“If we want our experience to impact our life, it will have to become something more than a lollipop. Experience will have to be approached as nourishment that will lead to actual growth, actual development, actual evolution. What we need is an education about how to be a human being. We might not have any idea what it means to be a human being. Being human does not simply mean being human in isolation from Essence, in isolation from God or Truth. Being human also means knowing how we are related to other realms. So we need the knowledge of the soul, of Essence, and of objective reality to learn how to be a human being. But what is needed more than anything else is an education that will transform our approach to experience in general. Whether we’re experiencing other people, or daily life, whether we’re experiencing emotions, essential states, or realizations, we need to approach our experiences in a mature way.”
Opening photograph: Clouds, Birds, Moon, Venus by Isaac Gutiérrez Pascual.
“When you know that you are something beyond your body, mind, emotions, sensations, that there is a lot more to you which is deeper than these things, your point of view about life will change.
If all your life you’ve looked for somebody to love you, and then find that your nature is love, what will happen to that search? You spent all of your life trying to get love, and then realize that you are love; you are no longer the bee looking for nectar; you are the flower itself. Suddenly your prospective is totally shifted; now there will be something else to do with your life other than searching for love.
To work on gaining knowledge about ourselves, we use every possible means: emotional methods, energetic methods, psychological methods. We need to sharpen our capacity to learn, our ability to investigate, to see, to understand, and to know. We need to learn how to learn. Then we can go on finding out who we are, what’s really there, what life is about, what is really good, what we are supposed to go after.”
I like how Blavatsky uses the word ‘wish’ when she describes the opportunity that awaits each of us at the start of a new year. A wish is different from a desire, or an idea in the mind about what we think we want. The word wish connotes a blending — not exactly a desire, not exactly a prayer — but something in-between. A silent ceremony that occurs between one’s soul (the personal experience of presence) and one’s Being (one’s existence and presence as the divine).
The fascinating fact about Being is that Being is not intrinsically involved with wanting, desiring or wishing. It’s much more immediate, beyond the confines of time and space. It is simply Being. As presence that is fully present, Being is simply being. Although our soul can register Being as being involved in the process of thinking about the past, registering the present and looking towards the future — objectively, Being is only about being. All the beauty, fulfillment and freedom that the ego dreams about ‘someday achieving’ is all contained, now, within the present-time experience of Being. So there’s nowhere to venture, nothing to get. This is very disturbing to the usual, conventional, ego-based sense of self.
The start of a new year is often a trap for us, because there are such high expectations for experiencing opportunities to do or be something new and different. Resolutions are made, lists are written. The habits we want to lose are noted, the skills we want to develop are highlighted. But within all of that resolving and planning we miss the most important part of what the new year symbolizes — what it is really about. Namely, the opportunity to partake of another cycle of the earth moving around the sun, from solstice to solstice. Another year to experience the mystery of Being. Read more
I’m back from a long, extremely hot, nine-day Ridhwan retreat on Maui. Believe it or not, I had a hard time uprooting myself from Vashon to head to the Valley Isle. Summer was just beginning to bloom in Washington, and folks who live here know that when summer starts displaying the goods, you gotta savor each golden day. Still, I made it to Hawai’i.
The retreat’s theme, the material presented, was incredibly challenging to articulate, and once again I’m in awe of the teachers’ focus and presence. Guidance on the subject of absence can easily devolve into acid trip-like meanderings (ask anyone that’s ever attended a bad Buddhist retreat on the subject). But our teachers’ transmission was crystalline, palpable and impacted me in a profoundly deep way.
This is all part and parcel of the process of the attempts to understand absence. The mind can’t absorb and hold on to the concept of emptiness because the observed and the perception of what is observed (in absence) are one and the same — there is no mind present, weighing and touching and parceling reality into familiar boxes. In fact ‘you’ aren’t even there to ‘have’ the experience — and yet there is the moment. So you can see the mindfuck of the whole subject.
But rather than ramble any further I’ll shift gears and go to a segment of one of Mary Oliver‘s poems, What Is There Beyond Knowing? — one of my favorites. Poetry being a fine way to trace the mind’s finger against the outline of emptiness (which is the best the mind can do — poor thing). Read more
“The most important insight needed for a student to move from the deficient lack of support to the actual state of support is the recognition that the feeling of helplessness, of not knowing what to do to be oneself, is not an actual deficiency, nor a personal failing. It is rather, the recognition of a fundamental truth about the self, which is that we cannot do anything in order to be, for to be is not an activity. We can come to this understanding only through the cessation of intentional inner activity. At this point, not to know what to do is a matter of recognizing the natural state of affairs, for since there is nothing that we can do to be, then it is natural that we cannot know what to do. There is nothing to know because such knowledge is impossible. Nobody knows what to do to be, and the sooner we recognize this, the easier is our work on self-realization. In fact, feeling that we don’t know what to do to be ourselves is the beginning of the insight that we don’t need to do anything.” Read more