Living Non-Duality

A surge of anger, discontent, pain, disappointment, misunderstanding, judgement, has seemingly overtaken me. Who me? I ask myself in disbelief. Yes, me. I answer myself irrefutably.

What’s wrong with me? (This is not my typical emotional behavior).

Not so long ago I reached what felt like a pivotal moment in time – seeing through the illusions of separation, seeing myself in the dirt beneath my feet and the bark of the tree. I was able to perceive the unconditional Loving Presence, in it all, regardless of the circumstance. I was actively practicing in each moment, How can I BE this love?

How did I forget the wisdom of my heart?

  • The state of the world, politics, the insanity of the collective consciousness seems to have won in pulling me down with it.
  • The discord in my own family/intimate relations has won in rearing my judgemental expectations.
  • Cancer’s aggressive reappearance has suceeded in making me fear a painful death.

Today, an angel seemingly landed gently on my shoulder. She said, No, you will not forget the foundation of your inner stability. What has sustained your understanding for all these years is ever-present. You’ve just fallen away from remembering.

Among shelves and shelves of books, my eyes landed on just one. I pulled it off the shelf, and opened a random page. My inner knowing was gloriously reignited.

Glory, glory hallelujah, the Truth is marching on …..

“Here in our Western culture, where we are accustomed to attempt to exert maximal control, it is difficult for us to bear in mind that things are always unfolding in the way that they are bound to do.

As could be expected in a culture which so emphasizes the value of human life (as, for example, over the value of other species’), this tendency is particularly evident in our reaction to the manifestation of chronic or terminal illness – in us, or another person.

If the condition of health changes for the “better”, we can accept that. If it changes for the “worse”, we can’t accept that. The only unfolding of life events that we meet with equanimity are the positive ones. The implication in our attitude toward negative changes is that they must be met with resistance.

Sooner or later, every fact in life must be accepted.

Each of us will do whatever it is that we do, when the time comes. And nature will do whatever it is that it does, regardless of whatever it is that we do.

Yet notice the implication in the reaction to a change in health: if you are ill, you shouldn’t be: if you are not anxious about your condition, you should be.

‘The dark threads are as needful, in the Weaver’s skillful hand, as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern that shall stand,’ if I recall an old poem.

Can we relate to what is, as it is-for ourselves and others-even at the most pivotal junction?” (Living Nonduality, by Robert Wolfe)

And then I read on and remember… This clarity feels most true to my heart – It’s all unfolding as the Self experiencing it’s self:

“The creator (the formless) and created (the forms) – as well as the creating- are the same thing, an indivisible (no “parts”) whole.

Because the created, creator and creating are all One immediate actuality, there is no ‘creation’ in the sense that a plan or design has been culminated. There is no ‘intelligence’ APART from all these manifestations that has (prior to manifesting) desired or decided that what is ‘will be as it is’.

All of the ‘creating’ is going on at this very moment, moment by moment, without having to be accounted for (as a ‘purpose’) to anyone or anything. The formless, being WITHOUT a separate ‘self’, need not even justify what is unfolding to its own ‘self’. No matter WHAT happens-without an ‘intent’ – nothing can go wrong, as far as the formless actuality could be concerned. The formless IS the unfolding, in these forms.” Robert Wolfe.

Photo Credit: Annette Adams

Logos

When I received “Man’s Search for Meaning” (a book by Viktor E. Frankl) I immediately dove in – my dear friend, Zahara, had gifted me with a copy and informed me she would be reading it along with me.

Well, I should know better. My sensitivities to the horrors of Auschwitz always feels like I had been there in a past life, and just reading about it – I seem to re-live the events all over again.

For the first 40 pages, I thought, I am NOT going to get through this, this unimaginable, unthinkable, suffering.

I hoped that the eventual fruit of this torturous reading would be worth the trauma.

It was.

And no better moment to receive this wisdom – stuck in my own psycho drama … questioning life’s meaning … ready to throw in the towel and give up treatment … feeling loss of purpose … a mere Guinea pig for the cancer cartel. Thoughts like, I can’t go on like this anymore …. blah, blah, blah.

And what does life place in my lap? This gift from a man born in Vienna 1905, his meaningful message. His wisdom reaffirms the treasure my soul is quietly holding for me, patiently awaiting my recognition.

Below, an especially lovely excerpt that filled my heart with meaning:

“Let me recall that which was perhaps the deepest experience I had in the concentration camp. The odds of surviving the camp were no more than one in twenty eight, as can easily be verified by exact statistics. It did not even seem possible, let alone probable, that the manuscript of my first book, which I had hidden in my coat when I arrived at Auschwitz, would ever be rescued. Thus, I had to undergo and to overcome the loss of my mental child. And now it seemed as if nothing and no one would survive me; neither a physical nor a mental child of my own! So I found myself confronted with the question whether under such circumstances my life was ultimately void of any meaning.

Not yet did I notice that an answer to the question with which I was wrestling so passionately was already in store for me, and that soon thereafter this answer would be given to me. This was the case when I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn-out rags of an inmate who had already been sent to the gas chamber immediately after his arrival at the Auschwitz railway station. Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in a pocket of the newly acquired coat a single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, containing the most important Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael. How should I have interpreted such a “coincidence” other than as a challenge to live my thoughts instead of merely putting them on paper?

A bit later, I remember, it seemed to me that I would die in the near future. In this critical situation, however, my concern was different from that of most of my comrades. Their question was, “Will we survive the camp? For, if not, all this suffering has no meaning.” The question which beset me was, “Has all this suffering, this dying around us, a meaning? For, if not, then ultimately there is no meaning to survival; for a life whose meaning depends upon such a happenstance-as whether one escapes or not-ultimately would not be worth living at all.”

Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

Nishprapanchaya Shantaya

Last week I went Christmas shopping. Having purchased not a single gift up till now, this was a huge endeavor seven days prior to the holiday. But I braved the 17–degree temps.

Probably not too wise of a decision.

I thought, I should be nurturing my immune-compromised blood levels during “week-off” chemotherapy

But I’m resolute; I gotta bring gifts for the grandkids and family members.

My habituated determination …. I recognize it. It’s laughable. Hard to change lifetime convictions.  

Thankfully, the opposite pole of persistence arose simultaneously, and the desire to self-nurture endured.   

A 30-minute drive to Milford, PA ahead, I decided to lose myself in a podcast. Its auspicious title beckoned my attention, “The Search for Enlightenment” by Rupert Spira.

Kind of ridiculous having heard this talk a gazillion times in every imaginable form – from Nisargadata to Ramana to Krishnamurti to Adyashanti ad infinitum …. As if I might hear something new.

Unexpectedly, Mr. Spira’s articulation on this topic smashed my heart open – in an exceptionally beautiful, frigid, sun beaming off icicle moment on a country road in Northeastern PA.

Perhaps my lowering WBC count assisted in opening my heart a little deeper this time?

Who knows.

I bawled like a puppy for her mother. You know when you’re alone in the car, and you can sob so loud it hurts?

Ranks right up there with an incredible orgasm.

Here’s the part that broke the dam of uncontrollable tears:

15:47

Rupert: You’ve recognized that who you essentially are now is ever-present, never hurt or tarnished by experience, never disturbed, it needs nothing.

What more do you want?

Questioner: (I can’t trust that the wanting will stop)

Rupert: What are you wanting?

If you have found that in yourself which is inherently peaceful and has no sense of lack, what are you lacking?

Questioner:  (There’s nothing I lack)

Rupert: The wanting will only stop when you recognize that you ARE what you WANT.

End 17:01

The Anusara invocation I have chanted for a decade reverberated in my heart, and I recalled how near this knowledge is, how it has remained engrained in my heart.

Om Namah Shivaya Gurave: I honor God, the Nature of Being, The Teacher within.
Satchidananda Murtaye: ITS essence is Truth, Consciousness, and Bliss.
Nishprapanchaya Shantaya: IT is always present and full of peace.
Niralambaya Tejase: It is completely free and radiates from the heart with a divine luster.

(my interpretation)

Enjoy the video, tissues recommended.

Mystery

There I was sitting in the diner, sipping my coffee, when it happened.

I could come up with a million explanations as to why I may have had this experience. My state of mind after 4 days of being away from home; chemotherapy treatment; blood-building injections for 3 days after treatment; climbing the mountain behind Todd’s house; meditating on a rock above the world; the magnificence of autumn colors …..

Maybe all of the above, maybe none.

I quietly observed one of the servers/waitresses from afar. She was unaware that I was staring. Simply going about her routine, checking her station orders, fully attentive to the job and the moment. I could almost feel her attentiveness to her own inner thoughts.

However, something even deeper was revealed to me while watching her.

There was an aura surrounding her, in fact, it was enveloping the entire space of the diner. Not only could I sense it, I almost could see it.

It felt and appeared as connective tissue, but translucent tissue that morphed and flowed in wavelike patterns. Like being under clear water and seeing the forms floating in it.

In that moment, I was assured that this web of existence is just that. An intricate, unseen Web of Life. A complete mystery that we will never see with these eyes.

Yet I was graced with the experience to glimpse at it.

In only a few short moments of earth “time” the universe revealed its infinite connective eternity to my consciousness.

Pouf. Tah dah! Here I AM, and I AM That!

The miracle. The Mystery. In a diner of all places.

Prayer

Saturday was my great-nephew’s 5-year-old birthday party. It was one of those days when the weather is so magnificent you almost can’t believe how beautiful the earth actually is.

So I took the long drive, to be with family who I haven’t seen in a while. To celebrate and enjoy watching the children play outside together.

It was a glorious day for an outdoor party. Great food, conversation, laughter, stories, kids on the trampoline and the clown makeup and balloons.

However, there was something very strange about the day for me. A lingering feeling. An indescribable sense of lightness, a mistiness – kind of how you feel in the steam room when the solid objects are sort of blurred. It was not only the haziness that lingered throughout the day, but there was also the intense presence of my deceased mother. No, I did not think she was there, I knew – yes, I KNOW – my mother was there with us the entire time.

One of the grandmas at the party mentioned to me that my smile reminded her of my mom, and she said, “how she loved to talk and to be with the children.”

I said, “Yes, I know. And she’s here with us today.”

Except, my comment was not made as a casual figure of speech.

On the drive home, the setting sun left the sky so picturesque that I was in awe for the entire ride. Not that that’s so unusual for me. However, it was more intensely felt because I did not feel separate from what I was admiring. I was the sky.

I cannot even explain it any better than that. And it wasn’t until my friend, Annette, shared this video with me this morning that I found a way for it to be expressed with a little more clarity.

Carolyn Myss, 2019 live in Canada is a talk about faith, miracles, prayer, and mysticism. These little blurbs really resonate with me, especially after yesterday’s experience. (these are paraphrased excerpts)

On Miracles:

What’s required for a miracle is that you have such regard for yourself – the more you trust heaven the closer it gets.

Self-esteem at the soul level is the ability to be able to be given an experience that nobody else has, and you can withstand the doubt of a tsunami of people coming at you. If you require the enforcement of other people you cannot be given an experience that only you can substantiate. You’re too fragile, everyone’s doubt will turn into your rage. That’s because other peoples’ doubt for you is personal. It’s not until their doubt means nothing to you that you can handle an experience that only you know is real. So their doubt means nothing. Nobody’s’ fear scares you, nobody’s illness scares you; What’s there to be afraid of? There’s nothing on earth to be afraid of because your soul knows better.

On Prayer:

You pray like you’re crazy.

Okay God, I don’t know how to pray with you yet, but I’ll listen, I’m coming for you, come get me.

Start there. There’s no need for petition prayer. That’s irrelevant. Don’t pray for stuff. 

Take me down deep, show me the reason you gave me life and keep me on that route.

Turn the light on, show me the reason

Let me face what I do not want to see.

That’s how you pray.

Let me do no harm with my dark side while I encounter it.

That’s how you pray.

Pray like you mean it.


mission

I have a mission to fulfill.

Don’t we all?

I recognize for an instant the connection of consciousness as One.

It’s only an instant. Pouf, it’s gone. I forget again.

Instead, I focus on the sharp stings in my chest, my armpit. I cringe. Fucking pain. Fucking cancer. The skin on my chest is so hideous I look like a freak show. And it hurts like a mother F-er.

Take another pill. Ha, me who never took an aspirin. Now I need a narcotic to get through the night.

Oh, she loves to pity herself doesn’t she?

Then I snap back.

I have a mission to fulfill.

Seriously. This mission is so important that it’s the ONLY thing that really matters.

And I’ll never get to KNOW what the mission is.

Maybe the mission will be revealed after this body is gone.

Or maybe it won’t.

It doesn’t matter.

It’s an INFINITE mission.

And we are ALL fulfilling it.

life’s greater purpose

it’s Not about me

AND

it’s ALL about me

How can I serve the greater whole?

How can I (the me)

serve the

greater whole (the not me)?

a CIRCLE illustrates that perfectly

Thinking Mind will not come to understand or see this Truth.

But something will clearly express it in our lives, when we open our hearts to allow it to be revealed.

It will always show up in a way that is unexpected. It may feel undeserved, unfair, unholy, unthinkable. But that is only the interpretation of the smaller thinking (me) mind.

Life’s greater purpose is Always working through us. No matter how it appears on the surface.