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

Seeing It All The Way Through

 

Our teacher, Sharon Landrith, frequently encourages, “See it all the way through.” This advice is given when students have experienced an awakening and begin to abide more and more as Absolute, and yet, have a remnant of a person/doer—almost always unseen.

Sometimes in desperation after a taste of our True Nature, of Self, we fake the “enlightened” life. There is a subtle doer in the embodiment of Awareness through intentional mindfulness. Mind brings forth intellectual understanding, language, and actions to support this stance, while looking outside to feed this story of “enlightenment” and to validate it. If this resonates, then Grace is whispering, “See it all the way through.”

Stop. Who needs this validation? In the experientially felt answer, the story is now seen and can be dropped. Emotions are a good barometer of a story believed. If something doesn’t feel quite right or irritation frequently pops up in the abiding, that can be a cue to ask, “What is happening here? What is actually happening?” Again, without going to mind for the answer, open to the direct experience of what is.

Awakening is a self-validating experience. Nonetheless, throughout time, those who have experienced Awareness have often gone to a teacher for validation. This is a double-edged sword. The experience as fully embodied Is-ness requires no validation and would accept no contradiction. And yet, a Truth-abiding teacher is invaluable in spotting one’s tilting to the left or tilting to the right. A story comes to mind of a student monk who experienced Is-ness and went to the master for validation. The master said, “No, go back and search more.” The student continued to investigate Truth and came back saying, “This must be Is-ness.” Again, the teacher sent the student back to investigate more. A third time the student came back and was again rejected by the teacher. The student responded, “Thank you, Is-ness as Is-ness knows itself.” The teacher bowed, “Ah, that is Is-ness.”

We should be careful not to prematurely hoist the “enlightenment” flag, as that is proof of an ego-driven nature that is still ruling the day. When Nothingness/Everthingness is clearly recognized, there is no debate.

Awakening is instantaneous, and yet, embodiment through that which has Awakened seems to develop over time. Validation has its place in the letting go process and is a very useful tool. Eventually, that, too, must be dropped for the story it is. What remains in the felt flow, felt movement, arises from what we are. Every apparent perception, flow, moment is ultimately not what we are. We are that from which all perception arises.

See it all the way through.

Love, Steve and Bec

Drugs and Spiritual Awakening

 

There is talk in the spiritual community of pharmacological shortcuts to Awakening. In a few cases, this has even been encouraged by self-proclaimed Awakened teachers. Seekers are being encouraged to consider Iowaska, LSD, or psychedelic mushrooms as a way to experience finer states of reality as a technique to speed their progress on the path to Freedom. Even a cursory look at this reasoning reveals the gaping flaws.

Awakening is recognition as that which is timeless. Drugs provide time-bound experiences.

Awakening is recognition as the unchanging. Drugs provide transient experiences of that which is always changing.

Awakening is waking up from the individual. Drugs provide experiences bound by the individual experiencer.

Drugs provide a sensory experience. Every sensory experience is an interpretation of reality. The experience may be substantially different from one’s daily interpretation of reality, but in the end, it is still just another mind-based interpretation of a sensory experience.

Awakening is the recognition of Consciousness as Consciousness. Awakening is not an interpretation of an external reality, because to Consciousness, there is nothing external.

In the end, what can be shorter than “Be still.”

The purpose of this is not to make a moral judgement on those seeking altered states of consciousness pharmacologically, only to point out it is not a viable shortcut to Awakening. We are sympathetic to the transient condition that can make us feel trapped in an identified story of Life, desperate to try anything to be in a state of Awakening. But as long as there is a someone looking for a state, it will not happen by any means.

Awakening is not a state of consciousness, it is Consciousness.

Namaste, Bec and Steve

No Instruction Manual Needed

 

Recognition of Truth is not about learning more. There are over 100,000 books about enlightenment, so where are the 100,000 Buddhas? We like to think if we try harder, learn more, we can grind our way to awakening.

Awakening is not about adding to our knowledge; it is about recognizing the timeless essence of Life. It is more about subtracting than adding.

Look to those examples throughout history where recognition had clearly dawned. These were not the intellectual giants of their day; they were sincere souls who had noticed the simplicity of reality. We can often get a feel for the clarity of a teacher’s experience by the frankness of their delivery.

Reading lots of books and posts about Truth is only of value when it pauses our mind chatter long enough to allow our true nature as eternally awake Consciousness to be recognized and experienced.

Look at some of the most classic pointers: Stop; Be Still; Notice what is looking; I am that I am. None of these are calls to intellectual pursuit. They are not instruction manuals for building an enlightened mind. These are simple admonitions to live as the eternal presence here right now.

We are all invited to drop the egoic pursuit of enlightenment. Stop. Be Still. What you are looking for is what is looking. Notice the eternal Truth that we already are the timeless I AM.

Love, Steve and Bec

 

Be Still

 

Sounds simple and it is. The problem we often encounter is we make “Be still” a doing. “Be still” is not an act of doing, it is Life spontaneously flowing. “Be still” is an automatic state when doing stops. Let go of mind’s obsession with thoughts, memories, and emotions, and what remains is stillness—Being. Awakening is the recognition as Being, as Awareness. This is the constant background and is often missed because we are looking for an experience and miss experiencing. We are solely focused on the foreground and are unconscious of the background on which it all plays out. Let go of everything we are aware of and what remains is pure Awareness—no object, no subject—just Being. The incredible lightness of Being. “Be still,” the instant, pathless path.

Stop. Be still. Now.

Hallelujah, Bec and Steve

 

Stop, Drop, and Be

 

How many times do we need to directly experience Truth before we drop the illusion of ignorance (known as the wheel of samsara in Hinduism)?

Several sangha members have very clear experiences as Nothingness. During our last satsang, some shared that this experience seems to come and go. All that is necessary to awaken to our eternal essence is to drop attachment to the mind (its memories, beliefs, accomplishments, and fears). When we drop these attachments, what remains is Boundless Eternal Consciousness. Resting as this Consciousness, it is immediately clear This has never been born and can never die—This is what you can’t pick up or set down. Consciousness is our eternal essence, immediately obvious when we drop attachment to the mind and its chatter for even a second.

Why then does this recognition produce a permanent shift for some and appear to come and go for others? When we rest as Consciousness, free from all identification with mind, it is Self-evident this divine essence cannot come or go.

How then does the recognition seem to fade for some? In the end, it comes down to a belief in a thought. Common ones are unworthiness, specialness, and arrogance, but any thought believed will do. We have a long habit of identification with the mind.

This truth was recently succinctly stated by Mukti, a beloved teacher in California:  “Thoughts themselves don’t create division, separation, and suffering. Rather, investing thoughts with belief, identifying with them, and taking them personally are what fuels the wheel of samsara.”

No one is unworthy. No one is special. Until established as our True Self, every “one” is arrogant. Get over it. Stop hanging on to excuses and avoidances. Whether we recognize it or not, we are Consciousness. We are free to either live in ignorance of our divine essence or open to Eternal Truth.

The mind is a tool, and as such, has many uses, but it is not fundamentally what we are any more than our nose or elbow is fundamentally what we are. Each piece of this body serves some functional purpose in this apparent phenomenal existence, but none are relevant to that which is non-phenomenal. We would never say, I am my elbow, but we go around pretending to be our mind even though both are simply tools.

An awakened friend of ours recently observed the fierce grace that has been his physical existence. He has multiple medical problems that have made it abundantly and irrevocably clear he is not his bowels, his muscles, his immune system, or his eyes. As he notes, “It is as if nature was taking me through piece by piece pointing out you are not this, you are not that.”

Fortunately, most of us do not have to go through piece by piece saying, not this, not that. We can simply stop and notice the unchanging Consciousness. Every time we stop identifying with our thoughts, memories, emotions, mind, and body, we immediately recognize our eternal Self. It’s time to stop acting like the person who is repeatedly shown a snake is a rope and still holds on to the belief it is a snake. How many times do we need to directly experience Truth before we drop the illusion of ignorance?

Peace, Steve and Bec

%d bloggers like this: