Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Recollecting God

Perception arises in and through the body. It is not separate from judgment; deciding what this or that perception means, choosing what to perceive accordingly, are part and parcel of the experience of perception. From the perspective of the body this is simply a neutral fact. You can't stop your eyes from seeing or your ears from hearing. You can block them, but their capacity remains untouched. YOu didn't make it; you can't unmake it.

Perception is by definition not the whole. The whole - what is one, or God - cannot be perceived by the senses. This has led countless religious-minded people to denigrate the body. But the body is wholly neutral. It's not the cause of any apparent spiritual problem, and it's not the solution either. Trying to make it helpful, or castigating it as unhelpful, are equally futile. If you want a glass of water, you don't use a colander to scoop it.

The truth is, the senses can allude to God, or wholeness - they can point to Oneness without actually being oneness. In this sense - and only this sense - they are illusory. They come and go and their utility comes and goes but they are capable of pointing at - at implying or implicating - God. 
The reflections you accept into the miror of your mind in time but bring eternity nearer or farther. But eternity itself is beyond all time. Reach out of time and touch it, with the help of its reflection in you. And you will turn from time to holiness, as surely as the reflection of holiness calls everyone to lay all guilt of side. Reflect the peace of Heaven here, and bring this world to Heaven (T-14.X.1:2-6).

Monday, November 29, 2021

Relax and Watch the Show

Specific problems will always have specific answers, and yet a time comes when we see that the problems and the answers are forever coming and going, and so turn our attention to that which is aware of - which takes cognizance of - which is not separate from - that coming and going.

There is no rush to do this though generally once one has become a so-called seeker - and their seeking has led them to paths like A Course in Miracles - there is a sort of anguish in postponing this awareness. From the vantage point of time it is a moment in time - we call it awakening or enlightenment or what-have you - yet from the vantage point of timelessness, nothing happens. There is not even an insight, much less one to have an insight.

The course shows up in varied ways for all of us - we are drawn to certain students or teachers, we are leaving this or that spiritual path, we are sampling the smorgasbord and this dish is especially tantalizing. Whatever. It will bear as much attention as we give it, and no injury to the whole occurs if we give it none at all, or give it only glancingly.

We can say then - we maybe should say, then - that our experience of the course will necessarily be different than everybody else's. This is not a metaphysical problem! It is a predictable and unremarkable effect of the belief in separation. Don't sweat it! Do what's in front of you, do what is helpful, be attentive and gentle as much as possible, and let the spiritual chips fall where they may. They're going to fall anyway, with or without your consent. Why not relax and watch the show?

Friday, November 26, 2021

Songs of Prayer and Oneness

People say, what do I do? How do I get to oneness? It seems that the One is in love with itself but also loves playing hide-and-seek. It appears in various ways at various times. Perhaps it appears as A Course in Miracles. Or Emily Dickinson poems or walks in the forest. 


There is a whisper - a subtle but intoxicating call - which is always the Beloved's hymn to Itself. The form in which you hear it is not important - the song itself is what matters. A Course in Miracles talks about this in The Song of Prayer.

[P]rayer takes the form that best will suit your need . . . The real sound is always a song of thanksgiving and Love . . . It is the song that is the gift . . . In true prayer you hear only the song (S-In.2:1, I.2:9, 3:2, 4).

So the call may show up in surprising forms, or in forms you have long overlooked, or even in forms you thought you had left behind or didn't care about. And the form isn't really the point, save that when we turn gently and in a sustained way towards the form, the real song - the real awareness - Truth itself - resonates and clarifies until at last it is all there is.


This is simply one way to say it, or see it. There are others, surely.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Brook

If you gaze at a brook for a long time, you might notice eddies in the current. You might notice that the brook, while always in motion, is also always in place. You might notice that noticing these things has an intuitive pleasure to it, like fitting a puzzle piece into a puzzle. And you might notice then that this noticing is not of a brook or of conclusive ideas about a brook, but simply the joy of life being aware of life, of the One recognizing the One. And you might notice too that knowing this - this glimpse, this One taste - also passes. The brook which is not a brook becomes a brook again. Now you are noticing the sound of birds or a feeling of hunger or a remembrance of some obligation that means you have to leave the brook. This may show up as sadness or regret or frustration. When it does, it means only that the One is trying to hold on to a memory of its glimpse of the One. One might notice then that this too is how the One appears to itself. No single experience is It; yet all experiencing it is it. This is why the suggestion is offered to simply be attentive, to notice what arises - the welter of it without exception or condition - for there is nothing else to do and there is nobody else to do it. Go to the brook, if the brook calls. And when called to leave the brook, leave the brook.

Monday, November 22, 2021

On Getting It

Any attempt to be "right" about what is happening is doomed to failure. Right and wrong are relative positions when it comes to God. What is right here may be wrong there. What is wrong here maybe only partially wrong there. It is possible to discern - through attention - that the whole cannot be grasped intellectually nor encapsulated in language.

In a sense, there is no more to learn once one has learned this. It is not possible for the organism - which includes the idea of the self - to escape itself. The "Sean" or "Sarah" is simply a fixed reference point within the whole.

It is like looking at the sky. From my vantage point in New England the stars are arranged in a certain way. From someone's vantage point in Africa, they would look different. It's all one sky, yet depending on the point from which you see it, it looks different. And you can only see it the way you see it. 

This is the problem with becoming attached to a spiritual path or practice. The shift from this "this is helpful for me right now" to "this is the right way" is very subtle. In a sense, it is inherent in the apparent organism. One doesn't have to deny it or change it but it is usually liberating to see it without resistance. You can still do yoga or zazen or A Course in Miracles or whatever, but the sense of "this and not that" is alleviated. 

Eventually, of course, it is seen that even "this and not that" is contained in the whole. Nothing is excluded - not Jesus, not Buddha, not war, not hunger, not the stars, not confusion. Not getting it is just another way of getting it.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Wanting Methods

The desire for a method or a technique is common, and there are ways to address it. Yoga, meditation, praying the rostary, the daily lessons of A Course in Miracles to name just a few. In a sense, we lean on the mechanics until we see that there no body or self to do the leaning. But until then, it's nice to have a map, a guidebook, a walking stick and so forth.

Really, the one thing that is happening is neither for nor against methods and techniques. It includes them for as long as they are helpful, and then they fall away. If you look closely, you will see this is true: relationships come and go, addictions, habits of anger or impatience, and so forth. We think it's a matter of learning and training, or personal willingness, some sort of effort somewhere, but it's all just the One appearing as multiplicity.

Neither good nor bad, neither right nor wrong.

The suggestion here is to simply be attentive to what is going on. If you find yourself on a zafu, or chanting kirtan, or studying ACIM, or talking to a Jungian therapist . . . great. And if you notice something else, that's great, too.

Eventually, we get past the unrelenting focus on what appears to be external - the ways, the guides, the teachers, the problems and the solutions - and we get to noticing itself. We get to awareness of the one thing underlying the presence or appearance of all things. It's not an accomplishment or a byproduct. It just is, and always was.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

On Chickadees and Waking Up

In the morning I often sit by the window with my tea or coffee and watch birds come and go at the feeder. There is not just watching the birds come and go, but everything else - including the self, the apparent watcher - as well. This sounds mystical and complicated but it is actually quite simple, somewhat like watching the sun fall behind the western hills knowing in a few hours it will reappear in the east, and so has not actually "gone" anywhere.

When the chickadees arrive, they pick the snow beneath the feeder, eat at the feeder itself, and rest in bushes and on fence lines nearby. If one looks closely, it is a flurry of activity, high energy all over the place. And yet, the one who watches does absolutely nothing to make it happen. It is of its own accord - it is happening. There might be joy at watching, a sense of awe, humor, what have you, but the only activity one appears to direct is the watching, the giving of attention. 

And even that - upon examination - is simply happening as well.

I am saying that looking at the self - the illusory self, the seemingly separated self, and the whole welter of narrative and judgment that appears to attend it - is like looking at the chickadees. There is nothing to do - nothing to get right or wrong - nothing to fix or change - nothing to know or not know. It is just there, just happening.

There is a paradox here that is worth noticing. We sense intuitively that the dissolution of the self - the undoing of the illusory narrative I - will bring clarity and peace. And it will! And yet, all that blocks the dissolution is the desire that it happen! The desire for inner peace and harmony, like the longing for clarity, are respectively all that make inner peace and harmony and clarity impossible.

There is no way to think one's way out of this - there is no understanding that will lead one through it. There is nothing to do at all. Indeed, even to say "look" is to say too much. And yet we long to say something, don't we? Even if it means we lose the silence our saying something would deliver.

So we are here writing and reading and sharing, going away to read and pray, and coming back to keep working through what cannot be worked through because that which thinks it exists is that which is trying to pass beyond it. We are dogs chasing our own tails. Or chickadees, perhaps, feeding ourselves frantically as if death - or any ending at all, really - were a real possibility. It isn't. Are we ready now to see it so?

Recollecting God

Perception arises in and through the body. It is not separate from judgment; deciding what this or that perception means, choosing what to p...