The Unarguable Experience


Find the teacher who will set you free from teachers and teachings.

To experience the place beyond concepts, beyond dogma of any kind, is to be free of doubt, seeking, conflict, and ultimately the sense of separation that fuels all of these states.

Life is to be lived, not missed. If there is a focus on what could be or should be, or on who or what can give it to me, then what is right here and now is overlooked.

In this video, it could be said that there is a teacher and a seeker. It could be said that there is a teaching, or a transmission that is happening, as if it were a causative relationship. It could be assumed that Papaji has given the woman something. But all he asks her to do is look. First, he asks, “What do you want?” This creates a willing suspension of the mind, or a state of wondering, perhaps. “Where are you,” he says? That is all. That is all that is ever being asked of anyone in any given moment: Look, right here, right now. Who are you? Where are you? The mind stops for an instant, and you know the answer that cannot be put into words.

What if the experience itself renders any idea about transmission irrelevant, and any distinction between teacher and student absurd? Quarrel with what is given, by whom and to whom, and that very argument will obscure what is already present and accessible, what is ultimately unarguable because it is beyond any position the mind could attempt to hold. Experience trumps the reasoning mind every time. Let this laughter be your experience.

If You’re Suffering…

Flower Sermon
That’s the only criteria that matters. There are no levels of clarity, no others that know more, no time in the future when clarity happens, or an imagined “state” of abiding in, or achieving a “solid” realization. But yet there is the appearance of such levels, realized beings, time, and stability.

If any of those appearances are accompanied by a sense of suffering, there’s the rub. The above distinctions come only from the realm of seeking. In life itself, there is suffering having to do with poverty, loneliness, health, and so on. In the words of Pema Chodron, “start where you are.” If there is the experience of suffering, then quite simply, something—a thought, an identity—is not only being believed, but cherished.

Trust not your thoughts or your understanding; trust your experience. People balk at the idea of self-generated suffering, but is it possible that the suffering being experienced is a kind of identity? For instance, it was seen here that a sense of longing was the experience of being. Longing was familiar, was in fact, an experiential identity. Things, situations, people were longed for that could not be had because that maintained the longing, and essentially the personhood. Failure, victimhood, and a sense of injustice can also all be dearly-held experiences of identity. When in these states, you feel as if you exist. As long as any identity, or a sense of me-ness goes on, there is the possibility for suffering. Is there a clinging to a familiar sense of suffering as that-is-who-I-am? You are not that.

And for those for whom the seeking manifests as a constant need to understand, an intellectual foray into teachings and concepts, suffering arises (or not) from feeding the mind that will never take the step through that gateless gate. Peace, compassion, love, and clarity are lived experiences. Conceptual understanding actually impedes the experience—and experiencing is all there really is. Suffering in this case comes from identifying with a negligible, but illusory identity with the intellect, oftentimes manifesting in the form of emptiness, aridity, and ultimately a sense of failure, because the mind is and always will be insufficient to the task at hand.

None of the posts here are true. You can’t take any of them to the bank, or out to dinner and a movie. The inquiries are a way of experiencing, of looking beyond the concepts believed and identities assumed. As Jac O’Keeffe says (loosely translated), everything you experience comes from the conceptual and into form. So if the experience is suffering, STOP, right now, and let go of all ideas, needs, opinions, and identification. Drop everything the mind and the world it generates has to offer, and lookis not the peace and clarity you are seeking already here? If this is seen even if only for a second, trust that experience. Follow that.

Can You Find the Phony?

We spend our whole lives trying to be something we’re not. That is the state of human relations, in a nutshell. Everyone is a phony; otherwise known as the false self, because it is, well, not real. At some level this is always known. It is the creepy background that clouds all our interactions with others. This is why we seek approval relentlessly, why we are in continual need of validation. Because whomever we think we are is a fiction that we’re making up as we go along. We desperately want others to believe our story because in our hearts we know it’s not true, but seemingly, our survival as a person with an identity depends upon its acceptance. Some spend their entire lives looking outside of themselves for this acceptance. We call them extroverts. Others hide, or hole up and keep to themselves, so that their fragile/flimsy self image will not be challenged. We call them introverts.

The need to convince others that we are who we think we are is an aspect of what Alan Watts calls “the unsolvable problem.” Even if we manage to convince, there is always this lurking terror of being discovered. So in relationship, as a survival tactic, we must necessarily withhold some part of ourselves, and we must also pretend to be a certain way, to the point of exhaustion. And so the trouble begins. This is perhaps what is meant by Byron Katie’s phrase, “No two people ever met.” Phonies get married and then unavoidably, yet understandably, end up miserable. We also become, or feel as if we are, inadequate parents under the same ruse.

Essentially, the deficient self is the phony self. The deficient self is what Scott Kiloby calls that persistent sense of not being enough, not being lovable or likeable, of being inauthentic and dishonest. It is a doorway. Try to find the phony, the impostor, the wizard behind the curtain. You are not that. You are ultimately and utterly free–free of pretension, free of the fear of intimacy, free of the fear of betrayal and abandonment.

That sense of inauthenticity is the source of fear behind the mask, and how the fear of failure is born. Do the inquiry on the phony, whether he parades as a wizard or a cowardly lion. Take off the mask and be fearlessly authentic. You don’t have to pretend to be anything any more. You can simply be.

All Things Beautiful

Look, with eyes closed, or eyes wide open. It is all around, within and without. And then the line between the two disappears, and there is just the heartbreaking beauty of all things. No here, there. No within, without.

Look, wherever you are, and see the fragility and the overcoming. A branch breaks; a bird flies away; and the sky will never look the same. Everything in this phenomenal world, without a doubt, comes and goes. Allowing that, seeing that flux, the inevitable impermanence in each movement, is a thing to behold. Even that which appears solid and unchanging, like an immense brick wall, reveals the crack of its transformation somewhere.

Look, and let the vision of suffering crack your heart wide open. Let the rejuvenation of spring–a robins egg, a bright poppy–bring you out of winters cave. Let it all in. Let it all pass through on its way to what was. Let the heart translate what words cannot describe. It’s there on the tip of your tongue, at your fingertips, and it smells so sweet.

Look. Listen. It is all you. Let yourself disappear into it and become it. All things beautiful passing by, here and now.

Listen here while you look, if you wish: All Things Beautiful ~ Nick Cave

See Through the Illusion of Separation: If Not Now; When?

As long as one believes there is a process, there will be the experience of being in process. As long as one believes there is a teacher who imparts some-thing to a student, there is the experience of duality, of two-ness. As long as one believes that there is either abiding realization, or “got it; lost it,” there will be the experience of “not there yet.”  As such, to the extent that there is a belief in time, in others, or in a state to be reached, these things will happen, apparently.

Why not see, now, that there is nowhere to get to, no one out there to take you there, and no experience that is not a manifestation of what is, of simply this? What are the concepts, the beliefs, that keep you from seeing that you are what you seek right now? The good news is, until these are discarded, whatever comfort is provided in the experience of practice and process, in the love one feels for the teacher, and in the exhilaration of insight and realization, these experiences will be there for the sake of temporal enjoyment. The better news is also that at any given moment, one can put away “childish things.” The need for comfort, the love for an other, and the thrill of spiritual experiences can be seen as a form of bondage rather than freedom.

The most powerful form of inquiry is when there is the experience of no facilitator, no one being facilitated, and nothing to “get.” There is simply the experience of clearly seeing through these dualistic and temporal conceptions, seeing the absurdity and unnecessary suffering created at the root of all beliefs and concepts: living from the apparent illusion of separation.

If the conceptual reality demands or indicates the need for more of some-thing from someone, that someone will be there to provide that something. It is the way of a benevolent, giving, loving universe (if that is your belief). Help is provided as long as help is perceived to be needed. Ask for help and you shall receive. Then lay down all notions of insufficiency. Be done with seeking/suffering. You have nothing to lose but your most cherished opinions, and literally everything to gain.

Relationship and the Unfindable Self; Movements in the Mind

“See all suffering, doubts, questions, problems, issues, imagined attainments and losses as movements in the mind. The are all thought generated. Apart from thoughts, those things have no existence whatsoever. Nail this insight completely. Do not move from this until it is absolutely clear. There is nothing wrong with the body, mind, world or other people at any time. Fighting with those things is completely futile. All problems are the mind’s labels, judgments and interpretations. We must see that all problems are sustained and created by the mind which is fabricating them. That is one aspect. Believing the thoughts to be true is where the real bondage arises, because if you do not believe them, they have no power. But first you need to clearly see what you are dealing with—thoughts, pure and simple.” ~ John Wheeler, Right Here, Right Now.

“…nothing wrong with the body, mind, world or other people at any time.” Come join in the conversation at our newly-created Facebook group: Relationship and the Unfindable Self, where we discuss the inquiries developed by Scott Kiloby, and how they can be used to see relationship as that everyday, unavoidable and inevitable experience which points back to our true nature, and away from the notion of the separate, isolated individual. You know, the one with the problems…another thought believed.

Just Live. Taste, Enjoy.

Pointers are of limited value. The word “process” is misleading. This is all there is. Seriously. Just this.

Reflections on choice, or free will, can get all tied up in knots. Drop the question, and what’s left? Just this, just what is happening. Then it becomes a matter of acceptance or resistance. Is that a choice? I don’t know. But it can be investigated. Is there resistance to what is, or acceptance? Resistance or acceptance is simply what is arising in the moment. Maybe all that can be done is to look, to check it out for yourself. Who is living this life, your so-called life?

If there is suffering, then maybe this question has yet to be thoroughly explored. There is no answer. That’s the delightful surprise. Answers are for the mind, and the mind cannot get to the root of this. It can only take you so far, and then FAIL. There is only this and the possibility of enjoying it or objecting to it in some way. The etymology of the word “choice” is “to taste, to try.” It is from the same base as “gusto.”

Look and see if there is anyone there to resist or to accept whatever is happening. If suffering is happening, does it belong to anybody? If joy is happening, is it possible that the “me” who would suffer can’t make a claim either way? What a relief! Taste it, try it. Mucho gusto.

Can you find time, anywhere? Is that your hand?

The UI is good for investigating, looking into everyday identifications, conflicts, and beliefs about yourself and the world, as listed in this previous post. There are also “objects” to look for that you might not have considered, such as time and the body.

Can you find the past? Maybe a memory comes up, or a sensation in the body. Look and see; is that it? What about the future? It most often shows up as a sense of expectation, dread, waiting, or even a vague feeling of “not yet,” also seemingly located somewhere in the body. There can also be a slight, but otherwise unconscious, turn of the eyes as if the future is over there. Is that it?

When you focus on the body, is there anything in any physical sensation that signifies ownership? If you look at your hands, or feel tension in your chest, is there something there that clearly says “mine?” Are those hands owned, or are they merely observed?

Questions about the nature of time can be hashed over and over by the mind endlessly, to no satisfying conclusion. Even if you come up with a provisional answer, nothing is really known for sure. And is there an unquestioned belief or the assumption that “I am this body?” The Unfindable Inquiry is an experience, not a concept. Go beyond words, beyond the mind, and see for yourself, if you’re curious. It’s pretty trippy. Try it and see.

The Unfindable Inquiry ~ What’s it good for?

If any of the following “complaints” have a familiar ring, we can look for the one who thinks they’re a problem.

  • I never have enough money to do what I want.
  • I can’t believe he/she lied to me.
  • Why didn’t anyone like my Facebook status?
  • God, I’m fat.
  • He/She never called me back.
  • I’m a total failure.
  • She/He didn’t even notice me.
  • Why are you always late?
  • He/She would never love me.
  • I’m feeling pretty hopeless/helpless.
  • My boss is an overbearing tyrant.
  • There’s something wrong with me.
  • I did all this for you, and you didn’t even say “thank you.”
  • I feel left out, excluded.
  • I made such an ass out myself; I’ll never live that one down.
  • Stupid people really bother me.

Wherever there’s a complaint, there is an identity being triggered. Add your own to the list. What is the biggest, or the most recent, source of dissatisfaction? Even the smallest disagreements with life as it shows up can be symptoms of a general malaise, reflections of disapproval projected out there, because it’s easier than looking towards the source.  A whine or a low moan might go deeper than you think. If you could get to the root of even a single complaint, you’d see them all for the ineffectual strategies they really are, and you could begin to feel yourself breaking free. Imagine that. No complaints.

No Mud, No Lotus

I posted the quote below in Facebook today, in part, as a caution against running away from life, from one’s “self,” from suffering. In the inquiries, we seek not to avoid or resist anything. No self doesn’t mean “I’m outta here, out of this.” It’s not a way to hide from or avoid life. Many forms of seeking are actually an attempt to evade experience, ironically to deny who we really are, and further, to bypass the grittiness of life itself. Seeking essentially means that we are looking elsewhere for more of the juicy and less of the stench. It’s all right here where you are. Get your hands dirty and your feet wet. Jump in.

Take the fullness and the emptiness experienced and bring it back to the marketplace. Let the emptiness open up the infinite possibility inherent in any apparent other, any circumstance, because you can no longer judge either. Let the fullness enhance your senses, so that everything and everyone is imbued with exquisite beauty.

There is nothing to gain, and nothing to lose for “me,” for “you.” So the good news is you really can’t be hurt (there is no one there to be hurt). Curiously, what you might have hoped to gain is what you end up giving back (to give and to receive are the same in this oneness). There is no bad news.

There can be a tendency, if not the veiled intent, to transcend the world, and all its misery, along this “spiritual journey.” This is a radical form of resistance. The etymology of “resist” means to stand in opposition.

Acceptance is the antidote. The origin of the word “accept” is from the same derivation as capacity, or to be large enough to hold. Can you be large enough to hold the bitter and the sweet? Or is opposition to what is the source of misery?

“To be in the world, but not of it” is not a way out. God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…You are the God and the Son and the world. Be in the world. Go towards all you wish to escape. Let courage (of the heart) be the path.