No money

No money in the world can buy you certainty.
No money can buy you love.
No money can free you of your pain.

Money can help you to tell the rest of the world go to hell...
Which is a boon in itself.
At least to the wise.
In these pressured times, it is hard to be your own man.

I have met many individuals who are portraits of certain sentiments.
I have met he who is a picture of laziness;
He who is the weary face of judgment;
He who is lust: He who is anger.

All of them dwell in the mirror of my own charecter.
But he for whom the word "impossible" does not apply.
He is whom I seek.

No, seeking is the wrong word.
Seeking is a desperate act.
And love does not come from desperation.

It is he whom I sit patiently listening for;
Knowing, with utter certainty,
Though I do not always see him....
He is always with me.

I am not a body, I am Still as God created me !?

Is it possible though that this idea that "I am the body" is the source of all our problems? I do not think that what he is saying denies compassion for the incarnate. But it does perhaps hold a light up to the root of all their problems. It is foolish to say to a man who has broken his leg - "do not worry man, you are not a body." Compassion means to operate and give him the best medical care. But that does not preclude the practice of withdrawing the mind from the ego consciousness which cannot exist without the body and heading for samadhi which is our real state - beyond the body...

Ramakrishna used to ask for a glass of water or a cigerette when he came out of samadhi - because unlike you and I and the mass of humanity who find it very hard to be in such a state - he found it hard to be in the body - so small and tentative was his ego. The water or cigerette helped to "ground" him in the ego and the gross world of illusions. Freedom is about being free of the confines of the world and ascending to our rightful place in heaven - a place we have never left - but it is the illusion of the divided mind that says otherwise and which we cling to in fear. True freedom does not deny the world - but, with the help of the Holy Spirit, it compassionately allows us to see beyond it too. A doctor might be able to heal many diseases. But only the saint has healed the source of all diseases in himself. Even then, he might have cancer or typhoid - but, as his consciousness is not allied with the body - he is able to see these things as the play of karma and maya and not relative to the real "I." The ego's "I" would have us believe we are limited to the body and the brain - and it is ALWAYS a prison - a place of pain, pleasure, self-pity and problems - never is their joy or truth to be found there. The real "I" is boundless - it knows "I am presence" - and there is no limit to the compassion potential in such a state - because then you are not separate from anyone. But as long as you see yourself confined to the body and the world - such insight is merely a strange philosophical idea and there can be no transformation or healing. We are the Christ - but our thought forms bar us from awakening to that truth. The Christ is the essence, the spirit in every atom of creation - it is the light that the body's eyes cannot see. Only the mind that has gone past the pairs of opposites can be related to it's real nature in Christ.

Gurus

We all worship at one shrine or another.
We all have gurus.
I think our favorites must be Procrastinanda and Lethar-ji!

Real context

Arthur C Clarke is predicting when we will drop down on Mars. He sits in a wheel chair in Sri Lanka. All over the subcontinent of India and around the world poor people are praying for a better life.
And religious people pray to go to Heaven or Nirvana or Moksha or whatever you call a better place. Some say that heaven is here before our eyes but we do not see it.

Krishnamurti said that there are no problems beyond the mind. But who knows what the mind is or where it's limits lie? Without asking these questions, how else you gonna go beyond it? !

Buddha says that there is suffering and that the only way to deal with it is to face it and understand it. Go to the very roots of it.
The Buddha was a very great yogi: a man who found real happiness - something beyond the conditioned world.

Learning has it's limits. Awareness and insight are not part of learning. They transcend it. Religion cannot be learned. It flowers naturally when everything else drops away. When there is pure awareness and nothing else. You cannot come to it intellectually.

Then there is the world of shadows and pain, the world of contrasts and pleasure, the world of today and tomorrow. But none of it is real...Only the intelligence of love is real - it puts everything in its proper context.

Looking down on it all from 30 000 feet

Looking down on it all from 30 000 feet

A few days ago I found myself in a bar called Chez Vous. Chez Vous is run by Belgian Korean adoptees in Itaewon - the international district of Seoul. It used to offer massages in the daytime and be a bar at night. Now it is a just a bar. I guess the owner got worried that the place might be seen in the wrong light. It did not help matters that the massage therapists kept disappearing and stealing the clients as they went.

I went by the place on Korea's big national thanksgiving holiday (Chuseok) and I got talking to a contemporary dancer from Minnesota. The dancer also happened to be a Korean adoptee whom had been raised overseas. I had planned to go that way to check out the Itaewon fesitval, but I discovered the festival was not happening. So I dropped by Chez Vous to say hi to Sebastian from Belgium and I ended up talking a few hours about the subject of identity with the dancer.

Chez Vous was closed that day and was holding a private party for friends; and all the friends happened to be adoptees....adoptees from France, Belgium and Canada and America. All seemed to be looking for some kind of other home in Korea. Korea pulled them there with its alluring mystery and dispenced many a frustration, as well as lots of unexpected questions and answers.

I spent my first 18 years on and off in England. I then moved to South America for a year. Then, it was to Los Angeles, which I called home for much of my twenties. Along the winding path, l have lived in Aberdeen, Scotland for a summer, and that was sandwiched between a spring and winter on a houseboat on the river Thames. More recently I have been living in Paris, the Czech Republic, Spain and Korea. Last year, I spent a month in India.

I am writing this from 30 000 feet - or whatever is the cruising altitude of a modern jet plane trying to make its way somewhere. I am en route to Singapore to visit a person I dreamed about lately....and then I will be travelling on to Chennai, India. Life is quite extraordinary. A wise teacher used to ask me if we ask our finger nails to grow. It was his way of pointing out that not all forces in life are immediately apparent...some sit under the surface, like buried treasure waiting to be discovered. I listen to dreams very carefully. This one had a special resonance. Hence my trip to Singapore.

I am leaving Korea after almost a year there. It is one of the most homogenous societies I have ever lived in and one of the most small-minded and racist. There are many rigid rules in Korea - rules born of an archaic Confucianism that seems to have a firm grip on the Korean mind. Slowly change is coming about.

A few years ago Korea was poor and the country worked damned hard to be where it is today. In general, I found Koreans cunning, (yet there were plenty of wonderful exceptions too). I do not know if they are more argumentative than other cultures. They eat almost everything with hot spices and they drink more alcohol per head than pretty much every other nation; maybe that explains the hot tempers.

Technologically, Korea is second to none really. The subway system is immaculate and the buses are on time and clean.

It is hard not to offend people when you speak in generalities. That does not mean that generalities do not have a certain value. Parisians have a reputation for being rude and arrogant to visitors...Some Indians seem to be quite wary of doing business transactions with other Indians often, whilst they are quite comfortable working with westerners. My friend joked that it was because they get to see themselves when working with another Indian. "It is like looking in the mirror" he said, "what is seen is not always pleasant." All of this may be worthy of bearing in mind...but it should also be remembered that humans are human beings and fear and love are universal possibilities.

We all have a dark side and nations are no different. I try to focus on the positive and look beyond the past and appearances. Even so, suffering fools gladly is not a recipe for happiness in a dysfunctional world.

I have never been comfortable with cliques and never impressed by any brand of nationalism...even Gandhi's brand of nationalism that made an honored place for the rest of the world...leaves me unsettled. Remember the childhood quarrel in the playground where young boys threaten each other with their fathers: "My father could easily take out your father." I have a healthy distaste for group mentalities, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant they might seem.

From soccer hooligans to royal families, the politics of specialness concerns me ...no matter how enticing specialness might seem, it always has an ugly flip side. It is isolating by nature and breeds prejudice.

Differences are not always easy to overlook though. I found eating with Koreans quite difficult. Koreans eat their food with their mouth wide open, which is a tough thing to get used to when you were raised to see such behavior as the height of bad manners. In the Far east, the idea is that by loud open-mouthed chomping you get more flavor from your food.

I remember a renowned teacher once commented that more often than not the greatest teacher comes from our own cultural background and on many levels it makes sense.

I do not mean the kind of "teacher" who challenges you to be more patient and more tolerant. Such a "teacher" can be a sloppy room-mate, an annoying co-worker or a trying family member or some cross-cultural challenges that circumstances force you to face . Such people and circumstances have their place in all our lives.

Here, however,I am speaking specifically of people who challenge us to come upon our essence...who point to new perspectives and share significant questions.

I remember at the age of seventeen I took a boat to Belfast with a friend of mine. I was embarking on a European tour. In Belfast there was another friend. This guy had an inquiring mind. It was a catalyst for my own.

Somehow my schooling had never really served up the kind of mind that I really resonated with. I spent much of my childhood alone in the woods collecting leaves and watching birds.

I played on the school hockey team, debated on the debating society, thrived in the science labs, mused in english classes and awkwardly made my way through the french classes. I felt very happy in the art room. My enthusiasm for melody was muted by the stale approach of the music teacher. I was very interested in the Religious Education we received and pondered often the insane history that it pointed to (everyone else just seemed intent on preying on the vulnerabilities of the tender Irish man who taught the class).

I dreamed of going places beyond the stuffy four walls and unfeeling assignments in geography. Math was symmetrical and aloof....but none of all this served me any synthesis. I needed some mystical glue to stick it all together.

I remember arriving at the quay in Belfast. stayed there a couple of days. Belfast is full of stories of conflict and my friend knew them well. He knew about the troubles, about the way people spoke about things or did not speak about things. He knew about the way people wore their clothes and who wore what clothes and how they gestured.. and what it all meant. To hear him talk about this bruised microcosm of the world which he had tried to fathom...I felt like I had met a mind that reached for answers that traced important issues to their roots.

Few of us realise how much violence and pain lies knarled and twisted under the surface. My friend identified it in Belfast and in human nature as a whole. I battled with it myself in the trials I went through with my family and as I came of age in an angry world.

I wanted to go to India. I wanted to go to Tibet. I wanted to go to Nepal. I wanted to know where we came from, where we were going, what was at the heart of life. Somehow distant kingdoms figured in the search before me. I could not explain precisely why.

Physics and chemistry, for all their genius had not the same intensity of allure as biology did. Biology means the study of life processes. I was never comfortable with labels. I had read a wonderful physicist who had turned his mind to biology. I warmed to his bright mind...he could roam across boundaries others feared to cross. He was not limited by conventions and so his work was highly original.

In my own case, I recognized that I could breathe air, I could follow the whale...I could empathise with all of that....but the star that twinkled so far away and the atom that fused it all, seemed so out of reach...marvelous, yes.... yet they did not captivate me like a seabird or a fern.
I was a born poet. A poet who trusted science, but a poet who wanted answers, who roamed easily.

I remember once in the Pacific Ocean I was working on a Whale Research boat. I was barely 18 years old. My head was full of questions. And a young marine biology major with whom I was working turned to me and said, "Nathan, you ask too many questions. You would do better if you gave brain a rest." I lost something I had once thought to be quite precious at that point. I have never regained it.

I lost my feeling that science had all the answers. Perhaps, Vance (the student) was right on one level. My brain needed a rest. But he was dead wrong about the questions. We do not ask enough. Certainly not enough of the right questions and pursue them to their logical end.

I was still consumed by a journey to track down my identity. I think we all do it. Yet we do it with varying degrees of passion and with varying degrees of seriousness. My friends veered off and headed for Budapest while I headed north ... then further north. I travelled across Germany in a day. I traversed Sweden into Norway. I went as far as the train would take me, then I hitchhiked to Hammerfest.

I believe it is the most northerly city in the world. There is a statue of the polar explorer Amundsun in the town square. There were reindeer walking nonchalantly in the street. The Lapplanders (Sami people) in their bright blue and red attire were engaged in their daily lives. I was a stranger in a world that was as foreign as the moon, and yet I felt at home. It was light almost all the time. It was the height of summer...

Somehow, I got back to Stockhom and took a plane to London Heathrow. I had ran out of money by then and had to hitchhike out of the terminal. I got several lifts...finallly ending up being delivered to my door by a very kind couple of London rogues who were going north.

I did not go to university. I did not go to India. I decided everyone went to India: everyone who wanted mystical answers from a journey. The East had that kind of draw on many westerners. I did not relish being typical and I was not sure whether I would get the best of what India could give me at such a young age....I thought South America would be more accessible and less overwhelming. I did not know what to dedicate myself to and so I put off university.

I knew that a good university education was fitting of my background and birth...but I saw no clear path ahead - everything interested me, nothing was off limits or out of the question. It seemed like the worst thing I could do was specialize. I needed a broad breadth of experience to satiate my appetite for life. I went out and found exactly that.

Yet, I could not see the wood for the trees. I could see the trees were complex...I could see the world was beset with problems - at least the part of the world that man participated in...and I wanted to find my place...but outside of an institution; at least for a while. Around that time my mother gave me a book by Lauree Lee..."As I walked out one midsummer morning." I took the hint....if it was a hint it was a subtle one...but I guess she could see what was coming and knew the poet in me would never stay in one place for long at that time.

I walked out one autumn morning...very, very early with a one-way ticket to the unknown.

I resolved to roam and to try and find some clues. I wrote to the British museum and asked if I might be able to volunteer for any zoologists in Ecuador....I took a job teaching English in the Andes....and figured it might lead somewhere...anywhere that wasn't here - that was all that mattered then. By the time that old travel friend was getting married almost ten years later....I myself had been married then divorced and still I had not found myself. However, I had picked up some insights along the way...from some very diverse - even disparate -relationships.

I have been a nomad for so long. I like it. But there is something spellbinding about coupling with another human being. If you don't get attached...love can enter.

My friend and I had crossed paths over the years - in America, in London, in my home town...and he was still a good friend. But I missed his wedding. A series of events in my life had let the cat out of the bag in my quest for meaning. The cat was heading for India and I dutifully followed.

I wrote to my friend and apologised. I remember he had given me prayer beads from Nepal once. He was someone who understood that strange drive in me that was not bothered about being identfied with a place or a job...but who saw the hypnotic allure of self-inquiry that quietly had me hooked.

We feel very comfortable around very good friends. They know what drives us. A good friend of mine has a similar drive. I remember walking with him around the ruins of Pompeii once. I saw this goddess. She had dark wavy hair. A dream of a woman. Red cotton dress, dark eyes, warm gypsy olive skin, graceful flowing movements. God she was beautiful. Like an appariton. I think we both saw her. Maybe he was not as captivated as I. But he could empathize with the exotic spell that I was under....and it did not stop with women. It knew nothing of the landscape of an unquestioned life.

My friend showed me Belfast. He showed me the Orange day parade, the cruel ironies of the city, the tough streetwise ways of the people, the way people walked, the way they spoke, the way it all weaved itself into a distinctive tapestry of identity and, in a couple days with him, I felt like a man without a history. I felt no kinship with Liverpool or Cheshire. I could say very little about them by comparison...though I liked the Liverpudlian sense of humor.

I fitted into no community, no church, no belief system. I felt inspired by nature and troubled by history. I could never be English. I have touched down in England over the years for a few days....after forays in hot California deserts and after weathering a cold winter in Eastern Europe, and I see how my body is celtic. It is attuned perfectly with the green, green grass of England. It is part of the rain and the leaves and the rivers of blood that go back centuries. Yet, I am not English.

At the bar in Seoul, the Korean American dancer talked about dancing....about how difficult it is to dance with a partner. How you must let go and let boundaries dissolve. She talked about how identity is a question that has captivated her her whole life. Raised as an Amercian, but always something other at the same time. And now as I travel through the dark night, above and through the clouds....I am reflecting on who I am. An Englishman who is not quite English, who is something other.

I discovered the writings of Jiddu Krishnamurti when I was in my early twenties. He was not long dead. I heard him say "truth is a pathless land"...those words rose from the page and hit me between the eyes. He said that man lives in a nightmare world of images which he pastes together into identities... that the world is busy talking, talking, talking... but that very, very few actuallly communicate. I heard him say that identity was our downfall. And, like Colin, who once said to me on a glacier in Iceland. - "Nathan, you would hate the army, it is all about rules. Rules that have no meaning in your life." (I was musing about what army life might be like...)...what he said resonated and made sense.

Now I am going to India and I just read something Gandhi said - which I said to a customer in a bookshop I worked in in Paris a couple of years ago (I never knew Gandhi had said the same thing though back then). You see Gandhi was once asked: "What do you think of Western Civilisation?" and he replied "Well, I think it would be a good idea." In the bookshop, the question I was asked was a little different. Someone approached me, looking for a particular section in the shop: "I am looking for Western Civilisation." and I responded..."Me too. I have been looking all my life....but I have yet to find it."

What is it that seeks an identity? It seems to be something very significant - the search, I mean. It is a question that brought all those Korean adoptees to Korea, it is something that gave Colin such an amazing feeling for Belfast's history...something that takes me to India over my "brother's" wedding. It seems that the most passionate seekers of an identity...those that scratch beneath the surface of a clothing style or a shared musical taste....are propelled to go deep by a powerful, and sometimes subtle, underlying conflict.

Liverpool and the north-west of England might have produced the Beetles and been a gateway to the New World....but they were not the war zone that Belfast was. And I knew so little about the place that I had grown up in compared to Colin. Conflict drove him to question something that never even concerned me. He had a sense of place and a sense of history amongst people. I had a sense of place in the animal kingdom, in nature...but that was as far as it went. I never felt like I belonged to anything other than the estuary or the wood or the oceans that beckoned me in far away dreams of travel. The hockey team, the county, the country...none of those ever cut it for me. And as for family, I was always the lone black sheep, part of the flock, but a strange undecided representative, almost a species apart. The loved loner connected by art and affection...dislodged by common questions that I could not put down.

I think it took me a while to get really interested in people psychologically. I was fascinated by trees and mushrooms and wading birds and fox prints in the snow. I never saw the allure of the mind...until I arrived in Los Angeles at the age of nineteen fresh from the Amazon jungle. That urban jungle hooked me. I was ready for it by then. Not before. I began to see that on this long journey of life, understanding our thoughts and emotions is the key to understanding the causes of suffering. That insight drives me forward.

Yes, the flower is far brighter than any description or praise we can give it. I agree now with Walt Whitman, who once said...."You should not be to precise about the plants and the animals." (I am paraphrasing his words from memory). I have moved away from my need to catalogue the cosmos, as I set out to do as a young child. I have moved away from the need to be accepted....to find a linear path in a world that has little reason. I hear Krishnamurti when he says: "what does it say about you if you fit into this world....after all the world man has made is a rather sick world." I hear the inspired song that keeps me an outsider looking in....a traveller along the way, someone not easily lured by compromise.

I am not looking for acceptance. Is that what the Korean adoptees who come back to the land of their rivers of blood are seeking? Perhaps. I wonder if it is at all meaningful though. Democracy seems to sell us many illusions. Equality and acceptance are amongst them. Equality is the heart of the democratic ideal. Yet we seem to practice it very badly: surely because of the identities we create or because of those that the world around us projects on to us: we are victimiser and victim both. Do we ever ask what is it that wishes to be accepted?

I am not trying to create an identity for myself. My search is quite different. Michelagnelo was once asked how he created David. "I took away all that was not David." There seems to be wisdom in that line. Real creativity is about discarding what is false and refining what is undistilled and sublime. The only identity that ends our inner conflicts is the one based on honesty.

To be honest you have to have guts. You have to deal with you fear and uncertainty. You have to wander in a pathless land. You need to be actively questioning what freedom is; if freedom is. You need to be disciplined, but not governed by meaningless rules. You need to be open to love, and I suppose, if there is one thing I can say about love,...it is that it destroys all made-up identites, all transitory masks...and it leaves you face to face with the man in the mirror. Naked and without a community - at least a community that is capable of isolation from the whole.

My face has changed over the years. My diet too. My thoughts...my hairstyle, the things I am drawn too...even my accent has transformed itself over and over again. A friend commented - "when you get to India your voice will change." He is dead right. I will be a little more Indian in my speech. It is the chameleon in me. The colors change. Though the colors are surface details, not to be confused with the real issue.

It does seem that the exotic and the unknown are suitable mirrors for a man who is looking for something to stir his soul. I have an Indian friend that celebrates the Eest. He has studied in England and wants to go back to major in law. He likes that he can play cricket there, that the streets are relatively clean and that you are not overloaded with smells and beggars. He wants to live in England, not India. He hates India.

I, on the other hand question Western civilisation. I question India too...I take no sides. I marvel at the science of Copernicus, Gallileo and Newton. I take my hat off to that "western civilsation." I think Freud opened a door that needed to be opened....but I think he did it in a rather convoluted way. I think there is a great hidden story that Freud tuned into in part...a story which most of us hardly ever scratch the surface of. Unwillingness is a very large part of what we confuse ourselves to be. It need not be that way. Yoga (authentic yoga: the yoga that leads beyond the shadowlands of desire) seems to be alive to this. (Are you?)

Civilisation is all these things and the uneasy backbone of civilisation is religion. Religion means "to link back" in Latin. Similarly, yoga means to "link something" in Sanskrit.

Yet, I do not think the Bible does a very good job of linking what needs to be linked..in parts it does, but that does not mean we have the ears to hear it. I do not think Hinduism or Buddhism or Islam necessarily do a good job of it either. I do not feel comfortable with priests that bless battleships or with Popes that sit on pedestals. I think civilisation has been damned by hunger for power....and that hunger is often masked in the robes of piety and I think that is a great, great cause for concern.

I do not see the sense in politicians that talk of peace and who are all along preparing for war. I do not want to be a part of a tribe...because it seems tribes inevtiably clash and fight. My faith is in the individual and in unravelling the mind...My sights are set upon a level of awareness that sees clearly the impact of suffering and appreciates the causes of suffering.

My faith leads me out of the halls of science, out of the smoky dens of bohemia and the stuffy libraries of the intellect,.. away from the blind preachers and the rallies of the protesters and the podiums of the powerful. My faith has me rough-riding on the back of a meaningful question: - "what am I?", the wellspring of all other questions.

This question takes one out of the labarynth of thought. After all, a saint or wise person - the pinnacle of civilisation - does not make a movement or sell a cause or invent a slogan....they just ask "Who am I?" with sufficient humility to discern the sacredness of life. The individual who is alive to such a question is an individual whom you cannot employ or mold. His "me" is very small. He goes beyond identity and finds himself... at home in oneness, and a foriegner everywhere else. He is never apart from anyone, and never with the group.

To him nowhere feels like home: nowhere but the unchartered trail of his inner urgency. For, it is that urgency which brings our questions out of the frame of uncertain possibilities into the realm of sacred meaning; it is that urgency which guides us faithfully every inch of the unchartered way.

That urgency, when it is a living, breathing force gives us permission and bountiful reason to love the beautiful woman and the cruellest murderer. It allows us to feel without imposing judgmental limits. It leads out of the fearful prison of choices to a land where we are one amongst equals...even if those around us do not see the equality, but choose instead to draw swords and run from fear howling. When there is real urgency, the search for identity finally discovers an undiminishing source of sustenance and significance.

It seems that India has always had space for quiet piercing questions....no matter how crampt and corrupt it might appear on the surface, no matter how uncivilised the rest of the world might be. Having said this, I am most conscious of making idols. We all do it - whether it be the body or chairman Mao or Buddha or the age of enlightenment. We like to have things to coat in an aura of specialness. Inevitably though, disappointments follow when things do not match up to our ideals or expectations...cracks appear that become burdens which need to be looked at rather than hidden. There is always going to be disappointment in seeing anywhere as a promised land.

This world is not perfect. It is decidedly screwed up and a mishmash of chaos and order. Somehow, though, many look to dissolve the disorder and find harmony. Even those that don't attempt this, aspire to do so in their hearts. If we can be sober and keep on the track of the authentic and continuously be clear about our limits....I think we can discover the eternal laws in life that are meaningful.

Ultimately, where you are and what you are doing does not matter too much. What matters is whether what you think you are is attuned to what you actually are. Undoing the illusionary divide between our thoughts and reality is the challege of being human. It is the daily work of wisdom.

There is an invisible realm of sorrow. There is an invisible realm of joy. This, we all know instinctively. How many though, ask what it is that dies when the heart stops beating and the blood stops flowing into the brain stem?

Throughout the ages there have been witch-hunts. Man is a suspicious, frightened animal. He wants to control what is beyond his control. A few amongst us seek insight over ignorance, prefering to look dispassionately upon the demons in our humanity.

It is true there is evil in this world and others. Yet, there is no such thing as absolute evil. An exorcism frees an entity of a dark and malignant wound. The light of intelligence forgives the tragedy of our projections. Other forces wait in the wings for an unearthly silence to saturate our hearts...

There is a vital source that is not a part of dreams. Link with that, and the nightmare we sort to invent, vanishes into the emptiness from which it never came and all meaningless identities are lost in the wash.


"You were created by love. Love holds no grievances."

A Course in Miracles

It is said that man can move mountains...that peace is possible...I neither believe nor disbelieve. I only question. I don't settle for verbal answers nor for ideas. I am learning to respect the limits of the body and the mind.

I know that honesty is the same as courage, that self-reliance is indispensable, that happiness is unfathomable without virtue...Is there such a thing as remembering I am not the body nor the mind? Is that the blessing of awakening?

The Great Indian sage Ramana (M) on suffering:

Q: There are great people, public workers, who cannot solve the misery of the world.

M: They are ego-centered, hence the inability. If they remained in the Self, they would be different.

Q: Why did the Self manifest as this miserable world?

M: In order that you might seek It. Your eyes cannot see themselves, but put a mirror in front of them and then, and only then, do they see themselves. Similarly with creation. See yourself first and then see the whole world as the Self.

Destiny

James Joyce worked on his last novel for 15 years, in failing health and under fire from the critics - who said that his work was too obscure, too abstract. He had a vision and the critic's voices were not lost on him - instead they became weaved into the fabric of the creative journey.

Abraham Lincoln presided over a country divided and found a way to be with rightness. Surrounded by uncertainty, he was poised enough within, to listen to what was important.

Who lives an authentic life? He who comes to life with intense interest and attention. He who has faith in something unknowable.

Some work for money. Some are extensions of love. The latter are very rare. Find out what is true for you. Then if you are lucky you might learn what dedication is...and what you express will be free of motives.




Even now there is room for insight

I am at the standstill of my fears.
Holding them by the hand.
Giving them reassurance no longer.
It is not a matter of fortune or time.
Only attention.

Death comes quickly

Death comes quickly
And very seldom does one live.
Some one says "open your eyes."
And very seldom does one listen.

Standing on the edge.
On our left a desert.
On our right a field of eternal flowers.

Distance is a measure of the mind.
It is the diameter of identity.
It blinds the crowd.
And very seldom does one see.

India's Subtle Treasure: Yoga


I have not been in India long and I am not very good at being British. I have lived there for about 8 months in the last twelve years, though I spent a lot of my childhood there. I think I find it easier to be a stranger in a strange land. I feel it helps me to study the human condition. Perhaps it is that you learn more about yourself in a world where things are conditioned differently to how you were raised. You are challenged to look into the mirror of strange experiences and question "who am I?"

A Swedish fellow asked me recently "What are you doing in India?" I replied "I have come to study yoga." "On your own?" he said. "Yep." "So no one sent you here?" "No, I was inspired to come." He seemed pretty shocked. I do not work for a multi-national and I do not have a driver (I have a bicycle that just got hit by a driver today! Man the road rules here were written by blind monkeys! - illiterate blind monkeys!). But I am in India and dead serious about yoga.

I once read a wonderful book about British travel writers. Few nations have quite as strong a tradition of travel writers. I was struck by one of the lines in a chapter entitled "Greece and Tibet." Apparently these two countries have had an almost quixotic spell on literary nomads from the British Isles for centuries. I lived in the US for many years and know the country and it's people fairly well. I love the clear light of California, the spacious calm of the Great Plains...I still believe, despite the hard times that America is bound to face in coming years, that it has great potential to help the world. The spirit of Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau and Lincoln is not entirely lost despite so many appearances to the contrary. Such a spirit is formidable.

One comment in that travel book though struck me as very true. It was a short and full-blooded line - "Greece is a thousand times bigger than America." If you have been fortunate to travel in the States and Greece...perhaps that line will have some meaning for you. Greece is a tapestry of many histories that include the roots of our western civilisation. It has a patchwork quilt-texturing of a thousand myths in every island, in every cypress grove. America, by comparison is a land of newcomers. Yes, there is the wandering trail of the Native Americans, but somehow it lacks the epic scale of the land of Socrates. India in the same category, if not one all of her own. She has had countless Socrates of her own. She is equally vast and just as rich in gods and legends, sages and wisdom.

So what is yoga? What is this jewel in the crown of the subcontinent that draws me here? To introduce yoga in so few words is not an enviable task...for it heralds from an ancient and great body of knowledge (the Vedas). There have been as many definintions as there have been practitioners...for, like anything worthwhile, it takes on a shade of personal significance in the hands of each individual who takes it up. Yet, as a science yoga is basically the technology of linking the mind to the source of creation (in essence, yoga means to "link to something" or "to be related." ) That takes discipline. The original meaning of the word "discipline" means "to learn." You have to learn about the nature of ignorance and what lies behind it to link yourself with discrimination and meaning. You have to watch very carefully and unravel the riddle of the mind-body complex. You have to ask questions. And not settle for verbal answers. As the flower of the Greek civilisation - Socrates said - "the unquestioned life is not worth living." Over the centuries, the yoga system has developed out of some very serious questioning by many wise and genuine beings.

There is something tremendous within us which we have forgotten. Using the many tools of the yogic tradition, we can learn how to build a relationship with that essence which we find ourselves divorced from. With great attention we can gain profound understanding of the nature of suffering..so that we might find a way to emancipate ourselves from it.

To confront the conflicts within us is where harmony begins. It seems to me that in a world such as ours - one so bogged down by fear, selfishness and anger; one where we are all chasing some form of pleasure or security....it is intelligent to ask if there is something sacred, something holy - beyond doctrines, beyond images and effigies, beyond the scope of the hands or the limitations of the mind.

Classical Yoga - Ashtanga yoga (the eightfold path of Patanjali's yoga sutras) is dedicated to the search for meaning in the context of the above statement. It starts with asanas. "Asana" has several meanings - but basically it can be translated to mean "position." Asanas are stretching exercises which serve to bring about a strong and flexible body. Then there is pranayama which is the science of conserving and directing the life force. Practically speaking, working with the breath is the focus of pranayama. Pranayama can help in so many ways when learned under the guidance of an experienced teacher - it can calm the mind and heal the body. Then there is meditation which is a spontaneous action totally free of effort. Right speech, right conduct, practice of asanas and study of pranayama all contribute to the kind of refinement and sensitivity that is necessary to make space for that sacred awareness which comes upon us in meditation.

Yoga leads you back to your Self. What is the Self? It can be described, but the actual discovery is far, far more important. It is the unending ocean of presence. It is the awesome, ever-happy home of the mystic. Discovering it is the purpose of all religions and yoga alike. The difference with yoga is that you do not have to believe in anything. Yoga is a science of discerning what is actually true and what is illusionary. The tools of that science are observation and that marvellous instrument known as the mind. There are no problems beyond the mind and all the solutions lie there too. When the mind is quiet, the Self naturally shines forth and one is in the state of yoga.

Whispers to my Beloved

You, my beloved.
You are my twin, my father, my daughter
I see you are everyone to me.
The seed of endless forests.
The welcomed shade on a hot afternoon.
Great lover of the falling rain.
.
At times you sport the mask of a stranger.
Later, you are a good and trusted friend.
At other moments you feign to persecute me.
Now, I am no different.

When I look beyond the body’s eyes,
I see we are One Self united.
I see we consecrate the sacred ring.
We cradle the hope of the world and heal the great divide.

We are the wedding of all that must be celebrated.
I am the quiet presence forever embracing you.
And you are the quiet presence forever embracing me.

There is only I am.
I am being.
I am spirit.

Everything else is a dream about a caged bird.
The eagle that soars on thermal currents knows better.
Close the doors to the darkness.
Come to that state of knowing beyond
The world’s tired senses.

Beloved, when you are gripped by fear, remember me holding you
And the angels that protect us?
Whatever threat looms ominous on the horizon of your thoughts?
Greet it with the undaunted sunlight of what life treasures in you.
And walk out of the shadow-lands.
Walk free, of the twisted memory of what you have dreamed yourself to be.
And as you wake?

And as you wake, as your mind adjusts to the light,
Be open.

Be open to the ocean of happiness.
Be open to that formless realm where peace has its home.
Be open to the kingdom of certainty.

A part of you will remain where the only certainty is uncertainty:
Still, as you linger there awhile,
Look for that thread of mystery and inner purpose.
It remains strong and undaunted.
And there you will find me.
And in me the reflection of what I am shall no more
Be lost.

You have destroyed me. Thank you.

You have destroyed me. Thank you.

I see the heart of the hunter.
I see the beauty of the murderer.
I see the honesty of the liar.
I see the source of the story is where my end is.
I see the herald of the moon.
I see you smiling, when you're awash with tears.

I see the death of yesterday...
The beginning of now...
Emptying through me.
As I look back, nothing is the same.
As I look forward, nothing is certain.
And I am free-falling...
Into mystery.

With the dwindling of the flame,
I hear the mention of your name.
And with the dying of the light,
I recognize you and I are one again.
You have destroyed me.
Thank you.


We all want to be Loved

We all want to be loved,
And to tell the truth, I want to love you.

It is strange how happiness strikes us.
The other day I was sitting in a classroom.
A little child was next to me.
I was helping her with coloring.
And I started crying.
I was totally overcome...
Defeated...
Engulfed by happiness.

Sometimes it baffles me why people jump out of
airplanes or torture themselves running needless
marathons.

Other times I find myself so distant,
so completely away from anything and everyone...
Barely in the world even.
Yet very much at home.

I was born into a loving family.
I have traveled more than most.
Though my heart is full of a great melancholy for the world,
Wherever I roam there is space enough for laughter.
I have studied my faults and made that my major.
I have had brothers, not of blood,
But of mind and heart.
Yet in all my life there is nothing that amounts to anything...
Only my search for Him.

Without wisdom I suffocate.
We are no different, you and I.
Every original man would be a non-conformist.
Every happy man has dropped all his plans
And followed his awareness out.
Out to pasture in the unlimited unknown.

Do nothing and we are inseparable.
We all meet in the cave of aloneness;
Where time ends...
And the desire to be loved or to love
is realized.

What lies forgotten but not lost

We forget the most important things. Not items on our shopping list. Not things we must do. Not even things we mustn’t do. Sure, all those things have a certain value. And yet we forget why we are here and we give those other things a value in our minds which is grossly disproportionate to their actual worth.

We tend to think we are here to collect things. Perhaps we do not consciously believe that is what we think, but look closely at our actions and they tend to confirm that some kind of thinking like that is actually behind how we spend our lives. Money, admirers, worshippers, houses, cars, countries visited, prestige in the eyes of the world, knowledge, sexual experiences, good deeds… -some of these things or all of these things and more besides - it seems - the majority of us are out to collect.

Not that those things are bad. We all need a place to live and money to live in this world. We need some knowledge to function and to do our jobs. Sexual intimacy is part of partner relationships…all of these things are natural. What is dangerous is the way we prioritize the significance of collecting things, (i.e. collecting things beyond that which is essential) over what is truly important.

You see wisdom is not in the habit of collecting. Wisdom actually questions habits. It discards and refines what is essential. Wisdom remembers what we have forgotten. It remembers to not take life too seriously; it remembers to laugh. It does not take advantage of another and it emerges from a place of conviction in ourselves which is founded in profound intelligence and insight into the real nature of things.

We are not here to collect things – whether it be material things or power over others or pleasurable experiences. The primary reason we are here is to learn the great lessons that our relationships would have us learn. Relationships are our mirrors to our selves.

When you look into a mirror, you are presented with an image of the body. That image is a reflection of your present state. In a real mirror you see your body. You see something that is in a state of constant change. It is a living, breathing thing: something that is growing and aging and something that demands constant attention and nourishment in order for it to stay balanced and healthy.

In the mirror of relationships whether it is the mirror of your relationship with the grass or the birds or a person or your body…you also see something that is in a state of constant change: the mind. Yet, there is also something informing it all…something very sacred…something that is the source of wisdom and something that does not change.

This awareness just watches, the thoughts and feelings that come into your mind. But it itself is not affected by the thoughts and feelings that come and go through the mind. It is not a part of any concept that you have about your identity. It cannot be conceptualized. Awareness of that state which watches can be awakened with careful attention.

Also there is a “bridge” between that wise, unchanging intensity and the mind. You might call that bridge “impersonal intelligence.” Actually, this unchanging state and intelligence are part of a continuum – to see them as distinct from one another is to misperceive them.

However for the purposes of communication and semantics distinguishing between these two aspects of the one continuum has a certain value. Intelligence is that thing which brings order and insight into the mind from another level.

Ultimately, the mind is a grand illusion. Yet whilst it IS an illusion, that very illusion also contains the path OUT of the illusion. The mind might be compared to a labarynth through which we are passing. Nothing in our essential nature can be changed on the journey through the labarynth…only our perception about our essential nature can change. And it is our misperception of what we actually are that ultimately gets us stuck in a time-warp and slows down our passage through the labarynth.

In truth there is no individual, just as there is no mind. There are no original thoughts in the world. All of these things we forget.

Fear, intelligence, anger, hatred, affection…none of it is personal to me (they may be expressed personally – but they are universal aspects of the human condition). They are all simply potentials in the human psyche. The very construct of “me” as a centre of consciousness, activity and meaning is the source of all misery, pain and meaninglessness.

In this way, the beginning of wisdom is born of the death of the idea of “I” being an individual body or mind - which is the source of all our suffering – and the awakening of an awareness of our fundamental nature which is “being-ness”. That does not preclude me from taking responsibility for everything that I say and do. That is where intelligence comes in.

This is the insight at the heart of an impersonal life. This is the core truth of a sane life.
And this is what we are here to learn.

The word “saint” comes from the same root as the word “sane.” And the root meaning of both of these words means “whole” or “healthy” or “still.” Still, not in the sense of lifeless, dead, empty…but still in the sense of calm, collected (not fragmented), concentrated (in the sense of no wastage, no dissipation of energy or possibility – through one or various distractions etc).

Thought without intelligence, to bring order to it, breeds chaos and fragmentation. Thought is fragmentation. But insight and intelligence bring order to thought for intelligence is born of that sacred intensity which lies behind all appearances.

We forget our holiness, our being-ness, our natural intelligence and consequently we become slaves to the body senses and to thought, and consequently we become dull and insensitive. Yet relationships – if we are really attentive – serve to teach us that which we have forgotten. Ultimately that is why we are here. By discerning the holiness behind appearances, we are able to pass rapidly through the labarynth of time-thought (time is a manifestation of thought – they are one and the same thing – the gaps in between our thought emanate from a timeless source) which we call the mind and hence we can return to that pristine state we only imagine we have left.

The ironic thing is that in this process of self-realization, our greatest obstacle is not our fear of the darkness within - on the contrary our behavior proves to us that we “love” the darkness!! Our greatest fear is our own light.

There will come a time when all our images and projects end. That will be the end of time and the end of our journey back to love.

I suppose it is important to remember that love is not possible in this world. This is an imperfect world that is based on limitations. It is a world that was founded on the idea of lack. It is a world born of a sick mind. The journey of the wise through this world is the journey through the maze of limitations of the mind. It is a journey made by listening to the insights of intelligence and following the cue of those insights.

Intelligence (not intellect – but rather an all round understanding of the totality of our nature (on all levels) HERE) is what leads us out of the labarynth of the mind, back to our spiritual source. Intelligence marries compassion, forgiveness and insight into our temporary limitations to bring us home. Intelligence is love’s way of extending itself to us (all we need is to be still and listen and heed its guidance). And who are we? We are creations of love who have forgotten our essential (i.e. loving nature) on a journey back to a place we only ever dreamed we have left in our minds. That is why the only place we can have insight into what we are is now….as now is the only place which is free of the burden of the past and the future…i.e. which is free of the mistaken identity that we have assumed by giving authority to thought.

Ulsan Journal – August 2003 – South Korea


Standing on a rocky isle overlooking a dirty sea: this is Ulsan, where it jettisons into the oceans. A small family surround me warbling in Korean. I stand next to them, amongst them as a maritime breeze gently breathes through our midst. Nothing seems to separate us. The foreign tongue is not out of place (, nor am I). It is welcome. The children are young...not much past five - one is a toddler - perhaps two. Always he must keep within a stone's throw of mum or dad's legs. That is the periphery of his world. And everything in it comes with questions. You can feel the tenacity of his intrigue. Gulls roll overhead us and the rocks beneath are moving ever so slowly...at the pace of millennium inches. They are alive underfoot; steadying the footing of our family from that moody ocean's constant sway. A butterfly is even here - then gone as soon as you see it. The family speak the language of every family - the children inquiring, standing for photos...going as far as they are allowed on one level - on another they exist unlimited in a playful imagination. The parents' eyes are sharp and you feel as you stand with them a bond - unspoken, invisible...yet palpable and persistent. You feel its strength - a force like the wind that buffets the shore - steady, unremitting...a shaper of world's, a molder of possibility with it's own secret meaning, it's own subtle accent.
Further up on the hill -at another vista point - less exposed than this one, two young men - friends on bikes ask passers-by to snap a picture of them. They pass out the camera and stand backs to the lolling sea...half smiling, half triumphant...their stance says 'here we are'; arrivals, youth, together. And round the bay beneath us a shore fisherman wades into the waters and pulls in his net as local onlookers watch. It's got very few fish in it - all small fry. Perhaps he owns one of the stall restaurants on the strutting peninsular - the ones that are decked out in heavy duty plastic to ward off the typhoon's wet and windy assaults.
School children on the path up here say 'hello' and 'nice to meet you' and 'bye-bye' in one excited breath. They are out with their families and out of school. They roam the woods on route to the beach on this Saturday outing. They giggle like children do. The wild shore seems expectant of these pressured visitors. Today's tame winds embrace them, remind us of what's important.
In the stalls that top the hill before it slides pines and all into the sea, before the next passageway's amongst the living are ocean currents and international shipping lanes, before the lighthouse and the rocky promontories that lunge confidently into gray salt seas, there is a rickety lane of street vendors and the fish restaurants: a plastic oasis of multi-colored canopies, half swallowed by the muddied aftermath of a week of solid rains. Here older women sit large over chestnuts for sale, hawking cooked sea-snails, roasted silkworm larvae and warm fish jerky. Some smoke cigarettes or chatter despondently with her next door. Some are silent watching the world pass them by - their eyes glazed, as they recline their bent backs under multiple umbrellas. Their hair is curly black and their hands are dictionaries of hard work.
Here, too, outside the eateries, are tanks of bubbling sea water overfilled with fish or sea slugs or some kind of nematode brought in from the cold or squabbling octopuses waiting out their final hours in pitiful proximity. They all move or wriggle or pulsate but they all have nowhere to go. A torpid music drowns out the sound of the birds here. and you have to walk a little distance to feel like the nature that surrounds you - the acid soils and hardy trees - are your own. To feel like there's a corner of the earth where stillness has power and the air and it's emptiness can reward you without being disturbed by that most human of diseases - the need to be entertained.
Not the entertainment of fascinated discovery. Rather the entertainment that brews from loneliness. How that loneliness rules. How it begs to be sung and chanted to in the temples, rewarded in the churches; how it flashes and noisily pulls it's captives into the video game arcades; how it beckons us to eat when we are not hungry; how it detracts from the sea her solemn promises, how it blinds us from the pine needles underfoot and the magpies rugged adaptability. How it misses the "tweet" of the finches as they bound overhead in flighty reverie; how blind it is to the ugliness of it's own insensitivity, to it's slothful academic-ness...how sadly deaf it is to the invisible strands that connect all that is amongst the living here - like the threads of the fisherman's net.
The lighthouse is dormant waiting for night to blazen the darkness with it's protective significance - perhaps not unlike the spirit of man. It is also waiting for the cover of darkness to call it from exile. Waiting for night to be so dark, so complete, so fully remembered for what it is - that we may step beyond choices and categories and shine away barren ego' defenses. Yes, how we wait unknowingly to shine. That is the hidden meaning here: the one belying all cruel and tardy appearances - all side issues. One that all vulgarity, all supposed differences, all our tarnished monstrosity (the polluted sky, the garbage by the road side, the city's sprawling indifference) fails to recognize. But the pointing children clinging to parent's thighs...and the waxy plants clinging to these bleached sandstone buttresses, and that sea which clings in turn to the patient earth are all a vital part of this meaning. All are essential contributors to some intensity that is as yet for the most part unnoticed, invisible.

Perhaps that is why one can often feel most at home when one is a stranger to all that is familiar.

I came upon Love dying in the summer sun.

left the land of men and the weary night.
Behind... dropped the examinations,
the expectations;
waved goodbye to indifference.
left the churches;
the praise and folly of moments passed.

left the music and the masks.
Like a ghost,I passed through the world unheard;
Unseen.
The dead came at times to cheer me on.
I thought I saw glimpses of a different light.

Then one day I came upon Love.
She lay dying in the summer sun.
Her face was uglier and more terrible than anything
ever seen.
Her hair was spoiled and ragged.
The flies buzzed around her head.
In her, sorrow seemed to have found a bed.

Something moved me to take her hand and hold
It comfortingly.
I asked her how she was.
"I am dying."She said
"Dying for you."
"Why would you die for me?" I asked.

"Because that is my nature.
You seeing me here, so wretched and courting death,
Will be so moved you shall give up the last resistance
In you and dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to me.

You see, I cannot die.
Yet you have waited so long for me;
Hungered so completely for me;
I had to appear in a form that would haunt you to your
very core.
If I came to you as a beautiful maiden,
It could be dangerous.
You would compare me to all other women and there
would be no Love in that.
Only heartless measuring of one against another.

If I came to you as a stream of light you might be
scared and mistrusting; or intimidated.
You would put me on a pedestal in your mind and
worship me as an ideal.
deadly
yeah I am everywhere.
and idealism can only corrupt the beauty hiding in the
light.

If I came to you as an innocent child,
It might be hard for you to see that I was wholly
Free of anger or delusion.

No, this way is best.
For a while you will find it hard not to pity me.
You will question how I can be love.
How something so helpless, so frail and vulnerable, so
twisted and tragic could be the seed that turns you around.
How could there be love hiding in such a withering,
pathetic form?

But, when you see Love in me,
When you come upon the truth about me,
Beyond thinking...
You will come upon the truth of every thing.

You will see me everywhere.
My very essence will speak to you from all corners of
the world,
And it shall flow through everything you do.
For it will overcome your being and you...
will not
recognize yourself."

Saying this, she disappeared,
Leavin a light,
That can't be seen.

Dark eyes full of footprints

I miss something sometimes...
and try to place what it is.
Perhaps, it’s the warm promise of your voice.
Perhaps, your melting embrace.

Yesterday a dove landed in the palm of my hand.
Its cooing lulled me to sleep.
When I woke it was sitting on the balcony looking down on me.
Its dark eyes full of footprints.
Your latest tracks through the desert world.

You have been one step ahead of me in dreams too.
The moon is milky white and calm in the night sky.
The rays of the sun are but a memory.
Though it is dark...
I am never lost and you...
You are never far.

A Poem for Morning

There is an ancient song that heals us all.
Names cannot encompass it.
Though I have heard it called many things:
"The rhythm of Silence",
"The Song of songs",
"Herald of the One dawn."

It is sung by a pied piper with a thousand flutes.
All illusions cease in its presence.
It knows no order of difficulty.

There is but one illusion really.
We think we are lost,
We believe that we lack something.
But, nothing could be further from the truth.
The song is there to remind us of our reality;
Our infinite abundance.

Once, there was a King who loved all his subjects as himself.
He sort to serve them as a loyal servant seeks to serve his master.
There was once a Queen who loved as much and who sort to serve
her subjects with the same depth and purity of intent.

You are that King.
You are that Queen.
Your Kingdom is without borders;
Your love: without restriction.

The world of forms is but a passing dream.
Some believe - mistakenly -that there are only nobles where there is land...
Where there is perception and the intricacies of nature.
Yet, this is an unworthy and groundless belief.
…a sad and lonely belief…
It cannot last the night.

The only kingdom fitting of your nobility stretches far beyond all stars,
Beyond time and space.
It is a realm of light and beauty.
It is everywhere and nowhere.

For a while, there are those who sleep in forgetfulness,
In a land of changes.
But, through you, all dreams and slumber, all limits,
all doubt...shall forever be cast asunder.

Where you wander there is no place for fear to root itself.
There are no tears...no lasting ones...but those of rapture and joy.

The Wounded Otter

by Michael Hartnett - translated from the Irish by the Author
From 20th Century Irish poems selected by Michael Longley. Published by Faber and Faber.

A wounded otter on a bare rock a bolt in her side,
stroking her whiskers stroking her feet.

Her ancestors told her once that there was river,
a crystal river, a waterless bed.

They also said there were trout there
fat as tree-trunks and kingfishers
bright as blue spears -
men without cinders in their boots,
men without dogs on leashes.

She did not notice the world die nor the sun expire,
She was already swimming at ease in the magic crystal river.

Break your ties

The Tsurezuregusa Of Kenko
(Translated by Donald Keene)
What follows is an extract from an essay that is from a collection written by the Japanese Buddhist Zen priest Kenko between 1330 and 1332.
They are taken from a small pocket book entitled "Essays in Idleness" published by Charles E. Tuttle Co.


Essay 75

I wonder what feelings inspire a man to complain of "having nothing to do." I am happiest when I have nothing to distract me and I am completely alone.
If a man conforms to society, his mind will be captured by the filth of the outside world, and he is easily led astray; if he mingles in society, he must be careful that his words do not offend others, and what he says will not at all be what he feels in his heart. He will joke with others only to quarrel with them, now resentful, now happy, his feelings in constant turmoil. Calculations of advantage will wantonly intrude, and not a moment will be free from considerations of profit and loss. Intoxication is added to delusion, and in a state of inebriation the man dreams. People are all alike: they spend their days running about frantically, oblivious to their insanity.
Even if a man has not yet discovered the path of enlightenment, as long as he removes himself from his worldly ties, leads a quiet life, and maintains his peace of mind by avoiding entanglements, he may be said to be happy, at least for the time being.
It is written in Maka Shikan, " Break your ties with your daily activities, with personal affairs, with your arts, and with learning."


I lie with you

I lie with you

I lie with you along the great river's banks...
The leaves are falling down.
The leaves are falling down.

I have learnt some secrets by now.
How long it seems since those early days.
How long between then and now.

untying the knots of identity.
cutting through the chords of memory and time.
I look now upon this world as a place of sleep.

Everything here is the passing shadow of a dreamed light source.
Everything, but that which is behind attention.

Silence is conversation too.

I am the End of Journeys

Yoga

Can you let your fears go?
Can you step out the door of the house of all you know?

I am the blind man on a busy train being guided to a seat by a kind stranger.
I am the kind stranger.

I am the melting heart falling for the beautiful girl.
I am the sadness that cloaks the hidden meaning I have been seeking.

Can you sit alone and not feel deprived?
Can you look back on all that has happened with an easy smile?

I am the end of the road, ...where it draws deep breaths from the ocean breeze,
I am the long day just now dawning.
I am the end of journeys where all change comes to a natural end.

the start of someting without end.
something that calls out to you in moments of deep uncertainty.

Can you join me in the secret garden?
Join me where we are one with the blue dawn...

and I am lost
in the avenues of the mind.
At least that is what I have lead myself to believe.

I am here to unlearn all influence...
here to distance myself from the idea that I am body or mind.

Quiet is the hush of realization.
It descends with blessings upon he who is ready to heed the lessons of the
Heart that links all.

A Cry in the Dark

A Cry in the Dark

Through the winding cypress trees that lead down to the brooding expanse of blue...
Along the train tracks that convey the city folk to their place of work...
Down the ages, tossing and turning
after the midnight hour,
the threshold of many dreams...
Caught in the shrill wail of island winds,
Winds that are close and others far off....
speaking of long sea voyages
Midst all these passageways
comes a cry in the dark.

I am lost and do not know my place in this world.
I am asking, like a wounded soldier, if there is a place I might rest.
If there is something to heal my tired frame...
Some answer to my question.
Some light to clear the darkness of its rude insistence.

I do not put too much faith in temples or churches...
I do not see wisdom in the loneliness that captivates me.
and for that insight I am grateful.
It is slowly destroying me.
Undoing my clutches on the mundane story that I have come to shed.

Nothing is lacking but the idea of lack itself

Nothing is lacking but idea of lack itself

I travel now on a twisting journey.
A journey through shadows and glimmering passageways.
A journey of unlearning; of discarding and derobing myself of all that is not
what I am.
A journey to the fount of silence.

It is a journey that hungers for meaning.
A journey that finds meaning when the search for meaning
ceases.
A journey that reveals to me that nothing is lacking but the idea of lack itself.
A journey that shows me that attachment is not to things of the world, but rather
to thoughts of things of the world.

I watch the journey through the mind.
And over the contours of the body's map of varied senses.
But I am not here.
I am not of the body or of the mind.
I am in the stillness beyond time.
Yet I am not inactive.
I am the very essence of activity.
I am being.

I am the thinker.
He who is not a creation of his thoughts.
He who is master of the mind and the body.
He who is an extension of reality.
Inseperable from the source.

Great things start small

I used to think that aiming high in life was important. Like being president or the first in a race or the most popular or the top on a test had some great meaning. Yet with the passage of time I saw the beauty of small things, of living in the moment, rather than being distracted by some uncertain ideal that one might get attached to. I saw that grandiosity is not grandeur. It is quite rare in this world to meet a selfless being. We are educated to be proficient in exercising judgment....and yet there is very little wisdom in such an approach. The saint or the wise person is not a slave to the intellect.

The politicians of modern times and of much of mankind's history have held on to power using the psychology of fear and the philosophy that might makes right. The Gandhi's of this world are the exception to that general rule. Peace is born of extending forgiveness and compassion, of letting go of our group-mentalities, our comparisons, vested interests, arrogant viewpoints and our illusionary sense of separateness.

Invariably, if you listen to modern day politicians you see the worst of our humanity. You hear the twisted glorification of our nationalism, our pride and our pettiness. Just to see all of this is critical to living a different kind of life. In this world, we need to be careful not to confuse popularity for a measure of wisdom.

The world is not going to change very much. The wars will go on. The nation states will continue to bicker and disagree. After the age of the terrorist, there shall come a new threat and a new war to deal with it. And the populace, by and large will be swept along by it all...thinking themselves to be Americans, or French or Christian or Islamic or whatever ideology suits them. Very few will awaken to the insanity of it all. Democracy shall continue to produce mediocre results and captalism will go on brainwashing us into being good consumers.

Only at the level of the individual is there the possibility of change. What we do with our lives is important. But more important is whether we know what we really are. Because, how we see what we are influences everything we do. All problems start and end in the mind. The mind is the instrument of perception. By and large we mispercieve. But correction is possible - at least to those who are urgent to know what it is that ultimately percieves. In the depths of every human being there is a quality of being that has outgrown all labels.

I would say that honesty is possible. The thing we need to get over is the conception that it is somehow difficult. Real honesty dissolves the motives that keep us bound to self-centeredness.

An anonymous teacher who pours his heart into his work, a street cleaner who does his best, a bus driver who drives carefully and conscientiously....these are humble approaches. I think there is a popular view in the world that to be someone of import you have to do something exceptional. I do not think this is the case. What is important, is to recognise that whatever we do must be done with exceptional care and sensitivity...and detachment. The key is not so much what we do - but rather being aware of what we are and having a sense of deep responsibility behind how we live our lives..that and reverence for life, are absolutely essential.

To earn lots of money as a lawyer by taking advantage of others or to be a famous governor as a consequence of championing selfish interests and letting corruption slide...is to sacrifice the real reasons we came here. The real reasons we came here are related to questioning what we are...and, in so doing, undoing the misperceptions we hold about ourselves that keep us bound by the blinders of fear and a sense of lack. Life begins with nobility and is kept ever-meaningful by the guiding light of wisdom.

"What is a saint?
A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility.
It is impossible to say what that possibility is.
I think it has something to do with the energy of love.
Contact with this energy results in the exercise
of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence.
A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago.
I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order.
It is a kind of balance that is his glory.
He rides the drifts like an escaped ski.
His course is the caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock.
Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance.
Far from flying with the angels, he traces
with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state
of the solid bloody landscape.
His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world.
He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart.
It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love."

- L. Cohen, Beautiful Losers (1966)


What is the significance of the saint's "work"?
[If you cut yourself it is not my blood that flows.]


You may wonder what hidden treasures lie between us.
Perhaps, we met for a brief moment in a journey.
Perhaps, we have been sisters and twins.
Perhaps, we dreamed of loving one another one day.
Or is it that you fathered my children?

Yet who is this I? who is this presumptive you?
My senses and mind tell me one story.
They support the notion that I am a body-mind.
If you cut yourself it is not my blood that flows.

When I sleep deeply.
When the moon arcs over the passive form of my body.
When my mind is quiet and there are no dreams
traversing the ocean of consciousness...
Then, I have no name nor apparent identity...
There is relationship with something else.

If you cut yourself it is not my blood that flows.
Still, appearances are not the full story.
There is a state transcending appearances.

A doctor is a noble profession.
He seeks to reduce or remove the suffering of others...
Using the tools of knowledge and the instruments
of science to heal the pain.
All of this has its place.

What then is the significance of the saint's "work"?
His goal is similar to that of the doctor.
Yet, rather than temporary relief, his focus goes
to the root of the problem.
Where the doctor works to cure the disease,
the saint uncovers the source of all diseases; the cause of death.

That discovery brings release from the world of appearances.
That destroys the idea of separate identities, of contrasts and distance.
Only that, ultimately, can be said to heal.

About me

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Mind is the closest thing to our Reality...Be careful how you use it. Businessman, yogi, teacher, addicted to laughing...