Look your brother in the face, Stand by him,

Emancipation

By Priscilla Jane Thompson, from Gleanings of Quiet Hours, self published in 1907.

‘Tis a time for much rejoicing;
Let each heart be lured away;
Let each tongue, its thanks be voicing
For Emancipation Day.
Day of victory, day of glory,
For thee, many a field was gory!

Many a time in days now ended,
      Hath our fathers’ courage failed,
Patiently their tears they blended;
      Ne’er they to their, Maker, railed,
Well we know their groans, He numbered,
When dominions fell, asundered.

As of old the Red Sea parted,
      And oppressed passed safely through,
Back from the North, the bold South, started,
      And a fissure wide she drew;
Drew a cleft of Liberty,
Through it, marched our people free.

And, in memory, ever grateful,
      Of the day they reached the shore,
Meet we now, with hearts e’er faithful,
      Joyous that the storm is o’er.
Storm of Torture! May grim Past,
Hurl thee down his torrents fast.

Bring your harpers, bring your sages,
      Bid each one the story tell;
Waft it on to future ages,
      Bid descendants learn it well.
Kept it bright in minds now tender,
Teach the young their thanks to render.

Come with hearts all firm united,
In the union of a race;
With your loyalty well plighted,
Look your brother in the face,
Stand by him, forsake him never,
God is with us now, forever.

Gleanings of Quiet Hours

Thank you to Poem-a-Day, at poets.org, for the poem and link to the book online, Gleanings of Quiet Hours. And the audio recording of Emancipation.

I’m Only Sleeping

What is outside cannot be known, only projected and interpreted. “Be still and know that I am,” is a pointer to what is behind consciousness, the experiencing capacity. Experience is the dream; the dream is experiencing. Identity erroneously comes from experiencing perceptually from the POV of a seer, experiencer. Behind experience is the true identity.

There is an underestimated reason why meditation is helpful. It is a break from perception, from engagement with the world as subject/object. Perception, as it stands, cannot be anything but a separative perspective. In one sense, it is the basis of experience. Which is I guess, why we’re here, why we’re dreaming. On the other hand, it divides what is seen from the seer, necessarily. And therein lies the “problem.”

This is all rather dry and in some ways, the scientific rendition in that it is an attempt to explain, which is useless if not lived. You learn about gravity by learning to walk, not be having it explained or understanding the concept.

What is lived, emerges in childhood, is a sense of guilt, a loss of innocence. Because we are pretending to have separated from our source, and somehow become split off, individuated, and autonomous, like Pinocchio going off on his adventures. But there is a conviction, a knowing deep down, that we have fallen from grace. Yet it’s impossible.

Coming out of innocence, as a child begins the conditioning of separation, we start to think we are inherently bad. I am a bad girl, or a bad boy, is what is internalized. Not intentionally or maliciously, but in the inevitable sense of pretending to be something we are not. We didn’t really pull this separation thing off; we are only pretending. But the pretense has become so real that we are frightened, and feel guilty.

This is not what a child does, it is what Mind does. It goes out to explore and become and experience. That’s all there is. All mind; only mind. Yet somehow it gets lost in this adventure and believes it is truly here as this character, surrounded by other nefarious characters.

“There is something wrong; I need to do something,” is the alert that drives everything we do, in the dream.  And it is true in that there definitely is something wrong. I am not this, and not here. I’m only sleeping. The only thing that needs to be done is to see this, and stop pretending, become unmesmerized by the dream. So this feeling of wrongness, of sin, and the hope for redemption looks like crazy cartoon characters, continuously and repetitively, trying to get something, to achieve something, to prove something, in the dream. But like Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner, it is all in vain. And no one ever really gets hurt, or dies.

If you’d quit trying to fix yourself for one minute, you’d see this as false programming for a false sense of identity. The wrongness is not in you. It is in the game of pretending to be something you are not. Pinnochio is not a real boy, independent of his father’s carving a puppet from a lump of pine. The Coyote does not really want or need, or ever capture, the illusive Road Runner. It is all a fiction that can look pretty crazy and make you laugh when truly seen.

You are neither the Boss of Everything, or the Hapless victim. The world is not as it appears. Nor are you. Wake up!

When I wake up early in the morning
Lift my head, I’m still yawning
When I’m in the middle of a dream
Stay in bed, float up stream (float up stream)

Please, don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me
Leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping

Everybody seems to think I’m lazy
I don’t mind, I think they’re crazy
Running everywhere at such a speed
‘Til they find there’s no need (there’s no need)

Please, don’t spoil my day, I’m miles away
And after all I’m only sleeping

Keeping an eye on the world going by my window
Taking my time

Lying there and staring at the ceiling
Waiting for a sleepy feeling

Please, don’t spoil my day, I’m miles away
And after all I’m only sleeping

Ooh yeah… ~ John Lennon & Paul McCartney

Reading the Room

Krishna and Arjuna

Writing about the illusory nature of problems can look like a denial, or outright ignorance, of what today appears to be a highly problematic state of the world. There is a battle going on, right? Many social media posts speak of love and mindfulness and peace. All well and good, but do they meet the demands of the visible unrest?

Do these mindfulness reminders create a restful moment of pause, or do they engender more anger as a striking lack of awareness? Seemingly irrelevant tropes in the face of powerful upheaval–akin to bringing a rubber knife to a gunfight?

Concepts of love, mindfulness, and peace are empty, and thus not a source of solace. We cannot talk or write or read about these ideas unless they are transformed and lived. Love is not the selective feeling of affection and connection to a delineated few. Mindfulness is not a scheduled respite, a moment or two taken out of time in the midst of conflict. Peace is not an impossible goal to be hoped for sometime in the future, and not really an agreement between two or more parties.

Peace is an allegiance to the calm that always can be found under or behind the storm. Not a break from it, but a dwelling as and in that calm. Mindfulness as a way of being. Ultimately, it becomes the realization of no-differences when the two or more are the illusion, the false segregation created by the split mind. The experiential realization of inseparability is love.

The hardest thing to accept right now is that the division is within, is projection. Anger and fear are the unavoidable manifestation of this inner conflict projected out there. Even if you don’t or can’t believe this premise, there is a close-enough proximation of being the equanimity in the midst of outbursts all around. See the power and the solace in the refusal to give in to the temptation of helpless fear or an over-wielding anger.

The need to be right is a powerful force. It is, however, a weak defense in this shadowy world of not really knowing, of honest uncertainty.

In those most disorienting moments of there-is-something-wrong-I-need-to-do-something distress, some response will and always does emerge in the space that is beyond fear and anger. It helps to realize we are not in charge, but simply vehicles of this greater intelligence. Simply allow the response, the doing/done, to emerge.

Let it come from the equanimity that comes from trust in this larger/largest Source. And it will be reflected, this trust, this returning, out there. You will then more often notice images like that of the young white girl jumping in front of the young black male as the police move towards him, or the National Guardsman who takes a knee in solidarity with the protestors. That is the unitive perception, instead of the fearful division.

That is why you are here. You are/I am the unbiased witness, like the sun, that does not discriminate where it alights. And fear and anger will dissipate, if only for a moment. And that is the moment that matters, that fearless space of clarity and inseparability.

And in the silence, the vastness, of the indiscriminating light, the response comes through you, not from you.

You don’t need to do anything in particular. Forget the particular, the perception of parts, of right and wrong. There are no parts in this Whole.

Why did Krishna tell Arjuna that he must fight, as he stood in the midst of the battlefield,? Is he not fighting the doubt he feels in seeing this world split in two? Where is the battlefield? The great divide, thus the great anguish?

“It was Vyasa’s (the author’s) genius to take the whole great Mahabharata epic and see it as metaphor for the perennial war between the forces of light and the forces of darkness in every human heart.” ~

Bhagavad Gita

To A Friend

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Shhh…now, Grasshopper. Be still for a moment.

If you let go of that question, that complaint, that frustration, that need, that anger, that belief/assumption—-its all mental, right? Let it all go by. And make no demands upon the bodily reactions to those mental instigations, just acknowledge how the body is playing its part in the scene building. If there is this pause, this intervention, two things can/will happen. Continue reading

Undddduck Yourself

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G-rated version

This post begins and ends in silence. What emerges in between is a little noise about a problem and seeking a solution for this problem.

Or, seeking a way out of the repetition of apparent problems and solutions, that is called a life. Silence all around. Continue reading

Acting!

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Image by Andrew Ostrovsky

The One Thing, the Life Force, is always acting as if it is one thing or another. You can hear it in the voice of an imperious pretense. Perhaps it seems like your own voice, or another’s. But there is only one voice, one sound. Not this person or that, but this aliveness pretending, in high drama, to be this or that interacting with its apparent counterpart as this or that.

And what is, this infinite One expression expressing, can never do anything but, because it is not real. Like Pinocchio, it is coming to life. Character and drama is Its only possible manifestation.

To act is to draw out or forth, to stir up,” It is all a movement and a rest. The variety show that passes for a life lived. No giving or receiving, only the appearance of hands reaching, but never joining. Only merging, never separate. Appearing on the screen, for an instant. Nothing appearing as something(s).

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image by Andrew Ostrovsky

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image by Andrew Ostrovsky

 

Nonduality and Neurographics

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Neurographic “Difficult Emotion” Algorithm

Nonduality is either a conceptual framework overlaid upon reality–your reality, if it be personal–or not. For that matter, any concept is an overlay. There either is a conceptual framework, or not. Nonduality is like every other picture frame around which the world is viewed. It’s just a frame. Forget about the frame, forget about the picture, and become aware of the seeing itself, that which is devoid of, and comes before, any concept, interpretation, labeling, belief, opinion–or filter that creates an apparent segregation of seer and seen.

If the separation between seer and seen appears to still be there, what is interfering is a translating mechanism, a pattern of conditioning, still running the show. That subjective translation is reinforced, made more real-seeming, by an emotional response. The interpretation is what you think is happening, or being seen. The emotion is the concurrent response–to the interpretation that is an overlay on the seeing itself. And by seeing, again, I mean that which has no, and is prior to, any conceptual filter.

Continue reading

Looking in the Wrong Direction

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The Understandascope, by Michael Leunig

“The refusal to see the snake in the rope is the necessary condition for seeing the rope.”

“Somebody likes a particular concept and passes it on to his disciples, and he gets a following. But with that, they cannot get eternal peace or satisfaction. In order to get that satisfaction, you must find the source of this primary concept “I am.” And once you know that, you can transcend it. Then you do not have anything to tell the world, because the world wants only fragmentary modifications. They want activities. So this knowledge will remain only with yourself, and there will not be any customers for it.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

The spiritual marketplace is experience driven. One wants to feel good or just better, get a buzz, an insight, improve the life experience, and most of all, to understand–what cannot be grasped by the mind.

Turn around and see what’s behind it all, prior to experience. You can’t make sense of, or solve a problem within, the context of a dream. There is a whole lot of dream-fixing going on when really,  isn’t it much simpler to simply wake up from the dream? Isn’t manipulating images within the illusions ultimately futile and tiresome? Doesn’t it surprisingly and constantly shift and become something else, requiring more fixing, manipulation, and adjustment?

If I was observing you in the midst of a dream of being chased by a bear, would it make sense to tell you to run faster, or talk about bear safety? Wouldn’t it be kinder to jostle you out of sleep–so you’d just wake up and see there was no bear, literally never had been a threat at all, while you slept?

Can a problem be solved by moving images around or barking orders in a hologram? What does this mean? It is opposite land, literally. Instead of looking “out there” and relating to experience as a problem to solve, or something to find and gain there, how about looking in the opposite direction? The lens of the telescope is what distorts or enhances the experience, is what creates the images with which you seem to struggle. What is behind the lens, and looking through? 

Notice that something is in front of you on the screen now. Before you even read the words, or try to understand what they mean, what you truly need to know, is this awareness that comes to the page, that is already always here. Not one word that you read or see or hear is more important than that awake, alert, awareness that attends to everything that is read or seen or heard. There is no need to read a book about consciousness, or attend a spiritual event, if the awareness that precedes it–as in aware that the book is there in your hand, as in the same awareness of walking into a room and hearing noises, as in this same awareness of the screen in front of you–is simply recognized.

If you don’t come to know that, you will know nothing, no matter how many words you read or hear. If that is seen and brought to the forefront, then the Source of everything is known. What you are precedes all that is experienced. All questions dissolve here, not “out there.” And here and there merge as one.

“Deny illusions, but accept the truth.” ~ A Course in Miracles

 

 

 

 

Our Eternal Slumber Party; Promises Made

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If only there were something I could tell you,
That you don’t already know.

Like in the night we lie awake in a tent in the backyard,
Flashlights towards our faces.

We pretend to be scared, but giggle instead,
While parents sleep, in a room.

We are out there with the crickets and stars,
Sounds and brights fill up the space.

We are children in a wild short night of summer,
Tentatively committed to losing…this.

That’s what we tell each other in that airy encampment,
Pinky-swear we will never forget.

We imagine boys, girls, cars, the Beatles, and houses with sticky children,
And scrunch up our faces, like grandmas look.

Till we fall asleep, somehow, between the hoots of an owl,
And dream of a time before Adam’s silly rib.

Someone, maybe a kind but unruly God, or the Owl Himself,
Puts the little rib back where it belongs.

Though we sleep, we never really lose ourselves this night in Gemini,
My twin. We have a deal! To remember.

You are always a terrible liar, but a great pretender,
And promises we keep, with imaginary friends.

Remind me of this starry night where we make it all up,
Never-ending, as per our agreement.

Together, we are back in that night of freedom and audacious crickets,
Where we imagine, to make a world out there.

You tell me; did we ever? Were we ever?

Mechanics of Mind Revealed~Look-See

Fleeting Flotsam of the Floating World by Matthew Carver

“Hold on to the sense ‘I am’ to the exclusion of everything else. When thus the mind becomes completely silent, it shines with a new light and vibrates with new knowledge. It all comes spontaneously, you need only hold on to the ‘I am’…be silent and watch it expressing itself in action.” ~ Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta

“If you can recognize, even occasionally, the thoughts that go through your mind as simply thoughts, if you can witness your own mental-emotional reactive patterns as they happen, then that dimension is already emerging in you as the awareness in which thoughts and emotions happen — the timeless inner space in which the content of your life unfolds. The stream of thinking has enormous momentum that can easily drag you along with it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

These are pointers—only until they become lived experience. If they are merely understood, then they are just more thoughts amongst many random thoughts that can “easily drag you along” in conceptual, mind-created activity. No pointer, no matter how eloquent, or how deep the resonance, conveys any kind of knowing, unless and until it is a lived experience.

So if the above quotes are familiar—seem to make sense—but the experience, the knowing of that to which they point, is not forthcoming, is there a way to take the pointer all the way home to the felt, lived experience? Can one stay with the looking, observing, “be silent and watch it” and finally see?

In the Look-Sees, what we’re doing seems to bridge the difference between understanding the pointer conceptually and seeing, or apprehending, the experience. The suggestion here is guided looking. When you simply point to the observing, the capacity to watch, there is a glimpse, and then mind steps in, oftentimes instantly, without noticing that one has gone back into the conceptual. When a facilitator is there, looking right along with you, the thought-train can be stopped, so to speak, and bring you right back to looking.

I used to watch my daughter taking piano lessons when she was younger. The piano teacher would sit on the bench with her, and as my daughter played, her teacher would occasionally touch her back, and she would sit straighter. She would touch her hands, and she’d remember to go lightly on the keys. She would even touch her cheek and the tension in her face would relax (she’d stop trying so hard). So my daughter would get the experience of playing better–and eventually, the better posture, lighter fingers, and relaxed face would become an integral part of the playing. The body, the playing would correct on its own, based on the persistence of these gentle reminders.

This is what guided looking is like—a few consistent, gentle reminders, or light taps, and one becomes the looking, the seeing. Mind can actually be seen for the habitual tendency, the tyranny, it seems to assume. When mind is put at this subtle distance (purely metaphorical, there is no distance), it seems as if there is room for genuine insight, or clear seeing (IN-sight), regardless of where the insight is spoken, whether seemingly from the facilitator or facilitated.

In this way, self-ing, other-ing, world-ing can actually be seen in action—the process, the mechanism of the mind constructing and maintaining a self, and the world and relations that keep it in place. And it can be seen, like a mirage appeals to the thirsty, the fascination, the lure of this self-ing activity. (Maya, the seductress) Once this attraction is seen, the gig is up; the curtain has been pulled back on the wizard, revealing the mechanics behind the smoke and mirrors. There were no armies, no tactics, no strategy required to expose the wizard–he was simply seen, the mechanics behind his power revealed.

The facilitator is not the expert in this equation. Facilitator obsolescence is built in, as the habit of observing thoughts eventually supercedes the habitual identification with thoughts. Thoughts, stories, tend to disperse as they are noticed. The seeing itself takes over, and the illusion of duality is exposed as the ultimate misapprehension. It “…all comes spontaneously.”

We invite you to look, and simply see—to go beyond the pointer to the knowing itself, to where the pointer is lived, and becomes clear. This seeing becomes the teaching (no dogma, or need to take, preach, or defend any position), and the attraction becomes greater to stay to stay in the seeing, rather than to be pulled in by the movie. It is both Self-nourishing and concurrently self-effacing. It all takes care of Itself; the pointing is in the seeing. It’s so appallingly simple. Have a look and see.

“The only way out is to simply observe. This allows us to take note of our physical reactions, our mental attitudes and patterns and our motivations at the exact moment they appear.” ~ Jean Klein