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