.

The fact that the sense of me as form reappeared was actually a teaching for me because it threw me into profound inquiry.  And in that inquiry I saw that this sense of being a separate entity appears and disappears all the time, even in a day—for everyone.  It’s just that until we have an experience of it disappearing, and then discovering the true “I” to still be present, only then do we have the possibility of recognizing that the disappearance or the reappearance doesn’t really touch the unmoving truth.

It was at this point I felt myself reincarnating as an ordinary human being.  I didn’t fight the ordinariness coming back, because I was always aware that whatever came back—an emotion, a sense of me, a negative thought, etc.—it didn’t touch what had been revealed…

To this day, I can say that from that moment there has been no lack of resolution and fulfillment.  There have been negative states as well as positive.  There has been grief as well as joy.  There have been trials and there have been defeats, but nothing has dislodged the certainty that who I am includes all.

© Gangaji, 2012
[My emphasis.]
Source:  http://www.onethemagazine.com/blog/2012/10/12/answer-to-a-prayer/

Image source:  Rumi on facebook

a fool’s prayer

The Fool - Tarot of the Magical Forest by Leo Tang

 

one bright new now
you looked around at your life
and you realized
that with very few exceptions
those who had shared time on your path
for years (or just a blink)
had failed to understand
the choices you appeared to make
and you felt the quiver of their
condemnation in your heart

it was never easy walking the Fool’s highway;
sometimes you even fell by the wayside
convinced that you were terminally confused
as you glanced in the mirror of mainstream mediocrity
with its demands for evenness, respectability,
predictability

often it was too hard to find words
that would find a lucid landing-place
in the minds of those you so dearly wished
could understand your crazy irrationality,
that would make it clear that you weren’t depressed
or ill, or lost

but that you were a soul driven by a contract with Truth
(you had signed up, remember, when still too young
to understand the consequences)
that you were a thread of gossamer
on the breath of Life

 

emelle says:
let me die to the dull respectability of the world
with its need to turn me into a story
let me forever be a Fool
in the hands of the lawless Lover

 

– miriam louisa


Image: Tarot of the Magical Forest by Leo Tang


do I want to bow down before a vaporous thought?


.

.
See the Divine in everything

and everything in the Divine.

~ Mother Meera

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In other words:  See with the eyes of the Divine.

Do I see thus?

If I say, “No, not yet,” I have stepped into time and out of the Divine.

I have stepped into myself and its thought-factory.

I have blindly accepted an unexamined thought.  I have placed that thought (No, not yet; not ready; not fully awake) between myself and the Divine.

Do I want to bow down to a vaporous thought?

Or do I want to melt into the Divine Awake Presence that I am, and that – in Truth – I can never escape?

No contest.

How about you, beloved?

~

Mother Meera in America

in Germany

.

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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