Tag Archives: suffering

Bhagavan Das: Scumbag or Saint?

bhagavan+das+2013

This weekend I watched Karmaggedon. I’m not going to say much about the film, other than it’s a documentary about Bhagavan Das of some sorts. The film spends quite bit of time deciphering whether or not Bhagavan Das is a guru or not. Is he a holy person or is he a sinner? Is he a scumbag or saint?

My first thought (in response to the movie’s overall question) is:  There is no polarity in Oneness. All simply Is.

My second thought is: Anyone in a human body is literally a scumbag. They are literally a skin bag of sh*t, blood, waste, & random thoughts, walking on two legs, slowly decaying before our eyes. But look at that body more closely & see the divinity there in the sh*t, waste & decaying flesh. See it all as divinely orchestrated & (w)holy. Understand that all of it has value at some point or in some way, sh*tty & rotten or not. And if you can’t see that, simply see it as beyond understanding or comprehension (with the mind). All of us do things that are stupid or misunderstood or unreasonable. Albeit to various degrees, but nonetheless, it happens. Bhagavan Das is one of many (when I say many, I mean innumerable) people that do things (repeatedly in various ways) that are foolish at the moment, but in hindsight, happened for some sort of reason.

My third thought is: Let’s get clear about what Guru means. Many people think it means spiritual teacher, or destroyer of darkness — someone who shows one the light & removes ignorance. But the meaning that is closer to the actual Sanskrit definition is ‘heavy.’ In the case of a teacher, it could be said to mean ‘hard to understand’, ‘heavy with knowledge’, or ‘hard to digest’. Another definition for guru in this way is, ‘to break, shatter’ — to shatter illusion. Bhagavan Das is definitely all of those definitions. Especially the latter. In the film there is no doubt he is ‘heavy with knowledge’, ‘hard to understand’ & he definitely shattered the illusion the director previously had of him (as a saint or perfect being). Which I’m sure came unexpectedly, as the director Jeff Brown was longing for someone to relieve him of his own demons or conflicting emotions, in order to find Self-realization. Instead he found a guru full of demons. But that is what life is.

Bhagavan+Das+nudeLife is the Divine as all of it: as the sh*t, the decay, the useless random thoughts, as well as the insights. It’s the stupidity & the brilliance. It’s the known & the unknown. It’s the pain & the pleasure. How could any of it be possible without the other? How could any of it be possible without Life-force? Without Energy? Without a heart beat? Without a pulse? Without a Divine spark?

I’m not here to condone anything that Bhagavan Das said or did (or still does). Or to say that the movie is good or bad. Or to say that the director is right or wrong. I’m here to say that it’s all Divine. And it all had to happen. Because it did. And the more we see life from a place of Oneness, the more oneness we will feel. The more we come from a place of Wholeness, the more wholeness we will feel. Much of that has to do with Unconditional Love. With compassion & acceptance, not just for those around us, but for ourselves first.

The desire for others to change stems from a deep desire for much needed change within ourselves. As well as the desire to understand another better, that too stems from the need to understand ourselves better. Self-reflection is always helpful in this matter. One could ask oneself: How do I cause my own confusion or suffering? How do I contribute to the confusion or suffering around me? Rather than placing blame, or looking for answers outside of ourselves, or trying to achieve some sort of perfection, or find perfection in another that could be mirrored — what if we just gently asked ourselves that question, “How do I cause my own confusion or suffering?” Many of us will say: “I don’t know” or “I know, but I can’t stop. It feels out of my control.” This is when the love, compassion & acceptance comes in. For others & for ourselves, always. Until little by little, we get the insights to gradually stop the suffering & clear the confusion.

And remember, insight happens on the inside. So look within yourself. It’s never about the other. There is no other (in Oneness).

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Filed under art & film, relationships, spirituality

BE (YOU)

Very little of what you think & do is actually you. Trust me on this. And if you don’t, test it out for yourself. Set a timer for every 30 minutes one day. When the timer goes off, write down EXACTLY what thought you were thinking when the timer went off, & write down what you were doing at that moment as well. You will be sadly surprised to see all of the thoughts that are based on programed or learned untruths, & how much time (or rather, life) is spent focusing on either work (for the sole purpose of making money) or guilt related busy-ness.

Don’t you want to free yourself of this? Aren’t you tired of being someone other than yourself?

You might ask: “What is being me?” or “What is being free?” or “What should I be doing if not working for money or doing things because I should be doing them?”

The first two questions are great, but the last one answers itself.

What Is Being Me?

Being you is beautiful. It’s when you don’t need to do anything, or be anything. It’s when you just know, without question. It’s when you follow your feet & your feet follow your heart (& your mind just tags along for the ride). It’s when you trust that you are supported. It’s when you feel so much love, that you can’t believe that much love is possible! It’s when you wake up in the morning free & empowered & relaxed. It’s when you are free to be! —- To put it simply; your beingness (not your doingness) is you being you. The way you love unconditionally is you being you. When you are silent & at peace, this is you being you. Those moments of freedom, simplicity & bliss are all you.

Now you have another question: “But what about when I’m enraged or angry, this is also me! Isn’t the me that isn’t at peace, or isn’t being love, or isn’t oneness or awareness me as well? What about when I am depressed & I am suddenly able to create great works of art, this is also me! What about when I have lost a loved one & I am in tears, this is also me! What about after I’ve been taken advantage of & I’m full of anger & resentment & fear, this is also me! — No, that is you under the influence. I don’t argue that those are also beautiful states of humanness filled with emotion. I don’t argue that the contrast of those feelings or experiences bring a richness & a texture to life. I don’t argue that the contrast between painful experiences & enjoyable experiences lead us to a greater appreciation. I don’t argue that the terrible experiences in our lives make us stronger & (hopefully) wiser. I don’t argue this one bit. I’m in full agreement with you. But where I draw the line is by seeing that & telling you that, these are not pure states.

When I say they are not pure, I mean they are forced by outside influences. They were not created out of thin air, something brought them on, & that something was outside of you. The states that I talked about previously, when I described what it’s like to be you truly being yourself, those examples are of you in all of your pureness & wholeness, without anything extra. Without the influence of anything or anyone. —- Example: When was the last time you were completely enraged for no reason? When was the last time you felt cheated by nothing? Yet I can come up with numerous examples of when I smiled or even laughed for no reason at all. — Do you understand the difference? Truly being yourself is unconditioned, while not being yourself is.

Everyday I get some sort of impression of someone who is suffering. It can either be from the media, or on the street, or from a friend or family member. The one thing they all have in common is that they are suffering over things that aren’t within them. They are suffering over things that have nothing to do with who they truly are. And they continue to carry these pangs or these burdens as if they have to — & they don’t! Just as simply as they picked them up, they can let them go. But — only if they can see that they are holding on to something that isn’t real.

What Is Being Free?

Being free is being fearless. Fearless from the guilt & the ties & the programmed way of being that you were raised to live with & live in. The ways that have been ingrained in you that you see as truth (because it’s what you have experienced or seen), but it’s just you playing a record. These songs (experiences, lessons, traumas, or habits) have been ingrained in you like a grove in a record, & unfortunately you can’t help but to play these tunes over & over again.

Like I said before, some of these songs built out of pain are beautiful. These dark experiences have made you beautiful & strong. But they are also painful to carry or play out repeatedly (be it in your head or in your life —- same thing). You are enslaved to these false ideas if you can’t stop playing their tune. They run automatically as a way of being & dominate your life & experience. It’s like being trapped in a vicious cycle.

Freedom is being free to choose. To start from a place of unconditional beingness, of unconditional love —- a place of nothingness. To be able to choose freely & live spontaneously in the moment is freedom. Having clarity, feeling at ease, being self-sufficient, experiencing wholeness, connectedness, love, joy, peace —- to be able to be these under any circumstance or situation is freedom. It’s power! And this power is who you are when you are just being —- you.

Do you want to try it? Do you want to create a radical change in your life? Do you want to unlearn what you have been taught? Do you want to unplug yourself from the outside & tune into what’s inside?

This can happen overnight. This can happen in an instant. This can be a spontaneous realization. But I’m not going to promise you that. I don’t think you or anyone else has any control over it. That sort of instant awareness is Grace. It can only be granted; not bought, not taught, not learned, & definitely not pushed to happen. You can only get it when it is given, & only Grace can give it. That being said, what I can promise you is a gradual uncovering of your own truth. Yes, your own truth. You will know truth when you hear it, or see it, because you will feel it. Not in an emotional sense, or in a dramatic sense, but in a heartfelt resonance sense. You’ll just know without question & you’ll never forget. You may fall back on your programmed automatic way of being from time to time, but you’ll never forget who you are.

[The blog text is an except from my new ebook, Revolutionary Being. It will be released in the spring of 2012.]

[Pssst! After putting together this blog post I found a really great video by Mooji that I feel ties in really well. Please give it a look for additional thoughts on this topic: VIDEO LINK ]

[The illustrated quote is by Monique Duval, Compendium.]

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Filed under transformation, unlearning

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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Filed under great quotes, oneness & beingness, unlearning

Why fight to attain that which we already are?

I want to share an email I sent to a friend this week.

From: AimeeLovesYou
To: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Date: Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 1:20 PM
Subject: Wow. I’m floored.

Wow. I’m floored.

I just found something that perfectly states what XXXXX & I were discussing on Saturday.

When I told him what I was passionate about, & he said that, that “beingness” I was interested in, that “infinite peace” (as he called it), is the missing link. The missing power & focus that all movements eventually crumble over. They lose sight of the truth & they get lost & they panic & they fade. Never realizing the truth that they initially & so passionately were seeking & wanted to see realized.

This is the quote I found today…

“Our consequential activity — our resulting doings — no matter how pure of heart or well-meaning — then automatically manufacture circumstances around us serving only to maintain the causal discomforts driving all our doings.

It is through this bias toward doing that all our religions, spiritual groups, and peace organizations arise.

And, because all organizational structures foster activity that is repetitive – activity that fast becomes familiar and routine to us — and because familiarity is the sleeping pill that sows unconsciousness and the resonance of habitual egoic behavior — all our resultant doings intended to accomplish “stillness,” to enter “the now,” to “achieve happiness,” and to “attain peace” lead nowhere.

The unfolding of time reveals they all lead directly into circumstances that foster fear, anger, and grief — the causal resonance out of which they arise.

This ongoing loop continues because our doings have not arisen from the intent to know the truth of being. They have arisen as an attempt to quell the inner discomfort of our unintegrated emotional imprints [emotional scars].

I’m going to try to write some blog posts on Being, as well as Seeing. I know that these are my work — to explore, to share, & to know — it’s just hard because they seem so abstract sometimes, & not as concrete as something that everyone can relate to & visualize. But as an artist I think that that is my job. To find a means of expression that captures its essence so that it can be relatable & viable for everyone.

…Just the possibility alone makes me happy.

Love you,
A.

This email directly speaks to the point I was making yesterday about Occupy Wall Street [What is Occupy Wall Street?] & acknowledging that all the change we are experiencing right now on the planet is helping us to evolve & wake up to the truth in being. The truth of who we really are. All of these external events, or things we are standing for, or fighting for, or struggling for, are not the big picture. They are only a fragment of it, they are only a reflection of our current way of being (which is not based on being at all & the lack of awareness expressed clearly shows that). If we can see that we have lost our ability to be, we can then begin to feel again. And with that presence — not blame, not fight, not bury  to defuse or end the feeling that causes us to suffer — but to embrace it & move with awareness, move with clear intentions, & in doing that, what needs to be done happens effortlessly. The revolution simply becomes our evolution.

By the way, this is to the 99% (the people who seek change), as well as the 1% (the elite who like this current system as it is). Both are the 100% of people who have trouble being in peace, being in love, being in joy, being in harmony, being in grace, being in bliss, the list goes on. — Do you know why everyone has trouble? Because we don’t know how to simply be. This is why we are chasing freedom (or peace, or joy) via materialistic things, or through noble causes, or through saving others, or through work & passions, or through social reform, or through romance, or through goals & challenges, or through food, movies, travel, sport, — all of it. There is nothing wrong with any of these things. Material goods are fine, so is social reform & sports, whatever you like. All of it is beautiful, it’s what we have created together as a people — but it is not what will bring us to a state of infinite peace. Only being can do that.

Everyone has had moments of being: when an athlete is in the zone, or a dancer is moved by the music, or a child is smiling for no reason, or a monk is lost in meditation, or a lover is one with their lover, or a writer’s words flow automatically through their pen, or one is just totally present & fully in the moment. The point is, you are not forcing anything happen. You are not making anything happen. It’s just happening. — You are active, but you are not doing. You are allowing. You are letting go in order to be moved. This is what it means to trust.

Understand that this is where our power is. Not in making anything happen, or forcing our will, or excessively doing, but in letting go. In setting up our intention & aligning ourselves with it. The rest takes care of itself. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t active, or you aren’t doing something, it just means that you are allowing yourself to feel, to connect, to trust, to be moved. And trust me, just like the star athlete, when you do this, you do much more! You are much more effective & impactful. But it happens without your mind getting in the way.

Think of a bad dancer. Why do they not dance well? Because they are in their head & they think they have to move their body. But in order to feel the rhythm, you have to completely let go & allow your body to be moved. — And which dancers are the best dancers? The ones that can let go. The ones that can listen. The ones that can feel. — Are they active? Yes. Are they doing something? Yes. But, they let energy do the work. They allow their intention to lead & they surrender to the dance.

Can you imagine if everyday was like that? You never had to do anything & nothing felt like work. Because you were allowing yourself to be. To trust. To feel. To be moved. This is the most powerful way you can be. This is who we all already are. But we block it. We don’t know how to trust ourselves, how to trust our own innate intelligence.

Describing being is very difficult. It’s experiential. It’s not something you can fully understand with the mind — only with the heart. This is something intangible. And the problem is, that most people seek quick tangible results. Something they can show others & feel good about. The tangible fruits of their labor comes quick: “Look what I have achieved!” or “Look at the difference I made!” or “Look what I got!” — This is not that. This is power. This is energy. This is grace. Not money, not something to see, not something to be proud of, it is actually nothing — just beingness. Just peace. Just joy. Just love. Beneath it all, beneath all the work, & the game, & the hurt, it’s what we are all striving for, but we are fighting to attain that which we already are.

“All relative life without the conscious basis of Being is like a ship without a rudder, ever at the mercy of the tossing sea.”
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

And I just want to add: I’m all for Occupy Wall Street. I just hope that it eventually evolves into a deeper & more unifying movement (not us against them). A movement that isn’t afraid to be revolutionary, yet is willing to look within for all answers. I take my hat of to them. Their bravery has made history & they have inspired millions. And if they proceed to move with heart, their revolution will naturally become everyone’s evolution.

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Filed under awareness, emails, great quotes, peace & bliss, power & courage, revolution, transformation, unlearning