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in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of life...

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Paradox - Danna Faulds

Neti-Neti, translates as 'not this, not this.' The basis of classical
yoga, neti-neti is the way of negation.  It is a path that reveals
who I really am by cutting away all the things I am not.  I am not
this body or this migraine pain.  I am not my thoughts, even when
the inner voices grow so loud they drown out everything else.
I am not my personal stories or opinions.  I am not the fear that
threatens to swallow me, not my wisest and most insightful
writing, or even the most profound 'aha' to come out of my
spiritual practice.

The only problem is that after walking the path of neti-neti
for a time, I chafe against saying 'no' to everything.  At my
core there is a 'yes' that must be embodied and expressed...

Asmi-Asmi is the flip side of neti-neti.  Translated as 'this too,
this too', asmi-asmi is a practice that comes from tantra - the
path of immanence.  Identifying with the whole, I find spirit,
truth, and oneness everywhere...  I am this aging body on
its slow march toward death.  I am everything my senses can
experience and more. I am this mind and its dramatic machinations.
I am the yearnings of the heart, and the full spectrum of feelings,
and the peace that passes understanding.  I am the worst of my
poems, and the best.  I am the infinite reach of nature, sky and
stars.  The only word that matters on this path is 'Yes.'  I include,
include, include until the individual 'me' blips out, leaving
only unity.

My personal preference has always been for sensory experience,
embodiment, and inclusion.  For that reason, I resisted the practice
of neti-neti because it felt dry and life-denying.  I wasn't interested
in transcendence if it came at the expense of being fully alive in
my body and actively engaged in life.  Fortunately, I overcame
my resistance and discovered that when I really focused on bare
awareness, on what was not thought, not sensation, not my
personal accumulation of conditioning and beliefs, I landed in
a very spacious place of pure potential.

Exploring that potential, it occurred to me that practicing at
either end of the spectrum - neti-neti or asmi-asmi  - might
result in the same experience.  Inquiring deeper, I asked myself
if ultimate negation and absolute inclusion could exist
simultaneously.  'That's impossible', my rational mind answered.
'It's happening', my experience whispered softly in my ear.
In that moment, I fell into a profound inner silence - the silence
that flashes into existence when opposites unite.  Outside of time,
I disappeared into the limitless.

Perhaps I can best describe my current practice as 'both/and.'
Instead of focusing only on neti-neti, or giving myself entirely
over to the practice of asmi-asmi, I am plumbing the depths
of paradox where 'no' and 'yes' coexist.

In the light and laughing space
where Not-This and All-This
are both true, the whirl of
thought dissolves. The mind
drowns in paradox.  Awareness
neither reaches out, nor reaches in,
and times hangs suspended.

Danna Faulds
Excerpt from the introduction to her book
Limitless - 2009

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