A Tower of Watchfulness

‘Still Life, Pink Roses’ – Vincent van Gogh, 1890 – WikiArt

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We keep receiving invitations
from presence all the time.
But we turn them away
too often — and it’s a shame.

They could take care of our path
with the elegance of
their coming into being.
Paving it as it were.
Illuminating it.

For they are graceful messengers
blooming from the depth
of our innermost being.
They abhor objectivity.
They form surreptitiously
above and amongst
all that is unconscious
in ourself.
They are prodding little bells
that are here for a mission:
To wake us up.
To lure us into presence.

They may come suddenly as
the insistent call of a blackbird.
Its song a joyful reminder —
Stop it! Come back! —
so that you may let yourself
fall back into presence.
So that you may be reminded
of the intimacy of your
most tender being.

Honouring these invitations
is an ever present Sadhana.
One that requires very little effort.
For this is the effort of just
being — Being presence.
A tower of watchfulness.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)

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Website:
Vincent Van Gogh (Wikipedia)

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

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The Burning Bush

‘The Icon of Theotokos the Unburnt Bush’ (detail) – 19th AD, Museum of Radomysl Castle, Ukraine – Wikimedia

Don’t be shy. Come out of the bush. That bush which is of your own making. The hazy bush of your thoughts, feelings, and the ten thousand things perceived. All that you have invented to keep your self going, to give it a form and a lustrous appearance. This is a bush of endless confusion and deceit. Don’t get entangled in its thorny maze, to be kept here safe but miserable. Don’t be lured into the bush of your apparent self, with its intricate problems, and its endless, unresolvable knots. Don’t make that bush your prison, be it a golden one. Don’t let it dictate your life, to forever seek in the world all that can soothe and heal for a time. And don’t expect that you will find in other similar bushes the remedy to your entanglement. You can gather as many bushes you like, they will never make a marriage worth of the name. Any other thought-induced bush will be revealed as being lost in the same, inherent, desperate obscurity which your self is lost in.

Don’t be deceived once more. Don’t be shy. Come out of the bush. Put it on fire. Burn it to the ground. You’d be surprised of what is left behind. How do you burn a bush? Expose it to the sun of your being. How do you expose the false, but by seeing the truth? How do you fight the fear of death, but by realising your immortality? How do you disengage yourself from your endless suffering, but by recognising your true nature as peace and happiness? You have a sun at hand that is more than happy to help you in that enterprise. Expose the mirror of your separation to that sun and its burning rays will strip this idea naked of any true reality. Show yourself. Come out of the bush. Let that pure being do its job on you. Let it burn that bush of yours down to its roots.

And don’t expect a desolate land after that. There will be no carpet of black, sullen, malodorous ashes. Be audacious, for you will only burn the false that is in you. All that doesn’t truly stand on its own. All that which is not. All that you have made up. These sure will go to never return. These are the unburnt bush of your apparent self. For how do you burn something that isn’t there? How do you extricate something that wasn’t truly entangled in the first place? How do you spot the unseen? How do you kill the invisible? As for the burnt ground, you will only meet what truly is. As for the desolation, you will only be welcomed with opulent love and beauty. As for the loss and suffering, you will only be exposed to the profound peace of your essential being. You will be blessed to notice a self that was here all along but that you had been made blind to. This is where this fire is not a fire of destruction but one of creation. This is where this fire is a never ending fire where no bush, no seeds of folly can ever thrive.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Museum of Ukrainian Home Icons

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Websites:
Museum of Ukrainian Home Icons
Radomysl Castle (Wikipedia)

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Other ‘Ways of Being’ from the blog…

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Awareness is All

‘Conscious Capability’ – George Harvey (1806-1876) – WikiArt

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The very fact of being aware of what is is truth.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

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If you observe yourself carefully, awareness can be felt as a truly overwhelming presence. It is actually all there is, and that can be easily proved. Let’s take an experience like our current experience, since no other than this one present, living experience, has ever existed and will ever do. We cannot divide experience, make it into bits and pieces to be compared or analysed. Experience is not limited to its content. You cannot separate content from its recipient. That’s the first clue for our investigation: Experience is undivided, unbroken awareness.

But let’s not be too quick on this, and jump to an easy conclusion. Let’s look thoroughly at our experience. What are the things that occupy us? What is actually filling this presence of ours? Let’s take our thoughts for example. There seems to be a steady arrival of them in our mind. All kinds of thoughts. The organised ones and the messy ones. The scared, confused, barely audible ones, and the vindicative ones. The happy ones and the weeping ones. Some that are useful in the course of a day, and others utterly useless and gratuitous, that are here solely to soothe our broken sense of self, or escape from a dreadful, imagined reality. Let’s face it: most of our thoughts are actually mad thoughts owned by a barely identifiable owner.

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Explore how the nature of our experience is made of awareness… (READ MORE…)

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The State of Things

‘Self-portrait’ (detail) – Rembrandt, 1658 (Frick Collection) – WikiArt

It is crucial in life to have a clear view of the state of things. Not to be left behind with an erroneous understanding or interpretation. For there are wolves out there, that want you to go astray. They will lure you to adopt their own inherited beliefs. They will push you in the direction of your fall. So be watchful of everything you don’t fully understand.

They will want you to believe that you are surrounded by people or others. That these ‘others’ are objects of fear, pain or pleasure, that you will be drawn to either avoid or use for your own happiness. Nothing could be more remote from the truth. At no time or place will you be asked to meet anybody but yourself. Your own glorious self who happens to be also the self of all apparent others. People are but the varied and beautiful expressions of the one being that stands as your being too. In consequence, they will become colleagues, partners, sharers of that same one being, and therefore beloveds. You will see them as blooming flowers that belong to the same aware field of consciousness. This field is the only self there is, present in everyone and every being as your very own being too. This, truly is the state of things.

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A meditative reflexion on the state of things in our experience… (READ MORE…)

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The Castle

Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard – France

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There is a monument in your being
. Something unmovable, unbreakable. Something from which you can never part. Something you can never divorce from. Try to move away from yourself, to separate yourself from your experience, dis-extricate yourself from the massive presence of your being, and see that you cannot do it. Feel this impossibility. Let it itself move you. Let it itself disengage you. Feel how this disengagement is death itself, the removal of all that you have believed was you, and is now discovered not to be. That will shatter you, break you in a thousand pieces, to never be gathered again, never be put together ever. You will be dislodged from yourself. This is irrevocable death. And that death is the only existing portal for life.

Yet what dies is just a thought. A castle of beliefs that you have built in the air of your being. This castle was never really there, although you have inhabited it, occupied its chambers, busied yourself with its imperious injunctions. There is a way out of this donjon. You have to go to the presence of your being. This sense of being is the indestructible ground on which you have built this fatuous mansion of yourself. Some call it the ground of being. Some call it the ‘I Am’. A base you can never part from. The portal you can never deviate from. One that will never let you down, or betray you, if only you could notice its unmistakable presence. That base is itself this castle of happiness that you have hungered for all your life. One that needs not being built, that needs not being added to. So everything that you have strenuously built for yourself will find its primal redundancy, will be reabsorbed in your only true mansion. A castle with only one chamber — home of being — provider of happiness.

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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 Hypochondria of Being

‘The Imaginary Invalid’ – Honoré Daumier, 1860-62  – Wikimedia

There may have been a time in your life when you had a glimpse or experience that you had considered to be a major event or happening, some breaking news coming from god’s mouth. And yet you were left after it with only scattered shreds of truth. You had failed to inhabit your experience and make it yours. You had stayed on its threshold and didn’t dare to visit its interior and be blessed by it. You remained where and who you always were, with the bitter taste of a failed enlightenment as a topping. So you have entertained the memory of it. You have placed this experience on a pedestal. Worshipped it as something to be attained or achieved.

So you have searched for it. You have enquired, read, experienced, shared. Slowly, almost inadvertently, you have gathered some understanding. You have sailed on the sea of existence, harvesting here a tiny piece of truth, there a hazy recognition, maybe even a glimpse of a wee realisation, which you have again locked behind closed doors. And you have sailed further. It made you push or widen your understanding even more. Silently. Surreptitiously. Until one day home is coming closer to you. You find yourself inhabiting this truth. It is making itself known as being only who you are, or that which you are. It suddenly takes you by surprise and clarity. This is what it is!

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A playful interpretation of the nature of spiritual experience… (READ MORE…)

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The Incidental Life

I would like to live the incidental life. Not the one that is a toil. Not the one that finds its significance in happenings and accidents, in various changes or transformations, in happy or sad expressions. I don’t want to be dependent on the forms of life for my happiness. I don’t want to be bound to its many injunctions, be they ones that are imposed or desired. For this is how life acquires its tragic quality. This is how life becomes something that we have to endure or bear with. Something that we have to go through with clenched teeth — which is with hope and belief. Something that we can be happy with, or grateful for, only if we take the right decisions, make the right efforts, and have some good luck too. I don’t want my life to be so brittle and uncertain. To be so imprisoned in endless causes and conditionings. And to have fear as its background music. No. I don’t want to be so grandiose. I want the incidental life.

To have an incidental life is to forever place our gaze on the horizon of being. This gaze implies surrendering to what is, or not minding what happens, as Krishnamurti once affirmed. This gaze will make you see life as being drenched in beauty and love. And this gaze will render you to your eternal, inborn, given nature of peace, happiness, and freedom. This is when experience clothes itself in a sumptuous dress of truth or understanding. One that will allow you, in familiar terms, to leave your life alone. For it can verily and simply take care of itself. Life doesn’t need your painstaking involvement. It doesn’t fancy your pity or concern or greed. Doesn’t want to be taken advantage of. Let your life be in its right place, which is the place of humility. This is where it will find its true colours and expressions. This is when it will rid itself of all the suffering that encumbered it. This is how it will find its own sacred purpose. Don’t give your life an undue position. Don’t take what is secondary to be foremost. And what is foremost to be secondary. See only being as foremost. This is the sun of life: this being. Its essence and direction. The rest? Well, let it be incidental.

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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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