The Navel of the World

How come if we feel to be a little body amongst billions of other bodies, how come if we are a little thing lost, moving in a vast world, that we feel to be so important, like the centre of the world. My thoughts may tell me that I am a small, separate being. But in reality I feel that I am bigger than that. I feel that my little person happens to be most of the time a very big one, that takes literally the whole space. And whose world has become the one and only reality there truly is. Why is that so? 

My thoughts tell me that I am a small, separate being, and yet my felt reality is different. So I want to repair that injustice, to make me bigger, more important than I am, and of course I only expand that part of myself which is only a thought. And this leads me to act in selfish, unkind, or distorted ways. But the intuition was correct. I am wide, everlasting, important, precious, because the self that I am is not just a bundle of thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

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A short reverie about where lies the true centre… (READ MORE…)

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Search me, O God

I am presenting here a text excerpted from the Christian Old Testament, in the Bible. It is commonly known as Psalm 139, and belongs to the Book of Psalms. ’Psalm’ in Greek means ‘instrumental music’ and is by extension, a hymn. These hymns are mostly praises to God. This particular Psalm was brought to my knowledge by Rupert Spira. This is certainly one of the richest for it expresses the all knowing and pervasiveness of God, of that deep presence that is the nature and heart of our utmost self. It also stresses that this presence shines in all circumstances, including in our darkest hours. The psalm seems to hold in itself the soft power of a prayer, which is the ability to make us aware of our true self. For this is the function of a prayer, to throw us back into our self, into the deep silence that is the core of our being. As Stephen Mitchell wrote in ‘A Book of Psalms’, “Pure prayer begins at the threshold of silence. It says nothing, asks for nothing. It is a kind of listening. The deeper the listening, the less we listen for, until silence itself becomes the voice of God.” Listen to the depth of this poem. As its promise reads, you may be led “in the way everlasting”.

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O lord, thou hast searched me, 
     and known me.
Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, 
     thou understandest my thought afar off.
Thou compassest my path and my lying down, 
     and art acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word in my tongue, 
     but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before, 
     and laid thine hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; 
      it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? 
     or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: 
     if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
If I take the wings of the morning, 
     and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, 
     and thy right hand shall hold me.
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; 
     even the night shall be light about me.
Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; 
     but the night shineth as the day: 
     the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

For thou hast possessed my reins: 
     thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: 
     marvellous are thy works; 
     and that my soul knoweth right well.
My substance was not hid from thee, 
     when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought 
     in the lowest parts of the earth.
Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book 
     all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, 
     when as yet there was none of them.
How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! 
     how great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, 
     they are more in number than the sand: 
     when I awake, I am still with thee.

[…]

Search me, O God, and know my heart: 
     try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me, 
     and lead me in the way everlasting.

~ Psalm 139 (King James Version)

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Psalm from the Holy Bible (King James Version)

Photo by Alain Joly

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Bibliography:
– ‘The Book of Psalms: King James Version’ – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)
– ‘A Book of Psalms: Selected and Adapted from the Hebrew’ – by Stephen Mitchell – (Harper Perennial)

Websites:
The Bible (Wikipedia)
King James Version (Wikipedia)
Psalms (Wikipedia)
Psalm 139 (Wikipedia)

Suggestion:
Other prayers from the blog at Fragrance of Love

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The Golden Thread

A golden thread is running through our life;
It says: listen, I want to be happy,
I long to be free from darkness and strife
And find that peace that is looking for me.

So now I’m out in search of all the things
That will give me some meaning and relief;
But that peace is short-lived, only quick flings
That leave me unfulfilled and full of grief.

Is it that things cannot satisfy me,
Have no power in bringing happiness?
Is it again that I have failed to see
That not a thing away from me can bless?

Life knows it well that puts death at the end
To stop me ‘cause this endeavour is null;
It is only a hint — not some cruel bend —
To show there is some answer in that lull.

Now turn around and face that void in you
That is no thing but bears all things that are,
And remember you’re not anyone who
Can say I am separate and afar.

I am empty presence that knows and sees,
Renders all things as if they were in me;
I’m the silent watcher behind all these
That previously were my identity.

Now hear at last — there is some highlight here —
That when you rest in that newly found ‘I’,
All your strife and suffering disappear,
You’re found to be happy, at peace — oh my!

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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This poem is inspired by Rupert Spira’s suggestion that the longing for happiness is a golden thread which, if followed right through the end, leads to the discovery of our true nature.

Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

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A History of Veiling

Your life 
between so-called birth 
and death 
does not exist
.”
~ Robert Adams

..

Why was I never told? To all appearances, there is no world out there. The world is empty. With no real substance. Well a substance is at work. One with the most beautiful, exquisite shine. That explains the beauty. But look for solidity around you and you won’t find it. Look for something that exists on its own accord and you will grasp nothing but thin ether. So don’t believe what the mind tells you. Or you will send a bigger reality at bay, in the hidden. 

Yet nothing ever passes unseen. Not a thing. A thought, a feeling, a sound, a vision. They’re all being witnessed, and known. They’ve all been soaked with light — their presence revealed. They have only been hidden from me, whatever ‘me’ is. A sound in the distance is left unnoticed for I was lost in thoughts, not present. I chose to be identified with only a small part of my total experience. I was busy, had an agenda with some words running in my head and oups!… There is that bird’s exquisite song that disappeared in the nimbus of my confused mind. 

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A short divagation on the question of veiling… (READ MORE…)

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There are Always Songs to Sing

Photo by Corinne Galois – Galerie photographique

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Anand R. Raghavan is my newly invited guest on ‘The Dawn Within’. I have discovered Ananda’s beautiful writing while visiting his blog ‘Ananda Only’. He wrote in his presentation: “Silence and stillness are my closest proxies to the truth. My greatest guide and unconditional companions. They underlie a lot of the thoughts and words that appear on this blog.”

I’m presenting here one of his texts called ‘There are always songs to sing’. This is a tribute to his brother, recounted with a soft poignancy. I was moved by the efficacy of the descriptions and the sensitivity and wisdom that are expressed in his text. “I write to explore, understand and connect with my own heart. I reach into the quietness in my memories, relationships, experiences, observations, dreams and contemplations to do so.” I hope you will enjoy Ananda’s excellent prose as I did…

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The darkness behind closed eyes was like my own soothing reflection. 
An imperceptible identity. Independent of my body, my home, 
my name and my life. Being close to it again felt reassuring
.”

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There are Always Songs to Sing

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Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves
.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

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With time, everything is forgotten. Memories and dreams grow alike and interchangeable, and leak beyond the horizon of the heart with the certainty of sunset. They leave a residue of love and longing, that remain in our bodies and become our stories.

My brother was 17 months older than me. When he was 7 years old he won silver in the 50m run at the school sports meet. As he crossed the finish line, the wind raced past my ears and a surge of lightness rumbled through the wooden stadium planks. His joys and fears were mine and my hopes and victories were his. I could never truly accept that he was another person.

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Continue reading Ananda R. Raghavan’s excellent prose… (READ MORE…)

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The Mystery

Sometimes opinions and beliefs isolate us
Should we have none, should we be just
Open and light-hearted, driven by the wind 

Should we open ourself to the mystery
Concealed beneath thick layers of desire
The unfulfilled dreams of a thirsty conscience

Should we never be hungry, never thirsty
Hanging nothing on the walls of our thoughts
Keeping nothing and forgiving all

Should we leave everything at the threshold of our nights
And discover every morning, at last, this new day 
That invites itself at the banquet of possibles

That one with sparkling hours rising straight and proud
Like bubbles bursting without return, renewed to the 
Rhythm of the un-formed, of the non-becoming

Without wounds — never — why should there be
When every second contains them all
And when the mind is keen, sharp as a blade

When life offers herself, whole and ardent and never 
For a moment ceases to be amazed at herself 
At this love that irrigates her, incorruptible, never changing 

That same one that moors us to the great Silence
For intimate apprenticeships, unexampled deliverances 
Alone — yet feeling so vibrant and one with what is

 

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

 

The Hermitage

 

Step out of your house
Turn left
Or right
Then left again
Or maybe right
What does it matter really
You’re one with it all

 

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Then enter the nearest wood
See how it is enchanted 
And don’t forget
This is all you
You’re not walking anywhere
Not reaching any new place

 

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Continue wandering in search of your inner hermitage… (READ MORE…)