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Put the Snow Globe Down

Imagine that whatever you are looking for – let’s call it ‘The Answer’ – is in the middle of a toy snow globe (you know, a clear glass globe with some sort of picture or figure in the middle and filled with tiny, white flakes). Now, imagine that thoughts and experiences, all objects, are like the flakes in the globe.

We believe that if we can just get a better view of the flakes, they will finally reveal to us The Answer. Most of the techniques we learn when we begin searching, deal with the flakes, the contents of the globe. We learn practices to help us in our attempt to take a look at every flake. We mindfully describe them all, often with the subtle belief that we will be able to control each flake and its thousands of siblings.

We try to get the flakes to arrange themselves in a particular order. We share with others the patterns we imagine that we see; and, we imagine meanings in their swirling, floating, fleeting dance. We decide that some of the flakes are “positive” and some are “negative” and we do our level best to make them ALL positive.

We introduce New Age flakes. We criticize some of the flakes. We worship some of the flakes. We think that by focusing more and more on the flakes, we’ll finally “get it.”

We investigate each flake because we think The Answer must be hidden on one of them, maybe written in some secret code. We search online and read what others are saying about their flakes. We join flake discussion groups.

Some claim to have found very special flakes; they describe these special flakes and suggest that only if we are able to remake our flakes into flakes like theirs will we enjoy the infinite, unending, bliss that they enjoy. Some sell their very valuable, bliss-producing flakes as well as their techniques for creating or finding the Right Flake.

Others suggest that only with – until now, secret – physical, mental, and emotional techniques, will we be able to get our flakes into shape so that we will be more available to receive The Answer. Ancient and revered teachers tell us that, if we are lucky, our flakes might evolve to the necessarily sublime level of existence after hundreds or thousands of reincarnations. We secretly hope that, if we really work at it, others will envy our flakes and want their flakes to look the same as ours. Then, we’ll be able to write a book about flake-improvement, getting your flakes into shape, improving your flakes, reshaping your flakes, working with your flakes so they manifest even more interesting flakes and, yes, living as enlightened flakes.

Working with the flakes to find The Answer, the end of suffering, is folly. We keep shaking and shaking the globe in the hope of finding just the right flake at just the right time. We shake and shake in order to see every flake from every angle. The answer must be there, we think. More flakes. Shake harder. Change the rhythm of the shaking. Get up early in the morning and shake. Shake at least twice a day for 20 minutes. Get together with other people and shake and then talk about the shaking. Write about the shaking. Draw images of the shaking. Worship particular forms of shaking. The Answer must be there – we just need to try harder. Shake more. Take a seminar on shaking. Wear flowing clothes and crystal jewelry that opens our energy centers to create better, more loving, more creative shaking and flaking. Go on retreat to shake with expert shakers. We think, ‘I know if I just keep shaking it will become clear’ – that is what the flakes themselves tell us, after all.

Finally, perhaps, we tire; we are at the end of our rope. We’ve tried it all and to no avail. No flake, no matter how profound or sublime, is The Answer. We are ready to hear a simple suggestion: Just Rest. Quit shaking the globe. What you are looking for is already what you are. It surrounds you and interpenetrates you. In fact, the flakes themselves exist within what you are searching for – they are inseparable from that for which you are looking. Peace is already here. Clarity is revealed when we STOP shaking, not when we shake harder or longer or with better technique.

Someone tells us, ‘Put the snow globe down.’ We put it down. The flakes settle. We leave them alone. They no longer interest us. We realize that there is no end to the amount of shaking that can be done. As the flakes settle, we discover that there is no answer waiting inside the globe. Instead, we find a pristine clarity in which all of life is reflected. We enjoy looking at all of the shapes and colors and movement reflected in the globe’s clear, open space. Now and again, flakes are stirred up. No matter. We enjoy watching them, too. Even snow can be beautiful. We no longer focus on the flakes; they are just part of the entire scene. We rest. Clarity and silence shyly shine forth. We disappear.

Quit shaking the globe.

Put it down.

Rest.

Here.

Now.

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Mom

Awareness, Cognizing Emptiness, Knowing, Seeing, Space, Presence, It – whatever name we use – is an absolutely loving mother. She opens her arms and completely allows all that arises – welcomes it, in fact. We can rest in her arms and follow her example of loving allowance or we can fight. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because we’ve never really left ‘mom’ anyway. But, in the meantime, one way makes for suffering and the other ease and grace. 

My Mom
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Danger – sort of

Any instruction other than to leave everything alone, to relax, to just rest as you are, is dangerous. It is dangerous because it points us back into the shadow realm of thought, technique, manipulation, alteration, effort, and theory.

The good news is that the very shining awareness that we are is the source and substance of thought and shadow, too. No matter what, we cannot be separated from Isness – we can only ‘think’ we have been separated. 

Isness is you-ing you. What a relief! There is nothing to do but rest as we are.

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It’s All Your Fault – and That’s the Good News

All of your suffering is your fault. All of my suffering is my fault. It isn’t our mother’s fault or the fault of our teacher or boss or spouse or partner or dog or genes or the president or the economy or the weather. 

Our suffering has nothing to do with our income, our education, our weight, our life management skills, our time management skills, our bald spot, our less-than-stellar athletic abilities, our tendency to sweat too much, our questionable choice of friends, or…or…or…

You get the idea.

As long as I believe the THOUGHT that MY suffering comes from or because of YOU (or IT or THEM), then I have reinforced This Conceptual World. Which conceptual world? The one that is telling you at this very moment whether this essay (or the guy writing it) is “right on target” or “he must be full of sh#@!” It is the BELIEF in the THOUGHT (pretty much any thought referring to a “me,” by the way) that creates this tense little knot of worry, uncertainty, and insecurity commonly referred to as “me.”

Anytime we complain about anything – our coffee, the heat, the car, the kids – it is US creating our suffering in that moment. It is this believed THOUGHT/IDEA of “I” – and all of the requirements it has of life attached to it – that creates psychological pain.

Take the blame. EXPERIENCE the discomfort in the body without attempting to THINK your way out of it. Remember, it was thinking that created it. Don’t try to think your way out of anything – especially thinking!

Be quiet. 

Ask, “what experiences this now?” If an answer comes to mind, it’s wrong. Whatever you think, whatever answer comes, throw it away. Keep coming back to the question, “what experiences this now?” Devour the question and let the question devour you.

Then, blame disappears. Fault disappears. Suffering disappears. You disappear…and Life appears, just as it is – blame, fault, and suffering included.  And, that turns out to be more than enough. Weird, huh?

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Awareness Is Worthless

Awareness cannot be taught. 

Awareness cannot be learned. 

Awareness cannot be investigated.

Awareness cannot be sold.

Awareness cannot be marketed.

Awareness cannot be spun.

Awareness cannot be caught.

Awareness cannot be found or lost.

Awareness cannot be created.

Awareness cannot be conceptualized. 

Awareness cannot be analyzed. 

Awareness cannot be deconstructed. 

Awareness cannot be seen, heard, touched, tasted, or smelled.

Awareness cannot be known.

Awareness cannot be burned.

Awareness cannot be wet.

Awareness cannot be cut.

Awareness cannot be wounded.

Awareness cannot be lost.

Awareness cannot be increased or decreased.

Awareness cannot be practiced.

Awareness cannot bring you peace.

Awareness cannot bring you ease.

Awareness cannot increase your bank balance.

Awareness cannot offer anything at all other than your dissolution…

making room for the hum of the refrigerator; the rumble of the UPS truck; the smell of smoke; the feeling of a tight neck; the light’s reflection on the salt shaker; gas pains; a wrinkled paper napkin; the thought of the dog and cancer; the click of the cat’s claws on the linoleum floor; the lime-green buds on the tree; the cardinal on the black iron feeder. 

Disappointment is a good beginning – it gives Life a tiny crack through which to enter.

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Much Ado About Nothing

Helma: I’d like everything to be totally clear. No residues in believing things that aren’t true. No more lies to be believed in. It’s like I won’t rest before everything is seen for what it is.

V: Might I suggest that belief is completely unnecessary? Forget belief completely. This is a completely existential understanding – there is absolutely nothing you need to “accept” or “believe.” Look to your own direct experience, moment to moment.

Helma: Secondly: to be totally present and not go into the thoughts of past and future is much more relaxing.

V: Absolutely!

Helma: No things to deal with. But it feels like I am not allowed to let go of thoughts. There seem to be things to be dealt with first. Whe I speak with friends we talk about things we have learnt from life. It is almost as if we have to learn things, e.g. in my case, to be more assertive, to not be a perfectionist, etc.

V: There is no “have to.” Notice that in resting as awareness, simply and naturally in a completely uncontrived fashion, learning happens, responses happen in conversation with friends, etc. Just relax as awareness (it’s what you already are anyway!) and you’ll find that assertiveness and ease will arise as needed.

Stay with the simplicity of Awareness, as often as you remember, and what needs to be addressed will be clear and it will be handled from the wisdom and spaciousness of Awareness – the real “you.”

Helma: There’s much tension in my body and it feels like I have to learn things so that the tension will fall away. There’s the idea that when I am stronger as a person, not so insecure or when I have brought some changes to my life, my body won’t be suffering from the stress it is in now.

V: That is quite a story 🙂 Isn’t awareness present for all of those thoughts, too? Stay with the awareness and leave everything else alone.

Helma: To let go of thoughts seems like I am not helping solve those issues, so they will remain. Although I realize it is the other way round. But still… it won’t let me go.

V: There is no “it” and there is no “you” – see right now that these are both ideas taking shape in present awareness, just like turbulence takes shape in a river. The turbulence isn’t separate from the river – it has no independent existence apart from the river, and it disappears back “into” the river – its source. The turbulence in the river is not an issue to be solved for the river, is it? And yet, by simply leaving it alone, the turbulence is completely “solved.”

Helma: Although I don’t like it, I feel like I have to investigate where the stress comes from etc. and have to put time into it. Much more pleasant it would be to not have to worry or think about the personality stuff and to just be…enjoy being, being empty.

V: Yes. And the only thing stopping you is your belief in your own story that something must be done about it. Relax. Just rest as this vast openness that “you” already are. Everything is already OK.

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Thinking It Is Not It

Sometimes, people ask what Awareness is. Hmmm. How do we describe what is essentially indescribable? How do we describe the eye to the eye? How do we describe water to the fish? The ocean to the wave? Air to the breeze? How does thought describe Awareness to thought with more thought?

You know the answer. It cannot be done. At best, words point us in the direction of “seeing” Awareness (another completely inadequate description considering it is Awareness itself which does the seeing). It might be better to say these pointers help us intuit Awareness, our real identity.

Another question that might help point us in the right direction is this: Can you think Awareness?

If you can “think” It, it is not It. Instead, if you ask the question, it can point out that which cannot be thought, seen, felt, smelled, heard, tasted, broken, burnt, injured, or smeared – the Big Nothing. Funny enough, Nothing turns out to be Everything.

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Leave “Stuff” Alone!

Look, it just doesn’t matter what kind of “stuff” comes floating into awareness. The “stuff” could be thoughts you might describe as beautiful or ugly or frightening or lovely or kind or…anything! The “stuff” could be sensations that are yummy or painful or weird or tingly or numb or…anything! It doesn’t matter what the “stuff” is – leave it alone!

If you are similar to me, thought probably immediately jerked into high gear with all kinds of objections to this simple idea…”how could I possibly leave things alone?” or “he doesn’t understand my life, I have responsibilities and troubles that need to be dealt with…” or “oh, doesn’t he think he’s spiritual; he should just walk in my shoes for a while” or “that’s crazy – there are things that need to be addressed” or “but how will I solve these very pressing problems?” and on and on and on.

Yep. I know. Do you think for a second that those kinds of thoughts don’t arise in my equally crazy mind!? Let me assure you, they do. But, so what? Who cares? No, I mean really – who cares? Here is a clue: it begins with a “t” and ends with a “t” and has a “hough” in the middle. Uh huh. You got it.

Leave the “stuff” alone and see that the Basic State, the Natural State, the Stateless State, the Un-State, Nirvana, Bliss, Being, Emptiness, Fullness, Awareness, God, Source – call It what you will – is there around, in, through and beyond all the mish-mash mess of stuff that we often mistake for the whole of life. It is right there-here-now! It never goes anywhere – ever ever ever! That is what “you” are (me, too)!

Relax. It’s done. Over. Kaput. Finished. Nothing more needs to be done or sought or discovered or understood. All that stuff is more “stuff” too!

Leave “stuff” alone every chance you get and see what happens…

Start with whatever thought just occurred to you when you read that. I know; more “stuff,” huh?

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Bad News: You Will Not Wake Up Tomorrow…Good News: You Will Not Wake Up Tomorrow

You will not wake up tomorrow. Sorry and congratulations.

First, of course, there is no “you” to be awake. I don’t want to belabor this because I know everyone talks about this and many have described it far better than I. However, because it is so important (important in the sense that, once seen, you’ll stop reading all of these blogs and books and finally take the time to fix that screen door that you’ve neglected for the past few years!), allow me to add my own pointing, such as it is, anyway.

This idea of ourselves that we typically refer to as “me, mine, I, etc.” is just that – an idea. By “idea,” I mean it is a thought that occurs only in a moment and then is gone. It reappears hundreds of millions of times, but it still only occurs in a moment. Read that again. The “I,” the “me,” the “myself,” is just a thought that occurs at an instant and then dissolves as easily and as effortlessly and as unintentionally as it appeared.

Any argument against this is just more thinking, more ideas occurring moment-by-moment; now, here in this instant; now gone. Whatever thought is occurring in this moment is no different than the thought of “I, me, mine.” What you are reading now is just thought, more ideas arising in this moment. Now here. Now gone.

Any thought, any idea can point us back to seeing this impermanence arising and dissolving right now. We just need to stop long enough to see it happen. It is not hidden. Or, if it is, it is hidden in plain sight. We are usually so mesmerized by thought that we don’t notice the obviousness and effervescence of seeing now. It is only another idea that tells us that we don’t yet see. See?

However, back to the point of this note. What has really struck me about all of this lately is the “momentary-ness” of seeing. We can’t see tomorrow (of course, there is really no “tomorrow” either, but let’s not go there for now!). We can’t wake up tomorrow. Awareness/Seeing is only available now…and now…and now…

Everything is always just this moment. There is no such thing as as “your life” or “my life” – there is just livingness in this moment.

This is the good news. We can stop the work to wake up tomorrow. It won’t happen. It is utterly and completely futile to live as though it will. It is a fool’s errand. Waking up tomorrow is a mirage. But now, see this! This is it! Rest here, now.

There never has been and there never will be another opportunity to recognize the Seeing/Awaring that is here now other than in this moment. Forget what your thinking is telling you right now. Forget it! Leave it alone. Whatever thought is telling you, leave it alone! You are already home. Seeing/Awakeness is what you are. Don’t buy anything else thought attempts to sell you. Just rest in this instant and see.

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Even Simpler

All that is ever happening is this:

Thoughts and Sensations (seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, tasting) arise within Awareness (what we refer to as emotion is a combination of thought and sensation).

All thoughts and sensations change constantly; awareness of the changing thoughts and sensations remains regardless of change. Awareness of changing thoughts and sensations (or awareness of not being aware of changing thoughts and sensations), includes awareness of the thought “I”. 

There is no time in which this Awareness has not been present. If you think that is not true, find it now.

You are Awareness.

Don’t take my word for it. Find whether or not this is true in your direct experience.

Now, what problem is there?

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It Is All a Story…Including This (Step 1)

I’ve mentioned before in other posts that all that is ever really experienced is thinking and sensation. No matter what it looks like, everything that we are ever experiencing is thought and sensation. The combination of these two elements is what we sometimes refer to as emotion (with sincere thanks to zen teacher Joko Beck for pointing this out to me). All else is a story. The story is our interpretation of any particular configuration of thought and sensation.

Most of the time, we get into trouble because of the story we tell ourselves about the thought-sensation arising in any particular moment. As an example, let’s say a car cuts in front of us in traffic. The body (probably) immediately tenses in reaction to a perceived threat to its safety – a natural reaction preparing the body to respond further, if necessary, to safeguard the organism. We can see this same reaction throughout the world of living things. No problem here.

Then, almost as automatically as the physical reaction occurred, the thinking apparatus drapes a net of interrelated thoughts over the sensations. These thoughts are The Story. They attempt to explain the experience (sensations) in some way. The net of thought that drapes over the experience-sensation varies from person to person depending upon a nearly infinite number of variables. Is there a problem here? Not really. 

The “problem” is created by BELIEVING the Thought-Story – “that guy is a jerk and doesn’t care about anybody on this road but himself!.” That is, we assume our Thought-Story is true – we assume it is “the way things are.” The believed Thought-Story creates more physical sensation (usually tension, clenching) which we then assume confirms our original Thought-Story – “See! He really is a mindless cretin in a Pinto!” We then drape even more thoughts over those sensations and…you get the picture. The more blaming or critical or fearful the Thought-Story, the more intense the sensations.

There are a few things going on here that we will investigate over the next few posts. First, there is the awareness of sensation and thinking.  Then, there is a recognition of the believed Thought-Story. Third, there can be a recognition that what SEES all of this – sensation, thought, Thought-Story – is not itself sensation, thought, or Thought-Story. Finally, at the heart of it all, is the realization that the body and the very idea of a “me” who is experiencing all of this is itself composed of thought,sensation, and Thought-Story. This realization dissolves it all.

However, it can be useful for some of us to be a bit more methodical about uncovering all of this. Let’s begin by simply NOTICING physical sensations as we go through daily life. We can do this especially when we find ourselves upset in some way – what we typically label as sad, lonely, irritable, angry, worried, afraid, confused, troubled, etc. As you begin to play with this, notice how thought is always attached to these states. Don’t worry about investigating the thinking. It is enough for now to know that it’s there. 

Instead, come back to the raw physical sensation (buzzing, tingling, heat, cool, pressure, tension, hardness, softness, etc.) and stay with it. What do I mean by “stay with it”? Let your attention rest easily on the sensation for a while – maybe a minute or so. Give the sensation ROOM. Give it SPACE. It is already there so, as best you can, leave it alone and watch what happens (hint: it will change).

Let’s leave it there for now. Next post (probably), we’ll talk more about The Story. If you resonate with this methodical approach, STOP READING NOW!

For those of you who really hate a methodical approach, when you feel the sensations, ask, “What is aware of this (tingling, burning, itching, pressure, etc.)?” or “What is seeing this now?” But, don’t leave the sensation to investigate some thought that comes up in response to the question – that keeps us caught in the same trap. The answer is not a thought. 

(By the way, I am not trying to be tricky or coy when I say “the answer is not a thought.” I am not trying to make you “work at it.” The deal is that the answer really is NOT a thought. The only thing another thought can do is point to “it” or attempt to describe “it” – but the description is not “it,” and “it” is not an “it” anyway! [this is the point at which, when I used to read this stuff, I wanted to throw my computer out the window and/or strangle the writer…*gulp*])

I’ll bet you wish you hadn’t read on 🙂

More to come.

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Allow It All

Allow.

If there was only one word to use as a pointer, this would be a pretty good one…Allow.

Allow whatever is happening right now. Right now! Really. Don’t make this an intellectual exercise or, if you are, allow that.

See whatever it is that is registering in sight and allow.

Hear whatever sounds are present right now and allow.

Smell whatever odors are present right now and allow.

Taste whatever flavors are present right now and allow.

Feel whatever sensations are present right now and allow.

Notice whatever thoughts are present right now and allow.

Allow it all.

We fight so much with our own experience. If you notice “fighting with experience” happening, allow that, too.

We work so hard in the search, imagining that there is some other way other than the way it is in this present moment. If that is true for you right now, allow it.

If the film of “I give up; I’ll never get it” is playing, allow that.

If there is a lot of thinking/intellectualizing about this article, this search, dropping the “I” – all that malarkey – allow that, too.

If there is agreement or disagreement, passion or neutrality, peace or war, anger or calm, happiness or sadness – allow it all. If there is great desire or no desire at all, allow.

If there is a sense of allowing, a sense of “me” who is allowing and disappointment that there is a sense of “me” still present, allow that, too.

What you are is within and beyond all of that. YOU ARE ALL OF THAT. What you ALREADY ARE is this unobstructed knowing in which all of this (“this” meaning whatever is arising in experience as these words are read RIGHT NOW) happens.

Allow is another word for REST. I know that it seems there is a choice about resting or not, allowing or not. Remember, “resting” and “allowing” are just pointers to what you already are – but there really isn’t a choice about it because YOU are already THAT – always have been and always will be. There is nothing you need to “work on” or “try for” or “get under control” or “understand” or “figure out” or “experience” or “rest into” in order to simply BE what YOU ALREADY ARE! And, if that seems too easy and nonsensical, well…do I really need to say it again?

If none of this makes any sense – good.

Allow that, too.

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There Isn’t Really Anyone Who Rests in Amsterdam

Questioner: I keep trying to rest, but my mind just keeps going. Another teacher told me that this pointer to just rest will lead me astray. I’m afraid I’m not getting it.

Vince: Look, everyone who is talking about this stuff has his/her own way of trying to help people see what they have seen. I found, in my own seeking, that “trying” really got in the way of simply stopping and seeing what is ALREADY true – that the SEEING/AWARENESS is absolutely, totally, 100 percent, always functioning effortlessly.

Without “trying” to be aware of sensations, there is awareness of sensation.

Without “trying” to be aware of seeing, there is awareness of light/dark/shape/color, etc.

Without “trying” to be aware of hearing, there is awareness of sound.

Without “trying” to be aware of smelling, there is awareness of odor.

Without “trying” to be aware of tasting, there is awareness of taste.

Without “trying” to be aware of thinking, there is awareness of thinking.

All of this is happening all of the time; sometimes, one sense or another is dominant. No matter WHAT is the object of awareness, AWARENESS itself is present or there would be no way to KNOW experience. In your case, a lot of thinking is going on as well as the thought that there shouldn’t be so much thinking – so what? Right now, isn’t there awareness of the thinking? This thinking is happening in a vast, open, spaciousness that is not in the least disturbed by thinking.

Experience itself is ALWAYS changing. You can prove this to yourself by sitting quietly for a moment and just watching – the body moves slightly, an eye twitches, the wind blows, thoughts shift, light or shadow crosses the room, you smell the chicken soup on the stove and then that smell is replaced by something else, you feel at ease and then you feel tense – all of this can happen in an instant. Yet, there is something present and aware that is registering all of these tiny movements/changes…and THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE! “You” are the presence/awareness that KNOWS the changing.

When I say “just rest,” I am saying “rest as THAT.” We are really NEVER DOING OTHERWISE, anyway! Just rest is an attempt to help “you” see what you already are.

So, no, you don’t “need” to rest in order to see what you already are (since you already are what you already are, anyway – my English teacher would not be happy with that one). I have just found that it helps people notice the awareness that is always, already present and to identify as that – and gives them permission to stop seeking/trying.

It is a little like the old pointer of someone standing in Amsterdam asking someone how to get to Amsterdam. If that person is frantically trying to find Amsterdam, someone who is trying to help might first say, “Stop. It’s OK. Take a breath. Just rest. You are already here. There is nothing more you need to do other than to just rest right here, right now.” You see, the resting isn’t a “process” or “technique” that gets them to Amsterdam; but it increases the chance that s/he will see what is already true.

I hope this helps a bit. I hate to say this because it sounds so much the party line, but you really already ARE what you are looking for. WHAT you ARE (it really is more a “what” than a “who”) is what is registering all of the looking and worrying and thinking and trying and efforting and…so, just rest. You are already in Amsterdam. And, after you’ve taken a breath, take a look – there really is no one resting in Amsterdam, either. Wink.

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Awareness Is Stuff, Stuff Is Awareness

Even though Awareness cannot be “experienced,” this doesn’t mean that Awareness-Being is somehow separate from all of the stuff of life. On the contrary, life is Awareness/Beingness itself. Absolutely everything is known in, by, and as Awareness. Nothing is separate from this Everyday Awareness present here-now…It is never anywhere other than here.

A line from the Heart Sutra says that “form is nothing other than emptiness and emptiness nothing other than form.” It is only thought that separates the two.  If you live in the middle of the cornfields of Illinois (as I do) you might say it this way: Awareness is full of stuff and stuff is full of Awareness!

A No Good Horrible Very Bad Day

It started this morning. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Not for any reason I can pinpoint, but an off mood nonetheless.

At breakfast I was making eggs for my wife and feeding the dogs and thinking all along how selfish she was for sitting there. I do so much! None of that came spewing from my mouth, but I was in a bad mood.

My mood was pretty stinky much of the day. By the time I was half through the day, I’d begun to suspect it wasn’t the breakfast dishes, the poor quality of internet in our area, the difficulty and unnecessary complexity of building websites, our checking account, being out of root beer, or my wife’s annoying ability to quietly go about her business that was the issue.

Right. You know where this is going. It was my wife’s fault!

Kidding!

No fault can be assigned. It’s just the natural flow of Thought/Experiencing to roil and bubble at times and to calm at others. As I write this my state of mind has shifted once again. How did I do it? Read on…

Ok. That was a bit of a set-up. I didn’t do it. I also didn’t not do it (with apologies to all teachers everywhere). The nature of experiencing is to constantly change. This includes our state of mind and with it the feeling tone of any particular moment.

Secret Technique

So the secret technique is this: DO NOTHING.

Observe. Experiencing shifts and flows. We get into trouble when we attempt to manage the flow of experience, trying to only have pleasant experiences or never be bummed out.

Try an experiment: for the next week notice how moods, thoughts, states of mind – experiencing – comes and goes. And do nothing about it. I don’t mean don’t do your work or neglect your kids. I mean let your experiencing be the way it is without attempting to manage it or change it or improve it.

When we stop fighting or attempting to change the experience we’re already having (can’t put toothpaste back in the tube and all!) we can rest. And when we back off a bit, our wisdom and insight come rushing in to fill the space.

Let me know what you notice.

It’s Very Gentle

This “awakening from the dream” is really a very gentle happening (or non-happening). It is simply a recognition of what has been SEEING everything all along, and recognizing that the SEEING is what you are. Everything seen – absolutely everything – including these ideas about seeing – are more dream images arising in you. Trees, sounds of cars, the dog breathing, shadows on the floor from the lamp, the cramp in the big toe, the neighbor walking in front of the house on the sidewalk, the pressure of the keyboard on the fingers, starlings on the birdfeeder, your partner in the chair across the room, stomach rumblings, thoughts of work, thoughts about God, thoughts about getting it or not getting it, feelings of sadness, feelings of anticipation – all of these things coalesce in Awareness (including the concept “I am aware”) and dissolve. The SEEING of them is what you are – and the SEEING can’t be seen because the SEEING is not an object.

There is nothing “you” need to do in order to SEE. Isn’t it happening right now? No fanfare, nothing earth-shattering, just simple, clear SEEING right now – RIGHT NOW in this very moment. SEEING only happens now and has never and will never happen at any other time or place (because there isn’t any!).

Relax as the SEEING that you are. Just rest as SEEING. Everthing arises, has its moment, and passes away. Let it be – you only think you have some choice in the matter. The great good news is that there is absolutely nothing you need to do other than REST, right now, in THIS moment.

Response to “A Glorified Coping Mechanism?”

From a Reader (R):

R: I also read with interest the postings by both of you at Randall’s blog site, particularly your light bubbly words (It’s Very Gentle). It is quite clear and I can easily see the fact of what you say. I address you this mail, however, out of some genuine concerns and NOT to pick an argument.

VF: I’m going to attempt to respond to your note. Thank you for writing. I hope what I say might be somewhat helpful. I understand your question and the struggle it produces and struggled with the same concerns and questions for years. I appreciate your sincerity.

R: “Just resting” and “SEEING” by the Awareness, as you can know happen, if and only if supporting organism (a life-form, a body or a body-mind entity) exists. The organism (body) needs food for its existence. ALL THE DAMNATION STARTS THERE!

VF: The Awareness is prior to the form and the form arises within Awareness, just as shapes take form in smoke – but the smoke is prior to, during, and after the dissolution of the form. The body does what it does and what it needs to do, no differently than a plant grows toward the light and moisture. This is only a problem when identification as a body is central.

R: After all, the body feels ‘hungry’. Dependency of mind-body on food implies the predator-prey pyramid. Violence and aggression to acquire the prey, the destruction of prey by the predator by devouring, the run for life by the prey to save itself, search for security, camouflage, deceit, exploitation, cheat will all ensue. Misery for the prey is guaranteed. The whole conundrum of grief and the rigmarole of ‘samasara’ begin there.

VF: Samasara is “continued” and “fed” with the mistaken belief in the individual, separate self – this belief is the source of suffering – do you see that what you are is prior to that? Prior to samsara? Do you see that even samsara arises within this simple presence that you are? Samsara, itself, arises only after the mistaken belief in/identification with the body. The cycle of birth and death ends each moment that we rest as the unborn beingness.

R: Surely, we cannot say all that non-dualistic philosophy is only for one whose belly is full and doesn’t have to look for feeding himself/herself.

VF: Of course not – Presence/Awareness is there registering hunger, illness, starvation and death.

R: The moment you look to feed yourself, somebody has to cook, somebody else has to fetch what is cooked, still some other has to grow what is fetched, growing food/crops involves killing, dependency on irrigation, externally imposing certain disciplines, etc., etc.; the cycle goes on! The non-existing zombie-like “I” neither understood the mechanisms of existence nor has “I” solved the misery of the body by dissociating itself from the body.

VF: There is no separation between what you call “the zombie-like I” and the activities of form. They are one and the same. Do you see that it is only believed concepts, arising now, that create this seeming difficulty? The body will experience pain and misery – there is no denying that – but will you?

R: So Sir, what I suggest is: Are we here talking merely about an escape technique, a “coping mechanism”, a survival tactic suitable for a few clothing the method in mystical and eulogized terms of advaita?

VF: Look, while I understand it can come across as mystical, there is really nothing mystical about this! The mystical approach is what has hidden this from so many – certainly Nisargadatta didn’t approach this in a particularly mystical fashion! Please keep this very simple: You exist and you know that you exist, yes? Is thought necessary to know this or is there a knowingness that is not dependent upon thought acting here? After that knowingness, everything else is conceptual and open to argument. There are many who are very skilled at arguing about this – that is not my interest or my strength. See that this SEEING is here, right now (there is no other time) – within this seeing there are certain tensions, contractions, sensations, etc. that we have LEARNED to call “the body.” However, notice that even now, these sensations, etc. coalesce and dissolve with no one there to “control” them. Notice that even the sense of “you” arises and dissolves. If you are trying to find a way to convince thought of this understanding, well, good luck. That certainly did not and has not happened for me!

Stay with this simple, direct, uncomplicated SEEING. Within that, the desire to feed others, change political systems, fight for justice, etc. may arise (that has certainly been true here – I work as a social worker) – the dream is certainly “real enough!” But, SEE that it is a dream and that all of us are dream characters within it. Within the dream – otherwise known as samsara – the drama will continue. Fair enough. Don’t mistake what you REALLY ARE with this character. Investigate for yourself. This must become intensely personal or it is worthless. As long as it remains an interesting philosophy you would be much better off spending your time at the movies! I hope this helps in some small way. Please feel free to email me again if none of this makes sense or if you have further questions.

Love,

Vince

Is-ing All-ness: A Response to a Reader (R)

R: It was thrilling to find a newly minted awakened person, whose blog started 2 days ago (yesterday) thanks to Randall Friend’s blog. I too have been accessing Annette Nibley’s site for years.

VF: Hi Sam. Thanks for writing. I’m happy to share what I can with you. As I mentioned in the blog, several people were very generous with their time and attention – Sailor Bob, John Wheeler, Stephen Wingate, John Greven, Annette, Randall, and many others with whom I never spoke but read.

R: Somehow, this “you’re it” thing doesn’t seem to do it for me, as it apparently didn’t for you, for a long time.

VF: Indeed not. All of this is paradoxical – there is nothing “you” can “do” and yet, there are some things that you can do – more on this later.

R: [It is] reassuring that it does happen, but WHEN?

VF: The frustratingly advaita-ish answer is, of course, NOW – and, while it can seem glib, this is a central pointer. Let me try to fumble my way through an explanation.

I once wrote to Annette, basically begging her to tell me what I was missing. I’d gotten to a point in seeking where it seemed clear that there really couldn’t be anything that Sailor Bob, or John Wheeler, or Stephen Wingate, or Annette “had” that made seeing “this” more possible for them than for me.

Putting aside all the “there is no you” bundle of pointers, Annette said something to the effect of, ‘look, they/we don’t see anything that you don’t see! The deal is that they see it NOW – literally – NOW. There is literally NOTHING beyond this moment.’ Ok. What does this mean? It just means that THIS moment – literally THIS moment – is the only time there is and the only time anything is happening.

It is the nature of thought to string itself together in such a way that it creates a mirage of continuity and, specifically, the continuity of a separate person. However, in this very moment, isn’t there awareness of thought? Whether that thought is “gee, I’m an enlightened master and should go live in a Himalayan cave” or “I’m a stooge and will never get this” or anything in between, it is still JUST A THOUGHT arising in THIS moment. WHAT is aware of the thought? What KNOWS the thinking? It isn’t the thinking itself, right? Thought can’t be aware of thought. The SEEING is happening NOW – RIGHT NOW! Don’t overlook this Sam! The next thought may be, “sure, but what about…” or “I still don’t get it” or “well, that makes some sense but…” it doesn’t matter what the content of the thought happens to be – it is still just another thought arising NOW, and the thought still arises within THIS awareness! What is seen by everyone offering these pointers is just seen NOW. It’s like my mom used to say to me when she was irritated, “Now see here, young man!” Little did she know she was giving me deep spiritual direction!

NOW. There is no other time.

SEE. There is no other activity.

HERE. There is no other place.

So, right now, you know you exist. This knowing is empty; there is no “person,” no separate entity, who is “doing” the knowing. The knowing is just happening – the idea of a “you” is just another thought arising NOW. Sam, “you” can’t see this tomorrow – seeing is NOW. So, stick with right now. You exist and there is a knowing. That’s it. Stay there. Just rest there. Thoughts – very enticing thoughts – likely continue to arise – no matter. Just stay with this simple (simple in the sense that it doesn’t require thought to just QUIT) resting NOW. There is no way for thought to SEE this. There is no way to understand it. It can only be seen.

R: I am into Jed McKenna now and while he is the original myth buster, paradoxically, he too makes Enlightenment to be the big daddy – saying only a couple of dozen or so people have got there. But then I saw Charlie Hayes getting IT, and Annette herself, and scores of her students. Maybe it’s not Enlightenment proper? Ok. I, too, know spiritual experiences are ephemeral andall that, the bells and whistles. But I wouldn’t want anything like that, only what Annette, and you, now have; a serene understanding.

VF: But for the thought, “I don’t really have it. I don’t care about bells and whistles, I just want a serene understanding like Annette and you have,” is there a problem? Is there something to have or not have? What is aware of that thought? But for the unquestioned thinking that there is a separate entity called Sam, does one exist? Please don’t bypass these questions as “interesting” – I did that for years! If you want the search to come to an end, really look into these questions. As Annette told me very recently, this search has to become VERY personal. I know there are those who were just out for a walk on the beach when this understanding broke through, but that was certainly not the case here! Investigate!

R: In fact, I am not driven the way Jed McKenna makes out you have to be; I am more an off and on guy. The reality of my being is that of a supremely lazy guy,who finds most other kinds of reading useless and un-nutritious. So I read advaita.yes.

VF: There can be a kind of reading that happens as entertainment – nothing wrong with that. The complication comes when the idea of a separate, independently existing “me” is not directly investigated. So, when you just read this, what is aware of the thought that just arose? And now? And now? A better word might be “awaring.” Awaring is now, and now, and now, and now…”you” are the awaring. The objects/phenomena – no matter how subtle or seemingly concrete – take form and dissolve within (and as) the awaring. The idea “I understand” or “I don’t understand,” are no different than any other phenomena that take momentary shape.

R: There was a time when I thought [Advaita] would make a good second career – start my own practice, so to speak, once I have IT. But no longer. I am already 48. Been on the path for close to 25 years. So how do I see it?

VF: Oh my, I hate to say this but…YOU don’t see it. The seeing reveals the lack of YOU! YOU will never see it – nonetheless, SEEING is happening RIGHT NOW, Sam. Seeing “sees” the thinking “how do I see it?” I am not trying to be obtuse, or spiritual, or clever. The SEEING is so obvious, so “plastered to our eyeballs,” so to speak, that it cannot be pointed out. It’s a little like trying to describe the hole in a donut. We can do a great job describing everything about the donut – size, taste, texture, smell – and we hope that all of that will somehow make the “w-hole” of it clear. That was really bad, wasn’t it?

R: Meditation doesn’t appeal. I get lost in thoughts.

VF: WHAT gets lost in thoughts? WHAT is aware of the thought, “I get lost in thoughts?” Does WHAT is aware of “getting lost in thoughts” EVER get lost in thoughts? Or, does the sniveling little bundle of thought “I get lost in thought,” appear and disappear in the very awareness that is registering these words right now?

R: So could you help me?

VF: It took me quite a bit of back and forth, but recognize that thought may well continue to bring forth arguments and reasoning and objections, etc.; that’s fine. Thought is useful and there is absolutely nothing wrong with thought (it gets a bad name in some circles) – it is thought that allows this discussion to happen. But, thought can only take us to the edge of the cliff, you know? Finally, one needs to step beyond thought, which is just another way of saying REST as awareness (of thought, bushes, mourning doves, flat screen TV’s, ants, dirty dishes, iced tea, lips, gun shots, Venetian blinds, etc.) no matter how sublime or clunky the thought-object-sensation may be. We need to give our pea-brains a rest and just SEE – the entirety of Isness is happening – is is-ing allness – right now. Rest assured, what “you” think of as “you,” Sam, is included in the is-ing allness as is the Reality of You which cannot be thought.

Do Nothing – Or Less

I wanted to end seeking. People who had come to an end suggested that there was nothing I needed to do. They said,

Do Nothing.

Thought interrupts and asks, “What do you mean, do nothing?” Thought is itself, a doing. Even the thought, “OK, I get it. I’ll do nothing,” is doing. Then the thought takes shape, “OK, I’ll just give that up. I’ll just keep doing things.” That, too, misses the point; more doing.

We begin the search, finding a never-ending library of techniques to “do nothing:” art, meditation, prayer, therapy, and more. These techniques are, of course, more doing. We find techniques for doing nothing mentally. We find techniques for doing nothing physically. We try to do nothing emotionally. All of the trying, all of the ways of “not doing” amount to more doing.

We stumble upon the direction to “let go.” How DO we “let go?” There must be a way to DO it. Is it by thinking certain thoughts? Thinking the right thoughts in a particular order? Not thinking at all? Good luck. Maybe it means learning to relax the body at all times? We learn how to DO that. We DO it sometimes and beat ourselves for not DOING it more. More trying. More doing.

If we are lucky, we realize that we are in deep DO-DO. Then perhaps, grace arrives in the form of exhaustion or head-crunching frustration and we just give up. We quit the impossible game. Sometimes doing happens; sometimes doing doesn’t happen. We leave the thought alone that “I can DO” or “I can not DO.” We quit trying. We quit not-trying. We quit looking. We quit not-looking. We quit caring. We quit caring that we care. We quit thinking. We quit not thinking. We quit quitting.

Thinking and trying and techniques have done all they can do – taken the vaporous idea of a separate ME to the portal through which it cannot step and survive (though it has only ever been lived, anyway – but it will never be convinced of that). Beyond this threshold blazes the pure light of awareness – so bright it illuminates even the sun – and no vaporous form survives the transit.

When will you get to the threshold? You’ve never been anywhere else.

Where can you find it? Always right here.

How can you cross? You already have – it is from the other side of the threshold that You-being-Isness watch the “doing” of this vaporous bundle of thoughts that believes itself to exist.

Do nothing? Even that is too much.

Quit Playing and Run Home to Your Mother

VF: Hi Ron. Good to hear from you again. Let’s clear this up so you can get on with things!

Ron: I am fully clear in my head that, as you put it, “thought” is not necessary to know ‘I exist”. I can also see that ‘sensations’ coalesce to produce the body and the sensations are transitional. I fully understand when you say that forms take shape in the smoke. But these ‘forms’ demand to be fed. The body is not like a plant to get by itself ‘freely’ energy from the Sun. Body has to depend on some others.

VF: Everything depends on everything; and, if everything depends upon everthing, then nothing depends on nothing and all arises IMMEDIATELY in THIS NOW – including the seeming Ron’s seeming questions!

Ron: Any sort of dependency implicitly removes one away from total Freedom (Independence).

VF: Total Freedom is a concept whose existence depends up another concept – Total Bondage. Struggling with these concepts keeps the seeming you trapped in duality – this approach is like trying to escape from a house of mirrors! There is no freedom – there is ONLY THIS. Right now! Leave the thinking alone – let it ramble on – it always has and always will. Stop!

Ron: But isn’t one forced to see a distinction of this body versus that (bringing in otherness). Another aspect highlighting otherness (Not Oneness)?

VF: “Otherness” and “oneness” are both ideas, constructs, concepts, arising in this complete and total cognizing (thank you, Gilbert Schultz) emptiness that is beyond concept, construct and thought. This ground of being is our mother. There is no doubt that you and your mother are, in some relative way, separate. At the same time, can you deny your oneness? Of course not. What I am pointing you towards is the Mother of all – the Mother of the ten thousand things, as it is referred to in Taoism. Ron, “you” cannot know it or experience it – you can only give up and rest AS it. Trying to “know” or “experience” it via more thought only takes you further and further from home. Rest. Quit playing the game, and run home to your Mother. You’ve never left her, anyway.

Ron: Isn’t this staring right in our face: if Vince feeds his body, this ron-body does not get fed. It still needs separate food. So Ron and Vince are two — not one there!

VF: Try an experiment. Hold up your left hand, palm facing your face. Now, with a piece of paper, cover all of the palm so only the top half of the fingers are visible. Do the fingers appear to be separate? In some relative sense, are they separate? Remove the piece of paper. Are the fingers really separate?

As long as you identify yourself as a finger, these questions will continue to arise. Unquestionably, from the standpoint of a separate finger, these questions are legitimate and, seemingly, of great importance. See clearly that your premise is wrong. Your premise is itself a conceptual construct, “I am separate.” You can ask as many questions as you’d like from the wrong premise and you will get a myriad of interesting and useless answers.

Begin with the premise that doesn’t rely on any mental construct or fabrication – YOU EXIST. Before the thought “I AM,” you are. Begin there and stay there and see what (if any) questions arise. When in doubt, just rest as awareness. Thought is a hungry ghost – to borrow a term from Buddhism – it has a voracious appetite but cannot find satisfaction.

Ron: Of course, I can develop an attitude of being unaffected and lead a ‘what if’ sort of life. But then it is an “Attitude.” Not beingness, Brahman!

VF: No “attitude” will be necessary if you change your premise to what is without question.

Ron: Another serious doubt : Is that “SEEING” so called “Brahman state”? (I know state is a wrong word but used here to express that condition). Does not Brahman state imply omniscience, omnipresence etc. etc.?

VF: Is there any doubt that there is KNOWING right now? Can that be doubted? Isn’t even the doubt KNOWN? Forget all of this and return to resting as awareness – simply rest as what you already are and let thought do whatever it does – there is no choice. Conceptual explanations such as “Brahman” are meaningless and worthless without resting as what you are BEFORE the concepts can arise. Rest; just rest. I hope this helps. Get back to me with more questions, as necessary. Be well.

You Can’t Drain the Water from a Mirage

VF: Hello Sam – good hearing from you again. I’m sorry this response is so late in coming, but I haven’t had much of a chance to do anything other than my “paid” work recently.

Sam: Thank you for your prompt and generous response.What I get from your reply is that the endless flounderings of my personality are beside the point, and the only thing that matters is to see who is seeing, NOW.

VF: Yes; but you’re not going to leave it there, are you?!

Sam: Again it’s my smart intellect getting it all ‘intellectually’ while going on much the same way as before, but am I right in assuming that what I am as a person doesn’t matter, that I can be good or bad or indifferent, the only thing is to SEE that it’s all a mythical self, and so not different from Mother Teresa or Hitler, or you?

VF: It isn’t that what “you” are as a person doesn’t matter; it is that there is no you, no person. The believed-in “person” Sam, whom you mistakenly take yourself to be, doesn’t exist other than as a swirling, buzzing, vaporous group of thoughts and sensations that arise presently. There really is no one to choose good, bad, or in-between. It happens that seeming choice may arise in this simple, unbroken, space that we are, but there is no choice in whether or not a seeming choice arises or is made (by no one).

Sam: One thing that has bothered me about being undifferentiated consciousness is how, if everything is awareness, there is no difference between me and a piece of wood, both are equally enlightened, and so what is the point of it all?

VF: This is only an issue for the believed-in separate person, the idea of an independently existing individual who believes itself to be separate and aware. To that imposter, just being awareness and no different from a piece of wood sounds horrible – understandably! Look at this directly right now! See that these are just ideas arising from nowhere and dissolving back into nowhere – they are seen, but they are seen by no one.

If you just rest as awareness, you will see clearly that all of this is just more of the same conceptual argument and struggle – it is one thought seeming to struggle with another thought. In fact, there is no struggle between thoughts; there is just this thought, now this thought, now this thought, and on and on…it is only another thought that says thoughts struggle. Just rest back, lean back into awareness, and leave thoughts alone. Thinking is none of your business!

Sam: Another point is about us all getting there in the end, after death, so what is the point of struggle?

VF: Good! There IS no point in struggle. What you really are, this clear, open space of awareness, doesn’t struggle. What you are is the space in which the story of struggle arises, is seen, and dissolves back into formlessness.

Sam: I like the way you throw me at the NOW!

VF: You’ve never been anywhere else. Even thought – whose content is typically either struggling with now, arguing with now, regretting the past, or imagining a fearful future – is still arising now.

Sam: But is there any point in formal meditation, and do you advocate any practice, a daily sitting?

VF: Where do you imagine daily sitting will take you? Do you imagine it will deliver you to some other “state” of being? Every state just arises and passes away in this open, clear, spaciousness – states come and go – what is aware of the changing states never changes.

So, if the imagined separate person sits in order to no longer be a separate person, well, as one japanese zen teacher put it, it is like polishing a brick to create a mirror. You can polish a long time, but the brick will never become a mirror. I once heard Catherine Ingram say that it’s like trying to drain the water from a mirage – the premise is completely wrong. So if you sit as the imposter – the believed, separate me – you will likely just reinforce a belief in the mirage being full of water. If you sit as this open awareness, fine; but if you’re already resting as open awareness, then any activity is meditation – sitting, standing, shitting, stirring the soup pot, drinking tea, wiping off the table, writing a note, smoking a cigar, looking at the sky, listening to music, lying sleepless, sweeping the walk, paying the bills, arguing with the landlord…everything, everything, everything arises in and as this clear, open, space. Try resting! Lean back into awareness (it’s already where and what you are anyway); rest as awareness right now. Leave thinking alone, leave sensation alone, leave emotions alone, leave hearing alone, leave seeing alone, leave tasting, alone, leave smelling alone – leave everything, including the idea of a “you” alone. Just rest and watch.

i hope this helps. love, vince

Your Life is a Wreck

Life is a wreck. Nothing will ever go right – at least, not for long. Rain will fall on the picnic. The basement will flood. The car tire will go flat. The computer’s hard drive will crash. The light in the kitchen will burn out. The ceiling fan will stop running. The refrigerator will stop cooling. The sidewalk will crumble. The roof will leak. The check will bounce. The shoestring will break. The pot will burn. The cup will crack. The shirt will shrink. The blanket will unravel. The garbage disposal will stop working. The dryer will stop producing hot air. The water heater will stop heating water. The boss will criticize the report. The kids will leave. The milk will spoil. The silver will tarnish. The cheese will mold. The ice cream will melt. The car lock will freeze. The brakes will squeak. The flowers won’t bloom. The paint will peel. The photograph will yellow. The page will crumble. The house won’t sell. Interest rates will fall. The market will crash. The flight will be delayed. The crop won’t come in. The clock will lose time. The candle will melt. The chain will rust. The vacuum will clog. Partners leave. Hair will thin. Muscle will atrophy. Joints will ache. The dog has fleas. Eyes lose their focus. Ears lose their hearing. Teeth loosen and fall out. Kidneys produce stones. Bowels get constipated. Reactions slow. Arteries clog. Unwanted growths grow in the wrong places. Discomfort and pain become intimate companions. Waist lines increase. Sex drives decrease. Memory dims. Liver spots darken. Skin thins. Mucus thickens. Retirement income is too little. Loneliness is too great. Property values diminish. Friends die. Careers fizzle. Livers stop cleaning blood. Lungs stop charging blood with oxygen. Immune sytems fall into disrepair. Neurons fire haphazardly. Hearts stop beating. Money or no money, property or no property, health or no health, peace or no peace, it all falls apart. Nothing will go right. The imagined you will not make it. The imagined you is doomed. Doomed. The imagined you that struggles and fights and argues and works at it and analyzes and plans and postures and gesticulates and makes itself into somebody will blow away like a thin pall of smoke from burning leaves in an autumn wind. The imagined you will dissipate like fog on a summer morning. The imagined you will melt like the last patch of ice at the corner of the field at the beginning of spring. Everything imagined, thought, felt, seen, heard, smelled, tasted, sensed in any way passes away like the last beat of the heart. All hope, all fear, all ignorance, all knowledge, all ideas of a “you” die presently to blossom as this unborn, unknowable, unsensable, spacious clarity reading these completely meaningless words. Better to give up now – who you think you are doesn’t have a chance. Go outside; smell the earth. Listen to the birds. Feel the breeze. Watch clouds.

You are the Livingness.

Isness being All.

Rest.

You Are a Finger in Your Eye…Seriously!

Bring a finger (your choice) up to one of your eyes – very close – notice that your entire field of vision is ‘filled by finger’. There is nothing but finger. If you get it close enough, you will discover that it cannot even be recognized as ‘finger’ any longer. Slowly, move your finger away from your eye – notice that more and more objects are now seen – the finger is still there AND there is recognition that there is SEEING of the finger because it no longer fills the entire eye screen.

Thoughts are like fingers poking us in the eye. Until we recognize the fact THAT there is thinking, we (seem to) live in the dark with a lot of suffering. As soon as we recognize that thinking is always happening, identification with thought dissolves (the finger moves away from our eye) and in THAT instant a new Buddha is born. Notice that the finger may still appear in the SEEING, but at a distance; ‘finger’ no longer ‘fills’ the seeing (our world) or seems so important.

Enlightenment (finger-in-the-eye-free living) is available now…and now…and now… SEE that the word “I” followed by ANYTHING is just another thought (finger). Whether the ‘finger in your eye’ comes in the shape of ‘I am enlightened’ or ‘I am the Light of the world’ or ‘I am horrible’ or ‘I am wonderful’ or ‘I am hungry’ or ‘I am smart’ – no matter what – is thought(potential fingers in the eye) arising NOW.

Seeing thought as thought – not being hoodwinked by the finger in the eye – IS enlightenment, but only right NOW. SEE that ‘you’ (a thought arising now, a finger in the eye, arising NOW in SEEING) cannot be enlightened because the ‘YOU-Thought’ is just a shadow arising after-the-fact of SEEING (which only happens NOW)and is ‘done by’ no one. Resting as THIS (really, literally, THIS SEEING now, now, now, now, now!) – Right Now – is complete and full enlightenment – but ONLY NOW. YOU won’t find it tomorrow, or ever again, but NOW.

Where is your finger right now?

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