Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Divine Masquerade

The other morning I read the "Thought for the Day" from Eknath Easarwan and I couldn't help but think how true it is that we have forgotten who we are.

We are all connected. We are one; yet so many different expressions of the One.Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God's eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time, there would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed... I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.
                                                                                  - Thomas Merton

Listening last night to the State of the Union address this occurred to me again. We are all connected though we each appear to be separate. Beneath the outer shell, hidden deep within is that essence of the Divine. It is eternal, infinite, changeless, and so vast. No words can describe this felt-presence, but it is who we are.

We are so caught up in this "divine masquerade" that we have forgotten we are all wearing masks. The irony is that, in each moment, the Divine is calling us to take off our masks and reveal the pure, perfect Self within. When we do, all of our anger against others will melt into compassion and loving kindness and all of our fears into peace, equanimity, and serene trust in each moment just as it is.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Today I am reminded of the poem by David Whyte, "Enough." Sometimes I just try too hard...

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.

Until now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Becoming Less Self-Conscious

In Yoga Nidra, the ancient art of deep relaxation and profound meditation, we drop into the background and watch the changing phenomena in the foreground. The background is changeless. Everything in the foreground is born, grows, exists, and then dies. But the background remains ever the same.

For some, it is easy to identify with this changlessness. It is vast, still, open, silent, and welcoming. You can follow the path of the breath inward. Just allow awareness to rest in the stillness that comes at the end of the inhale and again at the end of the exhale.

The magic comes when we realize we are the background! For so long we have identified with our body, our mind, our thoughts, or our emotions. When we see all of these come and go, and yet we remain; then we KNOW we are this changeless essence. No words can describe this, but we know it instantaneously!

What is happening, in part at least, is that we are no longer "self-conscious" but rather open to all that is unfolding. The self-consciousness is a sort of preoccupation with how we look to others. It is identification with the separate self, the body-mind and all of the conditioned roles we play.

As we recognize who we truly are, that self-consciousness begin to dissolve. This can be frightening for the separate self, but stay with it. Stay in the openness, the space that welcomes everything. Let life unfold.

At the end of the Yoga Nidra session, we are reminded that "Yoga Nidra mentors us in the understanding that all is One. There is only awareness. We are awareness and all objects are expressions of awareness. Whenever we are serving our Self, we are serving all others. Whenever we are serving another, we are serving our Self."

Awareness Never Changes
Beyond the moving mind lays a background of Stillness that never changes.

The mind must come to know the Self as this pervading background of Stillness.

Realize that nothing observed or experienced is you.

Nothing experienced binds or obscures you.

Take no notice of what is not your Self.

Nothing observed is ultimately who we are.

Be aware of being aware.

Be aware deliberately and consciously.

Broaden and deepen this field of awareness.

You are always conscious of the mind.

Now be consciously aware of yourself as being aware.

Be Awareness.

In this there is no separation of observer and observed.

Look upon the objects of the world.

See that all objects are extensions of Awareness.

There is only Awareness.

There is only Presence.

There is only God.

~ Richard C. Miller ~

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Learning to Stay

There is a Sanskrit word for the complete acceptance of who we are. It is matri. Meditation is the path. It seems all of us have an aversion to discomfort. Some have a higher tolerance than others, but in the finally analysis, we would rather not be uncomfortable, physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. But a central point in meditation is to just "sit with" whatever arises in the moment.

When we practice this sitting, we find that it is not as difficult as we imagined. Accepting the discomfort, knowing it will come and go, we can begin to let go of our long-held belief that we need to push discomfort away. Gradually, we begin to experience those gaps that come at the end of the inhale and exhale of our breathing cycle. The gaps are portals really into a vast, openness that is who we are. Don't take my word for it. Try it; be willing to stay long enough in your discomfort to relax into matri.

Pema Chodron, revered American Buddhist nun, describes the four qualities of matri that are cultivated when we meditate: steadfastness, clear seeing, experiencing our emotional distress, and attention to the present moment.

As these qualities are uncovered, we find ourselves living moment to moment, allowing life to unfold in us. Just being who we are.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Why Struggle?

As a new year begins, I find myself in this place that is both familiar and unfamiliar. There is great vastness, openness. There is fear and a deep letting go into the unknown. The Buddhists say the source of suffering is not accepting the impermanence of all things. Yet all things are possible because of change.

I like to just be, to notice things, to just observe. But there is still a part of me that wants to make things happen, momentarily loses sight of the realization that "I" have no control. It is then the stillness envelops me... I remember not to struggle. There is nothing to achieve, nowhere to go.

In his new book, Falling Into Grace: Insights on the End of Suffering, Adyashanti says:
      "Even though your ego is struggling, even if you're trying to figure this out & 'do it right,' if you really look, you might just see that struggle is happening within a greater context of peace, within an inner stillness."

I can actually feel it in my body. There isn't any way to think my way out of struggling. I just notice the peace, the stillness, is already present.

Just imagine for a moment that everything is perfect just as it is. That there is no need to struggle; no need to make an effort to find peace and joy. Just take a moment to be quiet and see if that stillness, that unchanging awareness, is right here each moment.