A Loss and a Gain

‘The Voyage of Life: Old Age’ – Thomas Cole, 1842 – WikiArt

Well, at some point in our lives, we may start to make a rapid calculation. It may dawn on us that if we had counted on this body and mind to represent us right through the end of life, well… let’s be blunt on this: that’s certainly not our best investment. Old age will make it clear that, after a certain time, if we wait long enough, everything begins to go wrong with our bodies — and so with our minds. We-our body are losing it. New pains arise. Strength diminishes. Memory capacity fades. And disease is lurking. There are threats accumulating, to say the least. We have to come to terms with this plain fact of existence: we will never go back to where we were. We cannot keep holding on to our body, continue having faith in it. This constant hoping for a better body, or a healthier mind, has to end, and this is now. In a way, it really is something to laugh about — a sort of cosmic joke. How could we have been so naïve? This simple and inescapable fact shows — if we needed that kind of confirmation — that this body and mind is not the place for a healthy sense of being. We need to find a way out of this faulty understanding.

We find health in our innermost being. That is the answer. And the body is not this being. It doesn’t represent it. It is not its temple. The body exists but it is not being. Only being has the right and capacity to be. The body is at best a distant vassal. A tool. It is not the home of our being, but rather, it finds its home in being. It rests there. It can borrow its qualities. It can make Being its beloved teacher, if it is wise and humble enough to espouse Being’s extraordinary traits. Then the body and its companion as mind might feel enlarged. They might find their true essence as infinity and eternity. They might acquire a soft and gentle making — less heaviness. And the body-mind will be lit with a strange transparency. It will slowly give up its hard matter-like making in favour of a more airy essence. It might surrender itself slowly while still being alive. Then the natural flaws of its ending will have very little meaning — not something to be afraid of. For its death has already been achieved in love — its true essence. Then its apparent shortcomings and loss will be found to be the supreme gain of life itself. We enter a new kingdom, where death can never be death. It is simply the extinction of everything that wasn’t truly ours in the first place. It is a gentle clarification, and the revelation of our essence. “You may die, my dear body, you may fail and disappear, with your companion-mind, but I will meet you on the burning ground and see you rise again as ‘I’”. This is the meaning of old age and death. This is the gift of our apparent failures. To be raised and revealed as essence. See… we won’t lose it.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Thomas Cole (1801-1848)

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Website:
Thomas Cole (Wikipedia)

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Unconditional Love

I just happened to fall in love with my life recently. Don’t ask me how and why. I just did. That came surreptitiously after a long line of unfruitful attempts. I had given up the idea. Discarded the thought — too complicated! This happened when I simply stopped wanting, hoping, needing. These are the ways things get done, it seems, in this world. Life is not something that you can mould to your own convenience. You cannot love life if you set up conditions. If you want it to espouse the contours of your likes and dislikes. You might painstakingly get the life you want, but you will reduce love. You will wound it. That won’t be love anymore but bargain, economy. Love can never be found in the market place. Love shows up with its one fundamental, non-bargainable condition: it is unconditional. And I’ll tell you why:

I discovered that life is self. That the one constituent of life is simply being — who I am fundamentally. Not even a small portion of this life of mine stands outside myself. I love my life because my life is my self, and I cannot not love my self. We all love our self. To not love our self is an impossibility. We love our self dearly, because the nature of our self is love itself. Self is made of love. And everything in this world is made out of this very self of love. So we are bound to love this world unconditionally. To love our life unquestionably. To love people boundlessly. People are our brothers and sisters in love. They are made of the very same bright self that we are made of. Therefore the question of not loving life doesn’t even arise. Love is the very home where our life finds everything it could ever need or want. This is how life becomes a fountain of joy: when it is found to be entrenched in love. This fountain of love is sometimes referred as god’s self. Or ultimate being. Or simply happiness — without cause or condition.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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The Lazy Worker

Today, I went out to clean the streets of Copenhagen. I did it with my love. I hadn’t left it pristine, so it needed a little ordering. I had crowded it with my worrisome thoughts, had encumbered it with my train of escapes, had disseminated some of my many unhappy faces along its avenues — I sure need to clean my mess. So here I am, scanning its landscapes with the blooming of presence, cleansing its pavements with the gaze of beauty, bowing to its people with the healing power of love. This job is an easy endeavour. No need for special tools. Love is accessed through presence. This is how you see every friend, every passing person, as if a long-term companion of voyage. As if we were all coming back from a giant spiritual retreat. Clear and bright. Beautiful. Lovers of being.

Isn’t it extraordinary — how quickly you can repair a world? How easily you can erase the polluting influence of mind? With its thoughts rummaging constantly for a passing, occasional relief. How the litter of separation can be done away with one single sway of the broom of presence? I’m the chief worker wherever I go — which is nowhere but in the expanse of my present experience. I was made the one responsible for the cleanliness of my city-world. To verify that all the neons of presence were shining their light in every dark corner. To make sure that the transports of happiness were running smoothly in all directions. To ensure that behind every blasting horn or tempestuous engine was a silence in sufficient amount.

And guess what? There is! There is already everything that we and the world need! It has already been cleansed through its perfect, eternal, incorruptible making. That’s why this job is only for the lazy workers. Not for the busy ones, attached to their own projected outcomes. Not for the needy ones, expecting to find in their city-world what they think will make them fulfilled and happy. This is all our world ever needs: our presence-ing it — without the ‘it’. In other words, Being.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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A Place of Thankfulness

This is where I’m big. When I’m following my unique fate as presence. When I’m fully being my self, embodying it as it were. This is where I cannot be led astray. This is where I cannot be persuaded of my dying. This is where life becomes a princely road towards this beloved castle of being. You become immovable. You cannot be displaced. Where would you go? Where would you be?

Do you really need a direction? Follow the motorway of being. It will be your universal compass. Everlastingly pointing to your self, where you cannot be lost. No matter what, or how, or when, or where. It will find you in times innumerable, that will all have their origin as you. It will take you to countless places, that will all have their being in you. Congealed inside you. Resting. Yet like waves dancing softly, swiftly. Your life will find its being in being. It will move in that which cannot be moved. Are you still afraid now? Are you still dreading this unknown course of your life? Think again! There is no wrong direction in being. There is nothing threatening or dangerous in being. Presence is a soft bed. This is your king size armchair, from where life is enjoyed and cherished. This is your place of thankfulness.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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The Controller

Think in terms of flow. Don’t think that you have to exercise control over your life. Who would be this controller? Do you want to go back to the little, struggling entity that feels separate and wants to gain self-worth through control? Control is illusory. It never happens, although we buy the illusion that we are this controlling agent. It makes us feel good for a while. But this is not the truth. And as all untruths must eventually do, it will recede, give up its fake reality in favour of the only one reality there is, which is our own one being. To keep that sense of being in sight is all the control you need. It’s the only control that needs neither a controller, nor a controlled. For the simple reason and truth that the controller is here the controlled, as Krishnamurti so often said. There are not two things that can possibly act on each other, because these two things never acquire any reality of their own. There is only your natural, ever present being, which controls you rather than it be controlled by you. This being is the flow you need to follow. It will take you where you are and where you need to be. It will keep you safe. It will move you in the right direction. You won’t need to exert yourself, or to practice. Efforting will fade away. You will be taken by its flow.

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Meditation is a state of mind in which the operation and exercise of will is not.
It has no direction. It is not seeking any experience. It is no longer seeking at all.
Therefore a meditative mind is free of all control
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~ J. Krishnamurti (Public Talk 3 Bangalore, 1973)

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

Quote by J. Krishnamurti (1895-1986)

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Bibliography :
– ‘Krishnamurti’s Notebook’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Krishnamurti Publications of America, US)

Website:
J. Krishnamurti

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The End of Seeking

Beware of being a spiritual seeker. There are implications to it. First and foremost, to seek is to lack. ‘I haven’t achieved’. ‘I need more’. ‘I long for that which is not here’. See what is involved here. Seeking implies time, distance, separation. It makes you like an entity separate from the object of his or her search, which can only be attained in the future. And that puts you in the position of a believer, and a sufferer. No. Don’t be a spiritual seeker. Please don’t.

Dare simplicity. Trust nakedness. The power of being lies in its raw, empty, and natural fabric. It doesn’t need to show off with the etiquette of a seeker. Don’t extend your mistaken sense of self by feeding it with your searching activities. Don’t keep your sense of separation alive by staying in the comfortable but ultimately uncreative and barren position of being a seeker. Seeking is not what you need. Being is. And being is your own, relaxed self — not lacking — not seeking — not projecting — not longing — not needing — not believing. Being suffices to itself. It is whole. It is your one and only place of rest.

Seeking will make you clothe your naked sense of being with fancy, elaborate, and ultimately unnecessary garments. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by seeking. It is the most unfruitful activity. Everybody is doing it — and to no avail. Seeking will place you where you do not want to be. Happiness is not in the lacking, in the wanting. Happiness begins in being. Happiness comes where seeking ends. This is the true destination of the activity of searching: to be a non-seeker. All what you have sought until now is to come to the end of your search. So don’t run ahead of yourself. Being is a simple affair. Being doesn’t require anything that you do not have here and now.

To not have to seek. What a relief this is! To bathe in the simple joy of being. Ultimately, being a spiritual seeker is a bore. It is not what you truly want. The thrill of it is bound to fade, and its tiresome nature will have to be revealed. Remember this: You are seeking to end the search. This is where seeking finds its worth and its resolution. Make the search sink into its object, which is in being — where seeking ends. Sink in being. Try it once and experience how the rough sea of your suffering life, with its endless craving, will find its original and unfathomable nature as stillness. Rejoice in it. Abandon this ongoing agitation at the surface of your life. Searching is this agitation — let it be behind you. Seeking is this battle — being is its underlying peace. Being is the ultimate answer to your search. Pacify your seeking through being.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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The Worth of a Life

‘Back to nature’ – Robert Storm Petersen (Storm P.), 1945 – Wikimedia

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We are all blessed with moments of intense happiness, no matter how ignorant of our true nature we may be. Happiness has always been in the picture. It may have come unexpectedly one glorious morning at the start of a day-long walk in the mountains, or while falling in love, or travelling in a busy train, or quietly sitting at the window sipping tea. You know, these moments when we enjoy every bit of the world around us, when we stop indulging in thoughts and are free to just watch, hear, taste, enjoy, admire. Such happiness is self-explanatory, the proof of god, an enhancer of being. It is beauty revealed, love in action. It is the worth of a life — any life. The only time when we truly see, and hear. Birds seem to have replenished the earth. Flowers appear and butterflies dance in the thin air of our self. Why do you think that, in common parlance, happiness is said to make you like the king of the world? Why do we say that, at the time of happiness, the world belongs to us? Why does happiness seem to be solving all our problems? Does that not express the intuition of our likeness with the world around us?

Happiness is the point of absolute equality in all human beings. When somebody is ignorant of his true nature, and when he has a moment of pure joy and happiness, he becomes a prince and a master in matters of truth. But unfortunately, he remains an ignorant master, who takes that joy, that living sense of being, for granted. Who thinks happiness to be just a passing thing, an accident, a beautiful feeling. Not something that needs to be looked into, explored, and expanded. These are the lost moments of truth that pass unknown, unnoticed in our lives, relegated in the field of time, soon covered up with our crass ignorance. What matters when we are happy, what presents itself with force, is just the plain awareness of being. Being commands. Being is refined. Being is all that matters, all the knowledge we need. When we experience true happiness, we are in a position of not knowing, even if we are a specialist in non-duality, with a ‘spiritual’ etiquette attached to ourself. This is why a true spiritual teacher has no knowledge to give. His place is one of innocence and humility. He never addresses ignorant people, but converses with truth itself. She only shares being with all around her, renders happiness recognisable. Being is the supreme teacher, and the supplier of joy. Don’t let it pass.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Robert Storm Petersen (Storm P.) (1882-1949)

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Website:
Robert Storm Petersen (Wikipedia)

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Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

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