The Worth of a Life

‘Back to nature’ – Robert Storm Petersen (Storm P.), 1945 – Wikimedia

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We are all blessed with moments of intense happiness, no matter how ignorant of our true nature we may be. Happiness has always been in the picture. It may have come unexpectedly one glorious morning at the start of a day-long walk in the mountains, or while falling in love, or travelling in a busy train, or quietly sitting at the window sipping tea. You know, these moments when we enjoy every bit of the world around us, when we stop indulging in thoughts and are free to just watch, hear, taste, enjoy, admire. Such happiness is self-explanatory, the proof of god, an enhancer of being. It is beauty revealed, love in action. It is the worth of a life — any life. The only time when we truly see, and hear. Birds seem to have replenished the earth. Flowers appear and butterflies dance in the thin air of our self. Why do you think that, in common parlance, happiness is said to make you like the king of the world? Why do we say that, at the time of happiness, the world belongs to us? Why does happiness seem to be solving all our problems? Does that not express the intuition of our likeness with the world around us?

Happiness is the point of absolute equality in all human beings. When somebody is ignorant of his true nature, and when he has a moment of pure joy and happiness, he becomes a prince and a master in matters of truth. But unfortunately, he remains an ignorant master, who takes that joy, that living sense of being, for granted. Who thinks happiness to be just a passing thing, an accident, a beautiful feeling. Not something that needs to be looked into, explored, and expanded. These are the lost moments of truth that pass unknown, unnoticed in our lives, relegated in the field of time, soon covered up with our crass ignorance. What matters when we are happy, what presents itself with force, is just the plain awareness of being. Being commands. Being is refined. Being is all that matters, all the knowledge we need. When we experience true happiness, we are in a position of not knowing, even if we are a specialist in non-duality, with a ‘spiritual’ etiquette attached to ourself. This is why a true spiritual teacher has no knowledge to give. His place is one of innocence and humility. He never addresses ignorant people, but converses with truth itself. She only shares being with all around her, renders happiness recognisable. Being is the supreme teacher, and the supplier of joy. Don’t let it pass.

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Robert Storm Petersen (Storm P.) (1882-1949)

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Website:
Robert Storm Petersen (Wikipedia)

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Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

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A Story of Lack

‘Melancholy’ (Part) – Odilon Redon, 1876 – WikiArt

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When the ‘I’ is divested of the ‘I’, only ‘I’ remains.”
~ Ramana Maharshi

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Don’t run in the other direction. Don’t take a sense of lack for a need. For this is what we do, when we sense in ourself an insufficiency, we want to fill it up, by all means necessary. We think it important to grant its wanting, its craving. But a lack is never a need. A lack is a fact that needs no repairing and no repairman. By bowing or giving allegiance to it, we submit ourself. We give up all power of understanding. We place ourself at the level of that lack. We become small. We don’t respect it. For this is not to respect it, to obey a random sense of lack. For lack comes as the supreme teacher, and our genuine bowing to it rather takes the form of listening. This is how we bow to a teacher, how we respect it, fulfil its function: by listening to it. So we listen. We stay motionless and invite its teaching. We don’t run away in the other direction.

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A story about how a sense of lack can be the real teacher… (READ MORE…)

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Diary of a Country Priest

’Diary of a Country Priest’ – Robert Bresson – (With actor Claude Laydu)

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I try to catch and to convey the idea that we have a soul
and that the soul is in contact with God.
That’s the first thing I want to get in my films
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~ Robert Bresson.

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Robert Bresson is a unique film maker in the history of cinema. He has developed a very personal way of filming that wholly tends towards one thing only: conveying truth. This is achieved by means of the right use of cinema language. As the French master said in the newspaper ‘Libération’: “The true language of cinema is that which translates the invisible. I am trying to convey feelings rather than facts or actions. I am trying to substitute an internal movement for an external movement.” This is particularly well shown in his 1951 film ‘Diary of a Country Priest’, where Bresson, slowly, relentlessly, and above all with simplicity, is scanning the interior life in everything, in the dialogues, the lights, the camera movements, the acting. But this simplicity is here to serve an utter precision. The film is crafted. A skilful surgeon is here at work. And we make silence.

‘Diary of a Country Priest’ tells a simple story based on the novel of the same name by Georges Bernanos, published in 1936. A young priest arrives in his first rural parish where he and his faith will be met with misunderstandings and challenges, both from his parishioners and his declining health. The film opens with these simple lines in his diary: “I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong in writing down daily, with absolute frankness, the simplest and most insignificant secrets of a life actually lacking any trace of mystery.” In the first scene, we see the young priest appearing behind the bars of a gate, signifying that we are about to see the story of an imprisonment. The film is the description of his total dedication to his duty, which will prove to be an ordeal. We are always in a prison, when we are locked in the belief in being somebody.

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Learn more about this movie by French director Robert Bresson… (READ MORE…)

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The Program

Image by Pete Linforth in Pixabay

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There is a program that shows up in our being
. This program was created since the dawn of time. It has been affected by countless lines of conditioning. It is moving, dancing like a sea, moulded by habits or necessities, defined by laws, created by the limitations of having a body. It has its own incentives, formed out of previous incentives. It develops in an infinite number of ways. The program is always surprising. It never stands still. It is entrancing, captivating. It occupies us all, and it does it totally. There is no escape from the program. At least, there doesn’t seem to be. Until one day. Until one day…

That day is the day where light shows up at last. And that light comes as a revelation. It is here to clarify the situation. To give us the truth of the matter. There is in fact a way out of the program. We can be free of it. It doesn’t have to mesmerise us, make us fearful. The program was never really a program. It never was limiting. It was play. And the stage for it was not the universe. The stage for the play was dimensionless. It never came into existence. It didn’t have to. For it is unborn, uncreated, unsubstantial. It is not itself a program. Thank god that it isn’t. It would have had tragic implications. Now listen carefully…

All of life is contained in this infinitesimal point of being that is responsible for your saying ‘I’. This is the stage of life. Beware though of mistaking the stage for the program. That sublime ‘I’ is not the ‘I’ that carries the formulation of the program. It is not the ‘I’ that borrows its existence to the existence of the program. Not that shaky ‘I’. No. That sacred ‘I’ of being is the only thing that is seemingly in the program but is in fact not. That all encompassing ‘I’ is before everything that you can name. It is the nameless that harbours all names. It is the no-thing that contains all things. It is independent of all the things that only depend on it. It is alone within itself. And that aloneness is you, ‘I’, all that you are now. All that you have ever been. Will ever be. Can ever be…

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Text by Alain Joly

Image by Pete Linforth

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Website:
TheDigitalArtist (Pixabay)

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Other ‘Ways of Being‘ from the blog…

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The Guard and the Prison Breaker

‘The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog’ (part) – Caspar David Friedrich, 1818 – WikiArt

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Without freedom there is no self-knowing 
and without self-knowing there is no meditation
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~ J. Krishnamurti 

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Few sensations are as boisterously exhilarating as freedom is. Freedom is something that we all love to feel. To be freed! Freed from all weights and limitations. Freed from everything that bullies us and pins us down. But most of the time, this feeling is experienced from the vantage point of the little thought in our head that thinks it runs the show. This entity thinks that its freedom comes from being separate, and from its capacity to do what it wants. This is what being free means to most people. But is this really what freedom is, where freedom lies? In expressing all that comes from the lack and desperation of a limited, vindicative little self? If that is so, then this freedom takes us nowhere but in the already known boundaries of our self. How could that account for the power and magnitude of this feeling? Freedom cannot be so small and contrived. What is it then? Where is true freedom to be found? 

Freedom can never be fully felt within the conglomerate of our thoughts, feelings and perceptions, between the four walls of our prison cell. We may feel some occasional bursts of pleasure but this is not the real deal. If you search for freedom through that portion of yourself that is fleeting, fragile, untrue, you will by definition prevent the advent of any meaningful freedom. You will have limited freedom, something to be achieved, something to be added that becomes just another object, another aim in view. And don’t forget that this limited freedom can never be achieved anyway, for we in truth can never do what we want. And of what advantage would it be to follow the clumsy, limited, fanciful ideas of a mind that stands on false premises. Because of this impossible claim, we feel bitter, sad, violent, jealous, regretful. Let’s move away from such dangerous idea. 

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An inquiry into the question of freedom… (READ MORE…)

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A Thing of Beauty

‘Saint Peter’s Basilica’ – Rome (Vatican)

Isn’t the world the most extraordinary place? I’ll explain. Take a tree. A single tree, with its roots spreading and fiddling deep into the soil. And its erected trunk that divides itself into branches, and a thousand twigs, and a whole foliage of leaves. The shadow it gives. The home that it is for birds and little animals. And the shelter. And a thing of beauty. To be admired, listened to, touched, felt. The roughness of its bark under your fingers. And the presence. There are millions — most certainly trillions — of such trees that spread over the world to form groves and vast forests. Extending their sheltering embrace to countless beings. And to you too, today. A tree! The strangest thing there is. To look at one is to be taken into a well of wonder. Feel that amazement. See where it takes you. You will be surprised.

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A reflection and meditation on the beautiful world that we are… (READ MORE…)

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An Unnoticed Pathology

In our relationship to truth, we often find ourselves in the position of somebody who, on waking up, tries to remember his dream. Any searching, any effort to remember, the slightest doing towards that goal, is pushing the dream away, dislocating it irremediably.

The problem is that we want something. This is our state. Our unnoticed pathology. One that we have inherited from society, and that we have integrated to the point of being it — this wanting, craving, searching. We mind what happens and want to control it. Fair enough. But we should do it from a position of truth, of relaxation, of not minding. We should let the story go, the one that tells us that we are incomplete, not enough, needy of a thousand things, and that prevents us from seeing clearly this presence that we are now and of all eternity. 

We cannot even say that we will let go of all seeking and just sit down doing nothing, for our ‘not doing anything’ is already a cathedral of doing that we have patiently and methodically put together over the years. As the French philosopher Blaise Pascal once noticed, “all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” 

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Some thoughts on our unfortunate propensity for seeking… (READ MORE…)

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