Come meander with me on the pathless path of the Heart
in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Good Medicine - Andrew Colliver

Unbelief is good medicine, undoing belief
all beings free to leave their being
and enter silence.

The nameless tree with its forest
of green,
the endless expanse called
sky, beaks and

feathered wings with their urgent
all around, the light that sets the vital body
to humming,

and the dark of re-creation:
the world held for us in promise
until it is loosed from
our thinking.

Andrew Colliver

Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

The rebel in me likes this poem, especially its opening line...
"Unbelief is good medicine, undoing belief

I don't take this as a commentary on belief vs. atheism or agnosticism
or any of those artificial dichotomies of thought.  This is a commentary
on thought itself, our perception of reality, our relationship to reality.

All belief, whether good or bad, orthodox or unorthodox, is a window
we set in the mind.  Its frame defines the boundaries of what we
 perceive and what we are blind to; its tinted glass colors what we see
 and how we understand it.  That window of belief often serves the
 important purpose of helping us to focus, training us to see what is not
 commonly recognized. But, at a certain point in our awakening
 process, the very notion of belief becomes a problem.  All belief,
no matter how elevated or pure or accurate, is only a thought
 about reality.  What the soul ultimately craves is direct perception
 of reality - which requires dropping all perceptual filters,
including belief itself.

To enter that state of direct perception ("all beings free to leave their
 being/ and enter silence")
requires deep silence.  The distorting
 vibrations of mind must quiet.  Get quiet enough and even the sense of
 ego fades, along with all its demands that it be seen as the center
of existence.  The various tugging and tremors of awareness melt away
 and finally, finally we see things as they are, without labels, without
 artificial separations: "The nameless tree with its forest of green..."

Seeing clearly, we see that everything flows into one another, and it is
 all filled with a living, glistening light -- even within ourselves.  Seeing
 this light, feeling it flow, feeling the heart overflow, we are filled with a
   quiet glee.  The very sense of who and what we really are is
 transformed. We feel alive for the first time... "all around, the light
 that sets the vital  
body to humming"

That is when new possibilities emerge, the promises within ourselves,
within our interrelationship with reality are freed to find fulfillment.
For that to happen, we must first move beyond belief and free
 ourselves from the filter of the chattering mind.... "the world
held for us in 
promise/ until it is loosened from/our thinking."

Monday, December 11, 2017

Embrace Groundlessness - Joan Tollifson

In our mental world, we worry about the meaning or
meaninglessness of life, we wonder about our purpose, we
judge and evaluate ourselves and compare ourselves to others,
we seek escape from the vulnerability and the pain and the
heartache that life inevitably brings, and we seek exciting and
pleasurable experiences that will thrill us and maybe also
enhance our self-image in our own eyes or in the eyes of others.
We go on long journeys, sometimes for decades, searching for
enlightenment, or the perfect partner, or the perfect place to live,
or the perfect career, or the perfect friends.

But meanwhile, right here, there is the utter simplicity and
 wonder of life itself - the sounds of rain, the freshness of the air,
the ache of grief, the taste and texture of this moment, just exactly
as it is.  And it never stays the same, for everything is always
changing.  The universe literally begins anew in each moment.
And really, this moment is all we have.  But we so often ignore
this vital reality, overlook or dismiss it.  We don't really notice the
wonder and the beauty of it, even the wonder and beauty in its
sharper, darker, more bitter and challenging forms.  We want
something else, something bigger and better, more exciting or
more pleasurable, or simply different.

As many of you know, I'm working on a fifth book now, a book
that explores death and growing old.  But it has another aspect
now as well, namely the end of my long search for transcendence,
and the embrace of groundlessness and not knowing - waking up
to the simplicity of being just this moment, exactly as it is. Not
knowing what all this is or why it's happening or what will happen
next.  Living in groundlessness, rather than desperately trying to
find ground in some transcendent metaphysical ideology - e.g.,
that Consciousness is all there is, or that Consciousness precedes
the brain and Mind precedes matter, or that awareness is ever-
present even after death, or that I am boundless awareness and
not a person, or whatever that transcendent ideology might be.

I could always see quite clearly that these were all actually beliefs
and not verifiable facts.  But sometimes, when self-doubt is a deeply
ingrained psychological pattern, we override our own intelligence
and insight and doubts again and again, and swallow what others
who seem more enlightened are telling us.  And sometimes, even
when we tell ourselves (and others) that our search has ended, we
are actually still seeking.

Yes, I can feel a sense of boundless awaring presence, the spacious
openness of here-now that has no center and no boundaries.  I can
feel this vast listening silence, and the emptiness at the core of
everything.  When I look, it is obvious that we can never experience
anything outside of consciousness, and that every experience is an
experience in and of consciousness.  But there's a metaphysical leap,
some teachers call it "higher reasoning," that moves from these
direct insights into the metaphysical conclusions I mentioned
(e.g., Consciousness is all there is, Consciousness precedes the
 brain, I am awareness and not a person, and so on.)

I can even sense into being the Ultimate Subject, that which
remains beyond everything perceivable and conceivable.  These
 were never just intellectual ideas in my head, there were felt
experiences, intuitive realities. So, they seemed real.  And they
 were real as experiences.  But that's all they were: sensations,
 intuitions, experiences.  And when mixed together with
 metaphysical ideas that I was imbibing from the Advaita world,
it was easy enough to arrive at the conclusion that I am boundless
 awareness, infinite consciousness, impersonal presence or
 the Ultimate Subject beyond all experiences - and it was easy to
overlook  the fact that I had taken a leap from direct experiencing
 into metaphysical belief.  And I'm not saying any of these beliefs are
 false,  only that they are based on what is actually simply another
experience, another sensation, another intuition, another idea. 
They have, through "higher reasoning," reached a philosophical
conclusion that is in no way verifiable as Ultimate Truth. 
But we cling to these conclusions in our search to avoid
groundlessness, uncertainty, vulnerability, lack of control, and
the reality of not knowing.  We turn them into Ultimate Truth.

Of course, when I was dispensing this kind if teaching, I would have
insisted that it wasn't "just another experience, another sensation,
another intuition or another idea." I would have insisted that it was
That in which all experiences appeared and disappeared.  It was the
unchanging, ever-present, ground of being.  And I could easily
experience it that way.  After all, everything appears in awareness.
It's truly easy to hypnotize ourselves or to be hypnotized by
teachers, and it's  so easy to slide over from direct insight and
experiencing into metaphysical conclusions and beliefs.  It's a subtle
line we cross, and we don't always see it, especially when we are
surrounded by a whole subculture that is reinforcing the belief system
and the assumption that some metaphysical idea is actually Truth.

In such transcendent teachings as Advaita, which come out of
Hinduism, one is no longer a mere mortal or a person, no longer a
vulnerable body or a vulnerable human mind, but instead, one is
boundless awareness, infinite consciousness, God - unconditioned,
indestructible, imperishable, free.  Again, I'm not saying this is all
untrue.  In fact, I feel that such teachings do point to certain realities
about life - that there is something right here that is  open and free
and unconditioned, and that the universe (or whatever this is) is
infinite and eternal, and that we are a momentary expression of
something much larger.  Death may be the end of "me" and "my
story" and my particular movie of waking life - I assume it will be -
but it's not the end of this larger wholeness of which "Joan" is a
momentary and ever-changing movement, like a wave on the ocean.
The fear of death comes from being exclusively identified as the
wave, and imagining the wave to be a solid, fixed, independent,
separate thing rather than a flowing movement of the ocean.

But if we go to the opposite extreme and deny the reality and the
preciousness of this body-mind-person, this unique and unrepeatable
wave that will never happen again in exactly the same way, and if
we try to identify exclusively as the whole ocean and not the wave,
we miss something very important.  We miss the actual living reality
of our life - the taste of tea, the sounds of rain, the smell of garbage,
a burning pain in the gut, the bright red fire truck streaking past,
the joyous companionship of a good friend or a beloved dog and
the grief when they die.  We miss the actual life of this moment;
the raw, unmediated aliveness of this very moment, just as it is.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Life is an Invitation - Misc.

To Love is to be vulnerably open
to everything as it is;
to chose to stay open
to life as it is...
to open to the Ineffable Love
that holds

Mystic Meandering
Journal Notes - 2012

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser;
erasing any of it would destroy
the total experience...

(a friend)

Every experience of life is an invitation
to awaken into an Awareness
of the
essential nature of Reality -
and who we really are...

Metta Zetty

(can you see the eyes in the window reflection
just under the leaves, looking down? :)

...you have forgotten
again and again
where you come from,
where you are meant to return...

Drop the distractions
and head home.
The door is open

Go in...

Deeper and deeper

...take refuge there...

This is not a time
of sorrow,
but of gratitude...

Mirabai Starr
excerpt from: Extravagant Stillness

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Divine Puddle - Chuck Surface

When I and the world vanished, utterly,
And Ecstasy remained, as Nonexistent Existence,
I was not then a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist,
But an agnostic, though I lived, nonetheless...

With Unquenchable Longing.

It was after that Experience,
And the subsequent Presence in the Heart,
Of The Beloved's Perfume lingering,
That I began looking here and there...

Wondering if I was alone in this Affair of The Heart.

I sought throughout the various religions,
Some reference to this Dissolution and Bliss.
To Union, and Her Sweet Perfume lingering,
And found in each some Fragrance...

More so here, less so there.

But I also found, always, inevitably,
The dogma and orthodoxy of each,
The varied descriptions of "reality",
Their firm pronouncements of "truth"...

And I found myself unable to linger.

I wondered, in heartfelt consideration,
If I must pour this Molten Mystery, unformed,
Into a framework of belief, a temple of faith,
Forged by other Lovers, long ago...

And now held to by millions.

And I determined, in heartfelt consideration,
To leave my Experience Molten, unformed,
A Divine Puddle, without center or periphery,
Undefined, unexplained, remaining...

A most Beautiful Mystery, a puddle of Grace.

Now I dance through the villages of belief,
Like a madman, unfettered, a reveling child,
Splashing through the fountains of their Beauty,
Sidestepping, deftly, the muddy pools.

I continue to Love those aspects of each,
In which this Puddle finds Reflection,
In the Water of Love and Surrender,
The Beautiful Face of The Beloved.

For I am now, in the only sense that matters,
A Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist,
"I am in Love" as Hafez declared,
"But with whom I do not know."

Chuck Surface

Walk any path, if your Heart moves you.
Love and revere teachings and teachers.
But Revere, above all, the still, soft voice
Of your own Heart.

Chuck Surface

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Leaving The Shores of Belief - Mark McCloskey

Warning: Some may find this post controversial - depending on
your beliefs...

To leave the safe shores of where we think we are and venture into
the wide expanse of the sea of silent awareness itself is a scary
 proposition.  The abyss of eternity is too vast, too unknown, too big
 for many of us.  Yet, leave the shores of tradition, familiarity and belief,
 is what we must eventually do if we want to be totally free...

To allow for the realization of Pure Silence, the awareness of now,
the truth as it is, you must have a fresh unencumbered mind. 
This means not only surrendering the surface clutter or worries, 

anxieties, nostalgia, guilt, desires and fantasies, but you must abandon
 all your traditional beliefs, your concepts of religion, faith, hope
 and especially of God itself [as we have been taught to perceive "God." 
I have redefined "God" for myself many times.]
Remember you are realizing that which is eternal and present now,

 that which is beyond concept, beyond fabric.  We are looking
 together to see what not only holds the fabric of existence together,
but what allows the seams and stitches to be, what allows
 their very patterns.

For most of western humanity, God is merely a concept, a theology,
 an ideal or some super Being, someone to be placated, to be feared,
 to be worshiped, to be prayed to.  .....but to limit that which is infinite
Love itself to some vestigial object, to a being, a person,  someone or
thing we can name, provoke, control, possess is absolute silliness. 
That which encompasses all being is
Pure Silence.

That which is religion is merely human, words or thoughts about that
 which is beyond word, thought and worship.  Following a religious
 tradition, what is it that we are doing?  It seems to me that we are
 merely following somebody else's insights, whether that somebody
 is called Jesus, Buddha or Krishna or Mohammed.  All of these
 great men..... are pointing to something beyond themselves,
to something always here and something that is not philosophical
 or theological, to that which is within all, sustains all and is larger
 than all and that which is experienced by all.

To realize Pure Silence, you must abandon all thoughts [?],
even the beliefs that you have cherished forever.  Your beliefs are
 merely thoughts and what's more they originally were someone else's
 before they became your own.  To see or know or realize that which is
 infinity itself, we must come absolutely naked.  And in that complete,
destitute and utter nakedness, perhaps we may come to a simple
 glimmer of that which is, that which is you, that which cannot
be named  or sublimated into a teaching, or anything else...

This is a difficult thing to see because we believe in a thing called faith
 and belief and tradition.  We have been told by parents, friends,
churches,temples what the truth is.  But I offer you, very humbly,
 that truth cannot be contained by anyone, any thing,
any tradition, any belief. Pure Silence contains all of them...

If you can realize that, you will taste.....the essence of what every god,
every sage, messiah, prophet, teacher, poet, musician and scripture
 has been pointing to.  You will taste the freedom that you already are.
And no one, no authority, no system can challenge that
or take that away from you.
Pure Silence is a gift to you.

YOU are that which is eternal, infinite and love itself.
Just breathe in the gentle Silence...


NOTE:  brackets in text are mine

Personally I don't see it as an either/or issue.  It's not that dogmatic,
but is more a natural process, where "belief" is gradually peeled
away by grace, leaving the Ineffable...  As we move closer and closer
to the Pure Silence within, there is sometimes just a "letting go" or
dropping away of old beliefs and ideas about the way we *thought*
things were...
Whether there is a person "God" or not, I cannot say, although my
beliefs *about* God have changed, leaving the childhood images
of God and the religion of my childhood many years ago.  And yet,
there *is* something experienced beyond any belief or thought or
idea; perhaps it is the Pure Silence of Existence that he speaks of,
 or perhaps there is just a Great Mystery, called by many names...


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Discerning the False - Lama Surya Das

If it looks like wisdom but is unkind,
it is not wisdom.

If it feels like love but is not wise,
it's not love.

Lama Surya Das

Monday, November 27, 2017

God Pours Light - Hafiz

pours light
into every cup,
quenching the darkness.

The proudly pious
stuff their cups with parchment
and critique the taste of ink

while God pours light...

And the trees lift their limbs
without worry of redemption,
every blossom a chalice.

Hafiz, seduce those withered souls
with words that wet their parched
as light
pours like rain
into every empty cup
set adrift on the Infinite Ocean.


Saturday, November 25, 2017

Death is a Favor to us - Hafiz

Death is a favor to us,
but our scales have lost their balance.
The impermanence of the body
should give us great clarity,
deepening the wonder in our
senses and eyes
of this mysterious existence we share
and surely are just traveling through...


...all I know of life and myself is that
we are just a mid-air flight of golden wine
between [God's] Pitcher and His Cup.


...our marriage with the Cruel Beauty
of time and space cannot endure very long.

Death is a favor to us,
but our minds have lost their balance.
The miraculous existence and impermanence of form
always makes the illumined ones
laugh and sing.



In memory of my mother-in-law who passed from this life
Nov. 12, 2017 after lingering many years with Alzheimer's...
Death was indeed a favor to her, allowing her Essence to
"pass through" and "journey on" beyond the fields we know...