The Great Replacement

You can always add to experience. You can always have more thoughts. Or different ones. More refined ones. Changes can always occur and always will. You can always fall down to the lowest of the lowest, and judge yourself undeserving. And that is more thoughts about yourself. You can always imagine anything. This is endless, all this activity. It will never stop. It will never reveal any truth worth of the name. It will keep going, headlessly, aimlessly, meaninglessly, like an illusion feeding on itself in order to give itself a seeming reality. Go anywhere in your objective experience, be it your feelings, your sensations, your perceptions, your body, the world out there, none of these will bring an inch of the happiness you are desperately running after. This enterprise is doomed to bankruptcy. It will leave you broke, feeble, mortal, prone to regular fits of unhappiness. It will leave you with not a penny of certainty, not a pebble of solidity, and a very little share of that life-giving energy which you are naturally entitled to. So what are we going to do now? We cannot stop thinking, feeling, perceiving, doing. We need a new comer in the picture. A special adviser. A rock of solidity in our changing sea of uncertainty. Who is going to win the game? When we have turned round and around the table for a new name, a new shareholder, another hope, another fake answer, another bout of shaking certainty, then maybe, it might dawn on us that:

The prodigal son is already at home. Everything we need is present within and without, here and there, now and then, enveloping our vey experience with its all pervading knowing. This something cannot be named, cannot be emptied of itself, and will not make the slightest effort for you. It was here all along, ignored, unnoticed, yet having the dimension of a sky, the solidity of a rock, and the certainty of something that was here before the coming of universes beyond universes. It is like discovering in yourself the wisest of gurus present at hand, in all circumstances. It is your eternal refuge waiting for you to come in. But beware now, for that unfailing refuge, that wisest of gurus, that beloved amongst the beloveds, is you. It is you, you understand? Not something to be reached. Not something far and away. You have nowhere to go, nothing to be, no time to wait for, except being your own unfailing, wise, beloved self. You are it all. Here. Now. Whatever. Whenever. Wherever. Release that old, worn out Chief Operating Officer of yours, and replace it with being. Look around now and relax. Being is all there is.

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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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Taking Sides

Don’t you want to be just made of that? To wholly embrace this experience? Not to stay in a little corner, to be always wanting, claiming, hoping, complaining, but to find yourself being the bearer of all things, merging with the ten thousand colours of experience — not being just one side of it? To be whole is never a matter of choice, but parting is. Awareness is always choiceless. If you exert a choice, in the form of a chooser, then chances are that you don’t know the true nature of living. You’re not aware, no — not yet aware. You’re still sleeping in a dark cave. You haven’t contemplated all that life is. You haven’t truly been amongst the trees, and been taken by the harmonious course of a bird. You haven’t been a lover of the grass, and a true partner of that heap of dried, dead leaves in the autumn air. You haven’t quite yet mingled with the clouds, and merged your being with the being of the sky. No, not quite yet. For now, you’re just being a chooser.

Don’t cheat on your true self and being, by partnering with a thought, a feeling, or some particular object. Don’t be abused by the noises and colours of experience, to the detriment of the silent presence that hosts them. There is something profoundly sad about taking sides — identifying with opinions, beliefs, preferences, judgments. For really, to take sides is to be a self. It is to play in the limited courtyard of your thoughts and feelings, and not be touched by the immensity of not knowing, of having no preferences, of not being a chooser. To take sides means: you haven’t let reality be as it is. You have intervened, and in doing so, have limited your self, have made it into a poor little thing.

For taking sides will send you on the dangerous road to fear, loneliness, and confusion. It will make you retire in the fake refuge of your separate self. Remember this: every time you take sides, every time you exert a control, you are not being ‘you’ — I mean your true ‘I’. You have been dragged and caught by the cunningness of a thought. You have been robbed of your essential self. You have made yourself into a point of view with a limited scope and understanding. You have been squeezed in a little corner of your invention. I am begging it to you now: Stop being anything. Don’t think yourself to be a body, and therefore be an insider. Don’t push away experience, and therefore be an outsider. Don’t be sidetracked with a sideshow. No. Make your true self the real show of experience. You won’t regret it. You will be standing on the stage of life under a shower of light and applauds. For then, you have vanquished all that separating gig. You have given your life the colour of life itself. You have treated your being with the being of all selves and things. And you have exchanged your never ending complaints with a life lived in utter thankfulness. Just by not taking sides.

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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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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 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 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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The Angel of Death

‘Stranger Things Graffiti’ – Paul Sableman (Jher Seno & the Arty Deeds) – Wikimedia

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A myth is a mask of God, a metaphor
for what lies behind the visible world.”
~ Joseph Campbell (‘The Power of Myth’)

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There is an astounding profundity in popular culture. It is just for us to see when it pops up, when it arises above the sea of confusion that our life is for the most part. What is designed to be just light entertainment, what appears to have no depth or consistence other than being an easy escape out of ourself, can hide the brightest of gems if we can elevate ourself to its hidden meaning. I stumbled across one such meaningful gem recently.

Running Up That Hill’ is a song created by pop singer Kate Bush in the eighties. It recently got a second life and triumph by appearing in one scene of the famous sci-fi thriller series ‘Stranger Things’. In this particular show, there is a hideous monster that roams in an imaginary city, and feeds on the minds of teens deeply affected and traumatised by their past, luring them into its parallel and ultimately illusory reality. In that particular scene, the girl is trapped in some dark chamber of her mind. The ugly beast keeps her prisoner there — a cave like place where she is about to be engulfed in the monster’s hideous mind. She manages to escape the grip and run towards an opening in the distance where is her true self and salvation. Pieces of rocks are falling all around her to stop her course, but she keeps running one-pointedly ahead while hearing Kate Bush’s song ‘Running Up That Hill’. The reason for her escape is to be found with her friends playing this song she deeply loves, and creating in her that powerful call and incentive.

Why does a particular blend of a scene and a song suddenly hit a target, move people beyond what could be possibly expected? Just one glance in the comments of that particular scene on YouTube makes it clear: “Best scene of the series”, “This scene made me want to live”, “Cathartic”, “A metaphor for what’s battling your mind”. Why does anything hit us and move us to feel in ourself a feeling of being alive? Tears may come, a feeling of thankfulness, maybe even some sense of profound happiness. What is tilting in our minds in these ineffable moments is the recalling of our life’s most essential meaning and purpose, and the remembering of a place in ourself that we have neglected. This place is the forgotten but obvious target for all our thirsty mind-arrows. It is the open space of our deepest being that we keep missing at every moment of our lives, precisely because of its total intimacy and openness. How do we manage to miss it? Because we focus on the periphery of objective experience. We are enclosed in a dark chamber of our own making that lures us into itself, and makes us fragile, hopeful dreamers with fearful minds, forever caught in the prospect of impending death.

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See how popular culture is infused with non-dual reminiscences… (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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