Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chain Cannot Become Gold

The gold chain is seeking to know what it is.  It begins it's search in meditation, hoping to calm the chain-mind and discover what it is.  It reads lots of books, blogs, and Facebook posts, looking for that little nugget to set it free, free from it's limited chain-life, a life that began, an existence which will some day end.
 
The chain visits a guru - a chain-guru - that guru tells the chain - your true nature is Gold.  You cannot seek it or reach it, for you ARE it.  Chain is mystified by this concept "Gold".  Gold is this formless, undefined, inconceivable thing - since chain cannot conceive of it, it looks elsewhere, to practices, new states, new experiences that it can have to find out what it is.  Chain-guru just smiles.
 
Chain seeks far and wide, reads every book on the topic, including the most famous chain-guru of them all Nisargadatta Chain-maraj.  Nisargadatta says, you were never born, you are THAT which you seek.  Chain is so confused but since Chain-maraj said it, chain decides to stop looking outside, to stop looking for some new experience or state, and look at WHAT it is, in essence.
 
Chain finds that it didn't actually begin - that it is the product of some melting, some bending, some polishing...  that something was already there before chain was formed, and "something" was formed into what we call "chain".  Well the chain now knows that whatever it is, chain is merely a pattern or formation OF that substance, that essence, whatever it is. 
 
Chain is shocked to find that this "Gold" isn't a thing at all, it is a formless essence - it shapes into chains and rings and bracelets - all those "things" are Gold, in essence.  So chain realizes it is Gold after all.
 
But that's not really true, is it? - chain didn't realize anything.  Chain was only ever Gold.  It is not chain that realizes it is Gold.  It is Gold that realizes, it was never only Chain, never only ring, never only bracelet.  All these are expressions OF Gold.  It is Gold, experiencing itself AS chain, AS ring, AS bracelet, which caused the original illusion and the eventual realization.  When chain is formed, nothing was born, nothing was created, no new EXISTENCE came about.  When chain is gone, nothing will die, nothing was destroyed, no separate EXISTENCE ended. 
 
In the same way, you are Life itself.  You are seeking Life outside yourself.  Like the chain, Life has formed or patterned and that pattern is intelligent with the capacity of consciousness.  Life now can look upon itself, and even question WHAT it is.  And maybe Life realizes it was never JUST that organism. 
 
Existence isn't something which comes and goes - all things are patterns OF existence or Life - when the pattern ends, existence remains.  There is one essence, expressing as every "thing".  Dive into your idea of existence and see if you can find where existence ever began in anything.  Don't stop until you arrive at an answer to your satisfaction.  Don't look outside yourself for the answers and remain confused as the chain was. 
 
You can never reach it, for you ARE it.  In Vedanta pure existence is called Brahman.  It is said that you cannot find Brahman - it is Brahman which is doing the looking.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Existence

What is the difference between the existence of a rock and the existence of a cloud?  Does a rock exist?  Does a cloud exist?  Yes, of course they do.  But their existence is dependent - they didn't pop into existence.  They formed from something.  Something WAS - from that the rock formed - from that the cloud formed.  Something already existed - in the case of the rock it was a mineral - the cloud was water vapor.  The minerals came together and we call that "rock" - the water vapor condensed and we call that "cloud".  The minerals and water were already there yet we say "rock" is a new thing - "cloud" is a new thing - the rock stays around a lot longer than the cloud yet we say that each is a thing.  In that we mean that they are independent existences. 
 
Yet water and mineral are really the same "thing" also - a mineral is just a combination of the elements - water is just a combination of the elements - elements in the rock may be iron, magnesium, oxygen, hydrogen...  the water is hydrogen and oxygen.  Those elements are identified as that because they are all atoms with a particular number - the number of protons in that particular atom.  So the rock, that solid mass which stays around a long time, is a mass or formation or pattern of atoms with a different number of protons.  The cloud is a mass or formation or pattern of atoms with a different set or number of protons.  Isn't that really the difference between a rock and a cloud?  If you had an atomic microscope and looked at the rock and the cloud, you would see just the atoms - other than a different number of protons there wouldn't be much difference between the cloud and the rock.
 
The atom is a word used to identify these tiny particles, or mass of particles.  Like the cloud, the atom is really mostly empty space.  We have the nucleus of the atom, or the center, which is a mass of protons and neutrons, surrounded by a cloud of electrons.  The electron is bound to this mass of particles through an electric charge.  The electrons spin around this mass - if it has 26 protons we call that "iron" and probably find that element in a rock (hopefully not in the cloud!)  If it has just one proton, we call that hydrogen and find it probably in both the rock and the cloud. 
 
So the world, from the smallest bacteria to the largest galaxy, is made up of atoms - really smaller particles called protons, neutrons and electrons.  And these particles don't pop into existence - they are also formed from "something".  If we dive into each particle we find smaller things we might identify as WHAT those things are.
 
So when the rock is formed, did all the atoms, protons, neutrons, and electrons get formed WITH the rock?  Or did they already exist, and just formed in a way that we can see as "rock"?  Did the water already exist before cloud was formed?  So rock and cloud really don't have a new existence but they are formations of something that already existed.  That layer of atoms, which already existed, came together and now we have rock and cloud. 
 
Can we extrapolate that out using the atoms?  Did they arrive anew as new existences or did they form from something that already existed?  Did the proton spontaneously get created to make a rock?  Did the electron pop into existence?  Is an electron a thing?  Is an electron a new, separate existence?  Even if it were, wouldn't rock then be a mass of a million-trillion separate existences instead of one "thing"?  And assuming that the electron wasn't spontaneously created, the electron then may be a mass of a million-trillion other little "things".   Quarks or strings or something else we can measure and talk about.  Yet even quarks or strings would have this same situation - they must have formed FROM something - they didn't spontaneously pop into existence anew, separate and independent from everything else.
 
We could play this out forever - there must be something there - something which is beyond the measurement of parts.  That "something" FROM WHICH all these things come - that "something" which IS the quark, the proton, the atom of iron and hydrogen, the mineral, the drop of water, the rock and the cloud - that "something" which is not identifiable or describable yet is the essence of all these "things" - that "something" which somehow expresses as quark, as proton and electron, that something which "moves" or "spins" - that movement is energy - that energy is movement of what-IS - we call that MOVEMENT the electron - we call that MOVEMENT iron and hydrogen - we call that rock and cloud.  We call the movement of WHAT-IS by lots of names - in fact we have infinite names for THAT which IS.  Only we know it by it's expressions - we know THAT by knowing the cloud, by knowing the rock.  We attempt to measure THAT IS-ness by dissecting the rock and cloud - by documenting this movement as electrons and quarks.
 
In all this, we somehow come to think of the electron as some new "thing" - as something which came about anew, separate and independent of THAT which it really IS, in essence.  Because we don't usually SEE the electron, we take that rock and that cloud as new things, as new EXISTENCES, as separate and independent EXISTENCES.  That is basically the way we think of reality - as a collection of infinite "things" - infinite existences which pop in and then die - cease to exist. 
 
Is the rock "born"?  Does cloud ever cease to exist?  When cloud is formed, is it born and then later, once it dissipates, did it die?  Did it ever have a new, independent existence, or did something that already exist just form in a different way - a way we can see, describe and have a name for?
 
We have this body - when was it born?  What is the body?  Isn't it a cloud of the elements?  Did all those elements, all those atoms, all those electrons, all those quarks and strings - did all those things pop into existence the moment of conception?  Conception is the combination of the seed of the mother and the seed of the father.  Those seeds already existed prior to conception - those seeds are the elements - hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, iron - all the elements we find in the cloud and the rock...  those seeds are the bodies of the mother and the father - the bodies of the mother and the father are the elements from the food taken in, from the air.
 
So before, during and after the rock, the cloud, the mother, the father, the embryo - there are elements - elements are a word for the specific patterning of these atomic particles.  These atomic particles are patterns of energy - little clouds of something.  Nowhere in this did we find any independent existence - nowhere in this did we find a collection of separate EXISTENCES but only formations or patterns or collections of "something" that exists, expressions of "something" - something which seems to be in movement - we call that energy - that energy is named quark, electron - that energy, that particular movement, is called iron and hydrogen and oxygen - that movement is called rock and cloud. 
 
In fact that movement, that expression of existence itself, is also called ME.
 
In Vedanta, the statement is made "I am THAT".  What "I" IS, THAT is.  In Buddhism they say - Form is Emptiness - Emptiness IS Form.  We might say - there is one Essence, expressing as every-"thing".

Take a look around you - can you find independent existence anywhere?  Isn't THAT which exists, right now, knowing itself through this advanced, complex mechanism called Consciousness?  Isn't the "universe" now, because of this capacity, aware of itself? 

Aren't YOU the Universe itself?  Isn't identification with this body, with this experience, ultimately false?  Is there anything you need to do, to BE THAT, right this very instant?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

You are THAT

There have been some great questions lately around this idea of existence.  We might as well talk about the Vedanta concepts of Mithya and Satyam.  These concepts have the capacity to cut away the delusion of separate "thing"- ness.

We have a paper cup.  We all know what that is.  It is identifiable.  We may use one every day for our coffee or tea, for our water at the cooler.  But what IS that "thing"?

If we look at the concept "paper cup" - we might ask a question.  Cup is the noun - the "thing".  Paper is the adjective - it describes the "thing".  So from our common language, we have the "cup" as the thing itself and paper describes the cup.  But "cup" isn't really a "thing" - it's a function - a purpose - a utility - a way to hold liquid.  Paper is actually what it IS.  So at this point, the "thing" is Paper in a particular shape "cup", yes?  We might now call it, instead of "paper cup," "cup-py paper."  Paper, in the shape, form, and function we call "cup".

So the "thing" is paper.  But is paper really what it is?  Well no, actually.  "Paper" is a word we use to talk about the stuff created when we take organic material - trees - grasses - and manipulate them so that they become "paper".  So "paper" really is that organic material we know in trees, and grass, and paper.  But what is that organic material?

A tree is basically a big plant - a plant that has a trunk and some branches - it might blossom flowers, oranges, apples, leaves, acorns, etc.  It is organic - that means basically that it is living material.  To say it is living material means - it is cellular - it is composed of various cells that give it the ability to interact with it's environment - to grow, etc.  But what is a "cell"?

A cell is the basic component of any organism.  It is a mass of molecules - the chemistry of which - the electrical charge of which - enables this cell to grow - to reproduce - to interact with the surrounding cells.  These molecules are masses of two or more atoms - bound together by chemical and reactions.  And atoms are even more refined "things" - they are protons and neutrons, surrounded by an electrical charge - electrons - mostly empty space - yet the unique makeup of each "atom" - the unique formation of the protons, neutrons and number of electrons, make one atom distinct from another.  The atomic "weight" or makeup is the difference between a puff of helium and a gram of iron.

So let's step back and restate this.  There is some "substance" of which the atom is made - the proton of the helium and the proton of the iron are not really different - it is instead the unique configuration of these pieces, and the number of electrons (or electrical charge) that creates the difference "helium" or "iron".  Yes?  If I take the proton out of the helium atom and the proton out of the iron atom, what is the difference?  If I compare the electron of the helium atom to the electron of the iron atom, what is the difference?  It's really the number of electrons, the behavior and how all those pieces interact, which makes the eventual form "helium" and "iron".  At that level of experience, they are vastly different - yet at the level of the atom they are really quite the same.  In fact, at this point, we might wonder what is the "substance" of the atomic pieces?  

We are really, in this exercise, trying to find where is the distinct existences in these "things" - at what point did they come into existence?  We can now rightly say - atom IS helium - atom IS iron - atom IS tree - atom IS paper - atom IS cup.  At the same time we see "cup" we are seeing "atom".  We don't have "atom" then that disappears once "cup" arrives.  The "cup" is simultaneously atom and paper.

So along the way - we had some carbon elements - some hydrogen - some nitrogen - all these were there - and STILL ARE - when it was tree and now while it is "paper cup".  The same "stuff" is there - only that "stuff" is shaped differently - formed differently.  It's still the same "thing", in essence.

So what is that "substance" - from the atom we must go to the sub-atomic level - the level of quantum physics.  Physics basically describes the way things behave.  We can't really "see" what the atom is, at that level, yet.  We can only derive theories around the behavior, then give those hypothetical sub-components a name - quarks - strings - etc.  We suppose that what the atom IS, is a series of quarks and strings - what those quarks and strings are we aren't sure, but at this point we must stop and ask - each time we dive into WHAT that "thing" is - we find a way to give it's components some names.  Yet the quantum string and the paper cup are one and the same - it isn't a quark now and then later becomes a cup.  It is simultaneously quark and cup - we see the cup - a quantum microscope might see the quark, when it looks at the cup.  So what that thing "IS" is NOT DEPENDENT on it's form or shape or function - it is NOT DEPENDENT on the present experience OF THAT THING.  In other words, WHAT that "thing" is, to someone looking with eyes, is "cup".  WHAT that "thing" is, to someone with a quantum microscope, is a "quark" - or a mass of quarks and strings, which are ALSO atoms, neutrons and electrons, which are ALSO molecules, ALSO cells, ALSO trees, ALSO paper.

When you're looking at the world, you can only see what your senses have the capacity to see.  Your eyes are not quantum lenses - therefore you don't see the quarks - yet right in front of you is a trillion-trillion-trillion quarks.  You just see what those quarks are, on the level of eyes, on the level of consciousness.  So in a way, our senses fool us - we take the world at surface - we take that pencil as something separate from the chair - we take the cheeseburger as separate from your watch.  What we BELIEVE - our IDEA of reality - is that it is made up of an infinite number of "things" - watches and cheeseburgers and chairs and pencils and cups and trees.  We forget that those things are ONLY watches and cheeseburgers and chairs and pencils and cups and trees FROM the perspective of our experience - our sensory capacity.  They are also, simultaneously, cells - molecules - atoms - quarks - strings...

But what ARE those things, in essence?  We have broken down every "thing" in the universe, basically, to the quantum level - to quarks and strings - but even a quark and string must BE SOMETHING - if our analysis holds true - a quark or string must really just be another level of experience - another form-ation of "something" - something which we have yet to discover through science yet we really can't deny at this point that "something" smaller must be there - the quantum material must have those components - WHAT the quark and string really ARE, in essence.

Let's say in 10 years we discover that the quark is made up of jibjabs and knickerdoodles.  So is that it?  Are we done?  Jibjabs and knickerdoodles must be the source of existence, right?  No - because once again we must find out what a "jibjab" and a knickerdoodle" really IS, in essence.  Because now we KNOW that a "thing" is just an appearance or expression based on the level of the ability to experience.  A jibjab is also a cup, yes?  

We can continue like this forever.  At some point we run out of experience-able "things" - we basically have this empty space which is behaving in ways that we can later identify as some "thing"  - electron moves slow and we have iron - electron moves fast and we have helium.  But electron is basically space with an electric charge.  So that eventual "thing"-ness is REALLY just the way "space" is behaving.  

Can we say that again?  Isn't that "thing" - the cup or tree or pencil or ham sandwich - isn't that "thing", in essence, just there due to the way "space" is behaving?

Once again, let's step back.  Look around you - look at all the "things" in your experience.  There is a cup - a pencil - a computer screen - a chair - a wall.  That wall is space - behaving in a way that appears solid - that appears a certain color - shape - size.  Yet "wall" is molecules - atoms - quarks - "jibjabs" - whatever else we might conceive to describe all the subsequent ways that space is behaving, yet we must consider that we have falsely applied separate "thing"-ness to that wall, as if that wall was born - AS IF that wall came about independently.  AS IF that wall has some separate EXISTENCE somewhere.  From this analysis, can you identify WHERE that separate existence IS?  At what level would it be?  

Really the "existence" of wall is what that wall really "IS" - when we boil it down this way, we must say that "wall" really is space-behaving-in-a-particular-way-as-to-appear-as-wall-to-our-present-ability-to-experience-it.  Well that would be very difficult to use in a sentence, yet isn't that really what that "thing" is?  Isn't that what the pencil is?  The paper?  The tree?  The ham sandwich?

This is a long way to go to talk about Mithya.  So Mithya says that any "thing" we can know does not exist on it's own but has "dependent existence."  "Wall" doesn't exist by itself - molecule doesn't exist by itself - it IS atom/proton/neutron/electron.  Atom doesn't exist by itself - it IS quark/string - and so on.  Quarks and strings are really the way "space" is behaving - the way space and the "energy" of that "space" is moving or behaving.  There isn't one "thing" here acting upon another "thing" - each having it's own existence.  It is one "thing" - in expression - those expressions are quarks - those quarks are atoms - those atoms are molecules - those molecules are cells - those cells are cups and pencils and everything else.

Cup is Mithya.  Pencil is Mithya.  That which has no existence of its own -that which has "dependent" existence.  Satyam is what-IS - well we never really could define WHAT that root essence IS - yet we might say that any identifiable "thing" in our analysis can't be it.  We can use the concept of space in expression, maybe - limitless space or no-thing-ness - whatever THAT IS which exists.  

Once again - we must step back.  Existence is both the limitless and the pencil -because they are really the same "thing".  Existence is both the limitless AND the ham sandwich - why?  Because they both are present right now - only available to us through our particular means of knowledge - eyes, ears, taste - or through an atomic or quantum microscope.  Vedanta calls spirituality that other means of knowledge - really to know WHAT those "things" ARE, in essence, because we don't have a scientific means of knowledge.  We can only measure what appears to our ability to see it.  Yet all the while, we are looking right in the face of that essence - we are seeing that limitless-ness in expression - right now.  Pick up the pencil - you are looking at existence, in expression.  

We know Satyam - what-IS - in any "thing" - why?  Because any "thing" IS THAT, whatever THAT IS.  To say pencil is a separate thing, to believe that pencil is a new existence, a separate existence, something that is subject to birth and death, is to overlook this sort of analysis, to be caught by our particular means of knowledge, to live, really, in an illusion where "things" have existence of their own, where all "things" are separate.  It is to be caught by Mithya.  

Realization is simply to see through Mithya - to see the simple truth that "things" have no real existence, no birth or death, of their own.  Realization is to see that our experience of a world of things is really an experience of one "thing" - one "Essence" - one "existence".  It is an experience of one essence, expressing as every - "thing".

Where does that leave you?  You are aware of these things?  So WHAT is aware?  WHO is aware?  If all things are that one essence - then you must BE THAT - you must be that one essence, expressing in a very complex way, so as to be aware.  That means that essence is, through this mechanism, aware of itself.  We might say that the universe has become self-aware - maybe we might say the universe has evolved so that it can look upon itself - it can know itself.  You are THAT.






Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mirage

"I AM" is simply Life, aware of itself.  It is only when that "I AM"-ness gets mixed up with the particular experience, that we have a story of the individual, a story of the divided, the separated existence.  At some point we begin to question this story, this idea, this framework of existence.  When we ask "what AM I?" we begin to pull back the screen - we begin to pull back the curtain on that illusion of separated, independent existences.  Just to ask "what AM I?" is to reject our common idea that each thing comes into existence and later ceases to exist. 

The search, then, is to start from the unknown, to have put aside our present ideas and to start walking into the dark without a flashlight.  We are trying to find out where existence is split up, where it becomes divided.  We trace back the existences of each thing, trying to find any independence of existence in each.  Surprisingly, the deeper we look, we don't find evidence of separated existence in each but the same existence, the same IS-ness.  Ultimately we can only find one of THAT - that IS-ness - that FROM WHICH each of these "things" arise. 

It turns out that each thing is not it's own existence but a form-ation or pattern or expression of One existence, one essence, one indefinable, limitless-ness.  This is beyond existence or Being, beyond this or that, beyond any attempts to measure or define, beyond all attempts to put our finger on it, yet it is undeniable.  All "things" ARE that, in essence, and the only problem is that we give new existence to the patterns, we give the attributes of birth and death to that which really has no birth or death, except in that it appears and disappears to us.

That "I AM" is simply the light of knowing, knowing these appearances and disappearances - if we apply independent existence to each, we must also give that "I AM"-ness it's own existence - me vs. the world.  Yet if we see that these appearances are merely passing expressions of that one essence, like waves of one Ocean, then the necessity to divide yourself as separate of the world falls away.

Right this very moment, Life is aware of itself, through this capacity called "I AM" - Life is present and aware of itself as the sky, as the clouds, as the trees, as the singing birds, as the slight pang of hunger, as the racing thoughts... Life is aware of itself as the haunting flute in the song, as the feeling of butt in chair, the clang of pots in the other room. 

This present experience is a limitless capacity - an openness allowing any thing to arise - space for each expression.  It is only when we attempt to define these expressions that we must also give each thing a life of it's own.  And that's ok as long as we realize each thing is merely a mirage - a mirage we have to investigate.  Once we investigate it still appears as a mirage, only we no longer have the urge to quench our thirst, since we know it has no reality of it's own.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Form and Emptiness are the Same

It is critical to see the mistake we make about things and the nature of reality.  In the Buddhist Heart Sutra, they say "Form is emptiness; emptiness also is form. Emptiness is no other than form; form is no other than emptiness."

Look around you - you see lots of "things".  What ARE those things?  There is a cup, a piece of paper, a computer screen...  are these things an independent existence?  Did they come into existence independently, apart from all other things?  Do they have their OWN existence?  Does existence work that way?

If we look at the cup - it's ceramic or porcelain or styrofoam - so we know the shape "cup" - it's identifiable.  But WHAT that cup IS, is really ceramic.  So we may say "ceramic cup".  But we really have it backwards.  Isn't it actually "cuppy ceramic"?  Isn't it really ceramic, shaped into the form of a cup?  We say "cup" as if that "thing" stands alone, missing WHAT it is.  It's ceramic, expressed in the form and concept (and function) "cup".

Look at the tree.  Tree is the concept - it's an identifiable shape and function, given a name.  But what IS the tree?  It's bio-organic material, expressing in the form "tree".  And what is that bio-organic material?  Molecules - atoms - electrons...  let's say there are hydrogen atoms there in the tree and hydrogen atoms there in the cup.  At that level, where is tree and where is cup?  We don't know the "thing" at that level, only the essential "stuff" from which those things are formed.

And the hydrogen atom - what is THAT?  Well it's basically empty space with a few particles flying around - electrons (electric charge) - etc.  And what are those particles?  Quantum physics tell us the atom is of a dubious nature - with strings and quarks.  At this level the atom doesn't really exist but is a product of how those quantum particles act.

So if we keep drilling down, into the cup and the tree, we still haven't found any independent, separate existence, but really just a soup of particles and empty space.   We find "something" - something in motion - some intelligence in action.  FROM that action, from those basic ingredients, we have both cup (ceramic) and tree (bio-organic material).  If we continue to drill down, we would basically come to a point where we cannot identify anything else - we would really just have an emptiness with an infinite potential to BE any "thing".  It is really an intelligent emptiness - with the capacity to "move" or swirl - from that movement the strings and quarks take shape - those formations are also atoms and electrons - those formations are also cups and trees.

So in essence, tree IS that essence - cup IS that essence. Simultaneously, tree is essence - cup is essence.  Form is emptiness - emptiness is form.

So as we drink our coffee or tea, and look out at all the beautiful trees, we might see past the surface - past the formations and ask WHAT, in essence, are these "things"?  We might ask - do those "things" really have independent existences?  Do those "things" arrive as new existences, and when they end, does their existence end?  Or does that "essence" just stop doing "cup" or "tree"?

Once we see this, our next question will be - what am I in all this?  There is a mass of organic material, quite intelligent in fact - so much so that it provides a means of knowing - knowing all these other "things".  But once we turn that spiritual microscope upon ourselves, once we see past the surface and look toward that root essence of WHAT we really are, we might realize that this formless intelligence is actually, right at this very moment, aware of itself through this mechanism, through this intelligent organism.  Right now, the tree and the cup and this body are, simultaneously, the same IS-ness - and that IS-ness is aware of itself as tree and cup and body. 

It is the mind which stays with the form and misses the essence - in that the mind identifies with that one form - body - and excludes tree and cup and universe.  The only solution is to recognize one's mistake - once realized, nothing changes.  WHAT you are is still that root essence, that intelligent emptiness, which is present at this very moment, both as the emptiness and the form.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Dissolving into Nothing

We have been struggling with spirituality, probably for several years.  We have read countless writings, books, internet posts, listened to interviews or talks...  We try to see what is being pointed at - we try to experience what it feels like to be whole, to know that reality is whole.  But that exercise will always be a pointless and losing game.

You are ALREADY experiencing what it feels like to be whole.  Whatever this present experience IS, it's an experience of wholeness.  That means even to feel separate is a feeling of wholeness.  Why?  Because reality is already whole.  So any experience is an experience of the whole - in fact it's an experience BY the whole - who else but the wholeness of reality itself could experience it? 

That means the idea of myself as an individual is false, but also that it's a natural expression of the whole.  There isn't anything wrong with it - actually it's really the only way you can feel, speaking of pure sensory input.  But part of that "feeling" separate is the parallel IDEA of being a separate entity or existence. 

If that idea falls away, the sensory feeling is the same but it loses its association with the idea.  Just like a mirage.  If we see a mirage we may run towards it to quench our thirst.  But as we continue to chase it, at some point it becomes clear that it was just a reflection, that there never really was water in the road.  Later we again see a mirage.  The pure sensory input is the same - the same apparent body of water is there - however we know that to be false and therefore there is no urge to run towards it with a bucket.  The false has been seen as false - the idea has fallen away.  We are no longer ignorant of the true nature of the reflection - although it still appears as if water is standing in the road.  So the sensory "feeling" is the same but the overall feeling is different, because there is no parallel belief in that appearance as water.

What we must be able to see is that the "thing" as it appears is not absolute reality - that means the rock isn't a completely separated existence.  It didn't arrive anew as a new thing.  But this is absolutely our root belief - each appearance is a thing - by that we MEAN a new and separate existence.  So we believe there are an infinite number of independent existences - coming and going, being born and dying.  Birth is the creation of a new existence and death is the ending of that separate, independent existence.  But if we really look into this idea, we find that idea to be false, in fact it's not really even difficult to realize this.  The only difficulty is to actually look into it, due to the fact that this idea is so ingrained - it's one of our most essential beliefs - so much so that it isn't even seen as just a belief, it's seen as a fact.  But a little doubt about it and some honest exploration of that idea is enough to truly shake that idea up - we start with the slightest inkling that something is amiss.  Then, if we continue to question it, the entire idea collapses like a house of cards. 

And because that idea is one of our founding ideas, part of the very foundation of our idea of reality, the ground really is pulled out from under us.  We're cast out into an abyss - into the unknown.  This really is the source of many spiritual experience - being ripped out of the comfortable set of ideas about separated existence and into the unknown.  Yet we settle into it and realize how stupidly simple it really was, after all.  It really makes no sense that existence is divided into parts, into individual parts.  We find that all these "things" are merely expressions of what ALREADY exists, that these expressions come and go but never does EXISTENCE come and go. 

This is so supremely simple, and the contrary idea is so ingrained, that it is missed almost without exception.  We believe realization must be something else - that it must be some supernatural or mystical experience.  And for those who insist on this, the spiritual path remains a roller coaster, frustrating and confusing.  But for those who will put aside this false idea for a moment and entertain the possibility - who will truly give an honest exploration of existence and "things" - the possibility is there to have your entire world dissolve into nothing.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ring IS Gold - ME IS Life

Did you begin?  Are you a new and independent existence?
 
Can existence really begin anew?  Is existence something that comes in individual servings?
 
These are questions that we must look into.  So often we overlook this and seek to make our experiences different or better or more spiritual.  This is missing the point, over and over and over...
 
Ring is Gold.  No matter what ring is doing, it is only Gold doing it.  Why?  Because ring is a name or concept for Gold itself.  We've given an expression of Gold a name- then we give that expression independence - really we give it independence of existence.  We think that ring is a NEW existence apart from Gold. 
 
But isn't Ring really just Gold?  Isn't Ring really Gold-in-expression?  If Ring has a bad day, didn't Gold really have a bad day?  Can Ring do anything?  Or isn't it Gold itself which has a good or bad day? 
 
Can Ring realize that it is Gold?  No.  Gold realizes it was never just Ring.  THAT which exists, realizes it was never something which never existed.  Ring can't realize anything.  If that ring is melted down, Gold remains.  Gold can't end - but Ring can. 
 
In the exact same way, YOU cannot end.  That "ME" ends but WHAT the ME really IS cannot end.  Spirituality is really diving into this idea of existence and finding out what that really means.  If we truly do this, we will always come to the same conclusion or REALIZATION - I AM. 
 
Ring cannot say I AM.  Only Gold can say that. 
 
Right now - is it Ring reading this, or is it Gold?  Isn't it Gold, taking itself to be Ring?  Isn't Realization really Gold seeing through that identity with Ring - finally remembering that Ring always is only Gold. 
 
If you walk outside and look up at the sky, the clouds, the trees, hear the birds singing...  is it ME that is there?  Or is it Life that is really there?  Present and aware?  Isn't it Life that exists - experiencing itself through that experience we call "ME"?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

You are not a Wave

It's been a while since the last post.  Many posts are happening on Facebook - if you're interested.
 
We can never arrive at a new state of Being.  This spiritual search is often targeted towards a new experience or state.  We may expect our Being to change with some realization.  This is false.
 
You ARE.  THAT is a fact.  WHAT you are is what is in dispute.  You take yourself as something which came about when that body-mind was formed.  We realize that this idea was always false, although it was previously unquestionable, so much so that we relied on that idea throughout the search - and it really impeded our understanding of all these pointers.
 
WHAT you are is THAT which IS.  THAT which IS manifests in a trillion-trillion ways - some of those ways provide a window or way of knowing your existence.  Those experiences are confused with independent existence - therefore you think you will end when the experience ends.
 
I can tell you it does not end, but you must come to that conclusion on your own.  And it's really Life coming to that conclusion - the gold ring doesn't realize it is gold.  Gold realizes it wasn't really ring after all.  The identification with ring is lost, that is all realization is.
 
Stick with it - find pointers that resonate and ignore all that doesn't.  There is a lot of bullshit spirituality out there.  You are Life itself.  You may realize that or not - but even if not it's ok.  You are still just Life itself - knowing itself through this really amazing and cool mechanism called "ME". 
 
And that "ME" experience can be good, bad and ugly.  If you're riding the wave AS "ME", the ride is really bumpy.  But if you realize that this "ME" is just another wave of the Ocean that you ARE, then whatever form that wave might take is seen in the proper perspective. 
 
YOU Exist.  Wave is something that comes and goes - IN you, OF YOU.  It's transient pattern doesn't mean that you are transient.
 
 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Mandala is Only Sand

We had been discussing the Vedanta concept of Mithya.  Mithya is that which has no independent reality, that which is just appearance.  Mithya really is easy to understand.  

The wave is Mithya.  The wave forms, it rises up and goes on for a while.  It crashes to the shore and dissipates.  It has a clear beginning, a life of it's own, and a clear ending.  Wave can be discussed, pointed to, and even enjoyed (just ask a surfer).  Yet Wave is nothing but Ocean.  It is something ocean is doing, it is an expression of ocean.  Wave has no independent reality, no independent existence.  Although it began, went for a while, then ended, it really was nothing but Ocean, or water.  Wave is a form OF water.  Yet we talk of wave, wave has particular attributes by which we can identify it.  We can differentiate a wave from a grilled cheese sandwich.  Yet wave has no real independence or existence.

This is mithya.  It is the truth that these "things", although they are describable and undeniable, have no actual existence of their own.  We talk of birth and death - the wave was born and it dies.  But nothing new came into existence.  Ocean simply expressed in that particular, identifiable way for a while, then it stopped.  That's what is meant by mithya.  If you're a Buddhist, we might say - the mandala, although very intricate and beautiful, is really nothing but a pile of sand.

So birth might be said to be the new expression of something that actually DOES exist.  But we are fooled by it.  We give wave it's own existence.  We say it exists independently of ocean, as some "thing".  But was that ever true?  Do you see that, although that's really the way you think of "things" - that's the way you give reality and independence to the world, it really was never true?

No matter what we look at, the tree, the cloud, the bird, the thought - these "things" are expressions or "waves" OF something that exists.  They don't come into existence anew, as new "things", as independent, separate existences.  They are OF something - OF something that exists.

So what IS IT, that exists?  The tree is there, the cloud is there, the thought is there.  If we boil those things down, we find molecules, atoms, quarks, energy...  we always come down to something which is undefinable, something which IS, yet we can't put our finger on it.  We might call that Life or Intelligence or something like that - but it's pretty easy to recognize that whatever that "thing" is, it's ultimately just a pattern or expression of that "something", that IS-ness, that which exists, even though we can't ever define it.

Something exists - that "something" IS - and that IS-ness is appearing - right now.  There is a tree, a cloud, a  bird, a thought...  these are like the wave - coming and going.  But what IS can't come and go - only those patterns OF it.  What-IS remains while the wave comes and goes, the thought pops up and dissipates, the tree sprouts, lives for a while, then dies.  Those "things" are really just that Essence, that Which-IS- call it Life or Brahman or Intelligence.  

You know you exist.  You can't ever deny that you exist.  You are here.  You are aware.  You are present.  YOU are THAT existence, THAT IS-ness, that which IS.  Right now THAT is aware, THAT is what is knowing, what is manifesting in a million-trillion ways, aware of itself due to this mechanism we call Consciousness.  That IS-ness is aware of itself - yet it takes itself as some "thing" - the mind has this habit of applying "thingness" to these appearances and never realizes that they are not independent and separate.  So that IS-ness or Life is aware of this confusion - the identification is with the appearance - the identity is with the story of it all.

In reality, aren't you just that ultimate essence, that which IS, that which EXISTS?  When you boil down the wave, the tree, the cloud, the bird, the thought, the story of ME, can you ever really find a multitude of existences?

And isn't that existence, right now, what is really reading this?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Every Second is a Miracle

Whether this experiencing goes on or not, whether sleep transitions to waking or not - what-you-are remains untouched, existent, inseparable.  

Nothing can affect what-you-are.  No experience has ability to change anything.  Each experience is a passing pattern.  It only has relevance within the realm of the experiential - which is merely patterns of patterns of patterns.  What exists remains untouched by it.  Actually what appears, what is experienced, is nothing BUT that which-IS.

There is no need to fret over what appears, what seems to happen, the outcomes of our efforts or from spirituality.  Each moment is merely what that whole existence is doing, how it is expressing, in a million-billion ways.  No matter the sort of chain comes about, gold remains the same.

That which-IS - right now is here - it is aware.  It is intelligent.  It takes itself as separate due to the overlaid mental activity - it may discover the inherent falseness of this separation because the falseness cannot stand up to the truth.  You are that wholeness, right now.  It is all there is.  

So as we take a sip of our wine, as the distant violin or piano plays, as that overlooked cool breeze blows on our face - each moment is nothing more and nothing less than the whole itself, expressing, at play, forming and dissolving.  Life is present, right now, aware of itself due to the capacity we call Consciousness, aware of itself due to the play of patterns, the dance of expressions.  

Each second is a miracle of that play, a beautiful concert of the visual, mental, sensory patterning - any judgment of it is only mental yet that mental judgment is also part of the concerto - a parallel solo demanding attention - a voice limited only by the intellect.  Once we discover that it isn't the enemy, it isn't the problem, then it takes it's place as part of the symphony, as part of the transient opera we call "my life" - once it ends the curtain falls and nothing remains but a dark stage.  A memory of highs and lows - beauty and tragedy which only has significance within the play itself.

As Life you remain existent - the means to know that you ARE fade away yet existence itself cannot come and go.  When we realize this, each second is both meaningless and ultimately the only meaning there is.  Each moment is cherished, not held onto but accepted unconditionally, loved without bounds - because it is the present manifestation of all there is.

You.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

You are Existence

There is the pressure of butt in chair, the slight sensation of chest going up and down, the pang of hunger, the familiar feeling of hands on keyboard.

There appears to be what we call a world - a world of things - each thing is like a wave of the ocean - having no existence of it's own - no independent existence but only an expression OF ocean, a play OF ocean, something ocean is doing.

Once that wave ceases, once it crashes on the shore and disappears, nothing has happened to wave. Wave didn't die. Wave was never born. Wave was merely a pattern of ocean - an expression of that which actually IS, that which exists. That which appeared OF it is transient - however we apply reality to the transient appearance or pattern then grieve their passing.

Self-knowledge is knowing or realizing that you are ocean and not wave - wave is the way we know of ocean - however wave has no independent existence. Only when ocean expresses can we speak of it in terms of it's expressions - yet we come to rely on those expressions as our reality - we learn to take those as reality, hence reality becomes a collection of temporary existences.

What exists is one essence - how can you be anything but THAT which IS? Notice how your entire concept of reality, your entire concept of what-you-are, is built around the idea that existence can come and go. Then see if that is even possible.

It isn't.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Only Bondage

What sort of answer are you waiting for?  The only confirmation you will receive is your own confidence and honesty.  In Vedanta it is called "Aham Brahmasmi" - I am Brahman.  What is Brahman - that is understood - and the identity with that is there.  That is - the identity with the whole itself.

Sailor Bob says it another way - One essence, expressing as everything.  

You are that.  Right now, you are that.  Not later, once this is understood, once some flash of wisdom comes, once some bright spiritual lights happen.  Now.  You are that.  The whole.  

If we continue our search from there, we are not far off.  If we believe we have to merge with the absolute, or become something other than what we are now, if we believe our experience needs to change, then we're a million light years from the answer.

The raindrop does not need to become water.  The chain does not need to find Gold.  The problem is that the pattern of drop or chain have taken precedence, preference - the focus is on that pattern.  The idea is wrong - the idea that existence comes wrapped up in individual servings - that when a new pattern emerges, a new existence or being emerges.  When we truly look into it, that simply isn't true.

Existence or Being never begins - only a new shape arises, a new expression.  One essence expresses AS that pattern or shape or drop or chain or body or thought or tree or rock.  Life.  Intelligence.  The Absolute. Whatever you want to call it - that which is by default formless - that FROM WHICH the form comes.  

Buddhism says - formlessness IS form.  It doesn't say it BECOMES form.  It IS form.  They are identical.  That tree IS Life, in expression, in experience, at play.  That thought, whether good or bad, is that Intelligence at work, acting as it's nature is, of curiosity, of expression, of creation and destruction.  

The gold chain tries so hard to find Gold, it's essence.  In the end it will always fail, as it cannot find what it is, it cannot become what it already is.  Chain has no existence of it's own - it is Gold which is the seeker and Gold which is the finder.  Chain cannot find anything - Gold finds that chain was only ever just a concept.

You are that one essence, that Brahman, that formlessness which IS form.  You are that now, without reading the next page of that spirituality book,without watching the next video or listening to the next talk.  Yet ironically until the idea of individual existence is eradicated, you remain trapped by your own ideas.  

This is the only bondage.  Maybe that's why Buddha was laughing.