without formula

how would I move in the world if my body was an expression of happiness?

how would I speak and what would I say?

how would my interactions be coloured if all there is, is Love?

what would my thoughts be like as expressions of the intelligence that creates?

how would I look out at this world, present only in my heart, Awareness itself?

~~

upon the realization that there is only one reality – a conscious, aware reality that perceives all experience within itself, made of itself – thus opens a new door to what we could call ‘spiritual practice’. instead of being driven by lack into the hopes of attaining happiness in some foreign future, the ground has shifted, and the base from which we operate is Peace and Fulfillment…from there, how do we realign all aspects of our lives with the Love of it?

there’s no formula.

the moment arises as it does, experienced as this play of light within the perceiver; and the body, mind, and world act as they do – servants either to impersonal love or to the belief in fragmentation.

non-duality is the realization of the beginning. the rest is an expression of universal freedom channeled through the individual mind. a practice that comes from this joy, in my opinion, can be an expression of this universal symphony, played as if there were an individual musician possible, when all arises in this creative sea of cosmic silence.

the happiness of our nature

the belief that happiness lives in the future – in some hard-to-imagine result of work and effort or in the result of discovering the perfect relationship or state of mind, for example – is a deep and predominant current of thinking in our culture. it is amplified, perhaps, by the belief in some happy past, whenever things were aligned and perfect and innocent. it makes no difference whether we look for happiness in the past or future – that’s not where it exists.

the belief that happiness is not available here, now, in all conditions and situations – that happiness is anything other than the experience of Being divested of belief – keeps us stuck on an endless hamster wheel. we remain searching, fruitlessly, for the thing which we can never truly leave, no matter how hard we try.

the substance, or reality, of life is happiness itself. that is the fundamental discovery of all spiritual traditions and it awaits us at any moment we truly open ourselves to a new possibility: that these little body/minds that we perceive are not us – they appear in us, they are made of us, and they are known by us, the one infinite consciousness that perceives them in every moment…that we are in fact the singular, indivisible, indestructible Reality of life, Consciousness, and our nature is the Peace and Happiness that every seemingly limited being seeks in their activities (and eventually finds, one way or the other).

what is the route to this discovery? to investigate, without cease, and without ulterior motive (other than a love of the truth), the nature of our experience, and the nature of the consciousness that perceives. a genuine love of truth is like a guarantee – and it cannot be manufactured. it’s mysterious in that way.

at some point we realize that we perceive our body, we perceive our mind, we perceive the senses – and so ‘we’ cannot be found there. we see that we are whatever it is that is perceiving, and so we can never lose ourself. and if we are open to it, we realize at some point that whatever is perceiving has no objective limitation – it is free from all perceived experience, independent from the momentary movements of all life – and its very nature is the Peace and Happiness and Love we have always sought.

after this fundamental discovery takes place, the realignment of our life begins, from a new vantage point: instead of frantically seeking a distant happiness in all realms, we begin to express the happiness we feel as our known nature, as our reality, and as our only real love.

the indomitable ocean

these perceptions, experienced momentarily, inevitably resolve themselves into Being. who can say which way the wind will blow? the future, abstract object of the imagination, never comes; we find always the same indomitable Presence wherever we look, even in time and space. the changes of life through its seasons, days, movements and motions, arise always within…everything is within.

how could the captain of a boat decide upon the movement of the ocean? particularly if his boat has sprung a leak, and slowly his weary bark is returning to the depths of the sea. the captain is a limited will – it may seem that he sets sail on his schedule – but even unknowingly he always obeys the sea. and if the ocean so desires, the captain’s controlling belief may meet its maker, as he sinks into the waters of the unknown. the leak sprung in the boat is the mark of grace, the love of truth, the path to reality.

where does a perception arise from – and towards where does it point in its existence? the source and the destination of all objects are the same. before you fall asleep and dream you know the waking mind, after you wake up you know the waking mind. likewise, before an object arises there is consciousness, and after an object dissolves there is consciousness. the reality from which an object borrows its being, without ever separating itself out from the Being which sustains it, is the same conscious reality which perceives only ever itself.

what never comes and goes

one crucial question that came to me as I first ventured into what we could call the spiritual realm, a question that I knew I had to answer no matter what, was just: what is it that never comes and never goes?

there had to be something.

everything fades, falls away, nothing that arises seems to last. what of our perceptions remain when the day is done and we lay ourselves down, stripped of all our past?

all the thoughts, the emotions, the feelings, the relationships – friends, lovers and everyone else, all the things I had that I thought I could count on, would disappear eventually. all the grand plans, the projects, the promises of the future, everything I thought I was becoming, was not, in fact, to be my destiny, that much I could see. 

life was up or it was down.

what is it that I can hold on to, that never comes and never goes?

I had to see, finally, that there was something I could never lose. this something, in fact, I had no recollection of ever having gained – and so it was easy for it to slip under the radar, unnoticed. it was closer than all those things I thought mattered, closer than close. in fact, you can’t get any closer.

it was me.

I am whatever is left when everything leaves.

these thoughts can’t be me – they come and go like the wind.
these feelings can’t be me – evolving, changing, disappearing into the next.
these perceptions can’t be me – because anything I perceive with my senses falls through my grip,
and even the image I see in the mirror – I intuit, as we all do I think, that there’s much more to the picture than that.

I am not my thoughts, my feelings, my perceptions or my image.

…but I Am, still. I know that I am.

I am, and I am aware of all these things.

I am aware.

I am whatever is aware of this changing movement of experience.
I am whatever is aware of this life.

where could this life arise, but in my awareness itself,
and what of my life has ever affected the fact that I am aware of it?

the space my life arises in is my Awareness,
detached from all these events, but openly welcoming them, like the sky to the clouds.

this Awareness that I am never comes and never goes,
because I never come and go, and I am aware.

I can hold on to this Awareness, in a matter of speaking, because it’s always here:
never letting me down, never moving somewhere else,
never judging, never blaming, never believing…

this Awareness is real.

within the knowing space of this Awareness, my life began to come to a greater ease…
I was recognizing my identity with this open, empty space, perceiving everything within it.

it’s not a cold space, empty of heart,
it’s friendly somehow, benevolently allowing everything to arise in its loving freedom.

I would see too, that what arises in this space is not separate from it,
this real space and its content are one.
that’s non-duality, in my book…

the initial openness to this question – what is it that never comes and goes – was a grace, received through Life’s persistence. it was through her constant leading me away from all that could ever let me down, towards that which is real, that which is truly natural, that which is the source and the destiny of all that Is.

towards that which never comes and goes.

behind the curtain of belief

in a moment of true availability, when the curtains of belief are withdrawn, what is glimpsed could be called that which is real. it is real because it has always been and will always be, because it is the home-ground of all experience, because it cannot be removed from its Being…it is a conscious reality, knowing itself independent of any cause or any premise. it does not become conscious, as its unchanging and irreducible nature is always consciousness. it is this very consciousness reading these words, the one that perceives and exists, this numinous entity which creates and sustains the cosmos. 

so what is a moment of true availability?

it is a moment of not-knowing, where we somehow suspend the belief to be a limited consciousness. we have to be honest – what do I really think and feel and believe myself to be – we have to be truly open to the possibility that consciousness is universal. this openness does not come from having an agenda to find something for a small ‘me’ – for the ‘me’ that would find something is already the assumption of limitation. instead, the availability comes from the innocence of an open desire, or love, for the truth. it’s a moment of honesty, and it’s a moment of grace. this moment is the initiation into the journey of Peace, which stabilizes itself, and deepens into the various realms of our life over time. it’s not that we become insusceptible to feeling and thinking we’re a separate entity after this moment – but somehow the deepest root of that belief has been severed – and if the post-awakening sadhana as it’s sometimes called is undertaken, we eventually learn to live our lives from this freedom.

that would be a way of speaking about awakening from the point of view of a human mind.

however, the moment is not really a moment – it only seemed that way from the perspective of a body/mind. our nature is timelessness itself. it only seems that somehow, in a certain location within time and space, consciousness has stopped believing itself to be a separate reality among many, and now, in a more or less stable way, remembers its universal nature. this is all a concession to the belief in limitation, an attempt to paint a picture of a journey from our original silence to nowhere else. in truth, there’s nothing to say about awakening – there’s only always been consciousness, it’s never known anything else, and primordial Peace has never even been veiled – not from consciousness itself which always remains in its home-ground. from the perspective of belief, perhaps, Peace was temporarily veiled by thoughts and feelings on behalf of a limited entity, but in truth, consciousness was only ever itself. there never was anything else to be.

that’s why many non-dual teachers speak ill of the seeming emphasis on awakening in spirituality – it’s a storyline, ultimately one that makes no sense from our true nature, and like any storyline, it can be appropriated to the mind that dreams it up. it becomes a fantasy, an escape from reality instead of an investigation into it. but at the same time, we have to acknowledge that psychological suffering has at its root the belief to be a limited entity. if we don’t acknowledge that – if we just say something like ‘everything is relative, there’s no Absolute truth, suffering and happiness are flip sides of the same coin’ which is a common refrain – then we’ve fallen into the trap of duality, the belief that consciousness is relative – and there’s always suffering around that corner, whether we admit it or not. in that sense, we can talk of awakening in relationship to suffering. if there’s suffering, an open investigation into the root cause can relieve it, eventually, by initiating us into the journey to be free from ignorance.

nobody seeing

the problem with concepts is that, if misdirected, they can seemingly justify the belief in a limited knower. who is the “I” who knows anything? consciousness – not a mind. but the mind, subtly, seems to be able to appropriate the understanding to a belief in being an awakened, limited being.

perhaps the true place of concept and thoughts (beyond practicality) is to point to the truth. but once that’s done – once the belief in separation has been un-checked – there’s not really any need for spiritual concept.

we can ‘ride’ a concept to the experience of Being – in a moment of availability, the old belief system drops, and there is a glimpse beyond the mind – a glimpse of consciousness. but when the body points to awareness – points in its transparency towards the infinite – we experience ourselves again without the use of concept – and the sensation is felt as the emotion of the moment.

to feel the surrounding objects as an extension is to release the body from habitual contraction – but sensation continues. the body points towards consciousness – is a vehicle to that experience – but still, sensation continues. in the present sensation there is a whole world beyond concept.

how do you describe a sensation? failure is inevitable, although you can be poetic and try – fail more or less beautifully.

naturally, the body seems to become the guide through life – although ultimately the guide is consciousness, is life itself – the body in its wisdom seems to function organically, no need to superimpose an agenda.

it is seen in the sensation that I am the nobody my mind cannot see.

this still deepening moment

the deepening of experience, the deepening of intensity, the growth of a life and of living: this all arises within formless consciousness like a wave cresting, rolling, foaming on the surface of an endless ocean, its natural home. at depth, nothing changes; but as this changeless-nothing is refracted through the lens of mind – in other words, on the level of what we call manifestation – everything changes.

reality is non-phenomenal in nature; everything is empty of any substance apart from pure consciousness. the dynamic motion of consciousness, however, creates this cascade of phenomena, Life. Life is really sensation, an expanse of consciousness creating for itself a body, and it’s through the vehicle of the body that we reconnect to the felt expansion, blossoming non-duality on a sensory level.

the body is extremely intelligent. it knows intuitively through a wisdom not accessible to the mind. when freed from the cage of limiting belief, the body is free again both to feel its natural expansion and to continue, unhindered, in an open exploration of felt experience that deepens and opens ever onward. thoughts are mostly superfluous, they come and go like the wind, what matters more is the sensory engagement with the moment, and what matters most is Being.