Category: Divinity


Published on Jul 28, 2017

Adyashanti explores embracing your humanity without judgment or condemnation. By touching into the all-accepting compassionate nature of your being, a redemptive energy of forgiveness comes forth. By letting yourself experience and receive this in your heart fully, the experience of compassion and love emerges into being.

Video Excerpted From “Breaking It All Down”:

http://bit.ly/2tHpoOA

Quotes from this Video:

“On a human level, it’s really useful — not just to know, but to feel — that that part of your being that is unconditioned has no problem with your humanity. It’s really important for the humanity to feel that, because that’s what it’s looking for — something in the universe that’s not judging it, condemning it, or even praising it.”

“Dualistic consciousness is also a manifestation of the ultimate ground. There’s no part of us that’s apart or other — even though there are different qualities and different experiences — there is no apartness. It’s so important to let yourself experience that. Because to receive that in the human heart feels like love.”

“Compassion is selfless love. It is what gives all of our other impulses balance. It is why, from the level of consciousness, we can be self-interested and rightly so — and simultaneously — have these very selfless impulses. This is all part of our nature.”

“Compassion literally comes from the ultimate ground because compassion is that feeling that: I will do something for someone even if it is not in my self-interest.”

“Compassion is actually quite a common occurrence in human beings. You don’t have to look very far for it — that feeling that you love something or someone in such a way that your sense of your own well-being is transcended.”

David Welch: Buddha became enlightened. Jesus obtained Christ Consciousness. Is there some, you know…what might be called, “a more permanent state of being awake” that is obtainable? Or is it always a process that’s ongoing?

Rabbi Rami Shapiro: I think it’s both, in this sense that there…

DAVID: Levels, then maybe?

RABBI RAMI: Yeah, I think right now, we are already, you and I, everybody, is already plugged into that awakened state. But, it’s not where I’m operating at the moment. You know, I’ve got to drive a car. If I’m in that awakened state, you know…spiritual practice should have little warnings on it: DO NOT MEDITATE WHILE DRIVING LARGE MACHINERY. That kind of thing. So, I think that that state is always operative. I’m always plugged into it. But, I’m not always operating on that level. So, in Judaism, we talk about the “Five Levels of Consciousness:” Body, Heart, Mind, Soul and Spirit.

So, you know, Body is the physical; my body is way smarter than I am and knows what it’s doing. If I had to beat my own heart, or grow my own hair, I wouldn’t know how to do that.

DAVID: Nobody has ever committed suicide by stopping their breath. Like, consciously, “I’m not going to breathe anymore.” Your body will just breathe you anyway, even if it is after you pass out.

RABBI RAMI: Yeah. Then the Heart level is fundamental emotions: love and fear, that kind of thing. And I don’t have a lot of control over those, either. Then the third level of Mind: that’s where I operate. That’s the egoic level. That’s where I take those raw emotions and the body sensations and I assign stories to them. Oh, I love this person, I’m afraid of that person, you know? I hate this person…whatever the story is that I’ve been told or bought into.

The fourth level of consciousness is called Kayah. It’s life consciousness. It’s the awareness of the interdependence of everything. So, when Martin Buber would talk about two ways of being in the world, I-It and I-Thou, and the I-It is when my ego looks at everything around it and says, “oh, those things are all there for my benefit! They’re all means to my own ends!” That is an I-It way of being in the world. So, I exploit and use whatever I find, whether it’s people or nature or whatever.

The I-Thou consciousness, level four, is the awareness that we are each, like we said in the very beginning, we’re all manifestations of this reality. Call it “God” if you like…this divine reality. And, therefore, everyone is an end in their own self. And, I can’t use you as an “it” for my own end. I have to engage with you as a unique manifestation of God, equal to myself. But, there’s still, at that level of consciousness, there’s a still a level of you and I. So, while I can see you as a manifestation of God, if you like, I am still seeing you. There’s still a differentiation.

Level five consciousness is called Yekhida, which means non-dual. And, that’s where you and I disappear. And, that’s where that Toltec unknowable would be.

DAVID: Right.

RABBI RAMI: So most of the time, all five of those are operating all the time. Most the time, I’m not aware of my physical one. I mean, if someone steps on my toe, suddenly I’m all body consciousness. Most of the time, I’m not aware of my emotional dimension. Unless someone either arouses strong feelings, positively or negatively, in me, I just float along. I mostly operate, and this is maybe just me, but mostly I operate in a level three, egoic level: living out my stories. But through my—and this is where practice does lift you up—through contemplative practices of one kind or another, you can continually shift from level three to level four. And then you fall back to level three…you go back to level four. So Buber says, any I-Thou experience can become an, I-It and any I-It can become an I-Thou. So, you’re constantly practicing moving from three to four, I-It to I-Thou.

And then there are those moments…I would say, those moments of grace, where the fourth level simply opens up to the fifth, and we’re all gone, there’s just X, whatever that is. And when we come back, we’re more filled again with love and compassion and justice. And those things filter down through level four, which is always really open to them and into level three which is more resistant. So, I would say that all beings are always connected to that awakened consciousness, but most of the time are not paying any attention, or most of the time, operating on a much lower level.

DAVID: I love moving from I-it to I-thou. So simple so clean. Do you feel there needs to be some kind of balance between my individual awakening and then my social responsibilities? Right now, one could be of the opinion that climate change and the challenges that Mother Earth is facing are basically caused by the masculine running amok. In short, the planet is too patriarchal. How do we get society to acknowledge and embrace the divine feminine and bring the planet into balance?

RABBI RAMI: Yeah, so let me not answer that question. Let me back it up a little bit because I have a real passion around this. Before we can talk about how to make the shift—because I’m not sure we know how to do that. But bringing in the divine feminine, talking about that is absolutely crucial because I agree with you that the problem is masculinity run amok. Not necessarily just man, but the whole archetypal energy of the masculine which I…we…always have to be careful how we use these terms because they’re loaded with cultural baggage. So, but, with that said, I see masculine consciousness more as that level three I-It and feminine consciousness more as the level four I-Thou and level five is beyond gender; it’s beyond these terms.

But, my personal experience…let me just stick with that…for the past couple of decades or more, has been of the Divine Mother. I’ve had visions, I’ve had dreams, and I’ve had encounters with her in one way or another in my meditations. And having talked to lots of people like Andrew Harvey and Sister Jose Hobday, who is now deceased…I’ve been told by people I really respect, teachers who I think are really plugged in to that level four, who live out of level four…not like me who lives out of level three…people who are really plugged in, tell me that this is the transformation, that the Mother is coming back into the consciousness of humanity through our dreams, through you know, whatever. But it’s the Kali Yuga, its Kali that’s coming, not my mother, you know? My mother said, “oh you can do no wrong.” Kali is going, “you’ve got all this wrong, and you’ve got to fix it.”

I see the coming of the Divine Mother. I see it happening now and I see it happening in the destruction of, partly the destruction of the planet. Sort of this…letting the habit just unfold, but also, in the destruction of our patriarchal models. I mean, these things are clinging on for dear life and I think a lot of the violence we see in the world…you see it driven by patriarchy, I think. You don’t see it in cultures that are egalitarians the way you see it in the ones that are not. But a lot of that violence is last-ditch, and I’m hoping that’s true, but a last-ditch effort to resist the Divine Mother’s return.

DAVID: To keep in control.

RABBI RAMI: Yes, the idea is to keep the patriarchy intact at any cost because that’s where their power is, but I don’t think you can win. But the question is: How does the transformation happen? Does it happen in a…it’s not going to happen in a gentle way, it’s going to be a disaster. So the question is: Does the old order collapse compassionately or does it collapse apocalyptically? Maybe it’s going to be a…can there be a compassionate apocalypse? I don’t know, maybe that’s what it’s going to be. But that, to me, is the big question. That, I mean…I’ve had neighbors say to me here in Tennessee, that I need to get guns; my family and I need to get guns. And I said, “look, I can’t…if the government is coming after me, there’s no way I can defend myself with a, you know, a rifle, a .45 or something!” And they said, “no…no…not for the government: for us!…because when the collapse happens, you have a big garden and we’re coming for your food!” And I said, “why don’t we just expand the garden and make it a community thing?…and you guys can have it because you don’t have to kill me to get it!”

DAVID: You can help work the ground and everything!

RABBI RAMI: No, no, no, you do the work…I’ll just come and shoot you later! So you know, it can go either way. Either we discover that we can collaborate and there still has to be a collapse but it’ll be a collapse that’s done lovingly if possible or it’s going to be…it’ll make the holocaust look like a blip in the human horror scale. And I tend to think, only because I read today’s newspaper…I tend to think it’s going the bad way.

DAVID: That’s why I avoid reading newspapers or watching regular news.

Rabbi: Yeah, I shouldn’t do it, I’m sort of like a news junky. But I look at what’s going on in Syria and Iraq and all of those places and even though we’re all focused in the news on the politics of these places or the military aspects of it, it may all be driven by climate change.

DAVID: Right.

RABBI RAMI: Syria happened after a four-year drought.

DAVID: Exactly.

Continued in Part III…

Read Awaken Interviews Rabbi Rami Shapiro – Everything Is God…

David Welch: is the founder and CEO of Awaken Global Media and Chief Editor of AWAKEN.com. He is the Producer of the award-winning movie “Peaceful Warrior” and a member of the Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild. David is a master practitioner of Neuro-linguistic programming, a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor and has a continuous, committed and daily yoga, meditation and Qi gong practice.

Source: AWAKEN

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“In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred. Everything is for sale.” ~ Oren R. Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle clan

When writing my latest book, I was surprised how difficult I found it to write a ‘short chapter about nature and sacredness’ for a readership that would be mainly urban. Now that the indigenous movement against the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline brought the issue to the fore, I was reminded how urgently we need to re-connect with the sacred aspect of nature, not only because we face an ecological crisis and need to stand up in vast numbers to the ever increasing destruction of natural habitat and resources driven, but also because the separation from the nature aspect of ourselves, from our earth roots and souls, is contributing extensively to the dis-connection from our own wild nature and to our mental, emotional and physical suffering and dis-enchantment.

Indigenous views on the sacred in nature

One of the most important teachings, which we have been blessed with, is that people all over the world who are still rooted in Earth-based traditions have always maintained that being embedded in nature means being close to creation, the creator and the divine – that the sacred is directly experienced through creation and can be understood through observation and communication with the spirit(s) of nature.

Whilst we, in our so-called modern world have been for millennia led to believe that the divine is somewhere ‘out there’, indigenous teachers remind us that the sacred and divine is ‘right here’. The Aboriginal teacher and artist Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann expresses this when she writes that it is easy for her to experience God when she hunts, is in the bush or is amongst trees, as her people have been so aware of nature that it is natural for her to feel close to the creator. [1] And Carlos Perez Shuma, a Peruvian shaman, echoes this from the other side of the world when he says “… because in nature there is God and God talks to us in our visions.” [2]

But not only have we been led to believe that the divine is ‘out there’, we have also been led to believe that we are separate from nature and, most importantly, that we are a superior species. Societies’ current spiritual beliefs, based on our religions, affirm human superiority instead of equality and the sacredness of all living beings. In Genesis God says “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” [3]

In contrast, from an indigenous and shamanic viewpoint, everything in the web of life is not only alive and interrelated, but it is equally sacred as it derives from the same underlying (spiritual) field. The loss of this knowing has led to devastating consequences. The more we define ourselves as ‘separate’ from nature, the less we follow the intent of the spiritual dimension from which we have arisen, and the more we harm not only the manifested dimension of our Earth, which we can see in the ecological damage we have done, but also the spiritual and sacred dimension of the Earth and our own souls.

Living in the right way

Becoming aware of and letting ourselves experience the spiritual and sacred dimension, waking up to the divine in nature, leads inherently to everything being treated with respect, rather than being exploited for the gain of one species, namely our own. This doesn’t mean, however, that Earth-based cultures are sentimental about animals and plants. Animals are killed for food and plants are eaten, but understanding their inherent spirits leads to an honourable way of taking their lives.

When I was in Mongolia I was touched by how the nomadic herders, whose livelihood was rearing and slaughtering animals, honoured their spirits. You could find animal skulls everywhere being used to house the spirits of the slaughtered animals. Societies that are still Earth-based will also thank the animal spirits for giving their earthly body for human nourishment and often hold ceremonies in honour of them. When I worked with shamans in South America, no food was consumed without offerings to the spirits and all leftover food was given away rather than binned. When they cut plants for healing or collected wood for a ceremony, they always left an offering in return and thanked the trees and the plants. In most traditions, including the North American, Inuit and Siberian, all edible parts of the animal are eaten, spirit guides are asked to lead the hunters to the animal spirit to thank it, and feathers, skins and furs are worn in ceremony. The contrast to our cruel factory farming and slaughtering of about 56 billion animals per year worldwide couldn’t be stronger.

Once we reconnect to the divine in nature and begin to feel it, we will also appreciate the shamanic notion that nature teaches us right from wrong and that sustainability is directly connected to this. Eli Gatoga, a Cherokee chief, expressed this when he said, “The Indian made an effort to know of spiritual things from his own observations of nature, because all truth can be found in Nature”. [4] Slava Cheltuev, a shaman from the Dyayat Kypchak clan of Russia’s Altai mountains, says: “Our earth is sacred… living on the earth, each person must respect their place. We must respect it, protect it and it will give us life, it will give us health” [5], whilst Oren R. Lyons, university professor, author of many books and Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, pulls it together stringently: “In the absence of the sacred, nothing is sacred. Everything is for sale.” [6]

It is the sacred in nature that we need to re-experience because the moment we understand the sacredness, we also realize that the right way to live is in balance and harmony with the natural laws that are inherent in the underlying field of the divine mother. This means respecting the preciousness of all life, giving something back whenever we take something, honouring the spirits within nature, contributing positively to the underlying energetic spiritual field and striving to live in a way that sustains all creation and helps it to thrive.

Our earth souls are starving

But it is not only the earth and the many life forms we harm with our ‘forgetting about the sacredness’ of all life. Within this cosmology of the sacred inter-connectedness of all life, it becomes obvious that the harm we do to nature within the web we also do to ourselves, to our body/mind and to our souls.

If we look at human development, we realize that we are indeed beings of both nature and culture, and that our increasing neglect of the nature dimension of ourselves causes soul starvation and mental/emotional problems. My own observations as a psychologist, therapist and shamanic practitioner over many years have shown me how much disenchantment, emotional and mental imbalance and rootlessness modern people experience. This is supported by profound research, which also shows us the healing power of nature on the psyche. Nature symbolism is, for instance, dominant in healing experiences and people of all age-groups feel emotionally more stable, more peaceful, more alive, more compassionate and re- enchanted after spending time in nature.

Nature also shows us alternatives to our consumer-orientated and technology-poisoned way of life.

Bill Plotkin, a shamanic eco-psychologist who facilitates long, intensive wilderness camps, observes that “… healthy human development requires a constant balancing of the influences and demands of both nature and culture… By suppressing the nature dimension of human development… industrial growth society engenders an immature citizenry unable to imagine a life beyond consumerism and soul-suppressing jobs.” [7]

And George Monbiot, the Guardian columnist and author of ‘Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea, and Human Life’ remarks: “It is no longer rare to meet adults who have never swum except in a swimming pool, never slept except in a building, never run a mile or climbed a mountain, never been stung by a bee or a wasp… We are separated from the world by a layer of glass…. in our temperature-controlled enclosures, all can be reduced to abstractions.” [8]

Unfortunately our longing for nature is increasingly pushed into the subconscious. Only when we are encouraged to dig a bit deeper do we realize that our mind still associates being powerful and wild, being at home, feeling safe, peaceful and healthy, with being in nature. In my practice I have never experienced anybody who, when asked to find their place of power, sanctuary, peace or healing visualized a crowded city, their place of work, a shopping mall, a club or any other place in our urban world. People of all ages and social backgrounds visualize a place in nature.

The connection to nature is not only important for our mental and emotional wellbeing but also for re-experiencing the ‘sacred wild’ within ourselves. As we begin to reconnect consciously with nature, we recognize that our Earth soul is indeed wild and needs to be allowed to tune into where it lives, namely the vast and beautiful realms of nature, in order to be nourished and reflect itself back to us. Every time we connect with nature in a sacred way, we reinforce the sacred within us, nurture our soul and give ourselves a chance to experience ‘being home’.

So, why am I writing about this? Well, mainly to stress that all of us, who seriously want to become whole and make a difference, need to make time to be in nature. We need to focus on learning from nature, be inspired by it, revitalize and re-energize our natural powers, quest for vision, tune into the seasons and use the many ways and means open to us, from wilderness camps to vision quests, from fire ceremonies to connecting with the underlying spirit essences of trees, plants mountains, rocks, water, star and planets. Above all we need to remember, in our urban technological world and life styles, that re-experiencing the divine in nature – and within ourselves – is necessity if we want to become whole and agents of change.

References:

Ungunmerr-Bauman, M.R. (2007) Dadiiri Inenr Deep Listening and Quiet Awareness. http://nextwave.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Dadirri-Inner-Deep-Listening-M-R-Ungunmerr-Bauman-Refl.pdf
Narby, J. (2003) The Cosmic Serpent, DNA and the Origin of Knowledge. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc. p.2
Genesis, 1, page 28
Gatoga, E. (1914-1983) http://www.freepressjournal.in/the-call-of-nature
http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/land-has-breath-respecting-nature-in-altai
Lyons, O. http://www.indigenouspeople.net/orenlyon.htm p.1
Plotkin, B. (2008) Nature and the Human Soul. Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World. Novato, California: New World Library p. 6
http://www.monbiot.com/2017/03/02/screened-out

Also by Christa Mackinnon:

The Return of the Feminine Principle: A Question of ‘Thriving Life’ or ‘Destructive Death’
What About the Feminine? How Patriarchal Value Systems Affect Consciousness

About the author:
Christa Mackinnon holds a Master of Science in psychology and is a family counselor, clinical hypnotherapist and shamanic teacher. She has worked as a psychologist, therapist, trainer, lecturer and trauma consultant internationally for 25 years, and is an honorary teaching fellow at the University of Exeter in the UK.

Christa sees her current work as ‘Bridging the Worlds’ between the ancient shamanic and the contemporary therapeutic. Based on her ground-breaking book on the subject matter, she facilitates Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses for professionals, speaks at conferences, and lectures widely. She also facilitates courses and retreats for women and is currently in the process of writing a new book, which will be about the feminine.

Published on Mar 24, 2017

http://adyashanti.org – Adyashanti explores the human and divine qualities of life, how your humanness is an expression of divinity, and how your humanness and divinity are intimately intertwined. By extinguishing any attempt to avoid or transcend anything in your experience, an opportunity presents itself, and a fuller embrace of life becomes available to you. Adyashanti reveals how your revelation of the interlocking nature of humanness and divinity can be the catalyst for you to radically embrace all of existence.

Video Excerpted From “Jesus: Unifying Human and Divine”:
http://bit.ly/2dDIRf8

Quotes from this Video:

“This kind of surrender brings with it a kind of redeeming quality. It has a sense of being restored to your natural condition — not because you’ve left your humanity — but because spirit has completely embraced it.”

“This is the gift of the whole story. It is the descent of spirit into the world of time and space, whereas other stories are the awakening of spirit from time to the eternal. This is the eternal descending into time.”

“When you wake up, it tends to take you into emptiness. Yes, it’s an extremely full emptiness, but it’s an emptiness nonetheless — the emptiness of pure consciousness.”

“The story is giving voice to our divinity, and finding the divinity not just outside of humanity, in the unborn space of emptiness, but finding the divinity right in the world of form — and through a complete embrace of life as it actually is.”

“So to do this you’re embracing everything that it is to exist, which is the triumph and the tragedy of it. It is not a movement of seeking to avoid it, and it’s not a transcendent movement necessarily.”

“It’s a radical embrace of everything. It’s a ‘yes.’ It’s a leap of faith, and that brings the experience of redemption. Suddenly, you’ve discovered the completeness within everything. You’ve discovered the grace within the chaos.”

“Something within us reaches out for both of these kinds of graces — the transcendent grace and the grace within the human existence. Both of these are yearned for within the depths of our being. “


What do spiritual masters know about the mind?

Adyashanti is an American-born spiritual teacher devoted to serving the awakening of all beings. His teachings are an open invitation to stop, inquire, and recognize what is true and liberating at the core of all existence. He is the author of The Way of Liberation, Falling into Grace, True Meditation, and Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic. I’ve done a number of retreats with Adya who is in my estimation one of the three truly original spiritual thinkers of our moment, the other two being Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie. We had a great time talking about the process of enlightenment and how Christianity lost its way.

Mark Matousek: I was surprised to see you’d written a book about Jesus, considering your background in Zen Buddhism. How did that happen?

Adyashanti: It really was a labor of love. For the last two or three years, I’ve been doing one retreat a year that focuses on Jesus’s teachings, so this was a natural outgrowth of that.

MM: Why did you choose to emphasize the revolutionary Jesus?

A: That’s a characteristic of Jesus that speaks to me. When I was practicing Zen Buddhism intensively during my twenties, I went through this period of being involved with the Christian mystics. There was something I wasn’t finding in my Zen practice. Many years later I realized that what I was looking for was the opening of the spiritual heart. I got around to reading the New Testament and I didn’t even recognize the Jesus in those gospels. I literally thought, who is this guy? He came off as such a revolutionary. He was very outspoken about the issues of his day, the power structure of his own religion, political issues, and so on. In contrast to the typical Eastern sage removed from society, Jesus was very much a man of the world. We grow up with this idea of him as some sort of God-man transcendent of everything then you read the gospels and find out that he wasn’t at all. He had some very human characteristics.

MM: Is there a conflict for you between Christianity, which posits faith in God, and Buddhism that denies God’s existence?

A: From a theological perspective, there are obviously some very great differences. Personally, though, I don’t find a conflict because I look at these things from a big view and not through a tight theological lens. Both Jesus and Buddha are representations of archetypal spiritual patterns within us. The Buddha is the archetypal image of transcendent realization, that which was never touched by time and the world, nor by human difficulty. The Jesus story is an archetype of something quite different: an engaged realization. Jesus doesn’t find his freedom through transcendence of the world but from a very, very deep engagement. In the Jesus story itself, the spirit of heaven descends upon Jesus, which is a very different kind of spiritual awakening. It’s the descent of spirit into form rather than the arising spirit waking up out of form. Both of these are legitimate approaches to awakening. Our Western spiritual traditions, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, aim at achieving a relationship with the divine, whereas the Eastern, non-dual traditions aim at identification with (or as) the divine. At times, what’s missing from non-dual practice is the spiritual heart. You can have an extraordinary amount of transcendent realization without the spiritual heart, which is a deep, intuitive, intimate connectedness with life around you.

MM: In Resurrecting Jesus, you write, “the search for the historical Jesus isn’t the point. The point is the story, the collective dream.” What is to be gained by rediscovering the power of the collective dream?

A: In the West, when you call something a myth you are basically saying it’s not true. That’s a complete misunderstanding of what myth actually is, though. Myth is a story meant to convey something that can’t be put in ordinary language. So when we look at something like the Jesus story mythologically without worrying about how much is true, we can enter into a creative relationship with the story. Instead of asking what Jesus actually said, we can ask what this story evokes in us. Myths are meant to evoke hidden dimensions of human consciousness. The Jesus story becomes much more powerful in this way, as well as healing. We’ve grown up in a culture that’s absolutely dripping and saturated with this story. It has an immense influence on the Western psyche and if we can’t make real peace with that story, it becomes like a wound that doesn’t heal.

MM: The wound of Christianity?

A: The wound of how we’ve understood Christianity. I’ll give you an example. Part of the Judeo Christian tradition is the idea of Original Sin. As a result, you have this rampant disease of unworthiness in Western cultures that, for the better part of 2,500 years, have lived with this mythology of the fall. Until we can reinterpret this story, it’s very, very hard to heal the wound of feeling unworthy. We have to be able to go back and look at it again with fresh eyes. Jesus didn’t go around telling people that they were unworthy. It’s the theologians that went around after he died telling people they were unworthy. That never entered into any of Jesus’s dialogues at all.

MM: You write that Zen taught you about “the dimension of being far beyond personal psychology.” How would you describe this dimension?

A: There is a dimension of experience within you that’s eternal and has no history. It has no time, it has no past, it has no personality, it has no karma, it has no problem. It’s the dimension of consciousness that is literally outside of time and everything that touches time. The non-dual traditions, such as Zen, are very, very powerful at evoking that dimension of human experience. But this doesn’t necessarily solve problems relating to personal psychology. So you can be very deeply rooted in a very transcendent experience of being and still have some very problematic, unresolved issues in your psychology.

MM: As someone who lives in this dimension most of the time, do you struggle with emotions and conflict in daily life?

A: There hasn’t really been much struggle for the past ten years or so. Of course, it could be different when I get out of bed tomorrow. (laughs) The underlying feeling state for me is contentment. It’s a serene kind of joy that underlies everything. At first, I had a very powerful awakening to eternity and then, over the ensuing years, my spirituality moved toward embracing everything that I had transcended, the nature of human emotion, personality, and so on. What I’ve found is that the dimension of eternity and the dimension of time are really one in the same. I just feel at ease with it all. I’m at ease with my humanity. I’m at ease with eternity. I’m at ease with life. It doesn’t mean that everything goes smoothly. I’m like everybody else. Life has its challenges but it’s just not a big deal. There’s an underlying sense of ease and Ok-ness.

MM: What do you find most challenging?

A: To be quite honest, very trivial things. The thing I probably find most challenging in personal life is my computer. I’m not joking. The bigger things aren’t big challenges for me anymore. But I can get frustrated at my computer and the first thing you’ll hear is me yelling for my wife to come help me. Mukti, come and save me from this device! I found the devil and it’s a computer. Strangely enough, when humans don’t do the things you might expect them to do, that’s not really very frustrating to me. I totally get that.

MM: You don’t get angry at people?

A: No, not really. Years ago, I had this realization, this experience, where something just finally completely fell away. The whole self-structure, which is the thing that’s always looking within. The turn of consciousness that’s always evaluating things. The whole self-structure just sort of fell away. The most honest way I can describe it is that I lost my inner world. So when things happen, they just happen. There’s not much inner life for them to affect.

MM: There’s nothing to protect.

A: Right. There’s nothing to protect. There’s no inner story that feels compelled to protect itself.

MM: Finally, I’d like to ask you about the notion of divine incarnation, regarding Jesus, Buddha, or anyone else described as an avatar. How do you interpret that?

A: I think that every single incarnation is a divine incarnation. I know nothing nor do I care to know about avatars. I think “avatar” is an idea. And the idea is separative. It assumes that there are divine incarnations as opposed to what? Other people that aren’t divine? How can that possibly be? Because one person has realized it and another hasn’t? If somebody hasn’t discovered their true nature it doesn’t make them one iota less divine. Some people may come into their incarnation never having forgotten their true nature; if someone wants to call that person an avatar, fine. But when we think that avatars have some sort of “more essential divinity,” we’re back in the world of separation, duality, and mind-made divisions that aren’t really there. If someone is born in full remembrance of who they are, good for them.. But that doesn’t mean they have more divinity than a heroin addict in the gutter. The heroin addict doesn’t know that they’re divine —that’s the difference. It’s a relative difference, not an essential difference. And that’s what I love about the Jesus story. He got made into an avatar and the God-man and all this stuff after he died, but his way of moving in the world was very ordinary. He was a very outspoken critic of the various ways that us human beings create divisions and then take advantage of those divisions. That’s why I say that enlightenment doesn’t raise you, it actually lowers you because you see the reality of all beings. Not just your beings, but all beings. Otherwise it’s just an enlightened ego that thinks it’s better than, more spiritual, or whatever. It shows you that all ultimately on the same playing field. We’re the same stuff. In that absolute sense, we are all of profound equality. To me, the enlightened view is the ultimate form of democracy.

Source: The Huffington Post


Published on Dec 4, 2016

From the event, “Where the Two Seas Meet: An Introduction to Sufism” with Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

This talk asks the question “What is Sufism?” and explores its esoteric nature.

Historical Beginnings of Sufism – Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Published on Dec 4, 2016

From the event, “Where the Two Seas Meet: An Introduction to Sufism” with Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

This talk is part two of An Introduction to Sufism and includes a description of Sufism’s historical beginnings and some of the early Sufi saints.

In this book Meghan Don brings forward Gnostic and mystical teachings on the Divine Feminine that have not been previously given in written form. Experience an evolutionary journey and initiation into the deeper mysteries of the Feminine World Soul through reflections, prayers, meditations, and ancient feminine chants.

Learn about the Seven Faces of the Feminine, including the Light and Dark Faces of the Daughter, the Mother, the Crone or Grandmother, and the Pure Virgin or Enlightened Being of one’s true nature. The New Divine Feminine shows you how to access each of the Seven Faces in your everyday life, draw confidence and strength from them, and trust in your own soul voice and vision. No matter your spiritual beliefs, you can access each divine face and gain empowerment from this guide’s exploration of powerful, sacred women, including Mary Magdalene, Lilith, the Black Madonna, and Teresa of Avila.

Meghan Don (Charleston, SC, and Nova Scotia, Canada) is an initiate of the Sophian Lineage and the founder and leading guide of the Gnostic Grace Circle. An award-winning author, spiritual mentor, and retreat presenter, Meghan’s work helps to raise the feminine consciousness and confidence in our world. She is the author of Sacred Companions Sacred Community: Reflections with Clare of Assisi and Meditations with Teresa of Avila: A Journey into the Sacred, which won the Ashton Wylie/New Zealand Book Council Award for best book and author. Visit her online at http://www.GnosticGrace.com.

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Mystical Ireland Pilgrimage

Ireland Pilgrimage with Megan Don
http://www.mysticpeace.com


Deep within the heart of every soul is the desire to experience and communicate directly with Spirit. The divine presence is not the exclusive property of great saints, sages, or holy men. Everyone is worthy to receive the blessings of Spirit.

In this profound, practical, transformational book, you will learn proven techniques to open your heart, mind, and spirit to the riches of inner divine contact. You will open the pipeline to the divine and begin the flow of inner guidance, love, healing, wisdom, and inspiration from your center of being. You will awaken the still, small voice within, go directly to Spirit without a middleman, and experience higher consciousness.

Awaken Your Divine Intuition, along with the included link to an online meditation, will help you:

  • Tap into your ‘in-house counselor‚” your inner guidance and inner genius.
  • Receive unique signals that identify specific aspects of inner divinity.
  • Get divine messages and inner guidance and test whether they are real.
  • Awaken your clairvoyant, clairaudient, and clairsentient gifts.
  • Experience radiant light, supernal love, and spiritual grace.
  • Heal ego blockages that have inhibited your intuition.
  • Experience the divine presence anytime you want.
  • Never be alone again.

 

Dr. Susan Shumsky has dedicated her life to helping people take command of their lives in highly effective, powerful, positive ways. She is the best-selling author of 13 books, published by Simon & Schuster, Random House, and New Page. A pioneer in the human potential field, she has spent nearly 50 years teaching thousands of people meditation, prayer, affirmation, and intuition. Her book titles include Miracle Prayer, Divine Revelation, Exploring Meditation, Exploring Auras, Exploring Chakras, How to Hear the Voice of God, Ascension, Instant Healing, The Power of Auras, The Power of Chakras, Awaken Your Third Eye, Awaken Your Divine Intuition, and Color Your Chakras.

Dr. Shumsky is a highly respected spiritual teacher, award-winning author, and founder of Divine Revelation®—a unique field-proven technology for contacting the divine presence, hearing and testing the inner voice, and receiving clear divine guidance. For 22 years, her mentor was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was guru of the Beatles and guru of Deepak Chopra. Dr. Shumsky served on Maharishi’s personal staff for 7 years.

A sought-after media guest and highly acclaimed professional speaker, Dr. Shumsky has done over 600 speaking engagements and over 750 media appearances since her first book was published, including Woman’s World, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Los Angeles Times, nationally syndicated TV and radio on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX news, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, and William Shatner’s Weird or What? She is featured in the movie Three Magic Words. Her website is http://www.drsusan.org.

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Susan Shumsky on Living A Divinely Guided Life

Published on Jul 12, 2015

http://www.AnjulaRam.com

In this wonderful dialogue Susan Shumsky focuses in on how to receive and follow Divine guidance and the importance of spiritual discernment. She also covers daily practice for balanced life, auras, chakras, meditation, manifestation, and how to pray forwards, not backwards. We close out with her kindly sharing her popular self-authority affirmation and cutting ties affirmation.

Dr. Susan Shumsky has dedicated her life to helping people take command of their lives in highly effective, powerful, positive ways. She is the best-selling author of 11 books, published by Simon & Schuster, Random House, and New Page. A pioneer in the human potential field, she has spent more than 47 years teaching thousands of people meditation, prayer, affirmation, and intuition. Her book titles include Miracle Prayer, Divine Revelation, Exploring Meditation, Exploring Auras, Exploring Chakras, How to Hear the Voice of God, Ascension, Instant Healing, The Power of Auras, The Power of Chakras, and Awaken Your Third Eye.

Dr. Shumsky is a highly respected spiritual teacher, award-winning author, and founder of Divine Revelation®—a unique field-proven technology for contacting the divine presence, hearing and testing the inner voice, and receiving clear divine guidance. For 22 years, her mentor was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was guru of the Beatles and guru of Deepak Chopra. Dr. Shumsky served on Maharishi’s personal staff for 7 years.

For more info: http://www.drsusan.org and http://www.divinetravels.com


Published on May 25, 2016

Instead of escaping the messy human condition by going to the monastery, I actually discovered the full human condition. What I discovered was that the divine transcendence I was seeking was not found outside the human, but was found precisely by going more deeply into it and embracing it fully. In this talk I would like to share these insights about integrating our human journey toward emotional maturity into the spiritual journey of awakening to the transcendent dimension. I would like to share a bit about how this process has been working in my own life, giving practical pointers about how to live this out in concrete ways in daily life. Rather than trying to deny and destroy the vulnerable humanity I found in myself and those I lived with in community, I have found that by embracing it, by fearlessly accepting all the dark and painful places within myself and others, I could actually discover that unconditional openness that was at my heart’s deepest center, that place within that never grabs on to the ‘pleasant’, that never pushes away the ‘unpleasant’, but is simply and beautifully and unconditionally present to whatever shows up in experience.

When we practice embracing what seems vulnerable and ‘unacceptable’ within us, this very embracing touches that consciousness which is essential to who we are. It helps point us toward pure being itself, ‘the Ground of being’ within us all at our own heart’s center.

Francis Bennett was a Roman Catholic, Trappist monk for a number of years. He lived in two monasteries of the Trappist Order in the US and was also a member of an urban, contemplative monastic community originally founded in Paris, France in 1975. He has lived in France at several monasteries, and in Canada at a small monastic community in Montreal Quebec. He received a five and a half year monastic/spiritual formation with the Trappists before he made his vows as a monk at Gethsemani Abbey in 1983. He graduated from the Pontifical College Josephinum with a BA in Philosophy and completed a two year residency in Clinical Pastoral Education with Ohio Health Hospital System in Columbus, Ohio. He has worked in ministry in the area of spiritual Care in the hospice movement, as a hospital chaplain and in spiritual care of the sick and dying in parish settings. He has lead retreats in both the Vipassana Buddhist Tradition and in the Christian mystical/contemplative Tradition. In 2010, while in the middle of a Church Service in his monastery in Montreal, Francis suddenly experienced what he has come to call, “a radical perceptual shift in consciousness”, in which he discovered the ever present presence of spacious, pure awareness. He came to see that this awareness is actually the unchanging essence of who he really is and always has been; the Supreme Self, talked about by many sages and saints from many spiritual traditions down through the ages. He also came to see simultaneously, that this vast, infinite sense of presence at the center of his being (and at the center of the being of everyone else on the planet) is actually not at all separate from the presence of God, which he had been looking for during his many years as a monk and spiritual seeker. http://findinggraceatthecenter.com/


A manifesto of love, invitation and invocation to humanity

Refreshingly candid, hilarious and insightful, Dear Human is the key necessary to unlock a whole new way of thinking…it is progressive and expansive. It provides insight to the soul that many of us have either: A) never seen or B) overlooked in our travels on this earthly plane.

Dear Human asks the reader to embrace our glorious messiness, to love to the best of our ability, to continue to learn and grow, to be willing to show up and get out of the way. It blows up old programs and conditioned ways of thinking and expands the reader into new ways of thinking about timeless themes. It asks us to merge and honor our divinity and humanity equally.

These chapters resonate what it means to be whole, real, authentic and loved while simultaneously showing the pathway to the freedom of enlightened empowerment. Be open to all your feelings and look to laugh and love with each and every breath. The spectrum from compassion to ego/emotional triggers is unabashedly discussed and honored within these pages. Words such as judgment, cooperation, feelings, growth, ease, resilience and harmony all have a place here. This creation strives to have the population rethink their inner workings, conditioned responses and self-imposed limitations. Dear Human elevates the spirit to an accomplished, soul-filling and revered place—a place of light.

Courtney A. Walsh has been a professional writer/editor/author/inspirational speaker for fifteen years. With an extensive background in marketing, advertising, creative writing, film, cultural studies, and languages, Courtney has worked with the United States National Park Service to review, research and co-write a technical report on the origins of the Statue of Liberty. Other accomplishments include a project for MTV (Music Television) and publishing several feature op-ed articles as a contributing writer for The Portsmouth Herald. She has created a successful career as a blogger, social media figure and professional speaker.

Social media rockstar and metaphysical humor author, internationally renowned speaker and writer of the “Dear Human” viral media meme that has now been shared with over 20 million people including on Deepak Chopra’s and Elizabeth Gilbert’s pages as well as retweeted by Khloe Kardashian and radio personality Delilah.

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Dear Human

The “Dear Human” quote, by Courtney A. Walsh (CAW) has become the seed of an emotional awareness movement. It liberates and unifies.

Join the Dear Human movement at:

https://www.facebook.com/dearhumancaw

Follow Courtney A. Walsh at:

https://www.facebook.com/loonybus
http://www.squeezingthestars.com/


Jane Anderson-Ross is a wife, mother, and grandmother currently living in Rochester, NY.

Raised in a New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia, Jane always had the gifts of love and compassion, and even as a young child, felt that her life path was to help others heal.

But in 1988, during the throws of her own trials and difficulties, Jane had a transformation that was prompted by a singular prayer. She surrendered to the Divine Creator and asked, “Let me be Your Eyes, Your Ears, Your Hands, and Your Heart.” From that prayer, came what she can only describe as a “Rebirth”; a profound transformation with a pure divine directive.

However, still very much Jane, she continued on as a devoted wife and mother of 2 babies.

What became extraordinary to her though, was the Divine events, healings, and transformations that touched not only her own life, but that of many others who came into contact with her.

Nevertheless, Jane’s love, humility, and simplicity never wavered, and she decided to enter into the field of holistic healing arts. She began sharing her gifts through a spiritually-based newsletter, which included Divinely inspired writings and poetry. Later she added more formal, professional training, and became a Shiatsu and Thai Message Therapist, Reiki Master, Aromatherapy, and Naturopathic Esthetician. Other modalities included Ancient Palmistry and Psychic Mediumship.

Jane is happy to share her personal story with all who ask, and feels that her expression is best stated by the following;

“It matters not what we do, but from where we come whilst doing it”.

Website: http://janeandersonross.com


Published on Nov 24, 2015

Amoda talks about the imperative to dissolve all inner division and how seeing through the eyes of wholeness is true healing. This is a full-length recording from the Meeting at the Open Circle in San Rafael, November 2015.
More info about Amoda and her teachings at http://www.amodamaa.com

At twenty-five, Andrew Harvey abandoned a career at Oxford to return to his native India. He didn’t know why, except to escape the ‘concentration camps of reason’ and recapture ‘the strange and boundless joy I always felt when I thought of India.’

At first he was cynical, scoffing at devotees and ashramites. Then he met the extraordinary Mother Meera, a 17-year-old girl who appeared to be the incarnation of the Divine Mother. He raised every possible argument against the existence of another reality – and watched each one dissolve in the face of extraordinary mystical experiences.

Although written after his most famous book, A Journey in Ladakh, this is the first part of Andrew Harvey’s autobiographical spiritual journey. In this engaging – and courageous – account, he tries to describe the indescribable, his own spiritual transformation, with a remarkable degree of success. Every encounter Harvey has with the divine Mother is described in vivid language, using beautiful spiritual phrases, full of depth and sincerity, inviting the reader to share his experiences. It is a spiritual autobiography unlike any other. Every page touches the soul and heart.

Destined to become a classic of spiritual autobiography, Hidden Journey is a candid and beautifully written account of a rational atheist’s spiritual transformation in the face of an unexpected encounter with Mother Meera, an 18-year old Indian woman, seen as the embodiment of the Divine Mother.

At 25, Author Andrew Harvey abandoned a brilliant career at Oxford to return to his native India. A rationalist atheist, he raised every possible argument against the existence of another reality and watched each dissolve in the face of extraordinary mystical experiences. Here is the story of his spiritual awakening and transformation.

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Andrew Harvey – ‘The Death And The Birth’ – Interview by Iain McNay

Andrew Harvey ‘The Death And The Birth’ Interview by Iain McNay
Author of 30 books including ‘Hidden Journey,’ ‘The Hope,’ and his forthcoming book ‘Radical Passion’ talks about his life, his awakenings, his ‘dark nights’ and his work these days encouraging people to explore and engage in Sacred Activism. Talks about his time with Mother Meera, the importance of shadow work, and how as a human race we are right on edge of death, but also a new birth.
‘Compassion in Action is the marriage of practical action and spiritual wisdom to create a holy force capable of transforming our world crisis and preserving our planet.’

Awakening to your Divine Destiny – Satsang with Amoda Maa

Awakening to Your Divine Destiny
– transcript of Satsang at the Open Circle Center, Berkeley, California (November 2014)

A question that arises frequently in gatherings like this, especially as more and more people are having awakening experiences – there seems to be a kind of quickening in the awakening process on personal and collective levels, so more and more people are asking this question: “If an awakening experience has been had, how can it be integrated into everyday life?” There is a sense that there is an awakening and yet something is missing. The whole picture isn’t quite in place. So the question arises: “How it can be fully embodied or how the truth of awakening can be fully met?”

There is awakening … and there is the maturation of awakening. Awakening is the recognition of who you really are .. the recognition of the light, your essence. It’s like the moment the little bud appears on the branch of a tree. And then the little bud has to open and become a flower. And that’s the maturation of awakening. Somewhere between the bud appearing and the flower becoming itself, there’s a lot of confusion, disappointment and disillusionment and the question arises: “How can it be lived in everyday life?”

The question is premature. The answer is .. wait, and let the bud become a flower. Only the full bloom of a flower can fulfill its divine destiny. Fulfilling its divine destiny is bringing its beauty to the world and releasing its intoxicating fragrance into the world. In full bloom the flower is itself. It doesn’t have to do anything. It doesn’t have to integrate its flower-ness into its existence. It doesn’t have to embody its flower-ness, it simply is itself. There is no inner division. It’s simply the light of its essence, meeting the Totality of Life, meeting the Oneness of Life.

So, you too, in full awakening will fulfill your divine destiny. It is not yet fulfilled when the bud of awakening appears. That is the beginning. It is not the end, it is not the destination. In the full bloom of your awakening there is no inner division. There is a recognition of awakeness in you and there is the recognition of awakeness in everything, in all things. And that which is awake in you moves through you as your life and your life is given in service to all that is awake. There is no conflict, no question of how to embody, what to do. The shape and form of that flower is not up to you. It simply moves through you AS you. And then the Heart of You can meet the Heart of Reality.

And somewhere in between the bud of awakening and the full bloom of awakening is a lot of confusion, a lot of sticking points, a lot of places along that journey, along that maturation process where the veils of ego can still come in. And it gets sticky, it gets tricky.
So, the bud of awakening is when we somehow are catapulted or shocked out of our normal way of seeing things. It’s a radical shift in perception. We see things from a whole new perspective. Things that we have taken as stable structures, mental structures, emotional structures, physical structures, political structures, economic structures, social structures, cultural structures, even biological structures – things that we have seen as stable and taken for granted – suddenly are seen to be impermanent, suddenly are seen to have no ground and are only our own beliefs, our own conditioning or our conditioned thinking and feeling. This is a shock to the mind.

In traditional spiritual cultures this would come from rigorous meditation practice. But these days it’s happening more spontaneously. It may come at times through extreme loss, or extreme grief, or extreme pain, or extreme beauty, or even psychedelics, and maybe meditation practice too. Maybe just reading a book. This is the bud the awakening. And this can be experienced as bliss or peace, a kind of deep restfulness, or a kind of high or joy or ecstasy. To be liberated out of egoic paradigms is such a thrill.
This may last a few hours, or a few days, a few months, or even a few years. But inevitably some parts of the egoic structure, the personality structure or the world structure comes back into view. As well as unbounded emptiness we live in the three-dimensional world in which the ego operates to maneuver the body across the road, to take care of ourselves, to function as a full human being. And so we see the world in three dimensions, we perceive an inside and an outside, an up and a down, a left and a right.

Inevitably when some of this egoic structure which is necessary for survival in form comes back into view, there’s a confusion or a disappointment, even a fear and this can spark a psychotic episode like the world can’t be handled anymore, can’t be coped with anymore. Even though the truth of you rejoices in having been liberated from the prison of ego, a part of the egoic structure that is necessary for human survival starts to scramble to make sense of it all and so then the question arises: “If there has been an awakening experience of such intensity and such beauty, such power, then why is it all not making sense anymore? Why is there still something missing? Why is it not being lived in the ordinary life? Why is it not my experience anymore?”

So what happens is, that a kind of disconnect gets created, a split, a wanting to get back to that state of bliss, to that state of ultimate freedom. This disconnect creates immense suffering, creates a lot of psychological suffering. And so there is a scrambling to get back to that state, to that awakened state. So the question comes back and the seeking arises again and perhaps seeking for another teacher, or another book, or another teaching or meditation practice or another spiritual magnet of some kind. There is nothing wrong with those supports, but what happens is that we are still employing the ego to find that awakened state again. There is still the self invested in the awakened state.

So it’s good to recognize where the sticking points are. When you recognize them conceptually and in your hearts, as you hear these words, you can recognize them when they appear. It’s all about seeing clearly. You can see them and when they are seen and there is some support along the way or if you are lucky, there could be a deeper seeing. Then there is the possibility to rest in that which remains when all that is false falls away … the luminosity of awakeness itself. This is the Stillness of Being, the Silence of Being.

Again, this can also be a sticking place, a place where we can get stuck. Because in the stillness of being there is no movement … and when there is no movement, the totality of life cannot be fully embraced. There is a more subtle disconnect that happens here. This is a lopsided view in the non-dual perspective – the perspective that suffering is an illusion, that there is only emptiness here. And yes that is true on an absolute level, but it’s not the whole picture, it’s not the full bloom of awakening. There is a kind of avoidance of the blood, sweat and tears of being human. There is a kind of avoidance of meeting the pain all the way, of meeting suffering all the way. It is as if the human experience gets in the way of this transcendent unending peace, unending stillness. This is a comfortable place but it’s not the whole maturity of awakening. It is important to recognize this.

The full bloom of awakening, the full flower of awakening comes, when both the relative and the absolute are seen – are seen not just understood intellectually – are really seen as one and the same. This is not the same as being lost in the relative. It’s a very different experience, it has a different texture. It is when both the relative and the absolute are fully recognized as inseparable, as inseparable as the waves from the ocean. There is no inner division, there is no conflict, there is no inner disconnect … both the dark and the light are included. The light of awakeness excludes nothing … no thing. Nothing in you and nothing in the world is excluded from the heart of awakeness, from the light of awakeness, from the truth of awakeness.

So now, suffering which is part of the human condition – pain comes, loss comes, we cannot control that – now, suffering can be met all the way. There is a big difference between the naked meeting of suffering and the story of suffering. The naked meeting of suffering is the unadulterated meeting of raw reality, there is no self invested in this. There is only unconditioned present-moment awareness. The story of suffering is when we manipulate reality to conform to our idea of who we think we are. In other words, there is an investment of self in this. And this investment sounds like this: “This shouldn’t be happening to me.” Or “Poor me, I’m so unlucky. Why do always bad things happen to me?” Or “Why does life always punish me? Why does God always punish me? What have I done wrong?”

There is a self in that, there is a story in that suffering. And as soon as we have a story in suffering, we cannot meet suffering in its depth. To meet suffering in its depth is to free yourself from suffering. To meet it with a story is to defend yourself from the depth of that pain. And in defending yourself from the depth of that pain, you cannot experience life fully. There is a separation and that separation creates the seeking.

This is what it means to say “In order to find God we must welcome everything.” It’s a beautiful line from a poem by Rabindrath Tagore. In order to experience yourself as God, as the Totality of Life, as Being-ness itself – because there is nothing else – then you must wake up to who you are, over and over again, in every experience. There is a great spiritual maturity in this. And it takes time, because as the light of awakeness moves through you as your life, it also moves towards everything that has been hidden in the darkness, everything that is hiding in the shadows, all the feelings and emotions and belief systems and energetic contractions that have been previously unmet in your life as part of your story. Awakeness is the compassionate part of being – the compassionate heart of existence – and it moves towards everything that lies in the darkness. So everything comes up to be seen, to be loved, to be met, to be purified. And it moves towards everything in the world that has been unilluminated by your own perception, your clouded perception.

Our conditioning separates us from the world. Our beliefs and our opinions are based only on the story of our conditioning and not on truth, so we judge the world and what we see as right and wrong, good and bad according to that conditioning. The light of awakeness moves towards this in order to illuminate and resolve everything in the oneness of that light, so that there is no longer a division in you or in the world. It’s as if the Buddha-nature in you moves towards the Buddha-nature in everything. Because even in the darkness – in that which we perceive as dark or evil or wrong or unworthy – even in that, is the seed of light. The light of dawn is born out of the dark of the night.

So awakeness is like a magnet. It moves towards that which is awake in everything, even if it appears to be not awake. Within unawakeness is the seed of awakeness, because it is the inherent nature of everything. So in the full bloom of awakening you become a Bodhisattva. You return home. And you don’t have to DO this. It is inevitable, a choiceless choice. The flower doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t say “Oh, here’s my fragrance, you must come close.” If you come close and imbibe that fragrance, then it’s perfect. And if you don’t, then that’s also perfect. The fragrance is still here. And so it is, as you mature into full awakeness.

Question: “I notice that there are times when the Universe offers synchronicity, flow, blessings and insight… and I have a tendency to want to hold on to all this, to cling for dear life.”
There is a desire to claim ownership of that with the intention to re-create it, to re-create that synchronicity, that miracle, that blessing, that gift that comes from the mystery of existence. And it sets up suffering again, because the nature of life is an ebb and flow, it is wavy and the waves keep coming. Sometimes there is an inflow, sometimes there’s an outflow. This is part of the mystery and yet we try to control those waves because we prefer the inflow to the outflow. We prefer the miracles, the gifts, the blessings and the openings. And we want to avoid the other stuff. But if real freedom is what you are looking for, if real freedom is what you truly yearn for, if it is what your innermost being really longs for .. then real freedom comes from allowing all inflow and all outflow. All of it is part of the design.
Neither grab it nor run away from. As long as there is an investment of self, a claiming of ownership over the inflow and the outflow, there will be suffering. When we like something we move towards it, and when we don’t like it we run away from it. So it’s a horizontal movement, it’s mechanical .. and it is exhausting. The only way is to liberate yourself from the horizontal movement and to fall into the verticality of Being is to open to everything and allow everything. That doesn’t mean you don’t take responsible action when it’s needed. I am talking of an inner dimension. An inner dimension where you see that part of you that wants to grab and you see the futility of it.

“And when the good things stop and bad things happen, how do I know when to intervene, when to allow or not allow?”

There is no right answer to that. In a sense no one can tell you what to do, not even an awakened teacher. When doing arises out of being, it is always right action and only your innermost being knows and recognizes that inner alignment. When an impulse arises and it’s a true authentic impulse that arises not out of division, not out of judgment, not out of conflict in you, it simply is right action. A mother knows when to pick up the child. A mother knows when to feed her baby, when to take it to her breast. It’s an impulse, a natural impulse. So you know in your deepest innermost core, when to take action. And if it appears that you are intervening, then you know it’s not the right time. It is for you to move deeply into the innermost core of who you are and then to move from that place. So really, only when you know who you really are, when you have woken up out of the dream of mistaken identity can you really take right action.

Question: “I am confused about the unfoldment of awakening … there seems to be, in my case, a simultaneous need for the building up of ego as a healthy function as well as the destruction of ego. Do I need to set boundaries in my life and how do I allow my unique expression?”

So, the question is about coming into your power as a human being in the world and how does this relate to this whole notion of the ego dissolving as we wake up out of the dream. It’s a contemporary question as we are not monks or nuns and we are not going to the caves in the Himalayas to hide from the world in order to allow all egoic structures to dissolve. We live in very different times now.

Waking up does not negate the movement into the world as a fully functioning authentic human being. What falls away is the scaffolding that upholds a false sense of self … in other words, the conditioned self that you have inherited culturally, socially, economically. These false structures fall away and so does the investment of self in everything that you do. But that does not take away the human being. It is actually fully empowered by that. There is more power in that and that power might express itself through your unique skills, your unique voice and the capacity to say no and yes – appropriately. So it doesn’t negate that.
When that which is false in you is de-constructed, the true you, the real you which moves through you as a personality, as a human being, moves through your story but is not identified by your story. It moves through the pattern of your life, through the shape of your life, through your body-mind vehicle, to become more of you.
There is one more thing about that – because the question here also often causes confusion – that self-improvement and self-healing gets mistaken for awakening. Awakening doesn’t negate the empowered self, the fully functioning self in the world. But self-improvement itself is not awakening. All the spiritual practices are not awakening and the clinging to those in the hope that they will bring salvation and a pain-free life through this thing called awakening, perpetuates the endless seeking. So use the supports that you need to learn skills, or to find your deeper voice, or whatever it is that is wanting to move through you … but do not mistake them for becoming more awakened or more of a spiritual person. See how they compliment each other but don’t confuse them. Because nothing that you can do touches the core of who you are.
Once you discover who you are, doing can simply happen. Then doing becomes an expression or an outpouring of who you are, the deepest truth of who you are, an outpouring of the light of you. And then doing has its own innate intelligence. There isn’t a question around it then. There is no “Should I do this or should I do that?” Yes, there is the natural act of consideration or contemplation of something, but there is a deeper innate knowing. Doing then happens from knowing, from deep knowing. It’s right … it feels right. When doing happens out of the need to become a better self or a more spiritual self or a more perfect self, then it’s out of alignment, it’s out of sync. The deepest truth of you doesn’t need fulfillment. Looking for it just perpetuates the cycle of seeking.
Question: “I find that if I don’t put my attention on certain spiritual and healing practices then I fall back into unconscious patterns. I’m grappling with the need to keep these practices because they are useful and knowing that the practices are not awakening itself.”
Everything is a paradox, it includes both. Whatever is right for you – as you speak, I hear that it is the right response for you in that situation, in that circumstance – it’s an authentic response for you to practice this opening in the heart in order to allow what needs to be done. There is nothing wrong with that. If you like, your action in that circumstance is in service to the needs of the situation. As the bud of awakening opens into a flower, along the way – even though it is inevitable that the flower becomes a flower – there are supportive structures or methods or movements that can be like the fertilizer to let that flower truly grow. Once it’s fully bloomed, then it’s not needed anymore, it’s not necessary. It simply happens, and your heart is open all the time.
Everything is a paradox. The nature of life, the nature of operating in three-dimensional reality is duality. And the deepest recognition of that, the deepest knowing of that, and embracement of that, is non-duality. Very often there is this idea, even in very established spiritual circles, that non-dual awareness when it’s been recognized means that there is no duality anymore, that duality is an illusion, therefore it doesn’t exist. That’s crazy. It’s a paradox. The nature of being human, of living in form, through form, as form – the nature of formlessness, which is the ultimate reality, expressing itself through form temporarily – IS the experience of duality. The waves go up and the waves go down. We don’t obliterate the waves. And yet you don’t get lost in them, you don’t get lost in duality, you don’t identify or derive your sense of self from the dual nature of the movement of life. So it’s a paradox that cannot be grasped by the mind. It can only be somehow tasted by the deepest core of you, you can only taste the texture, the fragrance. It can’t be grasped by the mind. And these words speaking to your innermost being are always filtered through the mind. So again, there is this crazy paradox. But the mind and the being are listening here, trying to make sense of it all.
“What I’m getting is that there’s a need to peel back the layers with practices and then to stop and take a look at what is really happening here.”
Yes, absolutely … take a look, be open, be curious, be wide open to meeting that conditioned movement and see if it’s real. See if it has any real substance to it. Is it a whisper or a definite movement? Because when you truly see it, it becomes just a whisper.
Question: “I have a sense that my life’s purpose is not about trying to find this purpose, but that when the flower of awakening blooms it will reveal itself and I will have no choice.”
Yes, the desire for it is the little seed that sparks it all off. Again, one of these annoying paradoxes, or beautiful paradoxes! Yes, it’s inevitable … your divine destiny, your highest destiny to awaken is inevitable, it will bloom. You don’t have to go pulling it out of the ground, making it happen, making it grow before it’s ready to grow. But the thing is, as human beings, in order to wake up out of this collective dream of separation, it’s almost like the grit inside the oyster that makes the pearl. It’s the grit that starts this seeking, it’s the grit that moves us to want liberation or freedom. It’s the grit that is the suffering – some dissatisfaction, some lack of fulfillment – that starts us looking, first of all outwardly for the answer, for the fulfillment. And then, when that is seen to be dissatisfying, we start looking inwardly, we go on the spiritual search .. and still something is driving us.
So there is a desire – and it’s your deepest desire – that sparks the flame for truth and when it becomes a burning desire it pulls you towards that truth. Yes, it is inevitable and there is nothing you need to do …. but there is something that drives us to look for it in the first place.
“And recognition will happen anyway, I don’t have to recognize anything?”
Well, ultimately yes … there is no doer. Ultimately, there is the recognition that there is anybody who did anything. That’s when you really see that there’s no one here to take ownership, there is no self to take ownership over it. You can no longer say “I take ownership for that which is awakened”. I can’t say that I did it. It did itself through me. And yet at the same time, as I look over the picture of my life, the story of the movement of my life, there was a strong seeking mechanism happening up to a certain time. So again, it’s being really authentic and true with oneself. It’s where the sense of doership gets in the way, when it has outlived its purpose and can be recognized as a false construct, that there is the recognition of a deeper drive or momentum. This is the evolution of consciousness that is moving through you, driving you towards – apparently driving you towards! – THIS moment of awakening.
Question: “I have read stories about the great mystics and saints who all seem to awaken out of a terrible “dark night of the soul”. What about those of us who have nice lives, can we also awaken?”
It seems that the call home, the true calling to come home to our true nature, inevitably involves a falling into the abyss of Being, into the abyss of “not knowing” and this can be called the “dark night of the soul”. And in some people, there is an extended period of time in which there is a sense of aloneness internally – an existential aloneness, a sense of “I exist alone in the Universe, I am alone in existence, totally separate from the totality”. It’s a kind of existential dark hole and it may be experienced on a personal level as despair, or fear, or bleakness, a very barren landscape.
There seems to be – when we look at the inner dynamics of our psyche – a very deep place that we can come to. It can also be experienced as deep depression. In my case is was experienced as a suicidal tendency, a wanting to kill the self. And when we come to this place, a place where we don’t know anything anymore, where we can’t see, it is possible in that place – if there is a deep surrender to it, not the creation of another story around it of “poor me”, which is the place it’s easy to get stuck on – but the real surrender to the possibility that you do not exist. A surrender to the possibility that the “I” that you think you are is completely and utterly illusory, non existent. Now there is the possibility to allow the self to be annihilated – not the story of self, you can’t annihilate your story – but for the core sense of self to be annihilated, to die. And there’s a deep surrender and in that surrender there is a vertical falling into Being-ness. It cuts through the dark night of the soul and you wake up to who you really are as the Totality of existence … there is no longer any separation.
But again, this is an inner experience and very often it comes when there has been a lot of suffering in a person’s life, with a lot of darkness or trauma or deep depression, because those are the very experiences that pull us into this existential black hole. I don’t know if that’s the case or whether it’s necessary for everyone. It seems that these days there are more people awakening without having to go through that. The danger is though, if there is an awakening without having gone through what we are calling “the dark night of the soul”, there is the danger of the whole process that I described earlier of re-identifying with the awakened state and then the deeper disconnect still continuing. It’s almost like we need to be brought to our knees in order to have the humility to surrender to everything.
“I agree with that, and I often contemplate as deeply as I can what it would be like to be oblivion.”
That’s right. To be totally obliterated and then to face the terror that the egoic self – the self identity that’s been created, the core fixation – scrambles to hold on to some sense of security or stability. And the only security and stability it has is it’s own self identity, it’s definition of itself. So really what dies here is a psychological structure. It’s not real anyway. Your body doesn’t die. Your story doesn’t die … but your identification with it does. So you are free of it. But it’s amazing how there is this terror of death that comes up, when this false construct, this psychological knot of identity, is really faced. And the call is to just die to it, to surrender into it, to be prepared for it to all fall apart. Then you see it didn’t exist anyway. It was just a fabrication of your mind. Then there is freedom … you exist and you don’t exist, there is a self and there isn’t a self. An ego continues to operate in the three-dimensional reality, but the ego is given in service to awakeness, it bows down to awakeness. It no longer serves itself. It stops being the master. And then everything changes. The ego is put in its right place. That’s what changes.
Be identified with no thing. Simply be true to your experience and to your authentic inquiry. That’s all that matters. Be like the sky. Even when judgment comes – even when this apparent thing that doesn’t exist, this thing we call “ego” comes (by the way, it’s just a description of a process) – even when it comes, be like the sky. When the clouds come, the sky doesn’t feel any less sky. Sky-nature is always here. It doesn’t identify with itself. Whether there are no clouds or there are many clouds, whether there are soft clouds or dark and stormy clouds, the sky is always the sky.
You too, are like the sky. Whatever movement happens within that sky – dark or light, like a whisper or like a thunderbolt – you are not that. You are the sky. You are open, unbounded spaciousness. When you are not identified with anything, it all passes through that sky. Whether the ego structure is operating or not operating, you are free. Life is free to move through you as it is, as it does. It’s not for you to judge whether it’s with ego or without ego. These descriptions – with ego or without ego – are all constructs of the mind .. and all psychological constructs are seen to be illusory. Sometimes these constructs support us, sometimes they hinder us. Either way, they are not who you are. So recognize all movements of either towards something or away from something, towards your own thinking or away from your own thinking, towards your own beliefs or away from your own beliefs. It’s all movement. It’s not who you are. Let that movement be – let the clouds come and let them go. It’s not your business.
Namaste.

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