Sunday, August 23, 2015

What to Do When Earnestness meets Desperation

It's at some point in your search that you'll discover the difference between earnestness and desperation.  The distinction between these two approaches can easily get lost when a seeker is in the midst of dogged inquiry.  It's a difference worth fully grasping, though, and here's why.

When you're earnest, you'll look at everything a guide asks you to examine because you fully trust that they've been down the same path with others who've come before.  You'll find yourself working with any pointer given, and from every angle imaginable.  You'll focus on finding the gem that it might possibly reveal, no matter how simple and inconsequential.  At this stage of the game you understand that any small crack in the fa├žade could expose the entire secret.

When you're desperate, you're a drowning victim awash in spiritual concepts.  In a hurry to hold onto insight, you grasp harder and faster at the surface of the water even when you realize that it continues to slip through your hands.  I've even seen drowning seekers attack the guide out of an overwhelming sense of frustration, even as they recognize that the guide is there to show the way.  Why does this happen?  It stems from a basic lack of trust in the process, in the guide, or in yourself.  Looking for a belief to cling to, none is found.  The shore seems farther away than ever.  Panic begins.

Don't grasp at the water.    Instead, stop.  Grasp at the pointer itself and be earnest in using just one pointer at a time.  Keep true to that pointer.

"Look" is a perfect pointer. 

Do it now.  Look.

Point to the things seen.  Point to the thing seeing it. Then do that again.

Scour the list for what is found and what is suspiciously but utterly absent.  Then trust that the answer is as ridiculously simple as it first seems.

photo credit:  treading on glass by katelizabeth23

Thursday, May 7, 2015

One Simple Question to Wake Up

This is from an email exchange with a seeker.  Note that Answers can only ever be met by more Inquiry....

Inquiry:  Pull this sentence apart:  "I am"
What is the "I" in that sentence. Don't think about it. Point to it right now. Then stop. Point to it again. Then stop. Point to it again. Then stop.

Seeker:  "I" is this body sitting here. The head, the body, the arms, the legs, the eyes... That's "I".

Inquiry:  If that sentence is true, why do you say, "my body"? What is the My in My Body? Point to it.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

5 Lessons from the Road to No Self

And they said the path was pathless?  Here are those I'd consider the top five of the thousands of self (less) lessons learned from this three year "trip". 

Number 1.  Yes, Virginia, there is no self.

There.  I said it.  Lots of folks have the idea that it's wrong to say "There's no you!", but I disagree.  It's not wrong.  It's exactly right, depending.  I've noticed that it's always people who have already seen through the separate self who tend to denounce that phrase.  I'd ask them to just remember, there are those who have not traversed the same path and may need to read or hear something which shakes up the paradigm.  Remember the Bahiya Sutta?  It's brilliant.  Why?  It's the same as saying, "There's No You!".   Just read it:

There is thinking, no thinker
There is hearing, no hearer
There is seeing, no seer

In thinking, just thoughts

In hearing, just sounds
In seeing, just forms, shapes and colors.

Paradigm-shaking?  It's what opened my eyes to a new way of seeing.  Had it not been framed in such a startling way, I may have missed... well... Everything.

Number 2.  But also, Virginia, there IS a self

It's just that it's not what I was taught.  The self is literally what "I" think it is, but that's all that it is.  It has or owns no history, no future.  It can't.  Impossible.  But thoughts make it seem so, moment by moment.  The sense of a me feels like a me and will continue to feel like a me.  But it's just feeling without a me feeling.

Buses and trains will still hurt.  So do my toes when hitting up against coffee tables.

Number 3.  If you're trying to make the self disappear, it won't.

Looking for a state of persistent No Self (complete with capital letters) isn't going to work because it's the very supposed self that's looking for it.  Moments of nondual seeing come through grace.  Yes, grace may be preceded by practice or inquiry, but just when there's no me looking... BAM.  And, well, that's the only way this can happen, isn't it.  Grace.

Number 4.  Big Self is not the same as No(t) self

The reason why looking for the core self and clearly seeing that it is not found is important is because the sense of self is an unimaginably persistent thought.  It colors everything, including awakening.  So you can bet that it's really easy to jump right into Big Self because it just feels so good.  It's heady.  But what about that small self?  It's a good idea to see whether it's been seen through completely, or just merged into a Big Self.  How will I know the difference?  Well, if I feel big, wide, or enlarged somehow... it's still a me feeling it.  If there is just everything.... limitless everything without a me in the mental picture, then we're really onto something.

Number 5.  There is just one Enlightenment SuperPower

Once seeing the ego's bag of tricks, the only superpower I found is that I can understand human emotions and dynamics in ways I'd never dreamed.  Without a separate me, it's much easier to see the trajectory of human interactions on scales both large and small.  The same dynamic happening on facebook posts is the one that goes to war.  Both could be diffused if everyone saw this.

Seeing and anticipating the trajectory means that sometimes I can appear to be wise. Don't be fooled.  It's not wisdom, it's just understanding.

I can see how anger is pain, how arrogance is pain, how judging others is pain, and how terrorism is pain.  I see what it is that is in pain, and how the only response left after seeing through all of this, is compassion.  It doesn't even have to be cultivated because it's a natural result.  Compassion has the effect of diffusing wars big and small, conflict, envy, jealousy, ill will, and a host of negative emotions.   And that, for all intents and purposes, is one hell of a superpower.  Too bad there's really no one to have or own it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

All I Needed Was a Lill Inspiration

I'm actually pretty tired of being direct and pointy all the time. 

While this blog is full of advice on how you should go about your inquiry, I'd begun to think that maybe the best way to do this was to walk the walk in order to DEMONSTRATE what I've been going on about here in these posts.  Because after a few years of guiding, I noticed that it was still a real challenge to communicate exactly what inquiry should look like

The answer to this million dollar question was often left unresolved and lots of folks remained frustrated.   

It's the question I continue to get on a regular basis...

"What do you mean by JUST LOOK?!" 

And just when I'd begun to wonder whether I'd ever really be able to answer this in a blog, along comes Ingrid Lill with a wonderful series of inspirational nondual doodles. You can find them all on her facebook page, Ingen Findes but I've got to warn you, they're deceptively powerful little pointers delivered in a new and fresh medium.  Why I love this new doodle idea is because like a lot of people who have done "looking" for a while, it seems that reading books can really help structure linear inquiry.  But for those of us who are visually oriented, pictures are where the juice is. 

Truthfully, I don't know a lot of people who don't respond to visuals, and so Ingrid's doodles hit home in ways words just can't.  As soon as I saw them, I wanted to play with the ideas.  Soon, I realized that unlike reading articles or books, they were perfect for more focused inquiry as I was free to move into them as deeply as I wanted to without being distracted by the next sentence or paragraph.  And they were fun!

Along comes an idea!

The idea went like this:  Why don't I just collaborate with Ingrid?  I could write out the inquiries inspired by each doodle and post them in a new blog.  At the end of the post I could add some pointers or questions they've also inspired.  In that way, the blog reader can play along by using the visuals, reading the text, or just plain doing their own thing with either the structured stuff I'd place at the end, or do it freestyle as inpired by Lill.

Seemed rather like a good idea to me.  So yeah.  Hope you enjoy the new blog.

You'll find it here.  It's a joint venture called,  With a Lill Inspiration.

Fitting, no?

Now Go Forth and Look!

photo credit:  Dark Lil Angel on DeviantArt

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Doubt Nothing About Your Awakening

A question on my last post has led to this one. Specifically, the comment asked whether I was questioning my own awakening.  In reading again, I could see the confusion. Apparently, I hadn't been clear in communicating that it was someone else's awakening I'd been in some doubt over.

The comment misses the same point I did, however, and I wondered why this individual wanted to understand whether I had begun to question my own experience.  Was it possible that they were in the midst of their own lapse in confidence and wanted to compare notes?  Could it be that they only wanted to read a blog written by someone they believed to have "fully awakened" and if I didn't fit that model, they'd need to move on?  This is not an uncommon belief or desire. No one wants to be led astray by some half-baked and self important writer full of her own opinions and theories.

But is it necessary to only read or talk with someone you believe to be "the real deal"... a fully awakened teacher?  Do you need to wait until you've found a place of no doubt whatsoever?


The first reason is because there's no way to tell what "fully awakened" actually looks like because we're all operating, as soon as we take any action, from the perspective of a self.  There may be degrees of our operating from ego, but no matter what the degree, it's an act, a character. And awakening also looks like operating from a character.

The second reason is that awakening also looks like doubt.  There's no one way it appears because it is everything.  Nothing is separate or apart, and so fear, doubt, ego... it's all the same.  Doubt is free to be there and doesn't mean that any previous experience or insight should be dismissed or diminished.

This is really good news.  It means that anyone, anywhere, and at any time, is free to be your teacher, but they can only do it through, or along with, you.  When reading, listening, or watching any pointer, just look for the resonance in the moment.  There's no need to find someone to model, admire, or follow, because the world itself is a teacher but there is no teaching until you allow it to be so. The ultimate judge doesn't lie outside of you.

In other words, it's All teaching, All the time.  You're teaching yourself.

photo credit:  The World in Her Hand by Incredi on DeviantArt

Friday, February 27, 2015

How to do better than Just Fine

A brave client recently came to the forum.  This individual introduced himself by writing that he'd already seen through the illusion of self , then very carefully described the process of how it happened as well as the ways in which his day to day perspective had changed since this significant shift had occurred.

What I immediately noticed was that he did not describe his experiences using the same language or well-worn phrases I would have, and yet what he wrote resonated very strongly.  The words he used surrounding this description of waking up was so different from my own, though, that I found myself waffling back and forth between resonance and doubt, and sometimes wondering whether his experience was the "IT" everyone talked so much about.

Thankfully, I caught that mistake.

What's important.. no...  What's KEY is to trust your own awakening and no one else's.  If what has happened "to you" brings an undeniable peace and new understanding of life, or allows for a more holistic view of the world, stop doubting it, at least for a while.  Is there further to go?  Maybe.  But then again, fully and enthusiastically entertain the possibility that there is not.  The difference between your awakening and everyone else's... including that teacher you marvel at... may just be a matter of language.


Stop doubting.  Stop looking and comparing.

Just stop.

You are more than just fine. 

photo credit:  A Handful of Doubts by oo-Rein-oo on deviantart

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Key to the Got It/Lost It Problem....

On the "got it/lost it" phenomenon, something I'd written in response to a comment on the subject:

This is common but what I've found is that it signals that a step back needs to be taken. There is often an assumption going on which says that there is a you who doesn't have a you, but who now still feels all of the anxiety and suffering.

But the separate self is utterly absent except within thought. If you take a moment to inquire into that, you will see that there is no self who is experiencing anxiety, and no self who experiences no self. Can thought experience thought? Can thought experience anything? 
The sense of self is projected, but onto what?Does the ego actually have power to do anything?

Examining these questions is what I call "stepping back". No one steps back, but it's seen that these things, too, happen to no separate individual. They are then free to happen, just as they are. 

Just some opinions. Hope that comment is useful in some way.

photo credit:  Lost_and_cold_by faintsmile28 on deviantart