Nothing Is Sacred

We might make fun those who bemoan, ‘Nothing is sacred anymore,’ but when you look at the present condition of our world, nothing is sacred. With every conceivable experience at our fingertips, there is very little, if anything, left to the imagination. Our lives are inundated with endless images of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The amount of information available, regardless of its accuracy, drives one group in one direction, one group in another, creating seemingly insurmountable division. Everything is overexposed, and in the process, can lose its meaning, its essence, its soul.

But if you look more deeply at our experience, we find that it’s not that nothing is sacred, it’s that no ‘thing’ is sacred.

Searching for peace and happiness, we first look at our objective experience for an answer. After all, this is what we have been taught, conditioned to do – seek our bliss in relationship to things in the world.

All things, all objects, though they might provide momentary pleasure and happiness, are ever-changing, temporary appearances in the world. All ‘things’ come and go, and therefore, even though we might hold a thing, an object, special, it is not sacred, it is not of God, the Absolute, the Divine. God, the Absolute, the Divine, is not a thing.

God, the Absolute, the Divine, has no objective qualities. It is ever-present and unchanging, untouched by any activity of the mind, body, or world.

By setting aside all that is temporary, that is, all objects – thoughts, memories, emotions, sensations of the body, and all perceptions of the world – we are left with our essential being: that which exists prior to, during, and after any appearance of the body, mind, or world has come and gone.

And what is this essential being that remains when all appearances are set aside?

Nothing.

‘Nothing’is truly sacred.

You don’t have to do anything to be nothing, which is what we all are at our core. Or, more accurately, we are no ‘thing’ at our core – our essential being has no objective qualities. It is not a thing. Resting in and as no thing, or nothingness, our true nature is revealed as awareness or consciousness, the knowing presence in all experience that is not itself an experience. A knowing presence that is always here and has no boundaries, whose nature is of peace, because it is undisturbed and unchanging, of happiness, because it is inherently full, and of love, because it is indivisible.

When All Is Said and Done

‘Once all our beliefs are uprooted, it’s not really necessary to assert what is true . . . even the assertion that consciousness is infinite and eternal should be thrown away.’ ~ Rupert Spira

All has been said.

Not all has been done.

Yet.

I hope to see you in the marketplace.

And when our eyes meet for a timeless moment . . .

. . . that we share a smile.

And don’t forget to play, sing, and dance!

Peace, happiness, and love to all

. . . in the Now Year!

Pendulum of Change

You are not the pendulum of change:

Thoughts, moods, sensations, perceptions,

Swinging back and forth, this way and that.

You are that which knows the pendulum of change.

Notice this fact, and you are home:

The Changeless One.

‘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.