sun light

Something about the day

the way the chilly air was warmed

by bright sun

my clothing’s violet color

the alignment of the stars and planets

A memory surfaced

just one of the many spiritual oddities I’ve experienced over the years

A spectacular moment

imprinted in my psyche

reappeared on my memory screen today …

It was probably around 2008 – a silent retreat weekend at Garrison Institute with Adyashanti. The weekend was held in complete silence throughout it’s entirety with a rigid schedule of 5 or 6 daily seated meditation sessions that were held in a spectacularly sunlit meditation hall (formerly the chapel). In the evening, Adyashanti would present a spiritual dharma talk on the chosen topic of the weekend (which I can’t remember).

However, what I do remember was The Moment … so brief that it seems ridiculous it would have had left such a deep impression.

In the midst of my practice, my eyes opened to observe my surroundings … the backs of the heads of hundreds of meditators – their spines held upright from their wooden pew – rows and rows of serious meditators

then it happened

I recognized the nature of reality in a brief second – in a way no words could describe. But my response was an overwhelming desire to burst into hysterical laughter. Before the laughter began to erupt from my belly, I became aware of the need to suppress it. But still, the inner laughter revealed to me what I needed to know. It freed me from the suffering of my own mind (and everyone else’s mind in that room) for the most ecstatic, orgasmic moment I have ever experienced in my lifetime. There were no words or ideas or beliefs associated with the laughter – only freedom – and a sense of seeing through all of the silliness of the serious work we were all pretending to do.

In that moment, I knew without a doubt, that EVERYTHING was as it was and should BE … no matter how many hours we meditated … no matter how much we wanted to know God and be enlightened … there was an underlying meaninglessness to the solidity of our form in the most light-hearted way – as if I could suddenly see through matter and know that the Spirit world was the only thing that was True about this Life.

I was FREE. For the briefest moment. The sunlight was real and the rest was only shadow.

Perhaps, then, the sunlight faded, and I returned to my solidity as Janet.

But today I was graced to remember.

natural

NATURAL

A picture memory appears in my mind…

The movie Mrs. Doubtfire. When the bus driver notices her hairy knee and says, “Natural, healthy, just the way God made ya.”

As I take my morning bath, I observe the soft hairs growing on my shins.

I’ve lost ALL of my body hair so many times through endless chemotherapy infusions. But after a deliberate 2-month chemo holiday my hair is finally growing back.  I’m grateful to see my body’s ability to grow hair again! I sense a feeling of natural health, just the way God made me.

(Simultaneously, I know that my well being is not dependent upon the state of my physical body).

After a few deep breaths I contemplate the question,

What is NATURAL?

And I notice my mind’s tendency to want to find an answer; but I know from a deeper level that the answer doesn’t exist through my thinking process.

In fact, I also know from a deeper level that NO ANSWERS exist through the thinking processes. So why do I keep going there?

A few more deep breaths. I contemplate the deeper knowing that shows up as an intuitive feeling, and I simply open my heart to listen …

Something informs me … IT Says,

You are a sacred Being.

Every part of your body, even the cells that your human eye cannot observe.

And there is no separation from what is within to what appears to be outside.

This sacredness is the Only quality that comes close to an accurate understanding of the word Natural.

And when you remember and feel and honor and acknowledge that sacredness – down to the last hair on your body  – you are in a state of connection with God as you are made to BE.

Why would you want to alter/change/improve upon/fix/intellectualize this Natural and sacred state of Being that you are?

What could you possibly Know more than this unfathomable Force of Creation that Made you?

That is the question I want you to ask yourself every time you get lost in thought and indecision.

Remember and recognize that through your intellect you have the ability to control and manipulate and profit and alter Life to your preferences  – but you also have the ability to seek action based on the higher purpose of what is Sacred and Natural, to serve something other than your own personal mind’s agenda.

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God.

Matthew 6:32-34

the ocean

I was graced with the gift of travel to sunny Florida. I flourished in the JOY of Being in its glorious sunlight and even its warm rains.  During my morning walks along the beach , I had the grace of leisure to sit and just look … and wonder …  and listen … and talk to the ocean.

I’d ask her,

WHAT are YOU, really?

Does anyone actually know WHAT this mirage of water below blue sky IS?

Why can I stare at you for long minutes and completely forget time exists?

How is it that you are able to pull me in and spit me out?

What is the magical recipe of your salty sting?

Does your sound come from inside or outside?

Who first discovered you, swam in you, drowned in you?

And I’d wonder …

Why did humans stop contemplating the nature of this Reality?

Perhaps we forgot how to ponder, ruminate, imagine?

Someone taught us that you’re an “ocean” and we accepted that we know what you are.

And we stopped really seeing you.

Maybe that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in … here on this body we call earth.

Our modern Indoctrination and religion of “science” has been our demise.

We’ve forgotten we’re all little children – because we placed our faith in intellectual adulthood …

And we lost the Keys to the Kingdom of God.

I pray I will never pretend to know what an ocean really IS.

***

A favorite song from childhood memory … Mom’s transistor radio serenaded me each morning while getting ready for school … a time when joy and innocence and mystery was still ALIVE ….. hope you take a moment to enjoy:

knowledge

Today’s contemplation …

Step 115: Today I will listen to the Power of Knowledge: Upon the hour, remind yourself to listen to Knowledge and take a moment to do so in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Steps to Knowledge, Marshall Vian Summers

I’ve begun to realize that Knowledge is always available. When we remove ourselves from the incessant wanting (desire) to possess something that is impossible to grasp (Absolute Truth), the pointers are in everything that IS.

Upon becoming still and open-hearted, placing one’s attention on receiving (hearing, seeing, feeling), IT presents Itself in infinite forms.

I don’t claim any religious belief as the only way, and I don’t claim any intellectual belief as the only way. In fact, I don’t claim any belief as “the way.”

Perhaps that’s one of my pitfalls to Knowledge. I’m open to everything that invokes Wisdom (knowledge).

Today, I found Wisdom in both of these seemingly opposing perspectives; a Neoplatonist and an Hasidic rabbi. Knowledge is found in infinite forms – always pointing to the same Truth.

(entirety of talks are linked below the quotations)

“Some people only study physical phenomena. They slice it up and stick it in a microscope and that’s all they know. That’s all well and fine, but a true rounded person is interested in the totality of cosmic mechanics, what is and what is not, and how the universe works – is interested, as the greatest and wisest minds were, definitively, undeniably, interested in both physics and metaphysics, which are in totality a holos, just a one. You know a coin is not a head or a tail, it’s the coin and the silver of the coin, so these are not two different things.” 

Ken Wheeler

“Love is a tricky word. We don’t need to be told to love ourselves, we need to be told to share some of the love we have for ourselves. That’s the whole code of morality. You love yourself, can you give a little away? All your natural instincts are not meant for you . That is a huge lesson in life.

***   We are taught that study is extremely important, why?  So then you can teach. Even studying is not for yourself it’s so you can teach. Knowledge, information, wisdom, very important because then you can share it. Get yourself healthy, so you can turn your attention to others.

Rabbi Manis Friedman

heart cloud photo credit: Annette Adams

unknowing

The day was so perfect for walking outdoors. Endless blue sky. Sunshine so blaring that my shade glasses couldn’t even soften the intensity of brightness.

A perfect moment to hear God’s voice.

It’s your own incessant knowing that is deceiving you.

Why is it you accept your unknowing about death; but can’t accept your unknowing about life?

So often you’ll recognize that no matter what you think you can’t absolutely know what death is. Why can’t you recognize that you can’t absolutely know what life is?

None of MY creations can know. Only the Creator holds the WHOLENESS of Knowing.

If you could see and hear the Reality of Being you would recognize the jewels of creation in a way you can’t now.

You would drop to your knees right now and place your lips on the dirt and stones beneath your feet.

You would raise your eyes to the blaring sun and cry out in devotion and amazement of its glory.

You would raise your arms to the endless blue sky and surrender to your ignorance of Life Itself.

Faith and hope and wonder and surprise and joy and ecstasy would fill your heart beyond your understanding.

Until then, you have not come full circle.

You remain on the rat wheel thinking you know something about life and making up stories and ideas that are simply beliefs you want to believe are true.

None of them are true, Janet.

ONLY I AM IS TRUTH.

THE BEGINNING, THE END, THE ALL.

Upon hearing God’s voice today, I really wanted to kneel down and place my lips on the dirt. Or lift my arms and bow down in adoration to the sun above. But I didn’t want my neighbors to think I’m a complete lunatic. The ego still holds its grip.

As I humbly continued my walk home, I saw the details of shadow and light in a more pronounced vibrancy.

Arriving home, I saw my husband in a new light. I saw my cancer in a new light. I saw my anger, my love, my emotions and my fragile body as a miraculous fleeting experience in my own awareness.

I will forget … but it’s okay … when I’m ready to remember ….

God’s voice is omnipresent

the sun is shining, wow

My brother told me about this new series on YouTube by Peter Santenello.

I am intrigued, as always, to learn how people devoted to God express their devotion in their own unique way. Having grown up in a town (Monsey, NY) that was populated with Hasidic Jews (a very small community back in 1965), it was my first introduction as a child to the culture and ways of this community.

This series was candid and sincere. For me, it was inspiring to witness how people continue to ensue traditions based on strong foundational truths.

There was a part in Episode 2 (there are 3 episodes) when a young boy spoke from his heart. His words, most of all, moved deeply the sense of God in my own heart:

7:25: “the sun is shining, wow”

18:06: “sometimes I can’t see the good, but I know its good”

as they say, from the mouth of babes….

break-through

Whenever I seem to experience what I’d call a Newness of Attention/Awareness I recognize these two distinctions:

If the Newness of Attention/Awareness is experienced on a lower level emotion; i.e., fear, anger, despair, disgust, arrogance, regret, resentment, unforgiveness ….

Usually, almost always, it is the direct result of a duality-focused mindset – the analytical, thinking, separate mind of egoic consciousness.

However, when the Newness of Attention/Awareness is experienced on a higher level emotion; i.e., compassion, acceptance, gratitude, wonderment, faith, humor, glee …

There is no mind-causality – it’s bestowed as pure grace.

I noticed this, especially, because it happened TODAY.

Out of nowhere.

Like a sunray peaking through a cloud-filled sky.

Not of my own doing – or of anyone else.

I clearly recognized the power/strength of my human will while simultaneously feeling the equanimity of the mystery of God’s perfection in guiding my every moment.

A peacefulness beyond any logical understanding.

In this state of grace, I knew something had downloaded into my consciousness. An unexpected gift after a brief time of sadness.

I was intuitively moved to revisit my tattered copy of the I Ching for a reading … for perhaps a deeper insight to this momentary opening to the Presence of Peace.

Here’s what the coins I threw revealed …

43. Kuai / Break-through (Resoluteness)

above TUI THE JOYOUS, LAKE

below CH’ien THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN

This hexagram signifies on the one hand a break-through after a long accumulation of tension, as a swollen river breaks through its dikes, or in the manner of a cloudburst. On the other hand, applied to human conditions, it refers to the time when inferior people gradually begin to disappear. Their influence is on the wane; as a result of resolute action, a change in condition occurs, a break-through.

The hexagram Kuai actually means a break-through as when a river bursts its damn in seasons of flood. The five strong lines are thought of as mounting from below, resolutely forcing the weak upper lines out of the hexagram. The same idea evolves from the images. The lake has evaporated and mounted to the sky. There it will discharge itself as a cloudburst. Here again, we have the idea of a break-through.

The I Ching or Book of Changes, Wilhelm/Baynes

As I acknowledge the Source (God) of ALL THAT IS, I cannot neglect appreciation and honor for every being that contributes to my life

– every being – human and non-human –

who has held me up

and made me laugh

and made me weep

and evoked every potential emotion out of this bodysuit I dwell in.

It is unspeakable how miraculous this life really is.

May that understanding keep hold in my heart forever …..

and in yours …

Namaste.

dream message

When I awoke this morning, I had a feeling/knowing sense about my dream experience.

Here’s my recollection:

There were images. They stood on their own, like beings. These images appeared as black shapes, (symbols?) tall, thin, rounded, simplistic amoeba-like forms. I had no understanding of their relative size (large, small?), just a feeling/knowing that these black symbol/shapes represented something huge and …

Invincible

Irrepressible

Unaffected

Innate

Unintentional

Neutral

Endless

It was as if they were appearing to me as timeless representatives of all of those qualities, informing my consciousness that they were the alpha and the omega, the beginning-less and end-less ground of all EXISTENCE.

In my dream experience, the feeling/knowing imparted by these symbol/images was a sense of pure ease and certainty of all truth and meaning in their underlying existence to all known LIFE.

I awoke wishing I could have had something more solid to translate to my limited thinking mind, and I remain humbled by the mystery of the unknown Divine Majesty of Life which we (all humans on earth) remain unaware of.

I want to believe that the shapes represent the symbols we have built our belief systems on from the beginning of known existence. The symbols that we have used to create our own realities. And that their essence is the building block of all known reality here on earth.

If any reader has had a similar experience, or insight, please do share.

I’ll close with this sacred text …

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.* (or “was Divine.)

John 1:1-3

Bhakti (faith, devotion) and Kriya, (Action, to do)

work not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for everlasting life …

John 6:27

During my chemotherapy treatment yesterday I listened to a podcast sent to me by my dear friend, Zahara. The timing of the message felt so serendipitous, as always with relationships we seemingly “find” ourselves in.

I’ll share the link to the podcast below, but in summary, the orator revealed to me something that enhanced my worldly perspective:

Any “other” in our life (shared relationship) is there for you, not you for them.

What does that mean?

What we “see” outside our personal self is perfectly placed there (in harmony) to our (yet unrevealed) need for reconciliation, healing, awakening, purification, and steps to Knowledge (God).

“They” or “It” is there to mold us, shape us, teach us, offer us an opportunity to make choices for our own path to self-realization (one-ness and connection with God)

Does that mean we (our personal self) play no role in service to others?

NO.

Of course, our personal course of action in the world is meaningful – our service to other; however, again, it is actually for the same purpose.

Undeniably, it is ALL for the SAME PURPOSE.

Enlightenment has to translate into service if it is to be real and meaningful. You were sent into the world to do something specific. Knowledge within you knows what this is and is trying to guide you and move you into a position where you can recognize this and meet those individuals who will be a part of your greater service and accomplishment here. Along the way, knowledge is building your strength, building your discernment and building your courage.

Most of the spiritual work is deconstructing your confinement, your disabilities, your fantasies, your obsessions and your delusions to help you divorce yourself from your weakness and to unite you with your strength. It takes faith to do this because you don’t really know where it is taking you. You do not really know the outcome.

You do this because you know you must do this. Because in your heart, you know you must take this journey. Not to satisfy the goals of the mind, your ideas of enlightenment or to become a saint, a goddess, or any of this foolishness. You’ve taken the journey because you must. And this is what returns you to God because you are following what God has put within you to follow. You do not know where it is taking you. It is deconstructing that which is imprisoning you. It is building your strength, your confidence and your ability to discern the power and the presence of Knowledge within you.

Marshall Vian Summers

How can this help us navigate the physical world?

When you look outside your eyes at that other appearing in your life – in every relationship and circumstance, ask yourself, “How will this encounter polish the inner diamond of my heart so that I may better serve the will of God within me while I am here in this moment?”

I hope there is a crumb of inspiration in this writing … I truly hope to share what may serve another along the way.

The foolishness of this world, the seeming deceit, corruption, and insanity has taken my personal mind down to a level of sadness that has actually served to further ignite and strengthen the force within me to seek a course of action in planting seeds of LOVE in the mud of the world.

I devote this post In gratitude to ALL of my teachers along the way:

Cancer – husband – family and friends – pets – nature – food – and every stranger I will encounter in this world.

Namaste.

original

Photographer Credit: Jena Vignola

Way before I began delving into Advaita Vedanta and nondual teachings of all sorts, I often had a thought – an idea – a feeling,

What if I AM really infinity? Holy shit, how horrifying.

It’s a scary thought … to imagine that you’ll exist forever.

Who wants to live forever? (Not here anyway)

On the other hand, there’s the human fear of death.

Holy shit, I’m going to die. I won’t exist anymore.

Which is more terrifying:

living forever or not existing at all?

Over a decade of existential introspection and contemplation, I’ve never found a concrete answer.

In fact, I don’t think that the purpose of IS-NESS is to find an answer to anything.

This HUMAN BEING is the only ‘thing’ we’ve got.

It appears as a hard cold fact. Skin and bones. But, for sure, this solid ‘thing’ ain’t anything close to IS-NESS. This concrete form is like a Xerox duplicator for the Mind. You think, you imagine, and Voila, it shows itself! The mind is the duplicator, the body is the copy.

Which Mind is the Original?

The closest I’ve come to feeling intimate with knowing the “Original” was when I briefly experienced a merging of Subject and Object during meditation. And everything in time stopped. And the meaning of One Mind became clear. (still not an answer, only an intuitive feeling)

The other time was when I was like 10 years old walking home from school and suddenly observed myself as the observer –  I turned my attention back on attention Itself. I was only 10 so I didn’t really comprehend the depth of that experience, but I never lost the perfume it left on my consciousness.

At the present time, I’ve got this cancer thing going on. And, naturally, I’ve contemplated the reality of not living in this body anymore. I’ve wasted a little time wondering why this thing called cancer exists, and what it really is. But the inquiry usually leads me nowhere.

Thinking, thinking

Subject – Object

A vicious cycle. For a non-existent answer.

So now, let’s contemplate this … the photo that inspired this contemplation. (thanks to talented photographer, Jena Vignola)

There’s a background, an All-ness, the neutral-colored wall in the photo above.

There’s a pink sink and pink mirror frame. Let’s imagine Original Creation is the neutral-colored background Wall. The pink sink and mirror frame are the Objects floating in a sea of it’s Creator’s all-encompassing neutrality. But there’s a mirror. There’s an opportunity for even the Creator’s copy to look into the mirror to see it’s object self and contemplate, What am I?.

The Object and the Subject have never really become separate from one another. That’s the illusion.

Why? Why would Creation play such a ridiculous game?

Does it want to keep BEING itself and SEEING itself and FEELING itself again and again and again? …….

Is it’s devotion to ITSELF an INFINITE, never-ending and unfathomable experience to the lowly OBJECT it has created?

Why?

Again, no answer. Just an intuitive imaginative image:

The OBJECT is only a thought in the MIND of GOD. But even those words are insufficient.

Maybe just the photo suffices … a splash of color showing itself on the background of neutrality.

It only wants to experience ITSELF… and look back to see what it looks like.

You heard that I said to you, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is great than I am’. John 14:28