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


are you so sure you are not awake?

Enza Vita writes with refreshingly ruthless clarity on the myth of “awakening” as an experience, a state or some kind of esoteric attainment which will guarantee unshakeable bliss and the end of all one’s undesirable failings and foibles . . .

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“I know I am still not awake, and I have a tremendous longing to be free.”

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Are you so sure you are not awake?  Are you sure you understand what “awake” is?
Why do you think that you are not awake?  What is this I that is in this unenlightened condition?

All questions contain and perpetuate certain assumptions that we see as the boundaries in life.  While thinking that you are not “awake,” you are believing that you are somehow lacking something.  That is what is played over and over again in your mind, and it causes you great suffering.  Do not fall into that trap!  Go to the root.  What is it that is aware of this statement?  Realize what is at the root of that experience of not being awake and it will free you from the assumed limitations.

You are already free; however, this is a freedom that has never known bondage and so cannot even be called freedom.  This freedom doesn’t come from some action to attain it, but from the realizing of a freedom that has never been constrained.  As the seeker you feel bondage because of your belief in a separate I, a separate ego, and this ego imagines that this freedom means a freedom to do whatever it wants.

Real freedom is liberation from the bondage of the ego.  When the concept of an I goes, the question of freedom is resolved.  Then you are free to be in harmony with what is, as it is.

You already are this freedom pervading everything and everywhere.  All boundaries and limitations are in your imagination only.  Like the space in a room, you are already free.  Just like the four walls cannot contain the space within it, so the body-mind cannot contain awareness unless awareness is imagining itself imprisoned.

You see clouds in the sky, and they may pass in front of the sun, but does this change the nature of the sun?  Perhaps the clouds are signaling a coming thunderstorm, but does a storm change the nature of the sun?  Your thoughts and feelings are like these clouds.  They sometimes seem to obscure the light of your inner self, but they do not change it.  First see what you are.  Understand your true nature.  Then you see that what dances in front of you does not affect you at all.  Focus on that sunlight, and not on the clouds!

~

Enza Vita
Source: Enza Vita’s Newsletter.  Sign up for it at http://www.enzavita.com – where you’ll also find information about her new book “Always Already Free”.

what once felt like grief

Rashani Réa - what once felt like grief

Poetry and collage by Rashani Réa


Rashani needs little introduction to readers here – her beautiful poem the unbroken was posted many moons ago.  If you missed it, please click on the link  below.

Some months ago Rashani was so kind as to compile a couple of her little Card Decks with words from the several websites and blogs I cultivate online.  It’s taken me as many months to overcome my shyness, but I reckon I might be ready … and Rashani’s work is so beautiful it should be shared and celebrated regardless of my reluctance to be seen as some kind of “awakened” writer.  I’m just a scribbler who likes to see what gets written, and sometimes what gets written is amazing.  The crack in the world widens a fraction and Grace finds the gap.

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Card Deck by Rashani Réa

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Card Deck by Rashani Réa

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I’d love to think you might have a look at these little ‘Altar’ decks at Rashani’s site. And while you’re there, have a browse through her collection of greeting cards, postcards, books, ebooks, and posters available for purchase. All proceeds go towards Rashani’s work at Kipukamaluhia, her home and retreat sanctuary in Hawaiʻi.

Rashani’s website

small card decks by Rashani

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A new addition is a writer’s journal, inspired by the SAND conference last November. It includes more than forty of Rashani’s collages with words by women and men who are exploring and sharing nonduality. (Including yours truly.)

Rashani Réa Nondual Reflections Journal

The Nondual Journal has 144 pages and measures 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches.

It doesn’t seem to be loaded to Rashani’s website as yet, but you can order from her directly:

808 929-8043
rashanirea[at]yahoo.com


Rashani’s poem:

the unbroken

infinite space and light

Vale, sweet, uncompromising Clara.

We are eternally grateful.

~

Awakened awareness without trace of thought
is the triumph of the sole One.

Clara Llum

Be aware that you are. Be aware that you are aware, right now.  At any given moment, rest in that simplicity of being yourself, free from labels or concepts of “myself.”  The very beingness, the very awareness is the constant “you”, the true you, faceless, formless, empty, cognizant, all containing, all inclusive.

Be aware of being…  Aware of being aware.

Meditate, stay with this awareness that you are and that is you.

Worship it, dive in it, make of it your home, and all will unfold.

Self-present awareness – awareness that is present in itself. Watch your watchfulness, be conscious of being conscious right now…

Aware-ing is happening, see it, know it, be with it, that’s all.

The mirror looks in the mirror, infinite space and light.

All enlightenment comes naturally from this. All wisdom, all peace, all realization.

~ Clara Llum

Source:  http://www.youaretrulyloved.com/enlightenment/an-interview-on-awakening-with-clara-llum/

Via:  Jerry Katz  at the Nonduality Highlights

the transcendent silence of ‘I’

There is a silence which transcends sound and silence. If I am not speaking, then some might say I’m keeping silent. If I am thinking, then some would say my mind is not silent.

Whether the voice is speaking, or the mind is thinking there is a silence which transcends both speech and thought and which is ever present to both of them.

It is the silence in which sound and silence take place. It is the silence in which speech and thought take place.

This silence is one’s true nature, and it is ever present, no matter what is going on.

This silence doesn’t walk or talk or think or make any noise at all.

It is That in which everything takes place. The recognition of That silence is called ‘self-knowledge.’

How is this silence described in relationship to spoken words and thoughts?

From the Upanisads:

“That [brahman] from which words return, not having reached, together with the mind.” (Taittiriya 2. 9. 1)

This statement might seem quite obscure unless explained.

The mind cannot ‘go’ there, as silence, (one’s true nature) is not an object to be cognized in the way that objects in duality are cognized.

The silence cannot be heard, touched, seen, tasted, or smelled. Thus it is not available for sense perception.

Nor is the silence an object of thought in the mind, like happiness, sadness, or any other thought at all.

We have no word which is adequate to describe this silence as all words initially point to something in duality.

Yet words handled appropriately lead one to recognize one’s very own self as this silence.

Not an object of cognition, yet known as my very svarupa, my very own nature.

Unavailable for hearing, touch, sight, taste, or smell,
yet known by the mind as ‘I,’ ‘I,’ ‘I,’ the silent changeless being
of all changing things, that ever present one, that one am I.

~ Dhanya

Read more of Dhanya’s writing on her blog at the Advaita Academy

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Related posts on this blog:

the cathedral of emptiness

why you don’t really want to awaken

silence is the essence of us all

don’t look for me in my story

come sit with me

silence has found me

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my wholeness cannot be broken

Conversations With Avant-Garde Sages is a new project from Trip Overholt and John Troy, aka The Wizard. Vicki Woodyard holds the honor of being the first to be interviewed. The interview runs for an hour, and offers a beautiful opportunity to get to know Vicki close-up as she speaks about her teacher Vernon Howard, shares stories about her spiritual journey and expresses her no-frills clarity.

I love Vicki’s writing and hearing her soft Southern drawl added a whole new dimension to her words for me. When she says, “My wholeness cannot be broken,” you are somehow delivered to that same unbreakable wholeness within yourself. Such is the power of a true sage.

“Awakening is but a dream until you sink into the heart.”

Listen to the interview here:

Vicki Woodyard interviewed on Conversations with Avant-Garde Sages

Pop over to Vicki’s blog for more of her wideawake wisdom, and also to check out her book Life With a Hole In IT – That’s How the Light Gets In