Being Spiritual

‘Sea View’ – J.M.W. Turner, 1820-1830 – WikiArt

This whole adventure of knowing oneself is not about being spiritual. It’s about being alive. Not just a little bit alive, with holes here and there, where unconsciousness can creep in, and steal us the best portion of what it is to be truly alive. For life is not a collection of deeds or experiences. Life is an energy and an essence that you can feel or know as the totality of your own being. And life extends to everything and everywhere. It is not about you. It never was.

To realise our true nature is not about being spiritual. It’s about being happy. Not the happiness that shakes and crumbles at the least twist of life’s circumstances. Happiness is not meant to be so fragile. And it is not something that you have to attain, or perform. You are not meant to work for that which is your inborn due and essence. Happiness is when you cannot even form or comprehend the concept of unhappiness. It is the distinguishing trait of being.

This understanding is not about being spiritual. It’s about being wholly a human being — inhabiting this whole experience while staying rooted in your true essence as awareness. There is immense delight in being awareness through your whole body and mind. Don’t leave your human experience at the door of consciousness anymore that you should leave consciousness at the door of your human experience. Include your humanness in your understanding.

To recognise our real identity is not about being spiritual. It’s about being in a world. Feeling what a world is — its golden nature — its sacredness — its dazzling presence. Having a world as our own being. Don’t think that you cannot know it through its essence. Knowing the world is like knowing yourself. And that will make you equip the world with ravishing beauty. The world is not about an outside. It is all inside yourself, curling itself into your own being.

I don’t want to be spiritual, or special, or humble. I want to be so fully being that I cannot even formulate such ideas. I want to be so fully myself that I cannot even know the meaning of these words. And I don’t want to be perfect. I want to be soft and malleable, and utterly vulnerable. Not fragile or brittle, but open to every passing feeling, to every hue inherent in living. This is how life shows its greatness. This is how you are truly grateful for being human.

I don’t want to have the identity of being spiritual. I want to have no contours where I can be fixed and localised. I don’t want to be anything that can be bumped into, and get hurt or scarred. I want to be being only being, to leave no room for an other, or for a difference. Why should I define myself? To be truly living is to be undefinable. And to be without objective identity is to belong in everything and in everyone. This is the true meaning of love.

I don’t quite fancy being tagged as spiritual. Being spiritual is only a nice word for everything in myself that cannot quite let go and espouse the pure essence of being. These are the leftovers on the failed path of being one with my essential being. I don’t want to be spiritual any more that I want my true nature to be identified with being French, or being this or that. I want to be what I ought to be when every form of control is seen detrimental and abandoned.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851)

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Website:
J. M. W. Turner (Wikipedia) 

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Defining Enlightenment

‘Saint Augustine’ (detail) – Philippe de Champaigne, 1645 – Wikimedia

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A thunderclap under the clear blue sky
All beings on earth open their eyes;
Everything under heaven bows together;
Mount Sumeru leaps up and dances
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~ Wumen Huikai (enlightenment poem)

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The words for the discovery of our true nature — like enlightenment, realisation, awakening, liberation, etc — are all very significant. They all point to truth and have numerous things to say. Take ‘enlightenment’ for instance. Its original signification is ‘to shine’ or ‘to make luminous’. So to enlighten means to put the light on. It means to cease being distracted by all that is objective in our experience and doesn’t define us truly, and make what is already and absolutely ours here and now apparent. It doesn’t mean to achieve, to reach, to attain, to get something new. Where did we get this idea from? But let’s be very cautious here: to make luminous — does this even require a doing? Why should we have anything to do when the light is already fully on? So to be enlightened is really more a matter of noticing what is already here, and that we have missed due to a pathological phenomenon of blindness. We are too occupied with a thousand things, worried, concerned, busy with this and that, distracted, ambitious, desiring, grasping, expecting, and god only knows what else we have in mind to so successfully avoid seeing the patently obvious. Our true reality and identity as consciousness is already present, luminous and shining in every corner of our experience and we are blind to it. That’s where the word ‘realisation’ comes in.

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An essay exploring the signification of enlightenment… (READ MORE…)

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Wei Wu Wei

‘Hotei in a Boat’ – Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769) – Yale University Art Gallery – Wikimedia

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When could I have been born,
I who am the conceiver of time itself?
Where could I live,
I who conceive the space wherein all things extend?
How could I die,
I who conceive the birth, life, and death of all things,
I who, conceiving, cannot be conceived?

~ Wei Wu Wei (Posthumous Pieces)

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You may have sometime come across the name ‘Wei Wu Wei’ while reading or researching, and you have thought that it referred to an exotic and remote Zen master of ancient China. Well, you couldn’t have been more wrong. For this is the pen name of a British aristocrat and writer of the last century. His name: Terence James Stannus Gray, who was born in 1895 and died in 1986, the very same years as J. Krishnamurti. ‘Wu Wei’ is nevertheless a Taoist term which literally means ‘effortless action’ or ‘action that is non-action’, and was chosen by the author for the meaning it carries. Regarding his name, the writer explains in the preface of his book ‘Fingers Pointing Towards The Moon’: “What is a name? […] Is not a name essentially — the name of an ego? But the Self, the Principal, the I-Reality has no name. […] If the nameless builders of the Taj Mahal, of Chartres, of Rheims, of a hundred cathedral symphonies, knew that — and avoided the solecism of attributing to their own egos the works that were created through their instrumentality — may not even a jotter-down of passing metaphysical notions know it also?” He continued: “But in case you should still wonder who is responsible for this book I do not know how to do better than to inscribe the words

WEI WU WEI

為無為

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Why are you unhappy?
Because 99.9 per cent
Of everything you think,
And of everything you do,
Is for yourself —
And there isn’t one
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~ (‘Ask The Awakened’)

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Discover the rich and insightful nondual writing of Wei Wu Wei… (READ MORE…)

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The Riddle of Ignorance

‘Landscape’ – Sergey Vasilkovsky – WikiArt

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There is a truer, hidden reality lying just under the veneer of life. Don’t think that what you have is the real thing. It is not. This hidden reality is being covered by the thick blanket of our deceptive representation of reality, made of a whole array of thoughts, feelings, memories, worries, beliefs, conditionings, that have numbed our aliveness, blunted our sensitivity, and rendered our god-given natural endowment as if inexistant. This is why, in some religious traditions, man has been proclaimed ’ignorant’. This is a word that indicates that simple fact — the plain and unfortunate forgetting of a nature in us that has been temporarily hidden, and that craves in the background for our recognition, our remembering. This is why all men and women on this earth are seeking peace and happiness in one form or another.

This particular reality is the subject of countless religious books and spiritual traditions in the world. This was never about having many different beliefs like we sometimes think it is. It was about revealing this truer reality of ours. In the process of doing so, approaches may vary depending on the times and cultures where they arose, and misunderstandings have sprung proportionally, but the fact of our ignorance is the same for all, at all times, in all places. And the reality discovered behind its dispelling is not only the same for all, but is one whole and single reality present here and now as the rock-like experience of being in all beings — be they human or not. This is not a small affair to be pushed around and despised as being mere ‘beliefs’, but is the very core, substance, and meaning of our lives. So why is such an obvious reality being missed by so many of us? What has made it so commonly invisible, and inaccessible?

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Some reflections about how reality is being ignored by man… (READ MORE…)

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The Ways of Being

Have you ever tried to live just above yourself? Now look. There is a whole set of activities going on down below, but you don’t need to get involved. It’s all conditioned reactions anyway, so don’t get entangled with any of it. You know this ceaseless activity: The ‘thoughts’ and the ‘felts’. Perceptions mesmerising you with their belly dancing. They will precipitate you down. They will be your fall. As for the body, it can take care of itself for the biggest part. Attend to it only when it’s required. To go to the dentist or to the cinema. To give the mind a vehicle. Fair enough. These are the contingencies of life. Feed the body well though. And give it something to do to keep the joints going, or for pure enjoyment. Joy is not some kind of negligible. It’s a necessity of life.

So bodily activity doesn’t need your full involvement. Stay aloof. Enjoy the show. As for the rest, you can be with being. You know this place that’s immobile, that never changes. Trust it. It will keep you safe. Stay there, just above yourself as it were. And don’t think that you are being haughty or bourgeois in this. Being is not that sort of being. It is not really above. It mingles with the lowly too. Actually it is everywhere. It cannot be taken apart. It’s the very fabric of experience. Only give it a little attention, and it will take you with itself. It will invite you at its home. Beautiful. Spacious. Silent. Well situated. You wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. You can bring there all your messiness. She doesn’t mind. Even these noisy and shameful friends of yours. But give them a warning though. They might not be served their usual cheap wine. Being has its ways. Her friendliness is contagious. Your friends might fall in love. They might shrink eventually and disappear. And make ‘being’ their home… move there for ever… even marry her… and be happy hereafter. You know the whole story that goes with it…

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

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How Difficult is That?

Isn’t this strange to have that constant race towards being when we are already fully being, and furthermore, doing it with absolute perfection? We keep projecting another better being than our present being, which we have judged not enough, un-sufficient, un-perfected. But we couldn’t be being any more or better than we are now already doing. What would I want to be but what I am? Why this be-coming? It is such a plain, inescapable evidence: I am this awaring presence. Presence, or being, is my natural abode. This is who I am.

Yet I’ve had all sort of ideas about it. And fanciful ones, believe me! That this presence was a me-person located inside a body. That it was an idea, a point of view that needed nurturing and developing as I — the me located inside this body — desired it. And if ‘I’ couldn’t do so, that would make this ‘me-majesty’ a sad, upset little ‘me’. And that sad little ‘me’ would go on living the life of a body located in space, projecting all the beings and things it senses as representing an ‘other’, a ‘world’ out there in which he roams about alone, gets scared, and craves, until he finally dies. That’s the end of ‘sad little me’. Body dies, he dies.

Hell no. That’s not the way it is. God forbid. There is no sad little me. That’s not there. It’s an idea, an image with no reality. I am not sad. I am not small. Not located. I am presence itself. I am this sweet, loving, sensitive, subtle knowing of everything that presents itself in this field. I am this field of knowing. This tenderness taking all in. I am the big, soft, loving eye of knowing. Knowing is my home. As for the rest, I am homeless. I don’t need to crave, grab, grip, grapple, grabble. None of that. God forbid. I am free. Unattached. Deep diving into the very substance of my self. Experience is my constituent and I am in love with every bit of it.

How difficult is that?

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

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The Guard and the Prison Breaker

‘The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog’ (part) – Caspar David Friedrich, 1818 – WikiArt

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Without freedom there is no self-knowing 
and without self-knowing there is no meditation
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~ J. Krishnamurti 

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Few sensations are as boisterously exhilarating as freedom is. Freedom is something that we all love to feel. To be freed! Freed from all weights and limitations. Freed from everything that bullies us and pins us down. But most of the time, this feeling is experienced from the vantage point of the little thought in our head that thinks it runs the show. This entity thinks that its freedom comes from being separate, and from its capacity to do what it wants. This is what being free means to most people. But is this really what freedom is, where freedom lies? In expressing all that comes from the lack and desperation of a limited, vindicative little self? If that is so, then this freedom takes us nowhere but in the already known boundaries of our self. How could that account for the power and magnitude of this feeling? Freedom cannot be so small and contrived. What is it then? Where is true freedom to be found? 

Freedom can never be fully felt within the conglomerate of our thoughts, feelings and perceptions, between the four walls of our prison cell. We may feel some occasional bursts of pleasure but this is not the real deal. If you search for freedom through that portion of yourself that is fleeting, fragile, untrue, you will by definition prevent the advent of any meaningful freedom. You will have limited freedom, something to be achieved, something to be added that becomes just another object, another aim in view. And don’t forget that this limited freedom can never be achieved anyway, for we in truth can never do what we want. And of what advantage would it be to follow the clumsy, limited, fanciful ideas of a mind that stands on false premises. Because of this impossible claim, we feel bitter, sad, violent, jealous, regretful. Let’s move away from such dangerous idea. 

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An inquiry into the question of freedom… (READ MORE…)

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