‘Three Inch Scholar’

‘If one repeats what he hears from others or read in books, he is not spreading Dharma (the teaching), but adulterating it. In the Orient, we call such a person a “three-inch scholar.” He reads or hears, then speaks, and the distance from the eyes to the mouth or the ears to mouth is about three inches. Those who give lectures or write books on Buddhism with no attainment of inner light are working in vain.’ ~ The Iron Flute (p.26)

This can also be said about people who teach or preach Advaita Vedanta, or any other religious, spiritual, philosophical, or materialist tradition.

I measured, and it’s 5 inches from my ears to my mouth, and 4 inches from my eyes to my mouth. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

I can only conclude that I have a big head.

No Questions Asked

We like to ask questions, such as: Who? Why? How? What? When? Where?

It could be said that our entire lives are driven by asking questions and finding or not finding their answers. Practical questions aside, as they are necessary for everyday survival, we might be slightly curious or even struggle to find our purpose in life and ask so-called ‘serious’ questions.

Who am I? Why is there suffering? How can I find happiness?  What is the meaning of life? When will I know I’m enlightened? Where can I find the answers?

Sit for a moment without asking a question, not even ‘why am I doing this?’

Notice the brief moment of stillness, emptiness, before . . .

. . . a thought arises.

Keenly observe the thought as it appears, lingers for an instant, and then disappears.

It’s like watching the night sky when suddenly a shooting star appears out of seemingly nowhere, streaks across the sky, and vanishes into the darkness.

For the sake of inquiry, you might ask yourself (HA!), in what does the thought appear? In what or where does it linger? And to where does it vanish?

Where could anything appear other than in that which knows all experience, consciousness itself? Where could anything linger other than in consciousness itself? Where could anything vanish other than in consciousness itself?

There is nothing other than consciousness.

Can you find anything outside of consciousness, the knowing presence that exists prior to any appearance in the body, mind, or world?

You can’t. It would be like finding a shooting star outside of the night sky.

Consciousness asks no questions because it is the answer.

Set aside all ideas of who you think you are, what you think of others, of things, of the world, of the Universe, and consciousness will give you, we, the gift of peace, happiness, and love.

No questions asked.

We Are the Emptiness

~*~

We are the Emptiness

In which Silence resides

And from this Silence

Emerges a Sound

A joyful, rich, fulfilling Sound

Swelling with

Waves

of

Rhythm

     Melody

  Harmony

Lapping on the shore of our Being

A gentle Touch

Crashing onto the shore of our Being

A full and loving Embrace

Then . . .

Dissolving back into

The Silence . . .

which resides

In the Emptiness

We Are

~*~

Words inspired by Beethoven’s Sonata “Hammerklavier” – Adagio

Heard during the Seven Day Retreat with Rupert Spira, Garrison Institute, October, 2021

Two Things In Common

Every human being on the planet has two things in common: birth and death. We are all born and we will all die. Beyond that, whatever else our lives might share in common depends on our culture and conditioning, and there will be very little consistency in this area when you consider that there are almost eight billion of us.

Actually, there are three things that we all have in common: birth, death, and consciousness. The beauty of consciousness is that it isn’t subject to the laws of time and space. Our body-minds are born into a world, live for a period of time, and then perish. But consciousness is always present, and therefore is never born and never dies.

And what is this consciousness? It’s that element of our being that knows all experience, but is not itself an experience. The element of our being that allows us to say unconditionally, I am, or I exist. The element of our being that knows the coming and going of all things, yet doesn’t come and go with them.

Most importantly, consciousness is the element of our being that exists prior to our being, and then manifests as a body-mind, allowing us to experience thinking, feeling, sensing, and to perceive the world through sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells.

And what a world it is! As manifestations of consciousness, we have this unique moment in time and space to think myriad thoughts, feel intense emotions, sense pleasure and pain, and see, hear, taste, touch, and smell the extraordinary world around us.

And then it will be gone. Not consciousness, but the body-mind, with all of its fantastic abilities, limited as they may be, and the world, with all of its wonders.

Consciousness, as it is everywhere and, therefore, everything, never goes anywhere. It never appears or disappears. It just is. Can you find any place, any object or thing, any self, where consciousness is not present? No. It would be like saying you can find a wave without an ocean.  

Look at your experience and recognize that consciousness is not in you, us, but that you, we, are in consciousness. Therefore, none of us are ever born and we will never die. Yes, our body-minds appear at birth and disappear at death, but the stuff we are made of, consciousness, is ever-present and unchanging. Infinite and eternal.

As you, I, we, are that . . .

. . . be that.

All that is.

All Good Things II

All good things must come to an end. In fact, everything, every thing, good, bad, or neutral, must come to an end. It is the nature of experience. All things appear from somewhere, linger for a period of time, and then disappear, vanish into . . . what?

Sit in silence. Observe a thought arising in your awareness. How long does it last? A few seconds, a minute? Then it’s gone like a cloud dissolving in the sky. Where does it go?

The same goes for all of our experiences of the body, mind, and world. Feelings come and go, sensations come and go, perceptions of the world are constantly coming and going. Where do they come from? Where do they go?

All things arise from somewhere and vanish into somewhere.

Where is this somewhere where all things come from and return to?

Just look to that which never comes and goes.

All things come and go, but our awareness of them is ever-present, unchanging, undisturbed by whatever occurs in the body, mind, or world.

Awareness exists prior to any experience. Before any thought, sensation, or perception arises, awareness is. Can you know a thought without the awareness of it? Does a thought come from somewhere outside awareness? Where would that outside be? Try to move away from your awareness. Try to move outside awareness.  

Obviously we can’t. No matter where we go, awareness is. And as nothing arises outside of our awareness, every observable thing must be made out of awareness. And if everything is made out of the same stuff, the stuff of awareness, there can be no perceivable separation between things.

And what is this stuff of awareness? What are its qualities?

No boundaries can be found to awareness. It is limitless, or infinite.

All ‘things’ come to an end, but awareness is never not here. It is timeless, or eternal.

This is your essential nature, our essential nature, as there can’t be more than one. Where is there room for two in the infinite?

And as the infinite cannot be divided, we can say that our shared essential nature is indivisible, again leading to the conclusion that there are not two things going on in the body-mind, world, or universe. And where we find no separation, we find love.

Be The Changeless

The phrase ‘Be the change you want to see in the world,’ commonly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, is often heard around self-help and self-actualization groups, as well as in numerous spiritual and political circles. It’s a wonderful concept: instead of trying to change others to lead a better, more conscious life, change yourself first and lead, inspire, by example.

But change is just that, change. In other words, we change the image or behavior of ourself in the hopes that it will rub off on others. Who is to say that our ‘change for the better’ is good for someone else? And if we can change once, what’s to say that we won’t change again, perhaps in another direction?

For a more stable and conscious society, shouldn’t we be trying to locate that unchanging element which is common to all of us? Something that we can all relate to as a neutral starting point for dialogue and action?

Our body-minds, made up of mortal flesh and bone, are a constantly changing flow of thoughts, feelings, sensations, sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells. Granted, some changes are imperceptible or gradual, and others more obvious, but there is constant change, nonetheless.

But there is an unchanging element to our experience, an unchanging element to our being that has been with every one of us for our entire lives, and is with us now at this very moment.

What is this changeless element? How do we identify it? How do we identify anything? We acknowledge its presence and observe its behavior.

With a simple investigation, you can discover for yourself the changeless element to your being. Sit quietly for a moment. Notice a thought as it comes to your attention, lingers for a short time, and then disappears. The thought comes and goes, but that which notices the thought remains.

This changeless element is that which notices all experience of the body, mind, and world, but is not itself an actual experience. All experiences come and go, but that which knows all experience doesn’t come and go with them. This is the changeless element to our being.

Once we identify this changeless element to our being, we might think that it is unique to our personal self. But upon further investigation, we discover that this changeless element is not in our personal self, our individual body-mind, but that our individual body-mind, our so-called separate self, is in this changeless element.

You can check the validity of this for yourself. Ask yourself, can anything exist outside of this changeless element? If you say yes, where would it come from? If you look carefully, no boundary can be found to that which knows all experience, and there is no time when it is not present. In other words, it is infinite and eternal. We have to conclude that nothing can exist or come from outside of this changeless element, and, this being the case, we can further conclude that we all must be made out of it. We are all unique manifestations of the same limitless, timeless stuff. All one. Not two. 

Instead of being the change that you want to see in the world, discover the changeless being that you want to see in the world – the open-hearted, clear-seeing, right-acting being that we all are at our core. Maybe, just maybe, this might inspire someone else to do the same.

Seeing Eye to Eye

When we agree with someone, we are said to be ‘seeing eye to eye’. When we don’t see eye to eye, it can lead to a minor disagreement between two friends or a brutal war between nations.

But what is this eye that sees? And what does it actually see?

Just as a drum doesn’t do the drumming, the eyes don’t do the seeing. A drum is a vehicle for the rhythms played by the drummer, the eyes the vehicle for the seeing done by the seer.

Who is the seer? Isn’t it that which we call I? As in, I see?

Examining this I, we first discover the obvious: we each call ourself I.

What is this I that we so easily use to identify ourselves?

The common definition used by billions of us is that this I is made up of our individual body and mind, with all of its associated attributes of thinking, feeling, sensing, and perceiving. But these attributes are all temporary, ever-changing, and totally unreliable when it comes to discovering our real identity.

Our experiences of the body, mind, and world are constantly changing, but the awareness of, the knowing of these ever-changing experiences is ever-present and unchanging.

And this unchanging awareness is common to all of us. It’s as though life is a grand play, with one master actor able to don billions of different costumes and take on a multitude of roles. Beneath every unique costume is found the same actor, the same being, the same awareness.

If we look at the nature of this awareness, we discover that it has no limits or boundaries, no point at which it ends and something else begins. Or, in other words, that it is infinite. And if we continue with our investigation, we discover that there is never a time when it is not present. This being so, we can say that it is timeless, or eternal.

For a true coming together, especially when it comes to relationships, shouldn’t we be seeing I to I? Awareness to Awareness? It’s actually not a question of shouldn’t we be seeing I to I, but recognizing the fact that this is the way we see, the only way we see. If we remove our costume of the imagined individual self for just an instant, our true character, which is not a character at all, is revealed.

We think that we either see eye to eye, or we don’t, but in fact, we only ever see I to I, or aware presence to aware presence. You can tell in another’s eyes which one is looking at you. You either see eyes clouded by the limits of the conditioned separate self, or the shining eyes of pure awareness.

There is a new math, or perhaps it is as ancient as the stars: ‘I’ plus ‘I’ does not equal two ‘I’s. I plus I equals I. There is only one I, the I of Awareness, and you, we, are that: One Shared Being.

So even though we might appear to be strangers, we are really cosmic lovers: inseparable in essence, one without a second. To quote Rumi:

The minute I heard my first love story

I started looking for you, not knowing

how blind that was.

Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.

They’re in each other all along.

Path To Happiness

We all seek happiness. All 7.8 billion of us are on one path or another in search of happiness.

Some of us seek happiness through financial success and material gain.

Some of us seek happiness through relationships.

Some of us seek happiness through substances.

Some of us seek happiness through experiences, sometimes extreme or even death defying.

Some of us seek happiness through a spiritual practice or philosophical dogma, some through the world of science or a political movement.

Whatever your path, it will be endless, as there is no end to the search for happiness. You will achieve one objective and be satisfied for a time, but then the thrill of the achievement, whatever it may be, fades and you are off in pursuit of the next objective.

Experience tells us that there is no path to lasting happiness.

Except for one.

The pathless path.

On the pathless path there is nothing you need to acquire to attain lasting happiness.

On the pathless path there is nothing you need to become to realize lasting happiness.

On the pathless path there is nowhere you need to go, nowhere you can go, to arrive at lasting happiness.

And where is this pathless path?

In which direction do you turn to find it?

In which direction does the sun turn to illuminate itself?

The seeker is the sought.

You are already the happiness for which you seek.

Now, go out into the world and spread the good news.

Without saying a word.

Do Unto No Others

Once you discover that there is no self, and therefore no other, your relationship with all things, animate and inanimate, changes dramatically. You no longer say, I am this and you are that, but that we are this and that, or simply, we are.

We distinguish ourselves from others by our individual body-minds. We each have our own unique body type, our own private thoughts, conditioned as they may be, our own feelings, sensations, and perceptions of the world.

But when we examine our personal attributes closely, we uncover the truth of our being: there actually is no individual self. All of our characteristics are ever-changing, temporary occurrences, no more real than a cloud in the sky. Yes, just as a cloud appears in the sky, we appear for a moment in time, but then, just as the cloud dissolves back into the sky, we, that is, the body-mind, come to an end and, one way or another, returns to the earth.

What is the only thing in our experience that does not appear or disappear? Isn’t the one unchanging element in all experience the knowing of it? Discover this knowing element in yourself right now. What is it that knows your present experience, such as a thought?

Observe a thought as it arises in your mind – it appears, seemingly out of nowhere, lingers for a moment, and then disappears. In what is this all occurring? Don’t say ‘mind’, as mind is just a part of our temporary body. It is something beyond mind.

Whatever it is, you can’t really name it, you can’t see it, hear it, or touch it, but it is undeniably present and aware. A knowing within us that is always here.

We do try to name it, calling it Consciousness or Awareness, perhaps God or the Absolute. But it needs no name, as it exists before, during, and after any attempt at conceptual identification. It just is, and at our core, this is who we are.

Examining the nature of this consciousness, we find that it has no beginning or end, and is therefore limitless or infinite. And upon further reflection, we realize that it is never not here, thus it is timeless or eternal. And then it dawns on us that there can’t be two of something that is infinite and eternal. It would be like trying to make room for two skies.

With this ‘not two’ being a fact, where can we find an ‘other’? We are all made out of the same stuff, the same consciousness or awareness. When we look at each other through the eyes of consciousness, I becomes you and you becomes I. I is you, you is I. Whether we recognize it or not, there is only one thing going on. Knowing this, our interactions in the world are spontaneous and true.

So do unto no others as you would have them do unto no self and all will be golden.

All I Know Is Myself

Thoughts come and go, yet I remain.

Emotions come and go, yet I remain.

Bodily sensations come and go, yet I remain.

Perceptions of the world come and go, yet I remain.

Who am I?

I am ever-present awareness. I have no boundaries, no limits. I am infinite and eternal.

I know the coming and going of all appearances, but don’t come and go with them.

As nothing exists outside of me, I am the source of all appearances of the body, mind, and world.

All I know is myself.

Without me nothing exists.

I am fullness itself.

I am emptiness itself.

I am the I am

before

the I am.