Trust

My soul sister, Zahara, called me from Florida today.

She always sparks something that arises as a feeling in my heart center, which I can only describe as,

I know she sees it in me, and I also see it in her (Namaste).

We talked and laughed. And she asked about how I’m doing – the cancer thing – and the words that came out of me were, “I totally TRUST it will all be okay.”

(Translation: Whether I live to experience life as an old lady, or whether inflammatory breast cancer causes my demise as a younger woman – I TRUST either path.)

I have my moments when this wavers, of course. This Trust, I mean, though I know it’s quality of omnipresence, I forget. My ego takes the reins. It wants to think it can control or it wants to think that it will find the reason for cancer, for the world’s insanity. When I remember, this immense Trust simply observes and then lets go of all these ideas.

And I empowered the Trust by listening to this talk today, which I’ve highlighted/paraphrased below. For almost 15 years I’ve been learning from this being’s wisdom, and the teaching is endlessly alive within me. It is rewarding to hear this wise soul, Adyashanti, articulate what I feel.

Namaste, Zahara.

Namaste, Adya.

“There’s a part of the mind that is almost incessantly talking to itself. Ego is kind of like the verb of self-consciousness –  I am a something that exists.

When awareness reflects back upon itself, that’s the absolute essential component for self-consciousness. It starts out in a relatively mild form, and as you grow up it becomes more dense.

Ego can also be thought of as a psychic function, a function of self-consciousness, the sense of I Am-ness, even before it becomes the narrative, I am worthy or unworthy, etc.

There’s another kind of psychic structure that’s very different from the ego. In some traditions it’s called the Self (equated often with God, Buddha nature, etc).

Sometimes we can actually be called to look within to mitigate suffering, or to have a better experience of being. It makes sense at some point that the ego would want to mitigate as much suffering as it can.

But there can also be another call. Something else which calls us to look within. A totally different domain of this immensity of the psyche – the Self. (the God-head, Buddha nature etc). The Self really knows there is no boundary. There is no experience of limitation or edge to the Self. When it’s experienced it is boundless. Therefore it’s often called the fundamental reality.  

The spiritual instinct properly belongs to the Self. When the Self begins to move within you, there is no ambiguity that you as an ego are being acted upon that’s completely beyond the ego. The spiritual impulse from the ego’s point of view is something it receives, not creates.

The ego is the recipient, not the creator of the spiritual impulse.

It’s as if you as an ego can be chasing God or enlightenment, prayer, meditation, etc., and then all of the sudden you realize that the game has shifted, its reversed. And all of the sudden it feels like you are being chased by God. You still don’t know what that is but you can feel the transition from when the spiritual instinct within the self is activated, you then have a feeling that your own spiritual search doesn’t really fundamentally belong to you as an ego. It’s kind of unsettling. You have the feeling your spiritual search is not entirely in your control.

It’s not something you’re creating but it’s something that’s calling for some kind of response from you. That’s why words like God got invented – a word for this immensity that’s infinitely bigger than the ego. The ego is experiencing this awakening impulse but it’s not just for the ego, its somehow something outside of that. Often you don’t understand it.

For me, it felt like some sort of force came and lit up this desire for Truth. I didn’t understand why I was interested in those things. Wherever that impulse came from, I knew I received it but I didn’t create it. Then there’s this transition that happens inside, if it happens at all.

Ramana (Maharshi) has a great image for this: Getting your head caught in the tiger’s mouth.

Well you’ve just gotten your head caught in something bigger and stronger than you are.

The nature of the Self being without limit. When there’s no cosmic line drawn anywhere that you can say, I’ve experienced all there is to experience about it. You can think it, feel it, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually true.

In esoteric or contemplative teachings of reality, God is within you, and that’s relatively true, but not absolutely true. It’s said in order to get us to stop looking for God out there, and to get us to look for God inside of us. But really, we exist within God (or what the word is pointing to). The same way the ego exists within the totality of the psyche/ which is limitless. The greater part of your psyche does not exist within your ego. Your ego exists as a very small portion of your psyche. To stop exteriorizing God, we shouldn’t take it literally. God doesn’t exist within the ego. The ego exists within God, within the Self, within Buddha nature. All words for the same immensity. This is all theory right up until the point that this immensity starts to impose itself, act upon the ego in a very direct way. You can understand why people would create Gods and deities “out there” because the true spiritual impulse is something that comes outside of the ego. If you’ve ever really had the spiritual impulse that comes from the totality, its abundantly clear to you that you as an ego did not create it.

Awakening is when our sense of being wakes from being contained within the limiting sense of the ego structure and suddenly becomes aware of the immensity by whatever name one gives it.   

When the Self decides that It wants to stir into consciousness through your incarnation, well you’ll feel it. You’ll start to feel this evolutionary thrust, yearning, and of course, the ego is going to coopt that to some extent or another. That’s okay, the Self will utilize the ego’s desire not to suffer, but the impulse itself transcends our own personal wants and desires.  

The true part of God existing outside of you does exist outside and beyond the ego. But it’s within you in the sense that it is all originating in the cosmic psyche. It’s not the ego that awakens; it’s the Self – in a certain sense – that awakens from the identification with the ego.  Then we realize the Self isn’t really out there, but the self isn’t even something in here. Properly speaking, the whole point isn’t to look inside as opposed to outside, because inside and outside are actually mental constructs. When those constructs fall away – when we see through the constructs – then even the idea of in and out doesn’t make sense anymore. At a certain point it no longer even fits experience or perception. It’s just something that conditions perception. Like the Buddha would call it “thus-ness” the “such-ness” of something.  When something is not dual, how do you describe it? So you really can’t describe it.  In the Self, the opposites are not even dictating perception.

Awakening is a grace. That’s simply to say it is something the ego cannot produce. The ego can’t make awakening happen, however, it can start to undermine its fixed identity. If you really get what I’m talking about, the ego can start to deeply relax. Okay, it’s participating in its awakening but it’s not the cause of it. Your true being, your total being is the Self. So it’s a kind of trust in the Self.

If you can conceive of it, it’s too small.

THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT IT THAT YOU CAN TRUST.”

Adyashanti

going deeper

Recently, I felt a calling to take up puzzles again. There’s a noticeable shift in awareness when I’m working on a puzzle. My dreams are more resonant, and I feel like I’ve worked things out upon awakening. I sense that the puzzles have also been helpful in shifting my perspective on Life to more of an aerial view.

This perspective becomes clearer when I trust my inner compass to guide my understanding about Life. I especially like the words/phrases below; although their meanings may be intellectually abstract, the experience they point to is becoming more Real and concrete for me.

What do these words mean for you?

  • Voice Within
  • Deeper Conscience
  • Deeper Nature
  • Higher Purpose
  • Deeper Knowledge Within
  • Higher Vantage Point
  • Power and Presence of Knowledge
  • Natural Resonance
  • Empathy Felt at a Deeper Level

I extracted the above words from an essay called Forgiveness, by Marshall Vian Summers, excerpt below:

The choice really is a choice for the individual as to what voice within themselves they will listen to. Will they listen to the power and presence of Knowledge that God has placed within them to guide them, to protect them and to lead them to a greater life? Or will they listen to the voice of their own personal mind that seeks to protect itself above all things that will meet its needs first, regardless of the consequences for other peoples?

This is not an ideological debate. It is not an intellectual problem. It is more fundamental than this. It is a question of whether you will follow your deeper conscience or your own fear and insecurity. If you see that your deeper nature is beyond your mind, then you will not become so identified with your ideas, your beliefs or your prejudices, and you will be much more reserved in judging, condemning or dismissing others.

This kind of self-awareness is so very important because when people are denied recognition of their deeper nature, their thinking becomes aberrant. They identify with their thoughts and their possessions, and their ability to recognize others and to experience compassion is limited or destroyed altogether.

From the standpoint of having a higher purpose, you realize that everyone is teaching you the value of Knowledge. Both their successes and their failures are showing you the importance of adhering to this deeper Knowledge within yourself. Why would you condemn others when they are teaching you the results of not following Knowledge within yourself? When people are making every kind of error and experiencing the consequences of these errors, why would you condemn them when they are showing you the results of your own temptation to deny the power, presence and guidance of Knowledge within yourself?

From a higher vantage point, from the perspective of recognizing that you have a higher purpose in life, you will see these things. Perhaps you could not see them before, but you will see them clearly now. You will see that life is teaching you that there is only Knowledge or the substitutes for Knowledge. There is only being true to your deeper nature, or there is betrayal in all directions.

Here you must understand that not everything that happens is beneficial. If you try to make everything wonderful and beneficial, you will be dishonest, and dishonesty leads to great errors and great difficulties. And so your evaluation must be based upon a deeper awareness within yourself that is not really ideological in nature. It is more of a natural resonance. It is beyond the intellect. It is the empathy you feel with people at a deeper level.

belief

I was enjoying a talk by Bill Donohue. Just love the guy. His passion, his authenticity.

I was listening while driving, and something he said affected me, unexpectedly, kind of a Zen slap. (I’ll share the transcript below for context).

What happened was, I had an unexpected realization about how I’ve always believed something that is totally untrue. Just a man-made concept. Nothing to do with Reality as it actually is. And how this belief has affected my entire life (and continues to do so).

It was the simple realization that the 7 days of the week are entirely a made up idea based on an ancient understanding and a collectively consciously agreed upon “fact.” This blew my mind in the instant that I heard Bill talk about it.

Sounds stupid, I know. But as soon as the words came out of his mouth, it hit me as if I saw that moment in an entirely new light. Like a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Like I could really be FREE and actually LIVE in each moment – because that’s the ONLY thing that really exists.

One never knows the time or the place when that little opening of enlightenment will allow you to see everything new again.

I’m grateful to have had many such openings in my lifetime, and each one brings me a little closer to joy, to grace, to realization, to truth, to love.

Thank you, Bill Donohue.

895 Ascension of Buddha, Bill Donahue: (excerpt)

(28:21): “The number 7 means divine intervention

It’s kind of the biblical lucky number because they only knew of 7 planets at that time

That’s why you have 7 days of the week

If they knew we had two other planets out there you’d have 9 days of the week.

All of your weekdays are named after the constellations.

That’s why you have 12 months of the year because of the 12 signs of the zodiac.

The whole thing’s astrology, how can you get away from it?

What are you going to have 13 months of the year?

The first page of the bible, it talks about the stars in the sky:

And let them be for signs and for seasons …..

Well then if it says the stars are for signs, Wouldn’t you think you should find out what the stars mean?”

what is truth?

This memory I’m about to share probably occurred about 51-53 years ago.

As a 6 to 8-year-old girl I would often watch the black and white TV set with Mom.

There was a movie, a Nazi story. I have no recall what movie it was.

I’ll set the scene as I remember it:

Nazi soldiers are looking for escaped prisoners in a convent. The nuns had hidden a bunch of folks somewhere within the convent property. A soldier is interrogating one of the nuns.

He begins to yell at her, and he slaps her really hard across the face with his hand.

I BURST INTO TEARS.

Now, as a child of this age I had a very cozy, middle income kind of cultural upbringing. There was no trauma, abuse, or anything that I could have identified with at that time that would have reactivated such a harsh emotional reaction to this (subtle, by today’s standards) act of violence.  I was sobbing. Holding back the uncontrollable emotion and tears as much as I could, but I was unable to continue watching the movie. I remember that Mom consoled me.

If Mom were still here, I’d ask her if she had any recollection of the incident. But mom passed last year and she had dementia. So her memory wouldn’t have been very helpful.

Why did that particular incident bring up so much agony and despair for me at that age?

Thinking about this today, it leads me to contemplate:

  • Is our consciousness REALLY inside our brain?
  • Is our consciousness more accurately outside of our brain which would allow access to more than this dimension, this realm, this lifetime, this world?
  • When we’re children, just prior to the unavoidable fact of cultural indoctrination, aren’t we more deeply connected to the reality of our True Conscious Being?

Here’s another childhood memory. About 49-50 years ago, I had an experience while walking home from the school bus up. I’d walk up the hill on Johanna Lane every day, but on this day I had a very sudden moment’s awareness. It was a cognitive sense of being AWARE of more than my little persona, a KNOWING that I WAS ACTUALLY AWARE of MY OWN AWARENESS. How could a 10-year-old process that? I didn’t. I simply remember a feeling as if I had something inside that was more than I could understand. And I liked the feeling. I had something special inside. I became aware of awareness itself just by being quiet, watching my feet take each single step by step along the road’s dark, wet, leafy pavement (it was Fall), and like a Zen meditation, IT appeared, it showed ITSELF, unexpectedly. I received a GIFT.

I would love to hear of any childhood experiences that any readers may have had which reveals a moments’ access to a more open truth of conscious awareness. Please do share ……

I’ll end with a beautiful piece about Truth from one of my favorite Zen masters:  

Most people think that they are basically truthful

But when you look at it for a given day,

How do I embody the truth of being?

Well, you start by telling the truth all the time,

Okay great,

What is the truth then?

What seems to be true for you?

You could look at it as being totally honest all the time

Never deceptive

Never deceiving

Not twisting the sentence where you’re not being completely honest

When you really look at this, even for a single day, you will probably be surprised, maybe even shocked by how often you find yourself shading truths, whether out of fear or out of subtle or overt deception (because you have a fear of being real, being exposed)

There’s hundreds of reason why you might not tell the truth

What is truth then?

It’s not just mere opinion.

It is not unloading your judgements on somebody.

That’s not telling the truth.

It’s more about being deeply and precisely honest, and being very open to having your truth change.

Someone else may inform you. It might alter what’s true for you.

As human beings we clutch on to what we think is true, and when we do state it we state it with a fair amount of defensiveness. So we’re often in a kind of competition, even in the most seemingly casual conversation. You will often notice a quiet, well cultured competition of ideas going on, or just a complete lack of listening. In the average conversation, usually each person is waiting for a gap to jump in and say what they want. This is common in conversation. In a truth sense, conversation is listening to what might be true in any situation. Unless you listen, you’re not going to get anywhere.

No this is not very esoteric, but it’s demanding, it’s real, kind of where the rubber hits the road.

We never like to admit to ourselves when we’re lying. We think we’re doing it for their sake.

If you have a little sensitivity, you can say something truthful or honest without being so overt.

If you want to really start to embody some of your deepest realizations of being, start by telling the truth all the time.

Will there be consequences?  Yes.

How am I delivering the truth? Am I saying what’s really true? Or am I insisting on the truth?

If you get lots of negative feedback on your truth telling, examine how am I delivering this truth, how insistent am I, or am I very simply being honest and real?

One of the ways human beings manipulate each other is by shading the truth.

It’s hard to manipulate somebody when you’re totally honest.

This practice of truth will transform your life. You can’t say how, until you do it.

You can’t control how it will work out.

How could you possibly embody the enlightened condition and be anything less than truthful?

Your experience of being tends to become richer, deeper, more profound, more connected with your human relative life. That inner private space of being and outer human existence are no longer felt as two things, that illusion that there are two things. It’s actually ONE thing.

The more truthful you are, the deeper your sense of connection becomes. That exquisite feeling of spontaneous balanced flow feeling, all of you together, your internal division has come together. If you want to be divided, tell lies. You will feel conflicted inside. Sometimes overtly and sometimes very subtle.

Truth is a unifier. It brings the force of your psychology, your emotions together.

When it’s just truth, there’s something inside of you that comes deeply together.

This is not a direct translation of the YouTube recording. It is my paraphrased excerpts from Adyashanti’s talk titled, ‘What is Truth?

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.

now

Oh I’ve had these moments of darkness

then I remember the truth that can’t be expressed

that LIFE is bigger than anything I can see

and somehow, I feel like it’s all okay for a moment

But I will revisit doubt and uncertainty

I question my divine purpose, will I fulfill it?

I ask myself, did I LOVE enough?

Was I honest ….. with others ……. with myself?

When we ask the real questions

Life says,

You are ALIVE in this moment

That’s IT

All you have is this MOMENT to express the life pulsing out of your heart,

to experience the soul’s yearning to LIVE through ONE being

for the sake of every other being

NOW

And don’t fucking wait another moment

oracle

I’ve been using the I Ching along with the Wisdom of the Oracle for many years. I ask a question (even though I recognize that within myself the answer is already there) and then surrender my linear mind’s knowing to allow the deeper Divine Knowing to reveal itself to me.

It is quite miraculous to witness that the answer revealed to me is ALWAYS exactly what I already know, but it’s symbolized and shown to me in a way that is crystal clear for my linear mind to understand.

It always feels most urgent to access spiritual wisdom when life challenges arise and our path is unclear.

At those times, despite my inner knowing that no matter what path I take, it will always be the correct path for me; nevertheless, I find myself wanting to ask the question. Something about the affirmation allows me to feel, ahhh, see, I was right!

Here in northeastern PA, it’s been a long winter. Spring has just revealed its precious light in the last two days, and I am resonating with nature’s calling to be NEW again. With that, comes change, big decisions, deep introspective reassessment of my life.

And so I turn to my beloved Oracle, and I ask the question:

Am I listening to the true voice of my heart?

I shuffle the card deck. I choose the card. The Oracle answers:

Card #21, upside down (a protection message):

CLEAN IT UP!

“Is it possible you may be focusing too much on other people right now?

Trying too hard to be helpful?

Perhaps you think its your calling to relieve people of their burdens, but what is the cost to you, and to them?

Don’t clean up someone else’s side of the street. You’re not helping by freeing him or her of responsibility. You’re also not doing yourself any favors, and you might just be adding an even greater strain.

You are loved as you are. You don’t need to be needed to be loved.”

Whack! Just what I needed to be told, to really hear, to own. I know all this. Yet, its message is one I continue to struggle with.

It says, Janet, you know exactly what you have to do.