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Monday, July 24, 2017

Where is my wanting?

The masters tell us again and again that the Truth is so easy we miss it.  We miss who We Already Are, because we are wanting what we are not.

Today, can I be the reversal? Instead of sending my wanting out, can I gently look inward to see where my wanting is and call it Home?  Just the honest looking inward and seeing without judgment (True Forgiveness) is all that is needed.

Desire is splintered into fragments of wanting which play out in situations and relationships in our worlds. Beneath the obvious situation at hand, there are core desires: wanting approval/admiration from ourselves and others; wanting control of myself, my environment, and others; wanting my security, both emotionally and physically; and wanting a separate special status.

As we live our lives and find ourselves reacting or judging or feeling depressed or "off" in some way, we can pause and just welcome these feelings.  If we're sad or frustrated or angry etc., we can ask ourselves -- what is it that I'm wanting right now?  We can take a moment to feel it all fully without rationalizing it (being right), spiritualizing it (using our intellect to judge it as part of a spiritual framework), or pushing it away in some other fashion.

As we do, a funny thing happens -- we notice that we are not these feelings.

Something changeless like space exists prior to them.   I Am.  The feelings are objects that come and go. They float through awareness, which is the intimate sense of me-ness without any other parameters.  As awareness, we can welcome them fully, then let them go.

There are no bad or good thoughts or feelings.  There is simply energy that arises.  The mind will often try to analyse and find the "why" for them, but that's an old pattern that does not work to free us.  Instead, we can just fully welcome our "guests."  As we do, these energy forms can rest and dissolve.

Ultimately, the ego is a summation of this energy, but it is really all God, wanting to come Home or be released.  We come to find out we are the guru we've been looking for.  Realization is a do-it-yourself job, as Lester Levenson said.

Body identification (physical and psychological) is a strong, old habit, but that's all. As I practice welcoming all the images and feelings that arise, it weakens.  I can begin to watch this body like I watch other bodies...like I am watching a dream or a movie.

From this neutrality, the Truth naturally shines.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lester Levenson - The Freedom State

This morning, I'm struck with a great gratitude at how blessed we are that in this age we have so much access, via online media, to so many different messages -- and messengers -- that have been pointing us towards the Truth within. Those of us on the Path are never without inspiration and guidance.  When we cannot hear the Voice within, we can type a few keystrokes into Google and get ready access to many masters whose lives were used to extend the Truth.

I have found Lester Levenson to be an amazingly clear channel.  An engineer in New Jersey, Lester was sent home to die by his doctor in 1952 after a massive coronary. His misery led to a sudden single-mindedness in his search within for Truth, and in a very short time, he awakened to the true Self. His awakening led him to dedicate his life to serving others, and in his messages you can hear the same messages you'll find in A Course in Miracles and Advaita....the deepest non-dual principles are expressed in a very clear, simple way with gentle guidance (and strong urging!) on how to apply it to our lives.

Please enjoy this talk from 1984, which I think is a good introduction to his teaching. 


For more, you can check the link I've added to my blog under Helpful Links, which is a collection of Lester's talks dating from the mid-1960's and later.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lean In....

What is upsetting you?  What is it that is not going "your" way?  What is disappointing you, threatening you, scaring you, angering you, boring you?

I can only write to my Self.  So, Self, let's look tenderly here.

If I want to find sore spots in this one, places "I" am holding a judgement for or against, it's not hard.  I can think about a conversation with a family member.  Or I can simply scan the Daily News headlines.  "That's outrageous! So cruel! How unfair! What are they thinking?!"...etc.

Okay, good...so there it is...the little or not-so-little upset. The "I" is asserting itself...it is the hero (tragic or otherwise) in its own endless story.

For a moment, do not react. As the Course in Miracles says, "Let all things be exactly as they are."

Reaction comes from conditioning.  It's the software program of the ego. It's the madness expressing and it always leads to more madness. We think, therefore we are somebodies. Somebodies must take a position on the "out there" in order to maintain an illusory constancy of separate existence.  I exist -- different from That, different from you -- because I judge.

Instead, just for a moment, be Still.  Do nothing.  Watch.  And next...lean in.

Lean in?  Yes, get closer.  Quietly, the Heart comes forward...it has questions that the ego can not answer.

What is this all about? What meaning have I given this?  Where, in fact, is all of this occurring?  What is the big story that this situation only thinly veils? Is it true? Can I be absolutely sure it's true? Is the opposite as true?

I am always experiencing my own consciousness. That's where it all happens.  I am upset, therefore, about a story I am telling myself.  The story is always somehow at some level about me.  But it is all made up by mind.  It is just thoughts, and when you/I sleep, we forget them and they are gone.  It only has the validity we give it every moment.  The Course reminds us it is actually exhausting to have to reinforce these beliefs every day!   It is the "I" thought that is mixed with these beliefs.  They reinforce each other. The experiencer is hit with so-called evidence continually throughout the day that they -- and it --- are true.

 This story, Reader, is our favorite book we read for eons.  Until it's not.  Until we see all we've ever been is Awareness.  Non-judging Awareness.  Self.  Consciousness.  The rest was unstable arbitrary content and positions for/against said arbitrary content.

Working towards awakening implies the false self is real...which is why egos love spiritual journeys. There is no struggle in this...just let us be honest in our Looking.    We don't have to get to where and what we already Are.  That's what Ramana was telling us and still is.  

Lean in and laugh at the silliness...be free now! :)


Sunday, July 16, 2017

William Samuel - The Mirror of Self


Excerpt from William Samuel's book The Awareness of Self-Discovery:

"Every teacher, book, writer, practitioner, sage, guru or peanut vendor, by whatever name, title or label he goes, is an aspect of the Awareness (Identity) 'we' are. We take the book from the shelf most likely to render a specific service at a given moment. Exactly so, we have appeared to go to the philosophy, teacher, church, friend, stranger or peanut vendor that has unfolded as sufficient for the moment— but that philosophy, teacher, church, friend or stranger is within the awareness we are. So is the peanut vendor. We are forever looking at our Self.

"Now, listen softly: Just as one goes to the cleanest mirror in the house, the one that is the least distorted and best illuminated, so we turn to that aspect of the SELF that tells it to us 'like it is,' without mental reservation, without the absence of Light, and for absolutely certain, without making something of ITSELF by belittling others. What is seen 'out there' is a mirrored Self-image, but only an IMAGE. The awareness that is the looking is the divine, pure and sinless Identity we are. To say this again: The image-form that appears at any given moment is only one of an infinite number of forms that may appear. The value is not in the image. (Nor is the power!) The value is forever in the AWARENESS -- 'you'— are who is the observing of the image.

"All that could be called Samuel or any other name is only an infinitesimal aspect of the Self's tangible declaration— and tangibility is only part of it. There is the intangible That 'which is above them all'— the Deific Self-hood which is being all there is to the external tangibility of 'form' or to the internal intangibility of imagery. All that is called the belief and dream of a material existence enters the scene upon the assumption of an identity that limits itself to the body-image. That one sees all other images as separate and apart from itself. That one calls himself the observer and is continually fighting a battle with his observed. In the sad comedy of proliferating complication that follows, observING (the awareness that resides as the center of it all) goes but barely noticed. However, observing awareness goes on being the Identity we are anyway, whether we are conscious of it or not, and all the trials and tribulations of the limited identity's experience serve to bring us to the consciousness of the greater Identity— the one that is real; the one that has never been guilty of ignorance or wrong doing or anything else!"


Friday, July 7, 2017

Chief Joseph's words on The Way of the Warrior and the Great Illusion


THE  Way of the Warrior is simple, my dear ones. However, it may be simple but it's not always easy. Today I would like to give you a few of my simple guidelines or "rules of the road", if you will. And that road is the Way of the Warrior.

The Warrior always speaks her truth – no matter what the circumstances.

The Warrior is totally detached from what others think and say about her. [This is absolutely necessary if she's going to observe the first rule above.]
The Warrior always does her best to see the Divinity in all that is. In this way, she shall never have any desire to own, control, manipulate, misuse or abuse any of the Great Spirit's creatures.

The Warrior always follows the highest path as dictated by the highest authority in the universe – herself.

The Warrior totally trusts in – and surrenders to – the flow of her life. She knows all is as it should be. Therefore, she must always completely trust in – and surrender to – her higher Self, her Soul, the Great Spirit.

The Warrior knows all Love, all Wisdom, all Power lie within her – within her mind, her body, her heart, her Soul. There is nothing to seek, nothing to find, nowhere to go – except WITHIN.

The Warrior knows with absolute certainty she has never made a mistake – she can never make a mistake. All of her life is simply a lesson in this classroom called planet Earth. She learns as she goes. All is as it should be.

The Warrior never takes life on planet Earth too seriously. It's all a game, after all – a game in the classroom of planet Earth. And games should be fun. Enjoy the game – it won't last forever!

The Warrior's heart is always full – and always grateful. She never knows lack or emptiness – except, that is, when she creates those illusions by getting too infatuated with the Great Illusion – the human experience.

The Warrior knows the Great Illusion creates some highly interesting challenges – for example, the challenge to rise above the Great Illusion.

As she rises above the Great Illusion, the Warrior knows this experience is as it should be – she has chosen it. And in this choosing, she is remembering her way back to the Light – back to her Home. That was the only reason for choosing the Great Illusion in the first place.

The Warrior knows all her brothers and sisters on planet Earth have the same destination she does – HOME. But each may take a different path. And the Warrior knows that's okay! All will get Home – no matter what path they take. It cannot be otherwise – for ALL paths lead Home.

The Warrior knows the way of the wind. She loves the wind, but she knows she cannot capture it – she cannot own it. She can love it, luxuriate in its presence, glory in its energy. But if she tries to capture it, it becomes something other than what it truly is – it becomes still and stagnant air.

She can never possess it completely – unless she refuses to ever own it – unless she refuses to ever have sovereignty over it. She can possess it only by letting it be free – by letting it be what it is.

It cannot be otherwise. The Way of the Warrior is the Way of the Wind.
Chief Joseph

Thursday, July 6, 2017

William Samuel speaking about Love

William Samuel was a non-dual teacher/mystic/writer/poet out of the deep south in Alabama. He saw combat in not one, but two gruesome wars in the 20th century. His stories remind us of a literal living Arjuna with his teacher Krishna who had satsang on the battlefield. Although he never named the Indian teacher he spent 2 weeks with during his lifetime, it is also quite probable he was one of the first Westerners to sit in Silence with Ramana Maharshi. Perhaps this was part of what opened him so fully.

William passed away in 1996.  For more details and to enjoy his expression of the Truth, I recommend his books, audios on YouTube, as well as an informative, enjoyable interview with his Literary Executor, Sandy Jones, on Buddha at the Gas Pump.

Here is one of his many audios he created as cassette tapes (remember those?) for his friends.  In his authentic down-home way, he helped others move beyond their questions, doubts, and problems into a direct experience of that Sweet Truth. Surely, his words were largely just a vehicle for the tremendous Love Energy that he embodied. He might have been telling us about the birds singing or the breeze blowing, and he often did and does below.

You might almost feel him wrap his arms around you in child-like encouragement and joy as you listen.  And if you do feel him, you can bet he really is!


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

On Waking Up is back: A New Beginning

I started sharing ideas at On Waking Up in 2010, almost 7 years ago now. Prior to that I'd studied A Course in Miracles for many years, listened to many hours of Ken Wapnick lecture on the topic, and had my own study group for a short while.  In 2009, I  experienced a great deal of upheaval in my life as old structures began coming down - work, marriage, family.  I also began spontaneously "channeling" very specific lessons for myself  via a group who go by The Brothers, which triggered a huge amount of fear and self-loathing in me, but also brought a lot of deep wisdom into my conscious awareness.

By 2010, writing became a new form through which the teachings could reach me. I was applying the teachings of True Forgiveness from ACIM (which were being enhanced by the teachings I was receiving from The Brothers) as well as I could, and I felt compelled to write my day-to-day experiences and understandings down.  I felt a deep part of my mind could open to new depths in the writing process, and the honest words and humor that would come somehow illuminated the wisdom for me....it felt like Me teaching me.

I had 3 rules for myself to avoid ego traps - 1) be honest and write only what came from an authentic experience, 2) write  only when inspired, or prompted, to do so, so that it stayed authentic,  3) stay "in my own business" as Byron Katie would say -- i.e. my thoughts, feelings, and experiences are not the world's fault. To stay in integrity, it was important that I keep the subject matter clear of other people.

In 2012 I left Washington to attend a music festival in Utah at an ACIM monastery, and I never returned after I felt compelled to join their spiritual community. At that time, I stopped writing for the most part as my lessons came in different forms, such as song-writing and playing music.

I've seen some advice against such groups. I'll say ACIM is a self-study course and, as such, it does not promote spiritual community, churches, gurus, etc. However, it also makes clear that each of us will live a life of lessons that is "highly individualized." Therefore it does not prescribe or prohibit ANYTHING in the world.  All forms are equally neutral and can be used for learning. In my case, I did not feel it was a "choice" in the sense of a goal that I moved towards. I simply found, like we sometimes do, that all roads closed except the one that led this way, which in a way seemed the most unlikely thing in the world to be happening.  My heart felt a strong "yes" to an invitation received, and the reflections around me also matched this Yes. I love when the next step is made so unambiguous for us.

My time in Utah among fellow ACIM students and teachers in a shared living space was rich, and I'm sure much time was compressed. I healed in deep ways, experienced a lot of joy and love and appreciation, and had more mystic experiences that felt like the veil had been pulled back so I could see a profound Reality underlying the mundane one. I experienced "high" illuminations, and I had days of feeling blissfully transparent and fluid with no position for or against. I felt as though I was The YES to the Flow of Life.

I noticed those were very enticing states, but they would come and go. I began to see one can become addicted to spiritual highs like any other kind.  It is not a judgement against them. They are helpful. But they are phenomenal. The ego will seek and grasp for them, and then that leads to the same old pleasure/pain cycle.

I also experienced a lot more of the hidden darkness in my mind.  After a time, I saw that I could no longer discern between what was True and what was a very sneaky spiritual ego inflating itself. Once this had been brought to my conscious awareness, I left the community, not because it was their fault, but because the Truth that drew me there drew me away. The lesson felt complete at that level, although there has been more to understand and forgive in my mind relating to spiritual teachers, hierarchy, in-the-world-not-of-the-world confusion and other issues. They were only my very helpful mirrors bringing up painful beliefs.

Perhaps that chapter can be summed up this way: I still had "motives," such as to end pain in my life, to be a good person, to live a happy abundant life (albeit in a new form), to have a fulfilling lifestyle with like-minded people. There is nothing wrong with all that.

But my goal was Truth. Truth is not a form in the world, as we know. And Truth can speak through anything, including a person like a teacher or a teaching like A Course In Miracles. When I sometimes felt I had to choose between the teacher/teaching/book/community"out there" and my inner sense of being aligned with Truth, I felt insane. This pain helped me see the sneaky way the ego can still operate when I take form --people, places, goals, concepts, etc. -- seriously. All desire, except the desire for peace, can do this.

This is where all ego journeys start and end, cycling around and around, trying this and trying that, going to this teacher and that one. We did it in the world with money and careers and family, and then we do it with religion and spirituality.  It never ends...until we stop seeking.  So this chapter exposed the seeker in a dramatic way like nothing else had done before. And it was just my experience, not everyone's. For many reasons, it was a beautifully efficient lesson and one for which I am very grateful.

Since 2014, the Truth has been pointing me back to the people and structures that I'd left.  Thankfully, I still had two sons and life "responsibilities." Grace operated so swiftly and effortlessly in my life to rearrange the world in such beautiful ways once I gave my willingness. It was not overnight, yet it seems that way in retrospect, like flipping the page in a book. We were all the better for it, because no one heals alone.

Today I feel to pick up the proverbial pen here again. Perhaps to set straight these thoughts for myself after several years of learning and deepening and looking at all the thoughts within.  Perhaps new teachings are coming for me in this way, and I am clearing the deck, so to speak. Or maybe not!

On my mind today is a special description of Forgiveness or Love that had come through me as a beautiful teaching a few years earlier. It is more pertinent and meaningful to me now:

"Imagine a Mother. Like Sleeping Beauty awakened, she's out of her slumber only to find a great need that she alone can fill.  It's the children!  She sets the table with her finest china, polishes the silver until it gleams, and lights the candles.  With a feast spread out on the table, she goes to the front door, and she calls Home all the Children.  Come Home!! She will own and mother and nurture all the little children, who are innocent, though they've lived as dirty orphans left to run the streets and wreak havoc in the world. They have been the only cause of all the chaos and suffering, but they have only needed to be Heard.  So she sits down with them, serves them each a heaping plate, and says to each one, "What are you about? Tell me everything. I'm sorry. I'm listening now."  They have been acting innocently...they have been acting out a Call for Love ...it has all been no more serious than the toddler who is over-tired and stamps his foot and throws his toys."

I am the Mother.  You are the Mother.  The ego -- all the images, thoughts, and feelings --they are God, too, innocent and wanting to come Home. We can listen to it, understand it, answer its Call for Love with care.  No lofty, non-dual ideas, meditation, or special living arrangements can do what only this Very Present Love can do.

Even A Course in Miracles says "Forget this Course."  We do outgrow the concepts if we're progressing.  When we arrive at the destination, we don't try to take the bus with us.

So I have made much progress, brought much to conscious awareness, and lived more peace. And there's still a way in which I've sometimes strong-armed my world, trying to keep it at an arm's length away while I frantically sought an escape.  When ACIM is most helpful, it is in my mind. Other teachings have also become dear to me such as Advaita via Ramana Maharshi and Robert Adams and The Work by Byron Katie, both of which are not so much teachings as they are tools for Self inquiry.

The only way out is Love.  Love is total acceptance to What Is.  Love is awareness, understanding, deep listening, Seeing without judgement. And I am always at beginning...it is like an incessant prayer within me: "Help me begin now."

So, Reader, here we are together again. The shoe leather is a little more worn and we have more stories to share with each other... a few more wrinkles and gray hairs, too.  But our legs are strong! And our countenance is Calm. And Look---the sun is shining so brightly, happy to Light our Way.....



On Waking Up is back: A New Beginning

I started sharing ideas at On Waking Up in 2010, almost 7 years ago now. Prior to that I'd studied A Course in Miracles for many years...