The Direct Path

‘Walking on a Mountain Path in Spring’ – Ma Yuan, 1190 – WikiArt

We are such complex beings, always confused by endless choices and directions, caught as we are in the repeated convolutions of our thought patterns. Because we see ourselves as an intricate network of thoughts and feelings, we are naturally engaged in finding the solutions for our life conundrum in that same dark cavern of thought. But mistakingly and unfortunately so. For this is a labyrinth from which we can never come out. It has been designed for our loss and suffering. It has been masterly laid down by ignorance, for the sole and only purpose of perpetuating itself. If you want my advice: stay away if you can. But if you are already trapped and caught, well don’t worry: there is a way out. And it might be an easier one than you think.

The problem with thought is that it is constantly crowning itself as the chief master in all deeds and endeavours. It is doing so well in so many fields that its influence overflows beyond its natural area of competence. It is forever engaged in a process of belief and identification. It has persuaded itself that it represents the body, and is by now certain to be a person — a ‘he’ or ‘she’ who commands. It has put the load of finding happiness on itself, and is driving the body out in the world in a constant search for new objects and circumstances, all with the aim to obtain the precious package. And since it has come all the way here, it might as well seek to bring to itself not only happiness but also peace, freedom, love, justice, beauty, and the likes.

This is how we get lost — along that avenue of thought. Along that deceptive, inefficient, never ending seeking. This is madness — this labyrinth we have created for ourself. Thought and its acolytes as feelings, images, body, hope, desire — all that joyous team — out on a mission to find happiness. The danger of such an endeavour is to be found in the thin line down the page on the contract, that stipulates the side effects of such a folly: namely that this mistaken avenue will produce suffering in the forms of all the fears, violence, hatred, confusion, and sorrow that this endeavour brings with itself. And we won’t be able to heal these unfortunate ailments with more of the same as we failingly try to. Suffering can never be overcome using the tools that brought it in the first place. We have to find another way out of this labyrinthine maze and mess.

The good news is that you don’t have to follow every shallow, intricate alleys of this labyrinth, which is understood by now to be only a dark prospect. You are not doomed. Happiness was never meant to be such a dreary, sweaty enterprise. Right there, in the middle of the maze, in your darkest moment of loss and despair, is the secret chamber of peace, and the gate to the freedom you have sought for so long. Right there is the hidden, direct path out of it all. The short cut through the maze. Right here and right now. When you have slowed down and looked for once from the position of the one that has been here, present in all eternity, just below the threshold of your labyrinthine thoughts and feelings, and in fact mingling with them. This is the abode of rest which magically appears when thoughts, feelings, images, body, hope, desire, and world, have been put in their right place. This direct path is not a path. It is ‘it’. It is that very place or thing — which is not a place, not a thing — of your wildest dreams. It is this one silent watcher that precedes what you take to be your self, and presides over your golden destiny as being. The One that is so easily overlooked and missed — so discreet and transparent is it. Thinner than a breath. Space-like. Peaceful. Blissful. Blessed. As simple and direct as your deepest, most intimate sense of being. Just ‘I’. Yes, plainly just ‘I’.

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Ma Yuan (1160-1225)

~~~

..

Websites:
Ma Yuan (Wikipedia)
On a Mountain Path in Spring

Suggestion:
– Other ‘Reveries’ from the blog…

.

Awareness is All

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

.

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

.

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.

[…]

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

.

The Coronation

I want to be all alone with you.
Who cares of these hundreds
relentless thoughts. I’ll let them
be and live their own thinking-life.
I’m not concerned with them.
They’re none of my business.
Have a good journey folks!
I’ll just stay here alone
with my silent friend.

I want to be all alone with you.
I have nothing to do with these
endless stories and beliefs.
All these far-fetched ideas
that keep giving birth to
that constant flow of suffering.
Waves after waves of feelings.
Don’t involve me. I want to be
in unaccompanied solitude.

I want to be all alone with you.
I won’t busy myself with these
ten thousand things. Not this time.
They have helped me well, with
pleasures and necessities.
To fight my fears off and
seek a hidden peace.
But god they’re clumsy! So
please, leave me alone for now.

I want to be all alone with you.
And when I’ll feel your presence
in me, so as to be just only you,
then I’ll return to all and everything;
To the feelings and the spicy;
To the world and its troubled affairs.
I shall welcome the weird and the inept,
and the thinking rendered innocuous.
I’ll make them my loyal attendants
And I’ll crown them with glory.

.

~~~

Text and photo by Alain Joly

~~~

.

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

.

Taking the Bow

‘Bathing Buddha’ – Photo by ViaMoi on Foter.com

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:

See that your experience is made of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions. Where is the ‘I’ that is orchestrating all of those? Where is this ‘I’ in the system? Take any thought that appears in you. Did you choose that thought? See if there was any entity, a chooser that decided to have that particular thought. Go slowly and observe carefully. See that there is no chooser in between each thought. The notion of a chooser is simply itself a thought appearing along many other thoughts. It’s only a thought that says ‘I was there in between each thought choosing it’. It’s the clown that wasn’t actually present but claims responsibility afterwards, and takes the bow. There is a choosing thought, but there is no chooser…’

~~~

Further exploring on the subject:

There is no entity present who could either have or not have free will. Experience is too intimate and immediate to admit of one who may stand back and orchestrate it like a conductor, willing, choosing, deciding, and so on. There is no time present for such a one to exist in. The idea of free will is an inevitable side effect of the belief in a separate entity. If we believe there is a separate entity, we will by definition, whether we know it or not, believe there is free will. If, as this apparent entity, we then believe there is no free will, then that is simply a belief that we superimpose onto our much deeper conviction that we are a separate doer, chooser, decider, and so on. Once the separate entity is seen clearly to be non-existent, the idea of free will dissolves. All that is left is the freedom of consciousness.”
~ Rupert Spira (’Interview with Paula Marvelly: Contemplating the Nature of Experience’)

~

Who is the entity that exercises will to do this or that? Please follow this carefully. If the observer is the observed what need is there for decision at all? … When there is any form of decision, depending on choice, it indicates a mind that is confused. A mind that sees very clearly has no choice, there is only action. And this lack of clarity comes into being when there is this division between the observer and the observed.”
~ J. Krishnamurti (‘Beyond Violence’ – Part IV, Chapter 1 – Brockwood Park, 3rd Public Talk)

~

When the mind returns to the heart, when the separate self is divested of its separateness and stands revealed as the only self of pure awareness, then it becomes clear that there was never a separate self to begin with. And therefore the question as to whether that separate self has choice or not is mute.” 
~ Rupert Spira

~

Freedom, I say, does not mean getting to do whatever one wishes. Nor does freedom have anything to do with so-called ‘free will’, which is a fantasy. Freedom arises with the understanding that in each moment what is, is, and cannot be different, including whatever ’myself’ sees, feels, thinks, or does. In the light of that understanding, while acceding outwardly to social conventions which require playing the role of chooser and decider, inwardly — within one’s private understanding — one may come clean and admit that the ‘myself’ who chooses is a fiction, a story I have learned to tell myself. In that admission one may find freedom — not the freedom to ‘choose’, but the freedom to be.”
~ Robert Saltzman (‘The Ten Thousand Things’)

~

In Hinduism the very idea of free will is non-existent, so there is no word for it. Will is commitment, fixation, bondage. … You must be free first. To be free in the world you must be free of the world. Otherwise your past decides for you and your future. Between what had happened and what must happen you are caught. Call it destiny or karma, but never — freedom. First return to your true being and then act from the heart of love.” 
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj (‘I Am That’)

~

Doing happens, and then you appropriate the doer-ship, but there is no doer-ship. Things happen. When you breathe, you don’t need to think that you’re a breather. When your heart beats, you don’t need to think that you’re a beater. When you’re digesting, you don’t need to think that you’re a digester. These things happen by themselves. The same way, thinking happens by itself; there is no thinker, there is only thinking. The thinker is a thought of other thoughts. So, there’s nothing to do actually means that there is no appropriation in life. Thus, you must give yourself to the fact that life is happening through you, but there is no need to pretend to be the doer. It’s not that there is nothing to do, it’s just that things happen by themselves.”
~ Eric Baret (‘There is No Doer’ in Science & Nonduality)

.

B4B1EF62-8C55-4D3A-A93C-CEF684A607CC

.

Bibliography:
– ‘Being Aware of Being Aware’, – by Rupert Spira – (Sahaja Publications)
– ‘I Am That‘ – by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The Ten Thousand Things’ – by Robert Saltzman – (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘Krishnamurti’s Notebook’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Krishnamurti Publications of America, US)
– ‘Let the Moon Be Free: Conversations on Kashmiri Tantra’ – by Eric Baret (translation by Jeanric Meller) – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Robert Saltzman
Nisargadatta Maharaj (Wikipedia)

Suggestions:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)
A Day at Brockwood Park (Homage to J. Krishnamurti)
Khetwadi Lane (Homage to Nisargadatta Maharaj)

.

The Rightful King

‘The Crown’ – Odilon Redon, 1910 – WikiArt

.

A thought never comes alone. It appears with a container attached to it. But unfortunately, in our most habitual way to relate to experience, this container is felt to be the negligible part. And the same applies to feelings. Every appearance in the mind comes wrapped up with something that supports it. But that support is unseen, ignored, and the fleeting appearance is too often upgraded as being mind itself. Yet I think that the opposite is truer. That thought is the negligible, feeling is the dispensable. Not that they should be neglected. Far from it. For they are pointers. They are blooming flowers brought to our attention for a mission. They are flagging a message to our conscience. One that says, we — thoughts and feelings — are the negligible. We are not mind, but only temporary appearances in the mind. The mind is what matters. The container matters the most. That which we have taken to be secondary, unimportant, negligible — and that we have as a result pushed in the background — is our innermost reality. It is what needs to be raised in and as the foreground. This is the one and only entity there is, far before — and above — any fluttering thoughts or feelings which, to the mind that supports them, are no more than waves on the surface of an ocean. The container — this vast, indomitable expanse — wants to be explored, visited, admired. Cease taking a few thoughts and feelings to be you. They are not you. They only express the parts of you that are blind, unconscious, indolent. By emphasising them, we neglect all that is around them, behind them, beyond them. All that is supporting them, allowing them to be. Every objective appearance is secondary to that unmatchable presence, to whom even the body is a negligible. How could a few unruly servants think that they are the King, that they run the kingdom in place of the rightful King? But be careful here. Don’t neglect any of these unruly servants. Only remind them of their right place and rank. Invite them at your table. Make them see and understand where lies their interest. By thinking they are themselves little kings and queens, they miss an opportunity to surrender to the one who gives them food and lodging. Consciousness is our rightful King. Only give Him allegiance and contemplate His loving and all encompassing nature. He will make you to His likeness, and will send you back to life with a crown on your head. So be yourself the very subject of this majestic presence. Let Her crown you with Her very crown. And you’re not Her only subject, for everything in the kingdom of experience is Hers. Every house, every being, every tree, every expansive sea, every reflection of the sun on every crested wave, are Her subjects. And every subject subjects only one thing: Herself. So let yourself be the ultimate subject. The one that never bows to any object. Many objective appearances will mistakenly think to be subjects, but never will be, never can be. For this is a kingdom of one subject only. Nobody is meant to take the lead, except that which is the rightful King. 

.

~~~

Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

~~~

.

Website:
Odilon Redon (Wikipedia) 

.

Jñāna, the Song of the Self

Without me here, to know experience, 
how could this experience be?

~ Aitareya Upanishad, I,3,11

 

It happened long ago, during a morning stroll behind my house. I was contemplating my deep sadness and my desire to change, when a simple intuition came uninvited. I felt that it was possible to change and I had the power to initiate it. I felt that this change, this cure for my unhappiness was to be found in myself. I felt that it was all happening here, in this me-presence, and that the necessary tools were all provided in me. No reliance on any external authority. It was the intuition, not that I-the little me with its conditioning could do it, but that there is an inward process for accessing this change, this seeming transformation, in other words, happiness. And this process could be implemented, carried out through the tools of thinking, logic, understanding, which are my natural inclination. I had just discovered the very nature of the path of knowledge.

So I’d like today to make an attempt at better understanding this path of knowledge which has been named ‘Jñāna’ in the tradition of India. It is an interesting word which shows the family ties with many of our European languages. In Sanskrit, the word means ‘knowledge’, the root ‘Jñā’ being close to our English word ‘know’, or the Greek ‘gnosis’, the French ‘connaître’, all words that convey the idea of ‘knowledge’. Jñāna is one of the three main pathways towards realising our true nature, namely the path of knowledge, which involves the process of thinking, the path of love, ‘Bhakti’ in India, which involves feeling, and the tantric path, which involves the senses and thereby the so-called external world. It seems to me that there is some value in understanding the nature of each pathways and seeing how they can blend in our daily living and Sadhana.

An exploration into Jñāna, the path of knowledge (READ MORE…)