it lies in the knowing of one’s own being as it truly is

In my silent sitting (and silent listening) this evening, I was inspired to record these Infinite verbs:

  • Sense, Feel, Realize
  • See, Touch, Know
  • Discern, Empathize, Care
  • Listen, Embody, Act

Speaking, reading and hearing these words felt healing and comforting, as if providing a needed pathway.

As if they hold a secret key to a truer way of being.

Although I don’t think there’s really any secret. As my beloved Adyashanti so wisely states,

“Here’s the secret spiritual teaching: The secret teaching is – THERE IS NO SECRET TEACHING because there’s nothing that can take the place of you or I taking that continual plunge into the unknown inside of us. Nothing can take the place of that.”  

Well I’ve been taking some deep plunges. It was an emotional day (maybe post chemo induced, maybe sheer compassion for the people in my life who are suffering).

Why is it that witnessing the suffering of others saddens me more than my personal suffering?

Is it because I feel so helpless about it?

None of us are exempt from experiencing and/or witnessing suffering: Our own suffering, our parents , our children, our friends, our mates, strangers.

Can I fix, repair, resolve, heal someone else’s suffering?

I certainly want to.

Is sincere love for another being a valuable antidote for their suffering?

I do trust that love has more powerful effects than we have yet come to realize.

But even with our love offerings, as heartbreaking as this realization is, I intuitively trust this as innate truth:  

The “moment” a separate-self-consciousness is thinkable, the misunderstanding of who and what you are generates inescapable suffering.

And so many of us have realized this cycle of suffering for what it is –

So why do we continue to perceive/believe/endure this suffering?

(What would the masters from our ancient scriptures say? -Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu, etc., etc.).

Adyashanti brings some clarity to this question:

“When Buddha was asked what he obtained from his supreme enlightenment, he said ‘I have obtained absolutely nothing’. What does that mean? Clearly, something for him had changed, something very fundamental.

He called it nirvana. But he also said he hadn’t obtained anything. He had means of finding out the truth for himself. Didn’t really have a doctrine to take the place of whatever we think we know. It was really a means of realization and a means of living it. (And I’m not trying to propagate the Buddhist teaching). There’s something in human being that searches for knowable, conceptual terms, and feeling secure and solid and stable, yet it never works out that way.

Because living from a place of certainty and stability is destabilizing us. Because every moment of life is a flow. You never know what’s coming at you. If we’re living with a rigid conclusion, to that extent we’re not really flowing … there’s not You and Life … There’s just LIFE.”

Aha ….. So Buddha realized the Truth, but he had to be able to LIVE it: Listen, Embody, Act.

I am feeling less sad and more empowered already.

So can I Discern, Empathize, Care without the need to control the outcome?  

Okay, it’s way past my bedtime. Enough mind chatter – let me end with some wisdom from Rupert Spira:

“It takes some time to understand that the essential cause of our suffering is the fact that we have overlooked who or what we essentially are.

Most people feel that the source of peace and happiness is to be found in the acquisition of some kind of objective experience, however subtle that experience may be. Most people need to be failed a number of times, over and over again, by objective experience before they are open to the possibility, either intuitively or by the suggestion of a friend, that the peace and happiness for which they seek doesn’t lie in objective experience but lies in the knowing of their own being as it truly is.

Now what is it that makes some people open to this understanding as opposed to others who no matter how much they suffer are still not open to  it, I don’t know. Of course, the theory of reincarnation explains this but for some people they only have to really suffer once to realize I have invested my happiness in this object or this relationship and its let me down. Every object and relationship, sooner or later will let me down.

Some people only need to taste that failure once or twice before they are open to this new possibility. Other people suffer bitterly throughout their lives, and they’re not open to this possibility even when it is made available to them.”

This post dedicated to you, Dom, my beloved step-grandson. I love you.

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

the unknown and true healing

Having had so much time for contemplation, under different circumstances than usual (now that I’ve been diagnosed with an “incurable” illness), I am given opportunity realize the power of the unknown.

Now more than ever.

I wonder, do we all get that moment? To realize life’s infinite potential for the unexpected? I suppose I should feel immense gratitude for being given the opportunity to recognize, to revisit, to place all my attention, to value the absolute power of Life (God, Chi, Prana, Source, Brahman, Tao, etc.) and its ability to infinitely Create limitless potentiality.

So I begin to look back at my daily routine, only about 6-8 weeks ago, which would consist of morning breakfast, (after feeding the cats, of course), a lemon squeezed in my water, fresh blueberries and Kefir laced with Chia and flax seeds, along with my toasted slice of Ezekiel bread and a schmear of chunky almond butter. Coffee, of course. AHHH, pure heaven! Breakfast was always my favorite meal of the day. Then my home yoga practice, meditation, daily contemplative reading, stretching, and always a handstand to get the adrenaline flowing. And finally off to teach my yoga classes for the day ……..

I took that simple routine for granted. Not that I didn’t practice gratitude. I certainly did, as this was part of my work as a teacher to live and impart this knowledge. But truthfully, it’s not until one is faced with the reality of losing something that the actuality is available to knowing how valuable that something was. Now its REAL.

Loss, unexpected change, trauma, illness, is always a wake up call. Some may call it fierce grace. Whatever one chooses to call it, it kind of feels like losing your house to a tornado, and some of the neighbors houses are still standing. You wonder, Was there purpose in this for me?

Now, I have been given the opportunity to learn a new routine. I am awakened in the morning by pain, and I reach for the pills at my bedside. Then I hobble to the toilet, cringing at the stabbing, burning pain enveloping my entire right chest and armpit.

I have found that once I get the pain managed with pills, I’m able to conjure up the strength, slowly, to continue that morning routine of cat feeding and my breakfast. Now, I REALLY value this even more because it’s so difficult to achieve.

Then I spend time in contemplative reading, meditation, dream journaling, and admiring the scene of summer’s nature out the window. I know I won’t lose the ability to engage in these practices unless I should lose consciousness, and for that I am so grateful. The pain is less at this point after eating breakfast, although I’m very weak – the chemo has begun to do its job of killing my blood cells. There is no longer any ability to perform a physical yoga practice, unless walking very slowly can be considered my new asana.

There is no more driving. The painful rash and swelling enveloping my chest has created a limited arm movement that makes it unsafe to drive. It’s a loss of independence.

There is no more teaching yoga, floor or aerial, or home practice. It’s like losing a dear friend.

There is no more physical intimacy with my beloved the way it used to be. A reminder, the physical sensation of youth is temporary.

There is no more cleaning and vacuuming, cooking and grocery shopping on my own. Time to let go of control.

I have learned a few things from all of the unexpected loss and change:

I need to take strong pain medicine to have any decent quality of life. I will never harshly judge another who may have abused narcotics. We don’t know the reason for one’s sense of need to manage their pain.

I can only move my body in very slow motion to avoid any sharp pain. This has provided me with a deeper sense of gratitude for practices I’ve learned, such as Tai Chi, that enable slow graceful movements that feel energetically powerful.

I cannot hug anyone or lie on my side or lie prone. It is actually uncomfortable to lie down at all without strong pain medicine. But I do enjoy holding my husband’s hand, squeezing it during my chemo treatments, and looking into his loving eyes.

Of all the seeming loss this inflammatory breast cancer has caused, there is just as much gain in many aspects of new awareness.

As I took a slow walk outside today,

I listened more closely than I have in a long time.

I smelled the summer blossoms and country air.

I felt my emotional body and God’s presence more deeply.

I cherished nature’s beauty more sincerely.

I loved each moment’s opportunity to be a witness to my own awareness.

I forgave myself for all of my mistakes, misunderstandings, and wrong judgements.

I recognized that the potential for true healing has little to do with a physical body and that true healing is a mystery which is unsolvable by a human mind.

I sensed that true healing has infinite possibility to be experienced through the human heart.

a humble and contrite heart

after seeing mom yesterday, feeding her what little morsels of dinner she could eat, she said to me, “I’m afraid of what’s going to happen to me”

my heart broken for her suffering, all that came to me were the words that felt true:

“do you remember your faith? do you remember your connection to God? when you feel anxious, remember that connection. it is always there with you”

I don’t know if she heard a word or received that, but I gave it for it was all I had

This morning, I had the Grace of listening to a talk by Derek at Global Witness that served me deeply today. One of the truths that he makes to clear is that there’s so much more to what we “see” in this world, it is more than what we think we know.

This is only a short excerpt of the hour long discussion:

“What do you have that is valuable?

Do you love really well?

What is your gift, no matter how small?

How do you invest it?

Take what little you have and invest it in others.

If all you do all day is to encourage people to seek who they are, you are investing your courage, you’re investing what little you’ve been given.

To those who have been given, more will be given.so you have a responsibility to care for the things you have.

Speaking of this ascension:

The Ascent is the gift of Christ, which is humility of heart:

The acceptable sacrifice is a contrite heart

You just give all of this world away.

This is my posture all the time: Head down, hands out, I’ve got nothing.

And every single day, every time I do that, he puts something in my hands.

Every single day I come to him with that humble and contrite heart, he gives me something else, and never are they my possessions, they are always His.

That’s why you don’t take those things in vein like his name. You don’t take things to be your own because nothing is yours, all of it is ours.

These truths are already in you. You once knew them and they have been removed. You knew them because they are the blueprint of mankind.

The return of ‘the son of man’ is the return of that blueprint within you.

Christ is Everywhere but Nowhere. The father is everywhere but nowhere. It cannot be in a single place if it covers all places.”

photo: Christine Chan, Sukha Arts

 

Spiritual truths

For many years I regularly listened to the dharma talks of a brilliant sage, Adyashanti. Having been to his silent retreats on several occasions, I had the pleasure of being in his Presence, and even had the opportunity to speak to him once.

I don’t listen anymore. At some point, I just felt like my cup floweth over, and I was filled with all the knowledge I could possibly absorb, for the time being, anyway. It’s been a few years now, not having Adya’s words guiding my days.

However, there are so many pearls that remain in my heart from his teachings. These gems will always be there for me when I forget what my deepest soul always knows.

At those times in life when I find myself absorbed and drowning in family drama and what feels like I’m helpless to witness this total lack of understanding or ability to resolve the conflict, it is then I revisit my well of ‘Adya wisdom’ to restore some inner peace and sanity.

I share these 3 very simple but Eternal Spiritual Truths with the intention that it may serve others in a time of need: (I am paraphrasing, and created a rhyme, these were not Adya’s exact words)

  1. What you BELIEVE so shall you PERCEIVE.
  2. What you RESIST will always PERSIST.
  3. DESIRE is a LIAR, it only creates more DESIRE

Recognizing these 3 spiritual truths is a simple tool to re-cognize where the suffering is born. And as always, it’s WITHIN YOU.

Blessings on the journey ………