The mind is busy, talkative, restless. Love is vast, silent, unconcerned. I share here an imagined dialogue between love and the mind, written by Tiger Singleton…
Love seems to hurt, because love is incredibly honest.
The mind screams… “I want your love.”
Love says… “I’m sorry, but you can’t, because in order to want me, you think I’m not already here. So you deny yourself, by looking for me where I am not. Demanding, I show up in ways that say you are more important than everything else I touch.
The mind cries, and says… “But don’t you love me?”
Love whispers back… “No, It’s not like that, my love isn’t personal, my Love IS. You want to be special, rather than being what is, which is where I Am.”
The mind… “I don’t understand.”
Love… “You never will. To think you understand me, is to define me, which is to restrict my flow, saying some are worthy and some are not and you desperately want to be the worthy one. You want me to come to you, rather than you, falling into what I already am”
The mind… “How can I surrender into you?”
Love… “You can’t, because I’ve already surrendered, everything, including you. You are free, it’s already done.”
The mind… “What should I do?”
Love… “It doesn’t matter, I love you regardless, I support you regardless, I am always with the present moment, so rest here. Feel me. And then see what happens. In this space, you simply cannot go wrong.”
The mind… 🙏🏽
Text by Tigmonk
Photo by Alain Joly
Tiger Singleton (Tigmonk), founder of InLight Connect, is an inspirational public speaker, satsang facilitator, and author who shares wisdom and insight from the heart. With an open heart, Tiger holds space for a profound exploration into the art of being (you).
– ‘An Explosion of Love: The Color of All Things Beautiful’ – by Tigmonk – (The Blooming Heart Center)
– ‘Intimacy, with the Silent Nothing that is Everything’ – by Tigmonk – (The Blooming Heart Center)
“The true prevails, not the untrue.”
~ Mundaka Upanishad, Hymn III.1.6
सत्यमेव जयते नानृतं
In January 1950, in the wake of her freshly acquired independence, India adopted the motto that was to adorn the base of the Lion Capital of Ashoka, one simple phrase: “The true prevails, not the untrue.” How revealing that this country has put on her national emblem a mantra excerpted from the Mundaka Upanishad (Hymn III.1.6). This mantra is a profoundly significant spiritual message, and it will be inscribed on all Indian currency and official documents. The author is unknown, as is the case with all authors of the Upanishads, these ancient texts which Eknath Easwaran described as “towering peaks of consciousness”. The time has come here to pay tribute to these anonymous sages or rishis who produced these famous hallmarks of spirituality.
The Upanishads are a collection of hymns that have been, according to tradition, ‘seen’ or ‘heard’ (Shruti in Sanskrit, ‘that which is heard’), and transmitted orally. They ring in many a spiritual seekers’ memory with names like Isha, Kena, Katha, or Chandogya, and as a source of sacred knowledge. They were embedded in the Vedas – meaning ‘knowledge’ – which are old bodies of text formulated in Sanskrit between the 17th and 8th century BC in northwestern India. These Vedas are made of four collections of hymns – usually in verse – that form the basis of the Vedic religion, namely the Rg-Veda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, and the Atharvaveda. The community and domestic religious life in these ancient times revolved around complex ceremonies, which could easily last a day, a week, or sometimes even weeks or months. This vast literature is filled with cultic formulas, liturgical chants, mythological stories, praises to a God, magic hymns, commentaries, the purpose of which was most often to obtain favors from the Gods. The most important hymns were the ones to Agni, the fire in all its forms, to Soma, the drink of immortality and a special offering in any ritual act, to the Gods (Indra, Mitra, Varuna, and many others) or to nature (the Sun, the Earth, Heaven, Night, Dawn). They may also contain some early philosophical speculations.
“What thing I am I do not know.
I wander secluded, burdened by my mind.
When the first-born of Truth has come to me
I receive a share in that self-same Word.”
~ Rig Veda, I.164.37
I have chosen to share with you here a few of the haiku-poems written by Ray Andrews, a friend from Wales. They are lovely little poems, making our heart soft, provoking here a smile, there some tenderness, taking you gently to a place in yourself where silence abides. They are, as one of Ray’s little haikus read, like “Precious little remains On the pathway To the sun”. I have married them with the evanescent photographs of Nicki Gwynn-Jones. Let them both be like little bubbles of meditation in ourself…
I gave my beloved
A wild rose
But did not realise
My heart would be the vase
In an ocean
Sometimes our hearts
Grow so much
They cease caring
Who the owner is
When the lakes
Mirror surface is broken
No one in their right mind
Would try to repair it
On the shoreline of ourselves
Sighing with relief
Into the sand
“God is my final end;
Does he from me evolve,
Then he grows out of me,
While I in Him dissolve.”
~ Angelus Silesius (The Cherubinic Wanderer)
Angelus Silesius was a German mystic born Johannes Scheffler in 1624. Although a Lutheran, he converted to Catholicism and became a priest. After being a physician for a while, he became known for his mystical poetry. He published two poetical works, “The Soul’s Spiritual Delight“, a collection of more than two hundred religious songs, and “The Cherubinic Wanderer“, a collection of over sixteen hundred alexandrine couplets, from which the following selection is excerpted.
These short mystical poems – like spiritual haikus – are like bubbles sparkling with meaning and depth, infused with humour and sweet tenderness, bearing at their core the accents of a true non-dual understanding. I have attempted to give them a loose classification, each theme with a short introductory text, for better access and clarity. Chew them lightly, and they will never fail to deliver, behind their somewhat naive and archaic attire, the honey of their essence. Angelus Silesius died in 1677.
I hope you enjoy this selection from “The Cherubinic Wanderer” by the poet Angelus Silesius…
God is a big word, and it is important to understand what reality is hidden behind such a word.
The poet warns: “To know Him, Knower must be one with Known.”
Enjoy a taste of the nature of God:
Being is not measured
“Turn wheresoe’er I will, I find no evidence
of End, Beginning, Centre or Circumference.”
~ Godhead, 1.2.188
God is not grasped
“God is an utter Nothingness,
Beyond the touch of Time and Place:
The more thou graspest after Him,
The more he fleeth thy embrace.”
~ Godhead, 5.1.25
The knower must become the known
“Naught ever can be known in God: One and Alone
Is He. To know Him, Knower must be one with Known.”
~ Godhead, 8.1.285
God is without will
“We pray: Thy Will be done! and lo! He hath no Will:
God in His changelessness eternally is still.”
~ Godhead, 12.1.294
The Rest and work of God
“Rested God never hath, nor toiled—’tis manifest,
For all His rest is work and all His work is rest.”
~ Godhead, 13.4.166
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.”
अहमेवाव्ययोऽनन्तः शुध्दविज्ञानविग्रहः ।
सुखं दुःखं न जानामि कथा कस्यापि वर्तने ॥ ७ ॥
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.
Jnaneshwar was a Marathi saint, poet and mystic born in 1275. He is the author of two major works of Marathi spiritual literature. The first was written when he was only sixteen, and is a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita called ‘Jnaneshwari’. The second is called ‘Amritanubhava’, ‘The Nectar of Wisdom’, and is indeed the fruit of his own understanding and realisation. Jnaneshwar lived an intensely spiritual life and was a precocious writer. He was able, through his first-hand experience of truth, to reject the formatted religious orthodoxy, and use the common language of vernacular Marathi for his expression. He is deeply loved and appreciated to this day in Marathi culture and can be compared to Adi Shankara. His life is mythical, travelling with his equally religious brothers and sisters, and punctuated by extraordinary events and meetings. In 1296, he voluntary ended his short life in what is called ‘sanjivan-samadhi’. He was only 21. The text presented here is made of various portions of his writings, the bigger part being excerpted from a poem called ‘The Union of Shiva And Shakti’. With beautiful poetic accents and images, we are invited to see again and again how the world is not just an illusion to be pushed away in favour of a pure abiding in consciousness, but is the dance of consciousness itself, the Divine Play:
It cannot be spoken of or spoken to;
by no means may It be comprehended by the intellect.
It is that one pure Consciousness who becomes everything,
From the gods above to the earth below.
Objects may be regarded as high or low,
But the ocean of Consciousness, ever-pure,
Is all that ever is.
Though the shadows on the wall are ever changing,
The wall itself remains steady and unmoved.
Likewise, the forms of the universe take shape from Consciousness,
The eternal, primordial One.
Sugar is only sugar,
Even though it may be made into many forms.
Likewise, the ocean of Consciousness is always the same,
Though it becomes all the forms of the universe.
Various articles of clothing are made from the same cotton cloth;
Likewise, the varied forms of the universe are creatively fashioned
Of the one Consciousness,
Which remains forever pure.
Whatever form appears,
Appears because of Him.
There is nothing else here but the Self.
It is the gold itself which shines
In the form of a necklace or a coin;
They are made of nothing but gold.
In the current of the river or in the waves of the sea,
There is nothing but water.
Similarly, in the universe, there is nothing which exists
Or is brought into existence
Other than the Self.
Whether appearing as the seen,
Or perceiving as the seer,
Nothing else exists besides the Self.
“We have to rid ourselves of all preconceptions,
of all slogans,
of all sense of security,
find the courage to let go of everything,
every conventional bulwark.”
~ Etty Hillesum
Etty Hillesum was born on 15th January 1914 in Holland. When she was 27, she started writing a journal where she described her life with the little community around her and with Julius Spier, a former student of Jung who became her mentor. At this time, the Jews in Holland were being persecuted in the most terrible manner. At her own request, Etty began to work at Westerbork, a transit camp where the Jews were being gathered before being sent to extermination. She wrote: “I know the persecution and oppression and despotism and the impotent fury and the terrible sadism. I know it all … And yet – at unguarded moments, when left to myself, I suddenly lie against the naked breast of life, and her arms round me are so gentle and so protective.” She left the camp for Auschwitz on September 10th, where she died on 30th November 1943.
Patrick Woodhouse, author of ‘Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed’, writes eloquently: “Her courageous story leads into profound understandings about the nature of God and how suffering and sorrow can be redemptive, not destructive. These emerged out of the struggles of her inner life, and the insights she arrived at were not easily gained. What we witness in the diary, and through her letters to her friends, is a battle to go on living with hope and integrity even as the world around her collapses. Her greatest weapons in this are her love of people, her deep sense of God within, and her passion for truth.”
Her fervour and dedication for Truth was indeed remarkable and deeply touching, as we read repeatedly, page after page, gems such as these:
“My life has, so to speak, been extended by death, by my looking death in the eye and accepting it, by accepting destruction as part of life and no longer wasting my energies on fear of death or the refusal to acknowledge its inevitability. It sounds paradoxical: by excluding death from our life we cannot live a full life, and by admitting death into our life we enlarge and enrich it.”
~ Etty Hillesum
“I am having an ever stronger experience these last days: in my least daily actions and sensations a hint of eternity creeps in. I am not the only one who is tired, sick, sad, or anguished. I am united with millions of others across the centuries. All that is what life is made of. Life is beautiful and full of meaning in its absurdity if you know how to take it as a whole. So life in some sense or other forms a perfect whole. As soon as we refuse or wish to eliminate certain elements, as soon as we follow our own pleasure or caprice by accepting one aspect of life and rejecting another, then life becomes in effect, absurd. Once the sense of the wholeness of it is lost, it becomes arbitrary.”
~ Etty Hillesum
“The great obstacle is always the representation and never the reality. One deals with reality with all the suffering and difficulties that go with it – one deals with it, loading it as we do, onto our shoulders and it is by living with this load that we increase our endurance of it. However, we have to put an end to the representation of suffering. This representation is not suffering itself which is rich and can increase the meaning of our lives. By putting an end to these representations which imprison life behind bars, we liberate reality with all its force within ourselves, and we then become able to tolerate true suffering, in one’s own as well as in the life of humankind.”
~ Etty Hillesum
Quotes by Etty Hillesum
Main photo by Alain Joly
– “Etty Hillesum: An Interupted Life & Letters from Westerbork” – by Etty Hillesum – (Henry Holt & Company Inc)
– “Etty Hillesum: A Life Transformed” – by Patrick Woodhouse – (Bloomsbury Continuum)
– “Etty Hillesum and the Flow of Presence” – by Meins G. S. Coetsier – (University of Missouri Press)
– “Sagesses concordantes” avec Vimala Thakar, Etty Hillesum, Prajnânpad et Krishnamurti – de Alain Delaye – (Éditions Accarias L’Originel)