Thoughts on Awakening..

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Awakening is not about getting life to unfold to our tune, but about getting in tune with life such that we and it are one and the same, flowing in tandem through all eternity. This doesn’t come easy to us human beings so intent on controlling events, getting our desires met and seeking acclaim for what and who we are. Humility is key, as is a willingness to believe we know nothing and no one in order to allow life to surprise us again and again. Which it will do if we let it. Not always in ways we may appreciate, but always in ways that wake us up ever more to the deeper currents of becoming that flow through and around our being.

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PURE VIEW RAPTURE

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 by Harrison Rappaport

Vajrayana Buddhism emphasizes the importance of pure perception, the recognition of the essential purity and sacredness of our experience. On one level, this pure view means understanding all forms as the body of deity, clearly appearing yet empty of inherent solidity, all sounds as the tune of mantra, naturally free in the expanse of open awareness, resounding like echoes, and all mental events as inseparable from their essence, substanceless knowing,dharmakaya. On the ultimate level, these points are accomplished by simply recognizing the fundamental nature of all experience, the empty clarity of awareness.
These words, composed in stream-of-consciousness fashion, express pure view’s rapture.

Swim for a while in the sacredness,
the marvelous magic of this life.

Turn the mind to its empty essence,
and allow attention to be absorbed
into pure, luminous awareness.

Constricting, deadening concepts fall away;
the insufferable weight of past and future
evaporates.

The show appears as it is,
in glorious suchness.

O Lord, the mind-shattering wonder of it all!

Dancing, radiant, rainbow light display —
fluid, ever-changing, intricate,
every leaf a jewel,
every creature the greatest wonder ever known.

Fluttering currents of air: the mystery of sound!
The rapture of music, the incredible miracle of speech!

All sounds the words of God
tumbling out from the void,
never apart from void,
melodies of mantra.

The pure land, right here, right now —
heaven on earth. Earth AS heaven.

All form the display of the divine,
an unfolding, self-aware cosmic dance.

The highest offering, the greatest gift
presented as each and every moment.

Bliss, heartbreak, the softening ache of loneliness,
furious celebration, FIRE!
The center of the sun, blazing…
and still, the devastating pain of
our violence against one other.

Wondrous machines,
the quenching beauty of rivers,
bodies
on bodies
making symphonies of pleasure.

The whole thing
an inexhaustible treasure trove of display,
indivisible from that vast,
bright expanse of knowing.

Your own sensorium: all the riches of the kingdom.
More wealth than could ever be imagined,
magically appearing with no magician.

A never-ending stream of blessings.

Filling beyond fullness,
to overflowing,
to ecstasy.

No words can contain this ever-present miracle.

All tired identities fall away,
leaving only God,
only the whole dancing itself.

Union, togetherness beyond “one” and “two.”
Love; endless love, causeless love.

Infinity — aware, empty, blossoming.

May these words bring benefit.

Life and Death Perceptions…

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“Nothing is more creative than death, since it is the whole secret of life. It means that the past must be abandoned, that the unknown cannot be avoided, that ‘I’ cannot continue, and that nothing can be ultimately fixed. When a man knows this, he lives for the first time in his life. By holding his breath, he loses it. By letting go he finds it.” –Alan Watts

There is such a thing as a beautiful death. A larva goes to sleep and awakens as a ladybug. A grub spins a black carapace before becoming a honeybee. A caterpillar weaves a silken cocoon where it transforms into a butterfly. Similarly, we fall asleep, we die in our dreams, and we are reborn upon awakening. Life and death are not opposite forces. On the contrary, they are two distinct ways of perceiving the same force. Or, contrastingly, as Epicurus was believed to have said, “Death is nothing to us, since when we exist, death is not present to us, and when death is present, we have no existence.”

According to Sigmund Freud, humans have a life instinct, which he named “Eros.” But Freud thought that the sex drive was the primary repression issue regarding the human condition not the death drive. Ernest Becker corrected Freud’s dogmatic rigidness with sexuality by pointing out that, “Man’s body was a curse of fate, and culture was built upon repression –not because man was a seeker of sexuality, of pleasure, of life and expansiveness, as Freud thought, but because man was also primarily an avoider of death. Consciousness of death is the primary repression, not sexuality.” He thereby refined “the death drive,” which was coined as “Thanatos” by Herbert Marcuse years earlier. Thanatos But Thanatos can actually motivate and activate Eros. Death is like compost. Contemplating death is like compost for the soul. Just as compost helps cultivate a healthy garden, contemplation of death encourages a healthy vigorous soul. We are more likely to be proactive life-affirmers and life-achievers, rather than inactive victims of life, when we take death into consideration and meditate on it.

Those of us who meditate regularly are familiar with that translucent coalescence that occurs between life-affirming energy and death-defining vitality; especially while meditating on the crown and third-eye chakras, where time and space, life and death, finitude and the infinite, all combine to reveal the awesome interconnectedness of all things. If we practice meditation long enough we discover that the birth-death-rebirth cycle applies not only to a lifetime, but to each moment, from moment to moment. A new self constantly emerges. In fact, a new self emerges every second of everyday. Carpe puctum leads to carpe diem leads to carpe vita with each breath. With each inhalation we are born. With each exhalation we die. And within the next breath we are reborn again. When we let go of what we are, we become what we might be. When we let go of what we might be, we become what we are.

Like Alan Watts ingeniously opined, “The movement in which I am a pattern or convolution began incalculable ages before the (conventional isolated) event called birth, and will continue long after the event called death. Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything.”

Indeed, learning that we die over and over again is learning how to truly live. But we cannot achieve authentic engagement with our lives by acting out the conditioned reflexes of hand-me-down traditions. No, we achieve it by undergoing a process of discovery that requires a different kind of death, a letting go, a psychosocial death of the comfortable and the familiar. And then a rebirth, a passionate delving into the Abyss of the Self: with its orgies of pain, its orneriness of angst, and the certain defeat of our expectations.

Like Simone De Beauvoir wrote, “Man lives within the transitory or not at all. He must regard his undertakings as finite and will them absolutely.” It is in the transitory, in the fleeting moments and ephemeral seconds, where we are most truly human. Eros & Thanatos Embracing The Life-death-rebirth metamorphosis only seems complicated because we are stuck in a way of thinking that we’ve inherited from our language, culture, and environment. But once we become more aware that change is inevitable, we realize that it isn’t as complicated as we imagined it would be. Life goes on. The process continues. The life-death-rebirth process cycles through every moment. Change is absolute, but its beauty is in vicissitude, in the ups and downs, within the immanent quality of being in awe of not knowing what will happen next in our lives. Like Laurence Gonzales wrote in Surviving Survival “The true transformation in the journey comes when you see the amazing beauty of the place in which you are trapped. This is the vision of the vision quest. You embrace the pain, discard your concerns about death, and then the world opens up to you.” We’re all “trapped.” None of us chose to be born. None of us chose the hands we were dealt. Or if we did, we have forgotten that we did. And that’s okay. That’s the beauty of it. When we embrace the pain of life, the pain is assuaged. When we contemplate the dread of death, the dread dissipates and death is cast-off. When the boundaries of the self are blurred, death becomes less of a full stop and more of an ellipsis. Then the entire cosmos opens up to us, merges with us, becomes us. And so Thanatos defines Eros, and through their embrace our own truly authentic engagement with life becomes a possibility.

Meditation…Joy of Aloneness..

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“Once you turn in, meditation has started. Meditation means the capacity to be joyously alone, the capacity to be happy with yourself, the capacity to keep company with yourself. To be with yourself is meditation. There is no need for the other in meditation; the joy of aloneness, not the misery of loneliness, is meditation…
Meditation means no object in the mind, no content in the mind; not meditating upon something but dropping everything; neti, neti, neither this nor that. Meditation is emptying yourself of all content. When there is no thought moving inside you there is stillness; that stillness is meditation. Not even a ripple arises in the lake of your consciousness; that silent lake, absolutely still, that is meditation. And in that meditation you will know what truth is, you will know what love is, you will know what godliness is.”
-Osho

Creating Reality….

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We are actually intentionally creating our world and how we live in it. It’s important to support ourselves in several ways once we undertake to move into this new mode of being.

Intention Support

  • Use your imagination
  • Journal
  • Record audio stories of new self talk – how things are now in your new world
  • Meditate
  • Contemplate
  • Become selective what you take in. . .people, places, events, TV, Radio, Movies, Books
  • Walk in nature
  • Volunteer for an organization you love
  • Eat fresh good tasting food
  • Enjoy your loved ones – accept them just the way they are
  • Listen to your intuition
  • Celebrate your wins and insights
  • Meet others of like mind – find a therapeutic counseling group where you can let your hair down, tell your truth and expose your goals
  • Practice daily gratitude for what you have now
  • Develop your capacity to “feel good” all the time. . .this skill cannot be underestimated. Feeling good when things look bad is where the magic is.

Form your assumptions with the highest, noblest and happiest concepts. Whatsoever things are pure, just, lovely, of good report, think on these things only.

This means to make your assumptions the highest, noblest, happiest concepts. There is no better time to start than now. The present moment is always the most opportune in which to eliminate all unlovely assumptions and to concentrate only on the good.

It is amazing to observe what happens when you radiate light at the highest levels. Radiating light is imaginal. Movement up and down the energy ladder is imaginal. Rating progress is imaginal. Naming concepts and observing their images is imaginal. Being the person with your fulfilled desire is first imagined and sustained in the brightest light is made visible in the objective world.

Dark Night of the Soul

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The phenomenon known as the Dark Night of the Soul is something which many spiritual seekers experience on their journey to re-enlightenment. It can be a painful and frightening process, but it can also be liberating and empowering. It all depends on your perspective and your ability to remain detached.

PEELING THE ONION

The word ‘night’ is misleading. This is a process, and thankfully so. I doubt you would want to experience the purification process all at once.  This is a process with many shifts of awareness that are not linear. The length and intensity of the process is determined by the degree of purification one requires. Think of this as peeling an onion. Each layer you strip away brings tears to your eyes. You stop for a while in order to recover, and then you proceed to the next layer. Once you reach the core, you are at the heart of your angst. This is often the toughest part of the process which is why it comes last. You build up your strength and your ability to face your core issue(s). Your higher self will not let you access this core until you are ready. The good news is you have already faced the worst. Nothing that you unearth during this process will ever be as intense as the original pain you experienced. You were strong enough to face it once, so you are more than capable of releasing it now.

EGO DEATH

Essentially, the Dark Night of the Soul is the death of the (malignant) ego. I say ‘malignant’ because the ego is not inherently bad or in need of extinguishing. The ego provides the soul with the illusion of separation so that we may explore creations that differ from the unified field of Love from which we originate. The ego in its present form, however, is overly dominant. We live in an egocentric era. The Cult to Self is celebrated through our worship of celebrity, fame, fortune, superficial beauty and power. Narcissistic behaviours are often rewarded in this ego-driven climate. The external world is a projection result of the malignancy of our collective ego state. Needless to say, the ego does not take kindly to the awakening and enlightenment process. It sees the spiritual awakening process as a threat to its very existence and, in many ways, it is right. As you begin to remember more about your spiritual origins, the allure of ego lessens. This eventually breaks ego’s hold over you, and the ego begins to shrink away. From the ego’s perspective, this equates to death. It, therefore, isn’t going to surrender without a fight. The key is not to resist the ego. That being said, non-resistance is not easy. In fact, your ego will do everything in its power to cling to the old, but your higher self knows better.

EXISTENTIAL CRISIS

As we awaken from the shadows of our dream life on Earth to the limitless, formless, eternal nature of the Soul, the form and thought-based illusions of our life begin to dissolve. The very foundation of one’s human existence crumbles, leading to an existential crisis of faith. Symptoms Include:

  • Deep introspection and angst
  • Questioning the meaning and purpose of life
  • Feeling that life is meaningless
  • Isolation; feeling alone, cut off from others
  • Facing mortality
  • Feeling empty, devoid of joy

Your existential crisis can cut you off from others. The battle you’re fighting is internal. It’s akin to depression, except that it is spiritual rather than mental in nature. The ego is fighting for its life, and thus it resists the purification process. Remember though, these symptoms stem from the ego’s perspective on life. The soul knows that everything has meaning, pleasure and beauty. Once you supplant your ego with your soul, life becomes vibrant again.

PURIFICATION BY FIRE

As your ego’s domain is dismantled, your external world will reflect this internal process. That which does not serve your highest good falls away. While this stage may seem destructive and painful, it is actually helping to break ego’s hold over you by forcing it to surrender everything it holds dear. It’s like the old adage says: “Beware the man who has nothing left to lose”. That man is absolutely fearless. When you lose everything your ego values, its fear-based hold on you shatters. Please note, I’m not advocating that you must lose everything. I’m just explaining what sometimes happens during the process. For instance, if you find yourself facing loss (i.e. divorce, job loss, and bankruptcy) know that this has helped to shatter your ego’s hold over you. The more dramatic the loss, the more rapid the purification process. As you empty yourself of ego/fear, you create more room to house your soul’s love, light, wisdom, beauty and joy.

THE PHOENIX RISES

At this point, things may appear bleak and hopeless; but, to quote another old gem, “It’s always darkest before the dawn”. I liken this to sinking into the murky depths. You feel like you will never see the light of day again, and that all is lost. Then, suddenly, your feet touch ground and you are able to push off the bottom giving you the momentum propel you back into the light. You’re almost through this learning curve, and when you emerge on the other side of the Dark Night, you will rediscover the joy and beauty of the world. You are the phoenix, being purified by fire. Once you have rid yourself of the ego fears, you will be ‘reborn’ or transformed as a freer, happier higher-vibrational version of you.

SANITY-SAVING SOLUTIONS

  • Higher Perspective: Understand that darkness, fear and ego are all illusions. You’re a child of Love and Light. Your current experiences are simply a dream that your soul is having. It wants to better understand Love and Light but it cannot do so without contrast. Since the ego isn’t real, try changing its nature from a narcissistic dictator to a small, frightened child. Then, when it acts up, love and nurture it instead of fighting it or being controlled by it.
  • Non-Resistance: Do not resist the process. The greater the resistance, the more painful the symptoms. Remember, that which you resist persists. Don’t give your ego anything to push against. Just go with the flow. And remember, the ego is fighting for its life. Rather than seeking to destroy it, love it instead and teach it to trust your spirit to keep you safe. The ego can be retrained.
  • Non-Attachment: Release everything that no longer serves your higher good. No matter how scary it may seem, until you let go of the old ego-based elements in your life, nothing new and spiritually-uplifting can come in. Think of it as cleaning house. You’re ridding your vessel of darkness and density to make way for lightness
  • Kindred Support: Find like-minded souls with whom you can share your experiences. You are not alone. There are many others who are currently experiencing, or have recently gone through, the Dark Night of the Soul. Seek guides like Depth Psychotherapists to help navigate through these various shifts. Pay attention to the messages you receive intuitively. If a stranger stops to talk to you, s/he may be a kindred spirit.
  • TLC: You need extra love and gentle care right now. Be your own best friend. Talk gently and lovingly to yourself. Release obligations and commitments that are draining you. Set healthy boundaries with others. Treat yourself with kid gloves. Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of pure water, sleep when you’re tired, and practice mindful exercise such as yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong. Energy medicine can also help alleviate the severity and duration of the symptoms.