In Its Cage of Bones
July 31, 2011, 8:59 am
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“In its cage of bones the heart beats through the hours and days of our lives. Mostly we forget how it labors and that it might have another life apart from this faithful, physical service.

We have a hint about that when we are moved to tears, to love, to service, to silence and meaning. There is a flutter inside, and we might say that something stirred the heart. In such moments the spirit is released into gratitude — not the groveling I don’t deserve it kind, nor the usual polite thank you kind, but the simple fact that something opened the door of our habit cage and a pure moment happened — a free joy. Something given let the heart be free in recognition and willing participation.”

~Gunilla Norris

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My Burning Heart & Bittersweet
July 29, 2011, 10:33 am
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…yet remain…
July 27, 2011, 2:31 pm
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“The I must remove the I, yet remain I.”

~Ramana Maharshi

Interior quietude
July 25, 2011, 7:56 am
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“The more spiritual a man is, the more he discontinues trying to make particular acts with his faculties, for he becomes more engrossed in one general, pure act, a calm and repose of interior quietude.

The soul would want to remain in that unintelligible peace as in its right place. Since people do not understand the mystery of that new experience, they imagine themselves to be idle and doing nothing.

They must learn to abide in that quietude with a loving attentiveness to God. At this stage the faculties are at rest and do not work actively but passively, by receiving what God is effecting in them.”

~St. John of the Cross

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It IS what it IS
July 22, 2011, 3:05 pm
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Pain? Inevitable. Suffering? Optional. Needless suffering is experienced when we think the weather (or any ‘situation’ that we cannot change) is unacceptable.

It IS what it IS.

When we learn to love what IS, suffering dissolves–we discover a bottomless well of peace. It is “the peace that passeth all understanding” that Jesus described. And it’s available to us all … Now.

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July 21, 2011, 7:21 am
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“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

~Marcus Aurelius

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July 20, 2011, 3:34 pm
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Just remember yourself, “I am”
July 19, 2011, 11:03 am
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“My advice to you is very simple – just remember yourself, ‘I am’, it is enough to heal your mind and take you beyond, just have some trust …  If you want to know your true nature, you must have yourself in mind all the time, until the secret of your being stands revealed.”

~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Three important teachers…
July 17, 2011, 8:54 am
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A teacher walks a student toward the exit of a temple. The teacher says, “You are now fully prepared for the journey ahead, and I send you off to return to the world that has much to teach you at this time.”

“But what if I have a question or a concern I am unable to answer, how will I contact you?” asks the student.

The teacher replies, “There are already three important teachers for you to meet that will reveal themselves in time. They will offer you everything you may ever possibly need. Have faith in these teachers and they will surely appear.”
The student trusts the wise words of the teacher and leaves the temple.
Two years later, the student returns to the temple—confused and dismayed by what has been revealed. The student asks, “Did I miss something? I had faith in knowing three important teachers would appear, and all I’ve experienced is failure, heartbreak, and disappointment.”

“So, you met the three teachers that were sent your way,” the teacher responds.
“How are those teachers?” the student asks.

The teacher explains, “Failure ensures you will no longer make an enemy out of the inevitability of loss. It helps you realize your only success is how willing you are to embrace each moment—no matter what transpires. Heartbreak is the means in which the heart breaks completely open, freeing you of the struggle between wanting more of this, or wishing for less of that. Lastly, disappointment liberates you from the endless sea of expectation. It shows you, time and time again—you cannot believe what is true, you may only see what is true about it all, and know the truth as yourself.”

The student is speechless.

The teacher walks the student back toward the exit of the temple. The teacher says, “Now that you know the three teachers I sent your way, it is now time go back and continue to learn from them.”

“But that means I’m going home and returning to my everyday life,” says the student. The teacher smiles, “It’s the best school you can find. Rest assured, I’d only send you to the one I attended.”

“That’s how you learned?” the student asks. The teacher responds, “Yes. Much failure, heartbreak, and disappointment—as luck would have it.”

~Matt Kahn
(as posted on his facebook page)

Who Are You… Really?
July 15, 2011, 9:02 pm
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Thanks to a new subscriber for pointing me to this video clip, and to another subscriber for the transcript for this video, which I have copied from their comment to appear below the link.

“Any thought that you have had about yourself, however deflated or inflated, is not who you are. It is simply a thought. The truth of who you are cannot be thought, because it is the source of all thoughts. The truth of who you are cannot be named or defined. Words like soul, light, God, truth, self, consciousness, universal intelligence, or divinity, while capable of evoking the bliss of the truth, are grossly inadequate as a description of the immensity of who you truly are.

However you identify yourself — as a child, an adolescent, a mother, a father, an older person, a healthy person, a sick person, a suffering person, or an enlightened person — always, behind all of that, is the truth of yourself. It is not foreign to you. It is so close that you cannot believe it is you. Instead, you have taken on the conditioning of parents, cultures and religions as the reality of yourself rather than what has always been with you — closer than your heartbeat, closer than any thought, closer than any experience.

The truth of who you are is untouched by any concept of who you are, whether ignorant or enlightened, worthless or grand. The truth of who you are is free of it all. You are already free, and all that blocks your realization of that freedom is your attachment to some thought of who you are. This thought doesn’t keep you from being the truth of who you are. You already are that. It separates you from the realization of who you are.

I invite you to let your attention dive into what has always been here, waiting openly for its own self-realization. Who are you, really? Are you some image that appears in your mind? Are you some sensation that appears in your body? Are you some emotion that passes through your mind and body? Are you something that someone else has said you are, or are you the rebellion against something that someone else has said you are? These are some of the many avenues of misidentification. All these definitions come and go, are born and then die. The truth of who you are does not come and go. It is present before birth, throughout a lifetime, and after death.

To discover the truth of who you are is not only possible; it is your birthright. Any thoughts that this discovery is not for you — now is not the time, you are not worthy, you are not ready, you already know who you are — are all just tricks of the mind.

The most important question you can ever ask yourself is Who am I? In a certain way, this has been an implicit question asked throughout every stage of your life. Every activity, whether individual or collective, is motivated at its root by a search for self-definition. Typically, you search for a positive answer to this question and run away from a negative answer. Once this question becomes explicit, the momentum and the power of the question direct the search for the true answer, which is open-ended, alive, and filled with ever deepening insight.

Of course, the external world tells you who you are. Beginning with your parents, you are told that you are a particular name, a particular gender, and that you play a particular role as a child in the family. The conditioning continues through your schooling. You are a good student, a bad student, a good person, a bad person, someone who can do it, someone who can’t do it, and on and on. You have experienced both success and failure. After a certain stage, early or late, you realize that who you are, however that is defined, is not satisfying.

Unless this question has been truly answered, not just conventionally answered, you will still be hungry to know. Because no matter how you have been defined by others, well-meaning or not, and no matter how you have defined yourself, no definition can bring lasting certitude.

The moment of recognizing that no answer has ever satisfied this question is crucial. It is often referred to as the moment of spiritual ripeness, the moment of spiritual maturity. At this point, you can consciously investigate who you really are.

In its power and simplicity, the question Who am I? throws the mind back to the root of personal identification, the basic assumption I am somebody. Rather than automatically taking that assumption as the truth, you can investigate deeper.

It is not difficult to see that this initial thought, I am somebody, leads to all kinds of strategies: to be a better somebody, a more protected somebody, a somebody with more pleasure, more comfort, and more attainment. But when this very basic thought is questioned, the mind encounters the I that is assumed to be separate from what it has been seeking. This is called self-inquiry. This most basic question, Who am I?, is the one that is the most overlooked. We spend most of our days telling ourselves or others we are someone important, someone unimportant, someone big, someone little, someone young, or someone old, never truly questioning this most basic assumption.

Who are you, really? How do you know that is who you are? Is that true? Really? If you say you are a person, you know that because you have been taught that. If you say you are good or bad, ignorant or enlightened, these are all just concepts in the mind. All of them are forgotten every night when you fall asleep. Whatever can be forgotten will never deliver certitude. In an instant of true and sincere self-inquiry, what can neither be forgotten nor be remembered reveals itself as who you are. All that is required is that you stop trying to find yourself in some definition.

When you turn your attention toward the question Who am I?, perhaps you will see an entity that has your face and your body. But who is aware of that entity? Are you the object, or are you the awareness of the object? The object comes and goes. The parent, the child, the lover, the abandoned one, the enlightened one, the victorious one, the defeated one — these identifications all come and go. The awareness of these identifications is always present. The misidentification of yourself as some objecting awareness leads to extreme pleasure or extreme pain and endless cycles of suffering. When you are willing to stop the misidentification and discover directly and completely that you are the awareness itself and not these impermanent definitions, the search for yourself in thought ends.

When the question Who? is followed innocently, purely, all the way back to its source, there is a huge, astounding realization: There is no entity there at all! There is only the indefinable, boundless recognition of yourself as inseparable from anything else.

You are free. You are whole. You are endless. There is no bottom to you, no boundary to you. Any idea about yourself appears in you and will disappear back into you. You are awareness, and awareness is consciousness.

Let all self-definitions die in this moment. Let them all go, and see what remains. See what is never born and what does not die. Feel the relief of laying down the burden of defining yourself. Experience the actual non-reality of the burden. Experience the joy that is here. Rest in the endless peace of your true nature before any thought of I arises.”