May 102013

This Article was originally published in Jasmyne Boswell‘s Newsletter. You can subscribe by clicking here.
“Just by being aware, thoughts start disappearing. There is no need to fight. Your awareness is enough to destroy them.” OSHO
. . . And so it is the same for problems. What if the truth is that there are no problems and that when we say there is a problem, it just means things aren’t turning out the way we want them to? What if, everything is unfolding exactly as it should?
Without using religious or even spiritual terms, we can think of awareness or consciousness as an invisible force that permeates everything. This invisible force is a living intelligence that exists beyond our human mind. It understands or is the connectedness of all things. Our minds are to this intelligence, is like a drop of water is to the ocean.
Every action has a reaction. Therefore, what seems like a problem at the time, as many of us have seen, turns out to be something very different. As mortals, we simply don’t sit high enough to judge what’s right and what’s wrong or the truth about what we call a problem.
When we break away from automatically seeing situations as problems just because they are contrary to how we think they should be, like a child, we begin to approach life inquisitively. From this perspective we are open to the mystery life and all its possibilities. This fresh perspective allows us to benefit from seeing and feeling the deeper, meaningful subtleties life offers that we can overlook when our minds are “trying” to solve problems. This fresh perspective is a step on the path to living as our inherent nature—pure awareness.

Mar 212013

This Article was originally published in Adam Chacksfield‘s Newsletter, “The Nondual News From Nowhere.” You can subscribe by clicking here.
In psychological work, I could ‘re-parent’ my inner child, acknowledge him and cherish him, bringing the feeling of wholeness. I’m not sure I’m ready for not having this inner child. On the other hand I don’t want to keep switching between the psychological point of view and nonduality and not follow through on either. What should I do? (Anon., U.S.)

When we hear nondual teachings about there being no self, nothing to do, nothing to know, etc., it can be easy to imagine that nonduality is a philosophical viewpoint that is in opposition to all our activity and all our conceptualizations surrounding these activities. How can we do re-parenting psychological work if there is
no self to do it, no inner child, and nothing missing in the first place?
However, nonduality is not a philosophical viewpoint, and it is not in opposition to any viewpoint or activity.
It is a word for the space in which all viewpoints and activity are happening. Teachings inviting us to look for
a self, a need to do, or a need to know, are used to reveal what is here prior to all conceptualization. What
is here prior to the thought that there is or is not a self? What is here prior to the thought that we need to do
something or we don’t need to do anything?
Nonduality is the broader deeper truth in which all our conceptualizations and projects are happening.
Nonduality doesn’t negate or oppose projects such as re-parenting or conceptualizations such as “my inner
child.” It reveals the context-less context in which these are happening. It invites us to see that our
concepts and projects are being made-up and allows us to appreciate that they are ultimately not
necessary. And even a statement like this can be received very lightly, as just another made-up frame
attempting to hint at this which is prior to all frames.
When we believe nonduality is in opposition to any activity it means that we are relating to nonduality as a
philosophy, but as soon as we look for the meaning of nonduality we can’t find anything. What is the
meaning of this moment? What is the meaning of awareness itself? As we look without finding, we might
fall open to the vast openness, and yet nothing is being erased or denied. Could any thought or activity
degrade this?

Mar 182013


This Article was originally published at, the blog of Joseph Bernard.
Truth is what matters. It is what you and I are here in this lifetime to explore. And it is something we each have to find on our own. No one else can know what our truths are.
There are many institutions and organizations that have their opinions about what truth is. Religions, political parties, media, and science all claim to hold the truth.
But they cannot possible know what your truths are. It is not something told to you or found in reading sacred writings. It is an inner experience of awareness.
Your truth is unique to you. It’s most easily found by listening inward to the voice of your soul or higher nature. It’s your sense of inner knowing or it isn’t your truth.
When I was younger I attended Catholic schools and believed all I was taught because it came from people who claimed to know God. My family supported these teachings so I thought they must be right.
As I entered college I began to question all my beliefs. Now most of what I was taught to believe is no longer what I think.
My truth comes only from my listening inward to my heart, to my soul and to my intuitive sense of the world. What I know to be true is what I sense is true.
Truth is never stagnant because as you awaken more to what matters, your understanding expands. Exploring truth is vibrant and alive.
The old beliefs of your past can’t be the truth unless they have come alive through your inquiry and examination. Without this exploration your beliefs are just repeated words running your life.
The various sacred texts cannot contain your truths unless you have engaged in examining them in the context of your own quiet knowing. Your knowing is what matters more than anyone’s claim to know.
Yes there will be ideas you read and hear people speak that are truthful. However until you take these ideas inward and sift through them they are mere words.
Even in the most difficult of times, finding your truth needs to be a priority. Often times these moment of insight and awareness where you touch the truth guide you out of the darkness of your struggles.
If truth interests you then there is one clear pathway to finding your truth. That path is tuning inward. In the silence and stillness of contemplation is where you explore your truths.
A Silent Practice For Truth
The most valuable practice for exploring the depth of inner truths is a combination of techniques. They include: mindful breathing, journal writing and trusting your inner voice/intuition.
The Practice
Become mindful of the cycles of the breath. This naturally relaxes you.
After a few minutes pick up a notepad or journal and write what questions you have.
Then listen.
With practice an inner voice of knowing also called intuition or the voice of the soul will began to speak.
Write down the words of this inner knowing.
Enter into a dialogue with this insightful and wise part of you.
This quiet voice is the most powerful voice of truth you will ever hear.
Keep writing because there is greater clarity that comes from writing things out.
The more you build a relationship with this inner voice of wisdom, the more your life will be guided to your fullest expression.
Have gratitude for this inner source of wisdom. It is a gift towards your happiness.
Consult this voice often.
This practice is helpful to do daily. The more you do the inward tuning the easier the flow of the guidance you need.
Your truth matters most not only for yourself but also for the rest of us. You living your truth will make a very positive difference in the world.
Over my life I have kept the search for truth alive. This journaling method works best for me of all the ways I have explored.
At this point in my life, one thing is very clear, it is essential for me to always be engaged in finding my truth and to do so on a daily basis. If we all do this – there is great hope for humanity.
Mar 092013

This Article was originally published in Jasmyne Boswell‘s Newsletter. You can subscribe by clicking here.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.” Old Zen Adage
Here they are again. And the hype begins. To one degree or another, unless we’re a fully awakened being unaffected by all outer circumstances, the Holidays Season is chaotic. Even if we don’t celebrate the holidays in any traditional sense or do so without the need for becoming an instant consumer, their affects are in the air. All the buzz including traffic, music, parties, street and store decorations; it’s hard to be immune.
So if I’m having one of those days where the outer chaos turned on the busy chatter in my mind, I practice Natural Meditation (NM). Doesn’t matter if I’ve already meditated that morning, meditation is an ally any time of day.
The nice thing about NM is that once you understand the parameters, you can do it walking around or sitting still. In the beginning you might want to try sitting quietly for 10-20 minutes in a comfortable position, eyes closed and simply observe every thought or distraction that is creating havoc with the moment. Take deep, slow breaths and simply sit quietly, giving yourself an opportunity to relax all current activity, agitation, and thinking. Without judgment or reaction to whatever arises on your mental screen, allow yourself to be with everything that’s vying for your attention. Similar to how you’d be when sitting in a movie theater, allow every thought, feeling or sensation to be as it is without having to do anything about them. Your only task is to sit quietly for however long you decide to sit prior to starting – maybe just 10 minutes at first.
Give yourself a chance to experience the moment-to-moment desires, thoughts, and possible discomforts just as they occur. Notice the urge to get up or interact with a thought or impulse, without having to react to it. See if you can sit quietly and observe the what’s happening without engaging. All you do is sit quietly and take notice. The idea is to consciously observe and experience what goes on within and around you. You may begin to see your interaction with your thoughts and sensations as a mirror for how you respond to distractions of any kind when not meditating. Since awareness is the first step toward change, this on-site laboratory for studying our behavior gives us an opportunity to view our otherwise unconscious reactions. Once aware of our reactions, we have the advantage of choosing to follow a thought or impulse or merely watch what floats by.
Since meditation allows us to calm down, it becomes a peaceful break or puts a brake on impulsive behaviors. Cultivating this simple practice of NM will eventually allow you to create a peaceful place within yourself in the middle of any situation. Then, when it becomes easier, you can apply it to every day life whether sitting or walking around.

Dec 112012
Originally posted January 21, 2013 by Chris Dirks at LucidMetta
As I stood at the doorway to his room, it was as if he looked straight into my eyes.  His eyes were still open and blue as ever. I couldn’t quite tell if he had a smile on his face, but he looked peaceful. I felt heartened and found solace in this last expression of his. I also felt sadness that I would never encounter him in the hallways again nor would I be able to say, “Hi” to him. I will miss that.
Over the months, volunteering in hospice, there had been numerous struggles (tears, fear and anger) over what lie ahead for him. I tried in what seemed like an endless exercise in futility to provide some comfort to him during these months, to help him process his impending death. However, he fought me every inch, railed against his own understanding of his impending death and forced me to take him on his own terms, regardless of whatever agenda I had for him.  He was a skillful teacher for me. Over time, I abandoned this agenda of mine and let him take the lead. I often found myself serving his need to be distracted from his understandings of his impending death. It perplexed me at the time and forced me beyond my confined understanding of what I was doing as a hospice volunteer and my own understandings of death, that’s what made him such a good teacher for me.
In looking at my own remembrance of encountering death, I began to see the teaching. Trying to understand the experience of death, trying to wrap one’s head around it is an exercise in futility. We cannot know. If we make up something frightful about death we suffer more intensely. If we make up something pleasant about death we suffer less intensely. If we make up nothing about death, we suffer not.
Personally, I don’t remember dying almost 2 years ago and it’s almost as if it didn’t happen at all (see previous posts, “The Paradox of Death and Deathlessness”). In a way, it was much ado about nothing for me and yet for my rescuers and family, way too much happened. I can’t say it was much ado about nothing for them! My point is that death is a concept, an understanding, and concepts or understandings are not the thing itself. Whatever we think, whatever understanding we have, whatever label we give, tis not the thing itself. Then, there is the understanding of absence or oblivion which is really no different than any other kind of understanding, it just an understanding that parades itself as a nothing.
In the Zen tradition, there is a story of a monk that would carry a pail of water from a local stream to his humble abode nightly. This monk would admire deeply the reflection of the moon in this pail of water as he walked home. It seemed so beautiful to him. One night, as he walked home, the pail fell from his hand hit the ground and shattered. The water dispersed and the thirsty ground soaked it all up. No pail, no water, no reflection that he had gained such pleasure from. In his anguish he turned his head to cry into the sky, only to see the real moon, for the very first time shining bright in all its glory high in the night sky above! What a pale imitation the reflection of the moon in the pail of water was!
Our understandings are these reflections in a pail of water they encourage us to look beyond the understanding to the direct experience, but we are so enthralled with our understandings because we think that that understanding is all we have. We mistake that the absence of understanding is nothing in a while it is described as emptiness from the perspective of understanding, it’s absolutely not empty! The point of practice, be that meditation or inquiry, is to break the obsession with this “pail” understandings and to begin to perceive directly the non-conceptual wisdom.
All our understandings in this life, including our understanding of death, are “pail” understandings. They are pale versions of direct perceptions. What my teacher (in this hospice resident) here reminded me of, was that death need not be processed through our “pail” understanding. Whether our final months/moments here involve existential inquiry or living as if there is no death, matters not. I am reminded of the truly unimaginable ground of existence!
Whether I think I know what I’m doing, or not, in how I am serving hospice residents or living life in general, matters not. My job is to be present, open, and compassionate. It’s okay to make up frightful things about death. It’s okay to make up comforting things about death. It’s okay to make up neutral things about death. It’s okay not to think about death at all! It’s an awful lot of work to make all these things up and sometimes I can just feel lazy and let it all go! Besides, I don’t think that the universe really concerns itself much with our understandings. It seems to me that on an ultimate level, existence is perfect as it is and the universe is completely independent of any of our understandings or judgments, mine, his, or anyone else’s.
You, teacher, taught me this most pointedly as your lifeless body gazed into me and pierced my “pail” understandings of you, me, life, and death.  Thank you for the reminder that understanding is a virtual playground, feel free to play in the infinite number of pleasant and unpleasant creations and remember that they are unnecessarily confining! Go ahead and pretend that these “pail” understandings are in any way real, to your heart’s content if you must!  Ultimately, we must leave our confinement of pail understandings, this playground that we play in, and when we do we will never want to return to such limitation and confinement for it will seem like a prison to us.
In the meantime, play in them until you’re no longer interested.
Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an ax to the prison wall.
Escape. Walk out
like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.
The speechless full moon comes out now.