Tag Archives: non duality

Conscious TV (my favorite show)

I’ve never been much of a TV person, so for that reason, I don’t own a TV. But there is one show that I found fairly recently online, that I really like & look forward to! It’s called Conscious TV. I either watch it via their website, or I catch the shows on their Youtube channel.

It’s a show created by Iain McNay (successful co-founder of the London punk rock record label, Cherry Red), & his wife, Renate McNay.  The show is basically conversations centered around several main topics: consciousness, healing, non-duality & psychology. There is usually the interviewer (usually Iain McNay) & a guest. Sometimes it’s a very joyous interview, where they agree with each other & get along well, & sometimes it’s not. But in either case, it’s usually an intimate & sincere discussion or debate.

I’m quite fond of Iain McNay & how vulnerable & honest he can be. A great example of this, is his interview with Francis Lucille. Take a look… (this is only the last 8 minutes of the interview)

I had so much respect for Iain after I watched that interview. Francis Lucille is a very popular & well respected authority on the topic of non-duality, with a worldwide following that is quite large. For Iain to show his sensitivity like that, took so much courage. I take my hat off to him for taking such a risk & for having such integrity. Wow!

Here are two (full) interviews I enjoyed from Conscious TV. I think they are inspirational, I hope you do too.

Interview with Bruce Lipton

Interview with Dr Amit Goswami

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TRUST LOVE // BREATHE EASY

I love great conversations, like the one I posted on April 10, 2011 between Ram Dass & Terence McKenna in Prague. This week I found another interesting conversation I want to share with you. It’s between Benjamin Smythe & Rick Archer (Rick is interviewing Ben). Although, this conversation might be easier for those that are familiar with people like Ramana Maharshi, or teachings based on Advaita Vedanta (known in the west as Non-duality) — I think it’s a universal discussion about life that we can all relate to. It’s about the things that we are all passionate about (in one way or another), even if we have opposing views.

I’ve embedded the video for you to watch, & below that, I posted my thoughts.

Please note: the interview is almost 2 hours long. So watch it when you have the time. But please watch it so that you can hear both sides of the conversation before you read my comments below. (The bold sentences in quotation marks are from Benjamin Smythe, my comments on his points are underneath.)

“What does any of this have to do with that love?”

I love when Ben said that line in the interview. It reminded me of the one thing that is my saving grace. The one thing that unblindfolds me & allows me to see clearly. It’s a question that brings me to the truth.

“What is the truth?”

You can veer from it without suffering. You can stray for a while, but when the suffering starts to appear (& it always will), it’s best that you return to the truth. The suffering is a direct indicator that you have gone too far.

This “truth question” is especially effective in my relationships (be it family, friendships, or romantic partnerships). When I get upset with someone, or I am on the verge of calling it quits because of opposing views. When arguments or frustration arises, & the relationship begins to feel like work, like a struggle. That is when I gently ask myself: “What is true?” And without a second thought, the only truth in that relationship is the love. I remind myself that love is unconditional. This means that it’s impersonal. It doesn’t get its feelings hurt; it doesn’t have needs or desires; it doesn’t believe in right or wrong — it just is. Whatever it was that I was upset about really doesn’t really matter. And more importantly, it will always change — so why get stuck on it.

When I bring my mind back to love in its highest form (love that is unchanging), what is unimportant falls away, & the dust begins to settle. This allows me to be in the moment (with clarity), & I am able to be present.

“Ok. that’s great — but how do I care?”

Ha! I really liked that line. It’s so practical. I think in one way we can say, “Yes, we are all connected & everything is prefect, so let’s let everything be”. But then, on the other hand, “Yes, we are all connected & everything is perfect — now be the change that you want to see”. If you feel that you have a level of awareness, take responsibility for those that don’t & increase your load. They are connected to you, remember? Pay for them, clean up after them, forgive them, assist them, share with them.

Just like a messy room, it’s fine the way it is. It never has to be cleaned & it’s not wrong for being dirty. But when the dust piles up, & the critters take over, & it begins to smell, & it’s hard to keep track of what is in there. I would say that it might be more pleasant for everyone that has to use that room if it were kept in order — or if someone was responsible for it. And the one who is asking, “Who is the one that is responsible for this?!” is always the one that is responsible. Because that person has the awareness to see the mess as a problem. Often, the ones that create the mess, don’t see it as a problem. So when I say that person who sees it is responsible, I mean responsible to help raise the level of awareness for those around them, as well as to get their hands dirty & help clean it up.

“Violence is not relative!”

I know that violence is relative simply because the person committing the violent act has a different view of it than I do.

I understand what Ben is getting at and defending. But to me it simply boils down to levels of awareness & levels of violence. Stabbing, shooting, or bashing someone is extremely violent, most of us would abhor such an act, yet most of the population does it in inadvertently when they eat animals. The average person eats approximately 198 animals per year. These animals are killed & eaten simply for taste or profit, not because people were starving or left without a choice. In some minds, that would be considered extremely violent.

But more than hate crimes, prejudice, racism, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or murder committed by people — we cause violent harm to ourselves in grater numbers. Nothing to me is more rampant than self-hate & self-harm. Nothing. (I’m only referring to the violence in our lives.) The physical & mental abuse we put ourselves through is so numerous, it’s beyond my comprehension.

The violence towards another being usually happens because we first have violent thoughts about ourselves. If we were to get a group of people together & ask them: “do you hate yourself?” They would more than likely laugh & say, “Of course not!” Yet live in their heads & hear their thoughts (& watch their actions) for a day, & you will find out whether they do or not.

Self-imposed suffering is the greatest source of suffering in my opinion. And if we got passionate about resolving that issue, I’m sure it would have a domino effect on many other issues that stem from self-hate, such as the violent treatment towards other living beings. The bottom line for me is: if people truly understood the impact of what they were doing, they wouldn’t be doing it. Some of us really can’t “see”.

We all have this lack of awareness in various aspects of our lives. Some lack it more than others, but still, all of us have this “blindness” to some degree. It’s up to us to take responsibility for our own suffering, & at the same time, help to minimize the suffering around us — by doing what we can to help & by doing what we can to not create more abuse. (This includes abuse to the earth we live on, & abuse to the living beings that inhabit it.)

I see the points that both Benjamin Smythe & Rick Archer are making. I just wanted to add my thoughts. And yes, by all means, use a net if you can! Try your best to save even the beings that cause harm (including yourself). Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Trust love. Breathe easy. One day at a time. One breath at a time. Every moment you are alive is an opportunity to be more aware, an opportunity to care a little bit more.

I think this poem by Rumi wraps up this conversation perfectly:

Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

To see more of Rick Archer‘s interviews, check out the Buddha at the Gas Pump website. For videos of Benjamin Smythe, check out EternalNectar or BenjaminSmythe channels on Youtube.

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The Mind of Absolute Trust

I posted a few lines from The Mind of Absolute Trust, a zen poem by Seng-Ts’an translated by
 Stephen Mitchell on my Facebook page this week. If you want to read the entire poem, click here.

Today I feel like I want to share the same Seng-Ts’an poem, but instead of the translation by Stephen Mitchell, I want to post the Richard B. Clarke version. I definitely recommend reading both. The two poems paint a picture of the indescribable in their own unique way — yet both lead us equally to the same truth: truth beyond words.

Hsin-hsin Ming: Verses on the Faith-Mind

The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth then hold no opinions for or against. To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind. When the deep meaning of things is not understood, the mind’s essential peace is disturbed to no avail. The Way is perfect like vast space where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess. Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things. Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, nor in inner feelings of emptiness. Be serene (without striving activity) in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves. When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very effort fills you with activity. As long as you remain in one extreme or the other you will never know Oneness.

Those who do not live in the single Way fail in both activity and passivity, assertion and denial. To deny the reality of things is to miss their reality; to assert the emptiness of things is to miss their reality. The more you talk and think about it, the further astray you wander from the truth.

Stop talking and thinking, and there is nothing you will not be able to know.

To return to the root is to find the meaning, but to pursue appearances is to miss the source. At the moment of inner enlightenment there is a going beyond appearance and emptiness. The changes that appear to occur in the empty world we call real only because of our ignorance. Do not search for the Truth; only cease to hold opinions.

Do not remain in the dualistic state — avoid such pursuits carefully. If there is even a trace of this and that, of right and wrong, the Mind-essence will be lost in confusion. Although all dualities come from the One, do not be attached to this One. When the mind exists undisturbed (in the Way) nothing in the world can offend, and when a thing can no longer offend, it ceases to exist (in the old way).

When no discriminating thoughts arise, the (old) mind ceases to exist. When thought-objects vanish, the thinking-subject vanishes, as when the mind vanishes, objects vanish. Things are objects because of the subject (mind); the mind (subject) is such because of things (object). Understand the relativity of these two and the basic reality — the Unity of Emptiness. In this Emptiness the two are indistinguishable and each contains in itself the whole world. If you do not discriminate between coarse and fine you will not be tempted to prejudice and opinion.

To live in the Great Way is neither easy nor difficult, but those with limited views are fearful and irresolute — the faster they hurry, the slower they go — and clinging (attachment) cannot be limited; even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment is to go astray. Just let things be in their own way, and there will be neither coming nor going.

Obey the nature of things (your own nature), and you will walk freely and undisturbed. When thought is in bondage the truth is hidden, for everything is murky and unclear, and the burdensome practice of judging brings annoyance and weariness. What benefits can be derived from distinctions and separations?

If you wish to move in the One Way do not dislike even the world of senses and ideas. Indeed, to accept them fully is identical with true Enlightenment. The wise man strives to no goals but the foolish man fetters himself. There is one Dharma (Truth, Law), not many; distinctions arise from the clinging needs of the ignorant. To seek Mind with the (discriminating) mind is the greatest of all mistakes.

Rest and unrest derive from illusion; with enlightenment there is no liking and disliking. All dualities come from the ignorant inference. They are like dreams or flowers in air — foolish to try to grasp them. Gain and loss, right and wrong — such thoughts must finally be abolished at once.

If the eye never sleeps, all dreams will naturally cease. If the mind makes no discriminations, the ten thousand things are as they are, of single essence. To understand the mystery of this One-essence is to be released from all entanglements. When all things are seen equally, the timeless Self-essence is reached. No comparisons or analogies are possible in this causeless, relational state.

Consider movement stationary and the stationary in motion, and both the state of movement and the state of rest disappear. When such dualities cease to exist, Oneness itself cannot exist. To this ultimate finality no law or description applies.

For the unified mind in accord with the Way all self-centered striving ceases. Doubts and irresolutions vanish and life in true faith is possible. With a single stroke we are freed from bondage; nothing clings to us and we hold to nothing. All is empty, clear, self-illuminating, with no exertion of the mind’s power. Here thought, feeling, knowledge, and imagination are of no value.

In this world of Suchness there is neither self nor other-than-self. To come directly into harmony with this reality just simply say when doubt arises, “Not two.” In this “not two” nothing is separate, nothing is excluded. No matter when or where, enlightenment means entering this truth. And this truth is beyond extension or diminution in time or space; in it a single thought is ten thousand years.

Emptiness here, Emptiness there, but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes. Infinitely large and infinitely small — no difference, for definitions have vanished and no boundaries are seen. So too with Being and non-Being. Don’t waste time in doubts and arguments that have nothing to do with this.

One thing, all things — move among and intermingle, without distinction. To live in this realization is to be without anxiety about non-perfection. To live in this faith is the road to non-duality, because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.

Words!
The Way is beyond language,
for in it there is
no yesterday
no tomorrow
no today.

By Seng-ts’an (520? – 606?)
Translation by Richard B. Clarke
The original translation as published in ZEN BOW 1968.

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2011 Goodbye, I love you, thank you. 2012 Hello, I love you, thank you.

I almost don’t want to read or even look at the blog post I wrote about what I wanted 2011 to be like. I feel so far from the person who wrote it. Actually, a better way to say that would be: I feel so deeply connected to the person who wrote it that, that “person” no longer exists. — Hmm… did I just make that harder for you to understand? Or easier? (*scratches forehead*)

To my surprise this year was the first year I got a glimpse into beingness. How divine it was. I thought I “knew” all about it already. I’ve read about it for more than half of my lifetime. Nothingness, beingness, unconditionalness — it was all familiar to me as far as I knew. But only as familiar as water is to someone who has never drank it. You can read about it & study it & think about it all you want, but until you have surrendered yourself to it, until you allow yourself to get wet — it’s only a concept.

To think of going back to read what I wrote in that blog post, to think of going back to the past to review all the things I wanted — it feels weird because I now know that life is effortless. It just happens. Or better yet, it just is.

I no longer have a deep desire to build anything or become any one.

The journals I have of clippings, the books full of inspirational images — images I aspired to be like, to look like, images of things I wanted to create; in work & in home & in lifestyle, mean nothing to me now. It’s like looking at lifeless images of hollow shells. Everything is now empty — empty of meaning. This doesn’t mean these things won’t get built, or that I won’t be creative, or that I won’t develop myself — it just means I am no longer delusional. I no longer think that these things relate to whether or not I am happy. I no longer think that a “life” or happiness, or peace, or love — can, or needs to be, created. It’s already who we are. Once we see that it’s already here, that we already are it, there is nothing left to do.

Life is so simple. Yet the more we try to manipulate it the more complicated it is. Just let it be. And notice how it unfolds. Notice how it develops effortlessly. This doesn’t mean that nothing is being done, it means that no one is doing it.

If I am wholeness, if I am oneness, if this is what we all are, then how can any one person say that they are doing anything? Without the universe, without others, without energy (spirit), how would anything get done? It happens because we all happen.

For me to create a blog post about beingness & nothingness is impossible. It’s using words to describe something that doesn’t “exist” — something that exists has a beginning & an end, this doesn’t. Also language is all about meaning — this isn’t.

So all I want to say is, 2011 was beautiful. It was perfect. It was whole. And all of the amazing things that happened — happened without me trying to make them happen.

It’s like falling in love. I can say that I am in love with someone. I can tell you that to me he is divine & I feel such a magnetic pull towards him, such a force of energy & resonance — but I really can’t tell you why. I didn’t make it happen. I didn’t create it. It just happened. I didn’t put him where he was when I first met him — he was just there. I didn’t make him talk to me — he just spoke to me. I didn’t look at him in a crowd of people & say, “hmm… let me see, I think I choose to fall in love with you. I had no idea that I would fall in love with him. When I first met him I wasn’t even sure why I was so drawn to him, or interested in him, but I was — copiously. Someone could say that I was attracted to him. Yes, he is attractive, but there are many people that are attractive — & I’m not drawn to them. And all of this could be said for him in regards to me. So who or what made all of this happen? Who or what put us in love? Who or what brought us together? The answer is: no one & everyone, nothing & everything — & that my friends, is beingness. When you just are, everything happens as it should. Sometimes it’s what you wanted, sometimes it’s not, but if you stay “in flow” or “in love” or “in emptiness” everything is beautiful. And everything is effortless. Like breathing. You never wake up & start breathing yourself in the morning, you just surrender to being breathed. It happens for you & it happens in spite of you.

So for myself & for all beings, I hope that 2012 is pure effortlessness, pure beingness, pure love. May we see ourselves as perfect wholeness. May we feel the love, peace, abundance, joy, harmony & bliss that we already are. May we see the world in ourselves, instead of ourselves in the world.

Happy New Year! I love you! Thank you!

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Quickest Way to Change the World is to Change Yourself

The be-all & end-all of spiritual books — this Sunday I am featuring a few pages from I Am That, by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. The book is written in a question & answer format. What I have posted here is only part of the Maharaj’s answer to a question. If you would like to continue reading I posted a link at the end of the text.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj ( 1897-1981), one of the most important spiritual preceptors of the twentieth century, lived and taught in a small apartment in the slums of Bombay, India. For many years, he supported himself and his family by selling cheap goods in a small booth on the streets outside his tenement. His life was a telling parable of the absolute non-duality of being. The profound yet simple words of this extraordinary teacher are designed to jolt us into awareness of our original nature. Like the Zen masters of Old, Nisargadatta’s style is abrupt, provocative, and immensely profound cutting to the core and wasting little effort on the inessentials.

Page 104, Question #32

Questioner: We two came from far off countries; one of us is British, the other American. The world in which we were born is falling apart and, being young, we are concerned. The old people hope they will die their own death, but the young have no such hope. Some of us may refuse to kill, but none can refuse to be killed. Can we hope to set the world right within our lifetime?

Maharaj: What makes you think that the world is going to perish?

Q: The instruments of destruction have become unbelievably potent. Also, our very productivity has become destructive of nature and of our cultural and social values.

M: You are talking of the present times. It has been so everywhere and always. But the distressing situation may be temporary and local. Once over, it will be forgotten.

Q: The scale of the impending catastrophe is unbelievably big. We live in the midst of an explosion.

M: Each man suffers alone and dies alone. Numbers are irrelevant. There is as much death when a million die as when one perishes.

Q: Nature kills by the millions, but this does not frighten me. There may be tragedy or mystery in it, but no cruelty. What horrifies me is man-made suffering, destruction and desolation. Nature is magnificent in its doings and undoings. But there is meanness and madness in the acts of man.

M: Right. So, it is not suffering and death that are your problem, but the meanness and madness at their root. Is not meanness also a form of madness? And is not madness the misuse of the mind? Humanity’s problem lies in this misuse of the mind only. All the treasures of nature and spirit are open to man who will use his mind rightly.

Q: What is the right use of mind?

M: Fear and greed cause the misuse of the mind. The right use of mind is in the service of love, of life, of truth, of beauty.

Q: Easier said than done. Love of truth, of man, goodwill — what luxury! We need plenty of it to set the world right, but who will provide?

M: You can spend an eternity looking elsewhere for truth and love, intelligence and goodwill, imploring God and man — all in vain. You must begin in yourself, with yourself — this is the inexorable law. You cannot change the image without changing the face. First realize that your world is only a reflection of yourself and stop finding fault with the reflection. Attend to yourself, set yourself right — mentally and emotionally. The physical will follow automatically. You talk so much of reforms: economic, social, political. Leave alone the reforms and mind the reformer. What kind of world can a man create who is stupid, greedy, heartless?

Q: If we have to wait for a change of heart, we shall have to wait indefinitely. Yours is a counsel of perfection, which is also a counsel of despair. When all are perfect, the world will be perfect. What useless truism!

M: I did not say it. I only said: You cannot change the world before changing yourself. I did not say — before changing everybody. It is neither necessary, nor possible to change others. But if you can change yourself you will find that no other change is needed. To change the picture you merely change the film, you do not attack the cinema screen!

Q: How can you be so sure of yourself? How do you know that what you say is true?

M: It is not of myself that I am sure, I am sure of you. All you need is to stop searching outside what can be found only within. Set your vision right before you operate. You are suffering from acute misapprehension. Clarify your mind, purify your heart, sanctify your life — this is the quickest way to a change of your world.

Q: So many saints and mystics lived and died. They did not change my world.

M: How could they? Your world is not theirs, nor is their yours.

Q: Surely there is a factual world common to all.

M: The world of things, of energy and matter? Even if there were such a common world of things and forces, it is not the world in which we live. Ours is a world of feelings and ideas, of attractions and repulsions, of scales of values, of motives and incentives, a mental world altogether. Biologically we need very little, our problems are of a different order. Problems created by desires and fears and wrong ideas can be solved only on the level of the mind. You must conquer your own mind and for this you must go beyond it.

Q: What does it mean to go beyond the mind.

M: You have gone beyond the body, haven’t you? You do not closely follow your digestion, circulation or elimination. These have become automatic. In the same way the mind should work automatically, without calling for attention. This will not happen unless the mind works faultlessly. We are, most of our time mind and body-conscious, because they constantly call for help. Pain and suffering are only the body and the mind screaming for attention. To go beyond the body you must be healthy: To go beyond the mind, you must have your mind in perfect order. You cannot leave a mess behind and go beyond. The mess will bog you up. ‘Pick up your rubbish’ seems to be the universal law. And a just law too.

If you would like to read the book, this is a link to receive a free copy in PDF format.

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