Our Sacred Destination

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Our whole life ought to be being.
So far as our life is being, so far it is in God
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~ Meister Eckhart

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There is none but you, O Lord! — And yet I am dispersed in a thousand identities. I’m not in your embrace but in the embrace of thoughts, feelings, in the entrancement of the senses, and the endless worries and regrets. I desire only you but do not know it yet well enough. So I’m off in a thousand directions. But why don’t I keep it simple? For all my objective moves and endless searches happen in one place only, which is inside my own self and experience. Why being so dispersed? Go for your self only. Forget about all these apparent ‘other than yourself’. Let them all die. Stay in the glorious being that rests in and as the centre of every experience that you may have, of every quest that you may be engaged in. Be still, without moves. Ignore all your impulses towards these endless, hypothetical outsides. Observe them all and see that they are made only of the still presence of your own self. It will spare you a thousand thwarted expectations. All the weariness that goes with it. And all the efforts to get yourself out of these constant little traumas. Be supremely lazy. Forget about the thousand words that stretch themselves like a forest where you get lost again and again. Cease running about. Empty your load. Have a quiet nap in the shade of your sweet self. It has the gentle coolness of the presence of peace, and the happiness contained in the simple evidence of being. It is about you: your own glorious self. Don’t think that you have to achieve something, or be one of these heroes that you have been conditioned to be by society. Be alone, empty. Let go. Rest. Only rest. How difficult is that? And don’t wait for anything there. Only enjoy the simple destination of being just yourself. You are destined for it. For the simple reason that there is in truth nothing but that. Nothing but the obvious, sacred destination of your self. It all rests there: everything you ever wanted to possess, achieve, understand, reach. All is contained in that simple point of presence which lies in and as the centre of your being. Forget about anything else but the destiny of your one and only sacred destination: Being.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

Quote by Meister Eckhart (1260-1328)

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Bibliography:
– ‘Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings’ – by Meister Eckhart – (Penguin Classics)
– ‘Conversations with Meister Eckhart’ – by Meister Eckhart & Simon Parke – (White Crow Books Ltd)

Website:
Meister Eckhart (Wikipedia)

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Being Alone

He who is always alone,
he is worthy of God
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~ Meister Eckhart

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The meaning of the word ‘alone’ in the Oxford Dictionary is stated as such: “having no one else present”. This sounds like a perfect definition of the Advaitic understanding, and an essential feature of the nature of consciousness, of our deepest sense of being. God is alone because he is all encompassing, and doesn’t have another reality by its side. He is alone in the sense that he is all one. This wisdom is fully apparent in the English word ‘alone’ which comes from Middle English ‘all one’. In the French word ‘seul’ though, this is very different. ‘Seul’ comes from Latin ‘solus’, as in ‘solitude’ or ’isolated’. The emphasis is on being one amidst others, not in being all one. So the sense of being alone can bring in both the feelings of loneliness, isolation, separation, insecurity, protection, but also the sense of being one, whole, self-sufficient, contained in oneself, and ultimately at peace. 

So which aloneness are we feeling to be? The one that will express our sense of lack, or incompleteness, or that other one which is the expression of our fullness, of our happiness?

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Continue reading these few thoughts on being alone… (READ MORE…)

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The Surreptitious Thief

‘A Great Tree’ – J.M.W. Turner, 1796 – WikiArt

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Follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought
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~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson (from ‘Ulysses’)

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What better way is there to realise the illusory nature of something than to study its existence? So a study of the ego is really the most interesting and valuable thing to engage in. For two reasons. One, because you are attempting to describe, evaluate, and understand something that simply doesn’t exist in the form you had imagined. Therefore such a study will naturally push you to discover what lies in the place left vacant. Two, because the presence of the ego has been responsible for the near totality of man’s suffering and the mischief he has done in his desperate attempt to alleviate this suffering or cover it up. Only imagine the beneficial consequences when it is found illusory and therefore impotent. 

But what truly is the ego? This word has been used in a variety of ways, and with various understanding. In psychology, it is understood to mean a sense of being a self, a ‘person’ that is real as such and is the foundation for a healthy personality, and its subsequent functioning. In the spiritual realm, and more specifically in non-duality circles, it is often named by the general term of ‘separate self’. The ego or the separate self is the ‘person’ or ‘entity’ that we feel is present inside ourself, but whose presence is not real, but only assumed. It is a belief that we have ceased to question. Simply a derivative, a bundle of thoughts, feelings, and memories that we have shaped into a form, and from which we derive the existence of a particular being, or person, in command inside the skull. 

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An exploration into the nature of the ego or separate self… (READ MORE…)

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One Rock-like Reality

‘Mont Sainte Victoire’ – Paul Cezanne, 1902-1906 – WikiArt

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If we think we are just a little body in a world, that very thought will put us in a position of extreme fragility. No wonder we are depressed, insecure, frightful, for ever claiming, hoping, dreaming, desiring, expecting. No wonder we feel we have to do something to sustain ourself, to make us viable, to give us consistency. I mean, what a depressing view to see ourself lodged in a little corner of a vast world. What poor little thing that makes us. And we go along with it. We bump our heads against that made up reality of ours, that was passed on to us like a poisoned gift. Have we only looked at it thoroughly? I mean outside any believed cultural or spiritual constraints. Have we only looked at it seriously, intently, to actually find the truth of it? There must be a truth hiding here. Maybe it is even in full view. That we only have to look wholeheartedly at what we are. If we look at anything with that kind of intensity, the false is bound to crack up, recede, and break down into a puny heap of sand. For truth is standing like a rock. It won’t budge whatever we do. It cannot be harmed. But the untruth is fragile, precarious, forever modifying itself. What a poor thing to rely on. So for once I looked. For once I didn’t let my eyes drift nonchalantly in another thought invented direction. For once I let my eyes stare at the matter as if it was a question of life and death. And suddenly it jumped onto my face. I mean this reality. This immensity that is staring me in the face. And that I pretended was so hidden that it needed, to be uncovered, a task Herculean, an appetite gargantuan, and a time in infinite amount. No. God, oh no! It is waiting for a sign from you like an enamoured lover is. She is waiting for your letting go, your total abandon. Your resisting will put her off. Your postponing will make him turn his back on you. But the back is of your own making. It is made out of all that is acquired and fleeting in you, of all that is believed and resisting, all that doesn’t wish to open itself, that is shy and hesitant, untrustful, and therefore untrustworthy of your own majestic self and presence. So don’t pursue it through time or space. Don’t expect your understanding to dawn in some future day, some future place. That will prevent it. Why should you feel that this moment is not ripe, not quite the time for it to be revealed? That it should be postponed, waited for, prayed about. That it can’t be now. It can’t be here. I’m not ready, give me some more time. This now is not the now that I need. I’d rather drop it for now, and catch up with it at some future, more suitable occasion. Don’t do that. For you yourself are the very occasion that you need. You yourself are the very moment you need. You yourself are the only one thing there is, and ever will be. Don’t run away. Abandon yourself. You-are-now-here-it. And see how our own little frightened self has suddenly grown to infinite proportions. Rest in this Self. Don’t move. Any movement will make you separate from it. Will make you miss her rock-like vulnerability. So give up moving too. Be the very love you were seeking to acquire. For what is expected is already here. Made only of you. And now just see what happened. Becoming has receded into Being. Amen.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)

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Website:
Paul Cezanne (Wikipedia)

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A Perfect Bull’s-eye

‘Defender. Cloud-archer.’ – Nicholas Roerich, 1937 – WikiArt

The Mullah Nasruddin is what could be called a sublime idiot. He is a liar, irreverent, a disturber of peace. But he is also ingenious, free, full of wit, a timeless figure whose stories have spread and been adapted the world over. In the Sufi tradition, they were used for study purposes. “There is the joke, the moral — and the little extra which brings the consciousness of the potential mystic a little further on the way to realisation.” writes Idries Shah.

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The Mullah Nasruddin brought his students to the fair so that they could watch him compete in the archery contest. Before his first shot, the Mullah fixed his cap military style and, assuming a soldier’s posture, drew the bow and fired. The arrow missed the target completely, and the crowd roared with derisive laughter.

Then he picked up the bow again, this time with little strength, and shot the second arrow. It flew straight, but landed far short of the mark. Again, the onlookers guffawed. For the last of his three allotted shots, Nasruddin nonchalantly turned to face the target, aimed, and let fly. It was a perfect bull’s-eye.

The crowd went wild, then fell into a stunned silence. Nasruddin chose the moment to take his prize and indifferently started to walk on. 

But his students and the astonished throng demanded an explanation. 

Nasruddin complied and told them, “For the first shot, I was identified with a soldier, face-to-face with the enemy. Fear made the arrow miss. With the second shot, I became like the man who, having failed miserably with the first shot, was so anxious and eager he could not concentrate. He simply had no power.”

“And the third shot?” inquired a brave soul. “Who fired that one?” 

“That? Oh, that was me.”

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Nasruddin’s pointers:
Nasruddin makes the point perfectly clear. Why is it that to be ‘me’, I think that I have to do something? I have to pretend, imitate, add, subtract, hide, and god knows what else. I make such efforts, such desperate attempts, at being myself, and yet it’s not really working. I fail again and again at being just myself. I am only myself plus. But simply being my plain, simple self, I’m not. I miss the mark. And then I find ways to reconcile my various fabricated selves into an acceptable one. One that would make a little sense, that would have some kind of logic, that would  be presentable to the world. Well, it seems that there is too much thinking that goes into it, isn’t there? So how can I be ‘me’? Nasruddin is almost discarding this ‘being me’, brushing it aside very matter-of-factly. He seems to imply that ‘being me’ is the simplest thing to achieve. It’s not even worth considering. I am ‘me’ by only ‘being’. There is no ‘more’ in simply being. And don’t think that this is too easy, too universal, not enough the fancy ‘me’ that you’ve been trying to be for so long — and all along failing it so miserably. Listen carefully: This ‘being’ is the ‘me’ that has been perfectly designed for the ‘you’ that you truly are. No ‘me’ could ever be more ‘you’ than this me-being, this ‘I am’. This ‘being’ will make your life easier, happier. You will never miss the mark with ‘I am’. For the mark is yourself. And see for yourself: by being my most precious, simple self, I already am that, that I am. See? This is a perfect bull’s-eye! Nasruddin knew it all along. What clever man he is! Always hitting the target — as far as his true Self is concerned!

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The Nasruddin’s story is borrowed from ‘365 Spirit: A Daily Journey for Your Soul’ – by Aaron Zerah – (A to Z Spirit Publishing).

‘Nasruddin’s pointers’ is by Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘365 Spirit: A Daily Journey for Your Soul’ – by Aaron Zerah – (A to Z Spirit Publishing)
– ‘Every Day is a Blessing: 365 Illuminations to Lift the Spirit’ – by Aaron Zerah – (Grand Central Publishing)
– ‘As You Grieve: Consoling Words from Around the World’ – by Aaron Zerah – (Sorin Book, U.S.)
– ‘The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin’ – by Idries Shah – (ISF Publishing)
– ‘Nasreddin Hodja: 100 tales in verse’ – by Raj Arumugam – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

Websites:
A to Z Spirit (Aaron Zerah’s website)
Nasreddin Hodja (Wikipedia)
The Idries Shah Foundation
Nicholas Roerich (Wikipedia)

Suggestions:
Self Recognition (An interrogation by Nasreddin Hodja…)
I Am Nobody (The newly discovered identity of Nasreddin Hodja…)
Hodja Tells the Truth (A story where Nasreddin Hodja tells the truth…)

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‘I’ is the Goal

Here is a reminder from Nisargadatta Maharaj. 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:

Try to be, only to be. … All you need is to be aware of being, not as a verbal statement, but as an ever-present fact. The awareness that you are will open your eyes to what you are. It is all very simple. First of all, establish a constant contact with your self, be with yourself all the time. Into self-awareness all blessings flow. Begin as a centre of observation, deliberate cognisance, and grow into a centre of love in action. ‘I am’ is a tiny seed which will grow into a mighty tree — quite naturally, without a trace of effort.’

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Further exploring on the subject:

Ask yourself the question: ‘Am I aware?’, and look inside for the answer, stay there until you can genuinely answer ‘yes’ to the question. Use also ‘I am’. Or ‘What is it that knows or is aware of my experience?’. I am nothing that can be thought, felt, sensed or perceived; that is, I am nothing, not a thing or any kind of objective experience. I am the ever-present witness of experience, but am not myself an object of experience.”
~ Rupert Spira

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Every perception, thought or feeling is known by you. You are the knower of the world through the sense organs; of the sense organs through the generic mind; and of the mind – with its activity or passivity – by your self alone. In all these different activities, you stand out as the one knower. Actions, perceptions, thoughts and feelings all come and go. But knowingness does not part with you, even for a moment. You are therefore always the knower. How then can you ever be the doer or the enjoyer?
After understanding the ‘I’-principle as pure Consciousness and happiness, always use the word ‘I’ or ‘knower’ to denote the goal of your retreat. The ‘I’ always brings subjectivity with it. It is this ultimate, subjective principle ‘I’ – divested of even that subjectivity – that is the goal
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~ Atmananda Krishna Menon 

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Pay no attention [to your thoughts]. Don’t fight them. Just do nothing about them, let them be, whatever they are. Your very fighting them gives them life. Just disregard. Look through. Remember to remember: ‘whatever happens — happens because I am’. All reminds you that you are. Take full advantage of the fact that to experience you must be.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Self-Enquiry becomes very useful. You simply allow thoughts to come to you and you enquire in a gentle way, ‘To whom do these thoughts come? Who is thinking these thoughts? I am.’ You wait and you enquire sincerely, ‘Who am I? What is the source of this I?’ When I say you have to dive within yourself, that’s how you dive within yourself. People often ask me, ‘How do you dive within yourself?’ That’s how you do it. You enquire, ‘Where does the I come from?’ The I is deep, deep within yourself. ‘What is the source of the I?’ Then thoughts will come to you again and you repeat the same thing over again. ‘To whom do these thoughts come? They come to me. Who is this me? What is the source of me?’ Me and I are synonymous. ‘Where does the me come from?’ You do it over, and over, and over again…”
~ Robert Adams

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The Prophet said, Whoever knows their self, knows their Lord.
He did not say, Whoever annihilates their self, knows their Lord
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~ Awhad al-din Balyani

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The picture is by brenkee / Pixabay

Bibliography:
– ‘Being Aware of Being Aware’, – by Rupert Spira – (Sahaja Publications)
– ‘I Am That‘ – by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘Silence of the Heart’ – by Robert Adams – (Infinity Institute)
– ‘Know Yourself’ – by Awhad al-din Balyani – (Beshara Publications)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
Nisargadatta Maharaj (Wikipedia)
Robert Adams (Wikipedia)
Atmananda Krishna Menon (Wikipedia)

Suggestions:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)
Khetwadi Lane (Homage to Nisargadatta Maharaj)

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