Taking Off Our Shoes

 

Recently, we came across this poem by Hafiz, a 14th century Iranian Sufi poet/mystic. It is always such a joy to come across such clear pointers to Truth. We often think we are blazing new trails to recognition as Isness, when we are simply rediscovering what has always been. The pointing of Hafiz is as alive today as it was nearly 700 years ago. When you leave behind your mind and body identification, along with your shoes, you enter the temple of Truth.

Removing The Shoe From The Temple

Once someone asked me,

 

“Why do saints seek divine annihilation

And are often humble

And like to spend their free time

Upon their knees?”

 

I replied,

 

“It is a simple matter of etiquette.”

 

Then they said,

 

“What do you mean, Hafiz?”

 

“Well,” I continued,

“When one goes into a mosque or temple

Is it not common to remove what

Covers your

Feet?

 

So too does it happen

With this whole mind and body—

That is something like a shoe sole—

When one begins to realize

Upon Whom you are really standing,

One begins

To remove the ‘shoe’ from the

Temple.”

 

Namaste, Bec and Steve

Malignant Normality

 

Recently while listening to the book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” we came across the term malignant normality. Some psychologists and psychiatrists have defined this as arrangements put forward as being normal when in fact they are dangerous and destructive.

Regardless of an individual’s view towards the current administration, they are irrelevant to this post. Political figures come and go. Instead, we would like to apply this term to “everyday life.” The life where we accept identification with a personal body, suffering, fear, etc., as normal.

This is the life most of us live. We have accepted this malignant normality as the truth of our being. To paraphrase Nisargadatta Maharaj, we are not experiencing malignant normality, we are living malignant normality as our experience. We have mistaken external circumstances as existential reality.

To break from this delusion of living malignant normality, we must first recognize what we essentially are. From this state as Isness, the delusion of identification with life as a malignant normality is seen through.

It has been said, “Become the change you wish to see in the world.” It is even easier than that.  You already are boundless Isness before even the concept of boundless Isness. You do not need to become something new, you merely need to stop identifying as what you are not.

Let’s ask ourselves right now, without going to mind for the answer, “Who or What am I?” This direct experience of stillness, of nothingness crackling with all potentiality, is what we fundamentally are. Directly experience life from here. No stories, no judgments, no analysis, just pure, open awareness from moment to moment. With Isness as the forefront of our living, malignant normality can neither thrive nor birth.

“The Invitation,” currently offered by Mooji, is a simple step-by-step approach to drop what you are not so you may notice what you have always been, eternal Isness. “Be still,” is another equally efficacious approach. When you are truly still, you have dropped the changing and are left face-to-face as the eternal Isness. As St. Francis of Assisi stated, “What you are looking for is what is looking.”

Once we have directly experienced life as Life, we are free from identification with the malignant normality. From this point on, if we find we have reverted to identification with malignant normality, we have an apparent choice. We can view life from the perspective of the malignant normality or view life as Life. Life lived as Life still sees the malignant normality, but is no longer bound by identification with delusion.

Be still and . . . Be.

Shalom, Steve and Bec

 

Cognitive Dissonance

 

If you looked at your hand and saw it had 5 fingers, you would not have to look over and over to confirm it has 5 fingers, rather than 4 or 6. If you locked your door, you might have to check it once or twice, but soon enough you would be certain it was locked. When we look at “Who or what am I?” and find only vast Isness devoid of a personal I, we seem unable to accept that direct experience. If we looked in our pocket for our phone and found it was not there, we would very quickly be certain the phone was not in our pocket, even if we had carried it in our pocket for years. Nonetheless, we can look over and over at the question “What am I?” and continue to believe the dream of a personal self, despite the direct experience of our essence as boundless Awareness.

Part of the problem is we expect the experience of a personal I to disappear with the recognition of its illusory ultimate nature.

When we look, we see we are not our body or our thoughts, because they are perceptible, and thus, not fundamental. If we can perceive our body and thoughts, then we cannot ultimately be our body or thoughts—we are subtler. We are what perceives the body and thoughts. We are, at this very moment, what is before the perceiving. Even with this clear recognition that we are not ultimately our body or thoughts, we continue to experience a body and thoughts. The recognition they are not our fundamental essence does not make them disappear, it only removes the illusory identification as them.

Similarly, when we look and find we are fundamentally vast Isness, the experience of an I does not disappear, it only loses its illusory hold as our fundamental identity. The long habit of identification as a personal I may take some time to fully let go, but once we see what we truly are, it cannot be unseen. The stranglehold as an illusory personal I must ultimately collapse under the direct scrutiny of Self-inquiry.

Be kind and forgiving to the experience as a personal I. As long as the experience as a personal I persists, use it relentlessly in the pursuit as Truth. The identification as a personal I is the fundamental assumption supporting all illusion. When it is fully seen through, the rest cannot stand.

“What you are looking for is what is looking.” – St. Francis of Assisi.

In all, as all, with much love, Bec and Steve

 

(The quote in the above photo is from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”)

Life As Truth

 

This has been addressed before, but it comes up frequently. Very often after a glimpse as Isness, we forget what we just recognized. Apparent problems seem to arise and we often look to what has arisen as something we need to analyze and overcome. We have heard very good teachers encourage looking at what is coming up as part of the “process” of clearing the path to living as Freedom.

There may be relative value to addressing these “issues” as part of our daily living. If the goal is awakening as Truth, however, we would suggest using each apparent problem as an opportunity to look at who or what thinks there is a problem. Step back as Isness, open to the moment. Use the perception of a problem as a trigger to remember what you are.

We can spend this life examining each manifestation of delusion, and that may produce a better-adjusted ego. Christ, Buddha, Muhammad, Ramana, Nisargadatta, etc., were not interested in producing better egos. These beings living as Truth were all pointing to Life as Truth. None of them said, “This is how to live a problem-free life.”

We already are Truth. There is nothing to do—nothing to “clear,” nothing to “free up,” nothing to “align.” Those are tales we create in identification to feed a delusional story of a someone.

Stop.

Decide what your highest priority is. If Truth is your “goal,” make it your highest priority.

Namaste, Steve and Bec

St. Kevin And The Blackbird

Recently, someone proclaimed they had a “rude awakening.” Some have called this, “A dark night of the soul.” It is an appreciation of the emptiness without the recognition of/as the paradoxical fullness, both contained in and containing the emptiness.

This “rude awakening” is simply an incomplete recognition of Truth. This experience often gives rise to a sensation of fear or dread, because there is still a someone holding on as an individual identity seeing only one facet of Truth.

We do not awaken to Truth. We awaken as Truth. Truth, as Truth, transcends the limits of concepts. Though vast, emptiness and fullness are still limits mind grabs onto in its effort to understand what is beyond concepts.

The same is true for the experience of Truth as bliss—while more pleasant to the individual, it is still mistaking one facet of Truth as the whole.

As an individual, we want Truth to be bliss. As Truth, there are no concepts, nor even the concept of concepts.

Truth is . . . or is not.

Addendum:

After this post came together, we became aware of a beautiful expression of Truth in the poem by Nobel laureate, Seamus Heaney, titled, “St. Kevin and the Blackbird.”

We considered reprinting the poem, but felt the transmission might be greater listening to Mr. Heaney reading the words he wrote.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-BwgIvMDJXM

Listen from heart and embody the words as if they were your own.

Love, Bec and Steve

Mind The Gap

 

The most direct pointers are the simplest.

Notice the gap between thoughts, or the gap between breathing out and breathing in. Both these gaps bring the immediate, direct experience of Stillness, Silence, Isness.

Stillness, Silence, Isness is present throughout the breath and in the presence of thoughts, but it is often initially easier to notice during the gaps.

Typically, in the search for our Eternal Essence, Truth, we look essentially everywhere except the gaps. We look for the timeless in the ever-changing.

The most direct and effective pointers encourage the recognition of both the experience and the experiencer of the gaps.

“Stop,” “Be still,” “Look within,” “What you are looking for is what is looking.” Each of these pointers are meant to produce a pause, a gap. From, and as, this gap, unchanging Truth is Self-evident.

It is in the gap Awakening as eternal, boundless Self blossoms.

Take the opportunities throughout the day to notice these gaps. Rest as the Isness shining in the gaps. This is our Eternal Essence.

Mind the gaps and be free.

Peace, Steve and Bec

 

Connie Nolan

 

Our sangha is young. We have only been together a little over 3 years. In that brief time, however, the spiritual growth of the sangha through the individuals who come together to make this sangha has been phenomenal.

The Light that is Connie Nolan was, and continues to be, an inspiration.

Connie came to our very first satsang filled with stress and personal conflict. She has since come to nearly every offering and has become a beacon of Love and Truth.

Her easy laugh and selfless sharing raised the hearts of us all.

Last evening, Connie left this physical existence.

In the spiritual lexicon, we are often encouraged to die before we die. Through her openness, Connie came to embody this death of the ego and birth of the recognition as eternal Divine Essence.

We will miss dearly the physical being known as Connie. That which was never born never dies. Connie recognized her birthless-deathless Eternal Essence. That Essence shone in her smile and washed over us all through her gentle laughter.

Thank you, Connie, for directly demonstrating the simplicity of Self-realization. All of Life is better for the time you shared in physical form.

Love, Steve & Bec

 

Reed Cane Horses

 

Hundreds of thousands of books speak of our daily lives as a dream, Maya, illusory, unreal.

Over and over, we read these words, nod and think, how wise those masters were who wrote them. We might even stop and think, “Aha! I understand the Truth of Life.”

The great mystic/poet Rumi admonished us, “Don’t wait til you die to see this. Recognize that your imagination and your thinking and your sense perception are reed canes that children cut and pretend are horses.”

In response to the pointings of these masters, we do all sort of rituals, practices, postures, and diets. We build temples, write more books, worship, and fight over which master was speaking and living Truth.

Rarely do we honestly and openly examine these statements. Rarely does one look and contemplate, what would be the experience here and now that would allow me to declare typical daily life a dream? Not just make the declaration, but have that declaration be an honest reflection of Living Truth.

Take a moment. Be open to the possibility these sages know what they write. Examine the statements as though they reflect a clear expression of your current experience.

Set aside all those patterns, beliefs, thoughts, and identifications associated with the dream of daily life for just a few moments. Notice what remains when all those beliefs associated with the dream of daily life are dropped.

Rest as the nonlocalized, eternal, universal Consciousness. As This, these statements are both true and wholly irrelevant. Can the dreamer be seen? Are we the dream, the dreamer, both, or neither? Look as universal Self.

As Truth, Bec and Steve

Opening Our Hearts To Truth

“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

This approach worked well for Sherlock Holmes, as he found the truth hidden by false assumptions and preconceived expectations. Spirituality is the search for Truth. How then do we eliminate the impossible in the search for Truth?

Truth is Eternal. Nothing that is time-bound is Eternal, so we can eliminate all that is time-bound. If closely examined, this simple elimination of all that is time-bound leaves only Truth.

Obviously, the body is time-bound. The mind-perceived person is time-bound. Even the sense of I-am-ness is time-bound and can, thus, be eliminated.

How then to recognize Eternal?

For years, we have encouraged those who attended satsang to leave their stories, worries, complaints, judgments, identification, etc., at the door with good results. Recently, we modified this approach with more systematic suggestions to leave all time-bound aspects of our apparent life at the door, and to notice what is not time-bound and cannot be left outside.

This approach has recently been blossoming through Grace from the wisdom of Mooji. This direct experience as Truth is simpler than simple. We strongly encouraged you to view Mooji’s free video, “This Exercise Is All the Help You Need.”  https://mooji.tv/freemedia/this-exercise-is-all-the-help-you-need/

Transmission of this direct experience as Truth is more easily conveyed in video than text.

Open your heart, mind, and soul to the possibility of realizing the fruition of your search for Truth. Watch Mooji’s video and be free.

In Truth, Steve and Bec

 

Sacred Cows

 

At our last satsang, we had the opportunity to explore closely what keeps us bound to certain stories, especially positive ones, rather than allowing ourselves to live in the present moment of Awareness, experiencing a spontaneous unfolding of life. We examined what stopped us from living in the moment—freshly—without judgments, analyses, or projections. Many present expressed experientially knowing themselves as Silence, but were having the phenomenal experience of yo-yoing between identifying with their mind created life stories and knowing themselves as Absolute, from and in which all living occurs.

We are never not Absolute. Period. We are always still, silent Awareness in every expression manifesting, even in our most deluded states, regardless of the presence of Sacred Cows (firmly held beliefs above reproach).

We all have special relationships and/or beliefs, both positive and negative, that seem to play a pivotal role in our identity that, for whatever reason, are held onto, often unconsciously. These firmly held beliefs, Sacred Cows, are often associated with the sense of, “I got it” and “I lost it.” It is not these beliefs, however, but the clarity of the recognition of/as Truth that is the source of these experiences.

Do we need to identify these strongly held aspects of this physical existence to discover life as abiding freedom? As is true with most questions, the answer depends on the position of the questioner. From the recognition as Self, as Absolute, the question falls away as irrelevant. From identification as an individual, the question seems critically important. If the goal is a more well-adjusted individual, then recognition and resolution of a Sacred Cow is of great value.

In a dim light, the moon may seem bright, but in full daylight the moon is, at best, a faint object in the sky. It is not the light reflected from the moon, but rather the intensity of the Sun’s light that determines the relative importance of the moon’s light. Like this, it is not the strength of the Sacred Cow that is relevant, but rather the clarity of the recognition as Self that is pivotal. Abiding in clear recognition as boundless Awareness, the Sacred Cow may still be seen, but will carry no more significance that the light of the moon on a sunny day.

The “path” to Self-Realization seems most efficiently traversed by cutting down the tree of ignorance (the identification as an individual separate from Life). This is much more productive than trimming the branches of ignorance one by one. This is where a Truth-abiding teacher can be helpful in pointing out all the trimming and take us straight to the trunk.

Stop. For a few minutes, simply set aside all your thoughts, beliefs, memories, identifications, goals, fears, and rest as what remains when all the things you are not are dropped. Resting as Is-ness, free from all perceptions, experience clearly what you are and be Free.

Namaste, Bec and Steve

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