Teacher, Illusion; Where’s the Gold?

goldhillsPerhaps the greatest gift any teacher can give is the gift of disillusionment.

If you’re looking to a teacher to show you what’s up, what’s real, you’re looking in the exact opposite direction of where any true teaching points to. What is true is not out there, ever, no matter how golden the words, how fine the robes, how magnificent the smiling eyes.

So when the teacher disappoints, shows his humanity, all that is being done is that those seemingly powerful, adored hands unfold to show you “This is life; it’s contradictions, it’s failure to provide the answers. This, what you see out here, is a failed promise. Always.”

And so you go back to the silence that quite naturally falls in the midst of utter disappointment. You give up. Good fortune is here in this moment of despair. Having nowhere to turn, no words of consolation, what’s left can be the way to go, or simply the way.

This state of misunderstanding is the gift. Outer authority is impeached because of its transparency. This Zen-like coup d’état creates the ideal circumstances for the new, the heretofore unseen, to be seen with unfiltered clarity. The lens is washed clean of refracted imperfections. Unclouded eyes reveal the brightest vision.

When the world loses its allure, what is just behind its provocative veil emerges. All teachers will spin you out onto the dance floor, disappear into the crowd, and leave with another. You’re on your own. Who are you now?

There is nowhere left to look but into this idea of a “you.” Is there a you if it’s no longer existing in relation to a teacher, a teaching, a lover or a friend? Loose the ties that bind and see what is left. No one is needed to describe this discovery. It neither requires nor lends itself to description. Words cannot express this. It blows the mind wide open, and renders it quaint, but thoroughly irrelevant.

Every disillusionment affords the opportunity for what the word implies–disengage from the illusion. Let there be a continual letting go of false expectations, based on a flawed premise: Me here; world out there. Feed me, world. And so you starve. That which is empty cannot fill the hungry belly. Phony is as phony does; and it takes one to know one.

There’s nowhere to go, no one to ask how to get there. It’s already here, in the seeing. It is the light with which you see that creates the gold in them thar hills.

Blah-Blah-Blah: Moving Beyond Jibber Jabber.

social influence

There is much talk, many words written, not only in an effort to describe an “indescribable experience,” but also in an effort to point the way towards the indescribable. Perhaps we have heard the words, “who you really are,” or “you are neither the thinker or the doer,” enough times. Are these oft-repeated phrases doing the trick? We presume to know, or not know, because of the lulling tone of a familiar language. Presumption is approximation, like having a berth on an ocean liner that is eternally headed toward an ever-disappearing coastline. Thus at this juncture, the language can become a hindrance, a conveyance that fails to deliver.

Do you know who you really are? No? Then begin there, in that “no.” (If yes, no need to read further.) This is usually the point at which the neti-neti, or via negativa, dialogue begins. Do you know who you are not? A well-versed nondualized mind knows the answer straight away. Does that help? Not this, not that, and so on, but still, “who am I?”

Beginners mind–fresh, unencumbered by shoptalk–is a good place to start. First off, no one else actually has an answer to that question, and no one ever will. There is only the asking. This is why all the best books, satsang, retreats, and even trips to India, rarely provide the answer to this mysterious question. But they are fun to read and attend on occasion, so in all seriousness–let us read, go, do, practice, find a sangha, discuss. It’s all great fun, and life might as well be that, even in the absence of knowing our true identity. It’s not all that different from joining a traveling theater troupe. Revel. Enjoy. That’s all most of us are really after isn’t it? A life enjoyed, lived fully, with no regrets? Do it all, and regret nothing. Don’t let anybody tell you it’s a waste of time if you’re having a good time, following teachers, getting to know some of them, having great flashes of insight, bouts of peace and clarity. It’s just life. There is no correct way to live. There’s no folly bigger than another when its a folie à deux world.

Keep the question close to your heart, and be immensely curious. Let everything you do be an open-ended question, and everything that happens becomes the benevolent response. Life is a call and response kind of activity. Be a lover, not a worrier of things. And when you just cannot love, let your annoyance and your distrust steer you towards new beaches and alleyways. Catastrophes and disappointments are nothing if not serendipitous detours to wholly new terrain. Is this not the promise of world travel, Gypsies?

I write this because there is a weariness with nondual blah, blah, blah. Yet the moment the language ceases to appease the mind, and reason fails, there is a very clear window of opportunity. When a natural curiosity replaces the habitual tendency to conform to industry standards, the answer is here in plain view, unfettered by conceptual jibber jabber. This is the strength and the promise of the inquiries–questions are posed rather than answers given. The experience is the answer, and it is beyond even Advaitic and nondual terminology. It is a wordless knowing, related to no perceptual framework. “Oh,” is the most appropriate, immediate response–or simply laughter.

Beth Bellamy and I are offering another Deepenings Course beginning in late January/early February. Neither of us will provide second-hand answers, but we may attempt to disabuse cherished beliefs. And as always, if you’re interested in inquiring one-on-one, contact me for further details. We have only our most obscuring and possibly erroneous assumptions to lose, and who knows what lies underneath the dust of our convictions?

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.

Not Two

Two as One, by Sherrie Lovler

“Live neither in the entanglements of outer things nor in inner feelings of emptiness.
Be serene in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves.” ~ from Faith Mind, Seng-Ts’an

“Love is one of the names we give to this recognition. It is simply not to know an other.” ~ Rupert Spira

No self does not mean nothingness, or at least that experience does not stand on its own. The discovery that there is not a separate self also coincides (not always concurrently) with the realization of who you really are. It can be seen from this everythingness that the conditions we place on love, on the “other,” are basically the best we can expect from them. If we perceive an other as untrustworthy, we are holding them to the highest standard they can maintain in our relationship with them. The other is empty save for the perceptions that make them who they are to us. That’s why conditional love fails empirically, as a concept or an experiment. The inverse is equally true. If we see them as the source of our happiness, that is what they will be…until the projection breaks down, as all projections surely must.

All of this, the perceived untrustworthiness, and the expectation that another will make you happy, comes from within, from our own sense of deficiency. The realization that there is not only no self, but no other, frees your projections, or creations, from the conditions you impose upon them. When you trust who you really are, the everything and the nothingness, you can trust another without reservation. Change your perception of the other, and they change. Not just the relationship changes (although it may), but who you are perceiving changes as well. Because there are not two. There is only the One, playing as (projecting) the many faces you see.

The conditions placed on love, loving, and being loved, arise as pointers toward the conditioning that still exists. The other exists as a mirror only as long as that reflection is necessary to see what is being shown. Look for yourself to see if you can find the self that needs to be protected, from anything, and set yourself and the illusory other free from all expectation. This is the experience of love, unconditional love.