Speaking of Shiva

When I didn’t know myself, 
where were you? 
Like the colour in the gold,
you were in me.
I saw in you, 
lord white as jasmine,  
the paradox of your being
in me
without showing a limb
.”
~ Akka Mahadevi

 

If you have been to India, you are likely to have met a beggar who came to you imploring, asking you to relieve him from his suffering, but also being a little rough, with something in his voice sounding like a reproach. You probably froze for a second, feeling guilty, not knowing what to do. You felt caught between giving or not giving, between an easy way out or a shameful flight. None of them satisfactory. Torn by this conflict, you may have missed the giving, salvific part of it all. You may have missed that in the profuse tradition of India, one of Shiva’s many forms is the ‘Supreme Beggar’. You may have missed that, in Krishnamurti’s words, “Conflict is the measure of the ‘I’.” Shiva came along to give you a chance, a beautiful opportunity to see that there is in you a way out of yourself, of your little ‘I’, in which you could both give and receive. I’d like to call this freezing, this second of conflict and confusion, the ‘knot of Shiva’. I had this knot undone once, long ago, and was allowed to sneak a peek at Shiva’s face. Evidently, he had some secrets to tell. Let’s walk the road from the egoistic, immature thoughts and images of Shiva, to the more understanding, universal realisation of his true identity. Let’s unravel Shiva’s mysteries…

An essay to explore the many aspects of India’s most famous god (READ MORE)

 

The Quality of Now

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. 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 find, to feel in yourself the experience of a past or future. See that it’s not possible, that the past or the future is always an idea or a concept… Really ponder the implications of that, the past is not there, the future is not there, it’s never there… Try very hard, feel it, see how this feeling-understanding that there is no past or future affects the quality of the now, see how it impacts the way you move, the quality of your relationship, your daily activities… For each of these three examples, you can do it either with the past or with the future… Experience the new vulnerability in yourself…

~~~

Further exploring on the subject:

As long as there is an observer there must be living in the past, obviously. And all our life is based on the past, memories, knowledge, images, according to which you react, which is your conditioning, is the past. And living has become the living of the past in the present, modified in the future. That’s all, as long as the observer is living. Now does the mind see this as a truth, as a reality, that all my life is living in the past?
~ J. Krishnamurti

~

Past and future are dependent on the present. The past was present in its time and the future will be present too. Ever-present is the present. To seek to know the future and the past, without knowing the truth of time today, is to try to count without the number ‘One’.
~ Ramana Maharshi

~

Now if there is no future, because the future is now and the past is now, then what is action? We said action as we know it now is based on the past – memories, regrets, guilt, experience, which is all knowledge, or the future, the ideal, the concepts – right? Theories, faiths, you act according to that. So you are acting according to the past or to the future. But the past and the future are now – right? So what is action? You understand my question? Please do – don’t give up. You have to exercise your brain, your intellect, your energy to find out, your passion to find out.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

~

The ego struggling to survive either clings onto its accumulated memories, or projects desires into the future, thus using up a considerable amount of energy. Accumulation, choosing, elaborating, all take place on a horizontal plane, in time and duration. The energy constantly turns back upon itself, creating a vicious circle. Being uninvolved with this movement, this dispersal, this sterile swinging between past and future, puts to rest the energies that sustain these habit-patterns, and we finally awake to liberating awareness. Then the energies converge vertically in the eternal now.”
~ Jean Klein

 

635AFFA2-05B7-486F-8D19-46C78D56DD67

 

Picture by Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The First and Last Freedom’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Rider Publishing)
– ‘Be As You Are’ – by Ramana Maharshi (Edited by David Godman) – (Penguin Books)
– ‘Who Am I‘ – by Jean Klein – (Non-Duality Press)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Ramana Maharshi (Wikipedia)
Jean Klein (Wikipedia)

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

 

 

A Path, What Path?

The question of the ‘spiritual path’ is a difficult one, that seems to draw different points of view and approaches, both from students and teachers. I have gathered here many quotes and pointers on and around this subject, from various spiritual teachers and poets of the eternal and the infinite. I hope that this will bring some clarity, or at least give a better overview of this ‘thing’ we call the Path… Yes, what path?

 

How shall I cross the ocean of the world?
Where is the path? 
What way must I follow?
I know not, Master.
Save me from the wound of the world’s pain.” 
~ Adi Shankara

~

This is an excerpt of the famous discourse Krishnamurti gave in 1929 the day when he announced the dissolution of the Order of the Star, the organisation built around his person:
I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.”
~ J. Krishnamurti 

~

In the direct approach the premise is that you are the truth, there is nothing to achieve. Every step to achieve something is going away from it. The “path,” which strictly speaking is not a path from somewhere to somewhere, is only to welcome, to be open to the truth, the I am. When you have once glimpsed your real nature it solicits you. There is therefore nothing to do, only be attuned to it as often as invited. There is not a single element of volition in this attuning. It is not the mind which attunes to the I am but the I am which absorbs the mind.”
~ Jean Klein

~

The mind that seeks happiness is like a current in the ocean that longs for water. The mind that resists suffering is like a current in the ocean trying to escape from the water. See what happens to your longing and your suffering when this becomes clear. This understanding is the true alchemy, not the transformation of one experience into another, but rather the revelation of the true nature of all experience.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

More quotes and pointers on the subject of the spiritual path (READ MORE…)

 

The Natural State

‘The natural state’ is an expression borrowed from Joan Tollifson that refers to enlightenment. This is a beautiful way to look at what is often thought to be an extraordinary event. Rupert Spira says nothing less, when he defines it as ‘the absence of resistance to what is’, or simply: ‘this’.

 

Thought doesn’t know truth; it dissolves in it. 
Feeling doesn’t find love; it merges in it. 
Perception doesn’t see beauty; it dies in it
.”
~ Rupert Spira 

 

 

Enlightenment could be defined as the absence of resistance to what is, 
the total intimacy with whatever is taking place 
without any desire to reject or replace it; 

so intimate that there is no room for a self to separate itself out from the whole, 
to stand apart and look at the situation from the outside, 
to judge it as worthy or not worthy, good or bad, 
right or wrong, desirable or undesirable; 

so intimate that there is no room, nor any time, 
in which a separate self could take refuge inside the body 
and so finds itself without boundaries or borders 
pervading the whole field of experience; 

so intimate that there is no ‘me’ on the inside 
and no object or other on the outside,
but only seamless intimate experiencing; 

so intimate that there is no room for a ‘self’ and an ‘other’, 
a ‘me’ and a ‘you’, a ‘this’ and a ‘that’, a ‘now’ and a ‘then’. 

So utterly now and here that there is no time for time 
and no place for distance or space
.”

~ Rupert Spira

 

~~

 

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful relief to recognize that nothing could actually be any other way right now than exactly how it is, that THIS is how the universe IS, that everything belongs? And already, it has completely changed! Can you feel the freedom in knowing that there is no “you” who “should” be doing a better job? How wonderful to see that enlightenment is not a special attainment that only a special few can reach, but rather that enlightenment is the natural state, the groundlessness that is always already fully present. Rather than something we lack and need to attain, it is what we always already ARE.”
~ Joan Tollifson

 

~~

 

As this intimate oneness, it is known as love. 
In its untouchable-ness it is known as peace and 
in its fullness it is known as happiness. 
In its openness and willingness to give itself to any possible shape 
(including the apparent veiling of its own being), 
it is known as freedom and, 
as the substance of all things, 
it is known as beauty. 
However, more simply it is known just as ‘I’ or ‘this’
.”

~ Rupert Spira

 

635AFFA2-05B7-486F-8D19-46C78D56DD67

 

Picture by Alain Joly

Bibliography:
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘Nothing to Grasp’ – by Joan Tollifson – (Nonduality Press)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
– Joan Tollifson

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

 

Destroyer of Darkness

We continue our series of texts or essays on different subjects of spiritual interest. The subject here is about examining the figure of the spiritual teacher, or the guru…

 

Be a light unto yourself; 
betake yourselves to no external refuge. 
Hold fast to the Truth. 
Look not for refuge to anyone besides yourselves
.”
~ Buddha Shakyamuni

 

It knew better. This thing, so dense, so light, that took me into its lap, that invited me for a dance with eternity, with infinity, would not leave me alone, unattended. Not even two days after encountering this mystery, after dipping into this bath of love and beauty, I was being shown a way. I believe it is inevitable when there is an opening. In a burst of synchronicity, a friend materialised and handed me a copy of Newsweek magazine where there was an article about a spiritual teacher who had died a couple of weeks earlier. I was immediately drawn to him. It was the beginning of a ten year journey into his teaching. I wasn’t the easiest friend though, nor the most faithful. Just a couple of weeks before, among the temples of Khajuraho, I was explaining to a German lady guru who invited me to her meetings, how little I felt about spiritual authority, how important it was to find out by myself, not to be influenced in these matters. My new spiritual teacher wasn’t the friendliest towards the figure of the guru either, but nevertheless he was my first help and pointer, my first pathway towards understanding. “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”, it is traditionally said.

An exploration into the function of the spiritual teacher (READ MORE…)

 

The Fleeting Entity

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. The ‘fleeting entity’ is an expression he used to describe the separate self. 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:

Keep on looking in what way almost all your thoughts, feelings, activities, are based upon the belief that you are going to die… See that underneath all of that is your fear of disappearing…

~~~

Further exploring on the subject:

This imaginary identification of our self with an object, the body, creates the apparently separate self. … This apparently separate self, being made out of an intermittent object, is, by definition, unstable, always threatened with change, decay and disappearance. Hence the fear of disappearance that resides at its heart and its natural corollary, seeking.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

Addiction of any sort, be it to inappropriate sexual behaviour, alcohol, drugs, smoking or any milder form of behaviour, almost always has its origin in the belief and, more importantly, the feeling of being a separate, limited, located self.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

Fear and seeking manifest in the most innocuous forms of behaviour, the most common of which is unnecessary thinking, the almost constant mental chatter or commentary that most of us are familiar with. This innocuous commentary is the simplest form of the ‘resistance to what is’. It is the repetitive background chatter that ensures that attention is almost always diverted away from the immediacy, intimacy and simplicity of ‘what is’. This is the primal addiction.”
~ Rupert Spira

~

Between living and death there is time. Time, that interval between what actually is and something which we call death, of which we are afraid. This interval between life and death is brought about by thought. Of course there is actual dying: the physical organism, through disease, accident, through usage, dies. But there is fear of death and the sorrow of death as a psychological ending. So there is not only the fear of physical dying, but also the fear of losing all the things that one has learnt, the memories, the experiences, the affections, the family, the hopes, the works, the character, all that one has developed, cultivated, nourished – fear of their coming to an end.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

~

We cling when we fear that without identifying with something or as something, “myself” will lack substance entirely, rendering ordinary life devoid of meaning. Even a glimmer of the possibility of emptiness and meaninglessness can feel terrifying—like glimpsing a bottomless void into which one might fall forever. And of course we fear death which, although many attempt to hold it at bay with religion and spirituality, will mean the end of the entire self-centered production called ‘my life’.”
~ Robert Saltzman

~

It all begins with ‘I, the body’,

That is the root of all suffering,

which our addictions seek to alleviate.”

~ Rupert Spira

 

635AFFA2-05B7-486F-8D19-46C78D56DD67

 

– Artwork by Daniel B. Holeman

Bibliography:
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The First and Last Freedom’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Rider Publishing)
– ‘The Ten Thousand Things’ – by Robert Saltzman – (Non-Duality Press)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Robert Saltzman

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

 

Every Time I Open my Eyes

This poem from Rupert Spira appears at the end of the film ‘The Unknowable Reality of Things’. Produced and directed by Zaya & Maurizio Benazzo, this film is a poem, a meditation made of a series of chapters, each introducing a question like ‘What do we mean by ‘I’”, or “The pure intimacy of experience”. For each of them, Rupert Spira, sitting or standing in a beautiful forest environment, brings a clear answer. It is delivered over a succession of elegant and soothing views of nature, like a dance with shapes, colours, and textures, highly conducive to going within…

~~

Every time I open my eyes,
I invite the world to take shape.
And every time the world takes shape,
I’m invited to open my eyes.

Every time I open my eyes,
I invite the world to take shape.
And every time the world takes shape,
I’m invited to open my eyes
And see the world raw and naked,
Holding out its hand,
Calling me into itself,
Where I am taken into the transparency of thing
And find myself transparent there.
Standing on the edge, looking down and in
To the dark, silent pool in which the world is cradled.
And I am cradled there, held with all things
And hold all things in myself.
Myself, not a thing in the world,
But This, Here, Seeing,
In which the world opens,
Inviting and offering itself.
And every time it is seen, it dies.
And in dying, holds out its hand again
Asking to be taken in.
And every time I take it in,
I, too, die.
And in dying, am known,
As This, Here, Seeing.
Every time I open my eyes.

~ Rupert Spira

 

~~~

This poem appears in the film ‘The Unknowable Reality of Things’

Painting from Claude Monet: ‘Cliff at Grainval’ (1887)

~~~

4328055C-0BA1-4237-A1D6-95E97931055B

 

Bibliography:
– ‘The Transparency of Things’ – by Rupert Spira – (New Harbinger Publications)
– DVD: ‘The Unknowable Reality of Things’ with Rupert Spira – (Neti Neti Media)

Websites:
– Rupert Spira
– Neti Neti Media

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