Friday, 7 September 2018
It will be clear to most seekers (especially those who have tried meditation) that the mind operates in two significant modes.
The first is how we normally go about much of our day where our minds are occupied with things that have nothing to do with the task in hand. For instance we can sit in the car for hours and have no recollection of approaching junctions, joining main roads, parking etc. We are (as the phrase goes) lost in our heads - involved in some kind of narrative, planning, remembering, ruminating, holding conversations with ourselves.
The second mode* is that where we are attentive to what is actually going on in the moment. We are not lost to past or future narratives - we experience existence directly as it unfolds in real time (so to speak.) A state of immediacy that is sometimes referred to as presence.
For this post I’ll refer to the two modes as cogitation mode and experiential mode.
It’s my experience that one mode doesn’t cancel out the other (although in extreme cases it seems to), rather, one mode becomes dominant and the other takes a back seat. And this happens to varying degrees along a spectrum. In a heightened sense of the experiential mode, cogitation is almost absent (though mentation is still present and names and places are still recognised etc.)
A heightened and ongoing sense of the experiential mode - in which there is the sense of life simply presenting as it is without a sense of separation or fragmentation - is what is sometimes known as the natural state. This natural state** is a felt-sense or experiential gnosis - as opposed to an intellectual understanding (although an intellectual understanding often accompanies it.)
Although there are no formulas for arriving at this heightened mode/natural state, there are a couple of approaches which orient towards an opening in which it might be revealed (it’s already the case but is obscured by the dominance of the cogitation mode and its distorted perceptions.)
The first could be thought of as a kind of top-down approach. This involves the direct realisation/recognition that Life - as it is - THIS… is inescapably already the case. Without effort-ing, struggling, modifying or obsessing, Life or Wholeness or _____________ is already and always presenting itself. As mentioned, this is an experiential realisation/recognition - a kind of felt sense. It’s no use looking to mind for it - that will only push back to the cogitation mode (this is the reason that stories of ‘I had it then I lost it…’ are so prevalent.)
The other approach is that of mindfulness/meditation. This could be said to be a bottom-up approach where moment-by-moment attention is kept on the actuality of what presents itself. In this approach there is the dissolving of internal dialogue/narrative resulting in a reduction of 'me making' and delusion forming. In this absence of delusion forming there arises the apprehension of life simply happening exactly as it is happening in which narratives of a past, future and a sense of an abiding separate entity are not upheld in mind.
* From a neuroscientific point of view these modes roughly correlate with brain circuitry known as the default network and the direct experience network. This is not to say that the states are merely brain states.
** By this do I mean enlightenment? Well I don’t really know what enlightenment is - everybody seems to have a different take on it. But what I can say is that in this immediate state of wholeness, concepts like enlightenment become utterly irrelevant, even slightly laughable - so it could be said to be a cure for the sickness of enlightenment.
Friday, 27 July 2018
The realisation of no-separation is not something obscure or difficult - in fact it's naively simple - the issue is the mind's innate resistance to it.
At any given moment there is simply the happening or be-ing of ‘what is’. No matter what I (as in the body-mind-personality) do or how I do it - it is always, already the happening of ‘what is’.
‘What is’ in this usage refers to this which is inescapably the case - existence, reality, life, be-ing, creation, source, oneness, tao. Some refer to it as awareness or consciousness. Those who are the most cautious simply point to THIS or thus-ness…
Whatever we call it, this realisation gives rise to the sense of a greater ordering of things beyond the confined sense of a separate self. In the moment of this insight, the sense of ‘I’ points straight through the body-mind to that which gives rise to it - the radiance of reality itself.
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Imagine waves on a vast ocean. The ocean (which is a living principle in this thought experiment) has, over time, assigned a limited degree of sentience and perception to each wave. Via each wave the ocean comes to know itself. Each wave can rightly proclaim, from its unique perspective, ‘I am the ocean.’ The wave is the portal through which the ocean manifests a form of self-reflection.
Now, over time the ocean forgets about this self-reflection business and eventually new generations of waves ponder and reasonably conclude that they are, in fact, waves. They forget that they are the ocean’s play, portal and expression and in error believe that they are somehow independent, separate and inherently existing. With this comes a sense of existential anxiety and fear of annihilation.
This is a caricature of the nub of our existential predicament which is basically a case of mistaken perception. From an early age we overlook the ineffable obvious and identify as the limited expression/portal. My intuition (and in some sense it almost feels like a memory) is that when we came out of the womb - if we could have articulated it - we would have naturally assumed that we were this _________ this dynamic occurrence that is Life itself - nothing less.
Something is happening, something is going on, something ultimately inexplicable - and in moments of quietude there can be a sense/recognition 'ahh… this is so obvious… THIS is what I am… I am Life*… that's what this is… Life simply happening…'
And with the seeing of this we can drop our straining for enlightenment, the endless perfecting of the self, the religious dogma and pedantry, the ceaseless compulsions… and rest here, now, THIS… That’s all… because that’s all there is, THIS... creatively unfolding.
* Life is the placeholder I’m using in this particular post. Tao, Source, Reality, God, Awareness… etc. are equally adequate/questionable.
Friday, 24 November 2017
Think of the word ‘happened’.
Consider what it means, what it refers to, where it points. It indicates something that has occurred, that is over - something in the past.
Now do the same for the word ‘happen-ing’.
Notice that this has a wholly different sense, tone and texture to it. It points to something present, current, ongoing, fresh.
We can zoom in and focus on (let’s say) our breath - breathing is happening. Or the sound of rain on the window - raining is happening.
Or we can zoom right out and get the sense of the great global happening of existence.
Feel it - right now - this ineffable compulsion of creation - like a movie unfolding with no separate parts.
Sunday, 3 September 2017
Monday, 31 July 2017
About twenty years ago I lived in a rural location where at certain times of the year I would climb to the top of a hill from where I could sit and watch the sun set. But of course the sun never did set. I came to clearly experience the 'sunset' as the Earth slowly tipping backwards until it obscured the sun. This is a weird and slightly thrilling feeling.
Now imagine not having prior knowledge about the rotation of the Earth and just spontaneously having this felt-sense insight. Well that's kind of what happened to me about eighteen years ago when I tried meditation as a form of relaxation. I wasn't a seeker (in fact I was a skeptic about anything spiritual.) I had a spontaneous shift in perspective. Everything stayed exactly the same (as with the Earths rotation) but was seen in a new light (so to speak.)
There can be the felt-sense that there is no separate entity moving about in Life… Instead Life, THIS (the whole thing - or the whole no-thing if you prefer) is the movement. It's as if there is a switch from the focus being on this fragment (me) to the sense of the whole event that is. It's not that there is no you or no individuated perspective, it's the seeing that this too is a movement/play of Life.
Of course when anyone asks me about this I say try meditation (simply being open to what is) or spend some time in nature. To me this seems obvious and natural. But I realise that this is my bias - this is part of my interpretation of this core realisation. Someone who has come to this by questioning existence might suggest doing that… and so on. The core realisation is universal but the descriptions, elaborations and stories of shifts and awakenings, pointers and paths are subject to biases and conditioning.
Saturday, 5 November 2016
And the fact remains that we can wake up from the dominance of the 'me network' and acknowledge and live from a vastness and mystery that is wondrous and nourishing without the need to define it or commit to a metaphysical context.
Tuesday, 25 October 2016
In our everyday mode of cognition we believe that we somehow exist outside this very moment. This is a trick of the mind. It solidifies and reifies a memory-constructed self which we are convinced can stand apart from the immediacy of present experience.
Separation is upheld in the mind and sustained by (psychological) time. In the immediacy of present actuality there is no past and future and no separation. There is only the ever-fresh unfolding of existence - this mysterious creative dance spontaneously presenting itself.
Wednesday, 6 April 2016
For the most part, our habitual mode of being in the world is that of a kind of obliviousness where we are not particularly paying attention to our experience.
In this mode we experience through our narratives, abstractions and reflections and posit a world of discrete self-existing entities - a world of happened (past tense) things. This results in the illusion of separation.
Look… presently, no thing has happened - the only thing that is real is this happen-ing… now… this unmissable event of Existence. This is the fabled Oneness. There aren't two events - there is simply THIS as it presents.
Wednesday, 6 January 2016
Sunday, 29 November 2015
Saturday, 25 July 2015
Friday, 3 April 2015
Sunday, 15 February 2015
Go for a walk - preferably in the countryside or a park where nature's buzzing momentum is obvious. Now just sit and be present with whatever is going on. Sounds and sights and sensations… whatever is arising.
In this present immediacy notice that there is nothing to be found that can be said to have happened. What I mean by this is that there are no happened things - every seemingly happened thing is really a happening - it is dynamic, energetic, active (plainly, some things are more obviously so than others yet with a little investigation it can be seen that all there is, is process, activity.) Look at something around you right now; a bird, a tree or a stone. Notice that you are not looking at something in the past - something that has happened - you are looking at an energetic, ever-fresh, occurrence.
This present energetic happening is the nature of existence. Existence is a dynamic event presenting itself. The perception of a happened universe, happened things and a happened self is an illusion.
The illusion of the happened self (or self extended in time) is particularly sticky. This illusion comes in two persuasive variations; the past self and the future self. Both are projections - the past self is pure memory, the future self is a fantasy. The only thing that is real is this dynamic flux of existence occurring as it occurs - this present living event.
When this shift of perception occurs and the happening state is revealed, it is clearly seen that the happening universe and happening self cannot be separated - they are the same dynamic movement.*
But don't get bogged down trying to figure this out - our habitual (left hemisphere) mindset gravitates towards division, analysis and abstraction - it defaults at a world of particulates. Instead... go for a walk - preferably in the countryside or a park where natures buzzing momentum is obvious….
* This is the revelation of no separation. It's not that there is not the appearance of discrete phenomena - persons, places and things, it's just that with careful attention they can be seen to be modulations (manifestations, expressions) of a singular event. A tiny child apprehends this - at birth its outlook is this energetic present happening... there is not yet a sense of separation from this primal life-energy.
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Friday, 24 August 2012
Monday, 23 July 2012
Duality in its broadest sense entails that reality be made up of zillions of independent, self-sustaining first causes. In fact we only need to find one such entity for duality to be true.
And actually we can find loads of them… but only conceptually! When we dive into our stories, concepts and memories, we can partition off reality into discrete entities. We do it all the time - it's a useful way of transacting in the world. But when we come back to what is really going on - when we take each moment anew - we encounter a seamless living momentum.
The only reality is this living momentum - this current happening. There is nothing that stands apart from this - where would it abide… yes, you guessed it, in the mind, in time, in memory.
Right now happened things are thought things. Right here, in actuality there are no such things - only this seamless fizzing momentum… nothing but everything.
Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Friday, 4 May 2012
Sunday, 11 March 2012
* Our attempts to account for this mysterious somethingness are inevitably based on our limited anthropocentric understandings and imaginings. We paint this inexplicable source in Man's image - our formulas are constructs of a biologically constrained intellect. The ultimate nature of this mysterious principle is by default as forever beyond our true grasp as quantum physics is to an earthworm.
Friday, 11 November 2011
Sit still.... take a deep breath...
Someone is washing up in the kitchen. The clatter of plates and the jangle of cutlery.
Someone enters the kitchen and a conversation starts.
But see.... they have no existence... apart from this scenario - this happening.
Breathe in... breathe out... feel the tingle in the fingers.
You don't exist... other than this real time happening.
A car goes by... two dogs start to bark excitedly... their owners exchange words.
But the dogs and cars and people have no existence... apart from this unfolding - this present happening.
Only conceptually can things exist other than how they are expressed right Now.
This is not fancy nonduality speak - this is how things are.
There is a universal event... a happening going out live.
It never settles... it never becomes happen-ed.
Of course this event presents as highly complex expressions, conditions, facets, patterns.
But nothing is other than... separate from... independent of... this global happening... this seamless universal turning.
The Universe is this............................................
Breathe in... breathe out...
The Universe* is (now) this...................................
*Universe as a synonym for the All, Totality, Tao etc.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Sunday, 23 October 2011
So... there's insight.
And then there's metaphysics.
The insight, the essence of nonduality is simply this: rather than there being a zillion fragmentary first causes, Reality is a singular (or non-numerical) happening.
That’s the crucial timeless revelation.
The metaphysics on the other hand is the attempt to determine the nature of this Reality.
Engaging perhaps, but ultimately a futile pursuit - how to contain, decode or formulate this ineffable Source?
Metaphysics and philosophy fill the books and websites, blogs and forums. They give rise to academies and conferences... gurus and experts.
Meanwhile... the insight is simple, direct and visceral.
Go for a walk in the woods and sit by a river. It will soon become clear that there is not you and Life... Life is all there is.
Saturday, 27 August 2011
It's so obvious isn't it?
All there is is Life.
Life - in the widest possible sense of the word - an all-encompassing creative principle - dynamic - animate - vital.
From the mysterious dance of the subatomic to the most elaborate cosmic formations... Life can be found pulsing and shifting, erupting and evolving.
Is there anything other than this ongoing creative principle?
Is there anything that is separate from Life's happening?
Is there Life... and you?
That would be absurd wouldn't it?
Life is all there is.*
* Or Tao, God, Reality or whatever.....
Friday, 1 July 2011
Everything that manifests in any conceivable way can be said to be the unfolding of a singular source/happening. What the nature of this source is, is unimportant to the point here but let's allow, for now, that it produced a big bang or something similar. So, everything without exception is the expression of this molten universal principle. The formation of the galaxies, solar systems, planets, ecosystems and the complex and sophisticated world of apparent human organisms.
For neutrality's sake we'll call this universal principle xxx. From the perspective of the above, anything thought to be in any way separate from xxx is a form of delusion.
The belief in a self that could be separate, independent and autonomous must be such a delusion. This is not to deny the sense of self that arises in so called self-aware organisms. This sense arises as a seemingly adaptive mechanism and for this reason it's probably not a good idea to try to be rid of it (or to destroy the ego as some religions put it). But it can be seen that this sense of self as with all other appearances is yet another construction in the molten sweep of xxx.
In an intimate way this can be seen right now. It is what is meant when we hear that no one is typing - typing is just happening. Or no one is sitting - sitting is just happening. Right now in this unfolding present (where else?) there is just this seamless molten sweep of Source. The patterns, plays, manifestations and expressions that arise are just this - life happening. Reality being this!
So, seeing through this delusion is a simple and non-mystical thing. Calling it an enlightenment and all the spiritual hoopla that goes along with it is an unnecessary remnant from a murkier credulous time. This is something simple, fresh, alive and in plain view.
Wednesday, 29 June 2011
Sunday, 26 June 2011
The wind shakes the trees... a TV chatters in the next room... rain splashes the window.
All is the single sweep of a pulsating present happening.
The bird that just flew past the widow has no intrinsic existence.
No independence from a single seamless universal turning.
Right now Reality is going out live.
Reality being this... and now... this.
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
So... all there is is Totality.
Doing, acting, creating etc. are movement or expressions of Totality.
And in a sense... the rest is irrelevant.
Much philosophical ink has been spilt debating the essential nature of this Totality. This can be an interesting sideline - but the need to work this stuff out, to decode or solve something... falls away in this revelation that Totality/Source is the doer, actor, author.
Look right now! Things are already manifesting without struggle in the absence of concepts, compulsions and solutions.
And this is the fabled freedom; everything is already happening... already accomplished in every moment - however that moment expresses.