where the light begins

Peter Zumthor - Bruder Klaus Chapel

 

As we turn towards our yearly habit of ritualising the New Now, let’s pause for a breath or two and be reminded of our sacred mission.
Jan Richardson: Where the Light Begins
 

Perhaps it does not begin.
Perhaps it is always.

Perhaps it takes
a lifetime
to open our eyes,
to learn to see
what has forever
shimmered in front of us

the luminous line
of the map
in the dark

the vigil flame
in the house
of the heart,

the love
so searing
we cannot keep
from singing,

from crying out
in testimony
and praise.

Perhaps this day
will be the mountain
over which
the dawn breaks.

Perhaps we
will turn our face
toward it,
toward what has been
always.

Perhaps
our eyes
will finally open
in ancient recognition,
willingly dazzled,
illuminated at last.

Perhaps this day
the light begins
in us.

 – Jan Richardson, from Circle of Grace, Wanton Gospeller Press


Jan Richardson’s website

Circle of Grace on Amazon

Image and source: Peter Zumthor – Bruder Klaus Field Chapel.
For more information about this extraordinary sacred space see archdaily.com

Gratitude to Claire Beynon for sharing this timely poem on Facebook.


are you on fire?

Sages have often spoken of the necessity of bringing an urgency to our inquiry into the Real – as though we were literally on fire with earnestness. The insinuation is that many inquire from mere intellectual curiosity, or an appetite for philosophical entertainment. Sometimes spiritual seeking becomes a type of insatiable addiction; Trungpa cautioned about that, Krishnamurti too. Dorothy Hunt’s words remind me of the compassionate severity of their words. What drives our inquiry? To what degree are we ready to “get Real”?


This Unlit Light - How serious is your inquiry?

How deeply do you want to go in your spiritual life? Are you satisfied with a glimpse now and then of your true nature? A retreat now and then to remind you of the power of Silence? An intellectual knowing of a path, a teaching, or a memory of a past awakened moment – then it’s back to “life as usual”?

How much do you want to live from truth rather than think about it? How much do you want to open your heart and let its love and compassion flow to yourself and to a suffering world? How much energy do you expend trying to “pull the weeds” of your suspected egoic deficiencies, or holding onto the “flowers” of lovely, desired experiences rather than returning to the Ground from which the seeing and being of all moments spring?

What do we DO to keep alive our remembering?

We stop relying on memory of the known, and return again and again to being awake NOW, opening to the moment as it is now, paying attention to the undivided Ground more than weeds or flowers, and being willing to see more and more deeply the subtle ways our conditioned mind attaches, sometimes with great emotion, to its belief in a separate “self.”

Our home ground, our source, is always available. We do not have to import it. We do not create it, and we cannot hold onto it. It is present in every experience. It is in the smile on your face, the frustration of a mind that cannot “get” what it is seeking. It is here now in the taste of morning tea, the challenging boss at work, the beauty of a sunset. It is here seeing, awaring, loving, being all moments, all experiences. As you no doubt have discovered, it is easy to remain awake in heaven. But what is awake is awake in the hellish moments as well. And beyond any experience, there is our true source, “making everything shine.”

© Dorothy Hunt, 2016

In reality there is only the source, dark in itself, making everything shine.
Unperceived, it causes perception. Unfelt, it causes feeling.
Unthinkable, it causes thought.
Non-being gives birth to being.
It is the immovable background of motion.
Once you are there, you are at home everywhere.
–Nisargadatta Maharaj

 


Also see:

2016 – what I wish for you

continuous awakening – Dorothy Hunt


Dorothy’s words were originally posted at Science and Nonduality – gratitude!

Image source: the incomparable Bob O’Hearn


here is where the vista opens

This post is a loving tribute to Joan Ruvinsky, who left us on March 21 in Montreal.

Just prior to Christmas, Joan wrote a newsletter note about the preciousness of the moment. I’m glad I kept it, because it couldn’t be more apt right now.

This Unlit Light: Michael Kenna - Huangshan Mountains, Study 42

You never know if this is going to be the last time, the last holiday season, the last menstrual period, the last trip to the mountains, the last whatever. It wouldn’t be such a big deal if, for instance, it were just the last time you were ever to put gas in the car, except, looking back on it, as a charming ritual. Does its being the last time make it more significant? Will we pay more attention? We don’t even know if it’s the last time when it is happening. We can only know through memory, in retrospect. 

Or we can pretend the future and say, “That was the last time I ever time I’ll ever go to that restaurant!”  This is the past conditioning the future. The food was terrible. Never again. Period.

Oh, how we like to place ourselves in time! It makes us feel situated. Secure. 

But in the moment, the actual moment, we just don’t know. Is it the first? Is it the last? Actually, it’s right now, first time, or last time – however we name it to stay comfortably situated in linear time, to play it safe. In fact, it is only and forever right now. 

So every moment, the smell of this hot cider mulling on the stove, the clacking of the printer, the wind in the pines, this holiday season to celebrate, or not… it’s just right now, whether we are labelling it from anticipation or from memory. This moment is absolutely precious. This moment is out of time, beyond comparison. No sequence. No succession. Just now. Here is where the vista opens. Now is when we are home, home in This, as This, as pure perceiving.

How wonderful.

May whatever you celebrate for the first or last unknown time be joyous. 

Love, Joan

pathlessyoga.com



Joan’s closing comments in a conversation with Grace Bubeck: Death only happens to the body, we are Love. 3:16



The entire conversation: The Radical Joy of Facing Death. 48:41


I treasure Joan’s last succinct email message to me…

Pas d’inscription. Juste de se présenter à 15h45

Amour


The magnificent photograph is by Michael Kenna.


 

continuous awakening

Dorothy Hunt’s splendid poem (which, imho, is as perfect and pithy a teaching as you will find), and the magnificent enso have been reblogged from the Science and Nonduality website.

Boundless gratitude!

 

Continuous Awakening

 

Continuous awakening belongs to only

THIS! that is already continuously awake.

It will never belong to anything

that conceives of itself as separate.

No thought can touch it

No concept can describe it

No practices can produce it

No belief can create it

And memory cannot sustain it.

 

Whatever you can gain, you can lose.

You are not an experience that comes and goes.

The mind that lives in time can neither

experience the timeless, nor hold on to Spirit.

THIS is not an identity to attain.

Its revelation comes in the shedding of identities.

Whatever you may realize, avoid hiding in

a new identity, no matter what words your mind may use.

THIS cannot be limited; all concepts are only pointers.

 

Stop trying

Stop imagining

Stop waiting

Stop postponing

Stop fixing a self that you are not.

Stop pretending to be what you are not.

Stop, simply STOP.

Notice what silently remains.

 

THIS is here before seeking

THIS is here before awakening

THIS is here after awakening

THIS is here without words

THIS is here with words.

Only THIS that is awake, aware,

pure, naked, unstained, indivisible,

and perfectly Whole

 

– Dorothy Hunt

 


http://www.dorothyhunt.org

http://www.scienceandnonduality.com


 

the primordial call

Gangaji speaks about the call that comes from deep within – the aching longing to know again what has been ever known, purely and absolutely, to be the truth of who one is. 2.07 minutes.
 


More videos from Gangaji


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


kitchen sink epiphany

In her book When Fear Falls Away Jan Frazier gives us a privileged, intimate view of her mundane daily experiences in the light of her awakening. This little extract is from a piece she wrote titled “A Visceral Experience of Immortality: April 22.” In it, she is happily doing the dishes when she suddenly understands something “fundamental about existence”; a long-held idea moves from the concept compartment and becomes an experienced reality.

It brought to mind the words my mother uttered (shortly after she announced she was “going to die now”) as I leaned over her, whispering my thanks for being the perfect mother and friend to me:

But I always will be – it never ends!

kitchen sink epiphany

I was standing at the sink doing the dishes, chanting, looking out the window. The kitchen sink is turning out to be the place where great realisations seem to happen. I love to chant, and I love to look out the window at the green world, where at a moment’s notice a creature might amble into the yard, its feet quick over the new grass, the sniffing nose collecting data, gathering intelligence of possible danger, possible food. I love the window. Do I love washing dishes? Well, I do. It is what gives me an excuse to look out the window and chant.

So I was doing that this morning, happy as could be. Tingly with happiness. (I get like this a lot.) I was feeling a really sustained surge of delight at simply being alive. The world outside the window pouring into my eyes, my nostrils, every possible portal – and I felt myself pouring out into the world. And I thought how great it is to be conscious, to be alive. I said to myself, I’m so glad to be alive. Consciousness is a total gas. I just want this to go on and on.

And that’s when I realised it. Viscerally, I mean, for the first time in my life. Oh my God, it IS going to go on. Forever. THIS is what keeps steady, this very sensation – even past death. I won’t have to do without, ever.

I have believed this for a long time, belief being a thing that lives in the mind. I have had the idea of immortality, of continuity between physical life and post-physical life. But that moment in front of the sink, experiencing the very body of continuity, I realised something: I only thought I got it before, the idea of consciousness being eternal. But I never really got it before, not until right this second.

I couldn’t get over it. I never have to stop! Body or not. This will be my experience, clear past death – which will be a little road bump, if I even notice it.

Jan Frazier

When Fear Falls Away: The Story of a Sudden Awakening


If you enjoy Jan’s writing, you might be interested in another excerpt (on undivided perception) I posted over on the awakened eye:

I’ve lost track of which is which


Photo credit: katherinecollette.com