Naked Presence

A prayer is an invitation to rest or abide in what is most essential in our being. I have tried here to express my own version of a prayer:

 

I don’t know, sweet beloved, 
what to do with my fear, my anger,
all my overwhelming feelings
and the limits I impose on myself.

So please take them into your loving lap,
tender them till they melt 
and are taken away to be
one with your infinite being.

It is my plea and my wanting,
rather my offering – for I’m asking nothing,
to be rid of all my clothes and be seen 
naked in front of your most naked presence.

Let your constant outpouring of love
be my daily inescapable anchor,
let me I be you and you I
and feel no more the pain of separation.

You were so unnoticed,
at best visited from time to time,
let me now be the absent, unnoticed one.

Let me be whole and one with all things,
let me find in the pain, in the ache,
your most gracious presence,

my heart!

 

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Suggestion:
Fragrance (on the role and nature of prayer)

 

‘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

~

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
.”
~ Atmananda Krishna Menon 

~

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

~

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
.”
~ 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)

Suggestion:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)

 

Rumi

“We are all returning.”
~ The Koran

 

“On the seeker’s path, wise men and fools are one.
In His love, brothers and strangers are one.
Go on! Drink the wine of the Beloved!
In that faith, Muslims and pagans are one
.”
~ Rumi, Quatrain 305

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در راه طلب عاقل و دیوانه یکی است
در شیوه‌ی عشق خویش و بیگانه یکی است
آن را که شراب وصل جانان دادند
در مذهب او کعبه و بتخانه یکی است

 

Rumi is a giant. Somebody whose words resonate with the perfume of truth, but about whom we paradoxically know very little. At least I didn’t. Quoted far beyond the small circle of spiritual seekers, he is taken for granted, like a distant angular stone of spirituality. His verses are shared, loved as so many gems of human history, but without showing off. And yet, what depth of understanding they convey! In what subtle and intricate ways they describe the torturous alleys of spiritual endeavour! And with what simplicity!

 

Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open?
Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.
Live in silence.
Flow down and down in always 
widening rings of being
.”
~ ’The Essential Rumi’ (Translated by Coleman Barks)

 

Rumi was a Sufi. He was born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, in 1207, in Balkh in present day Afghanistan, in a family of Sufi tradition. Sufism, which could be defined as ‘the inward dimension of Islam’, has its origins shrouded in mystery. How did it suddenly grow, nobody knows. The word comes from ‘sūf’ which refers to the woollen garment worn by the first mystics who broke away from the mainstream Islamic religion. Sufism didn’t grow in opposition to Islam, the religion that gave it birth around the 9th century, but as a deepening, a going back to the very source and meaning behind traditional Muslim orthodoxy. The Sufi devotee wanted to feel, to know God as the true presence in the heart, not putting an illusory figure at a distance to be worshipped. That’s how Sufism placed love, the love of god, at the centre and expressed it in the most exquisite poetry. That’s how music and dance were allowed and praised. Sufism is understanding and living this primary statement of faith in Islamic religion: ‘There is no god but god.”

Immerse yourself in Rumi’s path of divine love and poetry… (READ MORE…)

 

Variations on the Separate Self

Who am I, and in what really do I consist of?
What is this cage of suffering?

~ Jayakhya Samhita, Verse 5.7

 

Why is it so difficult to recognise something that’s staring us in the face? The distance is always so short between our worse moments of separation and the full recognition of the truth of our being. The tiniest, softest change of focus can either show you a world made of infinite space or throw you into an abyss of tortured thinking. When we stand in the apparent coziness of our false beliefs, we seem to be ages away from any kind of understanding. We feel that no amount of effort will ever bring us into the light. We might as well give up. This is the road towards self-indulgence and sorrow. We think that the burden is too big, the effort required out of reach. No. It’s never like that. We are an infinitesimal move away from the light. No effort is even required. Something of a relaxation. A so slight change of focus that it seems no move at all. It’s here already, waiting for our humbleness. …

Continue finding out about these variations on separation… (READ MORE…)

 

God Only Knows

This poem was written by Katarina Jonsson, a Danish friend. I loved this poem from my first reading for its truth and simplicity. 

 

Where do you come from
he asked
I never arrived
she answered
but I come from a thousand different places
sometimes from sorrow and hurt
sometimes from the greatest joy
other times from shame and guilt
from projections and competition
she said

But where do you come from
he asked
I come from a thousand different places
she answered
I never arrived
Sometimes I come from ignorance and blame
sometimes from darkness and despair
I have come from happiness and communion
from disappointment and loneliness
she said

But where do you come from
he asked
I come from a thousand places 
I never arrived 
she answered 
I came from inferiority and superiority 
sometimes from equality 
I have come from thoughts and emotions 
and I have called them love

They both fell silent

Where do you come from
he asked 
I come from silence 
from love 
from God
she said
I have arrived 

Who has arrived 
he asked
I don’t know
she said

 

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Poem by Katarina Jonsson

Photo by Alain Joly

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