My Beloved

A prayer comes from the heart, and points to something that is beyond words and meaning. Its only function is to throw you back to yourself, to silence. It must be devoid of demands, which can only be objective and an expression of separation. In prayer, the result precedes the wish. Uma Gautam has written a lovely prayer that I’m happy to share here with you:

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My Beloved ~ I pray to you 

Grant us an exhaustion so deep
every cell in the body bows and accepts defeat.

Take away from us
the arrogance of guilt and judgement we don’t even recognise.

Help us move
as  leaves move, free-floating in the breeze
all hidden controls thrown away like muslin in the wind.

Make us so alone
we find we are our own best friend, lover and beloved.

Help us look every belief in the eye and keep it down gently. 

Let every idea we have of ourselves be given a quiet burial. 

Make our every thought word action
harmless as a rose and
sharp shiny and clear as a sword

Suffuse us with a Love so vast 
no sea, no rock, no tree, nothing is safe
from this love anymore.”

 

~~~

Text and Painting by Uma Gautam

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7F5817A8-A1AC-4C8B-9BF7-CC52B4759526Uma Gautam paints and writes from the heart, playing and experimenting. She has published a book of poems, ‘Inner Weather’. Uma currently lives in Bangalore, India.

Website:
– ART BY UMA Gautam (Facebook Page)

 

Suggestion:
Fragrance (on the role and nature of prayer)

 

A Silent Wind

Amma. A name, a face, a smile that I have seen represented so many times. Her reputation and aura precede her wherever she goes, and she happened to come close to where I lived. So I went, not knowing what to expect, apart from the Indian ceremonial, a good dose of devotion, and her embrace, this simple gesture for which she has become famous the world over.

Waiting for Amma’s appearance, the immense hall had the flavour not so much of intense devotion, but of an easiness, a casualness, bearing little indication on the spiritual nature of the assembly. I could only be in admiration and awe for this woman who, though coming from a poor background in South India, has by her bare presence and loving hugs reached out to the entire world. …

A day spent in Amma’s presence and embrace (READ MORE…)

 

Duet of One

We sat quietly and watched an osprey circle and swoop over the river. This is what I loved about being in India — the vibrancy, the unexpected, the chance encounters, the conversations that quickly moved from small talk into the question of life and death.”
~ (Excerpted from ‘The Shadow that Seeks the Sun’ – by Ray Brooks)

 

This quote is the essence of Ray Brook’s book ‘The Shadow that Seeks the Sun’. Ray wrote the book that I would have loved to write, mixing the many small happenings, encounters, and dramas of Indian life, to the delving into the self, the contemplation of a new possibility of being. Intertwined with the description of everyday life in Rishikesh are nine conversations between Ray and Rudra, a newly met Anglo-Indian man. These chapters form the backbone of the book, where we delve deeper and deeper into the recognition of our inescapable reality, Rudra leading us into the patient recognition of our true being, relentlessly pointing: “See that what you are is not dependent on anything. See that this indescribable presence is shining as its own light.”

Ray Brook is my newly invited guest on ‘The Dawn Within’. Born and raised in England, Ray discovered at an early age the Japanese art of shakuhachi flute playing and became an accomplished musician. Ray and his wife Dianne, co-writer of the book, now live on Vancouver Island in Canada, and continue to spend most of their winters in the foothills of the Indian Himalaya.

I have chosen here the excerpt where Ray recalls his one to one meeting with Krishnamurti in Ojai, California. I was touched by the simple, humble, yet probing nature of the inquiry that is described. I hope you will enjoy…

 

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So, Ray, here we are again. You can only find awareness. Tell me. What are you?”

A large brown and turquoise kingfisher landed on a rock in the water. Its huge beak looked too big for its body, its feathers impossibly vibrant in the morning sun. We watched the bird silently, waiting for it to dive. 

“What I am — is all of this.”

~

 

The Ojai Valley runs along an east-west mountain range, twenty miles inland from the Pacific coastline. The area where Krishnamurti was staying was located at the east-end of the valley surrounded by lush green mountains, oak and pine forests, and acres of orange and avocado groves. The locals call Ojai ‘Shangri-la’, and I could see why. It was the most beautiful place I had ever been. 

I arrived early — two hours early — and entered a large, well-kept garden behind an old nineteenth-century redwood house. The lovely property, named Arya Vihara or Noble Abode, was Krishnamurti’s former home and where our meeting would take place. He had lived in this house for a number of years but now, during his visits to Ojai, stayed in Pine Cottage, which was behind Arya Vihara. An inviting bench at the far end of the garden was perfectly placed in the shade. It had a good view of the property and the sun-dappled lawns surrounding it. As I sat down, I wondered whether Krishnamurti and other eminent scientists, philosophers, psychologists, and scholars had sat here. I read somewhere that Aldous Huxley had been to Arya Vihara. Huxley, who had been a good friend of Krishnamurti’s, claimed that listening to him speak was “like listening to a discourse of the Buddha — such authority, such intrinsic power.” …

Continue with Ray Brook’s one to one meeting with Krishnamurti (READ MORE…)

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Photo by Ray Brooks

Bibliography:
– ‘The Shadow that Seeks the Sun: Finding Joy, Love and Answers on the Sacred River Ganges’ – by Ray Brooks – (Watkins Publishing)
– ‘Blowing Zen: Finding an Authentic Life’ – by Ray Brooks – (Sentient Publications)

Websites:
The Shadow that Seeks the Sun
Ray Brooks’ Facebook Page

 

Jñāna, the Song of the Self

Without me here, to know experience, 
how could this experience be?

~ Aitareya Upanishad, I,3,11

 

It happened long ago, during a morning stroll behind my house. I was contemplating my deep sadness and my desire to change, when a simple intuition came uninvited. I felt that it was possible to change and I had the power to initiate it. I felt that this change, this cure for my unhappiness was to be found in myself. I felt that it was all happening here, in this me-presence, and that the necessary tools were all provided in me. No reliance on any external authority. It was the intuition, not that I-the little me with its conditioning could do it, but that there is an inward process for accessing this change, this seeming transformation, in other words, happiness. And this process could be implemented, carried out through the tools of thinking, logic, understanding, which are my natural inclination. I had just discovered the very nature of the path of knowledge.

So I’d like today to make an attempt at better understanding this path of knowledge which has been named ‘Jñāna’ in the tradition of India. It is an interesting word which shows the family ties with many of our European languages. In Sanskrit, the word means ‘knowledge’, the root ‘Jñā’ being close to our English word ‘know’, or the Greek ‘gnosis’, the French ‘connaître’, all words that convey the idea of ‘knowledge’. Jñāna is one of the three main pathways towards realising our true nature, namely the path of knowledge, which involves the process of thinking, the path of love, ‘Bhakti’ in India, which involves feeling, and the tantric path, which involves the senses and thereby the so-called external world. It seems to me that there is some value in understanding the nature of each pathways and seeing how they can blend in our daily living and Sadhana.

An exploration into Jñāna, the path of knowledge (READ MORE…)

 

Song of the Avadhut

I share here excerpts from an ancient text of India called ‘Song of the Avadhut’, which has been translated by Swami Abhayananda. Although it has been attributed to Dattatreya – most probably a legendary figure – the author is unknown, but it is agreed that it was written around the 9th or 10th centuries. ‘Avadhut’ means ‘liberated being’. The song describes what it means to be spiritually liberated. Swami Abhayananda gives here a short answer: “Man suffers under the mistaken illusion that he is a limited and finite being, separate and distinct from other beings. … But, say the mystics, this superficial play of thoughts, memories, sense impressions, upon the screen of awareness is but a mirage. It is the screen, the awareness itself, that is our true identity. It is that unchanging consciousness, the eternal witness of all movements of thought and appearance, which is who we really are. It is That which is our real, our only, Self.”

 

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अहमेवाव्ययोऽनन्तः शुध्दविज्ञानविग्रहः ।
सुखं दुःखं न जानामि कथा कस्यापि वर्तने ॥ ७ ॥

~~~

 

I

What, then, is the heart of the highest truth, 
The core of knowledge, the wisdom supreme? 
It is, “I am the Self, the formless One;
By my very nature, I am pervading all.”

That one God who shines within everything, 
Who is formless like the cloudless sky,
Is the pure, stainless, Self of all. 
Without any doubt, that is who I am.

You are That which is both inside and out; 
You’re Shiva; you’re everything everywhere. 
Why, then, are you so deluded?
Why do you run about like a frightened ghost?

When a jar is broken, the space that was inside 
Merges into the space outside.
In the same way, my mind has merged in God; 
To me, there appears no duality.

Truly, there’s no jar, no space within;
There’s no body and no soul encased. 
Please understand; everything is Brahman. 
There’s no subject, no object, no separate parts.

Everywhere, always, and in everything,
Know this: the Self alone exists. 
Everything, both the Void and the manifested world, 
Is nothing but my Self; of this I am certain.

Discover the ancient Song of the liberated soul (READ MORE…)

 

Ripples…

Why do I keep thinking that things happen
That there is drama
All kinds of ups and downs
Desperation between two short-lived chunks of contentment

Why do I keep looking for an escape
Something better, more fulfilling
An adventure for my little self
Lest it would plainly die or disappear

Can I not see the call of steady ground
The unstoppable peace behind it all
The depth of the unfathomable soul
That rise not but stays unshakable 

Can I not see that my worse dramas 
Are but ripples – maybe not even this
That sink into a space so vast 
That nothing – oh nothing! – can move it

Can I not see the blaze of immensity
Running so close, dancing before my very self
Making itself so very obvious and present
That I have to strive to miss it

Can I not see that my blindness, forgetfulness
Is but a futile escape from a release so plain
A readiness to see that just behind my ache 
Stands already revealed my completeness.

 

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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

 

The Serene Background

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

Just try to feel or sense this same inherent, serene, peaceful background in all your daily agitated experiences, be it thoughts, bodily activities, or external circumstances like noise… In any circumstances, at any moment, see that you can ask yourself the question: “Is awareness present? Is my knowing of my own being, its knowing of itself, veiled in any way whatsoever by the current appearance of the mind, the body, or the world?…’

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Further exploring on the subject:

We always feel essentially the same whole, indivisible, consistently present person, only we mistake the essential nature of that person. Although innumerable thoughts, feelings, sensations and perceptions are added to us and subsequently removed from us during the course of our lives, the person or self that we essentially are remains always the same. That is, pure knowing, the essence of mind, ‘I’, always remains in the same pristine condition.”
~ Rupert Spira

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When the Sufis say ‘La ilaha illa la’ – ‘There is no God but God’ – they do not mean that their God, Allah, is the only true God as opposed to all the other religions’ Gods, as is commonly supposed. Rather, they mean that no mind, person, self, object or world ever actually comes into existence. No thing is a thing unto itself. No thing has its own being. The apparent existence of all objects and selves is borrowed from God’s infinite, self-aware being, infinite awareness, our very own intimate, impersonal self, from whose point of view there is nothing other than itself. That being shines in the mind as the knowledge ‘I am’ and in the world as the experience ‘it is’. The amness of the self is the isness of things.”
~ Rupert Spira

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The personality is nothing other than a projection, a habit created by memory and nourished by desire. Ask yourself the question ‘Who am I?’ and lucidly observe that the questioner, thinker, doer, sufferer are all forms that appear and disappear within the consciousness of ‘I am,’ the ever-living background. They have no reality in themselves. What we call the person is due to a mistake. Thoughts, feelings and actions appear and disappear indefinitely, creating an illusion of continuity. The idea of being a person, an ego, is nothing other than an image held together by memory.”
~ Jean Klein

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The self must cease through awareness of its own limitation, the falseness of its own existence. However deep, wide, and extensive it may become, the self is always limited, and until it is abandoned, the mind can never be free. The mere perception of that fact is the ending of the self, and only then is it possible for that which is the real to come into being.”
~ J. Krishnamurti 

 

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– Artwork by Daniel B. Holeman

Bibliography:
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The First and Last Freedom’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Rider Publishing)
– ‘Who Am I‘ – by Jean Klein – (Non-Duality Press)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Jean Klein (Wikipedia)

Suggestion:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)